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sixth Vial, in which the conversion of these nations to the faith of Christ is so evidently foretold"; and that, it may be observed, in terms, which are of such a character, that nothing but the partial fulfilment of these prophecies could have pointed out the connection between them ;- what an evidence does it afford of the inspiration of both prophecies, and especially of this prophecy of St John; which, from its very nature, shews that its author could not have borrowed anything from the former prophecy, because he most probably was ignorant of the great and important events which are contained in it.
2. There are also other important prophecies relating to the events of the last times, to which allusion has been more particularly made; especially those which are contained in the eleventh and twelfth chapters of the book of Daniel, and in the concluding chapters of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, and Zechariah ; which relate to some circumstances of great prosperity, as well as of great and severe trials, which, it is foretold, shall befall the Church in the latter days?: and we mentioned the impossibility that any person,—more especially one who lived, as St John did, before the events of the Christian Church could have thrown any light upon them,—could have pointed out the particular class of events to which they related. But we find these events distinguished in the Apocalypse into different periods; and these forming part of a scheme, extending from the first promise of a Redeemer into eternity. Now with regard to that part of these prophecies, which is already fulfilled, we derive 1 Chap. xvi. 12.
2 Vid, supra, Chap. 11. pp. 32, &c.
from them conclusive evidence of the inspiration of the prophet who has recorded them. Surely it implies also a very high degree of inspiration, that any person should be able to speak so confidently with regard to events connected with the same dispensation, which are still future, and depending upon changes which it is in the power of omnipotence alone to effect; and which must be produced by revolutions, both in the religious and the political world, to which we should hardly venture to look forward, unless we had the assurance of prophecy for their accomplishment. For whatever doubt may hang over the subject, we possess a guarantee in support of their ultimate accomplishment, in the fulfilment of other prophecies, which, at the time of their delivery, were attended with equal improbability with those which have been already fulfilled : and of their ultimate fulfilment, the events of the world, as far as we can expect in the present stage of the divine dispensations, hold out the most confident expectation.
There is also another description of prophecies, which were mentioned as being intimately connected with the proper understanding of the Apocalypse, namely, those prophecies which have what is called a double sense, and have a view to an immediate, as well as a more remote fulfilment. This description of prophecies had its origin in the peculiar character of the Jewish dispensation; which was typical of that greater and better dispensation which was to follow it.
Of these prophecies, some had a partial fulfilment under the Jewish dispensation itself; others had their fulfilment in the coming of our Saviour; but the greater part of them are
connected with the Gospel dispensation, and have reference to events connected with the
progress of religion till the end of all things. It was, therefore, in a due estimate of the divine character which belongs to this description of prophecy, that Lord Bacon made that fine observation, when he says, that, in sorting the prophecies of Scripture with their events, we must allow for that latitude which is agreeable and familiar unto divine prophecies, being of the nature of the author, with whom a thousand years are but as one day; and therefore they are not fulfilled punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment throughout many ages, though the height or fulness of them may refer to some one age'. This germinant accomplishment, as Lord Bacon expresses it, extending through many ages, contains in itself an incontrovertible proof of its divinity. For who, but God himself, could thus declare the end from the beginning, or so arrange the order and character of events, that the events of one age should bear a certain prescribed resemblance to those of another which preceded it? Now those prophecies of the Old Testament, in which a double sense is contained, have reference chiefly to the latter ages of the world : and, therefore, though we may derive some evidence of their fulfilment, and be materially guided in the interpretation of them, by the light which is thrown upon them in other parts of the New Testament; yet it is to the Apocalypse that we must principally look for a full and clear knowledge, as far as it is possible in our present state, of those great and important prophecies, which are connected with the Christian dispensation to its final close. Now, if we find the Apocalypse exhibiting a remarkable harmony and uniformity with the ancient prophecies; supplying the precise train of events which was necessary to complete what was wanting in the detail of former prophecies, and pointing out their true interpretation”; and thus throwing a light over them, which clearly proves their spiritual import, and blends the different branches of Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian prophecy into one harmonious whole; what an evidence do we possess of the divine character of the whole scheme, and of the inspiration of that prophet, who could thus collect all the scattered rays of prophecy into one point, as is done by St John in this last and closing book of revelation! For instance, what person, without divine inspiration, could have drawn such a parallel as is done by St John between the spiritual and the ancient Babylon ? a parallel which exhibits so wonderful an agreement in every part, and the application of which is confirmed by evidence so convincing. What person could have collected together all the sublime imagery of ancient prophecy in such a manner as is done by St John, in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of the Apocalypse, to adorn the description of the glories of the heavenly Jerusalem ; and thus at once confirm the spiritual character and the application of the ancient prophecies? This view of the prophecies of the Apocalypse is in perfect agreement with the whole character of this book, which is entirely of a typical character, and is composed of imagery
| Adv. of Learning, B. 11.
2 In illustration of this point, we cular prophecy in which it is found, may observe, how chap. xvii: 18 fixes but 'of all the prophecies, which are the application, not only of the parti- immediately connected with it, to Rome. 1 Isai, liv, 13.
borrowed from the former dispensations of prophecy. But who could have thus taken upon himself to be the interpreter of ancient prophecy, and have given such a view of its spiritual character, unless he had been guided and enlightened by the Holy Spirit of Him, who is the great Author of all these dispensations?
Lastly, we may observe, with reference to this head, the improbability that St John, who was educated as a Jew, could invent such a view of the ancient prophecies as implied their universal application : and the evidence of inspiration, which we therefore derive from the manner, in which St John has opened out and disclosed the object and intention of ancient prophecy; and has pointed out its harmony with the great and leading purport of the prophecies of the Apocalypse, with reference to the different trials and changes, through which the religion of the Redeemer is destined to pass to its final triumph, in the universal establishment of his kingdom on earth.
Indeed, the universal extension of true religion in the latter days is the great and leading subject of ancient prophecy. All thy children, says the prophet Isaiah, shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children'; and the prophet Daniel says,—expressly with reference to the great changes which will take place in the world, in connection with the great events which are the subject of this part of the Apocalyptic prophecies,—that many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. In like manner, previous to the announcement of the overthrow of the spiritual Babylon, an angel is seen by St John to fly through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach
2 Dan, xii. 4.