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INTERPRETATION OF THE APOCALYPSE.
We are happy in being enabled conceive that the verse now before to present to our readers, in the first is to be understood as relating number of our New Series, the com. 'to the affairs of the prince of the mencement of an exposition of the Covenant, or the Pope, &c.—he Apocalypse by Mr. FRERE; with the again confederated with the Empromise, if health permits, of its be
peror, for it is said, that both these ing regularly continued : though we kings' hearts were set to do mis. greatly regret to add, that this able chief, and that they speak lies at writer suffers so much at times from one table.” It was this which led indisposition, as to compel him to us to say that Mr. F. made the two qualify his promise in this respect. kings the
and the emperor. The readers of our last Volume Mr. F. in reference to our obserwill be aware, that we do not coin- vations on Britain being the elect cide with Mr. Frere in some impor nation, and on the infidel antichrist, tant particulars of that portion of his states, that he does not change in his exposition, which is already publish- interpretation, in consequence of the ed; and therefore we wish it to be death of Buonaparte and his son, understood, that we do not bring this neither on account of the present exposition forward as containing our political prospect of Britain; for he own sentiments; but as being the opi- always concluded that Britain would nions of a writer, whose reputation be preserved till the outpouring stands high with many as an inter- of the seven vials, but no longer ; preter of prophecy, and whose senti- and he thinks that the prophecy rements we consider entitled to regard. specting antichrist will still be enig
We take this opportunity also of matically fulfilled. We forbear howcorrecting a mistake which crept in
ever to pursue the subject ; as our advertently into our Review of Mr. remarks will be unintelligible to our Frere's works. At page 356 we new readers, and Mr. Frere will soon stated, that he applies Daniel xı. 19, have an opportunity of expounding to Antiochus Epiphanes ; we should his views. have said Antiochus Magnus ; for We have stated in our review, in one of the works of Mr. Frere, that we were the less able to judge enumerated by us at the head of of Mr. F.'s opinions, from his never that review, he labours to prove that having published a regular exposiAntiochus Epiphanes is not the tion of the Apocalypse, which desisubject of that prophecy. Mr. Frere deratum he is now about to supply ; has likewise called our attention to and whatever difference of opinion another point-viz. that he does not either our Readers or we ourselves make“ the kings of the North and may entertain in regard to some South,” (Dan. ix. 27) to be the portion of Mr. Frere's views, we are Pope and the Emperor, but “the persuaded that they will feel with prince of the Covenant” and the king us, on the perusal of this first porof the South. We are not aware tion of his Exposition, that there is of any essential difference that this much in it which tends to edificamakes in our remarks—Mr. F. says tion, and that he treats his subject p. 385 of his Combined View : "I with a masterly hand.
INTERPRETATION OF CHAPTER I. Amongst the evidences to the It is in this view therefore that truth of Christianity, prophecy has we shall be led to consider this always held a conspicuous place, divine book ; and when I regret, and may be considered as affording that it should have been hitherto a demonstration of it, even superior studied to such little effect, and to that of miracles themselves : for that it is as yet so imperfectly we derive our knowledge of these known, it is not so much because only from the testimony of others, the Church has lost, for a long pehanded down to us from remote pe. riod, the gratification to be derived riods; whereas the fulfilment of a from the consideration of the wisdom series of prophecies, by the occur- displayed in the perfect simplicity, rence of events which God alone yet admirable contrivance, of its outcould have foreseen, is a continued ward structure,—and the living evi. miracle, which becomes the more dence to the infinite power and forestriking and undeniable, the farther knowledge of God, displayed in the we are removed from the times in striking fulfilment of its various prewhich the predictions were given ; dictions, (though these be great deand is one to which we ourselves are privations ;)—but rather that they partly witnesses. May we not say, should be so inadequately acquainttherefore, of those who will not ed with it, as an evidence of the love yield to such an evidence,—"Nei- of Christ to his people. May he who ther would they be persuaded though gave it, and who will reveal it, at one rose from the dead.”
such times and in such degrees as The external evidence, however, seems best to his infinite wisdom, which the word of prophecy affords bless the feeble attempt which I now to the truth of Christianity, appears, make simply to communicate somecomparatively speaking, to be only a thing of the divine instruction it secondary and incidental use of it; for contains ! as in the natural creation the heavens Having been disappointed, by cirdeclare the glory of God, and the cumstances over which I have had firmament sheweth his handy work, no control, in my intention of filso it bears witness indeed to his eter- ing up that outline which I gave of nal power and godhead, but witnes- its structure twenty years ago, it is ses in vain to an unbelieving world. my wish, in doing this in as brief a The work of creation would have manner as is practicable, to endeavbeen incomplete, in reference to im- our to save from entire oblivion those mortal beings, had it not been ac- interpretations, to which, I am mycompanied by the institution of the self fully persuaded, my understandsabbath, which, like the word of pro- ing was formerly opened in answer phecy, is a token that God desires to earnest prayer. Not that propheto hold intercourse with his crea. cy was the object, but that I desired tures. And it is only when viewing that I might in some way or other be prophecy in this its most interesting made useful to that Church which light, as the special gift of Christ to God had purchased with his own his own servants, that we can derive blood, and might have something to that blessedness from the inestima- look back upon
nother world as ble gift of the Revelation of St. done in this to the honor of his holy John, which is pronounced upon all Name. those who shall read it aright, and To the Church on earth the exkeep its sayings.
plaining the real meaning of this
book were an event, second in im- word was God”_" all things were portance only to the original com- made by him,”-in which sentences munication of it : and if I have any the godhead of Christ and his unity cause to fear, lest it should not with God the Father, the creator of now be attended to, I am satisfied all things, is affirmed. Blended with that it will be hereafter : for I am these plain declarations he also assured that it is amongst those “the word was with God”_" and things which even the angels desire without him was not anything made to look into ; for the heavens re- that was made;" in which expressions sounded with their songs of praise, the plurality of persons in the godand with those of the departed saints, head is shewn. In like manner when when its seven seals were about to we read the foregoing passage, in be opened ; and they ever desire to which God the Father is described investigate the mysteries of Christ's as giving the book to Christ, that love to his Church. It
may also be he might in his mediatorial office a subject of contemplation in a fu- communicate it to his Church, we ture state ; and in the heavenly Ca- must not so understand it, as if in naan the map of the journey of the his divine nature Christ, who reChurch through the wilderness of ceives, were distinct from, or other this world many never be removed than, God who gives it : for Christ from our view.
declares that he and his Father are
one,--that he that hath seen him Verse 1. This book is stated to hath seen the Father,—and that be“ the Revelation of Jesus Christ, whatsoever the Father doeth, that which God gave unto Him,” because doeth the Son likewise. And if it the Church could receive nothing is said in the first verse of the Revfrom God but through the media- elation, that God the Father gave it torial office of the Saviour ;-most to Christ; we find immediately afforcibly pointing out, that man, be- terwards, that Christ assumes to ing a sinner, has no access to God himself all the attributes of God the but through Christ; neither can God, Father, -revealing himself to St. consistently with the glory of his John as “ the Lord, which is and attributes, confer any blessing upon
which was and which is to come, us but through the same channel. the Almighty."
The doctrine of Scripture (as im · In one sense therefore we say, plicitly followed by the established that Jesus Christ, who in his mediChurch of England, and by all other atorial capacity is said to receive orthodox communions,) is, that in the book to communicate it to his God there is a plurality of persons Church, is the same as God who without division of substance, and gives it ; the apparent contradiction, an unity of substance without con- which is involved in this, arising onfusion of persons. But this is a truth ly from the impossibility of either relating to spiritual things which words or symbols fully explaining to the finite mind is not capable of em- finite minds truths relating to the inbracing as a whole, and which can finite and eternal God. That which only be presented to it in its separate is thus declared in words, as to the parts, which are each therefore to way in which the book of revelation be understood according to the ana- was communicated to the Church, logy of faith. Thus St. John in the we find symbolically represented in opening of his gospel says-" In a subsequent part of it, where “ the the beginning was the word”—“the Lion of the tribe of Judah," or "the Lamb that had been slain,” receives it So that however protracted or sefrom the right hand of him that sitteth vere the trials of the Church may on the throne ; and in the sight of be, collectively as well as individuthe glorified Church and assembled ally; they will consider them only angels looses the seven seals thereof. as light afflictions which are but for
It is here said to be given to a moment, and be assured that their Christ, that he might shew it unto deliverance will “ shortly come to his SERVANTS ; which is in accor- pass.” And we find that the whole dance with the former observation, of the long period during which the that prophecy is addressed to the Church should suffer by Pagan perChurch of Christ, and not to the secution, is termed (Rev. vi. 11) “a world. O unwise and unthankful little season.” We have further to Church! acknowledge then the value consider, that though the infliction of the communication. Read the ad- of the judgment upon the papal dress,—for unto you it is sent; and and infidel Roman empire, by which strive diligently to make yourselves it will be finally and entirely deacquainted with its meaning; for it stroyed, has been long deferred ; contains an account of his purposed yet the destruction of the then perjudgments upon the world, and the secuting Roman empire, and the means by which he will bring his breaking of it up into ten parts, in Church through sufferings to glory, vindication of the blood of the marand ultimately vindicate their cause tyrs, (which may justly be regarded by the entire destruction of their as typical of its future more comenemies,
plete destruction; and which is
preThough the predictions contained dicted by the first seals and trumin this book would, according to the pets, as being amongst the things common acceptation of the term, which must shortly come to pass ;) be considered as occupying a long did take place soon after the vision space of time in their fulfilment,
In the same manner, they are viewed as already fulfilled the declaration of our Lord, that the in the eyes of Him with whom a judgments to be inflicted upon his thousand years are but as one day; enemies at his coming in power, and will be viewed as equally certain should be fulfilled before the generain their accomplishment by the faith. tion he addressed should have passed ful Church, who know that God is away ;* or the similar one- —that of not slack concerning his promises, that generation should be required as some men count slackness; but all the righteous blood that had been that this delay affords the means shed on the earth from the blood of for the more full developement of Abel to the blood of Zechariah ; his faithfulness and his mercy to- was verified in the destruction of wards them, and of his long suffer- Jerusalem with its temple, and by ing and righteous judgments towards the utter dispersion of the nation : hardened and impenitent sinners. this event being a type and anticipa
* We conceive, that it has been fully established by various writers in our former volumes, that the destruction of Jerusalem was not the event intended in the prophecy of our Lord, Matt. xxiv. 30, Mark xiii. 26, Luke xxi. 27, by the expression ing in the clouds with great power and glory;" which is what we presume Mr. Frere alludes to.-But the reader will see his views further stated on verse 7. Neither do we think that our Lord, when he said—“this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled," meant, that all should come to pass before all the men existing at that time should die. See the meaning of this phrase discussed at pages 53 and 376 of vol. !. and page 341 of vol. iv. See a paper also by E. in this number.--Ev.
tion of the more complete destruc- • and priests.”f So that we find here tion of all his enemies, at the end of revealed, not only the future privileges the gentile dispensation.
of the Church, but those also which But who is the “ Angel” or mes- they enjoy in the intermediate state : senger here spoken of, employed by and we are not only practically inChrist to communicate this vision to formed of the truth of the declaration the Church, and by whom we are of the Apostle, that to be absent told that " he sent and signified it to from the body is to be present with his servant John.” The word angel the Lord, but also that to be present in the Apocalypse and other Scrip- with Christ is to be made partaker tures, is variously applied, either to with him in all the offices, which in Christ himself, as the angel of the his mediatorial capacity are conferred covenant,-to the unfallen angels, upon him by God the Father. Is as the ministering spirits, appointed Christ a king ?-Is he a priest ?to minister unto those who shall be so also it is expressly declared by heirs of salvation,--to the bishop the redeemed church in heaven, that or ministers of the seven Churches they have been made “kings and of Asia,-or, as in the
priests” unto God;g and as he him-to the church in heaven, self sustains through the Holy Spirit the spirits of the departed saints: the prophetical office, as the teacher for upon further examination we and instructor of his Church on shall find, that the angel here em- earth, so it appears by the instance ployed to communicate and explain
that he bestows this office the vision to St. John, is subse- also upon his glorified Church in quently designated as of the heaven, and employs one of them elders,”a
one of the four living to communicate this revelation to creatures" or cherubim,b as one of St. John. the seven angels which had the Under the Old Testament dispenseven vials” and lastly as a • fel. sation, the prophetical visions aplow servant''c of St. John and one pear to have been shewn to Daniel of his brethren to whom is commit- by Gabriel, one of the unfallen anted the testimony of Jesus ;d or as gels; and now, in the fact here he elsewhere calls himself “ one of made known, that under the New his brethren the prophets, and of Testament dispensation the like ofthem which keep (laid up in their fice is conferred on the church of hearts) the sayings of this book,"e as the departed saints, we receive an containing the promise of their fu- intimation of the new privileges ture reward. This description could obtained by them at the death and properly apply only to one of the resurrection of Christ; and a similar spirits of the just made perfect; and intimation is perhaps given, where none but the Church of all the inha- we are told by the evangelist, that at bitants of heaven could indeed ad- that time the graves were opened dress Christ in the words of the song and many dead bodies of the saints used by the Elders and Cherubim arose and went into the Holy City who show the vision to the Apostle :
Jerusalem.. Thus does this very “ Thou hast redeemed us to God by first verse, as illustrated by other • thy blood out of every kindred and
passages, open to us an extensive 'tongue and people and nation, and view of the present privileges and • hast made us unto our God kings glory of the redeemed Church ! a Rev. VII. 13. b Rev. vi. 1, 3, 5, 7. c Rev, xvii. 1; xxi. 9.
d Rev. xix. 10, e Rev. xxII. 9. f Rev, v. 9, 10. g Rev. v. 10. h Matt. xxvII. 52, 53.