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a half into more than ten centuries. But without such a theory, the inconsistency of the interpretation is still more manifest Neither can we accept the dislocation, which Dr. Wordsworth attempts to introduce at the beginning of the 20th chapter, but of which the original presents no kind of trace. Even if the vision of S. John be not a continuous vision, yet the reference to the preceding chapter (chap. xx. 10) shows that in this place, at all events, we are not meant to make a new commencement. We agree with Dr. Wordsworth, indeed, in supposing that 1,000 years represent an indefinite period; and we see little to surprise ns in the fact, that those who lived about the time of the fall of the Roman empire, should suppose it to express the whole period from the establishment of the Church to the end of the world. There is a sense in which this is true; for in one sense, the Church might be said to be established from the time of Our Lord, though its final establishment 'on the top of the hills,' dates some three centuries later. And now that we can discern the course of events, and see that the heathen form of the fourth monarchy finally ended with Constantino, we can see an importance in this final establishment of the Church, which could hardly be assigned to it by its contemporaries.
We have contented ourselves with sketching the general outline of the Antipagan system, recommending those who wish to study it, to acquaint themselves with the works of Hengstenberg and Stuart, without neglecting the help which can he gained from Hammond and Grotius, and even from Bossuet. Into the details of the prophecy we cannot enter; but we must observe in general, that the Antipagan system of interpretation has this one great advantage over its rival, that it does not rest upon mere conjecture. Its leading principle is, that the beast from the sea is the fourth empire, and that the harlot rider is the city of Borne. Now, these interpretations were imparted by their angel guides, the one to Daniel, the other to S. John. The beast from the sea displays those wellknown characteristics, which show it to be the continuation of Daniel's vision, and is thereby recognised as 'the fourth kingdom upon earth.' The harlot is declared to S. John to he 'that great city which ruleth over the kings of the earth.' These two facts supply the basis of the Antipagan interpretation. Its advocates have no doubt ventured upon a minuteness which they had better have avoided; and have undertaken to explain what enemy, or what danger is expressed by each symbol; instead of contenting themselves with those general outlines, of which they have an authorized interpretation. Our own conviction is, that very much which the Antipapal, and even the Antipagan interpreters undertake to explain, is only scenery, and designed to prepare the way for those parts of the
vision which arc interpreted by authority. In the series, for example, of the seven trumpets, and in that of the seven vials, we think with Ziillig, that the first four in each case are only preliminary, expressing that fourfold action which issues in each case in the three last plagues. But to enter on this subject would require not a review, but a commentary. We will end, therefore, by saying a few words on that which seems to interest all readers of this mysterious book,—its relation to our present circumstances.
We agree, then, with Hengstenberg (vol. ii. p. 367), who considers that we are approaching, or have approached, that termination of the thousand years, which is to witness the escape of Satan. We have passed through that long period, when the authority of the Church, as a power in this world, gave it that ruling place, which was possessed in their turn by the four great empires. As this period began with the era of the martyrs, and was marked by the circumstance, that those who had been slain by the Roman sword took their place as 'priests of God and of Christ,' who were to ' reign with Him' during ihe long period of the Church's grandeur; so we seem to be approaching, or to have approached, a time when an insurrection is predicted in ' the four quarters of the earth' against her authority. Gog and Magog are used in the Hebrew prophets for the Scythian tribes of the North, whatever those may be intended to designate.
. But there is a further circumstance to observe, namely, that twice in this book is there mention of the emergence of the .Beast from.the abyss (xi. 7, xvii. 8); and that it is by this Beast from the abyss that the witnesses are said to be slaughtered. ;Now the Hebrew system of the universe included four regions-; heaven, earth, sea, and abyss; and the earlier part of the vision -.has exhibited the antagonism of Satan to Christ in the first three of these regions, but nothing has been said of his assaults from the fourth. For Satan first appears as the opponent of Christ in heaven, when he endeavours to frustrate the incar, nation in its commencement, perhaps by the instrumentality of Herod. Other and more mysterious circumstances may also be referred to: but it seems clear that this first attempt refers in some manner to the direct opposition to Our Lord's coming in the flesh. (Rev. xii. 1—5.) This attempt being frustrated, the opposition of Satan is transferred to the regions of the sea and the earth. 'Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea: for the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time.' (xii. 12.) And now then commences that series of persecutions which is brought about by Satan, through the imperial power of pagan Rome,—the Beast from the Sea,—and through the agency of
No. i.xxxn.—N.S. E E
the 'False Prophet' of persecuting pagan philosophy. The first is already wounded by the power of the cross, whereby it is finally to be destroyed. Its final overthrow is set forth in the fall and ruin of the mystical Babylon. This is described in terms derived partly from the overthrow of the city of Rome by the barbarian tribes, and partly from that irremediable destruction of the power of heathenism, which so nearly synchronized with it. That the city of Home should rise anew from its ashes, under the patronage of the Christian Church, is no real difficulty, considering that it is in truth a new city; and moreover that Babylon continued to exist for centuries, and was the seat of a flourishing Jewish synagogue, after that overthrow by Cyrus which had been described by the prophets. la these cases it was the fall from power, and not the absolute annihilation of the place, which was contemplated. And if this was not fully understood by the contemporary Fathers, it must be remembered that they could not as yet be sure that the overthrow of Borne by Attila would be the final close of its imperial greatness; though, indeed, the Scriptural statements respecting the fall of Babylon were applied to this event by various writers. It is sufficient to refer to S. Jerome's Commentary on Ezekiel, and to his 97th and 98th letters, or to the statements of S. Augustin in his 'De Civitate Dei,' and his • Retractationes,' as showing that they looked upon that which had already taken place, as the destruction of Borne. 'So
* interesting a contrast of greatness and ruin,' says Gibbon, 'disposed the fond credulity of the people to deplore, and even 'to exaggerate the afflictions of the queen of cities. The clergy,
* who applied to recent events the lofty metaphors of oriental
* prophecy, were sometimes tempted to confound the destruction
* of the capital and the dissolution of the globe.'
We have seen, then, in what way Satan opposed Christ, in those first three regions in which his power was severally exerted. But what is to be the nature of that opposition which is to arise from the fourth region—the abyss? The Beast, it seems, is to emerge from the abyss, as the enemy of the Church of God, as he has done from the sea. And when does the vision teach us to expect this, but when Satan, who has been cast into the abyss, is released from it? As the Beast rose from the sea, when Satan came down upon it, so may he be expected to rise out of the abyss when Satan comes out of it. So that this first opposition to the Church of God, for which Gog and Magog are to collect their hosts, implies the rising of a Beast from the abyss, in whom the old Pagan principle of antipathy to the Christian Church is to be repeated. The ascendancy which the Church has possessed since the era of Constantine, and the position which it has occupied in relation to the worldly power, is to give place again to some such state of things as prevailed previously to the destruction of the Pagan empire. As it was a principle of Paganism that the civil power was in every case to prescribe the national religion—as her opposition to this was the exact ground on which ancient Rome persecuted the Church, so may we expect something like a revival of this principle—a new attempt on the part of the worldly power to become the legislator in things sacred. For it was the very rule of heathenism in its opposition to the Church, that religion did not depend on any supernatural law, but was a part of that public policy which had its sanction in the will of nations; so that the heathen principle would be restored whensoever the law of grace was superseded, either in practice or theory, by the law of nature. Such, of course, must be the case wherever princes are allowed to decide questions of doctrine, or where the test of religious truth is sought for in the common sense of mankind.
If the slaughter of the witnesses, then, be indeed future, it must be in opposing some attempt of this kind that they will incur the enmity of the Beast, and for their opposition to it will they be called upon to suffer. Whether they are to be personal leaders of the Church, or whether they are merely an expression of the fact, that the Church, as personified in Zechariah's prophecy, was shadowed forth by the olive-trees which grew on each side of the altar—in any case they are to make head against the Beast, and to testify by prophecy and miracle. And this Beast is not, as many have represented, the Beast from the sea, but the Beast from the abyss—the revived form of the worldly power, subsequently to the thousand years of the Church's greatness. Nor is it to be overlooked, as S. Hippoly tus has observed, that the Beast reappears without his crowns, as though, in this last stage, he would rather express the violence of popular rage than the prescriptive sanctity of monarchical supremacy.
Such is the general outline which Revelation exhibits of the dark forms of the future. It is not our business to interpret the vision, or to apply it to that which may seem probable and imminent; this is a matter which we leave to the judgment of our readers. If there are any who think that the world and the Church are parting company, that the former is not indisposed to exact conditions which the latter cannot accept, that relations which have existed for ten centuries can exist no more, and that Erastianism is only a modified Gentilism, they will be disposed to look to prophecy with interest; nor will they altogether despise the labours of those who, in the words of the great Christian poet—
are thronging round to gaze
On the dread vision of the latter days.'
Art. VI.—History of England and France, under the House of Lancaster. With an Introductory View of the Early Reformation. London: Murray. 1852.1
Having briefly noticed, in a former number, that part of this interesting book which relates to secular matters, we proceed, according to the intention which we then expressed, to the consideration of the opinions herein contained respecting the Early Reformation. And if we are not able in these points always to coincide with the author, we must, nevertheless, give him credit for impartiality and research, and for a statesmanlike view of the events of which he treats. We think it sufficiently apparent that such is the character in which he writes; and that he regards these events rather as a statesman than as a divine.
There are three principal subjects contained in the brief sketch before us of the Early Reformation: the character and opinions of Wycliffe, the conduct of his followers, and the history of Lord Cobham. In examining what is said on each of these points, we shall now have the opportunity of comparing the opinions of our author with those of another writer of much celebrity. We do not pretend here to review the fifth volume of M. Merle dAubigue's History, but we shall avail ourselves pf the appearance of the book, in order to glance at what he also says on these particular points. And if we should succeed in showing that the character of the great movement under Wycliffe has been in some degree misunderstood, it may afford us an opportunity to draw some conclusions having reference to our own times.
It has been usual to represent this Reformer as a man of intemperate zeal,—more of a Dissenter than a Churchman, the violence of whose opinions is rather to be excused than justified, and whose career was like that of a meteor, to clear the air of noxious vapours, rather than of the sun to enlighten with its rays. Adopting the violent invectives of Walsingham, Collier has written of him as a man with whom we ought to have no sympathy, and only wonders that he did not quit the Church. And the present writer, in comparing his character with that of Luther, thus expresses himself:—
1 Errata informer article, vol. xxv. p. 446, Hue 11 -.—for ' if the parliament is said to have chosen,' read 'if the parliament had chosen;' and 1.12, for • had already,' read ' is said to have already.'