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BIBLICUS ON PROPHECY.
sistency be the subject of discovery, hereafter.” This most effectually seeing they are already matter of precludes the seals from being justhistory.* To this we add, that the ly interpreted to refer to the past; summary introduction of this pro- since they are the first series of phecy, contained in the three first events exhibited to his view after verses, specifies only the things that book is opened, the contents of that he saw;" (that is, as we ap- which he is called up to witness. prehend, the whole series of visions Another principal feature is, that and symbols, signified” to John, be considers the whole work to have including perhaps the existing state a relation to the redeemed Church. of the seven churches of Asia ;) and The first place in which he beholds these are stated to have respect to them is “ the sea of glass like unto " things which must shortly come chrystal.” Rev. iv, 6. Having preto pass,” and the time of which was viously given his interpretation of " at hand,”—both which expressions the various precious stones mentionhave an evident reference to the ed in the Apocalypse, and their diffuture.
ferent colors; he observes upon the A careful consideration of the words—“ He that sat on the throne original text of verse 19 will pro- was like a jasper and a sardine duce a sense entirely in harmony stone "_" that the clear and transwith these first three verses ; Ipafov parent jasper is a symbol of holi& ειδες, και α εισι και ο μελλει γινεσ- ness, as may be gathered from the θαι μετα ταυτα. The first kai may
declaration, “ that the light of the in its position above be legitimately holy Jerusalem is like unto a stone translated both; and when the “ most precious, even like a jasper change from the second to the third “ stone clear as chrystal ;” its first person is considered in the verbs * foundation also being ‘jasper;' for ειδες, εισι and μελλει (“ the things
"" without holiness no man shall which thou hast seen, and then see the Lord.” ”f He then in page
things which are," &c.) the con- 9 goes on to shew, that in prophestruction seems to require such a ren- tical language the sea is put for the dering. It will thus read literally: earth, (or rather for the people of it ;) “ Write what thou hast seen—both which he proves from Daniel, who the things which are, and the things sees four beasts come up out of the which are about to be after these sea, and is told that they are four things.” But according to the view kingdoms which should arise out of taken by Biblicus, Faber and others, the earth ; and he therefore conthe words should be “ Write the cludes (if we understand him) that things which have been (not the “ the sea of glass like unto chrystal" things which thou hast seen) and is a symbol of the saints of God, the the things which are, and the things redeemed and holy nation.s which shall be hereafter.”
He next proceeds to trace a reFurther, the Apostle when called semblance between the four beasts up to witness the more elaborate described in this chapter and those and important features of the vision seen by Daniel; and he endeavours receives this invitation at chapter to identify them as the same, only iv, 1; “ Come up hither, and I will with this remarkable difference as shew thee things which must be to their signification : that whereas
* Critical Examination of Faber. p. 151. * Rev. xxi, 19. I Dan. vii, 3, 17. $ For the general argument and references by which this is supported, see pp. 7-11.
the beasts of Daniel represent the opening of the first four seals Bibliwhole human race in the time state
cus supposes to signify-not the of the world ; in the Revelation they four empires themselves, but the symbolize the redeemed only from great period of time in which they among the four great divisions of existed, the fleetness of the animal mankind, or empires : to which em- being significant of the swiftness of pires he supposes allusion is made time; and consequently that under when mention is made of the third the first seal is set forth the gatherpart or the fourth part of the earth, ing of the elect from the beginning &c. ; these expressions meaning the of creation down to the completion third or fourth empires. We do not of the Assyrian empire. The white question his interpretation of this color of the horse is emblematical of symbol as representing the Church ; the holiness of the world when time but his endeavour to identify them began; for the Author would have with those in Daniel appears strained. the horse refer to that period as it
The four and twenty elders, in first came forth : " The color of the common with most expositors, he horse (he says) might afterwards be conceives to be a representation of soiled; the complexion of the time the Church; but he brings forward might be changed ; but the horse another novelty in his view of the and the time would be the same. seven-sealed book, which he consi- We cannot at all concur with ders to be “ the book of life," having such an interpretation as this. Conwithin it the names of the redeemed, sidering that within the period stated and on the outside the name of the - all flesh had corrupted his way REDEEMER; whilst the living crea- upon the earth”+ to such a degree as tures and the elders burst forth, on to provoke the Lord to destroy the opening of the Book, into a every living thing, the inmates of song of praise for redemption The the ark excepted to consider this, seven seals of the book are supposed and yet to say, that though the holy by Biblicus to intend seven divisions character of the times had become into which the Church or body* of soiled or changed in complexion, the redeemed is classed, analogous they continued virtually the same, to the seven parts specified in Dan- (for that is the plain inference from iels image ; (viz.--the head, breast, the Authors words) appears repugarms, belly, thighs, legs and feet;) nant to Scripture and to common and he further considers the seven small churches of Asia to be sym- The riders are expounded by bolical of the same whole church in Biblicus to represent " the principal its seven parts. As an illustration
As an illustration events, or rather the spirits which of a part being sometimes referred worked those events;" and he makes to as thus representing the whole, the rider on the white horse with he instances 1 Cor. xii, 27, in which a bow and crown a symbol of the the Apostle declares of the Corin- great destroyer-death, who “ passthian converts, that they are " the ed upon all men for that all have body of Christ." (Pp. 16-22.) sinned.' But however true it may
He proceeds next to consider the be that “ death reigned" from the progressive gathering of the redeem- time of Adam ; yet according to ed as seven churches. The four our notions there is an entire want horses which issue forth at the of attention to the propriety and
consistency to be observed in sym- his first starting—" that the evibols, thus to make the white horse 'dence of doubtful histories is entirean emblem of holiness, and its ly inadmissible in the interpretation crowned rider, an emblem of corrup- of spiritual things." It is true tion or death.
Biblicus has not defined what he The second period symbolized by means by " doubtful histories," and the red horse, and the rider that had we may do him injustice by assuming power“to take peace from the earth, that he means all profane history : and that they should kill one another, but where, we would ask, is the &c," he identifies with the command commentator of any repute who does to Daniel's second beast—"Arise, refer to profane history at all, except devour much flesh;' and he refers when the silence of the inspired it to the massacres and wars of the historians concerning the events of second empire. But though this 'the period treated of renders such interpretation might stand good reference necessary ?"
It must were the comparison only between likewise be noticed, that Biblicus enthe periods included within the ac- deavours further to justify his views tual duration of the Babylonish and by a distinction between proving the Persian empires, it again violates correctness of his interpretation in Scripture history (which our Author so doing, and applying it: but his will admit is not "doubtful history'') reference to history is not an appliwhen he would contrast it with the cation of his view, but an illustraperiod from Adam to the rise of the tion, which is a species of proof. Medo-Persian empire : for besides Death on the pale horse and Hades being assured, that all flesh had he applies to the fourth division of corrupted his way before the flood, the Church ; but limits it to the periwe are informed that “ the earth was od of the crucifixion, and not to the filled with violence :" in which case whole period of the Roman empire, the characteristic of war and massa- which in consistency it ought to be ; cres is no longer peculiar to this whilst the remaining period between second division of time.
the first and second advent is diBiblicus follows Mr. Cuninghame vided between the fifth and sixth in his exposition of the colors of church states. We forbear however the first three horses, making the to enter into particulars, conceiving black of the third horse a denotation that the specimen we have given is of the spiritual darkness and igno- sufficient to exhibit the plan of the rance which he ascribes to the third interpretation. or Grecian empire. We only men- The latter part of the book is tion this third period for the purpose taken up with the consideration of of observing, that in order to make the seventh state of the Church, or good his interpretation, Biblicus its deliverance from the earth immehimself here turns aside to profane diately after the advent. In this authors; alleging that we must portion of the work Biblicus is far refer to others than the inspired more happy in the treatment of his historians, because their silence subject; and though we do not concerning the events of this period agree in the application of the par
renders such reference necessary. ticular portion of the Apocalypse But this we consider a complete de- which he makes the ground of his parture from the principle which he remarks, yet there are many things lays down, by which to be guided, at which are worthy of perusal. We
add a short extract or two by way after; for it is to be observed, that His of specimen. Speaking of the doc- coming, not the period of his stay when trine of the second advent he says:
come, is the subject of the prophecy. So
again, in the vision of the prophet Daniel, " No blindness of the christian Church
it was foretold that a great empire, the has been, or is more wonderful, than that
fourth of the whole earth, should arise, which has produced an apathy upon this and its peculiar characteristics are set last great subject of the word of God. Its
forth; therefore when such an empire importance, as a matter for constant re
arose as accorded with the given descripmembrance, may be gathered from as
tion, when three empires had in turn much of the Scripture as is found to treat assumed the dominion of the world, and a of the atonement: how weak, then, is the fourth extended itself upon their ruins, objection so often urged to the considera
until in the greatness of its strength it tion of the second advent that it has a
eclipsed them all, the prophecy was tendency to withdraw the mind from that fulfilled, and none would look for its more foundation of the christian's hope. It is
literal fulfilment; although the duration indeed found frequently, that a partial of this empire, as quite unconnected with view of scripture truth is held by be
the prophecy, might be made a matter of lievers; but it will generally be found
speculation. In the same way then we partial in this—that many understand and
understand the fulfilment of the prophecies dwell fondly upon the advent of Christ in
which foreshow the arrival of a period humility, who entirely set aside the con
which is called the latter, or last time : sideration of His coming again in glory,
so soon as its peculiar characteristics are and who therefore, however much they displayed we know that it is arrived ; and may desire to depart and be with the
the period of its duration must be kept Lord, cannot be said to “love his ap- entirely distinct in the consideration of pearing ;" while it is impossible for any
the prophecies which are fulfilled by its who liold the faith with a sound mind so
arrival ; for if they describe the characto look for His second coming, as to be
teristics of a period which is to come, they forgetful of that “full, perfect, and suffi
are fulfilled as soon as the features of the cient sacrifice," which He once offered for
time correspond with the description of sin: it is impossible, because in their
the prophecy.” P. 44. looking for the Lord from heaven, they necessarily look for the day of the Lamb who was slain, who is no less then, than
We now return to the work of at his first advent, their Saviour and their Mr. Cunginhame, whom we have Redeemer. When a shipwrecked man followed through the first six seals. attains the summit of a rock above the We ought to have stated in the raging sea, be may, while reflecting upon
commencement of our outline of his escape, forget that sun which, when it shines forth, will afford him warmth and
Mr. Cuninghame's system, that we comfort; but when he looks upward, and have continually to refer to some of longs for its appearing, he never can be the Author's controversial works, forgetful of the rock whereon he stands.
written subsequently to tbe DisThus even our reason tells us, that looking sertation now under review. We for our complete redemption when “the Sun of righteousness shall arise with heal
here give their titles.ing in His wings,” can never lead to for
I. “ The Scheme of Prophetic getfulness of the deliverance already pur- Arrangement of the Rev. Ed. Irving chased for us." P. 36.
and Mr. Frere critically examined; On the fulfilment of prophecy he with some remarks on the present says:
aspect of affairs in reference to the " It does not necessarily follow, when Fulfilinent of Prophecy.” Pp. xii, that which is foretold is brought to pass
and 124. or fulfilled, that it must be ended also.
II. A Critical Examination of The coming of Christ in humility was
some of the fundamental principles foretold by the prophets, and therefore so
of the Rev. G. S. Faber's Sacred soon as he was born into the world their of the Rev. G. S. prophecies were fulfilled, although he re
Calendar of Prophecy ; with an mained upon the earth for many years
ansuer to his arguments against the
Millennial Advent or Reign of his fellow traveller, and differs like-
wise from all other expositors. The III. Strictures on certain leading
silence in heaven, about the space positions and interpretations of the of half an hour,” noted at the comRev. E. Irving's Lectures on the mencement of this 8th chapter, he Apocalypse; with Observations on considers to be indicatory of the the truc principles of Apocalyptic introduction of a new series of arrangement and interpretation, and prophecies. This series he carries a Preface containing Remarks on the back to the first ages of christianity; present posture of affairs in relation supposing, that as the six first seals to the Fulfilment of Prophecy.” give the history of the Church, the Pp. xvi, and 64.
trumpets contained in this seal set In the above works some of Mr. forth the political and ecclesiastical Cuninghame's opinions are very ma- revolutions which successively affect terially modified and even changed; the Roman empire,
the Roman empire, and thereby and it is absolutely necessary, in
the condition of the militant Church. order to arrive at a correct view of This view is defended on the ground, his Apocalyptic scheme, to read that the six seals carried down the them after his Dissertation on the history of the Church until the fulSeals and Trumpets.
And filment of the mystery of God, would further recommend them to beyond which they are not likely to the perusal of our Readers, in- proceed; and therefore that the dependent of their relation to the events set forth in the trumpets Author's larger work : for in our must be contemporaneous with the judgement Mr. Cuninghame never whole or part of the seals. Another shines more than in his controversial
reason assigned for carrying this works, and in the critical examina- seal back to so early a period is, tion of the systems of others; and that mention is made in the first the Reader will therein become five verses of this chapter of an acquainted, in the readiest manner, earthquake,--a symbol which all with the more material defects of commentators agree to understand the principal modern interpreters of of political convulsions or agitathe Apocalypse.
And Mr. Cuninghame In the explanation of the former argues, that as the first four trumpets six seals Mr. Cuninghame for the are referred by all the most able most part adopts the view of Arch- commentators, whatever may be deacon Woodhouse, to whom he their views in other respects, to the renders full acknowledgement. In irruption of the Goths and Vandals; his interpretation however of the (in which view he fully concurs ;) seventh seal he parts company with so this convulsion or revolution must
* Mr. Cuninghame defines a revolution to be," a change in the state of an empire, arising from internal convulsions." It is necessary to keep this definition in view, because some have considered the overthrow of the Western empire, whereby it was ultimately broken up into ten kingdoms, to be a revolution ; whereas Mr. C. considers it a conquest and not a revolution.
As it is important to inspire confidence in the interpretation of symbols, we refer to the work of an able Philologist, whose writings are quite remote from prophetical investigation, and therefore decidedly unbiassed, Treating of certain Greek words, he says, in reference to gelojos (earthquake) that in consequence of its derivation
to agitate, “it admitted of a strong metaphorical use in representing the vehemence of popular discord and commotion.'' See Allwood's Literary Autiquities of Greece, page 93.
from σειω, ,