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Elements of Prophecy, advanced the cause of truth, and shown himself its martel and hammer against what I must beg permission anticipatively to call the reveries of the Futurists : but moreover, by his exquisite description of the City that is to be revealed at Christ's blessed advent, has done much to enlist each hallowed feeling of the heart on the side he advocates; a description such that one might almost
suppose the golden reed to have been given him, with which to delineate it, by the Angel that showed to the beloved disciple the Lamb's bride, the New Jerusalem.—Whether as regards the solution of Apocalyptic enigmas left unsolved by previous interpreters the Author of the present Work has been more successful, it will be for the Reader to consider and judge.'
" I should observe that Mr. Fry, in his Works on the Second Advent and on Unfulfilled Prophecy, has approximated more nearly than any other Expositor I am acquainted with to my explanation of the two first seals : interpreting the first of the prosperity of the Roman Empire from Nerva or Trajan to Commodus, the second to begin with Commodus, and to include the rebellions of the Prætorian Guards and civil wars consequent. In the details however, he differs essentially ; making Trajan the rider of the first horse, Commodus of the second, Septimius Severus of the third : which third seal he explains not at all as I do, but as Mede and Bishop Newton. The important consideration had not crossed his mind, of the representative character of each rider; nor of the significant meaning of the crown, (distinctively from the diadem,) and bow, and sword, and balance, as class-badges designative of office, age, or country. It may be proper to observe, that I was not aware of these his views until after my own first Volume (including the Seals) had been printed.
CRITICAL EXAMINATION AND REFUTATION OF THE
FOUR CHIEF COUNTER-SCHEMES OF APOCALYPTIC INTERPRETATION ; AND ALSO OF DR. ARNOLD's GENERAL PROPHETIC COUNTER-THEORY.
It was stated at the conclusion of my Sketch of the History of Apocalyptic Interpretation, that there are at present two, and but two, grand counter-Schemes to what may be called the general Protestant view of the Apocalypse : that view which regards its prophecy as a prefiguration of the great events that were to happen in the Church and world connected with it, from St. John's time to the consummation ; including specially the establishment of the Popedom, and reign of Papal Rome, as in some way or other the fulfilment of the types of the Apocalyptic Beast and Babylon. The first of these two counter-Schemes is the Præterists', which would have the prophecy stop altogether short of the Popedom; explaining it of the catastrophes, one or both, of the Jewish Nation and Pagan Rome : of which Counter-Schemes there are two variations so considerable as to demand each one a separate and distinct notice. The second the Futurists', which would have it all shoot over the head of the Popedom into times yet future ; and refer simply to the events that are immediately to precede, or to accompany, Christ's second Advent. I shall in this second Article of my Appendix proceed successively to examine these two, or rather three, anti-Protestant counter-Schemes ; and show, if I mistake not, the palpable untenableness alike of the one Scheme and of the other. Which done, it will be my next duty to consider the chief Protestant Apocalyptic Scheme, that runs counter in its grand outline of arrangement to the one given in the Horæ : viz. that which, instead of regarding the seven Trumpets in their natural way as the development of the 7th Seal, just as the seven Vials also of the 7th Trumpet, in continuous evolution of the future, would regard the Seals and the Trumpets as chronologically parallel lines of prophecy, each reaching to the consummation; the 1st unfolding the fortunes of the Church, the 2d of the world. After which an examination of the late Dr. Arnold's general prophetic theory will complete our review of counter-prophetic Schemes, and fitly close the whole.
With regard to the Præterist Scheme, on the review of which under its two chief and most accredited forms we are now first about to enter, it may be remembered that I stated it to have had its origin with the Jesuit Alcasar ;' that it was subsequently with variations adopted and improved (after Grotius and Hammond) by Bossuet, the great champion of the Romanists; then afterwards by Hernnschneider, Eichhorn, and others of the German critical and generally infidel school of the last half-century, with their several variations ;? finally, still with new points of difference, by Professor Moses Stuart of the United States of America. In some way or other all these explain the prophecy, so as I just before observed, to have reference to the catastrophes of the Jewish nation and Pagan Rome. But some advocate a more definite plan of historic explication, within these historic limits; others a less definite. Some contract the Jewish part of the Scheme, so as only to embrace the last Jewish wars, waged after Domitian's time by Trajan and Adrian ; others insist chiefly on Titus' previous destruction of Jerusalem. Again, in regard of heathen Rome's part in it, some conceive the prophecy to embrace the whole 400 years of Roman imperial history, from Domitian to Rome's completed destruction by the Goths; others contract it mainly within the times of Nero, Vespasian, and Titus.—I shall pretty well exhaust whatever can be thought to call for examination in the system, by considering separately, first Bossuets or the Roman Catholic most favorite form of the Præterist Scheme; then the favorite German form of the Scheme; as propounded by Eichhorn, Hug, and Moses Stuart.
See p. 456 suprà.
2 See Ibid. pp. 480, 481.
* Ib. p. 485.
§ 1. EXAMINATION OF BOSSUET's, OR CHIEP ROMAN CATHOLIC
PRÆTERIST APOCALYPTIC SCHEME.
And here at the outset Bossuet's vague generalizing views of the five first Seals meet us ; as if really little more than the preliminary introduction on the scene of the chief dramatis persona, or agents, afterwards to appear in action ; viz. Christ the conqueror, War, Famine, Pestilence, and Christian Martyrs : followed in the 6th by a preliminary representation, still as general, of the impending double, or rather treble catastrophe, that would involve Christ's enemies ; whether Jews, Romans, or those that would be destroyed at the last day. A view this that even Bossuet's most ardent disciples will, I am sure, admit to be one not worth detaining us even a moment: seeing that, from its professedly generalizing character, the whole figuration might just as well be explained by Protestants with reference to the overthrow of one kind of enemy, as by Romanists of another.—Nor indeed is there anything more distinctive in his Trumpets : with which, however, he tells us, there is to begin the particular development of events. For, having settled that the Israelitish Tribes mentioned in Apoc. vii, mean the Jews literally, and so furnish indication that they are parties concerned in what follows in the figurations, (though the Temple, all the while prominent in vision, is both in the 5th Seal before, and in the figuration of the Witnesses' afterwards, construed by Bossuet, not of the literal Jewish Temple, but of the Christian Church,) he coops up these Jews and all that is to be developed respecting them, within the four first Trumpets ;—the hail. storm of Trumpet 1 being Trajan's victory over them; the burning mountain of Trumpet 2, Adrian's victories : (why the one or the other, or the one more than the other, does not appear :) the falling star of Trumpet 3 figuring their false prophet Barchochebas, “ Son of a Star,” who stirred up the Jews to war ; of course however before the war with Adrian, signified in the preceding vision, not after it: and the obscuration of the third part of sun, moon, and stars, in Trumpet 4, indicating not any national catastrophe or extinction, but
See generally, in illustration of the ensuing Criticism, my sketch of Bossuet's Apocalyptic Interpretation, beginning p. 458 suprà.
the partial obscuration of the scriptural light before enjoyed by the Jews, through Akiba's Rabbinic School then instituted, and the publication of the Talmud. As if forsooth the light of Scripture had shone full upon them previously: and not been long before quenched by their own unbelief; even as St. Paul tells us that the veil was upon their hearts. Did Bossuet really believe in the absurdity that he has thus given us for an Apocalyptic explanation ?-In concluding however at this point with the Jews, and turning to Rome Pagan as the subject of the following symbolizations, he acts at any rate as a reasonable man ; giving this very sufficient reason for the transition, that they who were to suffer under the plagues of the 5th and 6th Trumpets are marked in Apoc. ix. 20 as idol-worshippers, which certainly the Jews were not. A palpable distinctive this which, but for stubborn fact contradicting our supposition, one might surely have supposed that no interpreter of the same, or of any other Apocalyptic School, would have had the hardihood even to attempt to set aside.
So, passing now to the heathen Romans, with reference to their history in the times following on Barchochebas and the Talmud, the scorpion-locusts of Trumpet 5 are made by our Expositor to mean poisonous Judaizing heresies which then infected the Christian Church : (“ Was it not a piece of waggery” in Bossuet, exclaims Moses Stuart, so to explain it ?) Trumpet 6, somewhat better, the loosing of the Euphratean Persians under Sapor, that defeated and took prisoner the Emperor Valerian ; though it is to be remarked that Valerian was the aggressor in the war, not Sapor, and his defeat in Mesopotamia, some way beyond the Euphrates.-All which of course offers no more pretensions to real evidence than what went before : indeed its total want of any thing like even the semblance of evidence makes it wearisome to notice it. Yet it is by no means unimportant with reference to the point in hand; for it shows even to demonstration the utter impossibility of making anything of the Seals and Trumpets on Bossuet's Scheme. Let us then hasten to what both he and his disciples consider to constitute the real strength of his Apocalyptic Exposition : viz. his interpretation of the Beast from the abyss, with its seven heads and ten horns, and of the Woman
See my notice of this point, in the critical examination of the German Præterists under the next head.
• Vol. i. p. 467.