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The great Mr. Mede lays it down as a matter undeniably established, that the two-horned and the ten-horned Beasts expire together". The former being regarded as the representative of the antichristian priesthood, reason herself indeed assures us it is highly probable, that though some particular horns of the Secular Beast, with their attendant hierarchies, will be earliest demolished; yet that the fall of the other civil and ecclesiastical tyrannies, linked as they are by so close a union to each other, will be events nearly contemporary. That they will be absolutely contemporary,
the 9th and 10th verses of ch. xviii. seem to contradict; since they certainly countenance the idea, that the antichristian princes of Europe, some time previous to their own complete overthrow, will witness, within the limits of the Western Roman empire, the total downfal of priestly usurpation. 'We are now to expect soon,' says Bengelius in the conclusion of his Exposition of the Apocalypse, “the harvest, and the vintage ; the pouring out of the vials; the judgment of Babylon; the final rage of the Beast, and his destruction.' And he shortly after adds, the Mighty and the Nobles of this world are astonished, when they are toid there will soon be a Great Change"? This celebrated German, it will per
these judges or captains had not the name or power of kings, neither was their power transmitted to their children.' Remarkable is the declaration of Hosea, which he makes in the name of the Supreme Being (xiii. 11), I gave
thee a king in mine anger. 17 Hall's Apol. for the freedom of the Press. Pref.
18 Clav. Apoc. Pars Prima, Synchronismus II. p. 523. • As these two Beasts,' says Mr. Whiston, are such great companions while they live together, so it is certain, that their final period is at one and the same time, and that they perish with the same common destruction,' p. 69. The next are the words of a more modern, a more orthodox, but I will not say, an honester writer.' • These two Beasts,' says bp. Hallifax, being inseparable one from the other, in their rise and in their extinction, must of course be considered as contemporaries,' p. 245. I just add, that that part of the Apocalypse (ch. xvii), where the whore of Babylon is described as sitting upon the ten-horned Beast, evidently implies, that the tyrannising antichristian priesthood and the Ten Kings should co-exist.
19 Int, to the Apoc. ut supra, p. 326.
haps be thought, was somewhat premature, when he stated this astonishment to have taken place at the time he wrote2. But as applied to the present æra his statement seems perfectly correct. The materials of a Great Change in the European world are already collected; and rapid is their increase. At length the period is arrived, when all the plunderers of mankind, however discriminated by titles or offices, feel alternate emotions of astonishment and terror; and are seriously apprehensive of being buried under the foundation of a Mighty Revolution.
ON PROPHECY IN GENERAL, AND THE HEBREW PROPHETS IN
HITHERTO I have been principally employed in citing extracts, or suggesting thoughts, illustrative of the apocalyptic predictions. But as a considerable number of those, which occur in the chapters immediately succeeding, and in the subsequent part of the work, are taken either from Daniel, or from Isaiah, or from some other prophetic writer of the Jewish dispensation, I have concluded, that some extracts, relative to the Hebrew prophets, and to prophecy in general, may be properly introduced, and that this part of the work furnishes a convenient place for their insertion. Had so large an assemblage of general observations been introduced in the beginning of the work, and added to those, relative to the Apocalypse, which are brought forward in the üid and ivth chapters, I should have been apprehensive, lest a considerable proportion of my readers, being principally solicitous to penetrate the import of particular prophecies, would have neglected to bestow upon them that degree of attention which they justly claim.
20 His Exposition was published in 1740.
• To know future events,' says Dr. Sykes, and to be able to foretell them, is not, cannot be the effect of study, or peculiar temperature of body: it cannot be taught in schools, since it depends upon an infinity of free contingent actions, which he alone who governs all things can direct or foresee. If, therefore, events have been foreseen and foretold, at such distance of time, as excludes the knowlege of human minds, and the powers of their conjectures, it must be owing to divine influence, and to that alone'.'
There are, it may be observed, several propositions, to prove any one of which, would be to prove the non-existence of prophecy. But then these propositions are so unreasonable, so unfounded, that to give a simple statement of them will be sufficient to convince the honest inquirer, that they are completely incapable of proof. If Collins, in his work against prophecy, “would have acted the part of a fair and reasonable adversary, he should,' says Dr. Samuel Chandler, have proved prophecy an impossible thing ; either that there is no God; or that if there is, he doth not concern himself about the affairs of nations and kingdoms; or that if he doth, he knows nothing before it comes to pass ; or that he hath no wise purposes to answer by over-ruling the affairs of the world, and executing the purposes of his own good pleasure; or that if he hath, he cannot discover these purposes to men; or that if he could, there is no wise and kind purpose to be answered by such a revelation; or that if there is, those to whom he vouchsafes a revelation cannot discover it to others?.'
Reserving all the other general observations on prophecy to a subsequent part of the chapter, I shall here introduce those extracts, which respect the authenticity of the Hebrew scriptures.
By the subsistence of the Jewish people at this time,' says Dr. Lardner, all are assured of the antiquity and
1 Principles and Connexion of Nat. and Rev. Rel. p. 176. 2 Vindic. of Dan. 1728, p. 30.
genuineness of the scriptures of the Old Testament. These are received by them, and read in their synagogues: and they allow, that therein are contained promises of a great and eminent deliverer. None therefore can pretend, that the scriptures, so often appealed to by Christ and his aposa tles, are forgeries of Christians?
• There can,' says Dr. Priestly, be no doubt but that the canon of the Old Testament was the same in the time of our Saviour as it is now"; nor could it have been corrupted materially after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity', on account of the sect of the Samaritans, which took its rise about that time. For these people professed the same regard to the sacred books with the Jews themselves, and were always at variance with them about the interpretation of the scriptures. The Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch is now in our hands, and excepting some numbers, in which the different copies and translations of all ancient writings are peculiarly subject to vary, and a single text, in which mount Gerizim and mount Ebal are interchanged, it is the very same with the Jewish copy. Not long after this, the books of the Old Testament, beginning with the Pentateuch, were translated into Greek, and dispersed, by means of the Jews, inte almost every part of the known world. There is not the least probability, that any change, worth any man's attempting to make, or in the least affecting any principal point of the Jewish religion, was made during their
3 Lardner's Works, vol. X. p. 84.
4 • The Jewish synagogues in all countries were,' says Mr. Gray, numerous : wherever the apostles preached, they found them; they were established by the direction of the rabbins in every place, where there were ten persons of full age and free condition.' Accordingly the jealous. care, with which the scriptures were preserved in the tabernacle, and in the temple, was, not more calculated to secure their integrity, than that reverence which afterwards displayed itself in the dispersed synagogues, and in the churches consecrated to the Christian faith. A Key to the Old Testament by the Rev. Robert Gray, late of St. Mary Hall, Oxf. 1791, p. 13, 16.
5 The Jews, according to Prideaux, returned from their captivity at Babylon in the year 535 before the Christian æra.
captivity; which, however, was not so long, reckoning from the time of the destruction of the city by Nebuchadnezzar, but that many of those who returned from it had a perfect remembrance of the temple of Solomon, which had been burned in the siege of Nebuchadnezzar; for they wept when they saw how much the new temple was inferior to it, and can it be supposed, but that some of these people would have taken the alarm, and a schism have been occasioned, if any material change had been attempted to be made in the constitution of the law, or the contents of the sacred books. If we go
farther back into the Jewish history, we shall be unable to pitch upon any time, in which any material change in the sacred books could have been attempted, with the least prospect of success. It was one of the most earnest instructions of Moses himself, that the book of the law, a copy of which was lodged in the ark, should be the subject of constant reading and meditation in every Israelitish family; and it was expressly appointed, that it should be read publicly every seven years, at the feast of Tabernacles, Deut. xxxi. 9, 13; and the Levites, who were dispersed through all the twelve tribes, were particularly appointed to study and to explain it to the rest of the nation ; and notwithstanding the times of defection and idolatry, they were never entirely without prophets, and even many thousands of others, who continued firm in the worship of the true God, and therefore must have retained their regard to the sacred books of the law. Upon the whole, the Jews have, no doubt, acted the part of most faithful and even scrupulous guardians of their sacred books, for the use of all the world in the times of Christianity. After the last of the prophets, Malachi, they admitted no more books into their canon, so as to permit them to be read in their synagogues, though they were written by the most eminent men in their nation; it being a maxim with them, that no book could be entitled to a place in the canon of their scriptures, unless it was written by a prophet, or a person who had had communication with God. That the scriptures of the