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endom, viz. “ with miracles, and gifts, and torments ;') and to fight with the two Witnesses Enoch and Elijah, and kill them, and be himself finally slain by lightning :-vain too what was often added, as to Daniel's 1290 days, or time times and half a time, of the abomination of desolation, applying to Antichrist's being worshipped for that number of days in God's temple ; and then the 45 days additional of the 1335 signifying 45 days of repentance granted to such as should have worshipped Antichrist :2-as also the application to a yet future Antichrist of the Beast with seven heads and ten horns. For all this, argues Walter, both Scripture and reason contravene. How is it likely that one avowedly of the tribe of Dan should propose himself to, and be believed on by, both Jews and Christians as Christ; when it is notorious to both that Christ is of the tribe of Judah ? Or how again, when coming as a man of war and bloodshed : whereas the character of Christ's coming is foretold as one of peace, under which men should beat their swords into ploughshares and pruning-hooks ? Then he opens his view of those prophecies. 1. That in Dan. xii. 11,
that “ from the time of the sacrifice being taken away, and the abomination of desolation set up, there shall be 1290 days,” refers plainly to what was said before in Dan. ix :-how that “after seventy weeks Christ should be slain, and the city and the sanctuary destroyed by a prince that should come; and that he would confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the half week the sacrifice and offering should cease; and in the temple there should be an abomination of desolation : and even to the fulfilling of all, and to the end, shall the desolation continue.” For, as the 70 weeks after which Christ was to be slain meant weeks of years, not days, so, similarly, the 1290 days of the desolation meant 1290 years : and the prophecy had fulfilment in the fact of the Romans destroying Jerusalem ; and, on its last desolation by Adrian, placing an idol, or abomination, in the holy place : a desolation which has ever since continued, now nearly about 1290 years; and which was to continue till the revealing, or in other words the exposure, of Antichrist.2dly. In Apoc. xiii, the first Beast there figured in vision, with seven heads and ten horns, which men explain of an imagined yet future Antichrist, meant rather the Roman emperors; who did much persecute the Lord's people, both Jews and Christians. For the Woman seen seated on this Beast afterwards was expounded by the Angel to mean the city on seven hills, which then reigned over the kings of the earth,” i. e. Rome; "a city upholden by her cruel and beastly emperors :"—and its power was to continue 42 months, or 1260 days, i. e. 1260 years; a day being (as before) meant for a year: just as also the ten days of tribulation predicted to the Church of Smyrna signified the ten years of Diocletian's persecution; and the 5 months, or 150 days, of the scorpion-locusts of Apoc. ix the 150 years of the locust-like begging friars, from their first rise to their primary exposure by Armachanus. And the prophecy was fulfilled in the continuance of the Roman empire just 1260 years; from its commencement under Julius its first emperor, to the death of its last emperor, Frederic.
So Adso, p. 368 suprà.
2 So T. Aquinas, p. 407 suprà.
But then " who the real Antichrist, lying privy in the hid scriptures of the prophets?”—“I now pass on to the declaration of that conclusion," says Walter Brute ; " bringing to light the things which lay hid in darkness. For what was said in the darkness let us say in the light; and what we have heard in the ear let us preach upon the house-tops.” If then, proceeds he, the high Bishop of Rome, calling himself God's servant, and Christ's chief Vicar in this world, do make and justify many laws contrary to Jesus Christ, then must he be the chief of those false Christs foretold by Christ as to come in his name, and deceiving many. Now 1st, as to the fact of the Popes calling themselves Christs, it is evident : since Christ means anointed, a characteristic and appellation specially applied in Scripture to kings and priests ; both of which the Popes claim to be, as both high priests and chief kings, invested authoritatively alike with the temporal and spiritual sword. Then 2ndly, as to the difference of Christ's laws and the Pope's, the first of Christ's laws is that of love ; but the Pope wageth war both against infidels and against Christians. And though it be alleged that miracles have been done by those who have preached or engaged in such crusading wars, yet does not this justify them. For “ for no miracles may we do contrary to the doctrines of Christ.” And, as to miracles, did not the Egyptian magicians perform them? Is it not said by Christ that false prophets would rise, that would do them? by Paul that Satan was transformed into an angel of light ? by Christ, again, that at the last day he would have to reject many say
ing to him, “ We have prophesied in thy name, and in thy name done wonderful works ?” even as the second Apocalyptic Beast was said to do miracles? The standard of truth must be God's word. “ Is not my word like fire, &c ?”.— Further Christ's second law might be said to be that of forgiveness and mercy ; mercy to sinners. But here too how contrary the Pope's and priests' law : giving judicial sentence of death, and perhaps exciting crusading wars against heretics. In which there is an ante-dating of times too. For Christ said that here the tares were to grow with the wheat ; and the separation to be made by himself only at the time of the day of judgment. Whereas the Pope would have the separation made by himself now; so changing times, as well as laws.
Then next our confessor and prophetic expositor proceeds to argue against the Romish doctrines of the keys, auricular confession, transubstantiation, and a sacrificing priesthood : and, after describing the universal and awful habit with all classes of the priesthood, of “selling prayers, pardons, &c.,” in direct contradiction to Christ's charge, “ Freely ye have received, freely give,” he breaks into the exclamation ; “I would to God that all the buyers and sellers of spiritual suffrages, would with the eyes of their heart behold the ruin of the great city Babylon, and that which they shall say after that fall. For doth not the prophet say, “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn for her, because no man shall buy any more their merchandize ; crying, Alas! that great city Babylon, because that in one hour she is become desolate ?”—Then he expounds the second Apocalyptic Beast, with two horns like a lamb, of the Popes with their assumed kingly and priestly power ; speaking like a dragon, and allowing none to sell their spiritual pardons, &c., but such as bore their mark : interprets the Beast's name, with the number 666, to be ovx CLERI ; and concludes with another earnest word of warning from Apoc. xix : “My counsel is, let the buyer be aware of those marks of the Beast! For, after the fall of Babylon, “If any man hath worshipped the Beast and his image, and hath received the mark on his forehead or on his head, he shall drink of the wine of God's wrath, and be tormented with fire and brimstone in the sight of the holy angels and of the Lamb; and the smoke of their torments shall ascend evermore.'”
§ 5. THE ÆRA AND CENTURY OF THE REFORMATION.
At the Reformation the light which had previously gleamed here and there on the subject of Antichrist, but been at length for a while all but extinguished, burst into a blaze ; and the voice of the Waldenses, Wicliffites and Hussites, protesting against the Popes as the Apocalyptic Beast, and Rome as the Apocalyptic Babylon, revived, after a temporary suspension, in power unparalleled. Vain was the authoritative prohibition of writing or preaching on the subject of Antichrist by the 5th Council of Lateran. There was an energy in the impression and the voice, as if derived not from books or earlier traditions, but from the Spirit's own teaching. Alike in Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden, England, it was received as an almost self-evident and fundamental truth by the founders of the several Protestant Churches ; indeed as in itself a sufficient justification of the mighty act of their separation from Rome. But the dif. ficulty remained to adjust and explain certain details of the Apocalyptic prophecies respecting the Beast, Antichrist, and Babylon ; as well as to offer a satisfactory and consistent solution of the many other mysterious visions of this prophetic Book. Nor was the difficulty slight; or one soon, or as yet, to be fully overcome.
1. My illustrations of the history of Apocalyptic interpretation in this æra must commence of course with a brief sketch of the views of the great Father of the Reformation, Luther.-In my Vol. ii. ch. iv3 I have described the time and the manner in which the idea of the Popes being the Antichrist broke upon his mind; and also in the chapter v, next following, 4 how it was primarily from Daniels
1 “ Tempus quoque præfixum futurorum malorum, vel Antichristi adventum, aut certum diem judicii, prædicare vel asserere nequaquam præsumant.” Harduin ix. 1808.— I have already quoted this in my Vol. ii. p. 84.
2 " On this principle" (viz. “ that the Man of Sin, or Antichrist, could be no other than the man that fills the Papal chair'') “ was the Reformation begun and carried on; on this the great separation from the Church of Rome conceived and perfected. For though (mere) persecution for opinion would acquit those of schism whom the Church of Rome had driven from her communion, yet on the principle that she is Antichrist's, they had not only a right, but lay under the obligation of a command, to come out of the spiritual Babylon." Warburton's Works, v. 488. 3 Pp. 116 et seq.
* Pp. 130 et seq.
prophecies respecting the little horn and the abomination of desolation, that he drew this his conclusion. It was also there intimated that in 1522, at the time of concluding his translation of the New Testament, he had come to doubt of the genuineness of the Apocalypse as an Apostolic or inspired Book :1 though it would seem, from a Latin Treatise of his now in my hands, “De Antichristo,” dated by himself at his ending, Wittenberg, April 1, 1521,2 (the very day, I believe, before his setting out for Worms,3 ) that the doubt had not then fixed itself in his mind; for he not only alludes in more than one place to the Apocalypse, as an inspired prophetic book, but interprets the prophecy of the scorpion-locusts in Apoc. ix, in considerable detail. A few years later, viz. in 1528, he is stated to have found and republished an Apocalyptic Commentary, expounding the Beast to mean the Popedom; written some hundred years, 4 or rather, as Pareus shows, some 150 years before his time : 5 an evidence of his inclining then again, as at first, to view the Apocalypse as an inspired Book. Finally, in 1534, he prefixed to the Apocalypse in his great Edition of the German Bible a brief explanatory sketch : from which, and from certain notices found elsewhere in his writings, I may give what follows as mainly his views on the subject.
Like most of his predecessors he judged that the Book must be more or less a prefiguration of the chief events and æras of Church History: the Seals chiefly prefiguring the physical or political evils under which the Church and world connected with it was to suffer, the Trumpets the spiritual ; and either septenary running on from the commencement of the Christian æra to the consummation.—Thus in the Seals, the 1st, or White Horse and Rider, indicated (as Zech. i. 6) the persecutions of tyrants ; the 2nd, or Red Horse, wars and bloodshed; the 3rd, or Black Horse, famine; the 4th, or Pale Horse,
Ib. p. 130 Note! 9 “ Vale in Christo, mi Vincilae ! Vvittenbergæ, Anno M.D. xxi, prima Aprilis." So Merle D'Aubigné.
Such is the general statement. 5 “ The Author disputing on Apoc. xx touching the 1000 years, testifies that he wrote A.D. 1357; which, saith he, is our present date." So Pareus, p. 12, English Translation. Amsterdam, 1644.-It seems from him that it contains the same Prologue which Lyra in his Postill bad noted, and which is prefixed also to Joachim Abbas' Treatise; in which latter it is ascribed to Gilbert of the xiith Century. (Nicholas de Lyra himself died A.D. 1340.)
6 Where not otherwise stated, the interpretation given will be found in Luther's Preface, or Marginal Explanatory Notes, to the Apocalypse in his German Bible.