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is worthy of remark,' says Mr. Bicheno, that these foul spirits are to go forth unto the king's of the earth, and not to the people, which seems to indicate that it will be a war, in which kings will be more interested than mankind at large.' The prophet says of them, that they are the spirits of devils working miracles. No one supposes these to be real miracles. This figurative language is used to set forth the impostures, lies, and frauds, with which they deceive men,
and draw them into their destructive measuress'.' They are represented under the emblem of frogs. Now the symbolic meaning of frogs we learn from Artemi.. dorus, whose words I shall cite as translated by Daubuz.
Frog's signify impostors and flatterers, and bode good to them that get their living out of the common people32.'
ON THE SYMBOLIC HARVEST AND VINTAGE.
THE sixth rule, which · Dr. Lancaster lays down in his Abridgment of Daubuz's Preliminary Discourse, as an aid in the interpretation of prophecy, is thus expressed : • when the things to be prophecied of in the Revelation are to be considered in several views, there is a change of symbols. The reason is, says Dr. Lancaster, that as the symbols of prophecy must bear a certain analogy to each other, and must preserve throughout a certain decorum, it is impossible, that the same strain of symbols should represent all that variety of circumstances, which it is some times expedient to introduce. “And, therefore, when the matters require that they should be considered under another aspect, the strain of the symbols must change, and the scene of the visions alters; so that many symbols may be used to denote the same thing in different respects. Now
31 Signs of the Times, p. 50.
32 L. II. c. 15.
there are placed such inward marks, which belong to every part of a vision ; that we may thereby discover how the matters of that' vision are related to the rest. Thus we find what is antecedent and consequent, or what is only collateral; and so it appears what visions and their parts synchronise, and what do not. By this method what was before treated of succinctly is enlarged upon, and more fully demonstrated. So that the Revelation is not wrote in the way of annalists, who, being content to reduce all mat. ters to a chronological series, only relate briefly what hap. pens every year, without enlarging upon the intrigues or causes of the events, and omitting for the most part the consequences; but in the way of the more judicious historians, who endeavor to give a full account of every matter as they take it in hand, in order to make a complete sys. tem of the whole ; interposing digressions, and then re
turning to the principal matters, by giving such hints and 3 transitions, as suffice to let us understand to what they be
long, and how, as to point of time, they come in or end with the rest.-And this is the method, not only of the most exact histories and discourses, but in a special manner that of all the inspired writers ; in whom the conjunctive particles do rather import, that one passage comes to be related after another, than that it was really transacted after it."
Thus the wars, in which the tyrants of the European world are to be subdued, with their widely scattered partisans, being of such mighty influence in deciding the condition of the human race, are foretold, in several parts of the Apocalypse, and under different emblems. Such appears to be the import of THE HARVEST and THE VINTAGE, described in the xivth chapter.
It is said in v. 15 and 16, the harvest of the earth, or the antichristian part of mankind, is ripe.' And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth : and the earth was reaped. An harvest in several parts of scripture
1 P. 12.
denotes,' says Dr. Lancaster, some destroying judgment, by which people fall as corn by the scythe. It is somea times metaphorically used, observes Mr. Lowth, to signify an entire destruction, because the harvest makes a clear riddance, and leaves the fields empty and bare?' And Vitringa, speaking of the words just cited from St. John, says, " the clearest arguments demonstrate, that the harvest is to be explained of some judgment of God of a general kind, by which he would take a severe vengeance on the enemies of the church and the adversaries of his people.
In v. 17 an angel is represented as having a sharp sickle : and the command given unto him (v. 18) is, thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel (v. 19) thrust in his sickley into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God. Of the symbols of the prophets some were borrowed from the customs of Judæa. Thus, says bp. Hurd, to tread a wine-press, from their custom of pressing grapes, signifies destruction attended with great slaughter. The winepress is called great,' says Daubuz, because this is not a partial but general punishment. That this prediction of the vintage alludes to the war of Armageddon, is observed, among other commentators, by Medes and More, by Durham, Cressener, and Peganius. Vitringa, indeed, de. clares it to be the opinion of all the best interpreters, that it is a prophecy of the great slaughter which is then to take place.
Nothing, says this great commentator, is more certain, than that this apocalyptic description of the harvest and the
2 In Is: xvii. 5.
3 As it may strike the reader, that a sickle is not a very proper instrument for a vintage ; I observe, that the word in the original, dpercevov or falx, has a general meaning, and accordingly Cato takes notice :( De Reb. Rust.), that there were falces both for cutting hay and corn and vines,
4 Vol. II. p. 114. 5 P. 728. 6 Judgm. on the R. Ch. p. 285. VOL. I.
vintage is borrowed from the prophet Joel?; and he asterwards says, 'when I have, with more than usual diligence, compared this prophecy with that of Joel, in which both emblems refer to the same judgment, I have seen no reason for interpreting the emblems of St. John as belonging to separate judgments. As the emblem of a harvest did not ascertain, whether the enemies of God should be cut off by famine, or pestilence, or war ; he remarks, that another and kindred similitude, that of a vintage, was superadded, that it might more conspicuously be evident, that war would be the means employed. “This appears to be the simplest and most easy sense of the prophecy,' I am again quoting the words of Vitringa ; although, if a distinction be made between these emblems, we must say, that God will provide means by his providence, that the enemies of the church should receive two most signal slaughters, between which some space of time would intervene, which agreeably to analogy may be represented by the interval, which separates a harvest from a vintage.' The symbolic grapes are described as fully ripe. "That is,' says Vitringa, the period of the divine forbearance had expired, and villanies, no longer to be tolerated, had arisen to their utmost height. The measure of crimes was filled up.Punishment therefore could no longer be deferred, but the destroyers of the earth were at length to be destroyed, and were in their turn to meet with their reward." Vitringa here, in imitation of the prophet, employs the past tense, though speaking of the future This, he ob
The Holy Spirit in the more recent prophecies refers to the more ancient, and often employs the same words; diction, and figures ; in order to lead us to the true sense of those oracles.' Vitringa de CanonibusVerbi prophetici recte exponendi, cap. ij. can. xiv.
8. It is,' says Daubuz (Preliminary Discourse, p. 43) the usual style of the prophets to write of things as already done and past, though they are only to happen afterwards. It is commonly said, that this is a sign of certainty, that the things shall as surely happen, as if they were already past. But I misť beg • leave to dissent; for I think, that this rather happens from the manner of the prophecy, wherein the knowlege of future events is exhibited in the vision seen by the prophet under symbolical per
serves, is the period, when our Lord's prophetic parable of the burning of the tares shall be accomplished).
In v. 20 the prophet adds, that the wine-press was trodden without the city, that is,' says Mr. Cradock, ‘ with. out the bounds of the true church, so that none of her members shall suffer by this judgment. Without doubt, says Vitringa, Jerusalem, the image of the true church, is here designed". But by some this clause has been thought to denote, that the catastrophe, alluded to by the prophet, shall take place somewhere out of the bounds of the Western Roman empire. And blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the horse-bridles, which,' bp. Newton remarks, is a strong hyperbolical way of speaking, to express vast slaughter and effusion of blood.'
Reference has been made to a passage of striking import in the iiid. ch. of Joel; which chapter, says Mr. Lowth, ' relates to the latter times of the world.' multitudes of the Antichristians,' says Dr. Wells, shall be destroyed at the period of its accomplishment. It is thought to be prophetic of the very same events, which St. John has foretold shall take place in the course of the symbolic vintage and in the war of Armageddon. It begins with foretelling the mighty military preparations which shall be made, and the numerous forces which shall be assembled together by the friends of tyranny and antichristianism. Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles: prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all tre men of war draw near :
sons and actions, which represent those that happen afterwards. Thus the prophet has already seen the future events transacted in the symbols : and so the words in the time past are suitable to the case, the things having passed in his mind.' To the same purpose speaks Father Simon, when treating on those words relative to the witnesses, the breath of life from God entered into them. · St. John speaks throughout his book in the style of a prophet; for which reason he frequently expresses future events by the past tense, they being present to him in his vision." His Notes on the New Test.
9 Mat. xiii. 39–43. Brenius explains this passage in the same way, and more at large, in his treatise De Regno Ecclesia Glorioso.
10 P. 730