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sole Emperor, i.e. Emperor of the West as well as East, one of his first measures, A.D. 392, was to forbid the worship of idols on pain of death. At Rome, however, by a certain tacit license, or connivance, heathen worship was still in a measure permitted : until in 394 himself visiting Rome, and finding a reluctance to abolish what remained of Pagan rites on the part of many
of the senators, Theodosius withdrew the public funds by which they had been supported. On this the old Pagan worship was discontinued : 2 and, the Pagan temples having in many places soon after been destroyed by the zeal of Christians, the very fact of Pagan worship having been discontinued was given by Honorius, the Western Emperor, as a reason for not destroying the temple fabrics.3_Such was the state of things when Alaric first invaded Italy: and it was only in 409, after he had begun the siege of Rome, and God's judgment began to be felt, that the Pagan faction or sect, spoken of by Sismondi, stirring itself up : and, raising the cry that the calamity came in consequence of the Gods of old Rome having been neglected,' prevailed on the authorities, including Pope Innocent himself, to sacrifice to them in the Capitol and other temples. But this was a comparatively solitary act. As the judgment of the Gothic desolations went on, it was only in secret that the worship of the heathen Gods was kept up; and this in reference to such more trivial
So Gieseler, Vol. i. p. 187 ; to whom I beg generally to refer the reader on this subject.
2 So Zosimus ν. 38: Την δημοσιας δαπανην τους ξερους χορηγειν αρνησαμενος, απήλαυνοντο μεν ξερεις και ξερειαι, κατελιμπανετο δε πασης ξερεργιας τα τεμενη.
Prudentius says as to the number of the Pagans, that they were about the year 406, ten years after Theodosius' death, “ vix pauca ingenia, et pars hominum rarissima." Compare Baronius' statement of the effect of Theodosius' Anti-Pagan edicts and acts, as quoted already by me Vol. iii. p. 111, Note. “ Idololatriam, ut percussum multis ictibus anguem, caput rursus extollentem penitus extinguendam curavit Theodosius.”
3 “ Ut profanos ritus salubri lege submovimus, ita festos conventus non patimur submoveri : ” and again ; “Ædes, illicitis rebus vacuas, nostrarum beneficio sanctionum, ne quis conetur evertere."
4 So Zosimus iv. 59 : Το θυηπολικου θεσμου ληξαντος, και των αλλων δσα της πατριου παραδοσεως ην εν αμελεια κειμενων, η Ρωμαιων επικρατεια βαρβαρων OIKYTOpov yeyove. So too Augustine in his C. D. v. 23.
5 Αναγκαιον εδοκει τους ελληνιξουσι της Συγκλητου θυειν εν τφ Καπιτωλιφ και τοις άλλοις ναοις· ο δε Ιννοκέντιος, την της πολεως σωτηριαν εμπροσθεν της οικείας ποιησαμενος δοξης, λαθρα εφηκεν αυτοις ποιειν άπερ ισασι. Ib. v. 14. Where mark the exX VIGOVtes, as characterizing those of the Senators who were most bent on sacrificing to the ancient gods; and the eonkey, as marking the Pope's authority even at that time in Rome. His consent was needed, asked for, and indeed given. VOL. IV.
Pagan rites, as taking auguries. The dominant religion, that which was alone legalized in Rome, as well as elsewhere throughout the empire, and whose worship was alone celebrated openly and with pomp, was the Christian religion with the Pope at its head. Insomuch that in 450, just at the epoch of Genseric and Attila, Pope Leo, in an address to the people of Rome on St. Peter and St. Paul's day, thus characterized Rome and the Roman people :—These are they that have advanced you to the glory of being a holy nation, a chosen people, a priestly and royal city : so as that thou shouldest be, through the seat of Peter, the head of the world ; and with wider rule through religion than by mere earthly domination,”?
Was it then Rome Pagan, or Rome incipiently Papal, that was the subject of Alaric's first attack, and of the subsequent ravages of Genseric, Odoacer, and Totilas ?3 I think the reader will agree with me that Pope Leo himself has pretty well settled that question; and therewith given the coup de grace to Bossuet’s and Miley's Roman Catholic Version of the Præterist Apocalyptic Scheme.4
So Salvian, A. D. 440: “ Nunc quid non consulibus et pulii gentilium sacrilegiorum more pascuntur; et volantis pennæ auguria quæruntur ? "
9 " Isti sunt qui te ad hanc gloriam provexerunt; ut gens sancta, populus electus, civitas sacerdotalis et regia, per sacram beati Petri sedem caput orbis effecta, latius præsideres religione divinâ quàm dominatione terrena." I have quoted this elsewhere ; Vol. iii. p. 129.
3 Were the continuance of certain old Pagan rites and customs by the Roman populace an evidence of Rome's Paganism, Mr. Miley must date its Christianization far later than the times of the Goths, or of Pope Gregory. In A.D. 743 we find Boniface writing to the Pope Zachary, (see Maitland's Dark Ages, p. 155,) that reports were brought from Rome of heathenish customs celebrated in Rome hard by the Church of St. Peter ; and that, seeing these things performed at Rome, he could not persuade the Germans or Franks that they were sins, or without ecclesiastical sane tion. Zachary acknowledges in his Reply, that “through the Devil's instigation these evils had indeed ever and anon sprouted afresh.”
4 Professor Lee is very much of the Apocalyptic school of Bossuet ; or, as he would doubtless prefer to say, Hammond. It may seem due to him, before quitting this head of the Præterist Section, distinctly to sketch his view: which however needs but to be done very briefly ; on account both of its general vagueness, and of its general similarity to Bossuet's. The refutation of Bossuet is in fact the refutation of Professor Lee.
The general subject then, according to him, is Christ's coming, as predicted Matt. xxiv. &c.: i.e. his coming to destroy both the Jewish Polity and the heathen power, and so to establish his kingdom on earth ; which is the restitution of all things, spoken of by Peter, Acts iii. 21.
The five first Seals depict the Apostolic warriors, wars, famines, pestilences, and martyrdoms, all“ of these times;" (Professor Lee's perpetually repeated phrase :) i.e.
§ 2. EXAMINATION OF THE GERMAN
The reader has already been made acquainted with the main common features of this German form of the Præterist Apocalyptic Scheme. Differing on points of detail, (yet with the exception that Hartwig, Herder, and Zullig pretty much confine themselves to the Jewish catastrophe, and Ewald, Bleek, and De Wette to that of heathen Rome) it may generally be described as embracing both catastrophes : the fall of Judaism being signified under that of Jerusalem, the fall of Heathenism under that of Rome; the one as drawn out in Symbol from Apoc. vi to xi inclusive, the other from Apoc. xii " during the first ages of the Church," from Nero to Diocletian :-the 6th the “beginning of sorrows,” and “ fall of kings and great powers,” &c; but what precisely, is not said. — Then the Sealing and Palm-bearing Visions, depicting a limited number of Jews, and unlimited number of Gentiles, gathered in to the Church and its privileges, shows that the Gospel of the kingdom had at the time figured been preached to all nations; and thus that the end might come.
Of the Trumpets the two first, he proceeds to observe, depict certain judgments " in these times ;” the third, that of the falling star, “ undoubtedly the fall of heathen Rome :” the darkening of the sun in the 4th Trumpet some visitation “in these times;" the locusts of Trumpet 5 undoubtedly the Roman power, and its destiny to plague men for five months, i. e. an indefinite time; also the four Angels loosed of Trumpet 6, Daniel's four Beasts or Empires loosed from the great sea. (Surely there is almost a contempt for all order and chronology manifested in these explanations.)
And so comes the Vision of the two Witnesses, explained to be the Law and the Gospel : slain (as Bossuet also, we have seen, interprets it) by the Beast Diocletian; revived under Constantine.-Further, in Apoc. xii the figured war of the Dragon against the woman having signified Satan's ineffective earlier attempts against Christ and Christianity, Apoc. xiii exhibits his instrument the Beast, or heathen Roman Empire, arrayed against them : the five fallen out of his seven heads, being the chief Roman persecutors after Nero, (which Nero was the precursor of Antichrist meant by Paul, and had been previously taken out of the way,) viz. Domitian, Decius, Valerian, Aurelian, Diocletian: after whom followed Maximian and Galerius, making up the seven bestial heads; then Maximin, as the eighth ; who was also “ of the seven," as being appointed by one of the former, viz.. Galerius! The ten kings are explained (just as by Bossuet) of the Gothic kings, first Rome's allies, then Rome's destroyers : the woman riding the Beast being “ heathen Rome beyond all possible doubt;" and the two-horned Beast, or False Prophet, the heathen priesthood.
As to the first resurrection, it means a spiritual one, during the maliyyevegia (Matt. xix. 28) of the first preaching of the Gospel; and the New Jerusalem is the Christian Church on earth, depicted in its beauty and privileges.
Such is, in brief, Professor Lee's Apocalyptic Scheme ; and, I must say, it makes me much marvel that such a man should have written such a Comment ! See p. 480—484 suprà.
: So M. Stuart, i. 161.
to xix. Whereupon comes thirdly in Apoc. xx a figuration of the triumph of Christianity. So Wetstein, Hernnschneider, Eichhorn, Hug, &c. in Germany; M. Stuart in America, and in England Dr. Davidson.
In regard to which School, let me first advert for a moment to what I have indeed already much earlier remarked on, the singular dogmatism by which it is too much characterized. Instead of discussing and disproving the strongest, or at least the essential points of other interpretative systems, the law is almost à priori laid down that they are all totally wrong, and the Præterist Scheme alone conformable to the discoveries and requirements of “modern eregesis :"3—a dogmatism the more remarkable, when exhibited by a man of calm temperament and unimpassioned style, like Professor Stuart.4 On certain weaker minds it is likely that this may be
1 Eichhorn makes his Judaic division of the Apocalypse to extend into Apoc. xü; and the Roman division only to begin with the Dragon's going to persecute the remnant of the woman's children, Apoc. xii. 18.
? Viz. in my Preface, p. IX. 3 A favorite phrase, and almost argument, with many of this class of interpreters.
* i. e. in the body of his work. His Preface is in the undogmatic style that one might expect from such a man as Professor Stuart. Elsewhere however, not only does he dogmatically pass sentence of condemnation on Expositions of the usual Protestant view, (e. g. i. 161, “It is time, high time, for principle to take the place of fancy, for exegetical proof to thrust out assumption,") but even warms into such a burst as the following :-" In the name of all that is pertinent and congruous in prophecy, what has a history of civil commotions and literal famines, &c. to do with the object John had before him? Are we to suppose him in a state of hallucination when he wrote the Apocalypse ? Away with all such surmises : and away too with all the expositions that are built upon them!" i. 208, 209.
In Dr. Davidson, with whom of English expounders of the system I am best acquainted, the characteristic can scarcely fail to strike his readers. So, when speaking of myself and the Horæ, among other Protestant Expositors, in the Eclectic Review for December 1844, p. 644; “ As an exposition of the Apocalypse it is a total failure ; it is essentially and fundamentally erroneous." A sentence this repeated at the conclusion of his Article on the“ Revelation" in Kitto's Cyclopædia : yet without the slightest attempt at encountering the evidence and arguments in the Hore; to which however he will now find himself called, in my Preface to this Edition, p. xix.
-So again of Protestant Expositors generally, in the same Review, p. 649 : “ That the Revelation exhibits a prophetic view of the Church from the close of the Apostolic age to the end of time, is a position that can never be rendered probable. All who have attempted to expound it on this principle have totally failed.” (Also Kitto p. 623, &c.) And on his own, or German view, ibid. 644; “The recent German works on the Apocalypse have served to point out the true path of interpretation;" and p. 648 ; “ For the right interpretation of the mystical number 666, or 616, see Ewald's Commentary.” Again in the Article in Kitto, this German Præterist Scheme is given in considerable detail, not as a suggested interpretation, but authoritatively, and ex cathedrâ, as beyond a doubt the true interpretation.
imposing. But to others the question is sure to arise, What the grounds of this strange presumptuousness of tone? What the new and overpowering evidence in favor of the modern Præterists? What the discovery of such unthought-of-coincidence between the prophecy on the one hand, and certain facts of their chosen Neronic æra on the other, as to settle the Apocalyptic controversy in their favour at once and for ever? And then the surprise is increased by finding that not only has no such discovery been made, not only no such discovery been even pretended to, but that in fact they put it forward as the very boast of the Præterist system, that coincidences exact and particular are not to be sought or thought of: that the three main ideas about the three cities, or three antagonist religions represented by them, so as above mentioned, are pretty much all that there is of fact to be unfolded : and that, with certain exceptions, (of which exceptions more presently,) all else is to be regarded as but the poetic drapery and ornament. —Now in German rationalists, like Eichhorn and so many others, men professedly disbelieving the inspiration of the writer of the Apocalypse, all this quite natural and consistent. For he wrote, they take for granted, as a mere dramatist and poet ; whether at the time of the Neronic persecution, or in Domitian's reign thirty years later, matters not : seeing that in either case he is supposed to have thrown himself in spirit into Nero's times; and introduced into his drama, with all a true poet's skill and effect, the thoughts, hopes, and anticipations, especially of the Christian mind, then known to have been prevailing. As to details, what the limit ever assigned to a poeť s fancy, except as his own taste or critical judg
"So Stuart, i. 179:-“ Substantial facts lie at the basis of the Apocalypse. But what the drapery or costume ? All symbol is of course drapery. It is the thing signified which is the person ; the way and manner of signifying it is merely the fashion of the costume.” Then atop. 200 he proceeds to state, with reference to the Apocalypse as “ a book of poetry,” “ that Oriental Poetry, especially the Hebrew, follows out the detail of symbol and allegory, to give vivacity to a representation, much beyond what we do in the Western world : " and, at p. 203, reprobates those who “seek for historical events and facts, in remote ages, as the fulfilment of these so-called predictions." For “ what defence can be made for converting episode into the main body of the work ; or symbols of assurance that the Beast shall be overcome, into pictures of veritable historical events ?"--Similarly Dr. Davidson in Kitto, p. 627, adopts Hug's remark :
“ The particular traits and images in the Apocalypse are by no means all significant : many being introduced only to enliven the representation, and for the purpose of ornament.”