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may observe that in Apoc. xx the millennium is explained, on the Augustinian principle, as commenced at Christ's first coming and ministry ; the strong man being ejected out of the hearts of his people by one stronger, and bound from ruling over them : the first resurrection as meaning that by baptism; the thousand years, as the whole for the part yet remaining 2 of the sixth chiliad of the world; and the “ little while” subsequent of Satan's loosing, as the three and a half years of Antichrist.
As to the New Jerusalem, alike in Apoc. xxi and in Apoc. iii, it is explained of the Church in its present state : (though not without a passing counter-view, given apparently by another hand, which applies it to the glorified Church after the resurrection :3) its four gates towards the four winds marking its diffusion over the world ; the tree of life meaning the cross, and the river of life the waters of baptism.Agreeably with which view the palm-bearers' blessedness in Apoc. vii is also explained distinctly of the Church in its present state. “ Omnia hæc (viz. what is said of the living fountains of water) etiam in præsenti sæculo, et his diebus, spiritualiter ecclesiæ eveniunt.'5
To this last expository view I must direct particular attention ; as being now for the first time put forth in an Apocalyptic commentary ; though not without a partial precedent, as we saw, in Eusebius. At the same time it is to be observed that by the Church Tichonius meant Christ's true Church ; perpetually distinguishing between it and the ficti et mali within, as well as heretics and Pagans without it.-In his explaining away of Babylon the great city, as merely meaning the world, though expressly declared by the Angel to mean Rome, he was partly followed, as we saw, by Augustine and Jerome : i. e. supposing that their predecessor the real Tichonius originated it, not a later interpolator. It is another of the characteristic and notable points of Tichonius' commentary.
See p. 328 suprà.
? So the Tichonian Rule 5. # This occurs in Hom. xvii, after a quotation from Apoc. xxi. I, “ I saw the New Jerusalem descending as a bride," &c : the brief comment being thus added, “ Hoc totum de gloriâ ecclesiæ dixit qualem habebit post resurrectionem.” But this is an insulated sentence : and in three other different places the prophecy is distinctly referred to the Church on earth. See for example the next Note.
• So in the Homily xix, where all the particular figures are gone into.—Similarly in Homily iii, on Apoc. iii. 12, “I will write on him the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which descendeth from heaven from my God," the Comment is ; "Novam Jerusalem cælestem ecclesiam dicit quæ à Domino nascitur. Novam autem propter novitatem nominis Christiani ; et quia ex veteribus novi efficimur.” 5 Homily vi.
6 See p. 326 suprà. VOL. IV.
§ 3. FROM THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, A.D. 500, TO A.D. 1000.
The period included in this Section comprises that of the early establishment, and growth to mature strength, of the Papal supremacy over the ten Romano-Gothic kingdoms of the revived Western Empire ; also in Eastern Christendom the reign of Justinian, and rise, conquests and decay of the Saracens. Its commencement is sketched in my Part II, chapter iï ; its later half in the chapter v, next but one succeeding the former. The end of the tenth millennary of the Christian æra constituted, as is obvious, and will be afterwards remarked on, an important epoch in the history of Apocalyptic interpretation. It furnishes therefore a fit ending to the present Section.
The Latin expositors that I shall first notice under this division are Primasius and Ambrosius Ansbertus, of the sixth and eighth centuries : then (after a passing word on Bede and Haymo) the Greek expositors Andreas and Arethas, also of the sixth and eighth or ninth centuries, respectively. And I shall close with another Latin expositor of rather peculiar character, who flourished somewhat later, about the beginning of the tenth century; I mean Berengaud.
1. Beginning with Primasius, his name appears in the second Conference of the fifth General Council, held at Constantinople A. D. 553 ;' where he is noted as a Bishop of the Byzacene or Carthaginian province; in which province he is supposed to have been Bishop of Adrumetum. The manuscript of his works was discovered in a monastery near Lyons, in the sixteenth century ;) and was published, with a high eulogy on the author, in the Dedication to the French king Francis, by the learned Gagnæus. These Works are all given in the xth volume of the B. P. M.; that on the Apocalypse occupying from p. 289 to p. 339.
There is so much of general resemblance in this Apocalyptic Com
1 Harduin iii. 68.
? So Mosheim, &c.
3 So in the Dedication.
mentary to that of Tichonius, (to which indeed he refers as an exemplar before him at the outset,') that there will be no need to enter so much at large into it, after the full sketch just given of Tichonius. His mention of Jerome's Origenistic saying at the outset, that the Apocalypse has as many mysteries as words, and many hidden meanings too in each word, is ominous; and might well prepare us for the kind of commentary following. Indeed his seeking for mysteries has imparted an air of mysteriousness and obscurity to parts of it, such that I do not wonder at Ambrose Ansbert complaining of its frequent unintelligibility. What follows will give a sufficient notion of his general views, and of his more remarkable particular explanations.
He begins with stating the objects of the Apocalypse. It needed to be revealed how the Church, then recently founded by the apostles, was to be extended, and how destined to be limited; (limited temporarily, I suppose ; for he adds that it was to have the world for an inheritance :) that so the preachers of the truth might more boldly, though few, make aggression on the many. Which Church, its great subject, was in different parts of the Apocalypse ever prominently though variously depicted : alike, he says, by the seven Asiatic Churches, seven candlesticks, and seven stars; (the fitness of the septenary to signify unity being fancifully accounted for ; 3) by Christ himself too, as figured on the scene, the Church being Christ's body ;4 and yet more by St. John as a representative :) (even his opening act of falling as one dead before Christ, being but a type of the Church dead to the world :) also, in the other and higher visions next vouchsafed, alike by the heaven, by the figured throne placed in it, by Him that sate on the throne, by the twenty-four elders, and by the four living creatures. « Quod est thronus hoc animalia ; hoc et seniores;
| Ambrose Ansbert nocices this also. “ Post quem (Tichonium) Primasius, Africanæ Ecclesiæ Antistes, quinque prædictam Apocalypsim enodavit libris. In quibus, ut ipse asserit, non tam propria quàm aliena contexuit ; ejusdem scilicet Tichonii bene intellecta deflorans." B. P. M. xii. 404.
?" Fateor multa me in ejus dictis sæpissimè legendo scrutatum esse, nec intellexisse." Ibid.
8 B. P. M. x. 289.- Seren being a complete number: as man is made up of body and soul; the soul with its three parts, heart, soul, mind; the body with its four, hot and cold, moist and dry!
So Tichonius, Rule 1. 5 So Victorinus and Tichonius.
• B. P. M. 294, 295.
id est ecclesia.”l—I need not suggest the confusion of ideas, and in coherence of interpretation, necessarily arising from this confused generalization, and identification in meaning, of the varied scenic imagery of the Apocalypse.
The Sealed Book, and the successive symbols of its six Seals, as opened, he explains almost precisely as Tichonius; with additional conceits however, arising out of his straining to find out yet further mysteries. Like him, besides noting devilish agencies as meant in the second, third, and fourth Seals, opposed to Christ and his Gospel, as figured in the first, he also includes Victorinus' solution of the bella, fames, pestis : and like him joins Victorinus in explaining the sixth Seal, both in general and in detail, of the last persecution, towards the end of the last age of the Church : the chronology here passing from the whole period of Christianity generally to its last epoch specially. By which persecution (a persecution I presume by Antichrist, though Antichrist is not indeed mentioned as its author) the world generally, Primasius supposes, is to be opprest.
Like Tichonius, again, he explains alike the 144,0004 and the palmbearing company to mean the whole Church of the elect; and interprets the four angels of the winds, (a point unnoticed by the former expositor,) to be the four winds spoken of by Daniel as striving on the agitated scene of the four great empires : also the Angel from the East as Christ at his first coming ; the stone being then cut out of the mountain, which was to smite the great image. The palmbearer's predicated happiness he does not, like Tichonius, confine to the Church in its present state ; but refers such particulars as, “ God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” to the Church's future
" Ib. 301. * E. g. the fitness of a septenary to signify completeness and unity is illustrated by the seven modes of a verb in grammar, and the seven ages distinguishable in the inward and spiritual history of a spiritual man.
In the 4th Seal he thus accounts for the specification of the fourth part of the earth, as a scene of injury. The world is divided into two parts, one for God, one for the Devil ; and the latter subdivided into three, Pagans, heretics, and false orthodox professing Christians. Now it is the first of these four only, or true Church, that is the part assailed.
3 “ Sexta ætas mundi, circà cujus finem novissima persecutio nunciatur.” He refers to Isaiah ii. 21, in illustration of the Church, and her Christian faith, being the world's refuge, under present suffering and future fears.
* On the mysteries of the names of the twelve Jewish tribes, as applied to the Christian Church, Primasius has not less than three folio pages; from 305 to 308.
bliss.—The half-hour's silence he explains with his two predecessors of the beginning of the saints' eternal rest.
In the Trumpets he still follows Tichonius. Throughout the time of the Church's preaching voice, fulfilling the Angel's trumpet-blowings, there would be the destruction of the earthly-minded by God's wrath, the Devil's burning fury, and spread of false tradition and doctrine, obscuring the Church's light; by heretical teachers too and false prophets, with their venom-distilling scorpion tails : until under the sixth trumpet, or in the sixth age, the four winds, (and Devil too, as in Apoc. xx.) would be loosed from long partial confinement in the ruins of Babylon ; and with the force of eight myriads, or myriads of myriads, including the whole body of the wicked, would during the fated hour day month and year, or three years and a half, urge the last persecution.2
In the vision of the rainbow-crowned Angel of Apoc. x, Primasius combines Victorinus' and Tichonius' explanations. The opened book he makes the New Testament; the seven thunders the Church's preaching; the sealing a proper reservation of its truths from such as might abuse the communication : also John's charge to eat the book, and prophesy again, he explains as true both of John personally, by the publication of his Apocalypse and Gospel, so as Victorinus would have it, and of the Church always, as Tichonius,—Further, as to the two Apocalyptic Witnesses, their testifying included both the Church's witness, with the two Testaments, throughout the whole time of Christianity, in that mystical sense of forty-two months 3 which Tichonius prominently set forth ; ' and also Elias' witness, in the literal first half of Daniel's hebdomad, so as Victorinus ; his death having to occur in the literal Jerusalem.
· I am not aware that any manuscript, or any Expositor but Primasius, exhibits the various reading, OKTW uupiades.
· Primasius thinks that the fire and sulphur out of the mystical horses' mouth may refer to hell punishments : Tichonius had explained them of the blasphemies uttered.
* By construing the forty-two months and three and a half years literally, as well as mystically, and speaking of its having reference to the last persecution, (see p. 332,) Tichonius seems to have intended to mark the witnessing under Elias ; whom he makes the wings sustaining the woman of Apoc. xii in the last persecution. But he does not express it.
* The drought he makes spiritual ; also the killing by fire from the witnesses' mouths to be spiritual death, through the church's anathema.
5 During which, adds Primasius, the Jews are to believe on Jesus Christ. B.P.M.