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knowlege, circulated by the latter, awakens in the minds of the former disquietude and the most painful apprehensions.
That there is much of dryness in the preceding disquisition, I acknowlege; but to shew, that the resurrection of the witnesses in the Tenth Part of the city is a political event, was a subject of inquiry too important to be omitted.
If, however, it be an inquiry of a political nature, it will be asked, what becomes of the witnesses of a religious description, respecting whom so much was urged in the preceding chapter? It may be replied, that wherever freedom is established on a foundation sufficiently broad, religious as well as civil rights will be secured ; and accordingly the revival of the witnesses against civil tyranny has included, necessarily and of course, all those who have witnessed against ecclesiastical despotism, and particularly the protestants. The witnesses then being no longer contemplated in a contracted point of view, but as those who oppose the antichristian tyrannies both of princes and of priests, a strong beam of light is immediately thrown over the following verses of St. John; verses which are expressed in highly figurative language, and have already, in part, been decyphered.
After describing the sufferings and depression of the witnesses in THE STREET of the Great city, he goes on to say (v. 11, 12, 13), after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them; and they stood upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour25 was
24 The anonymous author of the pamphlet, published in 1747, which was quoted in the last chapter, and is entitled, a Dissertation, &c. when speaking of France and of this prophecy, says, the SECULAR POWER MUST BE SET ASIDE, BEFORE THE ECCLESIASTICAL CAN POSSIBLY SINK, P. 16.
25 It should have been translated, says Dr. Symonds, and at the same time there was a great Earthquake. Obs. on the Exped. of Revising the present VOL. I.
there a great Earthquake, and the Tenth Part of the city fell, and in this earthquake the Titles of men being seven thousand were destroyed: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
One of the first, as well as most difficult, questions which occurs, on the recital of these verses, is this; to what do three prophetic days and an half here amount ? Mr. Bicheno, the sensible writer of a recent pamphlet, after stating the obvious propriety of the period being darkly expressed, that it might not be calculated till after its expiration, supposes that the three days and a half are to be regarded as lunar days, and that they are the same with three months and a halfa. Now three prophetic months and a half, Mr. Bicheno observes, contain 105 prophetic days28, that is, 105 common years, the exact period, dur.
Engl Vers. of the Epist. of the New Test. p. 79. Spice is the word employed. That apa signifies time indefinitely both in sacred and profane authors.' Daubuz observes on v. 12 and ch. xvii. of the Apoc. and indeed any lexicon will attest that this is one of the most established meanings of the word.
26 • The three days and an half signify,' says Daubuz, ' that the witnesses have lain so long dead in appearance, that there was no hope, nor expectation of their recovery.' The emancipation of the French nation from civil and ecclesiastical tyranny was altogether unexpected. Daubuz, like Dr. More, observes (p. 515) that the resurrection of the witnesses, as well as their death, is political.
27 Months, says Artemidorus (ii. 75), are sometimes denoted by days; and Bengelius observes (p. 219), that Lewis d'Alcasar «is inclined to expound the three days and a half of the witnesses by so many months.' Indeed Daubuz observes (on this verse and on v, 10, ch. ii.), 'that the terms of days and years must be determined by the circumstances and intent of the writer; and that gespee, the word here used, may, in the symbolic style, signify any portion of time, provided it be a fixed period. Now a month is a fixed period. That gule poe is often employed throughout the New Testament in an enlarged sense, the learned Th. Gataker has fully shewn in his Dissert. de Novi Instrumenti Stylo, c. xxv.
28 By the Jews and the Greeks, by the Egyptians, the Babylonians and Persians, 30 days were reckoned in a month. Now 30 multiplied by 3 with 15 for the half day, makes 105. That St. John reckons 30 days in a month, is undeniable. The same period he styles in different places (xš.
ing which the 'witnesses against civil and ecclesiastical tyranny in France were most completely suppressed ; namely that period, which elapsed from 1685, the memorable æræ of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, to 1790, an cpoch of still greater importance ; when the oppressive measures resulting from that revocation were annulled, and those never-to-be-forgotten decrees were passed, by which religious freedom, after having been so long proscribed, was so nobly asserted and so amply restored.
Lest the necessity of the time being involved in obscurity should not be deemed a sufficient reason (and that it is not I readily acknowlege), why the dead bodies of the witnesses are said (in v. 8) to lie in the street of the great city, only 3 figurative days and a half; I shall, in order to explain the reason of this, cite a passage from Dr. Lan. caster, the contents of which, conformably to his general practice, he extracts from Daubuz.
• A prophecy concerning future events is a picture or representation of the events in symbols; which being fetched from objects visible at one view, or cast of the eye, rather represent the events in miniature, than in full proportion.—And therefore that the duration of the events may be represented in terms suitable to the symbols of the visions, the symbols of duration must be drawn also in miniature. Thus for instance, if a vast empire persecuting the church for 1260 years was to be symbolically represented by a beast, the decorum of the symbol would require, that the said time of its tyranny should not be expressed by 1260 years; because it would be monstrous and indecent to represent a beast ravaging for so long a space of time, but by 1260 days. In like man
2, 3, xii, 14) 1260 days, 42 months, and a time, and times, and half a time, that is, 3 years and a half.
ner in the present instance, as Daubuz expresses himself,
the Holy Ghost was tied to the decorum of the main symbol, of a dead body, that will keep no longer unburied without corruption. From these observations it will I think appear evident, why, in the prophetic scenery, it was proper to represent the bodies of the witnesses as having lain dead, only three days and a half“, antecedently to their symbolic resurrection.
The time intervening between 1685 and 1790 was the period, during which liberty of speech was, with more than usual rigor, subjected to all the shackles of despotism,
29 That a manifest reason exists, why the period of the complete depression of the witnesses should be darkly expressed, has already been observed. Otherwise the most obvious way of understanding the three days and an half is either to explain them literally, or to interpret them as signifying three years and an half. But besides, that no events have oc. curred, or are likely to occur, which will agree with either mode of explication ; against both of them insuperable objections may I apprehend be alleged from the inspection of the prophecy itself. To explain days literally is unexampled in the Apocalypse and plainly inadmissible. On this point some observations shall however be cited from Dr. More, and the rather, because they militate against the second as well as the first of these two methods. It seems exceedingly improbable, a single day being so inconșiderable a space of time to transact those things in that are prophesied of in scripture, that the Spirit of God should number out the time by days ;—these pettinesses being below the divine majesty to catch at, and there being no examples of events that have been observed thus punctually to answer to a day, where prophecies have been numbered by days. How. unlikely then it is, that half a day should come into compute! By none indeed, but some of the Romish commentators, has this very improbable interpretation been embraced; and there are scarce any,' says Dr. More,
now so ignorant as not to be ashamed to conceit these days to be natural days.' Myst. of Godliness, p. 175, 177. Similar arguments Dr. More urges against the second opinion. That the prophet should descend minutely to particularise half a year, is, he declares, altogether contrary to precedent and to probability. The advocates too of this opinion understand v. 7 to signify, that it is at the conclusion of the period of their bear. ing witness, that the symbolic Beast shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them; and this implies that there has till then been neither any war, nor any overcoming, nor any killing of the witnesses, which is point blank against the truth of history. Dr. More's App. to Expos. of Dan. p. 289.
and the two great classes of witnesses, those who proclaim civil and those who inculcate, religious, truth, were alike oppressed ; a period of oppression and of disgrace, during which they might, in the symbolic diction of prophecy, be emphatically said to lie dead in one of the principal streets of the great European city. That the voice of such persons was unjustly checked by the dread of pains and penalties, prior to the Revolution, is a matter of sufficient notoriety. But, subsequent to that event, millions have risen up to bear their testimony aloud and without reserve against the usurpations of princes and of priests; and the account of their proclaiming this testimony, and the purport of it, have resounded, and still continue to resound, in every corner of Europe. Let it not be supposed, that the events which took place at the revocation of the edict of Nantes were of small importance, and therefore that the æra of the prophet cannot, with propriety, be dated from it. They arrested the attention of all Europe. Then it was that the French monarch first became superior to all opposition and all restraint, and political despotism was established on a lasting foundation3: and this also was the epoch, when religious liberty was annihilated in France.
Independently too of any reference to St. John's prophecy, do not the events which happened in 1685 and in 1790 give countenance to the opinion, that, in the eye of
30 That the three symbolic days and a half were to be dated from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Cressener and Jurieu were both strongly inclined to conclude. See Judgm. on the Rom. Ch. p. 107.
31 • The court gratified the priests, and, in return, the priests supported court-measures, and helped Louis, not only to get rid of these friends to liberty and justice, but also to crush the parliaments, which till now possessed considerable power. The complete extinction of civil liberty was left for Louis XIV. “ For heretofore,” says Puffendorf, in the style of a court sycophant,' “the parliament of Paris used to oppose the king's designs, under a pretence that they had such right. That the king could not do any thing of moment without its consent. But the king has taught it only to intermeddle with judicial business, and some other concerns, which the king now and then is pleased to leave to its decisions." Bicheno's Signs of the Tirnes, 2d Ed. p. 30, 41.