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trumpets, represents those events which were to be ushered in, not under the authority of established government, but by successful invasions, ravages, and overthrows — by “the sound of TRUMPETS and the alarm of war.”
These general principles convey, I conceive, the true import of these splendid and remarkable visions. Before, however, we apply them to the events of history, it may tend to fix the mind more directly on the right objects if we refer to the Book of Daniel, and ascertain what portion of his prophecies REMAINED TO BE ACCOMPLISHED at the time when the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John.
Such unaccomplished prophecies appear to have consisted chiefly of the six following:
1. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE UNDIVIDED Roman Empire, represented by the cutting down of the great and lofty tree of Nebuchadnezzar; the demolition of which did not take place until the empire was attacked by the barbarous nations; when it was bound together by a “band of iron and brass,” or by the Latin and Greek kingdoms.
2. THE DIVISION of the Western or Latin branch of the Roman Empire INTO TEN KINGDOMs, predicted by the ten toes of the great image, and by the ten horns of the monstrous wild beast.
3. The springing up of the LITTLE PAPAL
HORN, or kingdom, in the midst of these ten kingdoms; which was to do such great things; into whose hands the saints were to be given; and which was to wear them out by its persecutions, and that for the long period of 1260 years.
4. The similar springing up of the Mon AMMEDAN LITTLE HORN, out of, or behind, one of the four Grecian kingdoms into which Alexander's conquests were divided ; and which was to profane the sanctuary, cast the truth down to the ground, and to “practise and prosper."
5. The rise of the still professedly more Antichristian POWER OF INFIDELITY, which was to appear towards the close of the 1260 years, or towards “ the time of the end ;" and which was to magnify itself above every god, and for a short time to enjoy, in its blasphemies and persecutions, a course of extraordinary prosperity.-And, lastly,
6. The breaking in pieces and total disruption of the kingdoms of this world, and the subsequent setting up of MESSIAH'S KINGDOM; predicted by the destruction of Daniel's great image, and in many other places in the Psalms and Prophets.
This enumeration of the unfulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament, whose accomplishment was to take place under the Christian dispensation, appears to me to be of great use in order to the proper and correct interpretation of the Book of Revelation; and for the following reasons:
1. Because of the extreme probability that these would form the nucleus of New Testament prophecies.
2. Because of their strict agreement with the above axioms of interpretation.
3. Because they do, in fact, form the great outlines of all modern history, both ecclesiastical and secular.
In apportioning the particular events to which these ancient prophecies refer, to the visions and symbols of the Apocalypse, history will readily be our guide in instructing us to which class they respectively belong. In general, it may be observed that the Seals represent events more particularly connected with the affairs of the church; while the TRUMPETS more exclusively relate to secular events with which such church affairs were connected. With regard to the Vials, as they are termed the “ seven last plagues,” and relate to the closing scenes of history, they belong irrespectively to both series of events, and therefore are of a mixed character.
The SEALs, as referring to a series of events which happened foremost in the order of time, as well as from their bringing into the church that DARING IMPOSTURE which drew down Divine vengeance, and brought on the judgments of the Trumpets, naturally fix our attention, and form the first series of these Apocalyptic visions. The announcement of their contents is ushered in with such peculiar solemnity (occupying in its description two whole chapters) as might well lead us to expect something about to be revealed of the most consummate importance. Indeed, when the opening of them is at length introduced, as it were with the noise of thunder,” on each of the first four being presented to the notice of the Apostle, one of the
living creatures" before the throne of God thus invited his best attention : “Come and see." -Come, and behold this first overt act of the man of sin; come, and see the first intervention
1 of human wisdom and authority in spiritual concerns; come, and see the spring-head of that deluge of corruption that will ere long overspread the church and darken the world. And if it was thus solemnly declared to be an object of attention to him, there is no reason why it should not be equally deserving of ours, and why we should not likewise “come, and see. ”
History informs us that Popery, whose stealthy growth and increase had commenced even in the time of the early Christians, became gradually legalized and established by Four DISTINCT ACTS or decrees or ROMAN EMPERORS.
The first of these was the ratification of the Canons of the Council of Nice by ConstANTINE, A.D. 325.--How far this bears upon the question will be afterwards explained.
The SECOND was a Decree issued by the Emperor GRATIAN, in conjunction with his colleague in the empire, Valentinian II., A.D. 379.
The THIRD was a similar but fuller edict, issued by VALENTINIAN III., likewise in conjunction with his colleague, the Emperor Theodosius II., A.D.445.
The Fourth, which caused its full establishment, was the celebrated Edict of JUSTINIAN, A.D. 533.
These four distinct and strongly marked epocha appear, from the collective testimony of the best authors who have traced the rise of Popery, to fix with certainty the time and manner of the giving of the times, and the laws, and the saints, into the hands of the" Western "little horn.” The first of these epocha is recognised by almost every commentator, ancient and modern; the second and third, in a particular manner by Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Faber, although without any reference to the corresponding seals; and the fourth, by the generality of the modern writers on Prophecy. And it is difficult to imagine, so long as the Roman empire lasted, to what other agency its rise could be attributed than to that of the Emperor, as the chief secular ruling power. And perhaps it may assist us in forming a judgment of the importance and effect