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the two opposites of judgment and mercy. How we are to understand it in any particular passage, must be determined by the context.
Now the context of tbe apocalyptic barvest seems to me most definitely to teach us, that a barvest of judgment is intended. Throughout the whole book of Revelation, with the exception of a few places which sufficiently explain themselves*, the earth is used as a symbol of the Roman empire pagan and papal. Upon this eartb all the vials of God's wrath are poured out, whatever subsequent distinction may be made in their effusiont. It is the vine of tbis earth that is to be gathered, when her grapes are fully ripe: and it is the ripe barvest of this selfsame earth that is to be reaped, when the time for reaping is comer. Here we may note, that it is not, as in our Lord's parablell
, said to be the harvest of a field, which is afterwards formally explained to mean the wbole world: but, as the sickle is thrust into the earth to gather the vine of the earth, so is the sickle likewise thrust into the earth to reap the barvest of the earth. If then tbe eartb mean the Roman Empire in the case of the vintage, which can not reasonably be doubted, since those that are cast into the wine-press are the Roman beast, the false prophet, and the kings of that same earth, and since (according to the acknowledged principles of symbolical imagery) the vine of the earth must denote
* Such as Rev. xx. 8, 9, 11. and xxi. 1, 24.
+ Rev. xvi. 1. | Read attentively Rev. xiv. 14-20
| Matt. xiii. 24, 38.
] the corrupt church of the mystic Babylon, whose abominations, whose ripe clusters of iniquity, will eventually occasion the ruin of its supporter the secular beast*: if, I say, the eartb mean the Roman empire in the case of the vintage, must we not conclude from the almost studied similarity of phraseology used by the prophet, that the earth means likewise the Roman empire in the case of the harvest? And, if this be allowed, what idea can we annex to a reaping of the barvest of the Roman empire, which, like the grapes of that same empire, is declared to be ripe, except that of some tremendous judgment that should precede the vintage and more or less affect the wbole empire? In such an opinion also we shall be the more confirmed by finding, that a judgment about to befall Babylon, the constant apocalyptic type of the Roman church and empire, is by Jeremiah expressly termed a barvest. This difference indeed there is between the two prophets, that Jeremiah dwells upon the third part of the harvest, the threshing; while St. John selects the imagery of the first part, the reaping: yet I cannot but think, that the context of both
passages sufficie ently shews, that a barvest of judgment, not of mercy, is intended. The apocalyptic barvest, by being confined to the earth, or the Roman empire, cannot denote either the general in-gatbering of Judab and Israel, or the universal influx of all nations to the Millennian church: and since, like the vintage, it is exclusively confined to the idolatrous and persecuting Roman empire, since, in both cases the sickle is equally thrust into this empire; I feel
myself compelled to conclude, that, like the vintage, it denotes some signal judgment. This judgment I have supposed to be the first part of the third woe; a WoC, which must be expected to mark a period in history no less striking than the successive founding of the Saracenic and Î'urkish empires; a woe, which is ushered in by an event no less singular than definite, the fall of a tenth part of the great Roman city or of one of tbe ten original Gothico-Roman monarchies by an earthquake. This judgment in short I have supposed to be the borrors of the second French revolution and its immediate consequences, commencing on the 12th of August 1792, and ushered in by the fall of the monarchy both arbitrary and limited which at that time was the only one that remained of the ten original kingdoms; a revolution, which in those consequences, or (to adopt the prophetic phraseology) during the reaping of the barvest of the eartb, has been felt to the remotest parts of the Roman empire: and as
I have seen no reason to alter my opinion.
11. The next point, which we have to consider, is the proper chronological arrangement of the seven vials*, Bp. Newton and myself believe, that the seventh trumpet begins to sound before any one of the seven vials is poured out, and that it includes within itself as so many component parts all the seven vials, just as the seventb seal includes within itself all the seven trumpets: Mr. Whitaker on the contrary maintains, that all the seven vials precede the sounding of the seventh trumpet; which he conceives to be the same as the last trump at the day
* Letter, p. 33.
of judgment mentioned by St. Paul*, and after which he has never been taughtt to look for any thing but the resurrection and its awful consequen
I have stated the ground of the argument to the best of my judgment, and have endeavoured as much as possible to avoid either misunderstanding or misrepresenting my opponent's view of the subject. I will proceed therefore to state at large the grounds on which I adopted Bp. Newton's arrangement of the seven vialsi.
* 1 Corinth. xv. 52.
+ I am quite at a loss to conceive what books on the Apocalypse Mr. Whitaker can possiby have read, to say that he has never been taught to look for any thing but the resur. rection and its awful consequences after the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
Every protestant expositor that I am acquainted with, from Mede down even to myself, will teach him the very reverse.
# I have to beg Mr. Whitaker's pardon for saying that he was aware, because he explicitly avows in his Letter that he was no such thing. I meant rather to compliment him, than to offend him, by paying this tribute of acknowledgment to his supposed foresight. At the same time I think it right to observe, that he has misunderstood the sense in which I said that the seventh trumpet is represented as beginning to sound before any one of the vials is poured out. I certainly never meant to say, as he seems to have imagined, that the seventh trumpet begins to sound before the successive effusion of the vials, merely because the one is mentioned in Rev. xi, while the others are described in Rev. xvi. My opinion was drawn from the circumstance of the seventh trumpet occupying the same chrono. logical position in the little book, that the seven vials jointly do in the larger book : whence I concluded, with Bp. Newton, that it must synchronize with the seven vials; and I could not conceive how it could synchronize with them, unless it so preceded the effusion of the very first as to comprehend them all.
It is manifest that the chronological position of the vials is after the sounding of at least the two first woe-trumpets; for this is absolutely required by
My reasoning at farge was as follows. The four chapters of the little book run parallel to each other and equally bring us down to the end of the 1260 days and the battle of the vintage. This catastrophe is specially mentioned only in the last of the four chapters: but, from the synchronical position of the seventh trumpet towards the close of the first of the four chapters, it is plain that the blast of it must usher in both the harvest and the vintage : for, the harvest and the vintage being the last detailed events in one synchronical chapter, they must necessarily coincide with the last detailed events in another synchronical chapter: in other words, Rev. xiv. 14-20 must coincide with that description of the effects produced by the seventh trumpet which is contained in Rev. xi. 16–19. The vintage however, which is only touched upon in the little book, is after. wards described at large in the greater book : for that Rev. xiv. 18-20 and Rev. xix. 11-21 relate to the same final overthrow of the beast, the false prophet; and the kmgs of the earth, in some country that extends 1600 furlongs, there cannot be a doubt, as Mr. Mede has fully shewn. But to this final catastrophé the vials bring us down: and we have likewise seen that the seventh trumpet must from its synchronical position be considered as bringing us down to the same event. The seventh trumpet therefore must synchronize with the seven vials : but how can it synchronize with them without comprehending them for the harvest and the vintage, which from their synchronical position plainly belong to the seventh trumpet, can only, as Bp. Newton rightly remarks, be referred to the seven vials. If then the seventh trumpet comprehend the seven vials, its earliest blast must be the signal for the effusion of the first vial; and consequently must precede it. The reader will have a clear idea of the propriety of this statement, if he will figure to himself Rev. xi, Rev. xiv, and Rev. ix, xv_xix, drawn out, side by side, in parallel columns after the nature of harmony. If the three columns terminate together, as they undoubtedly do, then the last events which they severally describe must necessarily be synchronical.