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comprehends the sun, the moon, and the stars : and thus, the symbo/ical earth comprehends the sea, the rivers, the islands, and the mountains. The several divisions of the two parallel classes shall be treated of in their order. 1. The symbolical heaven, when interpreted temporally, signifies the whole body politic. As such, it comprehends the sun, or the sovereign power wheresoever it be lodged ; the moon, or the people which is the allegorical wife of the sovereign power; and the stars, or the princes and nobles of the realm. If this idea be further pursued from a single kingdom and from an undivided empire to an empire split into many kingdoms like the Roman empire, the sun will be the government of that state, which
from its superiority of power resembles the bright orb of
day in the midst of the stars or independent kings of the imperial firmament; and the moon will be the whole body of the people throughout the whole empire. Such being the case, the blackening of the sun, the turning of the moon into blood, the falling of the stars, and the departing of the heavens like a scrowl, will mean either the subversion of a kingdom, or the subversion of an empire, according as the tenor of the prophecy shall determine: while the shooting of a single star from heaven to earth denotes the downfall of a sovereign prince.* Upon the same principle, the eclipsing of the heavenly bodies means a partial calamity, not extending to the utter subversion of the whole kingdom or empire : and, when the sun is said to scorch men with fire, a grievous tyranny, exercised by the supreme power, whether at the head of a kingdom or an empire, is denoted. The political heaven is sometimes termed the air : in which case, as thunder, lightning, hail, and clouds, are generated and supported in the atmosphere; so convulsions, tumults, and uproars, are produced and maintained in an ill-regulated or expiring body politic.
On the other hand, the symbolical heaven, when interpreted spiritually, signifies the whole body of the church militant, considered as including both Christ its head and all the members of his mystical body. In this case, the sun will represent our Lord; the moon, his allegorical consort the Church ; and the stars, his appointed pastors and teachers. Christ however is not only the head of his faithful people, the sun of their religious system ; but he is likewise “a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.” Hence he is typified, not only by the sun, but by a star also, termed, by way of eminence over all other stars or priests, “the bright and morning star.” The spiritual heaven, or the Church, is God's appointed channel of conveying blessings to his people: the soft dews, and gentle rains therefore of this spiritual heaven symbolize the graces of the Holy Ghost.f Lastly, as the present heaven signifies the Church militant ; so a new heaven, succeeding the present heaven when it passes
* See Isaiah xiv. 12.
f Hence we find the Church militant perpetually described in the parables as the iingdom of beaven. (See particularly Matt, xiii, 24–50.) In all the parables, coutained in this chapter, since both good and bad are represented, as being equally included in the kingdom of beaven, and since it is declared that a final separation between them will only take place at the day of judgment; it is evident, that the kingdom of beaven, which they speak of, is not the literal and future, but the oymbolical and present, kingdom.
away, is the Church triumphant.t 2. The earth, when taken in a temporal sense, imports in the abstract the territorial dominions of any Pagan or irreligious empire. The sea, ever turbulent and restless, represents nations in a tumultuary or revolutionary state. A flood is a large body of men put in motion for some given purpose, rarely, perhaps never, a good one. Rivers and fountains mean nations and their political heads while in a tranquil state; their affairs flowing along in a gentle and even course like the stream of a river, and not subject to violent agitations like the sea.S An earthquake is a sudden convulsion in an empire, violently overturning the existing order of things; as a literal earthquake subverts cities and villages, and occasions universal confusion and destruction. Mountains and islands are kingdoms and states. The turning of the sea into blood denotes the bloodshed occasioned by tumults and revolutions : and the drying up of a ...?river, signifies the gradual exhaustion and declension of the particular nation symbolized by that river. If we consider this set of hieroglyphics in a limited point of view, the earth will mean, not merely the territorial dominions of any irreligious empire taken in the abstract, but the dominions of that particular empire which is in open opposition to the Church of Christ during the period of the chronological prophecy which treats of it. Thus thefour beasts, Intontioned in one of Daniel’s visions, are said to arise out of the sea, or out of the midst of conflicting nations : and the angel afterwards explains them as being four kingdoms or empires, which should arise out of the earth or the general territorial dominions of Paganism, as opposed to the Levitical Church of God. Afterwards, when the affairs of the Jewish nation were specially connected with the four great empires in regular succession to the almost entire exclusion of other states ; each of these earths or Pagan empires became successively the symbolical earth or Pagan state hostile to the Mosaical heaven or Church, to the exclusion of all other earths. And even the Jewish nation itself, when it had filled up the measure of its iniquities by crucifying the Lord of life, became an earth or antichristian state in opposition to the real church of God.” Now the whole of the Revelation relates to that part of the reign of the fourth or Roman beast, which was about to succeed the period of time when St. John wrote : consequently, whenever the temporal symbol earth occurs in the Apocalypse, it invariably means the territorial dominions of the Roman empire,
* Rev. ii. 28. and xxii. 16. See also Numb. xxiv. 17.
* See Isaiah xliv. 3. and Rev. xvii. 15. See also Sir Isaac Newton's Observation, on Daniel, p. 19.
# There is one instance, in which this set of hieroglyphics is applied to domestic life : and another, the only one in the Apocalypse, in which it is used to describe the Pagan hierarchy and religion. (See Gen. xxxvii. 9, 10. and Rev. vi. 12, 18, 14.) In both these cases however the very same ruling idea may be observed, as when the symbols are applied to an empire or to a pure religion.
$ Sir Isaac Newton supposes, that fountains are “cities, the permanent heads of river, politic.” but the other interpretation appears to me more agreeable to symbolical analogy. As fountain, are the bead of rivers, so ate sovereigns the head of their people ; whence we are accustomed, even in our ordinary conversation, to style the king the fountain of honours and dignities : we might add, of all Public offices, both civil and military; and, in most countries, of the laws also.
VO L. I. 9
whether existing under its sixth or seventh head, and .
whether united in one great monarchy or branching out
* “All the tribes of the earth,” that is, the jewish earth, “shall mourn.” (Matt. xxiv. 30.) This prophecy may possibly relate ultimately to the times of the second advent; but there seems to be little doubt, that it primarily relates to the destruction of Jerusalem.
into ten regal horns.” This being the case, the sea, the rivers, the fountains, the floods, the islands, the mountains, and the earthquakes, of the apocalyptic earth, denote the very same objects and circumstances as those of the political earth when considered abstractedly and generally, only with a limitation either to the pagan or the papal
Roman empire. Very few of this set of symbols are ever used in a spiritual sense. The earth however, when taken in that acceptation, denotes a state of paganism or apostacy; that very state in short, which is the main characteristic of a temporal earth, or a pagan or apostate empire. Hence the shooting of a star from heaven to earth is the apostacy of a Christian pastor; being a desertion of heaven or the Church, for the earth or an heretical and antichristian state.t A mountain imports the triumphant kingdom of the Messiah; which, from a stone or a small beginning, is to become a great mountain and fill the whole earth,t being established upon the top of all other mountains or kingdoms, and being exalted above all other hills or petty states.S. Accordingly Daniel informs us, that the kingdom, symbolized by a great mountain in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, should never be destroyed; but that it should break in pieces, and consume, all the kingdoms which had preceded it: || in other words, that it should divest them of their characters of being kingdoms of the symbolical earth, and should cause them to become kingdoms of the symbolical heaven. As temporal rivers signify nations in a settled state ; so, in the blessed region of eternal felicity, we are figuratively told, that there is “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb :" apparently typifying the everlastingly settled state of the pious, and as such free both from those sudden miry floods which swell and pollute the streams of temporal rivers, and from that gradual exhaustion which so frequently dries up their political waters and converts them into shallow brooks.” And, as the temporal sea aptly typifies worldly nations ever agitated and unsettled:t so we are specially informed by the apocalyptic prophet, that hereafter there shall be “no more sea :” save only a clear “sea of glass like unto crystal,” and consequently incapable of being ever ruffled.
* From a want of due attention to the remarkable precision of the symbolical language of prophecy, Mr. Galloway has annexed no less than five different significations to the word earth, all within the compass of the single book of the Apocalypse, and two of them within the compass even of a single chapter of that book; thereby rendering it, upon Air scheme, utterly impossible to ascertain the definite meaning of St. John. in Rev. viii. 13, he supposes the earth to signify Christian Rome in her schismatic and wicked state, previous to the commencement of what may be properly termed the Popal domination : in Rev. xvi. 4, the Papal Apostacy in Rev. xii. 9, Atheism ; in Rev. xii. 16, Germany; and lastly, in Rev. xiii. 11, 12, 14, the revolutionary power of France. See Comment. p. 167, where all these different interpretations of the same symbol are *mmed up together even by Mr. Galloway himself. It is somewhat remarkable, that not one of them is the true one.
+ This self-same compound hieroglyphic, when used in a temporal sense, denotes, as I have already observed, the downfall of a sovereign prince.
# Dan. ii. 34, 35. $ Isaiah ii. 3. s' Dan. ii. 44.
3. The third set of symbols commences with that of a city, under which may be arranged various other symbols connected with it. In the Apocalypse two cities are mentioned, the great city and the holy city, the city of the dragon and the city of the Lamb. The great city is the Roman empire, both temporal and ecclesiastical, both secular and papal; the mystic name of which is Babylon : the holy city is the Church of Christ, the mystic name of which is jo. The great city, thus representing both the spiritual empire of the Pope, and the temporal empire which upheld his authority, is accordingly exhibited to us as a harlot or apostate church riding triumphant upon a beast or idolatrous empire. It is moreover said to consist of ten parts or streets, which answer to the ten horns of the beast, and which denote the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire was divided. † In this same great city, which is spiritually termed Sodom and Eygpt, and within the limits of which (the province of J o our Lord was crucified, is the throne or seat of the dragon, which he has transferred to his special dele
* If the reader dislike this interpretation of the river of life, let him by all means reject it. Though I have been led to it, as perhaps most agreeable to symbolical analogy, I am by no means disposed to insist upon its propriety. It may, or it may not, be the true exposition.
it “The wicked are like the troubled tea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isaiah lvii. 20, 21.) The same allegorical language is used by St. Jude. “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame,” Jude 13,
# Rev. xi. 13,