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his very limited system of applying the prophecies. It appears to me to be so extremely arbitrary, and to introduce so much confusion into the three septenaries of the seals, the trumpets, and the vials, that, if it be adopted, I see not what certainty we can ever have, that a clue to the right interpretation of the Apocalypse is attainable.
The Archdeacon supposes, that the sir first seals give a general sketch of the contents of the whole book, and that they extend from the time of our Saviour's ascension even to the great day of the Lord's vengeance, a description of which day is exhibited under the sixth seal*. Having thus arrived at the consummation of all things, how are we to dispose of the seventh seal ? The Archdeacon conceives, that the same history of the Church begins anew under it; that the gonnection, which had hitherto united the seals, is broken; that the seventh seal stands apart, containing all the seven trumpets; and that the renewed history, comprehended under this seventh seal, begins from the earliest times of Christianity, or, to speak a more properly, from the period when our Lord left the "world in person, and committed the Chặrch to the guidance
of his apostles. From this time the first seal takes its com " mencement; from this also, the first trumpett.'' Hence it is manifest, since the seventh seal brings us back, for the purpose of introducing the seven trumpets, to the very same period at which the first seal was opened, that the opening of the seventh scal synchronizes, in the judgment of the Archdeacon, with the opening of the first seal, and that the seventh seal singly comprehends exactly the same space of time as all the six first sents conjointly.
The seventh seal then introduces and contains within itself all the seven trumpets, the first sir of which constitute the Archdeacon's second series of prophetic history, as the first six şeals had constituted his first series; and these two serieses are in a great measure, though not altogether, commensurate; for, though they both alike begin from the ascension of our Lord, the six seals carry us to the day of judgment, whereas the six trumpets only carry us to the end of the 1260 years I. p. 135, 174, 1966 p. 199, 200, * p. 273, 274
The third series is of course that of the vials, which the Archdeacon arranges under the seventh trunipet, as he had previously arranged the seven trumpets under the seventh seal. But where is the place of the seventh trumpet, and consequently of the first dial? The Archdeacon does not bring back the seventh trumpet and the first vial to the ascension of our Lord, as he had previously brought back the seventh scal and the first trumpet, but only to the beginning of the times of the beast, or the 1260 years; through the whole of which he supposes the seventh truinpet and its component viels to extend. He conceives however, that the sixth trumpet introduces Mohammedism in the year 606, and reaches to the downfall of Mohammedism at the close of the 1260 years. Consequently the beginning of the seventh trumpet exactly synchronizes with the beginning of the sixth trumpet; but the seventh extends beyond the sixth, and reaches, like the sixth seal and the seventh seal, to the final com summation of all things *.
In brief, the chronological arrangement of the Archdeacon's three serieses is as follows. The first is that of the six seals; and it reaches from the ascension of our Lord to the day of judgment. The second is that of the six trumpets, introduced by and comprehended under the seventh seal; and it reaches
from the ascension of our Lord to the termination of the 1200 years. The third is that of the seven vials, introduced by and comprehended under the seventh trumpet; and it reaches from the commencement of the times of the beast or the 1200 years to the day of judgment.
Now it is impossible not to see; that the whole of this are rangement is purely arbitrary, and consequently that the Various interpretations built upon it must in a great measure be arbitrary likewise. The Apocalypse must either be one continued prophecy, like ench of those delivered by Daniel; in which case (with the single exception, as nearly all com, mentators are agreed, of the episode contained in the little þook) we must admit it, unless we be willing to give up ali fertainty of interpretation, to be strictly chronological: or it
1.p. 308, 399, 400, 401, 252-273, 274, 339, 360.
must be a book containing several perfectly distinct and detaclied prophecies, like the whole book of Daniel, each of which, for any thing that appears to the contrary, may either exactly synchronize or not exactly synchronize with its fellows. If the former opinion be just, the Archdeacon's scheme immediately falls to the ground; for then all the seven trumpets must necessarily be posterior in point of time to the opening of all the seven seals, and in a similar manner all the seven vials to the sounding of all the seven trumpets. If the latter opinion be just, then the question is, how are we to divide the Apocalypse into distinct prophecies? The only system, that to my own mind at least seems at all plausible, would be to suppose that each of the three septenaries of the seals, the trumpets, and the vials, forms a distinct prophecy. If we divide the Apocalypse at all, we must attend to the Apostle's own arrangement; and homogeneity plainly forbids us to separate the seals from the scals, the trumpets from the trumpets, or the vials from the vials. So again: as honogeneity requires us to attend to the Apostle's own arrangement in case of a division, it equally requires us to suppose that these three distinct prophecies exactly coincide with each other in point of chronology: otherwise, what commentator shall pretend, without any clue to guide him, to determine the commencement of each? But the seals, as all agree, commence either from the ascension of our Lord, or at least from some era in the Apostle's own lifetime: therefore, if we divide the Apocalypse, homogeneity requires us to conclude that the trumpets and the vials commence likewise from the same era. Accordingly I have somewhere met with a commentator, whose work I have not at present by me, and whose name I cannot recollect, that proceeds upon this very principle. He divides the Apocalypse into the three prophecies of the seals, the trumpets, and the vials; and supposes, that all these prophecies run exactly parallel with each other, extending alike from the age of St. John to the end of the world. To this scheme, when examined in detail, the Archdeacon, as well as myself, will probably see insurmountable objections. Sir Isaac Newton adopts a somewhat different plan. He arranges all the seven trumpets under the 14
seventh seat, and supposes them chronologically to succeed the sir first seuls; thus making the seals and the trumpets one continued prophecy: but, when he arrives at the vials, he conceives them to be only the trumpets repeuted; thus making the vials a detached prophecy synchronizing with the trumpets *. Nothing can be inore manitest in this plan than its arbitrary violation of homogeneity. Wljat warrant can we have for asserting, that the seals and the trumpets form jointly a continued prophecy, but that the vials form a distinct separate prophecy synchronizing with that part of the former prophecy which is comprehended under ihe trumpets? But, if Sir Isaac violate homogeneity in his arrangement of the Apocalypse, much more surely does the Archdeacon: for he' not only separates the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet from their respective predecessors, but divides the Apocalypse into three distinct prophecies, not one of which exactly synchronizes with another.
A violation of homogeneity however is not the only objection to the Archdeacon's arrangement. It seems to me to involve in itself more than one obvious contradiction. For what reason is the seventh seal styled the seventh ? The most natural answer is, because it succeeds the sir first seals. Now, according to the Archdeacon's arrangement, it does not succeed them: for the opening of it exactly synchronizes with the opening of the first, and therefore of course precedes the opening of the remaining five, although the contents of the seventh seal itself are chronologically commensurate with the contents of all the other six. But, if the opening of the seventh seal synchronize with the opening of the first and therefore precede the opening of the remaining five, with what propriety can it be styled the seventh seal ? The same remark applies to his arrangement of the trumpets. The first sounding of the seventh trumpet, which introduces the seven vials, exactly synchronizes with the first sounding of the sixth ; although, in point of duration, the seventh trumpet extends beyond the sixth. Such, according to the Archdeacon, being the case, why should one be termed the seventh rather than the other. The three last trumpets are
Observ. on the Apoc. p. 254, 293, 295.
moreover styled the three woes. How then can the serenih trumpet be the third woe, if it in a great measure synchronize with the second woe? I an aware, that the Archdeacon does not consider the seventh trumpet as being itse!f the third woe, but only as introducing, at some period or other of its sounding, that third woe*. Such a supposition however is forbidden, by homogeneity; for, since the fifth and the sirth trumpets manifestly introduce at their very earliest blast the first and second Woks, we seem bound to conclude that the seventh trumpet should similarly introduce ať its earliest blast the third zoe. In this case then the second and the third woes exactly commence together: whence we are compelled to inquire, both why they should be styled second and third, and what event or series of events is intended by the one and what by the oiher? Nor is even this the only difficulty. The seventh trumpet is represented as beginning to sound after the expiration of the second woe, and as introducing quickly the third woe. It is likewise represented as beginning to sound after the death and revival of the witnesses; which must take place either (as Mede thinks) at the end of the 1260 years, or (as I am rather inclined to believe toward the end of them. The Archdeacon himself thinks it most probablé, that these events are yet to come t. Now, in either of these cases, how can the seventh trumpet succeed the death and revival of the witnesses, if it begin to sound at the rery commencement of the 1260 years; that is to say at the very commencement of their prophesying?
Hitherto I have argued on the supposition, that it is allowable to divide the Apocalypse into distinct predictions; and have only attempted to.shew, that it is next to impossible to fix upon' any unobjectionable method of dividing it. I fhall pow proceed to maintain, that the system of dividing it rests upon no solid foundation. If we carefully read the Apocalypse itself, we shall find no indications of any such division as that which forms the very basis of the Archdeacon's scheme of interpretation. St. John only specifies a single division of his Pubject, the greater book and the little book. This division
p. 409, note.
* p. 302, 303.