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held but two years afterwards. (2.) It had the support of imperial power in the two-thirds of the empire ruled by Constantine. (3.) It was just then travailing to have as its own (the Church’s) son a professedly Christian emperor; and succeeded, in spite of the heathen antagonism under Licinius. (4.) He, and his orthodox successors, (each successively designated as son of the Church)* professedly mounted and held their throne, like David and Solomon, as the Lord's throne,+ and so subject to His laws. (5.) Though not immediately, yet a few years only later, these orthodox Christian emperors oppressed the heathen religionists of the empire, as with a rod of iron : so that it came then to be called paganism, as being confined to out of the way pagi or villages; and soon after became extinct.
Passing quickly over the next succeeding parts of the Apocalyptic prefiguration—the Woman's speedy depression after her male child's exaltation to God's throne, and gradually increasing obscuration, answered in history by the sad change in the Nicene Catholic Church's state and aspect, resulting from the heresies, schisms, and advancing superstitions within its professed pale, ere the middle of the 4th century,—the Dragon's renewed war for supremacy in heaven, answered historically by the accession, and war against Christianity, of the heathen Julian, (an event prepared by Constantius's lapse into Arianism,) and in Julian the final dejection of the Dragon, or heathenism, from supremacy,--followed, the one by the Apocalyptic, the other by the historic pæan of triumph, on the part of the conquering Christians, speaking in almost identical phrase of the Dragon as fallen, but ominously coupling the martyrs with Christ as the authors of the triumph,—then, once more, the dejected Dragon's renewed persecution of the Woman, by casting out floods from his mouth to drown her, answered by the Gothic Pagan and Arian inundation, which was swallowed up however, in so far as regarded their Paganism and Arianism, by “the earth” of the Western Roman empire, where the Gothic settlements were made, in the course of the fifth and sixth centuries, I say, passing over all this, as we have done, in merest rapid outline, we must yet see from it the correspondence of history with the remainder of the prefigurations of Apoc. xii. ; as well also as with St. Paul's prediction of the advancement, and at length triumph, of Apostasy within the Christian professing Church, so as, in fact, at length to overmaster, and substitute itself for, what was once Christian in it. And so the result was that, as the sixth century opened on the world, the Ecumenic faithful Christian Church of the ever memorable Constantinian Nicene epoch (just accordantly with the Apocalyptic figuration) had disappeared, and become a mere vision of the past : what was left of the faithful being thenceforward, and even to the present day, certain only of her witnessing children ; i. e. mere fragmentary unconnected little communities, churches, or even individuals, such as might fitly be summed up under the symbol (with a never to be forgotten history attached to it) of the two sackcloth-robed Apocalyptic Witnesses.-In all which we have yet eight or ten more irrefragable prophetic and historic coincidences.
i. e. of the orthodox Catholic writers of the era. Compare 1 Chron. Church. So Ambrose.
xxviii. 5, xxix, 23; also, Exod. xvii. 16; + So Eusebius and other Church Hebr.
Then, as to the next succeeding. Apocalyptic chapter xiii., need I recall to my reader's mind the inconsistencies, point after point, between the prophecy and its historical solution on Mr. M.'s theory :-his notion of the great seven-headed Beast figuring what his pages represent as a headless ecclesiastical apostasy realized in the 8th century throughout the ten kingdoms of Western Europe ;—the Papacy, in fact, without the Pope ;—then the Harlot Woman's solution by him* as the Papal Church mounting in the 11th century on the Beast's back, i.e. on its own back ;--and then, as to the second lamb. skin-covered Beast, his idea of its figuring an avowed atheist Antichrist, yet to come, destined to cherish and revivify a profest though corrupted Christian Church! Did ever such a symbol in Holy Scripture have such a signification ? or ever such a power in history so use that power?t-But it is needless to particularize further. So turn we now to the Protestant explanation.
And behold, it says, out of the subsiding of the barbarian flood there rose up in the 6th century, on the old seven hills, a monstrous form (was not here the answer to the Apocalyptic Beast ?) such as the world had never seen before:-a man calling himself Vice-Christ, (the self-same title as Anti-Christ,) in virtue of being the asserted successor of St. Peter in the episcopal see of Rome, and, since Christ was God, therefore God's plenipotentiary VICEGERENT ON EARTH -a man, in regard of this his locality, Aarewos, the Latin man, answering, on the old common Gematria principle, to the Beast's name and number 666 ; in religion, though the professed head of Christianity, summing up in himself every principle of the now consummated apostasy ; in pride all that became God's VICEGERENT on earth :-and, as the ten new Romano-Gothic kings (themselves diademed, in strange accordance with the Apocalyptic symbol) recognised his asserted divine character, even as God on earth, and one consequently avopos (2 Thess. ii, 8), or above
† Compare what profest Atheism did to the Papal Church at the time of the French Revolution.
I have given in my H. A. 5th Ed., vol. iii., a plate of diademed coins of the
Romano-Gothic kings of the sixth and seventh centuries (all verified at the British Museum), in illustration of this most extraordinary coincidence of his. toric fact and prophetic symbolization.
law, there resulted a Roman empire mightier than ever before, with the Pope of Rome at its head as professedly “ Christiane Reipublicæ Rex et Caput." And so, in place of the old seventh heathen head of the Roman Beast, which had been amputated, as the Christian writers of the fourth century, accordantly with the Apocalypse, described it, on the triumphs of Christianity under Constantine and Theodosius, there had risen up a new seventh head to the empire, out of the cicatrice of the old amputated seventh: itself being, in fact, “one of the former seven” in character; i.e., heathen like them, though professedly Christian.*
How Rome, in its new pseudo-Christian form,-as mother and mistress, from the very fact of its locality, not only of all other
, Churches, but of all kingdoms too,-might fitly, in this view, be depicted as on the back of the symbolic monster, is evident. And so her own medals indeed, quite consistently, depict her as seated on the globe, and there holding out the cup of her apostasy. +
But who were the effective administrators everywhere of the VICE-Christ's power? Not the secular potentates that recognised her. That would have been a system soon to break down. It needed to be a corporate body, just such as figured in the Apocalypse, essentially bound to him by participation in his own peculiar character and power; and thus answering to the symbol of a wolf in sheep's clothing, (Christ's own figure of a pseudoChristian clergy), and to the title of the False Prophet. Did historic fact, then, answer here also ? In the course of the century and a half succeeding the recognition of the Pope of Rome as VICE-Christ by the Romano-Gothic kingdoms of the West, the Western Clergy, step by step, were at length formed into a corporate body, bound by strictest oath of allegiance to the Pope, as both Vice-Christ and Ecumenic Patriarch, for their head; alike the common clergy and the monastic, under rule respectively of bishops and abbots, like the two horns of the wolfish symbol :-a Clergy to whom it was given to exercise, in their own limited spheres, all his assumed power as God's VICEGERENT on earth; to the extent, not merely of miracleworking, saint-persecuting to the death, bringing down the thunderbolts of heaven on recreants, &c., but even, in those limited spheres, of being as God, I yea, and of making God : (was there ever blasphemy like this ?)-only all as derived from Him, exercised under His supervision, and done to His exaltation.
Such is askeleton sketch of our Protestant explanation of Apoc.
Compare 1 John ii. 19: “ They went out from us, but they were not of us." And Shakespeare : "I am little better than one of the wicked."
t I have given a copy of one of these
remarkable medals in my H. A., struck at the last Jubilee in Rome, A.D. 1825.
I So the Council of Trent, on the Clergy in the Confessional.
xii., and part of xiii., in apposition with St. Paul's prophecy of the apostasy and Antichrist, in the Thessalonians. "Were I to complete the sketch, with reference to the rest of this chapter xii., and what is told in Apoc. xi. of the two Witnesses, and their slaughter by the great Beast in the great city, the case would only appear yet far stronger. But this may suffice. I pray Mr. Meyrick to look candidly to this side, and that side ;-to his exposition, and the one just sketched : and then himself judge which has the stamp of truth upon it.
And now a few words on the two short prophetic articles in the same volume of Dr. Smith's Bible Dictionary specified at the commencement of this review ; the one by Prof. Lightfoot, on St. Paul's Mon of Sin; the other by Mr. Bullock, on St. John's Book of Revelation :-each a cognate subject with that of the much longer and more elaborate article by Mr. Meyrick. It is really curious to observe how the three several writers on them contradict and controvert each other. This will soon appear.
As regards Prof. Lightfoot's paper, his view of the Man of Sin is grounded on the now rife, though most questionable, Anglo-German maxim, that all Scripture prophecy must be construed as having arisen out of, and primarily and mainly (though often not only) relating to, events circumstances and persons of the writer's own day. Hence, according to our Professor, the Jews and Judaism, as being the apostle's bitterest enemies at the time of his writing his Epistle to the Thessalonians, are to be regarded as primarily and chiefly the Man of Sin, or Antichrist, then in his eye; the restraining power (10 Katexov) being the Roman power, which, by its laws and governing provincial authorities, was a preventive against the Jews acting out their full fury against Christianity. What was the apostasy meant by him, the principles of which were then already at work, our Professor does not state ; though, from his saying that St. Paul had vividly before his mind the coming catastrophe of the Jews predicted by Christ on Mount Olivet, I should infer that he would interpret it of the Jews' revolt from the Romans. Nor does he explain when the Roman restraint was removed; or how, when so removed, there was in the Jews'outburst of fury against Christianity, and otherwise, a realization by them of the characteristics assigned by St. Paul to the Man of Sin. “I do not,” he says, “explain details.” His explanation, however, is so far given, that we may thus paraphrase it. " You Christians of Thessalonica are agitated with the idea of the near imminence* of Christ's second coming.
'The Professor agrees with me in sustaining the sense given to this word in our E. V., against Alford
Vol. 63.-No. 315.
and others, In the 5th Ed. of my Horæ Apocalypticæ I have illustrated this use of it from Greek classical writers. 2 G
But don't be mistaken. There must something very remarkable first intervene. Not till then shall He come. Now, by this something to come, I mean nothing more nor less than something even now come; viz. our bitter enemies the Jews, and Judaism."*-So the Cambridge Hulsean Professor would really not only deny to the apostle the possession of the prophetic spirit, in its high predictive sense; but make him, in this passage at least, just about the absurdest and most self-con. tradictory of writers.
I must add that, adverting to the Apocalypse, he makes Nero, or Rome under Nero,t to be the Antichrist there figured by St. John; Nero being then the chief persecutor of Christianity. So, contrary to overwhelming evidence both historical and internal, he makes Nero's time, about A.D. 64, to be the date of the Apocalypse ; and would follow evidently, in his general interpretation of that wonderful prophecy, the miserable self-refuting view given by German and English Præterists.
Now for Mr. Bullock's Paper on the “Revelation of St. John."
And this may suffice as a sketch of the views propounded by him on the subject. After stating the date as A.D. 96, and laying down that the four first Seals signified conquest, [he says not, whose ?] war, famine, [an interpretation of the third Seal shown by me again and again to be impossible,]I and pestilence,-he just glances at the structure of the Apocalypse, affirming that its several prophetic series, as of Seals, Trumpets, &c., all alike run parallel, and end each one in the consummation, - an opinion which, I think, I have also shown to be almost an impossibility: and then refers to the three chief schools of Apocalyptic interpretation, viz., the wholly Praterist (of which we have seen Prof. Lightfoot to be an example), the wholly Futurist, and the continuously llistorical. And, after decisively setting aside both Præterists and Futurists,--the former because of Christ having not yet come, though their Man of Sin, or Antichrist, has ages since appeared and passed away,--the latter, because the Apocalyptic Revealer declared that the revelation he was about to give would include “things that were then shortly to come to
* I have said that Mr. L. intimates mystery of lawlessness, it is impossible the possibility of a present prophetic type being meant often of something + “At a later date," he silys,
“ Rome greater to come. But then the primary under Nero became the antagonist of sense ought in common consistency to Christendom : [Does not Christeudoin embrace all main points of the prophecy, imply a Christian empire?] and there. though on a smaller scale; which of fore she was then titly figured by St. course is not the case liere. Moreover, John as the type of Antichrist." after writing this at the beginning I Three days sufficiency of barley. of his Paper, he says at its ending, bread being obtainable, according to the "Whether the Jewisli opposition entirely prices mentioned in the Seal, for one exhausted St. Paul's conception of the day's labour; and other articles of food
of next necessity abundant !