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The entire clause, in short, as I have already observed, can only, with a proper regard both to sense and to grammar and to construction, be rendered in manner following: Whom heaven must receive, until the times of the accomplishment of all the things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
7. It is not unworthy of remark, that even the very prophecy, which has introduced the present discussion, though it has commonly been adduced by the literalists as one of their strongest points, is, in reality, altogether adverse to their system.
In the apocalyptic vision of the final battle of that great day of the Lord, Christ and his saints appear mounted on white horses'.
Now a beast, generically, is the symbol of an Empire or Kingdom. Whence, specifically, as á beast of prey is the symbol of a persecuting Empire so a war-horse is the symbol of a military Empire; the pugnacious energies of that Empire or Kingdom being practically directed to a good or to a bad purpose, according to the character of the governing rider who bestrides and influences and manages the hieroglyphical charger2.
Such being the case, unless the fixed principles
late v by qua: and thus they refer it, as it can only be constructively referred, to its true and natural antecedent πávrшv. 1 Rev. xix. 11-14.
2 See above book i. chap. 1. § II. 3. book iv. chap. 2.
of symbolisation be entirely violated, the white horses, in the apocalyptic vision, will denote certain military Empires and Kingdoms: and, since the white horses are ridden by Christ and his saints, the obvious import of the imagery will be, that the opponents of the Roman faction, in the great battle of Armageddon, will be certain warlike Empires or Kingdoms animated and governed, with whatever alloy of human infirmity, by the principles of sincere Christianity.
Here, then, we have a most artful, though a most distinct intimation, that, in the overthrow of the antichristian confederacy between the two seas of Palestine, as in the destruction of Jerusalem by the instrumentality of Titus and the Romans, the Lord will interpose, not by any literal manifestation of himself, but by the secondary agency of those whom he will employ as his servants. The beast and the false prophet and their adherents will be ultimately routed through the heaven-directed valour of the Empires and Kingdoms, typified, on the fixed principles of symbolisation, by an impetuous squadron of white chargers.
8. What precise Kingdoms and Empires may be intended, does not appear from the present vision: but, as we may collect some information on this point from other parallel prophecies; so the very information, which those parallel prophecies afford to us, will serve to shew, that the apocalyptic vision has been correctly interpreted. Universally, the result, brought out, is the same. God's con
federated enemies are destroyed through the agency of human second causes.
With respect, then, to the particular Kingdoms and Empires symbolised by the white horses, we learn, from other parallel prophecies, that, when all nations (as Zechariah speaks) shall be gathered against Jerusalem to battle, there will in no wise be wanting, on the Lord's side, an array of stout and courageous opponents. Now these opponents are said to be, partly the converted of Judah, partly those Powers which at the time of the end will have made themselves the northern King of Syria and the southern King of Egypt, and partly some great maritime nation of faithful worshippers which will be mainly instrumental in the restoration and protection of God's ancient and long rejected people '. The Powers, thus characterised, therefore, are plainly, on Mr. Mede's admirable principle of mutual synchronisation, the warlike Empires and Kingdoms represented by the white horses of the Apocalypse but, save only that Judah is expressly designated as one of the Powers, we cannot antecedently pretend to say, what specific Kingdoms and Empires are intended.
9. Whether the overthrow of the Roman confederacy, at the close of the latter three times and a half, will be attended by any additional miraculous interference on the part of the Almighty, strikes
See Micah iv. 11, 12. v. 8, 9. Zechar. xii. 6. xiv. 14. Dan. xi. 40-45. xii. 1. Isaiah xviii. lx. 9.
me, as being a totally different question from that. of the literal second advent of Christ immediately before the commencement of the Millennium.
The notion, of the literal second advent of Christ occurring at that epoch, is altogether irreconcileable with the general tenor of Holy Scripture: but, apparently, there is much in prophecy, which may well lead us to anticipate that species of miraculous interference which may be defined as consisting in the preternatural employment of natural agency...
Plague, pestilence, perplexity of counsel, and in-, ternal dissention issuing in external mutual violence, though all described as sent by the Lord among his irreclaimable enemies, would not strike upon the apprehension, as being in any wise miraculous, even according to the most limited view of what might be esteemed a direct miraculous interference': but the case were widely different in respect to the palpable horrors of a local earthquake, occurring at a precisely defined moment and for a distinctly specified purpose. Some such event certainly appears to be announced: some such event, therefore, may be rationally and scripturally expected".
Now an earthquake is so generally accompanied by volcanic phenomena, that the particular mode of the apparently predicted visitation will perhaps be nearly allied to the recorded destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. From that awful event, the poeti
Zechar. xii. 4. xiv. 12-15.
* Zechar. xiv. 3-11. Isaiah lxvi. 15, 16. Joel iii, 16.
cal machinery of the apocalyptic vision, as Mr. Mede long since intimated, is, I think, very evidently borrowed: for, since the battle itself is geographically fought in Palestine between the two seas of that country; we can scarcely doubt, that the prototype of the lake of fire burning with sulphur, into which the beast and the false prophet are judicially precipitated, is the Asphaltite Lake, when viewed under the aspect, which, during its formation by the miraculous subversion of the guilty cities of the plain, it presented to the eyes of the vainly interceding patriarch. Accordingly, some such tremendous local visitation, preternatural in regard to the specific time and object of its occurrence, natural in regard to the means by which it is brought about, seems not obscurely to be announced by more than one of the ancient prophets, when treating of that destruction of God's enemies which synchronises with the restoration of Judah at the close of the latter three times and a half.
Perhaps the remarkable circumstances, which frustrated, in this identical tract of country, Julian's impious attempt to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem; the whirlwind, the lightning, the earthquake, and the fiery eruption, so ably discussed by Bishop Warburton these, perhaps, may be viewed, as the prelude and the exemplar of a yet more awfully destructive occurrence in the future day of the
'Respicit lacum Sodomiticum seu Asphaltitem. Comment. Minor. in Apoc. Oper. lib. v. c. 11. p. 913.