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Forum ror place of public meeting) to the antichristian
After introducing Jurieu as a man' most learned' and of distinguished merit, after giving a summary of his account of the witnesses, and attesting that his work had awakened in the world a very high degree of attention ; Vitringa himself declares that FRANCE may be the forum?' of the great city, concerning which the prophet speaks ; and having done this, he immediately asks the following memorable question. If,' says he, other things should follow, and God should grant, that this most opulent kingdom of Europe, and at the same time abounding with men of talents, furnished with all the requisites of erudition, should publicly renounce the Romish superstition, and take
a purer worship; WHO COULD
70 P. 455, 456. 71 This is Vitringa's translation of thetEld. 72 That France among the countries of Europe excels in population and in power, Vitringa observes in another place (in Apoc. p. 723.)
DOUBT, but that the fulfilment of this prophecy might be demonstrated much more certainly and more clearly in that kingdom than in any other? Vitringa's silence in this passage, respecting any overthrow of the civil government of France, may perhaps be conceived to indicate, that his views on the subject were altogether contracted; it may perhaps be thought to imply, that of any insurrection of the people he had entertained no idea, that of any political changes he had formed no expectation. But the contrary is the fact. Immediately after having remarked that the Earthquake in the Tenth Part of the city is an event which history must illustrate; he goes on to say, neither also is it perfectly clear from the prophecy, of what kind these commotions are ; whether warlike, such as are wont to shake the world and subvert the existing government; or WHETHER THEY ARE SUCH AS ARISE ON A SUDDEN FROM THE INSURRECTION OF A NATION THAT HAS BEEN LONG OPPRESSED.' He declares, however, that the words of the prophecy appear to favor the LATTER sense. And he advances it as his opinion, that, in the predicted catastrophe, some thousands would undoubtedly perish, distinguished by their elevated dignities, or noblesse by birth?3.
Should France cease to be the patroness of the papal cause and the Romish religion, he expected that this Revolution would infallibly produce'a change in other nations. · The kings of France,' says he, 'elevated the Roman pontiffs to that dignity and authority, by means of which they have made such a splendid display in the world ; and had
73 It is with a reference to v. 13, that Vitringa afterwards observes, that the nobility are scattered over France with more profusion than in any other country. With respect to the third clause of this famous verse, I will also refer to one other ancient, and one other modern, writer. In explanation of it, the German author of the Clavis Apocalyptica, which in 1651 was published in English by Mr. Hartlib, says, that a great multitude will be destroyed of high and great persons, chief heads and noble families,' p. 88. This earthquake, says Mr. Reader, will fall on the Romish party, and destroy 7000 of their Nobility and Gentry.' On the Rey. 1778, p. 119.
they not protected them, and continued to protect them, of this empire of superstition and idolatry there would plainly have been an end?4.'
ARGUMENTS INTENDED TO SHEW THAT THE FRENCH REVOLU
TION IS FORETOLD BY ST. JOHN.
THE prophetic narrative of the witnesses in ch. xi. will admit of yet farther elucidation. I begin with inquiring into their genuine character; and, for this
shall first refer to two writers, distant from each other in point of time, though coincident in point of sentiment. The tes. timony which the witnesses give, says an early apocalyptical writer, is not only against the church of Rome, but against all false churches, who are her daughters ; and it is not only against them, but also against the Ten antichristian Kings'. The author of the Signs of the Times in the same manner includes among them, not only those who have witnessed against the domination and errors of the papacy; but likewise all those who bear witness for Civil Liberty against the tyrannies of those,' who have enslaved mankind. • Even wise and good men have not, perhaps, sufficiently considered the worth and importance of the witnesses of the latter description, in fulfilling the great designs of God's goodness towards men; and hence they have almost always interpreted this prophecy as relating to the state of religion only ; as if the civil and political state. of man were held in little consideration by the Lord of the whole earth.'
In order to bring some decisive arguments to show, that many of the witnesses in ch. xi. are of a political character, and that their resurrection denotes a great political event, I must not omit what 130 years since fell from the pen of Dr. Henry More, a writer of no small eminence. war signifies opposition, so death or killing any changing their condition into worse, so that they cease to be what they were before". And that this is a political death, or putting out of power, is plain, in that their resurrection is such“. A little farther the doctor adds, the Spirit of God designs these two parts of their condition, namely their prophetical' witnessings and their divestment of all politiçal power, which the scripture calls the death of a people, and their recovery again into a polity their resurrection.By heaven is here understood the higher places in the political universe, unto which the slain witnesses are called by a voice from thence, saying, Come up hither. That an earthquake signifies political commotions and change of affairs, is obvious to any one to note.'
The resurrection of the witnesses is expressed in the following words: and after three days and an half the spirit of
3 To slay the witnesses, according to Dr. More's explication in another place, is to tread down the people and to make them slaves. Myst. of Godliness, p. 207.
4. Myst. of Iniquity, p. 407. This was no hastily formed interpretation It may be seen in another of Dr, More's works, the Myst. of Godliness, printed four years earlier. After asserting (p. 178), that “their death is nothing else but a Political death, he there adds, such is their resurrection, namely political, they being raised to honor and government, as Mr. Mede himself acknowlegeth. The sanction of another great name it may be proper to add. Daubuz (on xi. 7) says, they are killed in a civil capacity.--Death is the destruction of the subject spoken of, according to the nature thereof.---So of a nation, Amos ii. 2, Moab shall die with tuinult. This signifies, not that all the nation shall perish ; but that---the nation shall be brought into subjection and slavery: Daubuz had before observed on ch. ix. v. 15, that, the community, as a body political, hath a life."
5 That any thing was predicted by them the doctor was far from meaning. See his Expos. of the Seven Epistles, c, 6.
life from God entered into them?; and they stood upon their feet. • That this resurrection of them has a political meaning, you may,' says Dr. More, “be farther satisfied in my prophetic alphabet, from what I have there said upon that term.' Looking there, I find the following observations. · That the resurrection of the dead has a political sense as well as a theological or physical, may appear plainly from Ezekiel xxxvii. 9. Then said he unto me, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, thus saith the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army. That this is to be understood in a political sense concerning the restoring of the people of Israel to their own land out of thraldom and captivity', is plain from the very mouth of God himself in the following verses. Whence it is plain that to be cut off, to be slain, and to rise from the dead, has (as I said) a political sense ;--and that resurrection is a recuperation of such rights and liberties as have been taken away, and a deliverance from persecution, affliction, and bondage.' In proof of this, our learned divine appeals to the oneirocritics of Achmet. This ancient writer says, in cho'v. that, according to the usage of the Indians, if any man shall behold in a dream a resurrection from the dead, in the place where it happens justice shall be executed ; for if unjust men are there, they shall suffer punishment, and those who are injured shall quickly be restored to their rights.' In ch. vi. he observes, that, according to the doctrine of the Persians,
6. To live, is to be in a power to act ; acting and living, being, says Ars temidorus, lib. iv. c. 42, analogical to each other.' Dr. Lancaster. Thus, antecedent to the Revolution, the French were incapable of acting, and politically dead.
7 • The breath of life,' says Brenius (in loc.), 'is said to come or be in. troduced into any persons, or into any class of men, when they are restored from galling oppression into their former state of liberty.' This learned foreigner then refers, like Dr. More, to ch. xxxvii. of Ezek.
8 Myst. of Iniquity, p. 407.