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*In this mystical history, therefore, we accordingly find that St John not only confirms all that St Paul had said many years before, concerning the GREAT APOSTACY, and THE MAN OF SIN at the head of it'; but adds some additionat features of that singulár character, in strict conformity with the original outline of Daniel, and the sketches of St Paul. He applies the same symbolical language, and uses the same sacred hieroglyphics, which are introduced by the ancient prophets, and adopts sometimes even the very words which they had addressed to ancient Babylon; applying them to another mistress of the world, mystically distinguished by that and other names in prophecy, figuratively used:
· In the eleventh chapter of the Revelations, St John commences his mystical history of Rome, with the persecution, and death, and resurrection of the witnesses, all included in one rapid and concise sketch ; the particular circumstances of their story falling in along with the other events related in the course of the following visions. In the former part of
the book, he had concluded the prophetic aes count of the eastern empire, and the punishment of the christian churches, there settled, by the scourge which God had raised up
for them in the imposture of Mohammed; on account of their vicious manners, luxury, superstition, heretical depravity, and idolatry. And that antichristian imposture arose in the east, about the same time as the popish mystery of iniquity was set up in the west ; and the same term of duration seems to be assigned to each of them, that is, forty and two months of prophetic days, which, coupting every day for a year, is 1260 years. * Mohammedism has accordingly succeeded as universally in the east as popery in the west, and has reduced the christian religion (if it deserves that name) to the lowest state of degradation. These once formidable powers, seem to keep equal pace now in their decline, and will probably sink together.
The measuring of the temple, with which the eleventh chapter begins, is the taking of
Rev. xi. 2; xiii. 5.
an estimate of the state of religion in general, at this period, and it is a very unfavorable
The prophet is coinmanded to measure only the holy place and the altar, but to omit the court and outer precincts of the temple, as the whole of that was given up to the profanation of the “ gentiles, and the holy city shall they tread underfoot forty and two months."
If this alludes to the mohammedans, at that time in possession of the holy city of Jerusalem, and retaining it against the utmost force of the seven crusades even to this day; it shews the low and abject state to which christianity should be reduced, whereever the crescent prevailed ; and the few sincere christians that would be found amongst even the professors of the christian faith in the eastern churches. If it alludes to the corrupt state of religion in the west, at the period when the papal tyranny was set up, and if Jerusalem (trodden down by the papal gentiles, more heathens than christians, in both faith and practice,) means the church of Christ in general, the prophecy is equally true, both in the smallness of the number found, “which
had not bowed the knee to the popish Baal," and in the term of forty two months, allotted for the continuance of this newly risen apostacy and spiritual tyranny over the greater part of the church of Christ.
The episode of the two witnesses is another representation of the same thing. It intimates, that while the generality of nominal christians should run headlong into gentilism and idolatrous worship, there should yet be a small, though a competent number of persons still left, to protest against the corruptions of the times, in every age; and to keep alive the knowledge of God, and the hope of salvation by the mediation and merits of Christ alone.
For the profession of these now beretical opinions, the witnesses are here destined to undergo a series of cruel persecutions, and to seal the truth of their testimony by death. *
* The witnesses are to continue as long as the apostacy it. self,“ a thousand two hundred and three score days, which is the same space of time as the forty and two months before mentioned. For forty two months, consisting each of thirty days,
The power here given to these two witnesses
to shut beaven that it rain not in the days of their testimony," "to turn waters into blood," &c. I apprehend to be only a concise hịnt of those calamities which, denounced by them in frequent warnings, but still in vain, will be the final result of their testimony bez ing obstinately rejected by their persecutors, This makes the subject of another vision, chap. 16.-When God after a long silence and forbearance, will begin, by successive judgmențs, to move the apostatęs to repentance, and finally to destroy the incorrigible and unbelieving. *
The remainder of this chapter is rapidly sketched, the particulars being in the followįng visions separately presented to view, and distinctly enlarged upon.
It shews what will
are equal to a thousand two hundred and three score days, or years, in the prophetic stile ; which is the very period assigned by Daniel (vii. 25; xii. 7,) and St John (Rev. xiii. 5,) for the tyranny and idolatry of the church of Rome."... Newton, yol. iii. p. 135.
* See sect. vii, p, 190, and sect. xxiv.