THE

COMING OF MESSIAH

IN

GLORY AND MAJESTY

BY

JUAN JOSAFAT BEN-EZRA,

A CONVERTED JEW

TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH, WITH A PRELIMINARY DISCOURSE, BY THE REV. EDWARD IRVING, A.M.

Volume II

PUBLISHED BY L. B. SEELEY AND SON FLEET STREET, LONDON MDCCCXXVII

THIS EDITION PUBLISHED BY J G TILLIN ENGLAND

© MM

THE COMING OF MESSIAH IN GLORY AND MAJESTY.

PART II. (CONTINUED)

PHENOMENON VI.

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

THE two capital points which we now proceed to examine, viz. the Christian church, and the captivity of Babylon, do not deserve so much the name of Phenomena, as of Antiphenomena, or veils, clouds, and impediments, to the observation of the true Phenomena. They are those two great and ancient fortresses, which have served, and do serve, as a refuge and asylum against every class of enemies. To which the interpreters of scripture most frequently betake themselves, and in them find security, as appears to me, for all their ideas of the second coming of Christ; thence directing such a fire, or more truly to speak, such an uproar, to frighten every hostile idea, as that the passage, if not absolutely shut, becomes at the least highly difficult, and almost impracticable.

You have already perceived, throughout all the preceding phenomena, the great labour and difficulty with which we made our way; it being necessary, almost at every step, for us to open the passage by force of arms, and long to dispute upon the same spot of ground, now with the one fortress, now with the other, now with both at once: but as the passage between these two fortresses is not to be avoided, by reason of their being situated on either side of the king’s highway, which we intend to follow, it truly becomes necessary for a time to lay aside every other occupation, and direct our attention to the fortresses themselves, in order to examine them one by one, and ascertain whether or not they are capable of defending the contrary ideas; that we may either prudently yield and retire from the contest, or follow some other road without any fear. These two fortresses are; the first, the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, and their return to Jerusalem; the second, which supplies what the other cannot reach, is the Christian church. Let us begin with this, which is the more laborious.

Certain things necessary to be premised.

§ 1. BEFORE coming into close quarters with this sacred fortress, which is worthy of our most profound respect, it is indispensable to premise these two things; first, the notion, or clear idea, of all which is signified or comprehended under this name, The Christian Church: that is to say, what is certain and of divine faith upon this point; and what ought to be regarded as a brief, sincere, and religious confession of our faith. Secondly, the notion or idea, equally clear, of the sense and terms in which alone we design to speak. Without these two notions, it seems morally impossible to shut every door against subtleties, equivocations, and sophisms, which may easily incommode us.

First Notion.

THE Christian church, founded by Messiah himself, watered by his blood, and fertilized by his Spirit, is the true and only church of the living God on this our earth. It is, as saith the Apostle, the pillar and ground of the truth, 1 Tim. iii. 15. The faithful depositary of verity, to whom pertaineth to teach it as she received it; to whom consequently pertaineth judgment and final sentence upon the real and true sense of the Holy Scriptures: and that which she has resolved, taught, and commanded on these subjects, and that which she may henceforth resolve, teach, or command, as a verity of faith, ought to be received of all without contradiction or dispute. This church is holy, and with propriety entitled to that name, not only on account of the holiness of God, by whom she was consecrated, but likewise on account of the Holy Spirit which unites her; on account of the holiness of her head, which is Christ himself; on account of the holiness of her worship, her sacraments, her morality, and her laws; and, in short, because in her alone is to be found that justice and holiness, which converteth men into the sons of God.

This church is catholic, or universal, because, being essentially one, it comprehendeth within itself all peoples, tribes, and languages, which have sought and may henceforth seek to enter into and unite themselves with her. “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all,” Col. iii. 11.

This church is, at the same time, apostolic, and may likewise with propriety be termed Roman, forasmuch as it posesseth all the authority, jurisdiction, and spiritual power, which the Son of God himself constituted in his apostles, and, above all the rest, in the chief of the apostles, St. Peter, that is, the bishop of Rome. Consequently, we acknowledge this bishop of Rome as the true centre of unity, in whom should terminate all the lines which proceed from the circumference of the whole Christian world; and those which will not terminate in this centre, do not pertain to the essential unity of the body of Christ, or to the true Christian church.

Second Notion,

THIS Christian church, this catholic church, this only spouse of the true God, notwithstanding that she is essentially one, and indivisible, is necessarily made up of two parts, differing from one another, and without which all in it were disorder and confusion, it is composed of two parts, active and passive; to wit, Mother and children, Mistress and disciples, Governess and governed, Directress and directed. By this clear and palpable notion, the difference is easily recognized between the truth signified by these two words, church of God, and the spouse of God. The first is a general word which comprehends all the faithful, great and small, learned and ignorant, polished and rustic, clergy and laity. The second seems manifestly to apply only to the active part of the same church, which is the priesthood, or, speaking with greater propriety, to the body of pastors. This active part is what we truly denominate our mother the church, and of this only we speak, when we say, the church teaches so; the church decides so; the church commands so. And if this be properly our mother, she is likewise spouse in the house of the Lord, to whom it pertains to bring forth children to God, to whom it pertains to nurse them, to sustain, to teach, to govern, and correct them.

Whence follows another notion of great importance, for the clearing of my ideas, and rectifying the understanding of those passages, in which it is said to the Jews, that the kingdom should be taken from them, and the vineyard which they cultivated should be entrusted to other husbandmen. It is a truth that though so many terrible sentences have been verified upon the Jews, since the death of Messiah, there has never been taken from them, nor is there taken from them, ingress into the Christian church; but, on the other hand, they were the first called into it, they have entered, and do enter, as many as desired it, and the church doth receive them into her bosom with the utmost affection. What then is it which was taken from the Jews by that sentence of Christ, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof?” and that other which they said themselves, “He will take away the vineyard and give it to other husbandmen?” It is, my friend, nothing else, and can be nothing else, than the active kingdom, the active church, the dignity of spouse, of mother, of governess of the family; the administration of the vineyard of God; they being husbandmen and labourers of that vineyard, which office we came into when it was taken from them, which they had held and would have held, had it not been taken away. I desire that all these notions may be had in remembrance, in order that when I speak of the Christian church, there may be no mistake from confounding the principal part with the whole; the active with the passive; the general ideas of the church with the particular ideas of the spouse.

§ 2. All these things being supposed and well understood, hear me now, my friend, with the less scruple and with the more attention. The first proposition to which I hasten, will doubtless appear to you incredible and almost absurd. Nevertheless, with your leave, I dare to advance it, and even to prove it.

Proposition.

THIS word, The Christian Church, in the mouth and from the pen of the Christian doctors, is not unfrequently, in certain particular points, a word very equivocal; which contains much of sophism, though hidden and much disguised.

I desire to explain myself with all clearness, in such a way as any one may understand. You see then, in the first place, that the proposition is not universal, but limited to certain particular points. If now you ask me what these are, I reply to you briefly that they are all those passages of Divine Scripture, which are confessedly favourable to the Jews; wherein are clearly and manifestly seen joyful annunciations, magnificent, extraordinary, new, and admirable promises which God himself hath made to Zion, to Jerusalem, to the house of Jacob: and this not at random —but to Zion, desolate and captive, and removing to and fro, alone, and having lost her children; to Zion, considered as a woman forsaken and sorrowful in spirit, and a wife of youth cast out; to Jerusalem, destroyed and trodden under foot of the Gentiles; to the house of Jacob, scattered to all the winds, and made the derision of all nations: which promises we know with all certainty have never yet been fulfilled.

All such passages of scripture, which are innumerable, they are at pains to accommodate as far as they can to the Christian church in its present state; in which state are comprehended all the eighteen centuries that have passed from the apostolic times until this day. Accordingly Zion, whenever she is spoken to for good, that is to say, as healed of her wounds, called of her God, reclaimed, caressed, lifted up and exalted, signifies the present Christian church; —Jerusalem, re-edified and honoured of all nations, means the present Christian church; —and the house of Israel, or of Jacob, gathered out of all nations by the omnipotent hand of their God, in the multitude of his mercies, can signify nothing but the Christian church in its present state.

Nevertheless it happens, and that with the utmost frequency, that in the middle of this accommodation which is made of the holy text to the present Christian church, some, or many embarrassments are met with, which shut the way and absolutely hinder our progress. And in this case, what remedy is there? The remedy is very easy and quite at hand. What so easy as to take a mental flight to heaven, and represent that as accommodated there, which it is impossible to accommodate here? So accordingly is it actually done, or endeavoured as far as is possible: for the triumphant and the militant church (they add with emphasis) is one church, with no other difference, than that the one is in harbour and the other out at sea. Well: but if that which the text declares should be as little applicable to the triumphant church, and be as repugnant thereto as it is to the visible church, what then is to be done? The embarrassment, though great and continual, is not therefore without its remedy. It must, in that case, be explained in any way possible. —If it cannot be conveniently explained in this sense, or in that, or in many conjoined; either it should be omitted wholly, as a thing of little moment, or barely touched upon the surface, which is almost the same as to omit it; every thing is allowed in practice, so that you do not understand, as they strike the ear, and as their natural proper sense would bear, such words as these: Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, Judah, the house of Jacob, the tribes of Israel, the tabernacle of David, &c. these being things great out of all proportion to the puny, vile, and faithless Jews.

§ 3. THE only foundation on which they rest all this their method of thinking and interpreting prophecy is the doctrine of the apostle St. Paul (as they pretend); who in various parts of his writings assures us, that the true children of Abraham, to whom the promises are addressed, are not his descendants according to the flesh, but according to the spirit; that is, all believers, of every nation whatever: “because those who are of faith are the children of faithful Abraham; amongst whom there is no distinction of Jew and Greek, of Barbarian and Scythian, of bond and free, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” This doctrine of the apostle and master of the Gentiles being supposed, they argue thus: — The promises which are found in scripture, with a view to times posterior to Messiah’s coming, are spoken, according to St. Paul, only to the true children of Abraham; that is, not to the children according to the flesh, but the children according to the spirit: for “they are not all Israel who are of Israel, neither are they all children who are of the seed of Abraham.” Those true children of Abraham, according to the same apostle, are all the believers of every nation, without any difference of Jew or Greek, of free or bond. Therefore the said promises are directed to all the faithful of all nations; therefore they are spoken to the present church, which is composed of all these; therefore the Christian doctors do no wrong in accommodating, by every possible way, to the Christian church (now militant, now triumphant) the promises which are found in scripture for times posterior to Messiah; even though they should be spoken by name to the children of Abraham, to the Israelites, to Zion, to Jerusalem, to Judah, to Israel, and to the relics of that unhappy people.

This reasoning, in appearance just, has been as it were a double veil, which has not permitted the light to reach our eyes. St. Paul says, that the true children of Abraham, to whom the promises were spoken, are not the children according to the flesh, or according to nature, but the children according to the spirit; that is, believers of whatever nation they may be. Well: this is a clear truth. But when St. Paul teaches this truth to all believers, and with it comforts and animates them, of what promises speaketh he? Is it, peradventure, of all which are to be met with in the scriptures, relating to the times subsequent to the incarnation of the Son of God? This is false by St. Paul’s own testimony; who, when he is speaking particularly and on purpose of the conversion (still future) of the children of Israel, according to the flesh, unto Christ, doth cite other promises peculiar to them only, and which cannot be accommodated to believers of all nations, as we shall see forthwith, and as the doctors themselves acknowledge.

So that, according to him, there are in the scriptures particular as well as general promises; some which are spoken generally to all the sons of Abraham, according to the spirit; that is, to all believers, of every tribe and language and people and nation, without excluding the Jews who may desire to enter into the number of the same: others, peculiar to the same Jews, or to the children of Abraham according to nature; and these for times in which, from being children according to the flesh, they may be still more so also according to the spirit, as doubtless they shall yet become. The general promises, which embrace all believers of all nations, are the remission of sins, salvation, the Holy Spirit, the adoption of sons, and whatever shall result thence; which is what St. Paul saith: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Rom. viii. 17. Doubtless all this is spoken of all the children of Abraham according to the spirit; of all true believers, of every people, tribe, and language of the whole world. All these may say with truth, we then are the children of the promises: all these are estimated among the seed; and all these shall be blessed with the father of all believers; therefore they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Gal iii. 9. And doth all this, my friend, seem to you little? Ought not all believers to be content with promises so great and of such dignity?

But besides these general propositions, there be others of a special kind, directed only to the miserable children of Abraham by the line of Isaac and Jacob according to the flesh, or according to nature, to be fulfilled against a time when they shall be so likewise according to the spirit; when the heart of stone shall be taken from them, and there shall be given to them a heart of flesh, and that circumcised; when they shall be gathered again, and collected into one by the omnipotent hand of the living God in the multitude of his mercies; when they shall be healed of their wounds and washed from their iniquities; in short, when they shall be the believers, in the room of the nations of the whole world, who for the greater and the greatest part shall have ceased to be believers according to the scripture: of all which we have spoken sufficiently in the preceding phenomena.

Those promises which are specially directed to the children of Abraham, according to nature, and to them alone, are their calling unto Christ, their sincere and true conversion, with all the circumstances announced thereof; —the mission of Elias for this single end, for the scripture mentions no other; their re-placing and re-establishment in the land promised to their fathers; their contrition, and their inward most bitter sorrow; their righteousness, their holiness, their fulness, which are the terms St. Paul himself useth, Rom. xi.: these promises, I say, with all these consequences, there is not any reason whatever for desiring to accommodate to the present church, or to extend them to all gentile believers, who should be content with what they have received, which is not small. They ought to praise God, and to acknowledge incessantly the great mercy which he hath exercised towards them. They should labour to make themselves worthy children of Abraham, imitating his probity and his justice: “If ye be the children of Abraham,” saith Christ, “do the works of Abraham,” John viii. 39. But to appropriate to themselves, in order to increase their riches, what is promised against a future time to other poor creatures who are found at present in extreme misery, doth not appear a work proper to the religious Abraham. —This Abraham did not.

§ 4. With the distinction which we have just made between the general and particular prophecies, you will already begin to perceive with ease the equivocation of which we speak, and upon which alone resteth the ordinary mode of thinking in respect to the greater part of the prophecies. In order that this equivocation may be the more apparent, it seems good to me to propose in this place a hypothesis, —neglecting, for the present, whether it be true or false, sweet or bitter, credible or incredible. This hypothesis may be proposed in the following terms.

“The Christian church (speaking of the active portion thereof as explained above) doth certainly now stand with the nations who were called into the place of the Jews, to whom the kingdom was entrusted, or the administration of his vineyard according to those sentences fulminated against the Jewish people: “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a people bringing forth the fruits thereof: he will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen.” This Christian church, regarded chiefly in its active part, this executive kingdom of God, this administration of the vineyard of God, shall one day return back to the Jews, from whom it was taken; who shall be called in mercy to occupy that place which they lost by their unbelief. In like manner, the centre of unity of the Christian catholic and universal church (which then shall be truly worthy of those names, embracing within itself all the inhabitants of the earth), this centre of unity which now standeth in Rome and the nations, shall then stand in Zion, in Jerusalem, and in the sons of Abraham according to the flesh, who shall then in the most perfect sense be likewise his children according to the spirit. We do not thus early set ourselves to the tedious examination of this supposition, which will go on to manifest itself without either much of labour or of noise: at present it will be sufficient to know that it is not an impossible supposition, and as little is it contrary to any truth of faith.”

This hypothesis being for a moment admitted, the innumerable prophecies whereof we speak may be understood and explained with the utmost ease and propriety. It is seen at once how all those great benefits and mercies, so often promised by name to Zion in the state of solitude and misery, where for so many ages she hath been found; to Jerusalem, destroyed and trodden under foot; to the house of Jacob and the posterity of Abraham, captive among all nations; —it is at once seen, I say, how all these promises, which till now have not been accomplished, whose very magnitude hath made them incredible, may come to be accomplished. And if this supposition, though a little harsh and unpalatable, should yet prove to be a clear and undeniable truth, —in this case, could we still refuse to understand the prophecies in their proper sense? Now, then, behold the equivocation laid bare to the very root. —Zion, Jerusalem, and the house of Jacob, when they are spoken to for good; that is to say, when very great, new, and extraordinary things are announced to them; can signify, they tell us, nothing but the Christian church. Well; I, likewise, say so: —I believe it, also. But when? in what state? and in what circumstances?

Not now, surely, in their present state; but in another time and another state, widely different from the present. Not now, when Zion and Jerusalem stand destroyed both in a physical and a moral sense; and the house of Jacob is found, according to the scriptures, scattered to all the winds and captive amongst all nations. Not now, when the whole house of Israel, by the just judgment of God, is found dark, deaf, and dumb, without one sign of true life, because it wanteth the principle of life, which is faith. Not now, when the whole house of Jacob is found like a mouldering carcase, whose parched and withering bones are beheld with horror by all the nations amongst whom they are scattered. Not now, in fine, when the whole house of Jacob lieth prostrate in that kind of lethargy, madness, and frenzy, which abhorreth and detesteth the very person whom, in other respects, they love, hope, desire, and sigh for, night and day, as their greatest, their only good. If then not now, when?

When the same house of Jacob, to whom the promises of which we speak are made, “who,” saith St. Paul, “are my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came,” Rom. ix. 3-5, —when this house of Jacob, according to the flesh, shall be called of God, gathered by his almighty arm out of all the countries of the world whither they are dispersed. When they shall be introduced and as it were planted anew in that land which we call the land of promise, because it was promised to them and their fathers: And I will build them and not pull them down; and I will plant them and not pluck them up, saith he, by Jeremiah, xxiv. 6. And I will no more drive my people of Israel out of the land which I have given them, saith he, by Baruch, ii. 35. And I will plant them upon the land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of the land, he saith, by Amos ix. 16. When he shall have taken away the heart of stone, and given them a heart of flesh. When the dry and parched bones shall have united, been clothed with sinews, flesh, and skin, and breathed into of the spirit of life. When they shall be awakened from their profound sleep —when they shall open their eyes full of tears —when they shall acknowledge their Messiah, whom for so many ages they have been at once loving and abhorring, desiring and detesting.

But when shall these things be? (I hear thee say with an air of derision,) When shall these things be? Is it credible that such things should ever be accomplished in the vile, dark, blind, and obstinate Jews? it cannot be denied, friend, that thou thinkest like a prudent man. It is most certain that “with men this is impossible:” but darest thou now also to say, ‘that it is impossible with God.’ If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it be marvellous in my eyes? Zech. viii. 6. And in case that God should have declared and promised all which our hypothesis containeth, would it be a sufficient reason for doubting it, that with men it was impossible?

The doctors lay it down to us as a thing certain and indubitable, that the active part of the Christian church whereof we speak, which at present is with the Gentiles, shall continue to stand in this form even until the end of the world, without any change or novelty being possible to it; God being beholden, as it were, to keep things for ever in the state they are in at present. But, upon what foundation resteth this? May we not examine it closely? May we not propose our doubts to the learned —the great or the small reasons which we may have for doubting it? And in case that these do not deign to hear us, or to give us any other reply than the outcry ‘he blasphemeth;’ may it not be permitted us to examine this most grave and important point by the light of the scriptures, which the church itself placeth in our hands?

Examination of the Hypothesis as laid down above.

§ 5. I proceed to present, my friend, in the way of a proposal submitted to deliberation and judgment, this point of so great interest: I shall propose to you my doubts, and the grounds of them: but first permit me to anticipate these five points, which, unless I deceive myself, I see to be five very manifest truths.

  1. Jesus Christ founded his church in Jerusalem, and for the time being, of Jews only: but as he, according to the orders of his divine Father, had to depart immediately into a far country, in order to receive a kingdom to himself and return, (Luke xix. 12.) he chose in his stead one of the twelve apostles, St. Peter, whom he appointed his vicar upon earth, leaving with him all the keys of the house, and commending to his care, fidelity, and vigilance, the preservation, the enlargement, the instruction, and good government of the whole family, for himself and for his lawful successors till he should return.

     

  2. All the active administration of the church of Christ; that is to say, all the authority, jurisdiction, and spiritual power, necessary for the conservation, increase, and good government of this church, the Son of God himself placed in the apostles, giving to one of them the pre-eminency over the rest. Among these apostles of Christ, and even among his other disciples of an inferior class, it is a thing ascertained and certain, that there was not one who was not a Jew, pertaining according to the flesh to the house of Jacob and the posterity of Abraham. So also it is a thing ascertained and certain, that among all the seventy-two books of scripture, there is not one whereof the writer was called of the Holy Spirit from any other nation or people than that of Israel and the house of Jacob.

     

  3. The Lord might very well, if so it had pleased him, have preserved and perpetuated in Jerusalem the court, the primacy, and the centre of unity of his whole church, and left to the Jews the supreme power, —appointing that they only should be the successors of St. Peter, and inherit all his pre-eminence and prerogatives. And perhaps so it would also have been done to Jerusalem and Judea, if they had listened to the preaching of the apostles and received the word of God.

     

  4. In this case (neither impossible nor difficult) of his leaving in Jerusalem, and with the Jews only, the apostolic see, or the centre of unity of the whole church of Christ, it would have been as catholic, as universal, as now it is, with out any difference whatever: seeing that, before St. Peter had received orders to pass to Rome and plant his seat therein, (and perhaps before knowing and understanding the great mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles,) that truth of the catholic and universal church had been already defined in Jerusalem, and embodied in the public symbol of faith; for no one is ignorant of the Lord’s intimation unto all, before ascending up to heaven, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

     

  5. God, desiring to chastise Jerusalem and the Jews with their last and greatest chastisement, for having persisted in their incredulity, took in hand to execute that terrible sentence which was already announced in the gospel: “Therefore I say unto you, that the kingdom shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” Matt. xxi. 43.

     

In order to make way for the execution of this sentence, and withal to show unto the Gentiles the greatest and most inestimable mercy, the first thing which God did was to take from Jerusalem the candlestick, the great and original lamp of light, which had been placed there; to take, I say, from Jerusalem his vicariate; to take away the see apostolical; to take away the centre of unity of the true Christian church, and to transfer it all to Rome, for the greater benefit and convenience of the nations called in the room of Israel: determining, at least tacitly, that thenceforth the Gentiles should succeed to St. Peter and the other apostles, and that the children of the kingdom should be disinherited and cast out for a time into outer darkness: “But I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.” Matt. viii. 11,12. And, in order to take from these children of the kingdom every occasion of dispute, and to cast them entirely into the street, according as it had been announced, the second thing which the Lord did was to send his armies against them, and utterly to destroy their temple and their city “he will send his armies and destroy those wicked murderers: and burn up their city:” Matt xxii 7. which was executed forthwith by means of Vespasian and Titus, and was entirely completed by Adrian,

thus accomplishing with all fulness that other prophecy of the Lord: “For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Luke xxi. 23,24.

Supposing now these five points to be well understood, and in the good faith that nothing but truth has been found in them, I do now proceed with my deliberation. When God for the most righteous causes abandoned Jerusalem, and transferred to Rome the court and centre of his church, did he peradventure so tie up his hands as not to be able to exchange those lots without denying himself; and that in no time in no case, and on no account? Could God without denying himself, take from Jerusalem not only the candle, but likewise the candlestick, and place it in Rome, —and shall he not be able without denying himself, in any time, in any case, and on any account, to take it from Rome and replace it in Jerusalem? Could he deprive the Jews of the administration of the vineyard, or which is the same of the active kingdom of God, and give it to the Gentiles, for reasons which are pointed out in the parable, Matt. xxi. 33. and shall he not be able for the same reasons, or for others of the same kind, to take it from the Gentiles and again restore it to the Jews? Could he cut out of the good olive its proper and natural branches, and in their place graft in against nature other strange and wild branches, and shall he not be able in any time, or on any account, even though those engrafted should have become corrupt, shall he not be able, I say, to cut those out, to return and graft in those which are according to nature?

I am aware of the more than ordinary embarrassment this supposition submitted to you will occasion you. The answer considered apparently so easy and plain, is yet not so much so as not to require some study. Besides the ordinary doctors whom you may consult according to your taste, I believe that the doctor of the Gentiles himself, who treats this point fully, and even to the foundation, will give you much insight. I find amongst his writings an admirable discourse addressed to the Christian nations, so clear, so circumstantial, so solidly founded, that nothing is left to be desired by any one who searcheth for the pure truth, by any one who resteth in that alone, be it sweet or be it bitter; therefore, my friend, deign thou to hear this discourse with patience, and to consider it with attention. We shall divide it into four parts for our greater convenience.

Discourse of the Apostle of the Gentiles.

§ 6. Part first. —“IT is commonly thought amongst Christians, that the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, who delighteth so greatly in the innocence and righteousness of these three patriarchs, that he desireth to be for ever called by their name, saying, ‘This is my name for ever, and my memorial to all generations,’ Exod. iii. 15; that this God infinitely true and faithful in all his words, has for ever abandoned the posterity of these righteous men. It is thought that he cut them off from himself for ever for that great crime which they committed when they cried out, ‘Crucify him, crucify him, his blood be upon us and our children.’ It is thought that this crime is irremediable, and not to be atoned for by the severest chastisement and penance of so many ages, nor even by that very blood of infinite value which they shed, not knowing what they did. It is thought that this great and infinite God, whose judgments, though inscrutable, are yet true and justified in themselves, holdeth no longer any purpose becoming his greatness towards these unhappy, ungrateful, and rebellious children; save only that at the end of the world those who remain till then shall be converted. Now, upon what foundation does this manner of thinking rest? Is it, peradventure, upon some revelation contained in the sacred books, or upon some good and solid reason? I say, then, hath God cast away his people? God forbid, God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.”

“We ought first to call to memory all that happened to this grateful people in the first years after the death of Messiah. So far was God from avenging the death of his Son, or the Son from avenging himself by the total rejection of the children of Abraham, that, on the contrary, they were the first waited upon, they were the first who were called, and earnestly invited to the great supper; to them, with infinite generosity, was offered in the first instance all the precious fruit of that death, whereof they themselves had all the blame. The servants who were forthwith sent into the whole world, to invite the whole human race, had express order to begin with Jerusalem, with the children of Israel, and to labour amongst them with the greatest pains, until they should either accept the invitation, or until their hardness and obstinacy should arrive at the extreme of leaving them neither free-will nor hope. In the Acts of the Apostles, is to be seen, what the Lord, by means of his envoys, did to subdue their obstinacy. There it is to be seen that he passed not altogether to the Gentiles, till after they had repelled the word and invitation of the Load, and were infuriated against his messengers, as the Lord had announced it all in the parable of the marriage supper, Matt xxii: whereby they rendered themselves unworthy of the benefit which was offered to them, and filled up all the measures of endurance. ‘It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us,’ Acts xiii. 46,47. Notwithstanding this obstinacy of the whole nation, there did not fail to be saved, a ‘remnant according to the election of grace, and the rest were blinded according as it is written:’ God in punishment of their iniquity, giving them ‘eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this day.’”

Secondly. —“Not to speak longer of those primitive ages of the church, nor of the few Jews who then believed, let us now turn all our attention to those who did not believe, but persisted in their obstinacy, who were almost the whole of them, for these alone come into consideration in this place, seeing they only are believed to be entirely abandoned of God. It is undeniable that these unhappy men were blinded as it hath been written, they set themselves against the foundation stone and stumbled upon it, as was likewise written; and through their blindness it became to them ‘a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.’ But think you that they stumbled in such a way as to fall. That they should fall, I say, with all their posterity into the eternal oblivion of the God of Abraham? ‘I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid:’ the truth is, that God in his most high judgment, always full of wisdom, of goodness, of rectitude and justice, so permitted and so disposed it with great deliberation, and with designs worthy of his greatness, in order by that evil visitation, to take away from her innumerable benefits, as he has effectually taken them away. You need not ask what benefits these are, for you are not ignorant of them, enjoying them as you do without perceiving it; for in short, her crime, her incredulity, her obstinacy hath proved your salvation; seeing there has passed over to you what they did not estimate by reason of their grossness, and by reason of their ignorance did depreciate. ‘By their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.’”

“If then the fall of the Jews has proved the salvation of the world: if their unbelief, their blindness, their chastisements, their humiliation, their diminishing, has been the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness? ‘But if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness?’” From these words of the apostle, it follows naturally and legitimately, that at some future time we should look for that fulness of Israel, which shall bring to the world so many more excellent benefits than came to them from her fall, her incredulity, her obstinacy, her chastisement, her humiliation; from which may be drawn other consequences, not less legitimate, not less important. The discourse of this doctor thus proceedeth.

“With you I speak, Oh Christian Gentiles, of every nation, tribe, and tongue. Being your preacher and master, to whom has been committed the ministry of the word, I ought to honour this sacred ministry by declaring to all, and instructing all in that ‘which I received from the Lord,’ that is, the pure truth, therefore hear me brethren.”

“If the blindness of the Jews, if their unbelief, if their obstinacy, if the casting away which God has made of them, has been the reconciliation of the world, what think you shall be their resumption?’ What think you shall come to pass, when the most merciful God of their fathers shall take them by the hand and raise them from the earth? When he opens their eyes, when he calls them, when he draws them to himself, when he receives them to his arms, as that good Father did the Prodigal Son? What think you shall that resumption and fulness of the Jews be, but life from the dead? Then shall the world with admiration and astonishment, behold not only those living whom they had supposed to be dead but they shall see life issuing from the dead who shall communicate true life to the dead world!

“Why regard you this as marvellous? “If the first fruit be holy the lump is also holy, and if the root be holy so also are the branches.” All those fruits having been to God so holy and acceptable, which at different times the house of Jacob hath offered to him from the whole lump, to wit, the patriarchs, so many prophets and just men, the apostles of Christ, the disciples, the believers of the primitive church, the holy mother of Messiah, and above all, Messiah himself; the whole house of Jacob, which is the lump from which all these precious fruits taken, ought to be regarded as holy, as consecrated to God, and his inheritance. In the same manner the root of a tree being holy, the whole tree with all its branches is holy. And what shall we say to this, that some or many branches of this tree so holy, have been broken off. Hear me once more, oh Gentiles, and forget not this great truth.”

“What else was the whole Gentile world, from which you have been elected and drawn out with so much mercy, than a mountain of wild olives which did yield no fruit worthy of God, and would never have yielded any, being left to its own natural rusticity? You then to whom God held no obligation, neither by covenant nor by promise, nor by your righteousness, nor the righteousness of your fathers were taken from your thickets in the pure goodness of the God of Israel; were planted by his own wise and omnipotent hand in that same holy tree, in that same good olive, whose natural branches had been broken off, and thou enteredst to occupy their place. Thereby partaking of the proper fatness of the root, you came into the condition of yielding those fruits which your natural estate could not attain unto. “And thou being a wild olive tree wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree.” Thou hast therefore no reason to boast thyself, to grow vain, to depreciate and insult over the natural branches, though broken off, dry, and sterile to their own misery; and if haply there should enter into you any elation of mind, any vain glory, or security, know, brethren, that you do not bear the root, but the root beareth you. Your sustenance, your verdure, your fecundity, your life, come all to you from the root of the tree into which you were graffed, and not the contrary; ‘boast not against the branches: but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.’

“Perhaps you will say, the branches were broken off that I might be graffed in.” The natural branches of that good olive were broken off and cast away for their unprofitableness, that we might be inserted in their stead. Well: praise the God of Israel for that, and render acknowledgements to his very great mercy; but be not this the occasion to thee of undervaluing the branches that were broken off. These had become dry and profitless through their unbelief: you who are now graffed into the same tree by faith, presume not upon yourselves. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling:” for there is no reason to persuade yourselves that God will look with more complacency upon the strange branches which have been inserted into the good olive tree, than he did upon the natural branches thereof: “thou standest by faith, be not high minded but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee.” It is not therefore impossible that the same calamity should befall the inserted branches, as befell the natural ones.”

“In this admirable and inscrutable counsel of God we ought to consider on one hand, the mercy and the goodness of the Lord; and on the other, his justice and severity. The severity towards the ungrateful Jews who were faithless to their calling, the goodness towards the Gentiles who were called in their stead; but this goodness to the Gentiles, not less than that severity to the Jews, should be well understood, for it is easy to abuse the one as well as the other. For as this severity in respect of the Jews must indispensably endure so long as their unbelief endureth, and no longer; so the goodness as concerning the Gentiles shall endure as long as they shall abide in that faith and goodness which God has extended to them, and no longer. If this period should ever be accomplished, as also the period of the unbelief of the Jews, what other thing, what better lot can the branches graffed in expect, but the same severity which the natural branches have experienced, and still more severe. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graft them in again.” Rom. xi. 22,23.

“If this occasion you any great surprize, turn your eyes upon yourselves, and make this short reflection. I was taken, by the goodness of God from my profitless wild olive: I was inserted into the good olive, by the wise, omnipotent, and beneficent hand of the heavenly Father: by that benefit I remain in the state of being able to taste the fatness of the root of the olive, and consequently to bring forth fruits worthy of God. Then, when the proper and, natural branches of the same tree shall be wholly restored (as it is certain they shall be); when they shall be as it were inserted anew, according to nature, by the same wise, omnipotent, and beneficent hand of the God of Abraham, what fruits will it not be in their power to give, and what fruits will they not give. “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive-tree?” Verse 24.

Thirdly. —“The present unbelief of the Jews, their obstinacy, their hardness, their blindness in the midst of such great light, is a mystery more worthy of our attentive consideration, than of an inconsiderate indignation. For the knowledge of this great mystery, from its beginning to its end, may prove very useful to all believers of the Gentiles. I, who desire nothing but your true well-being, desire to discover and reveal to you that secret, that “ye be not wise in your own conceit;” that you may moderate your too great confidence, which might easily pass into presumption; and that you may give way to a holy and religious fear. Know, brethren, that the present blindness of the Jews, with all its consequences, is a great mystery, closely connected with the mystery, not less great, of your vocation; so that the former of these two things depends upon the latter, and shall endure so long as this shall endure; that is, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; not certainly all the Gentiles, but those who are to enter in according to the foreknowledge and election of God, until there is no longer found among the Gentiles one who wisheth to enter; until those who were within are going out, and those who remain are cooling in their love; until, finally, the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

“This time being arrived, this mystery concluded, the merciful and just God hath determined to call the Jews, and to gather all the remnant of them with great mercy, according as it is written, announced, and promised in their scriptures. Already hath he spoken by Isaiah, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Rom. xi. 26,27. Wherefore if God treat them as enemies, that enmity is not only just with respect to them, but it is likewise full of goodness with respect to you: or, to speak more correctly, that enmity against the Jews is properly on your account, for the sake of your love, for your contemplation, for your greater benefit; but if in this respect they are now enemies, in another respect they are not so, but very dear unto God, who cannot deny them wholly, without denying himself, seeing he has pledged to them his royal word. “As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” Rom. xi. 28. If they are now worthy of wrath for their unbelief, for their obstinacy, and for your sakes; likewise are they worthy of mercy for the righteousness of their fathers, for the promises made to their fathers, for the merits of their fathers.”

Fourthly. —“And as you “sometime were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise [of the Old and New Testaments], having no hope, and without God in the world,” Eph. ii. 12; as you did not know the true God, and have now found him without seeking, and have obtained mercy by the unbelief of the Jews; so these now do not believe, nor will hear that mercy spoken of, which you have found by believing in him whom they rejected and crucified. And think you there is not in this some great mystery worthy the greatness, the wisdom, and the goodness of God?” God forbid; “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet now have obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” [Vulg. ita et isti non crediderunt in vestram misericordiam, ut et ipsi misericordiam consequantur, i.e. so have they now not believed in your mercy, that they may obtain mercy.] The great mystery is that God willeth, and hath so determined, that the Jews should find mercy in that same manner, and by that same way, by which the Gentiles found it. The latter have found mercy, without seeking it, through the unbelief of the Jews, “yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief.” Apply then the similitude, and faithfully draw the good and legitimate consequence; “for God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” God, of his infinite greatness, and in his incomprehensible judgments, hath shut up the whole of this great mystery of the Gentiles and of the Jews, in the unbelief of the one and of the other, “that he may have mercy upon all.” In the unbelief of the Jews to call the Gentiles in their stead, and to bestow upon them great mercies; and in the unbelief of the Gentiles, when that comes to pass, and it is foreshown, to return and call the Jews, and to bestow upon them all those mercies which were written before. Mystery truly great and incomprehensible, while it is certain and undeniable, whereof all the scriptures give us a clear enough conception.”

The author of this discourse, being himself one of the most learned men, and most highly enlightened of heaven, being arrived at this point, gives demonstrations of being wholly overwhelmed, and as it were lost in the unfathomable depth of the judgments of God, and not being able to pass beyond, he concludes with that celebrated exclamation, as full of piety as of truth: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Rom. xi.

§ 7. If this discourse should seem to be harsh, bitter, and irreconcilable to thine ideas, thou canst utter thy complaints to thine apostle; who, inspired of the Spirit of God, thus foretold to all believers of the Gentiles, and not without a mysterious meaning sent it directly to the Romans; protesting upon this particular point, that although the proper apostle of the Gentiles, he could not do less than honour his ministry. I have done no more than to translate this discourse into my own idiom, with that sort of extension or explanation which we call paraphrase, tying myself scrupulously, not so much to the words and syllables, as to the foundation of the doctrine, and the mind which the author expresseth. Which course hath appeared to me the more necessary and important, as I see the great obscurity and darkness in which interpreters leave us upon this passage of St. Paul, and upon so many others, which hold with it not only a strict relation, but a real identity. The point which the apostle here treats, is the great and wonderful mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, taking this mystery in its completeness from its beginning to its ending; that is, from the time that the kingdom of God was taken from the Jews, and given to the Gentiles, until the vocation, resumption, and future fulness of the same Jews, or rather, until the consummation of the mystery of God, to which all the prophecies direct their course, and at which they are to find their resting place. The apostle speaketh here with all frankness, saying, that as a faithful minister of God, he cannot do otherwise than speak the simple truth, and in speaking it magnify his office: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

From all this, it appeareth undeniable, that this mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, as it is found in scripture, and as the apostle here sets it forth in a compendious way, hath not been understood till now, and hath not been examined with the desire of perfectly understanding it. The christian nations, it is true, have taken, have believed, have embraced, have exaggerated every thing in this wonderful mystery of their vocation which favoured themselves. Well believing that the faithless Jews were therein reproved and absolutely abandoned of their God; piously believing that the whole mystery is directed to the vocation of the Gentiles, and terminates there; it was impossible that they should permit entrance to other ideas not so agreeable, though essential parts of the mystery. Whence proceed the great efforts made by the doctors, the subtleties and refinements which they put in requisition, especially upon this passage of St. Paul, in order to separate the bitter from the sweet, and to escape happily out of the embarrassment into which they are brought by their own apostle. Insomuch that many of them, not daring to hide all that is here written in favour of the Jews, have, notwithstanding, believed that it was permitted them to deny what St. Paul declareth and the prophets announce, as being irreconcilable to the honour of the Gentile christians, and to allow them in exchange for the same, other ordinary things, which neither the prophets nor St. Paul insinuate.

If you will indulge yourself, my friend, in the least reflection, you will not fail to recollect, that this same thing anciently happened to the Jewish doctors, when they came to the explanation of those passages which were contrary to their people and favourable to the nations. They granted liberally what did not inconvenience them, while at the same time they denied or hid that which might prejudice the holy people —which was one of the chief causes of their destruction.

I could wish, my friend, if it were possible, that all these things might be considered with the greatest exactness; not despising nor losing sight of a certain light which already beginneth to clear up the whole of this mystery; showing to us the smooth and easy way, which leads to the full verification of all the prophecies, and giving us insight from the beginning to the end, into the great mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles and blindness of the Jews. The light of which I speak, is no other than the present system of the world, and the state in which the church of Christ is, for the most part, at present found amongst the nations, that is, neither cold nor hot.

In order now that thou mayest be able to compare with the very text of St. Paul, the translation and paraphrase which thou hast just read, I present thee here with the very original text, divided likewise into its four parts, which are as four rays of light that unite in the same point.

First Part. —“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for: but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.” Rom. xi. 1-8.

Second Part. —“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office. If by any means, I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they bide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” Rom. xi. 11-24.

Third Part. —“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom. xi. 25-29.

Fourth Part. —“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!” Rom. xi. 25-33.

Reflections.

§ 8. THIS fourth part of the discourse of St. Paul, (we begin by this) containeth nothing more than a proposition and an exclamation. The proposition revealeth a secret mystery which no one could know but by express revelation of God.

This mystery must, without doubt, be very great, being set fourth by four words only; and it hath produced two effects, very great and remarkable, though widely differing from each other. One effect it produced upon the mind of the apostle himself, the instant he revealed the mystery made known to him by the Holy Ghost. Another effect, but infinitely different from this, hath it produced upon the doctors who have meditated the same proposition. The effect which it produced upon St. Paul, was to make him burst forth immediately into that exclamation, which is one of the most sublime, and most expressive, and most religious pieces to be met with in all the scriptures: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and goodness of God.” But what is the effect it has produced upon the doctors? I confess, my friend, that my heart fails me to tell: and yet constrained by the circumstances I must speak with frankness: the effect which it has wrought in them, has been not to admit the said proposition, nor the mystery contained therein, as it lies before them, and not until they have taken from it whatever might disturb their own ideas.

In fact, a proposition so full of energy, a comparison so full of animation, as that contained in these words, “For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also not now believed on your mercy, [this is the true translation of the Greek and the Vulgate translation, upon which our author’s argument proceedeth,] that they may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” Rom. xi. 30-32. To what doth all this reduce itself in the mouth of the doctors? You shall hear. As you Gentiles knew not the true God, neither believed on him, yet have now obtained mercy without seeking it, through the unbelief of the Jews, so have these not now believed in your mercy; and notwithstanding this their present incredulity and obstinacy, they shall likewise find mercy against a certain time, that is, at the end of the world: for provoked by your good example, and ashamed of having believed Antichrist, they shall at length open their eyes, believe in Christ, and the church shall receive them into her bosom. You already perceive that the proposition of which we are speaking, is not at all deduced by them: there wanteth a little clause, very short, yet full of substance, which of itself doth wholly clear up the proposition, and at once produce the exclamation of the apostle: it is this, “For God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” What meaneth this? To St. Paul it appeared a mystery so profound, that silently confessing his littleness he exclaimed thus, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?” Rom. xi. 33,34.

But in the eyes of the doctors this little clause containeth a thing so insignificant as in truth not to merit the exclamation of the apostle; “for God hath concluded all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” God hath permitted, they say, that all men, both Gentiles and Jews, should fall into the most grievous crime of infidelity and incredulity, and therein all remain shut up, in order to make the shew of his mercy towards all, pardoning successively the one and the other, and receiving them into his favour and friendship. The Gentiles accordingly have gone on believing the gospel and uniting themselves to the church of Christ; and the Jews, when they shall likewise believe and join themselves to the same church, which will happen one day, that is, at the end of the world. And do the doctors find no more mystery than this in the clause which we are considering? No, friend: this is the whole which it contains, according to the interpreters whom we have seen. Then how, with reference to a thing comparatively so insignificant, should there be an exclamation so sublime, and so full of religious enthusiasm, in the mouth and in the pen of the teacher of the Gentiles? Might we not say, that he should have reserved for some greater mystery a piece which hath hardly its equal in the whole scripture? And why not admit all which this little clause offers at first sight to every reader. Wouldst thou know the reason? Because in that case there would follow obviously and naturally certain harsh consequences; which, while they could not be avoided, will not harmonize with their system.

It would follow, first, that as the Gentiles have found mercy without seeking it; “I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” Isa. lxv. 1. and this by the unbelief of the Jews, on account of their unbelief, —so the Jews are to find mercy without seeking it, through the unbelief of these very Gentiles; consequently, that this general unbelief of the Gentiles shall one day be verified. It would follow, in the second place, that as because of the incredulity of the Jews God called the Gentiles, made them to enter to his supper and occupy the place of the incredulous; (accomplishing punctually what Moses had already said, and what St. Paul observeth: “I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will I anger you.” Rom. x. 19.) so a time being arrived in which the Gentiles have ceased to believe, God shall return and call the Jews, and make them with great advantages to reoccupy that same place which they had lost; exchanging lots, making the sad emulation to pass from one to the other, and handing the cup from this to that. It would follow, thirdly, that as the Gentiles entered and became the people of God, through the unbelief of the Jews; so these, vice versa, shall on the same account one day enter, and once more become the people of God, the Israel of God, the spouse of God; “for God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he may have mercy upon all.” It will follow…

Well: and what difficulty is there in all this —what repugnancy —what contradiction? Is this not the very thing which the apostle saith in the text, and which the whole context beareth? And do not many scriptures of which we have been speaking announce the very same? Is not this the very thing which made the apostle burst forth into that religious exclamation, “Oh, the depth,” &c.? Why should we not receive it? Is it merely because it favoureth us not? It seems a harsh thing to utter, but the truth is, that it all reduces itself to that single reason. And yet I fear that you will still wish to propose to me that argument which we insinuate on the other side of the question. If (you say) the proposition of St. Paul be admitted, as it lies, in all its crudeness, harshness, and bitterness, it will be necessary, to save consequences, that we should likewise admit two or three hundred propositions of the same kind, which are frequently found in the prophets, in the psalms, and even in the scriptures of the New Testament. And in that case what would follow? It would follow (you say) that the very great and unconditional promises which Jesus Christ made to his church would not be able to keep their ground. What! promises of the Lord not be able to be fulfilled? And believest thou, Sir, that the Son of God is capable of promising any thing contrary to that which the prophets had announced? Doth he not himself declare the very contrary? —“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Matt. v. 17. And do you believe that St. Paul the apostle was capable of inconsiderately advancing any proposition incompatible with the promises of the Son of God, whereof he could not be ignorant?

Let us, however, come to the examination of the promises, and we shall see that there is nothing contrary to them in that which hath been said. The first, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. xvi.

18. The second, “But I have prayed for thee, Simon, that thy faith fail not.” Luke xxii. 32. The third, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matt. xxviii. 20. If there be any other promise to the same effect it occurreth not to me; and I hold it certain that it will not be better than these three. And from all of these what is to be inferred? Nothing, friend, in your favour; and less than nothing, for they are manifestly very wide of the purpose. In here alleging these promises, you give me to understand that you have not yet adverted well to the great equivocation (explained above) which hath caused it. You appear still to think that the whole mystery of God whereof the scriptures speak, is shut up, concluded, and perfected in the vocation of the Gentiles. You appear still to think that the branches graffed into the good olive against nature, shall continue for ever to yield good fruit, worthy of God: and though the time should come when they will not, as it is written, that yet they shall be much more respected and privileged than were the natural branches. It would appear, finally, that the promises which Christ made to his church have caused you wholly to forget that threatening of the apostle directed to those very persons who were graffed in; “If thou continue in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

Imagine, now, that I, imitating your way of reasoning, and alleging the same promise of the Son of God, should propound to you this difficulty. Jesus Christ founded his church in Jerusalem and with Jews only; because both St. Peter, to whom he entrusted the keys, and the rest of the apostles and disciples, with whom he left his instructions, were all Jews, there not being a single one amongst them who was not so. Jesus Christ himself, speaking with those holy Jews, without at all naming the Gentiles, made unto them those promises of which we speak, and pledged to them his royal word; saying to them amongst other things in taking leave of them, that he would be with them till the consummation of the age. Notwithstanding those promises, it is certain that a few years thereafter he quitted the Jews, casting them into outer darkness, and passed over entirely to the Gentiles, took from Jerusalem the great candlestick, and planted it in Rome. It is asked, now, how can this conduct of the Lord be made to comport with his infallible promises? How can we preserve inviolate the royal word of the Son of God?

I doubt not you will smile at my difficulty, believing the resolution of it to be very easy. And to me likewise it appeareth easy, speaking unconditionally; but if you would save consequences, it presents itself to me as very difficult; Jesus Christ, without failing in his promises, takes away the great candlestick from Jerusalem and planteth it at Rome.

And thinkest thou he will fail in his promises should he at some future time, for the same reasons, lift that very candle stick from its seat in Rome, and having purified it, return and plant it in Jerusalem again? Jesus Christ, without failing in his promises, casts away the Jews from himself, deprives them of the kingdom of God, that is, chiefly of the active function in it, and gives it entirely to the Gentiles; and believest thou he would fail in his promises, if at some time, for the same reasons, and perhaps for greater, he should cast the ungrateful Gentiles away from him, deprive them of the kingdom of God, which he had committed to them, return and give it to the Jews again? If you should happen to believe so, you ought to produce to us some authentic and clear scripture, from which this your privilege appeareth; which it will be so difficult for you to find, that you shall find, instead thereof, not a few, which expressly prove the contrary as we have hitherto observed, and shall have occasion to observe further as we proceed. And although there were no other than the discourse of St. Paul, ought not that of itself to be sufficient to make you open your eyes, and sincerely confess your equivocation.

Besides this first reflection we can easily make many others, by attending well to several very notable expressions of the same apostle. For example, these four. First: If their fall be the riches of the world, and their diminishing the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fulness. Second, verse 15: For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? Third, verse 25: I would not have you be ignorant of this mystery, brethren, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits. Fourth, verse 28: Enemies for your sakes, beloved for their fathers’ sakes. All these expressions in the mouth of the proper apostle of the Gentiles, ought to have a signification proportionate to their own greatness, and to the context of the whole discourse. But if these expressions be believed, according to the explanation of the doctors, there is found in them nothing but dissonance and impropriety. Those words, which in the text of St. Paul, appear so full of substance: for example, the fulness of Israel, the receiving of Israel, life from the dead, &c. after having passed through the that is, are found to have lost their vigour, and to have nothing left in them but air, sound, and pomp.

What fulness of Israel! what receiving of Israel! what life from the dead! is the conversion of the Jews to Christ, who shall survive Antichrist? The being admitted as of pity into the church of the Gentiles, on the eve of the end of the world, doth this deserve the name of the fulness of Israel? Doth St. Paul call this the receiving of Israel? Can this receiving be in any sense life from the dead? Doth this deserve the name of the mystery which St. Paul giveth it? Is this the great mystery which he reveals to the Gentiles, saying that he would not have them to be ignorant of it, in order that they might not vaunt, in order that they might not be lifted up “that ye may not be wise in your own conceits?” Certainly it appears difficult, not to say impossible, to reconcile some ideas with others, so that they should not annihilate each other.

“Who does not tremble (said a few years ago, one of the most learned and most zealous prelates of France, when considering this very discourse of Paul, which we are now considering), who does not tremble to hear these words of the apostle and teacher of the Gentiles! Can we look with indifference upon that vengeance, that terrible chastisement, which so many ages ago was manifested against the Jews, when the same apostle announceth to us from God, that our ingratitude and unbelief shall one day draw down upon us a similar treatment!”1

LAST OBSERVATION.

The Text of Isaiah quoted by St. Paul.

§ 9. THE learned and judicious author whom we have just cited, gives, in that same place, great demonstration of having perfectly comprehended the whole discourse of St. Paul the apostle, makes use of almost all his expressions, and in all their force and propriety. He speaks of the future state of the Jews (though shortly) as one of the most jealous among the circumcised might have spoken. He represents, among other things, with the most lively eloquence, that great miracle, which all the world had under its observation without giving it the attention which it deserved; to wit, that the Jews, scattered so many ages ago among all peoples, still unmingled with, still not lost amongst them may even say (he adds, with great truth and propriety), that they have survived all the nations who have at various time oppressed and sought to exterminate them.

Who can point out the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, or even the Romans? And he might have added, or all the barbarous nations who subverted the Roman empire? These races of nations are no longer discernible, they have all mingled and become confounded with one another. The posterity of the just Abraham alone, the house of Jacob alone, in the midst of so many persecutions, in the midst of such extreme depression and contempt, subsist till this day, and subsist not in any corner of the earth, but in the midst of the nations, in the sight of them, and to their grief, without its being possible to exterminate them, or to confound them so as not to know them. All this doth this great man in substance set forth in his reflections, and certainly with great reason. To which he might have added another very short and useful reflection, that this, and a thousand other things more minute, were already, from ancient time, entered and announced to the whole house of Jacob

1 Bossuet, in his Discourse upon Universal History. c. 20.

in the Holy Scriptures. In short, M. Bossuet concedes here to the Jews (accommodating himself to the text of St. Paul) somewhat more than the general system will admit, and much more than the other doctors allow. And, at the same time, he gives great and manifest signs of having penetrated the entire mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, from its beginning to the end; and says and confesses, though very incidentally, what no other, whom I know of, hath ever confessed. That is, that the Apostle threatens from the hand of God upon the Christian Gentiles, that same treatment and extreme severity with which we have seen the Jews treated.

Notwithstanding all this, M. Bossuet, being come to the substantial part of the mysteries here revealed by the Apostle, is seen at once to change his tone; and caught away, as it were, by the general system and favourite stile of discoursing, leaves us at last in the same perplexity, and in the same confusion of ideas, passing with so much haste over the most essential part of St. Paul’s discourse, that now it seems impossible here to understand that writer, whose proper character is clearness. Doubtless it appeared to this great man that the time was not yet come for explaining his own sentiments. Although here several other particular things, not a little interesting, might be remarked, that which at present demands all my attention is the understanding given by other interpreters of that passage of Isaiah, which St. Paul quotes, when speaking to these Gentile Christians: “I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written,” Rom. xi. 25,26; in order to prove that what he declareth was written in the scriptures, among many other passages he chooses this from the fifty-ninth of Isaiah, which let us now consider entire.

“For he put on righteousness as a breast-plate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense. So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord.” Isa. lix. 17-21.

Upon this text cited by St. Paul, M. de Maux hath these very words: “Thus the Jews shall one day enter, and shall enter never more to go astray; but they shall not enter till after the east and the west (that is the whole universe) shall be full of the fear and the knowledge of the Lord.”

Any one who should read this opinion from so learned a man, would doubtless think that the Prophet, as well as the Apostle who quotes him, desire to tell us nothing else than that Israel shall remain blind, as she now is, until the east and the west, that is all the nations of the universe, shall be in the bosom of the church, full of religion, of piety, and that holy fear of God which is the proper characteristic of true righteousness. But is not this an understanding infinitely foreign from the text, still more from the context, and even from all the scriptures? “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” These words taken by themselves, without attending to those which precede or to those which follow them, it were most easy to accommodate to any thing you please; but not so if they be read in connexion with the context. How should it be possible not to recognize in all these verses the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty, at which the east and the west shall be afraid? Not certainly with that religious and holy fear which is the beginning of wisdom, and the characteristic of righteousness (for that idea is diametrically opposed to all those which the scriptures give us thereupon, as we have so often remarked); but with that other kind of fear, proper to the guilty in the presence of their King, whom they have offended and aggrieved. “They shall be scattered from before his face,” it is said in the sixty-eighth Psalm, “from the face of the Father of the fatherless and the Judge of the widows:” and in the Gospel, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear,” Luke xxi. 26. And in the Apocalypse, vi. 15. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains…from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.”

Take now the text of Isaiah along with the whole context, and you shall at once understand what the prophet declared as well as that which St. Paul intends by quoting it, “So they fear the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.” This is the first half, but let not the second be forgotten: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a banner against him, and the Redeemer shall come to Zion,” &c. [Vulg. com venerit quasi fluvius violentus, quem Spiritus domini cogit, et venerit Sion Redemptor, &c. when like a powerful stream he whom the Spirit of God impelleth shall come, the Redeemer also shall come to Zion.] So that those of the east and of the west shall fear when the Lord cometh like an impetuous river, impelled by the Spirit of God, and her Redeemer shall come to Zion. The whole text being read, that which is spoken is clearly seen, as well as that which is not spoken. It does not say that her Redeemer shall come to Zion, when the east and the west feareth; much less, when all the universe is in a state full of the fear and knowledge of the Lord: but, on the contrary, it saith, that those of the east and of the west shall fear, when her Redeemer shall come; and they shall fear, he says, when he shall come: he does not say, he shall come when they have feared.

The same which is here spoken by Isaiah, and for which he is quoted by St. Paul, David had already said, in various parts of his Psalms. In the 102nd, for example, among other things very worthy of remark, he saith to God these words: “Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come…So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.” Verses 13.15. And, for the greater clearness, he adds immediately the cause of this fear: When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come.” Verses 16-18. This same fear is to be found in the ninth Psalm, and in the forty-eighth, and frequently in almost all the prophets, as you may have remarked in the passages which we have already noticed.

Moreover, if Isaiah, in the passage quoted, spake of that holy fear of God, which implies true faith; if with that faith and holy fear of God the west and the east, that is the whole universe, were to be filled; when the Jews shall be converted to Christ, and their Redeemer shall come; to what purpose is that Redeemer represented as clothed with the garment of vengeance, and with zeal as a cloak? To what purpose is it said, that he comes clothed with a vesture of revenge? “According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies,” Isa. lix. 18. To what purpose is it added, to the islands he will pay recompense? Against whom can this indignation, this vengeance be directed? Against Zion? No: because on the contrary, her Redeemer cometh to deliver her from her captivity. Against the east and the west, or against all the nations of the universe? This can as little be the case, for they are supposed already to be full of fear and the knowledge of the Lord; which is the same as to be full of faith and of wisdom. Then, against whom so much wrath and array of vengeance? If you, Sir, can conceive against whom, I frankly confess my insufficiency. In this case, I find no sense or significance in all the text of Isaiah: his expressions, though most vivid, turn into impropriety itself: nor, on the other part, do I find for what end St. Paul should quote this passage of Isaiah.

It would seem that these inconveniences have been well thought upon by many other doctors, who, to avoid them, have taken to a different course, which appeared to them less embarrassing and much shorter; saying, that the prophet is here speaking, not of the second, but of the first coming of the Lord, and its admirable effects; and that the true sense of the prophecy is, that as various nations, to wit, Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Greeks, and Romans, had at various times subjected, afflicted, and oppressed the people of God; so, vice versa, all those nations should be subjected to Messiah, and ruled over by him: when, believing on him, they should receive his gentle yoke, and observe his laws in goodness and faithfulness. See if you can reconcile this interpretation with the garb of vengence and the aspect of wrath, with which the prophet presents him, as coming to inflict their deserts upon his enemies.

It appears now the time to deduce the ultimate consequence, from all which we have observed upon this Phenomenon, without looking for other notices, or detaining ourselves, unnecessarily with more observations. And let the consequence stand thus: That there being yet another time for the Jews, their time of mercy being infallibly to arrive, oppose it what will; the fullness of Israel, the receiving of Israel, &c. being in that time to come to pass, in that very time shall be fulfilled most fully according to the letter, all the prophecies which stand in their behalf, however great or incredible they may appear. Consequently that so frequent refuge of the doctors to the first fortress, to wit, the present Christian church, in the allegorical sense, in order to explain these prophecies (depriving the Jews of them as if they were not spoken to them), is a very insecure refuge, wherein it is impossible for the favourite ideas long to hold out, or the contrary ones to be long hindered in their progress. Let us reply, nevertheless, to two objections, which may be brought to what we have advanced.

1st

. The ideas which are proposed in this Phenomenon, as the great mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, as upon the not less great mystery of the future vocation of the Jews, although they appear very agreeable to the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, are not found in the sacred interpreters, nor in the theologians, nor in the ancient fathers of the church: therefore they are, or may be, false ideas, with a certain appearance of truth, seeing it does not seem probable that if they were true and just, they should have been hidden from so many learned men, who passed all their life in the study and meditation of the same scriptures and still less, that they should have concealed them, if known.

I frankly confess, that in other times, this reflection would have made me tremble; but now my soul at once resents it as an injury to God, and a want of respect to his veracity. Nevertheless, as this argument, although purely negative, may occasion some scruple, it is necessary that we examine narrowly and say a few words upon it.

Two things ought here to be considered. The first is a fact which cannot be doubted. The second is the true cause or origin of this fact. The fact is, that neither the ancient fathers of the church, nor the ecclesiastical doctors, who have written since, have treated the particular point in question, on purpose and to the bottom. No one that I know, has viewed the entire mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles from the beginning to the end, taking into account all which the scriptures of the Old and New Testament say with respect to it: explaining them in a clear and natural manner, comparing them one with another, attending to the whole context, and answering the difficulties which present themselves.

By a natural consequence, they have applied themselves as little to examine narrowly those passages of scripture, which speak of the future estate of the Jews, and of the great designs which God hath yet towards them, a point which is inseparable from the entire and complete mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles. It is true that many touch the point of the conversion of the Jews, and some give unequivocal signs of having had a glance of the whole mystery; but they hardly touch it upon the surface, and in haste. They confess in general, when they examine any of the most celebrated passages, that therein great mysteries are shut up; but they do not say what these mysteries are, nor of what persons, nor for what times they are spoken.

Ofttimes certain suppositions are laid down, whereon without examination or proof they build propositions, whose soundness faileth the moment the hypothesis faileth. Thus, for example, they suppose that the Christian church is infallibly to endure to the end, or till there be no more living men and sojourners upon this our earth. They suppose that the Christian church shall always stand and remain with the Gentiles in the state in which it now is, without any innovation: they suppose that the Jews, by so admirable a providence preserved by God among the nations without being confounded amongst them, shall once more be called by the same God, and with all their heart converted unto Messiah: but they detain themselves not in the tedious examination of these suppositions, nor do they undertake to try to the bottom what in them may be reasonably called in question.

The fact being so certain, some legitimate cause must have brought it about, whereby the doctors may be able to justify themselves. For to think that men so discreet, so pious, so holy, should have proceeded in such matters, either by passion, or any other inordinate affection, I regard as sentiment at once rash and unjust. What then may have been the true cause of the silence of the ecclesiastical doctors especially of the ancient fathers, upon the entire and complete mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, as likewise upon the great mystery of the future vocation of the Jews, This is that which I am now to set forth: and not to detain myself with useless preambles, it appears to me that this cause is not to he sought elsewhere than in the very vocation of the holy doctors, or in the ministry to which they were called.

The ancient fathers, were in their time that tongue of which after the apostles the Lord gave to the new people in order to instruct and cherish them: the proper office or ministry of these holy doctors, was no other than to serve with all their efforts, and with all their talents, that new spouse, to attend in every thing to her greater usefulness, and to watch with true zeal and continued vigilance over all her interests. They were in the first place to give her just ideas of the true God, at the same time to take away and endeavour wholly to blot out all those miserable ideas in which she had been nursed concerning the deities of wood and of stone. They had to make known to her the infinitely wonderful and amiable person of her husband, making her well to understand that he was true God, as the proper son of the very God, and true man, as the proper son of the most Holy Virgin Mary, and this with out the confusion of the two natures human and divine. Which single point kept the doctors of the first ages well occupied of itself.

Besides this, they had to make her to understand the purity and sanctity of life to which she was called, explaining clearly and distinctly all the morality of the scriptures. They had to embolden her with the sure hope of an eternal reward, and to withdraw her from all the vain glory of the world, and from all its venomous pleasures, by the fear of an eternal and terrible punishment. They had to exhort her to the practice of all virtues, as the only ornament with which she could appear gracious and acceptable in the eyes of her husband. They had, in fine, to be zealous with the utmost care and watchfulness, that she did not learn from false masters any error contrary or foreign to her holy doctrines whether in respect to points of faith or morality. You see here a summary of the calling of the holy doctors, or of the ministry to which they were appointed. For this ministry, talents, gifts, and graces were given them by the Holy Spirit, to some more, to others less, according to the measure of the gift of Christ: and they on their parts kept on faithfully labouring with them, having ever in view as the object of their labour, the greater glory of God in the usefulness of the church.

It is true, that many of these faithful and zealous ministers were not content with this merely. Having, carefully taken the account of all the precious attire and jewels which were found in the treasures of the first spouse, it appeared to them good to deck the second with them all; well believing that the other being cast out for her grievous faults, ought now to be regarded as really dead and buried in the land of forgetfulness. Consequently that those ornaments did all pertain to the new spouse, who, might serve herself of them according to her pleasure. There is no doubt they found some which did fit her well, and rightly become her; and that others which it was not so easy to adjust, might with a little labour and industry be made of service to her. The great difficulty was with that portion which being brought to trial, were visibly found disproportionate, and on that account useless. What then was to be done with these? To leave them in the fold without any use, might not be, since truly they were not made without great deliberation, nor were they preserved for no use. It is necessary then to make them all of service in some possible way. This which some few of the ancients (the most ingenious and eloquent) aimed at, has been pursued with greater pains by many other doctors actuated with the same zeal, for the glory and usefulness of the new spouse. But after so many and such ingenious cares, it has appeared that those ornaments were not really made for the use to which they have sought to put them.

But to return to our undertaking, it is most certain that the ancient fathers, as the masters and ministers of the present church, called by God to the work of the ministry, did regard nothing but her greater service and usefulness; they are frequently and indeed commonly seen in all their writings, when taking under consideration, various passages of scripture (whether of prophecy or of history) and speaking upon them, to quit the historical and literal sense, and decline at once into moral and purely mystical sense, in order to find therein some greater profit and edification to believers. Thus, let St. Augustine speak for them; (serm. 101. de temp.) “For if we will understand only so much as speaks in the letter, we shall derive little or almost no edification in our reading of the holy books.”2

The case standing thus, how was it possible that the zealous and most prudent fathers should speak a single word in favour of the first spouse of God? How was it possible that they should descend to other things which might have been prejudicial to those times? How was it possible that they should dare to announce prosperities to the first spouse, in presence of her who occupied her place? How was it possible that they should not fear to afflict her, to distrust and dishearten her? How was it possible that they should not consequently endeavour to interpret every thing in her favour, for her edification and usefulness? The contrary would have been a very high imprudence, because in the circumstances in which the ancient doctors found themselves, there was not any reason to expect from it any utility, and they would have had loss rather than profit. In those primitive times the spouse was in her youth, and like one that is young, in her first love and fervour. So was it necessary to confirm her therein, not to

2 Si enim hoc tantum volumus intelligere quod sonat in litera, aut parvam, aut prope mullam ædificationem in divinis lectionibus caoiemus.

alarm her with unseasonable threatenings, it was necessary to make her joyful in the Lord, and to dilate her heart that she might daily increase in numbers and fervour, not to trouble and dishearten her with sad and bitter announcements, which at that time could be attended only with the worst consequences.

So doubtless thought the holy doctors, and so they practiced. They were so far from speaking a favourable word to the ancient spouse of God, that on the other hand it is to be remarked in all their writings, whenever occasion offered they spoke ill of her, and spake, without abating of the truth, all the evil possible; yea, exaggerating her ancient crimes, her acts of infidelity, her adulteries: and bringing under review the wicked reception which she gave to her Messiah, and the barbarous cruelty with which she treated him: and blaming her ingratitude, her hardness of heart, and obsinacy. And all this for what end? To serve for a lesson, for a warning, and for edification to the existing spouse. For this reason the most prudent fathers did not explain themselves, nor even so much as touch upon many truly delicate and critical points, regarding the consequences which must naturally follow, which for the time then being could not answer any profitable end. For this reason they spoke so little, and in such general terms of the second coming of the Lord, without descending to the particulars which under that head are contained in the scriptures. For this reason, the Antichrist, with whom we stand threatened against the last time, it appeared to them, could not possibly be produced by the Gentiles without great dishonour to them, and for that very reason they supposed him a Jew, who should make the most bloody war upon the church. For that reason the fourth kingdom of the great statue, they said was the Roman, and that the stone which descended from the mountain and destroyed the statue, formed another and a new empire, that is, the present church, or the new spouse. For this reason, in short, it is, that until his day we know not well, what we ask of the Lord in these words, Thy kingdom come.

Why then do I not observe the same silence and proceed with the same prudence and circumspection which the ancient fathers observed, interpreting the texts of scripture in favour of the present church? I have two reasons, my Christophilus, for not doing so, which you shall now briefly hear.

The first: I am a Christian and a catholic by the grace and mercy of God; but have not therefore ceased to be a Jew; and though I pertain to the actual spouse, and acknowledge and venerate her as my lady and mother, I have not therefore ceased to pertain in a certain way to the ancient spouse of God, nor can therefore forget her, nor cease to love her with tenderness (fearing not to be called on that account a judaizers); nor therefore can I deny, without impiety this my mother, though at present so dishonoured and vilified. Taking this into consideration, is it much that I should not keep the same silence, which for the most just reasons other writers may have preserved? Is it much that I should have an eye to the comfort and true well being of that unhappy mother, presently afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted? Is it much that I should undertake to turn to her account so many clear and authentic writings, which are wont, for the most part, to be all the widow’s wealth? Should I not moreover, fear to be comprehended in that bitterest complaint of Messiah, who in the fifty-first chapter of Isaiah, regarding this very poor one in the state of widowhood, solitude, and distress, wherein she is now found, extendeth to her his hand, and full of compassion and tenderness saith, “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.” Ver. 17. Then, as if looking into all quarters, and wondering at the indifference and coldness of so many children to their proper mother, he laments over them, blames and reproves them, saying, “There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.” Ver. 18.

The second reason which I have for not holding my peace, is this very time in which we stand, so widely different from the time of the old fathers, and in a degree also with respect to that of the other ecclesiastical writers. I, though a Jew, of the seed of Abraham, am by the goodness of God a catholic, a son, a subject of the spouse of God who actually reigneth; and therefore I ought to serve her with all my efforts, and with all my talents; not with vain courtesies and sterile words, but with real and seasonable services according to the circumstances of the times; therefore according to the circumstances of these times, I ought not vainly to flatter her, but with all reverence speak to her the unadulterated truth; therefore I ought in my obsequies and services to attend, not verily to that which in other times and circumstances might have been convenient and useful, for example, in the times of her youth and first love, but to that which I understand to be useful, suitable, and even necessary to her present state. This is a rule of true prudence, which right reason dictates, and which the Holy Ghost doth not fail to teach us particularly. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to eyery purpose under the sun…a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” Eccles. iii.

Now I know not what shall be thought among the learned, of the seasonableness of these ideas. That which appeareth to myself is, that in these points the time is gone by for holding one’s peace and concealing, which was the time of the old fathers, and of the doctors who succeeded them, and that we must now stand in the time to speak. The revelation or manifestation of those things which in other times would have been very inconvenient, and even injurious to the young spouse, appear now in these times both convenient and perhaps absolutely necessary. Any one who doubts it, hath but to open his eyes and look: and with no more pains he shall be easily delivered from his doubting.

How is it possible to confound the present times with the past? The times of the youth of the spouse with the times of her greatest age? The times of calm and fervour, with the times of lukewarmness and coldness in love, which now appear to threaten us, thus announced by St. Paul, “there shall come perilous times?” “Because iniquity shall abound,” saith the spouse himself, “the love of many shall wax cold.” Matt xxiv. The circumstances in which the holy fathers found themselves being so greatly changed; in this sensuality, in this luxury and worldly pomp, in this distraction, in this drowsiness, carelessness, and even weariness towards the true interests of the spouse, (which they who have eyes, see and deplore) will it be said that it is not high time to tell her, to warn her, to remind her of that which is written in the scriptures of truth? Is it not the time to tell her things which in other times were not suitable? Shall it be regarded a crime reverently to tell her that she is threatened by the spouse with that same chastisement, and haply with a greater than that which the former wife was visited withal? “And thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God on them which fell, severity, but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Rom.

xi. 21-23.

The second objection which is made to us is, our having sometimes said, that till now we understand not well what we ask of the Lord in these words; Thy kingdom come: which they say is false, or little accordant with truth; because Jesus Christ in his first coming did found a spiritual kingdom of righteousness and holiness, which he himself most frequently calleth the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God. Although afterwards, in his second coming, he should found another kingdom, or do that which pleaseth him, as the absolute Lord of all, he shall not therefore destroy that other kingdom of justice already founded and therefore, if till now that kingdom of justice have been besought, it hath been besought with a very proper understanding.

It is a truth that Jesus Christ in his first coming founded a spiritual kingdom of righteousness and holiness, which he himself frequently called the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God. Very well: then this kingdom is already come into the world, and we already have the possession of it in the earth. If it be verily come, and we hold it now, —why seek for it to come? Were not this a useless and impertinent petition? Either we believe that the kingdom which we ask is come into the world, or we do not believe it: if the first, then we have no reason to hope for it, and consequently we ought to pass over that petition; if the second, why will we not explain ourselves a little more?

This embarrassment appears to have obliged other learned men to proceed by another way. They say, that which we seek from God in these words, Thy kingdom come, is, that the present church (which is doubtless the kingdom of God) should increase and extend over all the human race, and that all men should enter into the church and become just and holy. That petition, there is no doubt, is good and worthy of a true Christian: but to make request for that benefit, the proper words are not Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom come, that is, may the kingdom which is already come, increase and extend itself over all the earth, is a very violent interpretation; for coming and increasing are certainly two words, whose diverse signification he could not be ignorant of who taught us to pray this admirable prayer. But, if by these words I understand the kingdom which is to come, when the King cometh, according as the Holy Scriptures inform me; in that case, I find the words, Thy kingdom come, to be clear, proper, and seasonable. Then I pray with them, and I understand clearly what I ask: and, if I have true zeal for the wellbeing of my neighbours, if I desire with truth that all peoples, tribes, and languages should adore the true God, I comprehend all this in my petition, and for all this I confidently pray without passing beyond these three words, Thy kingdom come. I say, confidently; because I know by the same scriptures, that this blessing which I desire for the whole human race cannot be in the present state, but it shall be without fail when the kingdom cometh which I pray for. Therefore, far from fearing the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty, I desire it with the greatest longings, and pray for it with all the fervour of which I am capable, as well for the full remedy of the miserable Jews as also for all the residue of the Gentiles, who “when the vintage is done shall lift up their voice; they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord; they shall cry aloud from the sea:” Isa. xxiv. 14. of all which we shall speak expressly in due time.

Jesus Christ in his first coming founded (they say) a spiritual kingdom, which he himself called the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God. Here is to be discerned an equivocation of no small amount. —That which Jesus Christ frequently calleth in his parables the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, is very often nothing else than what he likewise calleth the gospel of the kingdom; that is, the knowledge, the good news, the announcement, the preaching of the kingdom of God. ‘The kingdom of heaven,’ saith St. Jerome, lib. 2. com. in cap. 13 Matt. ‘is the preaching of the gospel, and the knowledge of the scriptures which conducteth unto life.’3 This preaching and intimation of the kingdom it appears clear cannot be the kingdom itself, but the general invitation which is given to all by God, in order that they may receive the adoption of sons, which is offered to all under certain conditions, and in that way may have a part in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

3 Regmum cœlorum predicatio Evangelii est, et notitia scripturarum quæ ducit ad vitam.

The conditions indispensable for obtaining a right to this kingdom are faith and righteousness; or, as St. Paul explains it “faith which worketh by love.” Gal. v. Those who faithfully observe these two laws in all their extent, may be already regarded as the sons of the kingdom, and may hope in due time to be heirs indeed of God and joint-heirs with Christ. But they will not say, that already they are in possession of this inheritance, while they have still to live in solicitude, in vigilance, in fear and trembling, keeping in mind that sentence of the Lord; “But he who shall persevere unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matt. xxiv. 13. Therefore the Lord himself, being interrogated by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come, gave them this divine answer: The kingdom of God is within you. —As if he had said, Think of making yourselves worthy of the kingdom of God so far as lieth in you and standeth on your part, and think not of curiously inquiring when it shall come. That righteousness or disposition for the kingdom of God, that invitation to the kingdom, that preaching of faith and righteousness necessary to obtain it, is not certainly the kingdom itself; and if it be called the kingdom, it is only in a very loose sense; as a building which is in the act of being constructed may be called a temple or a palace. The knowledge of this kingdom we already possess through the preaching of the apostles; that which is required of us on our part we are not ignorant of; consequently we believe in this kingdom, we hope for it, and we desire it; —therefore we have it not as yet: therefore we may and we ought to pray for it in those divine words, Thy kingdom come; therefore we may and ought to hope that in his time he will grant us what we ask for. They say that this will happen in heaven above, after the general resurrection, and the world’s end: but if the scriptures, clearly and expressly declare, as we have so often observed, that it will come to pass on this our earth, —whom ought we to believe? To explain these things by saying, It shall happen in the earth, that is, in the earth of the living; that is, in heaven; is to amuse us with words which ought to make little impression upon him who desires truth.

In sum, the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of the heavens, has not till now arrived, and therefore we now do pray that it may come. That alone which hath come, is the knowledge, the account, the belief, the invitation, the gospel of the kingdom, with the conditions mentioned above. All this Messiah draws under the head of his first coming: the rest we expect at the second. “And the stone which smote the statue became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” If all that the scriptures tell us of the kingdom of God is to be accomplished in heaven above, it seems that we ought to pray, that we may go or be taken up to heaven, to the kingdom of God; not that the kingdom of God may come to our earth, and to us. In this case, the good Master would have taught us other words with which to pray. And thus I conclude with the most learned Father Maldonado (in Matt. vi. 10). “The true sense seems to me to be what Theophilactus and Rupertus point out, that the kingdom of God is the name for that condition of things, in which God, after having put all enemies under his footstool (when he shall reign, as saith St. Paul), shall be all in all. For although even now he doth everywhere reign, yet because he reigneth not in peace, nor without an enemy, nor without war, but many rebels as it were do still resist him, he is not said to reign. But then, his enemies being subdued, and his friends liberated, and his adversaries condemned, he is said fully to reign. That this is the sense, is collected not obscurely from that place of Paul which we have remarked, and likewise from this very passage. For it is manifest, that we here do ask, not our own kingdom, but the kingdom of God. It is not therefore the meaning, that God may reign in our hearts, or that we may reign with the blessed; for this pertains to us principally: but that God may reign absolutely, and without an enemy. For we so pray, thy kingdom come, as if children should pray for the king their father, a peaceful reign and victory over his; enemies not with the view of reigning ourselves, but that he may reign. And we desire it to come, as those who love the coming of Christ.” This is what I say, neither more nor less.

PHENOMENON VII.

BABYLON AND HER CAPTIVES.

§1. LET us proceed to reconnoitre the other fortress whereto the doctors betake themselves, which is the captivity of Babylon. Though indeed it be not of such importance as the preceding, it may on that very account prove the more inconvenient; because it is not here pure allegory, but the letter itself, which serves them for a shield. He who readeth the prophets with attention, and sets himself to compare the magnificent promises which they make in favour of the Jews, with the advantages which were apportioned to them, by the coming up out of Babylon, and their return to the land of their fathers, can do no less than wonder that the Lord should employ expressions so grand for things which were comparatively so trifling. He will not wonder less, if, upon reading the terrible threatenings against Babylon, he observes, as well in sacred history as in profane, that this city maintained itself without any material change, for the space of many ages after the departure of the captives, notwithstanding that Isaiah, in the forty-seventh chapter, had announced those great calamities as about to come upon her in a moment. “But these things shall come upon thee suddenly in one day, the loss of children and widowhood.” From all which, it will not be difficult to infer, that at that time were not verified, nor have yet been verified, the extraordinary events which the prophets announce by such great and vivid expressions. And to the end it may be seen what an insignificant part of the things we meet with predicted, can be applied in the literal sense to the captives of Babylon, and to their deliverance, we shall set forth a summary of that which hath be fallen the children of Israel from their banishment until this day; and we shall confront the same with the words of the prophets, in order that we may see that hardly any thing hath been accomplished.

Summary of the History of the children of Israel, from the beginning of their Captivity and Dispersion till the Present Time.

§ 2. ONE hundred twenty and two years after the ten tribes, which composed the kingdoms of Israel and Samaria, had been banished and carried away captive into Assyria, by Salmonezer king of Nineveh, the two tribes which remained, and composed the kingdom of Judah, were in like manner, and for the same causes, exiled and carried away captive into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. This transmigration was perfectly concluded eleven years thereafter, when the same Nebuchadnezzar, irritated by the rebellion of Zedekiah, uncle of the last king (whom he had entrusted with the regency of the kingdom, and honoured with the title of king), returned with more fury against Jerusalem: and having sacked it, and laid it entirely in ruins; and perhaps executed the like upon all the cities of Judah, he carried their inhabitants along with him, not leaving in all the land, save some “few of the poor of the people, which had nothing,” Jer. xxxix; who not feeling themselves secure, tarried not long, but became voluntary exiles, by flying into Egypt.

The seventy years, predicted by Jeremiah (chap. xxix.) having been accomplished, the king who, by the death of Darius, had just seated himself on the throne of the empire, moved and inspired of God (as he himself doth declare in his public edict, and as Isaiah had foretold, chap. xlv.) granted permission to such of the Jews as pleased, and even exhorted them to return to Jerusalem, and build the temple of the true God anew; commanding that the holy vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had transported should be restored; and that they should be supplied with all help necessary for the sacred building. With this licence certain returned with Zerubbabel, who appointed by king Cyrus himself, as the conductors of that troop of voluntary sojourners, who were all of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with certain priests and Levites, as it is expressly written in the book of Ezra Chap i. “Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites.” And in the second chapter, for the greater clearness, it is said, that those who returned to Jerusalem were descendants of those very persons whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried up captives to Babylon: “Who went up out of the captivity of those which had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away unto Babylon, and came unto Jerusalem and Judah.” Of the other ten tribes there is not spoken a single word.

Although the cities and provinces of Media, where the ten tribes had been placed (2 Kings xviii.) were at that time under the jurisdiction of Cyrus, of whose empire they formed a considerable part; it is certain that to them was not given the power of returning to their respective countries: both because these countries were occupied by other nations, which the same Salmonezer had sent into the room of Israel, as is written in the seventeenth chapter of the 2nd book of Kings; and because the intention of Cyrus respected only the temple of the true God. So it is to be seen that his royal edict or schedule spoke solely of the rebuilding of the temple of the God of heaven, which heretofore stood in Jerusalem, and of the worship of the same God. Consequently it speaketh to the Jews and the priesthood, to whom this pertained. “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” Ezra i. 2-4.

After many years (not fewer, as seemeth to me, than sixty) the seventh year of Artaxerxes, this holy and learned priest, commissioned by that king to visit his brethren, and see if they observed faithfully the laws of their God, and those of the king, went forth from Babylon to Jerusalem, accompanied by six hundred persons, forasmuch as he was a man full of wisdom, zeal, and piety, that he might freely and without any impediment instruct the ignorant. “And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.” Ezra vii. 25,26. Thirteen years alter Ezra, in the twenty-first year of the same Artaxerxes, Nehemiah, who was his cup-bearer and favourite, obtained permission of the king to go unto Jerusalem, bearing ample powers (which till now had not been granted the Jews) to build the city anew, and surround it with walls in all form, which he did, not without great opposition from all the surrounding nations, as may be seen in the book of the same Nehemiah, which is oft called the 2nd of Esdras.

Now it is certain from the scripture itself (Ezra ii.), that those who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem in these three parties, hardly made the amount of forty and two thousand and six hundred men; which is as much as to say that they were only a very small portion of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (which, a few years before the captivity, in the time of king Jehoshaphat, could furnish one million one hundred and three score thousand soldiers, who were enrolled and ready at the command of five captains-general, besides those who kept the strong-holds, as is expressly said in the second book of the Chronicles, chapter xvii). Consequently the most of the individuals of Judah and Benjamin remained in their exile, either because they could not come, or because they chose it not, regarding with indifference the land of their fathers and the worship of their God. All these certain and sure notices ought to serve the end of informing and assuring us of a truth the most important in the subject whereof we treat. Which is, that the Jews who returned, in those times, from Babylon to Judæa did not return more free than those which remained, nor lived more free, in the land of their fathers, than they had lived in Chaldea. They went out of Babylon by permission of the prince; but they went not from under the bondage of Babylon. They changed their land, but they changed not their condition: almost as if they had but passed from one province of the same empire to another. On this account they themselves made their lamentation, more than sixty years after having come out of Babylon; when, being congregated in Jerusalem, by Nehemiah and Esdras, to celebrate the feast of tabernacles and hear the reading of the law, they one day burst forth into a bitter lamentation, upon which followed a very fervent prayer, wherein, among other things they offer to the Lord these words: “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; behold, we are servants in it; and it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.” Nehemiah ix.36,37.

True liberty forsooth! Republic worthy of the name! For this my friend, is the illustrious name with which the Christian doctors commonly honour the Jews who returned out of Babylon with Zerubbabel, Esdras, and Nehemiah. The reason they have for giving it the name of republic, is so clear that the most short-sighted may see it.

After the temple and city were built, after they, who returned, had established themselves throughout Judea, which they probably found deserted; for it is not said that the kings of Babylon sent any other nations to people it, as is said with respect to the lands occupied by the other ten tribes; after all this, until the revolutions occasioned by Alexander, it appears evident and undeniable that Jerusalem, as well as the whole of Judæa, remained, as before, without any change, in respect to its entire subjection and dependence upon the empire of Babylon. Nor is it known that the inhabitants of Judæa enjoyed any exception, above the inhabitants of Chaldea, Media, and Persia, except the privilege, afforded to them by Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, of being able to offer to their God public worship in Jerusalem, and to live according to the laws which they had received from God’s own mouth; without therefore failing punctually to observe the royal laws: “and whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.” Ezra vii.

26.

The prince Zerubbabel was not only of the house and family of David, but lineal grandson of the last king of Judah (I say, last, because Zedekiah, who reigned last, did not hold any right to the crown, but was violently set up by Nebuchadnezzar). Moreover Zerubbabel held a legitimate right, by being the son of Salathiel, who was the son of Jeconiab, or Jehoiakim, who was carried away to Babylon, and imprisoned there, until Evil-Merodach succeeded to the throne. (2 Kings xxv.) Nevertheless, neither did Zerubbabel, nor those who were along with him, ever think of such a kingdom or of such a crown: nor is it known that there was in their hands more power or authority, than that which Cyrus had committed to them, whereof the whole amount was restricted and limited to the simple rebuilding of the temple; and if Zerubbabel enjoyed any beyond this, it was only the respect and courtesy given to him by those who knew of what lineage he was.

After the empire of Chaldea or Persia (which is one and the same), founded by Nebuchadnezzar, and enlarged by his successors, was entirely destroyed by the Greeks, who took possession of it; the Jews, who dwelt in Jerusalem and Judæa, were not left free; nor thought of setting upon the throne any of David’s descendants; nor of erecting themselves into an independent republic; nor even so much as refused tribute and vassalage to their new lords. They were always the servants and subjects of the Greek princes; now of one, now of another, according to the dominant party. As these princes did command and dispose of everything in the other provinces of their empire, so likewise did they in Jerusalem and Judæa; laying their hand even on that which was most sacred: for it is known by the two books of Maccabees, that they put down and set up, at their will, the high priest; and possessed themselves of the treasures of the temple, destined for the divine worship, and the sustenance of the poor.

The only change of any account which took place in those times, was that which was occasioned by the impiety and imprudence of one of those kings, who is called in Holy Scripture, the Root of Sin, the famous Antiochus. This wicked and insensate king, having returned worsted from his expedition against Egypt, thought to console himself in some way, by turning all his rage and fury against the Jews, Accordingly, without any other motive than a slight suspicion of its fealty, he went straight to Jerusalem, with all his troops, made himself master of it without opposition, sacked it, and burned it, and destroyed it almost entirely; shed the innocent blood of eighty persons; sold as many men for slaves; made the daily sacrifice to cease; spoiled the temple of God of all its ornaments and riches; profaned it with the greatest and most sacreligious profanation, both placing in it the statue of Jupiter Olympus, and permitting in it such excesses as to harrow up and horrify the most careless ear. “For,” saith the Scriptures, “the temple was filled with luxury and the feasts of the Gentiles, and with the abominations of harlots.” And, above all, as if this were a small matter, he did likewise take pains to convert the Jews into Gentiles and make them renounce their God and their religion; they might adore the gods of wood and stone, which the other nations adored, and entirely accommodate themselves to their customs and manner of living: and all this upon the pain of death. But God, who watched over the preservation of his church, at the same time that he chastened her for her sins, having permitted so great evils, did then give most notable demonstration of his greatness; he stirred up his Spirit in a sacerdotal family, which he clothed with valour from on high, and armed with holy zeal and courage, and by means of that family, with a few men, did work such mighty prodigies, as we read with amazement in the two books of the Maccabees. This interval being passed; and it was neither very large nor very happy, for all was full of continual wars, inquietude, and disturbance; and the true religion having triumphed over so many and grievous oppositions, the state in all other respects continued as before, with very little, or no substantial alteration. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judæa, not less than the surrounding nations, continued to serve as vassals and subjects to the empire of the Greeks, paying their tributes and suffering their rule, until the Romans became absolute masters of all the east, as they were already of all the west.

In this state things remained, until the Messiah came, who, far from delivering them out of that servitude into which they were brought, five hundred years before, by Nebuchadnezzar, declared to them, on the contrary, that they ought to pay to Cæsar that which was Cæsar’s, and to God that which was God's; and he himself paid the tribute. (Matt. xxii.) Shortly after, drawing nigh to Jerusalem, whither he went to suffer, he opened himself more fully to his disciples and friends who followed him, in the persuasion “that the kingdom of God should immediately appear,” He opened himself, I say, by that admirable and very clear parable, which is found in the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive to himself a kingdom, and return.” Luke xix. 12. Whence he gave them very clearly to understand, that the thing which they thought ripe, and hoped for, though expressed in the Scriptures was still very far distant. That many other scriptures equally clear and express, had first to be accomplished, which spoke of his passion, of his death, and of all its consequences; “that he must first suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.”

Finally: Messiah being dead, glorified, and risen again, the servitude and captivity of the children of Israel did not cease, nor was mitigated thereupon; but it was aggravated the more, and became incomparably more severe, in punishment for their having rejected Messiah, as the scriptures announced, and as the Lord himself had foretold a few days before his passion: “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations.” Luke xxi. 22-24. In fact, a few years after the death of Messiah, they were once more cast forth from Jerusalem and from Judæa by the Romans; the temple and the city were destroyed to the foundations; and their captivity, their servitude, their straits, their tribulations not only followed as before, but were remarkably increased and aggravated; and since then, have not ceased to increase, and, at times, to be still more bitterly aggravated in all nations.

But this present captivity, this servitude, in which the whole world has beheld the Jews, since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, cannot be called, with propriety, a new captivity and a new servitude; although only those should be taken into the account who then dwelt in Judea, which was a very small part in respect to that which was then called the dispersion of the ten tribes. Even speaking, I say, of these alone, it appears certain, that the Romans did nothing more in reality than revoke the licence which king Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes, had given them, to build the temple of their God and dwell in Jerusalem and Judæa. As God moved the heart of these princes to concede to them such a liberty, so afterwards moved he the heart of Vespasian and Titus, and still more of Adrian, to revoke the whole; confirming the first decree of Nebuchadnezzar, and causing it to be executed without mercy.

That permission of Cyrus, announced by the Holy Spirit two hundred years before, (Isa. xlv.) was without doubt convenient and even necessary; both to the end that due worship might be rendered unto the living God in his holy temple, and that the people of God might not be turned aside by the idolatry and iniquities of Babylon; and also, and principally to the end that, in his time he might have in the holy land a considerable body of the nation and of the priesthood, who should either receive Messiah, whose coming drew nigh, or reject him, and hang him on the cross; seeing the one and the other extreme ought to have been within their power.

These notices are compared with the Prophecies.

§3. FROM the whole of this history, which we have related, there result these truths: 1st. That the ten tribes which Salmoneser carried away captive, and placed in Assyria and Media, have not yet returned from their exile. 2nd. That of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which Nebuchadnezzar carried into Babylon, there did return only a slender portion to the land of their fathers; the most part remaining in Chaldea, and in the same servitude. 3rd. That this small portion which came out of the captivity of Babylon, and returned to Jerusalem and Judæa, continued as much in slavery to the king of Babylon as they were before; obeyed his laws, and those of the Greeks and Romans in succession; had no princes of their family to govern them as before the captivity, hardly ever enjoyed peace and tranquillity in all those times, but truly suffered continual disquietudes and afflictions. 4th. That by the coming of Messiah their ruin and dispersion was entirely completed, in the very terms in which they had been foretold, without till this day having experienced the least alleviation. Let us now see shortly, some of the promises which were made in behalf of the house of Abraham, and we shall easily deduce whether they were accomplished in the coming up out of the captivity of Babylon.

First in Isaiah, (eleventh chapter) it is said, that God will gather the fugitives of Israel and the dispersed of Judah, from all the four quarters of the earth: “And shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth:” that these being gathered into their own lands, shall be lords over those very nations of which they had been the slaves, (chapter xiv.) “And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were: and they shall rule over their oppressors:” that the Lord shall then give them rest from their troubles, from their oppressions, and from that servitude in which they had been for so many ages; that the name of an exacter or of tribute, should not be heard amongst them; that they shall then say full of joy, “How hath the oppressor ceased, the exactress of gold ceased? The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptres of the rulers, &c.” (Isa. xiv.) That this rod of the domination of men being broken into a thousand pieces, all the land shall rest quiet and in stillness, and at the same time full of joy and exultation: “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: it rejoiceth and breaketh forth into singing.” That in that day, finally, the Lord shall take from the neck and shoulders of the men of Israel that yoke and that burden so heavy, which they had borne in their long captivity. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulders, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” Is. x. 27.

In Jeremiah it is said, that God shall gather the remnants of his flock from all the lands whither they were dispersed, and conduct them with his omnipotent arm to their own fields: that there they shall increase and multiply in peace and quietness, without fear and dread of the evil beasts, so that no one shall fail nor be lost from their number: “neither shall they be lacking saith the Lord;” (chapter xxiii.) and in the thirty-second and thirty-third and thirty-fourth chapters it is said, that the Lord will gather all the children of Israel from all the nations, lands, and places, whither he cast them in the time of his fury, of his wrath, and of his great and most just indignation; and shall bring them once more to their own land, where they shall dwell confidently. That they shall then be his people; that be will give them all one heart and one soul; that he will make with them an everlasting covenant; that henceforward he shall never fail to benefit them; that he shall rejoice in his benefits, and not have wherefore to repent of having bestowed them; that he shall infuse into their hearts his holy fear, that they may no more offend their God, nor depart from him; that he shall heal their wounds, and close all their scars; that he shall pardon their sins and their iniquities, and cast into perpetual oblivion all the past: that all the nations who shall hear or know the innumerable and stupendous benefits which he shall confer upon them, “shall be afraid and shall be confounded at all the benefits and all the peace which I bestow upon them.” That, finally, he shall plant them anew in the very land which he promised to their fathers, and that with all his heart and with all his soul:” “And I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up:” Jer. xxiv. 6. that in those times they shall not say, “The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” Jer. xxiii. 7,8. And the time shall come saith the Lord, in which "I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS Jer. xxiii. 5,6. And to say all in one word, in the fiftieth chapter, ver. 4, “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jer. l. 4,5. “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found." Verse 20.

In Baruch, chapter v. it is said, that the captives who shall come out from their land with ignominy, “they departed from thee on foot, and were led away by their enemies,” shall return from the east and west, conducted with honour like the sons of the kingdom. “But God bringeth them unto thee, (Jerusalem) exalted with glory as children of the kingdom;” which perfectly accordeth with that which is written in Isaiah (lxvi. 20). That “moreover even the woods and every sweet smelling tree shall overshadow Israel by the commandment of God;” Baruch v. 8; that “God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory with the mercy and righteousness which cometh from him:” verse 9, that their justice, holiness, and faithfulness to their God, shall then be ten times greater than their iniquity had been; that, in fine, he shall bring them to the land, which he promised with an oath to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and thus also render another covenant, sure and everlasting, and he shall not again come to remove them from the land which he hath given to them. ‘And I will bring them unto the land which I sware unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them it…and I will make an everlasting covenant with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be to me a people: and I will no more remove my people the children of Israel from the land which I have given them.’

In Ezekiel, it is said, that God will gather the dispersed of Israel from all the lands where they shall be found, and will give them his own land; that then he shall give to all a new heart and a new spirit, taking from them the heart of stone, and giving them a heart of flesh: (xi. 17.) that he shall break into pieces their yoke and their chains, delivering them entirely from the hand of those who ruled over them, and that henceforth they shall dwell in their land “safely, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more.” (xxxiv. 27.) That he shall pour upon them pure and clean water, in which they shall be washed from all then past iniquities (xxxvi 25.) In sum, in chapter xxxvii. 21. these words are written, “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all. And David my servant shall be king over them” Ezekiel xxxvii 21, 22.

In Hosea it is said that the children of Judah and of Israel, who before were enemies to one another, shall be gathered after their exile, and be united once more, as they were in the time of David and Solomon, and that then “they shall appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel” Hosea i. 11.

In Amos it is written, “And I will plant them upon then land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” Amos ix. 15. and in Obadiah it is said, “And the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions” Verse 17. [Vulg. eos qui se possiderant; i.e. those who had possessed them.] In Micah it is said, “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things. The nations shall see and be confounded at all their might…they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.” Micah vii. 15-17. In Zephaniah it is said, “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in then mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” Zeph iii. 13. And speaking to Zion the mother, it is said, “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out, and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.” Verse

19. Finally, in Zechariah, who prophesied after the return out of Babylon, it is said, “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely in habited” Zech xiv. 11. These things shall you find at every step in all the prophets, beginning with Moses.

Now tell me, friend, in sincerity and truth, what think you of these prophesies? Let us suppose for a moment there were no others in all the scriptures but the few which we have now pointed out. Even speaking of them only, is it possible to apply them to those few slaves who returned by permission of Cyrus from Babylon to Judea? Reflect, my dear Sir, upon this capital point with all your attention and with all your judgment. I shall wait with patience for your answer. Meanwhile you must bear with me also while I draw the following legitimate and forcible consequences.

First; the captivity, exile, and dispersion of the children of Israel of which the prophecies speak, cannot be that which two tribes merely suffered in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, Secondly; the return of the children of Israel from captivity, exile, and dispersion, of which the prophecies speak, cannot be the return of certain individuals of only two tribes which happened in the time of Cyrus, by his permission and good will; and the rather as those prophecies do not name Babylon, but only say in general that they shall return from all lands, from all peoples, from the east and the west, from the four quarters of the earth, &c. Thirdly; it followeth that this return, with all the general and particular things thereof spoken, hath not yet been accomplished. Fourthly and lastly; one of three things must necessarily be; —either the prophets erred, or God is not true, or all shall be at some time accomplished exactly as they are written, neither more nor less. I subscribe to the third, and I leave the first and second to those who may choose them.

But you will say to me, —it is true that the whole of the prophecies cannot apply to the coming out of Babylon; but it may be said, that one part was accomplished in those few persons who returned to their country: another great part may be understood allegorically of the redeemed by Jesus Christ from the captivity of sin, of which the captivity of Babylon is a figure: and the part of the prophecy which can neither be explained in the one sense nor in the other, may be considered as verified in an anagogical sense in those souls which pass to blessedness, when they shall enjoy that peace and abundance which the prophecies announce.

Much could I say to you upon this interpretation, but I confine myself to two questions merely. Tell me upon what foundation you rest this method of dividing the prophecy into pieces and applying them in such different senses? Is it not that you may be able to reconcile them to your system and to the authority of the interpreters who proceed in this way? Sure you see that this is a poor refuge. Tell me moreover if it appeareth to you right and agreeable to the high veracity of God, that upon the same subject he should speak now in one sense, now in another, now in none? In an ordinary man you would take this to be an intolerable defect. If, then, you see that the first part of the prophecies, which is the dispersion of Israel, hath been accomplishing itself to the letter, why should their reunion and settlement in the land of their fathers, which the same prophecies announce with all the advantages as you have seen, be understood in another sense, making God to speak in a different manner?

It is indispensable, you reply, because the prophecies not having been completely accomplished in that deliverance, we ought to understand that the peace, justice, and stable felicity which are promised to the people of Israel should belong to the present church, which is the true Israel of God: and if not, when shall the prophecies be accomplished? Wait a little, my Christophilus, and tell me why from those sure premises thou dost not draw more legitimate consequences? Why dost thou not infer thus? Therefore, if the prophecies have not in this part also been accomplished in the literal sense, they will be accomplished. —Is the hand of God shortened that he cannot save? as saith Isaiah. If the sons of Abraham who have been dispersed have not yet been gathered again from all the four quarters of the world; if the sons of Israel and of Judah have not even been reunited in order to return to the promised land, if yet it has not come to pass that they should be seen to inhabit the mountains of Judah in such a peace, quietness, and independence, that so far from being tributaries of any, they shall rule over those who oppressed them; if yet the heart of stone hath not been changed, nor that pure water poured upon them which is to cleanse them from their iniquities, if, in fine, that wise and just King under whose shade Judah and Israel shall dwell with confidence, doth not yet reign over them, if all this hath not happened yet, why hopest thou not that it will happen? and when?

Surely thou perceivest, my Christophilus, that though I know not the time when, that is no reason why this conclusion should not be surrendered to me. I will tell thee, however, that all these things will come to pass when the Lord shall gather the dispersed fragments of Israel. In fact, in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, at verse 7, I find that the angel having manifested to the prophet these great mysteries which are written in the chapter preceding, like one stunned, the prophet asks, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And the angel, who, as is declared in the 14th verse of the tenth chapter, had been sent express to instruct him in that which should befall his people, “in the latter days, for yet the vision is for days,” testified in these words, lifting up his hands to heaven, “that it shall be for time, and times, and half a time: and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”

Yes, friend Christophilus, when the dispersion of the holy people, caused by God’s hand, is entirely concluded; when the troubles of the children of Israel are finished; when their exile, their dispersion, and their captivity have come to an end; then shall all these wonders be accomplished, —all these annunciations, and all these mysteries, which now are so hard to be understood. Unless we would wholly offend the veracity and the omnipotence of God, we cannot doubt that as he hath promised, so he will fulfil it.

Threatenings against Babylon.

§4. THAT which we have hitherto spoken of the captives of Babylon, we may say of Babylon herself. The prophecies which are against her are so terrible, so wonderful, so emphatic, and in appearance so full of execution, as to place them in the same condition with those made in favour of the captives which we have seen have not been accomplished till this present time. I imagine that the Babylon against which the prophets speak directly or indirectly, is a Babylon rather general than particular: I would say, as the captives in whose favour so much in so many ways is spoken, cannot be limited by any means to those only whom Nebuchadnezzar carried to Babylon, and who returned to Judea by permission of Cyrus, as we have just proved; so the Babylon against whom it is spoken in the prophets, can as little be limited to that single and individual Babylon, which in those times was the capital of the first empire of the world. The prophets of God would seem to do no more than touch the one and the other of these two objects in passing; as a courier, who, being come to an intermediate city, leaves in it some orders of his prince; yet stops not, neither detains himself, but passeth quickly on to the end and termination of his mission. In this way, it would seem, did the prophets of God. Not being able to stay, as an ultimate object, with those captives, or with that Babylon, as not being the primary and direct object of their mission, (although they visited both without tarrying long,) they pass them both over as intermediate objects, in order to reach the entire destruction of Babylon, (taking that word in all its extent of signification,) and arrive at the full and perfect liberation of their brethren.

The proper character of the prophet Isaiah is thus always to go to ultimate things; as if these were his principal ministry and his particular vocation. “He saw by an excellent spirit what should come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that mourned in Zion,” saith scripture itself, Ecclesiasticus xlviii. 24. Accordingly that prophet is seen as it were ever occupied in things of the last times, without forgetting them, even when it seems he should have been withdrawn from them by the other matters which he treateth. With those last things he doth frequently comfort Zion and her miserable children under the tribulations which he himself announceth to them. So that, although he toucheth many points pertaining to the state of the people of God in his time, —now blaming, now threatening, now exhorting, now instructing, and all with an admirable vivacity and elegance; although he speaks not unfrequently of the first coming of Christ, —of his life, of his virtues, of his doctrine, of his agonies, of his passion, and of his death; although he speaks of the most unhappy state in which Israel should abide after Messiah’s death, and in consequence of having rejected him; although he speaketh clearly and expressly of the vocation of the Gentiles into the place of Israel; yet is it easy to observe that he passeth almost insensibly, and as by a pleasant bound, towards that which may be called his proper vocation; to wit, the end.

That which we say in general of all Isaiah’s prophecy, is most to be remarked when he speaketh of Babylon. In the thirteenth chapter, for example, he places as its title, The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah saw: and the whole chapter, excepting two or three verses, more or less, is absolutely inapplicable to the ancient Babylon: it is all visibly directed to the other Babylon, which we have mentioned. The same happens in the fourteenth chapter, in which he treats the same matter. Throughout, he utters of Babylon and her king things so great, so extraordinary, and so new, that it is impossible to accommodate them to that Babylon and to her king, Belshazzar. The most literal of the expositors, after having wearied themselves not a little with that accommodation, confess it to be so: and many are of opinion that Antichrist is there spoken of under the king of Babylon (and on that account, perhaps, they have made him to be born in Babylon, and to begin to reign in it, as we said in the Third Phenomenon, Article II.): the truth is, that things not yet passed, but much greater things than these yet future, are there insinuated.

Although there were no other countersign than the last words with which the prophecy concludes, this were alone sufficient for penetrating the whole mystery. “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.” Isaiah xiv. 26. Of the forty-seventh chapter of the same prophet, when he returns to speak of Babylon, we say the same and much more.

Jeremiah in his two chapters, fifty and fifty-one speaks the same as Isaiah, with more diffuseness and at greater length; that is, he casteth a glance at that Babylon of Chaldea, dischargeth upon her a tempest of lightning, gives her to wit of the commandments of God, which pertained to her directly; after which, he passeth onward, until he is brought in spirit to another Babylon, so named by similitude, not by propriety; from whence, finally, he draws forth into freedom all the captives, as well of Judea as of Israel; and not only makes them free, but just, holy, entirely reconciled to their God, and restored with great privileges to the honour and dignity of his people; he planteth them anew in the land promised to their fathers, and promiseth to them from God that they shall not come again to be ruled over by any power upon the earth.

In order that this may be more perceptible, let us make two or three observations as a specimen of those which might be made. First: in the fiftieth chapter verse 3, he speaketh thus, “For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein: they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast.” If the prophet speak here of the ancient Chaldea Babylon, it is certain that nothing of the kind was accomplished upon her, when the nation of the north under Darius and Cyrus came against her. That nation far from destroying Babylon, far from reducing her and all Chaldea to a solitude and desert, did no other remarkable thing than place upon the throne of Nebuchadnezzar, Darius the Mede, and afterward Cyrus the Persian. Babylon after that epoch remained the principal court of the same empire for many years, and maintained itself on foot many more, without any change. As little did Alexander the Great, who destroyed that first empire two hundred years after Darius, destroy Babylon or reduce the land to a solitude, but lived in it, and there terminated his days. In the time of Antiochus, who began to reign in the 137th year of the kingdom of the Greeks (1 Mac. i. 11.) Babylon was still a considerable city, where the royal successors of Alexander dwelt when it pleased them; for it is said expressly in the scripture, (1 Mac. vi. 4.) that king Antiochus not being able to spoil the temple and city of Elymais in Persia of its riches, “he departed with great heaviness and returned to Babylon.”

I observe secondly, that the same Jeremiah, in the place quoted, continues to say, “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jer. l. 4, 5. If it be here spoken of ancient Babylon, and the times in which it was taken by the Medes and Persians, it is certain that in those days and in that time, nothing of this kind was accomplished. After that the Medes and Persians had made themselves masters of Babylon, certain of the children of Judah returned; but those who throughout the scriptures are called the children of Israel in contradistinction to those of Judah, did not return, they and the children of Judah together. In those who returned by Cyrus’s permission, as little was that

which follows verified, or hath it been verified to this day, come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.

I observe in the third place, Jer. l. 20. “In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Of those days and times of Darius and Cyrus, or of any which have succeeded till now, how is it possible to understand these words? Turn your eyes back to all past times, until you ascend to Cyrus and Darius, seeking in them all for the iniquity of Israel, and you shall find it; seeking for the sin of Judah, and you shall likewise find it; nor will much diligence or much study be required to find that which has been, and is open to the eyes of all. “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” Acts vii. 51. This may be said with great truth, of the more than five hundred years after Cyrus. With the same truth spake Messiah himself, “ Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” Matt. xv. 7, 8. And in another place, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matt. xxiii. 28.

To this you may say, what upon this text of Jeremiah the interpreters commonly say, to wit, that by these words, the iniquity of Israel and the sin of Judah, the prophet speaks of idolatry only, which they say ceased entirely after the return from Babylon. Who would believe that in a thing so clear any refuge should be needed? But if this refuge be examined closely, it is found to resemble a painting in perspective. The delusive appearance vanishes the moment we give way to reflection. First; on what foundation do they assure us in a decisive tone, that the iniquity and sin whereof this prophet speaks, is only idolatry? Certainly upon none. These words, iniquity and sin, are and have ever been, words of universal import, containing under them all moral evil, whether with respect to God, or with respect to our neighbour; why then in this case, limit them to idolatry merely? Idolatry is certainly a very heinous iniquity and sin; but ought all sin and iniquity to be reputed idolatry? Secondly; the prophet expressly speaks of Israel and Judah as returning in union to the land of their fathers, without carrying along with them the sin and iniquity which heretofore oppressed them: and though it were certain that Judah did at that time return without idolatry, Israel did return neither without idolatry nor with it, for she returned not at all. Thirdly; to speak, however, only of those who returned, they were not so free from idolatry, as not to be found almost all idolaters in the time of Antiochus: and Judas Maccabeus, who persecuted them with so much zeal and fervour, had no need to light a lamp in order to find them, for they were met with in all parts. And what shall we say of the rest of the children of Judah who remained in Babylon and in Chaldea? Did they live without defiling themselves?

It hence followeth that either the prophecies have proved false, or have not had for their primary and direct object the ancient Babylon of Chaldea, but that there is shut up in them another great and more general mystery which claims all our attention. The ancient Babylon appears to enter into them only as a sign, similitude, or parable of all which has come to pass, continuously from Nebuchadnezzar till now, and yet remains to be concluded. In fact, it is so written expressly in Isaiah, (chap xiv.) when speaking to all Israel and announcing to them their return from their exile, and the end of their labours, he saith these words: “And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.” Isa. xiv. 3-5.

If this text can be applied, or in any way accommodated to the ancient Babylon, or to her king Belshazzar, and to those few captives, who without ceasing to be captives did return with Zerubbabel, it appears that there will be no great difficulty in believing that the word parable should here have no other mystery or signification, than that of an elegant and festal song, as they pretend to tell us; but the difficulty is, that the former not being possible, we remain at full liberty with respect to the latter. The word parable ought here to signify the same as in so many other parts of scripture, that is, a speaking by similitude not by propriety. Accordingly this canticle which Isaiah puts in the mouth of Israel against a certain time, without ceasing to be festal and elegant, is at the same time a true parable and all which is spoken in it, is spoken by similitude and not by propriety; consequently, the king of Babylon, and Babylon itself, ought to be regarded as a true similitude, not as a proper appellation. With what truth and with what propriety could Israel utter this song in the time of Cyrus? Not so much as even its first words, which are these, “How hath the oppressor ceased, the exactress of gold ceased?” If any one should have so spoken on coming forth from Babylon, or upon at arriving in Judæa, certainly his word would not have been believed, all would have at once taken him for mad, saying with truth that which they did say in the time of Nehemiah, “Behold, we are servants this day, and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof, behold we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.” Neh. ix. 36, 37. Compare this text with that other “How hath the oppressor ceased, the exactress of gold ceased,” &c. and see if you can make them to harmonize in the same time, and the same persons.

This manner of reasoning is still further confirmed and cleared up.

§ 5. IN order well to understand all the prophecies which are written against Babylon, and the true end and termination to which they are all directed, it appeareth to me sufficient to take the keys into my hand and open the gates. Scripture itself offereth to us these keys, with the help of which all is easy; without which all remaineth obscure, difficult, and inaccessible.

First key. The apostle St. Peter writing from Rome to all the churches of Asia, concludeth his first epistle in these words, “The church that is in Babylon elected together with you saluteth you.” What meaneth this? St. Peter certainly did not write from the Euphrates, but from the Tiber, not from Chaldea, but from Rome. In St. Peter’s time, ancient Babylon no longer existed, and was almost as much forgotten as it is now. Of what Babylon then speaketh he? Of Rome itself. But for what reason giveth he this name to the capital of the Roman empire?

To this difficulty, the interpreters commonly make answer, that the apostle St. Peter put Babylon instead of Rome only by way of precaution, that is, not to occasion without necessity any persecution against himself, or against the Christians, if this epistle should by any accident have fallen into the hands of the heathen and come to the knowledge of the emperor. But what had either St. Peter or the Christians in such a case to fear? What would they have found in it to blame, or for which to persecute Christianity? On the other hand they would have found much to praise in that part of it which they could understand; which is the morality of it: for example, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors…For so is the will of God…Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward…Likewise ye younger submit yourselves unto the elder.” &c. 1 Peter ii. 13. 17, 18;

v.5. I do not know that any prince or republic could blame this doctrine of the chief shepherd of the Christians.

Perhaps it will be said that St. Peter feared not on account of the morality of his epistle, but because it spoke of Jesus Christ and of the Christian religion. And is it to be believed that St. Peter would fear on this account? In the epistle itself he exhorts the Christians not to fear the persecution which might come upon them as Christians, but that which might come upon them as guilty and delinquents; “but let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief…Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” 1 Peter iv. 15,16. Besides when St. Peter wrote this epistle, there was not any edict of the emperor against the Christians nor any prohibition of Christianity; for these same authors affirm that St. Peter wrote it in the thirteenth year after the death of our Lord, which, as appears, corresponds to the beginning of the emperor Claudius, which is more than twenty years before the first persecution of the church in the time of Nero. What then, at such a time, served the fear of St. Peter? And putting the case that he wished to use some precaution, was it not more natural that he should say to the Christians to whom he wrote, this church saluteth you, without naming Rome or Babylon or any other determinate city? Would not the Christians know in what part of the world the vicar of Christ was at that time?

Second Key. After some years (and not a few, for there had past at least thirty), St. John wrote his Apocalypse; and in the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth chapters, he speaks expressly and by name of Babylon, prophesying against her things nowise ordinary. And to the end that none might disallow the Babylon of which he speaks; that no one might equivocate by thinking that he spoke of the old Babylon, which no longer existed, he sets down so many signs and characteristics, that it is absolutely necessary to recognize her, however repugnant it may be to our inclination. So that even doctors, the most passionately in favour of Rome, find themselves under the inevitable necessity of confessing and conceding on this point the simple truth. What ought chiefly to be remarked upon these passages of the Apocalypse, is the very clear allusion they make to all the prophecies against Babylon: which are all here called upon; are all made to appear; are all constrained to serve against the new Babylon; and not only are the vivid expressions of the Prophets drawn into use, but sometimes their very words, as we shall immediately see. And it is very easy to remark, that the beloved disciple punctually makes use of the most vivid words and expressions of the prophets, which had no application, and could have none to the ancient Babylon. But that we may not be thought desirous to be believed upon our word, it may be well to give here some examples.

Allusions or Appeals from the Babylon of the Apocalypse to the Babylon of the Prophets.

§ 6. ISAIAH, speaking of Babylon, saith, “A grievous vision is declared unto me;…therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it…The night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.” Chap. xxi. 2.3,4. Does it appear to you probable, that the fall of Babylon, by Darius and Cyrus, could have produced upon Isaiah effects so great as he himself declareth and enlargeth on with such vividness?

St. John, speaking of future Rome, says with more brevity, when he beheld her seated upon the beast, “And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” Read the seventeenth and the following chapters, and you will there see what great reason the beloved disciple had for wondering at beholding Rome in that most unhappy state which he himself announceth.

The same Isaiah speaks thus to Babylon: “Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children and widowhood…And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.” Chap. xlvii. 8,9.11.

How is it possible to accommodate this to the ancient Babylon, taken by Darius and Cyrus? Read, my friend, any expositor; compare that which he will tell you with the text, and with the history of that event, which thou art not ignorant of, and without more trouble all your doubts shall vanish. Much more, if you refer to the text of the Apocalypse, which, speaking of future Rome, thus declareth: “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” Rev. xviii. 7,8.

Jer. l. 29. “Recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her.”

Rev. xviii. 6. “Reward her even as she rewarded you,. and double unto her double according to her work.”

Jer. li.13. “O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures.”

Rev. xvii. 1. “Come hither, I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.”

Jer. ii. 8. “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed.”

Rev. xviii. 1,2. “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen.” Which likewise alludeth to the twenty-first chapter of Isaiah, where it is written, verse. 9. “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”

Jer. li. 6. 45. “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul…My people go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.”

Rev. xviii. 4. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Jer. li. 7. “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.”

Rev. xvii. 2. “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

Rev. xviii. 3. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.”

Jer. li. 64. “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary.”

Rev. xviii. 21. “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.”

Jer. li. 48. “Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon; for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the Lord.”

Rev. xviii. 20. “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” And in the nineteenth chapter, he continues the strain, saying: “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Allelulia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.”

These few allusions suffice to make known to us, or at least to awaken in us strong suspicion, that the Babylon of the prophets cannot be limited to that ancient and individual city, which was the court of the first empire. As that first empire, which at the beginning stood in the head of gold of the statue, has gone on descending with time, from the head to the breast and arms, then to the belly and thighs, and lastly to the legs, and feet, and toes; so that first Babylon, considered not in its physical structure but in its moral principle, hath been following the same steps. I do not say solely from Nebuchadnezzar, or from the first of the four most famous empires; but even from the commencement of empire in general; or from the beginning of the government of one single man over many, which we call monarchy, which, as is seen in the tenth chapter of Genesis, had its first beginning in Babylon.

In this aspect then, it appears to me the prophets consider Babylon, when they denounce upon it by so many, such vivid, and magnificent expressions, things which till now have not been seen in the world; things which were not accomplished in any way, upon that first and ancient Babylon.

Babylon being considered in this aspect, the prophecies do at once, without any embarrassment, unfold themselves, which otherwise remain certainly more than difficult, even obscure and inaccessible. This appears to be that same aspect which was most present to the apostles, St. Peter and St. John, when they gave the proper name of Babylon to that great city, which was, in their time, the mistress of the world, as being the capital of the Roman empire. It is true that this empire long ago descended from the belly to the feet and toes of the statue; but we may say nevertheless, that it perseveres morally in one of its chief effects, that, in relation to the people of Israel. It perseveres, I say, in respect to the captivity, the entire and complete dispersion of that unhappy people, which was carried into execution by the Romans, after the death of Messiah, and hath been continued, confirmed, and aggravated by the fourth empire. Take this in combination with what is said in the 2nd Section of the Third Phenomenon.

§. 7. IN sum, that ancient Babylon, situated on the Euphrates, exists no longer in the world: it is long since it died, and there is no hope of its ever rising again. “And it shall no more be inhabited for ever, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation…No man shall abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.” Jer. l. Nevertheless the prophecies which are against Babylon, have not been completely verified till now; for although Babylon be destroyed, yet was it not destroyed in that way, nor with those particular circumstances which are expressly read in the prophecies concerning it.

Various interpreters and historians, and amongst the rest the learned M. Rollin, speak of the destruction of Babylon, and quote the prophecies, with a kind of confidence and security, as if that destruction and those prophecies were in perfect accordancy. But if we ask, out of curiosity, from what monuments, from what archives, from what sources, they have drawn such remarkable knowledge? we find, to our great surprise, that really they have had no other sources, no other archives, no other monuments, but the prophecies themselves.

Well: and if there be any monuments to the contrary, not only in profane history, but likewise in sacred: in this case, should we feign ignorance of them? Now so it is. So far as sacred history is concerned, I have already pointed out to your observation, in various parts of this Phenomenon, several monuments and sure notices, altogether incompatible with the prophecies. I could, with little trouble, have noted many others. As to profane history, it appears to me that it will be sufficient to inform or to remind you, that Alexander the Great died in Babylon, two hundred years after Babylon should have been entirely destroyed, if the prophecies had spoken of her directly.

Moreover, I have made you remark, that all the most grave things and circumstances which the prophecies notify, and which failed in the destruction of ancient Babylon, are seen to reappear, and as it were rise from their graves, after long ages, in the Apocalypse of St. John; and these as things proper and peculiar, not to that ancient Babylon, now defunct, but to another and a new Babylon, which still exists. Finally; with the prophecies which speak against Babylon, it hath fared exactly as we have seen that it hath fared with those which speak of the captives under her; that though it be certain that, very many ages ago, some Jews came out of Babylon, and re-established themselves once more in Judea, it is likewise certain that neither that coming forth, nor that re-establishment, happened in the manner, nor with the circumstances which the prophecies foreshow.

What then, have the prophets erred? Hath the word of the Lord failed? Such extravagant conclusions are almost inevitable on the ordinary system; but they vanish at once, if we deny ourselves thereto, and stand to that system which the scripture itself offereth. It is certain that the prophecies are not accomplished till the present time; but likewise it is certain that the world is not yet come to an end. It is likewise certain, that the captives spoken of still exist in the world, and exist still in the condition of captives. It is likewise certain, that it hath not been possible to exterminate them, nor to confound them with other nations, nor to enlighten them, nor to take from them their heart of stone, nor to remove the veil from their heart; which are all things standing most clearly announced in the prophecies themselves. Who then hinders us from thinking, and freely saying, that as very many of the prophecies which are found in scripture, respecting them, have been fulfilled, so, in their appointed time, shall many others be accomplished which still remain to be fulfilled.

Let us conclude then that those two great fortresses, unto which the interpreters of scripture betake themselves, (to wit, Babylon with her captives, and what is competent to, or what is not competent to the christian church,) are in reality two fortresses which partake much of the perspective, and being seen from a certain distance, put on a great appearance, and beget I know not what fear, but disappear both of them as we draw nigh and reconnoitre them.

APPENDIX.

THE things which we have just observed in this Phenomenon, form in substance the most grave of all the difficulties which the Jews have opposed, and to this day oppose, to those who speak to them of the coming of Messiah. When they find themselves surrounded and tied down on all sides by their own scriptures; when they can find nothing to reply to the most effectual arguments brought against them by the Christian doctors; when they see themselves convicted and silenced by the evidence, they betake themselves in the end to the prophecies, and their manner of reasoning reduced to a few words, is this. The prophecies (if they mean what the Christians have said) are certainly not accomplished, therefore Messiah is not come. The antecedent they prove by showing one by one, not only the few which we have observed, but many others which we have omitted. The consequence they deduce from the prophecies themselves; among which it is easy to observe that some expressly announce, and others suppose that all the vision and prophecy shall have been accomplished when Messiah comes, or shall be fully and perfectly accomplished in his coming; suffice it to read the ninth chapter of Daniel, where (ver. 24.) these two things amongst others, are found joined united, and as it were inseparable, to wit, the full and perfect accomplishment of the whole prophecy and vision, and the unction of the Most Holy. “To seal up the vision and prophecy, and anoint the most Holy.” So that if Messiah be come, the whole vision and prophecy should have been fully and perfectly accomplished. But it is so, that they have not been accomplished with all fulness, therefore Messiah is not come.

This argument of the Jewish doctors, is of all which they advance, the only one to which the Christian doctors unto this day have not been able to reply in a distinct manner, capable of contenting and satisfying one who desires truth, and can repose in truth alone. In every thing besides, I hold it certain and indubitable, that they evidently convict the Jewish doctors, confound them, and put them to silence. And that with so much power and evidence, that we have seen some modern Rabbis, by the force of arguments compelled to allow, that Messiah according to the scriptures ought to have come many ages ago, but that he has delayed his coming on account of the sins of his people. Others still more learned and sincere have said, (in which they appear to have spoken the pure truth without understanding it,) that Messiah is already come, but remains concealed for the same reason, that is, for the sins of his people. (Pinamonti.)

But although in every thing besides, the Christian doctors do convict and confound the Jews, on that particular point which we now handle, they have done nothing according to their system but speak in a decisive tone, exaggerate much, suppose much, and in the end leave the difficulty untouched. Witness now the whole reply, and solution which they give. First; they salute the Jewish doctors by calling them gross and carnal, in having imagined that the prophecies dictated by the Holy Ghost, were to be accomplished as they read, or after their gross manner of understanding them (in which last they speak not without reason). They add secondly, that they have understood the scriptures according to the letter which killeth, not according to the Spirit which maketh alive (which yet may be so much nearer the true sense). Thirdly; they teach that the prophecies ought to be understood, not as they read or according to the sense which appeareth, because in that sense it would be necessary to suppose God to be possessed of material hands and feet, eyes and ears, which are frequently read of in the prophecies. They ought therefore to be understood only in that true sense in which God hath spoken them. And what is that true sense? It is, they say, the spiritual and figurative sense; in which sense have been verified in the present church, almost all those prophecies which cannot be verified nor find application in the Jews, excepting some few, whose perfect accomplishment is reserved till the end of the world. And is there no further reply than this, no other solution of so grave a difficulty? No, my friend, there is no more, so far as I have been able to sift the matter.

Oh Jews, verily poor and unhappy, into all parts ye are followed and accompanied by the guilt of your crimes, and the righteous indignation of your God! Oh system, not less fatal and prejudicial to you than that which your own doctors imprudently embraced! This made you disallow, reject, and crucify Israel’s hope, and reduced you in righteous recompense to the miserable state in which for so many ages you have been found, while that by its atrocious violence has darkened you much more. In the system of your doctors there evidently lacketh half of the prophecies, or half of Messiah himself; and in this second system of the interpreters, it is no less evident, that there lacketh the other half.

The one and the other of these errors have fallen upon you, and completed your misery. Oh that it were possible to unite these two halves according to the scriptures! Thereby alone it seemeth to me that all would be remedied: there would be need of nothing more, whether for the true and solid well-being of the Christian Gentiles, or for the remedy of the miserable Jews: sed hoc opus, hic labor est, but this is the burden, this the labour. If these two halves could be well united, the whole scriptures would at once be understood. It would be seen how both those would be accomplished which speak against the Jews, and for the Gentiles; and those in like manner accomplished which speak against the Gentiles, and in favour of the Jews. These would then take account of the circumstances which according to the scriptures were to accompany the first coming of Messiah, and might perhaps believe in it; and those, compelled by the force of the reasons, would expect the accomplishment of many other prophecies, by the second coming in glory and majesty, and would not violate their meaning to the prejudice of the third party.

PHENOMENON VIII.

THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN. —REVELATIONS XII.

“AND there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man-child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus, Christ. And I stood upon the sand of the sea.” [Vulg. stetit, he stood, i.e. the dragon stood.]

What is found hereupon in the doctors.

§ 1. THAT we may be able to observe this great Phenomenon with all exactness, and with a complete knowledge of the matter, it will be very profitable to know the various understandings or explanations, which till now have been given of it, and well to understand what it is they really convey to us.

The opinions upon this mystery which we find in the doctors, will all reduce themselves to these three. The first, (most frequent among the panegyrists) declares or supposes that the woman clothed with the sun, is the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ. To this supposition which no one has thought of proving, they devoutly and ingeniously set themselves to accommodate some words of this prophecy, for to accommodate all is impossible. But every one knows that the mysteries of this twelfth of the Apocalypse speaks as much of the most holy Virgin Mary, as do the books of Wisdom. It is true that the church in the festivals of the mother of Christ, do read certain passages of those holy books; but her intention is not, nor can be to persuade, or to insinuate that those passages which she readeth unto us speak really of our Lady, or that this is their true signification.

Let us come then to the explanation of those doctors, who are not panegyrical but literal, that is, of those who search into the true signification of the Holy Scriptures. These, according to their general system, are of opinion that the mysterious woman of whom St. John speaketh, can be no other than the church of Christ. In which general proposition, though they be all agreed, yet in the particulars they are divided between two opinions. The first maintains that the mysteries contained in this prophecy, are mysteries already past, which had their full accomplishment fifteen centuries ago in the terrible times of the persecution of Dioclesian. The second which is the common one, holds, that they shall be all accomplished in times still future, and much more terrible, which shall come in the tribulation of Antichrist. The first of these two opinions, though defended by grave, pious, and learned authors, we do nevertheless hold unworthy of special attention, believing for certain that they did not embrace it till they could no longer endure the truly unintelligible explanation, of the other literal authors. This simple reflection forms all their apology. It remaineth to us then, to examine a little more at length the principal opinion which has almost exclusive currency amongst those who look for the truth by the literal interpretation.

Explanation of the Prophecy according to the literal Authors.

§ 2. THE present Christian Church, say the literal interpreters, is, when the critical and terrible times of the persecution of Antichrist shall arrive, the whole of the mystery or mysteries contained in this twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse. The church in those times is represented as a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and crowned with twelve stars. That which is declared to us by these magnificent figures, is, that Jesus Christ, the sun of righteousness, according to his infallible promises, shall then clothe his church and illuminate her with his splendour, after the same manner as he hath clothed and enlightened her till now; for he himself said before departing, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world:” (but this is not a new attire, nor is there any reason for expressing it by so extraordinary a sign.) The crown of twelve stars is the symbol of the twelve apostles, who are her masters and teachers. The moon under her feet signifies that the church shall then despise all corruptible and mutable things, and all the vain glory of the world, symbolized by the moon (but this the church ought ever to have done). Nevertheless, granting all this, (though the gospels and other scriptures announce to us quite the contrary,) the accommodation might be tolerable, if the whole prophecy with all its mysteries concluded here; but the labour is only to begin.

This woman (continues the sacred text) was pregnant, and as the hour of delivery drew nigh endured great affliction, anguish, and pain, which manifest themselves openly by the wailings and groans which she uttered: “And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Rev. xii. 2. What meaneth this? It meaneth, that the Christian church, which in times of peace brings forth her children without pain, without inconvenience, and without hinderance, shall bring them forth with great difficulty in the tempestuous and terrible times of Antichrist…If the word Antichrist be changed into the word Dioclesian, and the past be substituted for the future, you have the first opinion, and perhaps with less violence. Let us proceed: “And I saw another great sign in heaven, and beheld a great dragon,” &c. While the woman was in this anguish there appeared, on the other hand, another sign in heaven, not less worthy of admiration; to wit, a shapeless dragon, of a red colour, with seven heads and ten horns, whose tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, casting them to the earth; which being executed, the dragon immediately placed himself before the woman, waiting the hour of the birth to devour the fruit of her womb. What is here signified is, that the infernal dragon, or Satan, with seven heads and ten horns, clothed with Antichrist himself, (who is so described in the following chapter,) hearing the cries of the woman, or well knowing the great tribulation in which the church is found, shall try to avail himself of so excellent an opportunity to afflict her more heavily, or to overwhelm her utterly by devouring the child which she is about to bear; that is, the children whom she shall bear. Whereupon God, who cannot forget his church, shall send the archangel St. Michael with all the armies of heaven to defend her from the dragon and from Antichrist. Immediately a great battle shall be joined between St. Michael and the dragon, and between the angels of the one and of the other; and, the dragon being conquered, the woman, or the church, shall bring forth her sons with less affliction: “and she brought forth a man child:” and those children which the church in those times shall bring forth shall be so manly, that though oppressed from their birth, they shall oppose Antichrist, and with valour resist him; whereupon they shall deserve to be caught up to the throne of God; that is, to heaven, by means of martyrdom: “and her child was caught up to God and to his throne.” Now of this child it is said, that he it is who is to rule or govern all the nations “with a rod of iron.” When shall this be? Probably at the day of judgment in the valley of Jehoshaphat. Let us continue.

When the dragon saw himself conquered and cast out to the earth with all his angels, and knew that the woman had brought forth prosperously, and that her child was carried to the throne of God, says the holy text, he turned all his rage and fury against the mother, and persecuted her with all his might: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” Verse 13. To the woman were thereupon given the two wings of a great eagle that she might flee to the wilderness, to the place which God had prepared for her, where she shall be nourished “for time, and times, and half a time; or for a thousand, two hundred, and threescore days;” which means no more than three years and a half. All which is here announced, (says the explanation,) shall be accomplished when the church, so cruelly persecuted by Antichrist and the dragon, shall find herself compelled to flee and hide in the mountains and most solitary deserts; for which end there shall be given to her two wings of a great eagle (which some understand in one way, others in another, others in no way at all, which seems the better course). In this wilderness and solitude the church shall exist a thousand, two hundred, and three-score days; precisely the days that the persecution of Antichrist is to endure; God sustaining her with corporeal things miraculously, as he sustained Elias and so many other anchorites —and in spiritual things, by means of her pastors. I could wish to pursue and conclude the remainder of the prophecy according to the explanation of these authors: and why not? Is not this of itself enough for making up a prudent judgment of all the rest? He who is not satisfied may easily procure information for himself by consulting such of the literal interpreters as may appear to him the best.

Reflections upon this Interpretation.

§ 3. 1st. When we say that the Christian church begets true sons of God, what we mean by this figurative manner of speech is, that the active church, which is properly our mother, having benignantly admitted and received into her bosom any unbelievers who seek that benefit, instructs them first in the mysteries which they ought to believe, and in the laws which they ought to observe. All the time that this instruction continues, they are with propriety said to be in the womb of the mother; who, as saith Augustine, ‘with suitable food nourisheth those whom she beareth in her womb, and rejoicing brings them full of joy to the day of their birth.’ This day of birth is no other than the day of baptism; after which the church recognizeth them for her children, as those who are already the children of God by the regeneration of the Spirit. (S. August. de Symb. ad catecum.)

This being supposed, we reason thus: if the woman clothed with the sun is the church in the times of Antichrist, that which is announced by these words, “she being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered,” will signify the difficulty which she shall have in instructing, and much more in baptizing the catechumens. And, notwithstanding this difficulty, she shall at last bring them forth to Christ, or baptize them: “and she brought forth a man child.” Consequently these catechumens must be the same whom the dragon expected to devour immediately, upon the instant of their being baptized: “and the dragon stood before the woman, ready to devour the child as soon as it should be born.” Thus far all goes well: but the words which follow, — “and she brought forth a male child, who was to rule the world with a rod of iron,” how do they apply? In truth, that you should not concede to all the baptized that which the second Psalm attributes to the Son of God only.

2nd. If the woman clothed with the sun be the church in the times of Antichrist, the church in those times shall have to flee and hide in the mountains and dens of the rocks after the birth, be that birth what it may “and she brought forth a man child…and the woman fled into the wilderness.” And, by her flight, she will have to leave in the utmost danger and abandonment, the children she has just brought forth, notwithstanding the love and tenderness of a mother. It is true the text says, that this male child was forthwith caught up to the throne of God; but the explanation says, that this shall be by means of martyrdom and death; which, though to the son, or to the male children, it be an inestimable benefit, is no excuse, and brings no honour to the timid mother, who abandoned them in order to save her self. Even beasts the most defenceless and of the lowest instincts, appear on such occasions like lions, and do honour to themselves.

3rd. Above all, the difficulty and embarrassment of this interpretation increases, if we well consider the time in which the flight of this woman is to take place. The authors suppose that it will be in the time of Antichrist, and by reason of his persecution, because it is to that persecution they attribute the pains of the birth, and the anguish in bringing forth; and to this same persecution they attribute the coming of St. Michael, and the battle with the dragon. But if the sacred text be attended to, it is clear that both the battle of St. Michael with the dragon, and the birth of the woman, and the catching up of her child to the throne of God; and likewise the flight into the wilderness, are events which ought to precede Antichrist and his persecution.

In fact, the text says, that the woman shall flee into the wilderness after having brought forth, and that in the wilderness she shall remain forty and two months, or one thousand two hundred and threescore days, that is the exact time of the persecution of Antichrist; therefore those pangs, that birth, that battle, are things anterior to this time of affliction; a time of which the church shall not prove the pain, being in the wilderness sustained by the hand of the Lord. The text likewise says, that after the woman has brought forth and fled into the wilderness, the dragon, although conquered in battle, did not therefore cease to persecute her, and that not being able to reach her, he cast out of his mouth a river of water, “that he might cause her to be carried away of the waters:” and seeing that this last effort had succeeded ill, for the earth opened her mouth and swallowed the river of water; being furiously irritated, he went immediately “to make war with the remnant of her seed,… and he stood upon the sand of the sea:” and immediately St. John says, that he saw a beast with seven heads and ten horns come out of the sea; and he continues throughout the following chapter to announce the mysteries of Antichrist, and the terribleness of his persecution, “And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea,” &c. So that when the beast or Antichrist comes up out of the sea, when he is revealed and publicly manifested, when he begins his persecution in all form, the woman had already brought forth with great pain, the man child had already flown to the throne of God, the battle and victory of St. Michael over the dragon had already taken place, the said woman had already fled to the solitude, and the dragon had pursued her; and despairing of reaching her, had returned full of fury to make war “with the remnant of her seed.” This is the clear and palpable order of all this prophecy. How then do we suppose the church in the time of Antichrist, and under the terror of his persecution, suffering great pains and straits in order to bring forth new children, and fleeing after their birth into the wilderness?

If any one can reconcile all these things in an easy and intelligible manner, I will subscribe to his opinion; but if this is impossible, and insuperable difficulties present themselves thereto, I may be permitted to abandon this road, and at the same time to point out another which may prove more plain and easy.

Another understanding of this Prophecy is proposed.

§ 4. BEFORE all things, we ought to bear constantly in mind that the whole of this prophecy from the first to the last word of it is a metaphor, a parable, or a similitude. The events announced in it have all the air of being great, new, and extraordinary, in proportion to the novelty and grandeur of the similitudes by which they are announced; but for this same reason, they present to us as it were impenetrable enigmas. The person, or the subject, or the moral body, spoken of; and whereof such remarkable things are said, is certainly something real, to which they are very appropriate, though by resemblance only, not by propriety. As the word woman is a metaphor or a similitude, so is the sun with which she is clothed, as well as the moon which she hath under her feet, and so also is the crown of twelve stars, the heaven where this great sign appeareth, and likewise her pangs, griefs, and delivery.

On this indubitable supposition it is at once perceived, that in order to comprehend well the particular things which are spoke of this woman, it is necessary first to know, what woman she is, or what it is which is here offered to us under the similitude of a woman. If this be not known, much more if by this woman be understood something different from that which in reality she signifies, it will be morally impossible to explain in a clear and perceptible way the whole of this prophecy. On the contrary, if this woman be known, all the rest will become accessible, all will be explicable in a consistent and natural way, without artifice, and without violence, although for other accidental reasons and circumstances it may cost us some trouble.

I will not dare to assert as a truth that the woman whom I am about to propose, is undoubtedly the same the prophecy speaks of. What I take upon me to assert is, that on this system the whole prophecy, with all its metaphors, expressions, and similitudes, can be explained without any embarrassment, which is all that can be required of any system, in order to decide upon its goodness.

SYSTEM.

THE woman of whom St. John speaks throughout the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, is that same woman spoken of before his time in very many passages of Holy Scripture, which must be forthcoming throughout this discourse. She is for example, that same woman to whom it is said, “For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.” Isa. liv. 6,7. She is the same to whom it is said, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee…Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” Isa. lx. 1.15. The same to whom it is said, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.” Jer. xxx. 17. The same to whom it is said, “Put off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever…For God will shew thy brightness unto every country under heaven.” Baruch v. 1.3. She is in short the ancient spouse of God, or the house of Jacob cast out for her iniquity and enormous ingratitude, till the time in which she shall be recalled to her dignity, and restored to all her honours, according to what was set forth and proved in the 3rd Article of the fifth Phenomenon. Of this woman, in that time, shall be verified most fully all the things which this prophecy announceth under hieroglyphics so great and magnificent. This is the system.

In order now to see whether this accordeth with the prophecy, it seems necessary to follow the order of the whole, explaining one by one all the eighteen verses of which it is composed; and for the greater clearness, it appears good to me to divide the whole of the explanation into certain articles, comprehending in each, now two, now three verses, and now perhaps only one according to the necessity of the case.

§5. Advertisement. For the better understanding of these mysteries, as likewise of all the Apocalypse, it will be of great importance to recollect what we have remarked on various occasions, especially in the Fifth Section of the third Phenomenon, to wit, first, that the divine book of the Apocalypse is a prophecy entirely directed to the second coming of Messiah: secondly, that this prophecy is all, or almost all, a continued allusion to the whole scripture, as it were an abstract or analysis of scripture itself. Unless you give heed to these observations the Apocalypse will be obscurity itself. How is it possible to understand that divine book if we do not attend to and without prejudice admit the most remarkable passages of Moses, of the Psalms, and of the Prophets, to which it so frequently alludeth? Its most obscure passages would have passed from darkness to light, if the doctors had not engaged with an impossibility, which is to harmonize them with their system. This advertisement will be of great service to us as we proceed.

ARTICLE I.

The whole of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse is explained upon this system.

§ 6. “AND there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Rev. xii. 1,2.

The great sign, the prodigy, the new and wonderful phenomenon, which shall appear in heaven, or in the sight of all, a little before the revelation of Antichrist, is nothing else, we say, than the ancient spouse of God, ignominiously cast out, so many ages ago, from the house of her husband in anger and great wrath; and at that time to be gathered and collected in great mercy (Isa. liv.) That unhappy spouse, to whom a new espousal is promised under a new covenant; (Hosea ii.) she, who for her levities, her disobedience, her most enormous ingratitude, hath drunk to the very dregs the cup of God’s indignation, until she remained, as it were, intoxicated and out of her mind, (Isa. ii.); she whom the spouse himself threatened so often with troubles and miseries in which she now lieth, and to whom in like manner he had promised another estate infinitely different, in which “her former troubles shall be forgotten” (Isa. lxv.); she it is, I say again, whom St. John here representeth to us towards the beginning of her future vocation and reception into favour and fulness, which are the very terms that St. Paul the apostle useth when treating this subject (Rom. xi.); I would say, when the merciful God of her fathers, in those times and seasons which the Father hath kept in his own power, being appeased by her plentiful and most sorrowful penitence, and melted with her tears, shall at length pronounce those words which stand already entered by himself in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God: Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins,” Isa. xl. 1, 2; when he shall call her, I say, when he shall enlighten her, when he shall open her eyes and her ears; when, in short, she shall have spiritually conceived Christ, and Christ shall have been formed in her; then shall this great and miraculous sign be seen in heaven: then with wonder shall be beheld that which is written in the scriptures, and from which its very greatness hath hitherto appeared obscure and incredible.

Now this ancient spouse of God is represented, in the time of her future vocation, under the metaphor of a woman, no longer poor, miserable, naked, and abominable, as all the world hath seen her, and as she is now seen at this day; but clothed and adorned with the most precious and brilliant garment which can fill the imagination: to explain which, there is no similitude more proper than the sun itself. “A woman clothed with the sun.” Which appears to be what Malachi promiseth; “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings.” Mal. iv. 2. There shall arise to you, in the fulness of time, the Sun of righteousness, who in his wings or glorious light, shall bring you health: —otherwise thus; the Sun of righteousness shall arise, who shall give you wings, and, by means of them, health. Of these wings we shall speak by-and-bye. It is the same in spirit with what Micah saith: “When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause; and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” Micah vii. 8,9. Accordingly we can understand nothing else by this woman’s clothing of the sun, than the same celestial light “which cometh down from the Father of lights:” and the expression appears to us most appropriate, most lively, most natural, in order to explain, in some the way, according to the scriptures, that torrent of lights, which ought then to inundate and circulate throughout all parts of the spouse; whom her own husband doth now mercifully awaken from her profound lethargy; whom he calls and invites with that multitude of consolations, and most joyful announcements, which are already prepared in the scriptures of truth: for example, these: —“Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury.” Isa. li. 17.

“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city:…Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” Isa. lii. 1, 2.

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isa.

lx. 1.

“Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.” Isa. liv. 4.

“Rejoice and be glad for the children of the just, for they shall be gathered together, and shall bless the Lord of the just.” Tobit xiii. 13.

“Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and look about toward the east, and behold thy children gathered from the west unto the east by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God.” Baruch v. 5.

Besides having the sun for her clothing, the woman appeareth with the moon under her feet “And the moon under her feet.” This similitude appears clearly not to pertain in any way to the adorning or attire of the spouse. For what new ornament, brightness, or splendour, can the light of the moon bring in the presence of the sun, or to a person clothed and girt about with the sun? If it be to denote, as some think, a shoe corresponding to the richness of the vesture, in that case, the expression under the feet seems not to be appropriate, since the shoe is not only under the feet, but to clothe and entirely cover them: it ought, in this case, to be said, upon the feet, which denotes another thing much inferior to the shoe itself.

It appears to us then, following the metaphor, and searching out for it all possible propriety of application, that the expression, and the moon under her feet, is nothing else than a consequence of the admirable state in which the woman is found: forasmuch as being clothed with the sun, and all enveloped in his splendour, there is no night to her; and therefore the moon, which serveth only to enlighten the night, is wholly useless to her, and ought to be no-where but under her feet. Some one may perhaps allege, that this explication has altogether the air of a popular discourse; and I will allow that he has good reason for saying so, when he shall have explained the metaphor, the moon under her feet, in a more proper and natural way upon any other system.

Much in the same way do we reason of the twelve stars, which formed the woman’s crown. Being clothed with the sun, the stars could add nothing to her splendour; for we know by experience that these disappear or become wholly useless in the presence of the sun. What then meaneth this similitude: “And on her head a crown of twelve stars?” To me this appears a most clear and vivid allusion to two passages of scripture. The first is, the 9th verse of the thirty-seventh chapter of Genesis, or the prophetic dream of the patriarch Joseph. “I beheld in my dream,” (said he innocently to his father and his eleven brethren), “that the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.” Where, besides representing Jacob and Rachel by the sun and the moon, the eleven patriarchs, Joseph’s brethren, are signified by the similitude of eleven stars. The twelfth star was Joseph himself. The second passage to which St. John seemeth to allude, is in the 17th verse of the twenty-eighth chapter of Exodus, where is described the breast-plate of judgment of the high priest, wherein God commanded Moses to place twelve precious stones, set in the purest gold, and having inscribed on them the names of the twelve patriarchs of the children of Jacob. In fine, the number twelve is the hieroglyphic, the characteristic and appropriate arms of the house of Israel. If any one insist upon it, that the twelve stars of the crown should signify the twelve apostles of Christ, we reply, to save disputation, that the twelve apostles of Christ are, and shall for ever be, the true and legitimate children of the woman of whom we speak, and as such, might in those times well form the crown of their mother: but the true and proper signification appears to us to be the twelve patriarchs, because they are signified in the scripture itself by twelve stars.

Having thus obtained the knowledge (such knowledge as can be had in these subjects) concerning all which pertains to the exterior of this wonderful woman, to wit, of the sun which clothes her, of the moon which she has under her feet, of the twelve stars which constitute her crown; we pass now to consider her inward part, and that which she enclosed with her womb, which appears the effect and likewise the cause of the splendours which outwardly manifested themselves.

The sacred text says immediately that the woman was pregnant; and the hour of her delivery approaching, she suffered terrible sorrows and pangs in bringing forth the fruit of her womb, and indicated them by voices and cries which she uttered. St. John appears here, according to his continual allusions, to refer, by this similitude, to the twenty-sixth chapter of Isaiah, which is throughout an admirable song, that shall in those days be sung in the land of Judah. “In that day,” the chapter begins, “shall this song be sung in the land of Judah.” In order now to know what day this is, whereof the prophet speaks, there is need of no more research than to read the song itself. Wherein will be seen, without the power of doubting, that the song neither has been sung, nor could have been sung, during all the days, years, and ages that have past, until the present time. And in order to make ourselves still more sure of this, it may be good to take a full draught, and read the two preceding chapters, and likewise the following one, since they have manifestly all one mystery and one time in view. This new and wonderful song is competent only to the remnant of Israel, in great mercies gathered together in those days to the hand of Judah, seeing it is of them it speaks; or to speak more accurately, it is they who speak in spirit through the whole of the twenty-fifth chapter, and they likewise continue to speak in the song of the twenty-sixth chapter.

Now among the things which, in this prophetic song, the holy and precious remnant uttereth to their God, one of them is that which had just happened to them upon their calling by the goodness and mercy of God himself. “Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O Lord. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind.” (Or as the LXX. read, whose version the apostles used) ‘So have we been thy delight, because of our fear of thee, O Lord, we have been with child, and we have travailed, and we have brought forth the spirit of thy salvation.’

But what are signified in both promises by this metaphorical conception; by these pangs and outcries to bring it to the light, and by the birth itself, with all its consequences? The birth we shall consider as we proceed (Article 3rd): the conception, the pain and anguish in bringing it to light, will clearly appear by following out the same thread of metaphor which we have begun. So as that Zion the mother, with all the wrecks of her family, who, be the number determinate or indeterminate, are to be “a hundred and forty and four thousand sealed of all time tribes of the children of Israel,” Rev. vii. 4; being enlightened or clothed with celestial light; having opened the inward eye and the inward ear, to see and hear what till then, by the just judgment of God, she had not seen or heard; she shall at once conceive in her womb, that is, figuratively, Jesus Christ, and him crucified (who, through the fault of her doctors, has ever been to her a true scandal); and Christ Jesus shall begin to form himself in her very womb, still in a figure, and there also shall he proceed and grow unto the perfect day. This is clear and needs no further explanation.

Moreover, as it is not sufficient for salvation that we should conceive Christ Jesus in the secret of the heart, but likewise necessary to bring him forth; or, so to speak, to bring him to light, publicly to manifest this conception, and to declare for him, “for with the heart men believe unto righteousness, but with the lips confession is made unto salvation:” the spouse being come to this, straits, pangs and outcries naturally begin, because of the great difficulties, contradictions, and embarrassments which earth and hell shall then oppose, in order that the pregnancy may be without fruit. What persecutions shall not be raised in those days against the woman! what strangeness, what disgust, what disquietude shall not be caused in those days by so pressing a novelty, which no body dreamt of! Surely it will be a novelty capable of changing the public quiet and disturbing the peace of the world; in those days, I say it again, in which charity and likewise faith shall be found so lukewarm and scanty, through the abounding of iniquity. (Matt. xxiv. 12.)

The first who will oppose themselves to the birth of the woman will probably be the Jews themselves, “of every tribe of the children of Israel:” those, I mean, who by their own fault have not entered into the number of those sealed with the seal of the living God; who, as is said by Zechariah, shall be two third parts at the least “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Zech. xiii. 8,9. I said that those not sealed with the seal of the living God will be two third parts; and I added, at the least; because it appears to me very natural and very agreeable to other passages of scripture, that in the fiery proof of tribulation, through which this third part shall have to pass, there will be left much dross or tin, which pertaineth not to the fine gold. And so God himself announceth it by Isaiah: “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” Isa. i. 25. And in another place it is clearly said, that after having passed through the proof they shall come out decimated (either leaving a tenth in the fire, or, as others think, bringing only one in ten out of it): “and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isaiah vi. 13. The same is declared in the 8th verse of the sixty-fifth chapter.

It appears then very probable that two third parts of the house of Jacob shall persecute with all their might the other part which has believed, as they also did in the beginnings of the church. But this persecution (if it do come to pass) shall hardly be as the picture or shadow of that which the dragon shall stir up by means of those seven beasts and ten horns, whereof we treated so largely in the Third Phenomenon. These seven beasts spread over all the world, shall then stand not only in friendship and good accord with one another, but on the eve of confirming a treaty of union or a formal league “against the Lord and against his anointed.” This is the other sign which at the same time appeareth in heaven.

ARTICLE II.

“AND there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Rev. xii. 3,4.

There is here represented the old serpent, “who is the devil and Satan,” full of the most vehement apprehensions, and in consequence of his fears, leaping up and down at the great novelty in the state of that woman, whom till now he had slighted. What occasions him the greatest anxiety is, the terrible circumstance of seeing her pregnant, without having power to hinder this evil, perhaps without having known of it, and without now being able to prevent the birth which is about to take place. In order in any possible way to remedy so great a mischief, and fraught with the very worst consequences, he opens himself to his friends and implores their help. To them he hath recourse at once: he sets them all in motion, agitates and animates them against that terrible and wonderful woman, who may yet ruin all his projects. This is the reason why he lets himself be seen under the figure of a monstrous dragon, of red colour; that is, full of fire, of wrath, and of fury, and with seven heads and ten horns; —which cypher requireth no new explanation, having been sufficiently explained in the Third Phenomenon.

And as if these armies were still insufficient for combating the woman, he calls likewise to his succour another sort of soldiers, much more dangerous than all the armies in the world. He draws with his tail (a proper symbol of leasing, of cozenage, and of seduction; for, as it is written in Isaiah, “the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.” Isa. ix. 15.); he draws, I say, with his tail no less than the third part of the stars, of heaven, and casts them to the earth, in order that they may serve him. By these metaphorical stars torn from their places in heaven by the tail of the dragon, I understand nothing else to be signified save that which I find in certain grave authors who on this point, quote and follow St. Jerome and Theodoret. ‘His tail,’ says the latter, ‘drew a third part of the stars of heaven; that is, of those principal men in the church, not only political men, but ecclesiastical doctors, and religious persons, who, like stars in the firmament, do outshine and surpass the rest:’4 which doth not fail to accord with that which we said in another place, when speaking of the beast with ten horns. (Phen iii. § 9.) It is true, that the fall of these stars, like all the rest of the mysteries contained in this prophecy, are placed by the doctors in the very times of Antichrist. But we have already observed, that in the times spoken of throughout the whole of this twelfth chapter, Antichrist is not yet arrived in the world. Before which it is necessary that the woman should first have brought to light that which was within her, and afterwards that she should flee to the solitude and be placed in safety; for so it seemed good to the purposes of God, as we shall see hereafter.

The dragon then, being arrayed with all his armour, shall present himself before the woman, who standeth ready to bring forth, in order to hinder the birth, if that be possible, or at least to devour it so soon as it shall be born, “to devour her child as soon as it was born;” that is to say, in order to render it useless and fruitless, and hinder its producing those terrible consequences, which with so much reason he suspects and fears that he might cause it to be as it were carried from the womb to the grave. Now what doth all this in reality mean? what particular mystery is shut up under this similitude? Follow the metaphor, and you shall have no great difficulty in comprehending that mystery.

In the first place it is to be supposed and indeed collected very clearly from the text itself, that the dragon either has not known of it (God having hidden it from him), or has not been able to hinder the woman from conceiving Christ within herself, or that Christ should be formed within her “by the hearing of faith:” in which work Elias shall have laboured, seeing it is his proper ministry, to which he was destined, and, along with Elias, certain other workmen of God chosen from amongst the Christian people. In the second place, it is to be supposed that in that time and those circumstances, in which the dragon presents himself with his terrible arms before the woman, he shall as little be able to hinder her metaphorical delivery, that is, hinder her from publicly professing her faith and declaring for Christ Jesus.

4 Cauda ejus trahebat tertiam partem stellarum cœli, id est, virorum illorum principum ecclesiæ, non modo politicorum, sed et ecciesiasticorum doctorum, et religiosorum, qui instar stellarum in orbe aliis prælucent, et præcellent.

In this situation, so critical; in this conflict, in this urgency, what remedy remaineth? There is no other than to devour the birth itself that is to say, to labour with all possible pains, with threats, with seduction, with open force, that the woman may repent of her act, that she may, as if it were not her own, disavow the fruit of her womb which she has just brought into the world with so many pangs; that she may deny it, reject it, and consign it to oblivion. To this end, doubtless, are those armies, and those terrible arms in which the dragon appeareth arrayed; “having seven heads and ten horns: and for the same end are the innumerable stars which he hath swept from heaven with his tail, the proper symbol of deceit and seduction. This is all which can be apprehended or suspected to be in that wonderful similitude: “And the dragon stood before the woman that he might devour the child as soon as it was born.” I do not believe the dragon to have been so senseless as to imagine himself capable of really devouring the child itself which is here spoken of.

ARTICLE III. “AND she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.” Rev. xii. 5.

Notwithstanding the sight of the dragon and his legions, notwithstanding the pangs and straits which afflict the woman, that which she had within her womb at length appears; it appears safely a male child, destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron, which is no sooner born than it is snatched away to God and placed before his throne.

Two principal points we have here to consider. First, who is this man child whom the woman produced amidst so many pains and alarms? Secondly, what mystery is contained in this child’s being presented before the throne of God so soon as it was born? These two mysteries have been as it were two most lofty and insuperable walls, which have stopped the progress of all interpreters of the Apocalypse: for in the ordinary system, they do not recognize in this man child the very person of Jesus Christ, notwithstanding that there is no other person either in heaven or earth to whom the characteristic will apply: “who should rule all nations with a rod of iron.” As little can they explain upon that same system with any propriety this presentation of the son at the throne of God. But, on the system which we follow, both these points appear so clear, that it is sufficient merely to propose them, in order at once, without using violent or artificial reasonings, to comprehend that all should so happen.

Do not forget, Sir, that indubitable truth which we have already set forth in the 4th section; to wit, that here it neither is nor can be a natural mother or a material birth which is spoken of. The woman who appears amidst such various distress, and the child itself, are confessedly a metaphor or a similitude: but this similitude doth not hinder, but rather supposeth, that both the mother and the child should be some physical or real things, to which these similitudes have a most suitable application. This being laid down, we say first, that although the offspring of this woman, like the woman herself, is metaphorical, the son, figuratively born, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron, can be no other than Jesus Christ himself, the son of God and the son of the Virgin Mary, not certainly at this time physically conceived and born, but spiritually conceived by faith, and born by public confession of the same: conceived, I say, and spiritually born of that same mother, who, many ages before, had conceived and borne him but only materially, and who through the greatest blindness, the proper effect of her actual iniquity, had not known his value and infinite preciousness, but had confounded him with the lowest of the people, and reputed him as one of the most wicked of her family. In truth, she had conceived and brought him forth, but without that faith, which is the principle of every good; without faith in this her son, whom she had present with her, and who did evidently manifest in all his words and in all his works, according to all the scriptures, that he really was the very Messiah so much desired and sighed for by the whole body of the nation.

This, from all the countersigns, appears to be that great and unheard of prodigy, whereof Isaiah speaketh in the 7th verse of the sixty-sixth chapter. “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?” So that the woman of whom we speak certainly brought forth the Messiah many ages before. But how? Before she travailed, before conceiving him or knowing him: she brought him forth without sentiment, without spirit, and without faith: and therefore that birth cannot be any advantage, but was as “a rock of offence and a stone of stumbling. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law: for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone; as it is written.” Rom. ix. 32, 33.

But when God shall exercise to this same woman those great mercies, which he had promised to her; when he shall call her “as a woman forsaken, and a wife of youth cast off;” when he shall gather her in great mercy; then shall she conceive and bring forth in spirit this same Messiah: that is to say, with knowledge, with faith, and with esteem, with a most sincere and a most ardent love, and likewise with the pains and perils of a true and bitter repentance, which in that time and in those circumstances shall be inevitable.

This spiritual birth of Zion, this faith, and her confession of it, this acknowledgment and publication at every risk, that the same Jesus, whom heretofore she rejected, upon whom she invoked the cross, is her true Messiah; is he for whom alone God waiteth, in order to join that great council, and constitute that majestic tribunal, so much spoken of in the fourth and fifth chapters of the Apocalypse, which are a most manifest and vivid allusion to the seventh chapter of Daniel, as we shall see immediately; for this is the second point which we now proceed to consider.

“And he was caught up to God and to his throne.”

The woman having brought forth, saith the sacred text, the Son was as it were instantly caught up to God, and presented at his throne. What meaneth this? Let us in spirit follow this son who hath just been born; let us follow him with humility, but without fear, to the very throne of God, and become eye-witnesses as far as our present state will permit, of what he doth there, and of the new and admirable mysteries which begin to be accomplished. The entrance to this supreme council is not impossible nor so very difficult, if we will avail ourselves of those keys which are given to us. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit,…I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. vii. 9. 13,14.

This prophet, after having concluded the mystery of the four beasts, and unfolded it all from the beginning to the ending, as we observed under the Second Phenomenon, turns back a few paces, in order to relate particularly another mystery, which, although having a close relation with the other, could not take its due place without interrupting the order of the four beasts. (This method, still practised among good historians, is common among the prophets, and especially in the Apocalypse.) The mystery is, that the great council being entered upon, and the Ancient of days, or God himself, being seated upon the throne (expressions accommodated to men’s understanding), there was seen to come immediately, as upon the clouds of heaven, “as it were the Son of man,” who entereth directly into the very council; and being entered thereinto, advanceth at once to the very throne of God, before whose presence he was presented (it is not said by whom). “And he came unto the Ancient of days, and they brought him in before him.” The result of this presentation to the throne was, that God immediately gave to this admirable person, to this Son of man (by distinction, who is likewise so called frequently in all the four Gospels), gave to him power, and honour, and a kingdom, that all peoples, and tribes, and tongues, might serve and obey him, as his subjects, “that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.”

Compare with this text of Daniel, those words in the Apocalypse, “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne,” Rev. xii. 5. and you shall see in them so close an analogy, that the first will appear an explanation of the second. So that the delivery of the woman being accomplished, and the man-child born of her in the manner we have seen, instantly he flies to God, and presents himself, or is presented before his throne. If we ask now for what end, Daniel replies to us, that it is to receive of the same God publicly, in his great council, power, honour, and a kingdom, not certainly in right merely (for in this way he holds it now, and hath ever held it), but in actual exercise, for to that effect it is immediately added, “and all peoples, tribes, and languages, shall serve him;” or, according to St. John, “who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron.”

Whence it naturally follows, that this power, this honour, and this kingdom, which in that time shall be given to the Son of man, he receiveth not till then (however much the ordinary ideas assert the contrary). It is true, that after his resurrection, the Lord said to his apostles, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth;” but by the very context it is at once known, though there were no other foundation for it, that the Lord spoke only of the spiritual power of the high priest, seeing it is the very same power which he communicates to the apostles, in consequence of having received it of his Father; and so he immediately adds these words, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations,” Matt. xxviii. 18. As if he had said, There has been given to me all power in heaven and earth, in virtue whereof I send you over all the world, not to subdue it as lords, but to teach it as masters, “teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you.” Who does not see that these words are not proper of a king, but of a high priest only? And who doth not see that these are the things which pertain only to the priesthood? Not that we affirm that Jesus Christ hath not full power at present to do and undo at his pleasure; but that this power which is holy and well ordered, he exerteth not at present, save in things which are proper to a High Priest. This full power of doing and of undoing, he held even while he lived in mortal flesh; and yet in all his most holy life he did nothing but teach in words and works. So far was he from using the power of a king, that, to one who said unto him, “Speak to my brother that he may divide the inheritance with me,” he replied, with surprise, “Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you.” Luke

xii. 14.

It is true, I say again, That after, by his resurrection, this Son of man went to heaven, “or into a far country, to receive a kingdom and to return;” Luke xix. 12; it is true that then he did seat himself with great honour and glory at the right hand of the Father. It is true, that in heaven, at the right hand of his Father, he is honoured and glorified by all angels and saints. He is certainly constituted universal king and heir of all things created: seeing by him and for him they were all made. “Whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds —for whom and by whom are all things.” Heb. i. 2. ii. 10. But it is likewise true, that this inheritance, this actual power, this kingdom, this honour, so proper and so due to the man-God, till now he has not received, for till now he has not conferred it. “But now, (said St. Paul, and we still say the same thing with equal truth), “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” Heb. ii. 8. If still all things be not seen subjected to him, he hath not yet in fact received the power, the honour, and the kingdom; because the subjection and obedience of all things to him ought to be the necessary and immediate consequence of his power, honour, and kingdom: “For in that he put all things in subjection to him, he hath left nothing that is not put under him.” Ibid. If otherwise, what power, honour and kingdom would there be to confer in the time whereof Daniel speaketh”? Accordingly, although the Son of man, Jesus Christ, be actually in a state of glory free from all suffering, he doth not therefore cease to be in a state of real and true expectation, until the time arrive in which all the power, honour, and dominion are given to him, of which he is irrevocably constituted the heir, the government being wholly laid upon his shoulders, (Isa. ix.) and all things placed under his feet. “He sat down on the right hand of God” says the same apostle, (Heb. x. 13.) from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

In order to comprehend with greater clearness what we have just said upon this Son of man, presented before the throne of God, let us open another window, and view this same mystery under a new light. Let us read, I say, the fourth and fifth chapters of the Apocalypse with somewhat greater attention, in which the whole text of Daniel is manifestly repeated, explained, and illustrated. These two scriptures being combined, it doth not otherwise appear but that these two prophets were present in spirit at that same court (the one five hundred years before the other), and that they were eye-witnesses of what there took place, or was to take place in due time; although to the latter, as to a disciple so much beloved, were manifested in the same vision several things more particularly. “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the Spirit and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white rainment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold” Rev iv. 1-4.

What remaineth of this prophecy, which is somewhat less than two whole chapters, may be viewed and considered in the fountain itself, for I cannot detain myself so long upon one single point, being called at the same time to so many others, of greater or equal importance. For my particular object it is sufficient to make here one short reflection, from comparing the one prophecy with the other, in order that it may be seen that the mystery of which they speak is the same in substance, only explained in different words, and with some things added in the second, which are not found in the first, a thing most frequent in all the allusions of the Apocalypse.

First; the times of which they speak appear evidently to be the same. Daniel saw the great council constituted in the times of his fourth beast, which, as we said in its place, and no one doubts, not is it possible to doubt, are the times very immediate upon the coming of the Lord (and this, be that beast whatever they please to make it) St John evidently presents to us this same council and judgment in the same times.

First; by the general reasons which have been pointed out in different parts, particularly in the Third Phenomenon, section 5, where it is said, and likewise proved, that the Apocalypse evidently from the fourth chapter is a consecutive prophecy, whose main object is the second coming of Messiah, wherein are comprehended all the most notable things which are to precede, to accompany, and to ensue upon it; which, in whole or in part, almost all the expositors fail not either expressly or tacitly to allow. Secondly; because this solemn council and judgment here spoken of has not been formed till this day: seeing that hitherto have not come to pass any of those very great and magnificent things which the prophecy announceth as the immediate consequence of that assize. Thirdly; because the context itself gives us to know the times, as we shall see immediately.

Daniel says, that in the times of the four beasts he saw that many thrones were placed and they sat upon them: where was seated, first, God himself, whom he calleth “the Ancient of days;” and beside him, upon inferior thrones, the assessors of judgment: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit.” St. John says the same in different words. Instead of “the Ancient of days,” he says, “One sat upon the throne:” and with respect to the assessors of the judgment, he merely signifies their number: “And four and twenty elders sitting upon the seats (thrones) round about the throne.” Daniel saw thousands of thousands of angels round about the throne of God: “Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.” St. John not only saw all these thousands of thousands of angels round about the throne, but likewise heard their voices: “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels…and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands.”

To cut short, Daniel represents to us a singular and admirable person, “one like the Son of man,” who, entering into that great and supreme council, presents himself before the throne of God, who presideth there, of whom he immediately receiveth power, and honour, and a kingdom: “and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.” Dan. vii. 13, 14. St. John represents to us this same singular and admirable person under another similitude, and with other circumstances still more particular and still more admirable; that is, under the similitude of a most innocent lamb, who presents himself and stands on his feet before the throne of God, “as it had been slain,” as presenting the infinite merit of his obedience unto the death. On which account he receives from God himself a certain book, shut and sealed with seven seals, which no one is worthy to open or can open but he alone. He opens it himself in sight of that most numerous and worshipful assembly, who wait with lively expectation that blessed moment; which being arrived, there instantly follow in all that assembly so great admiration and joy, so universal a jubilee, that not only the angels and the assessors of judgment, but along with them all the creatures of the universe, even the irrational and the insensible, cry out with one voice: they all give glory to God, and rejoice to behold the open book in the hand of the lamb.

The same beloved disciple assureth us that he heard over the whole universe all these voices of sacred jubilee that minute the lamb receiveth the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne, and publicly opened it in that extraordinary assembly The very counsellors and assessors of judgment fell down before the lamb “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Rev. v. 9,10. The thousands and thousands of angels said, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Verse 12. The other creatures of the universe cried with one voice, “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Verse 13. The whole of which admirably accordeth with an infinitude of similar things, which stand already announced and prepared against those times in the Prophets and in the Psalms. Read among very many other passages which we cannot now quote, the whole of the seventy-second Psalm, and consider especially the last words of it; “and blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and amen.” Verse 19. and the ninety-sixth Psalm, “Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad” Verse

11.

Observations upon that book which the Lamb openeth

BEING come thus far, it seemeth a most natural desire to know (with such knowledge at least as may be attained by us in our present state) what book this is, which in that extraordinary council is placed in the hands of the Lamb, so fast shut and sealed, that no mere creature is worthy or capable of opening it but he alone. What this book is which the Lamb receiveth directly from the right-hand of him that sitteth upon the throne: which he openeth there himself in the midst of all that numerous and venerable assembly: which, upon the mere opening of it, fills them all with so much joy and mirth; that, not being able to be contained in heaven, it diffuseth itself through all the creatures of the universe? Doubtless by this book there must be figured and signified something very great, since there results from the opening of it so very extraordinary and unheard of a joy. I confess that this very desire hath ever possessed me; forasmuch as it appeareth to be an easy thing, if this were once discovered, to draw many very useful consequences. What I have found upon this subject in the interpreters, speaking frankly, satisfies me not: either that I do not understand what they mean to say, or that I do not find it to bear any proportion to what is said in the sacred text.

Who could persuade himself, for example, after having considered the text with all its context, that the book here spoken of is the Holy Scriptures? How, and in what sense? It was, they say, opened and made intelligible by the death and resurrection of Christ. And, I say, that notwithstanding this supposed opening of it, the doctors have been at infinite pains to search out the meaning of the same scripture, declaring, for the most part, some one thing, others another, upon the same passage. Who could persuade himself that the book here spoken of is the book of the Apocalypse itself? How, and in what sense; when it is certain there was no such book in the world in the time when St. John had the vision? And even waving this anachronism, the book of the Apocalypse, that which the Lamb receiveth from the hand of God? that which he openeth before all angels and saints? that whose full opening causeth jubilee and rejoicing in heaven and on earth? This, certainly, I do not understand. Then what can this book be, to which things so strange and admirable as are here spoken of properly appertain? I well believe, Sir, that you do not ask me concerning the particulars which are written in the book; for you are not ignorant of what is written on this head in the text itself. (Rev. v. 4.) “Nobody was found worthy to open the book, neither to look thereon.” If no one be found worthy to open the book, nor to look thereon, who shall tell what it containeth? Surely it containeth that, of which St. Paul thus maketh mention, “which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man.” 1 Cor. ii. 9. But if you simply inquire generally with respect to its argument and subject, I forthwith proceed to lay before you simply my thought, praying that you would for a moment lay all prejudice aside.

The book then whereof we speak, appears to me, all the circumstances being considered, to be nothing else than that new and everlasting covenant of God, in which we know for certain, in the first place, that the only-begotten Son of God is called and constituted Heir, King and universal Lord of all; “by whom and for whom are all things,” Heb ii. 10 “whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world.” Chap i. I said in the first place, because we likewise know that conjointly with the first-born, and by him, and with him, and in him, are called to the inheritance as joint-heirs all his younger brethren, who long since were called and invited with the greatest urgency, long ago were sought from all parts and among all nations, tribes, and languages, in order that they might be admitted to the dignity of the sons of God, and have a share in the inheritance of which this same new and everlasting covenant speaketh, requiring of them only these two indispensable conditions, faith and righteousness, and that they should conform what in them lies to the living image of God himself, which is his own Son “For whom he did foreknow he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son…and if sons then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…that he might be the first-born among many brethren” Rom. viii.

It is most certain that this new and eternal testament of God, so much foretold in the ancient scriptures, was made many ages since, was irrevocably confirmed, was sealed and secured by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie; (Heb. vi. 18.) that is, by the word of God and by the blood of the Lamb, by the blood of the man-God, “the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.” But although this covenant of God, new and eternal, be certainly made, it appears in like manner certain and indubitable that it shall not be opened, but remain closed and sealed until the time for opening it shall arrive. That which we call at present the New Testament, that is, the new, canonical, authentic, and divine Scriptures, which have been inspired since Messiah’s time, are not, properly speaking, the New Testament, but only the notice, the announcement, the general invitation which is given to all peoples, tribes, and languages, to the end that they all who would might come together to the great supper, and endeavour to enter as parties into the new and eternal testament of God, fulfilling, every one in himself, those two conditions which are required of all and of every one individually; to wit, faith and righteousness. These new scriptures are called with great propriety, the Gospel (good news) of the Kingdom, which is the name that Messiah giveth to the mission and preaching of the apostles; the gospel, the announcement, or the good news of the kingdom; which kingdom is all that the same gospel or good news proclaimeth. There is not then any reason for confounding the information, that the covenant is already made, with the covenant itself. The information is certain and sure, and upon this certainty and security they laboured many ages ago, that all might believe it and profit by it. But the covenant itself no one till now has read, and no one is able to read; both because no one is capable of understanding “what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which hath not entered into the heart of man;” and principally because it lies still in the hands of God, closed and sealed with seven seals, until the times and seasons shall arrive which the Father hath put in his own power: until the covenant be placed in the hands of the Lamb: until the lamb himself break the seals of it: until he publicly open it in the supreme and full council of God himself, and thereupon enter legally into the actual possession of the whole inheritance, with the Amen, Amen, with the acclamation, desire, jubilee, and universal mirth of the whole universe.

In fact, what meaneth that presentation of the only begotten Son of God “like unto the Son of man, as a lamb that had been slain;” presentation of himself, I say, before the throne of his divine Father in that extraordinary council, and at that time of which we are now speaking? That receiving from the hand of his Father a closed and sealed book, which no one could open but he alone? Could open it there publicly in the presence of God, in the sight of all the angels, and of all the assessors and witnesses of judgment? That overflowing of admiration and extraordinary jubilee upon the opening of the book, among the witnesses and assessors, and likewise among all the angelic Spirits? The hearing at once, of all voices crying with one burst of acclamation, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever?” Rev. v. 13. Is not this manifestly a confirmation, a more enlarged and circumstantial relation of the text of Daniel?

A wonderful person “like unto the Son of man,” says the prophet, “came as with the clouds of heaven,” and entering into the great council of God, advanced and was presented before his throne, and there received from the hand of God, power, honour, and a kingdom: and I beheld “one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples; nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. vii. 13, 14. St. John says, that this same Son of man presented before the throne of God, is under the emblem of “a lamb that had been slain,” received from his hand a closed and sealed book, which he alone could open, and which he did open at that very time in the sight of all the assessors and spectators of the judgment, attended by the admiration and exultation of them all; and as the immediate consequence of this opening of the book, they all prostrated themselves before God and the Lamb, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Rev. v. 12. Say now, my dear sir, with sincerity, is not this the same mystery that Daniel speaks of? Is not this plainly to tell us, that the Lamb receiving a book from the hand of God, received in it power, honour, and a kingdom? Is it not to tell us, that upon receiving the book and opening it, it proved to be the covenant of his divine Father, wherein he constituted and declared him heir of all things? Is not this plainly to tell us, that along with this book is given to him the actual possession of all his inheritance: that is, the power, the honour, and the kingdom? If it be not this, to what purpose are the very great voices of jubilee and rejoicing with which the whole universe resoundeth upon the simple opening of the book? Let all this be considered with more formality, and examined with greater attention. I cannot delay longer, for I am summoned with loud cries to the woman who has just brought forth, spiritually, this male child, this Son of man, this Lamb; and to whom there abideth after her delivery, great conflicts upon the earth.

Returning then to the particular points which we left interrupted, what we say and conclude is, that to this same extraordinary council, to the very throne of God of which Daniel speaks, and of which St. John speaks, shall the man child of that metaphorical woman be caught up and presented that instant his birth (also metaphorical) hath been accomplished: on the instant, I say, that this very remarkable woman, now clothed with the sun, conceives him by faith and brings him to light by a public confession of that faith; because according to all the ideas given to us by the Holy Scriptures, it appeareth that this only is to be waited for in order to give to the son of this woman, all the actual power, all the effective honours, and all the kingdom and universal principality, which for so many ages hath been his right, and of which he is already constituted heir in the new and everlasting covenant of his divine Father.

Consequently there is no other thing to be looked for before placing in his hands that book or covenant, and beginning to bring into execution that which the covenant contains.

Then, my dear sir, and only then shall the great and admirable mysteries which the Apocalypse contains, begin to be seen, and the prophecies thereof to be fulfilled; which, let others say what they please, have not till this day been accomplished, I say not all, or many, but not one of them. Then shall be revealed, manifested, and shown in open day, with all his parts and all its springs, that great machine, or mystery of iniquity, which we call Antichrist, which began to form itself so many ages ago, and which in these our times we see already so grown and advanced.

ARTICLE IV.

“AND the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Rev. xii. 6.

The woman having brought into the world, although with great perils and pangs, that of which she was pregnant, and the fruit of her womb having flown to God and to his throne, with a view to the great and admirable mysteries which we have just observed; it is said in the holy text, that the woman instantly fled to the wilderness where God had prepared for her a safe and commodious place, that there she might live and obtain for herself necessary and convenient food, by the space of 1260 days, which is exactly forty and two months, and according to the ancient calendar, three years and a half, the exact time during which the great tribulation of Antichrist among the Gentiles is to last, and which will almost entirely pervert them, as is set forth in the whole of the following chapter, and in the gospel (Matt. xxiv).

It appears morally impossible rightly to comprehend what is here declared, unless we advert to the very evident and sensible allusion made in these words to that famous event which is recorded in the book of Exodus, and to which the prophets do likewise very frequently allude, when they mention the future vocation of Israel, as we have observed, and have yet to observe.

When God determined to give to his people the law, which we call the written law, when he determined to enter into covenant and public fellowship with that people, when he condescended to exalt them to the dignity of his spouse, and solemnly to celebrate that contract, by which both should be bound and obliged for ever, it was convenient first of all, to deliver this people or spouse from Egypt, to redeem her from the captivity, slavery, and misery, under which she then lay, to separate her entirely from the tract and communication of that superstitious people, and to conduct her at the expense of unheard of miracles, to the wilderness and desert of Mount Sinai. It was convenient to keep her for some time in that solitude sustained both in mind and body by the hand of heaven, in order, that there, free from all occupation, disengaged from every care, and far removed from all distraction, she might be able quietly to heat the voice of her God, to be taught and instructed, as well in the rites and ceremonies of the new worship, as in all the other laws winch it behoved her to observe.

In like manner we may reason that it will come to pass, when upon the arrival of that blessed time announced by the prophets of God, in expressions so magnificent; the blessed time of the vocation, conversion, congregation, and reception of the precious relics of that people and spouse which hath conceived in spirit, and manifested in the face of day, that child altogether lovely, which hitherto she hath refused to acknowledge.

For then, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria and the four corners of the earth…And there shall be an high way for the remnant of his people, which shall be left (to the residue of the ten tribes), like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.” Then God shall draw his ancient spouse out of all lands and nations, whither he himself hath kept her dispersed, exiled, captive, and filled with all that opprobrium and confusion of face which she had earned for herself. Then shall he deliver her with the same and still greater prodigies than those by which he delivered her out of Egypt; for so it is announced, and promised in almost all the prophets. “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things. The nations shall see, and be confounded at all their might,” (or as the LXX read, behold miracles,) Micah vii. 15,16.

And by Jer. xxiii. 7, 8. it is said of that holy remnant, “Therefore behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led, the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.”

Of the flight of this woman to the wilderness, of her occupations in that sweet solitude, we shall speak on purpose, in Article VIII. St. John here teacheth that mystery only in a general way, and immediately leaves it, or reserves it for a more convenient place, substituting another and not inferior mystery, which will take place during the same time, and without the knowledge of which the mystery of the woman’s flight and habitation in the wilderness could not well be understood. Let us then follow the order of the sacred text, which, beyond all doubt, is the best and most convenient.

ARTICLE V

“AND there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels: And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

This famous battle between St. Michael and the dragon ought, as appears most clear from the whole of the sacred text, to take place after the delivery of the woman clothed with the sun, and after the man-child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, has ascended unto God, and presented himself before his throne. In like manner, it doth appear most clear, that the battle is to be fought, simply because of the woman, and in consequence of her delivery, which the dragon could neither hinder, nor devour her offspring. The interpreters of the Apocalypse (I speak of the literal ones), that they may have somewhat to say, have here recourse to that most obscure and impenetrable chaos, the sin and punishment of the evil angels; supposing that when Satan, abusing his liberty and the gifts of the Creator, raised rebellion in heaven against God, and drew over to his side, as they say, the third part of the angels, he was opposed by St. Michael the prince, full of a true zeal, unto whom the other two-third parts of the angelic spirits adhered. Whereupon they waged with one another a great dispute, which naturally passed into a true battle, wherein St. Michael and his faithful companions conquered Satan and his rebels, and cast them from heaven to earth, that is to hell.

If we ask now out of curiosity, from what fountains, from what public or secret archives, information like this has been derived, the most learned find themselves involved in a true and not slight embarrassment. This event (we can tell them) certainly preceded the creation of man, either a long or a short time, according to various modes of thinking; for from Divine Scripture nothing is clear upon the subject: and moreover it is certain, that what hath passed, or may pass, among purely spiritual beings, is not within the province of man; these things being much beyond his limited understanding. It is true, that we may come at this kind of knowledge, but under no other guidance than that of divine revelation. Whence it follows, that if the event of which we speak has not been revealed to us by God in his scriptures, we may reject it as apocryphal. In order to evidence this, they refer us to this very passage of the Apocalypse which we have now under observation. But of what times doth this passage of the Apocalypse speak? of past times or of future? Is it a history or a prophecy? It is a prophecy, they say, which undeniably announces, for other times yet future, a great battle betwixt the good and bad angels; but this future battle alludes to that which was fought in heaven between these same angels before the creation of man. And where is that passage which relates or indicates such a battle to have been fought. For unless there be such a passage, there can be no allusion to it. No, friend, you shall not find it, unless by recurring to allegory, you think you find it in that division of light and darkness which the Lord made, and which is related in the first chapter of Genesis. But surely you perceive, that to understand by light the good angels, and by darkness the bad ones, besides being a pure accommodation, does not indicate or suppose any conflict. Certain it is, that, in all the scripture there is not found a word, from which to infer or suspect any such battle before the creation of man. We know truly, from the same scriptures, that there are good and bad angels; but upon the fall of these, its causes, and its time, is preserved a profound silence, which we ought to respect. But let us pass on to observe expressly this passage of the Apocalypse, adverting beforehand to two points, which will prove to us of the greatest importance. First: That the dragon and his angels, notwithstanding their being deprived for ever of the grace and friendship of God, have some access real or personal to him: they can still come to God, and present themselves before his tribunal, speak to him, and make petitions, accusations, and allegations, &c. This appeareth clear from the scriptures, and it seems to me that no one can deny or doubt it. It is clear, from the second chapter of Job; it is clear from verses 19 and 21, of the twenty-second chapter of the first book of Kings; it is clear from the 31st verse of the twenty-second chapter of the Gospel by St. Luke; and it is evident from this very passage of the Apocalypse; verse

10. This access to God, which the dragon and his angels have possessed, and still possess, is not to adore him, is not to enjoy the sight of him; but is such as hereupon earth, any private man, however vile he be, hath to his king or prince, in his council or tribunal of justice, where he is not prevented from debating or accusing.

The second thing which we ought here to advert to, and by no means to forget, is that extraordinary council, of which we have spoken in Article Fourth, which, as is expressly said in Daniel (vii. 26.) is to be opened in those times, in order to take from men all the power which they have received, and whereof they have made such great abuse. “But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end.” Dan. vii. 26. In which supreme council is seated, in the first place, upon his throne, the “Ancient of days,” and in their thrones respectively other assessors of judgment; and whereat thousand thousands of angels assist, prompt to execute whatever shall be there ordained. In which council the Messiah presenteth himself according to Daniel, “as it were the Son of man;” and according to St. John, “as it were a lamb slain.” In which he receives from the right hand of him that sitteth upon the throne a book, according to St. John; and, according to Daniel, he receiveth “power, and honour, and a kingdom.” The council or supreme judgment which opens, as hath been observed, after the delivery of the woman, continues open and in constant operation, all the time that the woman is in her retreat in the wilderness: that is to say, during the same forty and two months, during which the great tribulation of Antichrist among the nations is to endure; until, by the same supreme council and tribunal, the stone be unfastened and sent directly against the statue, striking it upon the feet, which were of iron and clay: until that hour and those seasons which the Father hath put in his own power, and which heaven and earth expect with the greatest longings, shall have arrived, the Son of man, or the Lamb Jesus Christ himself, shall come again to this earth, “having received the kingdom,” (Luke xix.) with all that glory and majesty which is described in the nineteenth chapter of the Apocalypse.

This truth may not only be collected, but manifestly seen, from reading the Apocalypse with any moderate degree of attention, from the fourth chapter to the nineteenth. After the opening of this extraordinary council, and the presentation therein of the Son of man, or the Lamb, and his receiving the book from the hand of God himself, it is seen in the Apocalypse, that of this very council the repeated orders against the earth, and especially against the beast and his worshippers, begin forthwith to be issued, and continue to be issued until the arrival of the Lord. From this council are seen first to go forth, as the seven seals are successively opened, those seven mysteries, of which, though the understanding be for the most part hid, yet is it not hid that they are true mischiefs and true plagues, “to those who dwell upon the earth.” From this council or judgment are seen to go forth those four angels, “standing upon the four corners of the earth…to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea.”

From this council or judgment after the last seal of the book was opened, and a silence as of half an hour had succeeded, there are seen to go forth immediately seven angels “to whom were given seven trumpets,” at whose sound, and at whose successive voices, come to pass in succession, those seven horrible plagues which are mentioned in the eighth, ninth, and part of the tenth chapters. From this council or judgment, is seen to issue an angel with a censer in his hand full of coals of fire, which he casts out upon the earth, “and there were thunders, and voices, and lightnings, and a great earthquake,” (viii. 5.) A little afterwards are seen to proceed out of the same council other seven angels, every one with his vial in which they bear “the seven last plagues in which the wrath of God is filled up,” and to whom it is said “go your ways and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” (xv. and xvi.) From this council or judgment, after the cause hath been substantiated, and sentence given, goeth likewise (with the order for execution against great Babylon, which then came into remembrance before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath,” (xvi. 19) She who is seen in that time seated upon the beast, and yet full of a most vain security and presumption, saying in her heart “I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Of all which it is spoken at large in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters, and part of the nineteenth. In short, from thus supreme council or judgment, are seen to proceed such great, new, and unheard of orders against the earth, as any one may easily observe who will read with care the divine book of the Apocalypse from the fourth chapter, in which the council opens and the vision begins, until the nineteenth, in which the King of kings is seen to descend from heaven in his proper person.

These two truths being laid down and well adverted to, the meaning of this particular mystery becomes plain and easy. The battle of St. Michael and his angels, with the dragon and his angels, must be a natural consequence of the new state, into which the woman came after her delivery.

We have already seen the suspicions, fears and disquietudes, under which the dragon lay upon seeing so great a novelty in that same woman, whom till this time he had regarded with the utmost contempt. These suspicions and fears, grow and augment upon seeing her really pregnant, and ready to bring forth. We have seen the pains which he took to prevent in their beginnings the terrible results of her pregnancy and her delivery. We have seen his desires and his efforts to destroy the offspring itself, when it was no longer possible to prevent it. We have seen that the woman, notwithstanding the artifices and violence of the dragon, “brought forth a man child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” that this her son flew at once to God, and presented himself before his throne; and there received from his hand a closed and sealed book, which he opened in that very presence to the fullest admiration and jubilee of the whole universe. We have seen, finally, that the woman after the birth, remaining victorious over so many enemies, retired from the world and went into the wilderness.

In this conflict then, so terrible, what refuge was left to the dragon? In the earth there appeareth none. There is no other hope than to repair to heaven; yes, saith the dragon, let us to heaven. There is no longer any anchor left to us, let us put to sea and avoid shipwreck. To heaven, to the tribunal of the just judge. Till now, all the accusations which we have brought against this woman, have been heard and decided in our favour, for God is not ignorant that she hath in all times been the most faithless, the most ungrateful, the most vile and perverse of all women. It may be, that we may be heard and attended to this time also: let us present new accusations against her. Deceived with such hopes, the dragon at once proceeds to heaven followed by all his angels. And though he finds in heaven another and a new tribunal and judgment, whose gates are kept closed, he is not thereby disconcerted, nor doth he lose heart nor hope. He presents himself at those gates seeking audience; and claiming with that pride and audacity which is his proper character, that entrance should be given to him as heretofore, in order that he may propound and make good his accusations. You do not think, Sir, that this is any of those vain phantasms which the imagination conjures up. Besides being a thing most natural, and to which, from any other quarter, no repugnancy is found, you shall see it all made clear in the following article.

The dragon and his angels being then as it were in a state of tumult, and so to speak, daringly beating against the doors of that new judgment, the great prince St. Michael, ariseth by order of God, and being followed by innumerable angels, goes forth to repress that audacity: “in that time (saith Daniel in the twelfth chapter) Michael shall rise up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people.” Of this text we shall speak immediately. The furious dragon insists on entering by favour, or by force. St. Michael resists him perseveringly, the dragon with loud outcries claims to be heard in the judgment, then brings most grievous accusations against the woman who had just brought forth. St. Michael does not yield a foot, but treats him, not only as a wicked one, but as a false accuser; for the woman whom he cometh to accuse, is not now what she hath been in the sight of God, but an infinitely different person: is not that ungrateful and faithless one, but another who is faithful, humbled, bathed in tears of true penitence, who hath awakened from her lethargy, who acknowledgeth her faults, who detesteth and aboininateth them; who, in short, hath conceived and brought forth, that is, hath believed on, and publicly confessed her Messiah in the midst of so great oppositions, perils, and afflictions, and adored and loved him above all things. Therefore, if he bring new accusations, they are evidently false. If he bring nothing new, but her old transgressions only, these have already been abundantly chastised. Already hath that miserable one received at the hand of God double for all her sins. Isa. xl. 2. Already these sins are pardoned and cast into the depths of the sea. (Micah vii. 19.)

Upon this, the heat increasing every moment, and it not being possible for either party to give way, it passeth easily from words to deeds, and from reasons to force of arms. And the contest is joined between Michael the prince, and the dragon; and between the angels of the one, and those of the other; a true battle in that way in which pure spirits can contend with one another. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.” Rev. xii. 7. In this true battle, not past, but still to come, the dragon and his angels are to be left fully and completely vanquished, are all to be cast down to the earth, irresistibly, and thenceforth deprived for ever of the access which they had to God, as to the just judge, to accuse, to bring allegations, and make petitions against men. “Neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceived the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Rev. iii. 8,9.

This famous battle shall be doubtless a most grave event, and attended with most grave consequences, since it is announced for those times, in expressions so clear and so magnificent. Thereby shall be decided, and remain decided, the fate of the woman, for whom certainly the contest is holden, as appeareth from the whole context.

A text from the Twelfth Chapter of Daniel.

THE mystery of this great battle being understood, its causes, its ends, its circumstances of time and of place, we shall at once understand the whole twelfth chapter of Daniel, to which, allusion is manifestly made; and not only so, but which explains and clears up the whole of this admirable prophecy contained in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse.

“And in that time (it is said in Daniel) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book…And many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.” (quasi per ignem, as it were by fire,) &c. Dan. xii. 1. 10.

Upon this text of Daniel we ought to remark, first, that here it is clearly and expressly said, that St. Michael the great prince is singled out by God for the prince and protector of the Jewish people: “Michael the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people,” the same thing is said in the last verse of the tenth chapter, “Michael your prince.” Why should this circumstance, or notice, be here added, if the expedition of St. Michael, or “the rising up of St. Michael,” is not for the sake of that very people, for their defence and protection. We ought to remark in the second place, the precise time which is here spoken of, “at that time shall Michael arise.” That time presents itself of its own accord, as the time of the future vocation, and reception of Israel, spoken of by St. Paul, and almost all the prophets; for of this very time it is said in Daniel, “at that time shall thy people be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.” And it is added a little after, that many of this people shall be purified, and made white, and tried, as by fire, which are manifestly those of whom we spake towards the end of the first Article, of whom Zechariah saith, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried:” Zech. xiii. 9. And are they other than those who appear in the Apocalypse “sealed in the forehead, with the seal of the living God?”

We ought to observe in the third place, that this time of the battle of St. Michael with the dragon, must necessarily and evidently precede the tribulation of Antichrist, for it is expressly said in the prophet, that after the expedition of St. Michael, there shall follow upon the earth a time so dark and terrible, as never hath been seen in all the ages which have gone before “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation,” which is the very expression our Lord makes use of in the gospel, when speaking of the tribulation of Antichrist. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world.” The whole of which St. John repeats in this very prophecy, in verses 12 and 17; concerning which anon.

Whence it legitimately follows, that the explanation which till now has been given, as well of the text of Daniel, as that of St John, holding that the “arising of Michael,” or his battle with the dragon, shall be to defend the church from the persecution of Antichrist, which is the common interpretation among the literal interpreters, cannot keep its ground, both prophecies resisting it, and with one voice condemning it.

ARTICLE VI.

“AND I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Rev. xii. 10-12.

The dragon being vanquished in battle, and cast out to the earth with all his angels, and for ever deprived of the access which he had to God, there is instantly heard in heaven a great voice, as the voice of universal acclamation and jubilee, which said “Now is salvation accomplished,” or concluded; as if it had said, now are overcome the greatest impediments which stood in the way of the manifestation of the power and kingdom of our God, and the power of Christ; for the perpetual accuser of our brethren has been cast out for ever, from the tribunal of our just judge.

These shouts of universal jubilee, which are heard in heaven after the battle of St. Michael, show and prove, first, the great and most ardent desire which the inhabitants of heaven have, that the kingdom of God and the power of Christ should be fully manifested. They show and prove, in the second place, the free access which the dragon and his angels had to the tribunal of God, for the purpose of accusing men, and making intercession against them; especially when they are guilty. They show and prove, in the third place, that the kingdom of God and the power of Christ cannot, or will not, be manifested until the conversion of the Jews be accomplished, which is so much announced and promised in the scriptures. Thus the Lord said on a certain occasion, “You shall not see me henceforth, until you shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matt. xxiii. 39: you shall not see me henceforth, until you shall say with truth, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, and all the rest of that salutation which is written and announced in the 118th Psalm, whence these words are taken. Israel being converted, and the accuser who now hath nothing whereof to accuse, being cast out from before the throne of God, there upon all heaven maketh a joyful noise, saying, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down.” Rev. xii. 10.

For these being converted in the times whereof we speak, do disarm the accuser, conquer him, and place the victory in the hand of St. Michael, who, but for this support could not have conquered, nor even thought of giving battle. But they did not prevail, continues the text, otherwise than “by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” That is to say, that the very blood of the Lamb which they shed, and which with such imprudence they invoked upon themselves, and upon all their posterity, that precious blood which till now, has cried and cries against them; that blood, I say, of infinite price shall in those times cry, not against them, but for them, shall intercede for them, shall reconcile them to God, and thoroughly wash them from all their iniquities, old and new. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.” But in order that this blood might profit them, it was necessary for them to bring something on their part, the word of the testimony of Jesus Christ, or of the same Lamb, was necessary, that is to say, to declare themselves publicly for him, to confess him in the presence of God and of men, as their true Messiah, the son of David, the Son of God, and to defend his faith, and fearlessly to confirm that testimony with their life and their blood; for, as we gather from the words that follow, the persecution of the woman will not consist in words only, or in threats, but will pass to the shedding of not a little blood, “and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

This great event of the conversion of Israel, of the battle of St. Michael, ought without doubt to be followed by great consequences, and to produce some great and strange novelty. The voices which are heard in heaven immediately after the battle, most clearly show, that there are immediately to follow things of very great consequence and joy to the inhabitants of heaven. “Therefore rejoice ye heavens, and ye who dwell therein.” Although, on the other hand, there were likewise to follow for a short season, other things not less great, but of the utmost affliction and tribulation to the inhabitants of the earth. Accordingly these same voices conclude by saying, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, and the sea, because the devil cometh down to you having great wrath, for he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” The things which are instantly to follow in the earth, by reason of the great wrath with which the dragon descended after being conquered, are noticed in the remainder of this chapter, and afterwards more particularly, and more extensively, in the seven chapters which follow.

ARTICLE VII.

“AND when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Rev. xii. 13,14.

The dragon seeing himself cast to the earth, and for ever deprived of the free access which he had to the throne of God, is possessed with strong suspicions that his end draweth nigh. I say his end, not in respect of his natural being, but in respect of his liberty to harm men, which seems to be his ruling passion. This terrible thought which ought naturally to make his spirit fall, on the other hand, makes it more daring and desirous to occupy well that short period, without losing one single moment. The woman which brought forth the man child, is the object against which he directeth all his attention, as being the cause of the ruin of his projects by her unseasonable delivery. Against her therefore he takes his purpose, and makes dispositions to persecute her in all ways, to ruin her, and wholly to annihilate her; and at least not to allow her to enjoy in peace the fruit of her womb.

Well could God, by simply willing it, defend the woman by a shorter way from the machinations of the dragon, and bring to nought all his endeavours, as he could have defended his own Son from the snares of Herod without sending him an exile into Egypt. But the Most High and Supreme God, who is not only omnipotent, but likewise wise and prudent, will then observe towards the persecuted woman the same sweet yet powerful measures which he observed in former times towards the persecuted child who was born King of the Jews. When Herod full of wrath, determined to search him out and strangle him in the cradle, his divine Father so disposed it that be should flee into Egypt, and there remain hid until his time; for which flight he gave him two wings as of a great eagle, suited to the state of infancy in which he then was, that is to say, his own most holy Mother, and St. Joseph. These two wings conducted him in the deepest silence, and with wonderful sweetness to the place which God had prepared for him, and there they hid him from the face of Herod all the time that his banishment lasted, until Herod being dead, he gave them orders to return to the land of Israel, where there were no longer persecutors for the time being, “ for they are dead who sought the child’s life.” Matt. ii. 13.

In this same manner, when the woman of whom we are speaking, saw herself in the days of her youth, Hosea ii. so cruelly persecuted by the king of Egypt, and her death in so many ways attempted, that same most prudent wisdom, disposed and ordained that the young woman should go forth from Egypt, and flee into the deserts of Arabia, for the which he gave her two wings as of a great eagle, that is, two great and famous conductors, Moses and Aaron, who with unheard of prodigies, led her into the desert, and there sustained her with convenient food all the time of her sojourning. By the simple mention of this great event, the allusion of this text of the Apocalypse to the going forth out of Egypt, and especially to the

4th

verse of the nineteenth chapter of Exodus, becomes at once evident. Compare the two passages with one another, and there will be found between them an entire conformity. After the Red Sea was past, and all Israel stood in the desert of Mount Sinai, the Lord spake to them these words: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings,” Exod. xix. 4. (or, as the Chaldee paraphrase reads, “as upon the wings of an eagle;” quasi super alas aquilæ); and, in the Apocalypse, “to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle.”

In like manner, as in other very distant times, when God himself condescended to raise that young woman to the dignity of his spouse, he took her first from the slavery of Egypt, with a powerful and with a strong hand, and bore her upon eagles’ wings, or as it were, upon the wings of an eagle, to the solitude of Mount Sinai, where the espousals were celebrated: so, in some sort, it shall happen, in times, still future, of which the scriptures speak so much, when the same merciful God, pitying her afflictions, and appeased by so many ages of severest penance, condescends to call her the second time, as a woman forsaken and grieved, “and a wife of youth cast out,” Isa. liv. 6. though under another, a new, and eternal covenant. Then shall the Lord renew those ancient miracles, and perform others still greater, in order to draw out of the oppression and slavery, not of Egypt only, but of the four quarters of the earth, and to possess her the second time. “It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time, to recover (to possess) the remnant of his people,” Is. xi. And that she may come forth from her present servitude, and be able to fly with more facility, he shall likewise give her two other wings, as of a great eagle, with which to fly once more into the wilderness. He will give her two other conductors, much like unto Moses and Aaron, and fitted for this new ministry.

What those wings or those conductors shall be, we cannot ascertain to a certainty, but only to a measure of congruity and suspicion, yet very strong. The first wing, or the first conductor, appears certainly to be the prophet Elias. That which is written of him in Ecciesiasticus, in Malachi, and in the Gospel, gives a foundation beyond probability, and rising almost to evidence. This extraordinary man is still alive, without having passed through death, through which he must certainly pass at one time or other. He is only removed, according to the scriptures, for the benefit of the Jews and of the children of Israel in general; that is, as it is said in Ecclesiasticus, “To pacify the wrath of the Lord’s judgment,…to turn the heart of the father unto the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob,” Ecclesiasticus xlviii.

10. The same thing in substance saith Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers,” Mal. iv, 5, 6. The whole of which is further confirmed and explained by the Son of God: “Elias indeed shall come, and restore all things,” Matt. xvii. 11. Wherefore it appears more than probable that the prophet Elias is to be one of the conductors, or one of the wings.

The great difficulty is to know, with the same probability, the second wing or conductor. There is no doubt that that most ancient prophet, “the seventh from Adam,” Enoch, is still alive, as well as Elias, without our knowing the determinate place where either of them at present is; for the Holy Scripture now saith in heaven, now in paradise, words having more of a general than a particular import. “He walked with God,” it is said of Enoch, “and was not, because God took him,” Gen. v. 24: and, as is added in the Chaldee paraphrase, “and yet God slew him not.” Moreover, in Ecciesiasticus it is written, “He was translated to paradise,” Ecclesiasticus xliv. 16: and of Elias it is said, “He went up by a whirlwind into heaven,” 2 Kings ii. 11. The text of Ecelesiasticus is the only one in all the scripture, by which we can discern the destiny of Enoch, or the end for which God holdeth him in reserve. “Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated, being an example of repentance to all generations.” From these last words, it is easy to perceive, that the destiny of this holy man is not for the Jews, as that of Elias, but for the nations. For this reason, I see not how he can be the other wing or the other conductor of the woman, with whom he holds no other relation than doth the common Father of all men.

The interpreters of the Apocalypse, excepting some few, commonly judge or suspect, that those two witnesses, clothed in sackcloth, spoken of in the eleventh chapter, who are to oppose the beast, and to be by him persecuted and put to death, shall prove to be Elias arid Enoch. But, from the context itself, it is easy to perceive, that those two witnesses are as far from signifying two single and individual persons, as is the beast to whom they are opposed, and which is to persecute them to the death. It is enough, to read attentively what is said of these two witnesses, from the 7th verse to the 14th, in order to perceive that they arc two “pious and religious bodies, or, as it were, two congregations of faithful and religious ministers of God; who, filled with his Holy Spirit, and guided by Divine Providence, shall oppose themselves to the abounding iniquity: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy one thousand, two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” These, continues the text, the beast shall furiously persecute; but God shall visibly protect them by wonderful interferences, until they shall have fulfilled the days of their prophecy, when they shall be conquered and overcome by the beast himself, with the universal applause and joy of the inhabitants of the earth. “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth,” Rev. xi. 10. After being overcome and slain (the text concludes), their dead bodies shall lie unburied for three days and a half, in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. These words, “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,” appear to be the key of the whole mystery. If the two witnesses are two single, persons, one street only were sufficient for their dead bodies. [In the Vulgate it is, In plateis civitatis, i.e. In the streets of the city.] Two dead bodies only are to be stretched over the streets of so great a city? In the streets of the great city.

Now, what city is this which deserveth the name of Sodom and Egypt? Is it not manifest, by those countersigns, that this is spoken by similitude, not by propriety? Is not this the manner of speaking throughout all this divine book of the Apocalypse? Many grave doctors, considering these expressions and this manner of speaking, are of opinion, that it is not any particular city, but the whole world, or the whole earth generally, which is here spoken of; for although the text adds, “where our Lord also was crucified,” this circumstance is not less true, speaking of the whole orb of the world, than speaking of Jerusalem alone; besides that the Lord was not crucified in the city of Jerusalem, but forth of it. I confess, that upon this point I think with these doctors. Returning now to our two witnesses, Considered as two moral bodies, we say, in few words, that from them will come forth those martyrs, all, or the most part, of whom are still wanted to complete the number of the joint-heirs of the kingdom; of whom it is spoken expressly in the twentieth chapter, that they are to arise, on the coming of Christ, along with the other more ancient martyrs, “and the souls of them that were beheaded,…and who had not worshipped the beast..And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years: the rest of the dead lived not.” So when, at the opening of the fourth seal of the book, the souls of the martyrs cry out for justice upon the blood shed for Christ, it is said to them that they should wait in expectation still a short while, until the number of their fellow-servants and brethren, who should be slain as they had been, should be completed. “And it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled,” Rev. vi. 11.

Although, for the reasons which have been pointed out, it appears to me that the holy Enoch is not the second wing which shall be given to the woman, I dare not therefore deny it altogether; since the two mysteries, the one of giving repentance to the nations (either before or after the coming of the Lord), and the other of conducting the tribes of Israel to the wilderness, are not absolutely incompatible. Nevertheless, following the allusion, which appears so clear, to the going forth from Egypt, there is easily to be seen a great resemblance and proportion between Moses and Elias, and it is not easy to find any between Aaron and Enoch. If you ask me, who that second wing shall be, or can be, according to the scriptures; I answer truly that I do not know. For the present, it is enough to say, that this second wing, the companion of Elias, as Aaron was of Moses, will infallibly be that which God hath already chosen.

ARTICLE VIII.

“AND the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Rev.

xii. 15,16.

These words carry us naturally, without our being able to resist, to the passage of the Red Sea; and if, with this in our mind, we read the fourteenth chapter of Exodus, there will be found in it the explanation of what is here declared to us by St. John; and the two metaphors which he makes use of will at once be understood. First, the water like a river, which proceeded with violence out of the mouth of the dragon, in order to overtake the woman who fled, that he might stop her, and make her turn back. Secondly, the mouth which the earth opens, in aid of the fugitive woman, swallowing up the whole of that great river of water which proceeded against her. That chapter of Exodus being read, we need no further explanation, the whole enigma is resolved.

When this same woman of whom we speak, finding herself persecuted and afflicted in Egypt, fled in the days of her youth towards the wilderness, upon the two wings, as of an eagle, which were given to her, what did Pharaoh? I shall, Sir, relate this great event, by the same metaphor, and with the same expressions and words which St. John useth; without any other alteration than placing Pharaoh instead of dragon, and sea for earth, and see if you can fail to understand me. Pharaoh, seeing that the children of Israel were actually on their flight out of Egypt, and took their way by the wilderness, aided and conducted by the two eagle’s wings which God had bestowed on them, full of new fury and indignation, cast out of his mouth a great flood of water, as a great river in order to overtake the fugitives, and make them return to serve him “And Pharaoh sent out of his mouth waters as of a flood, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” But the sea helped the children of Israel, for it opened its mouth, and swallowed all the water which Pharaoh had cast out of his mouth. “And the sea helped the children of Israel, or the woman, and opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which Pharaoh had cast out of his mouth.” Do you not understand it? Compare now this metaphor with the text of Exodus, and you shall see the entire propriety of it. Moses says, that so soon as Pharaoh knew for certain that all Israel was fleeing toward the wilderness, “the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people;” and without losing time, he gave instant orders to his captains, who united all their armies, and he himself mounted his chariot: “And he took six hundred chosen chariots along with him, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.” Why all this preparation? In order to pursue Israel on her flight, and force her to return to his bondage: “that she might be carried away of the flood.” See then here the great river of water which Pharaoh cast out of his mouth. If now you should wonder that the armies of Pharaoh should be explained by the metaphor of a river of water, you may call to mind how, in Isaiah (viii. 7.) the same metaphor is made use of, in order to announce the coming up of the armies of the king of Assyria against all Israel. “Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks,” Isa. viii. 7.

Moses saith further, that the troops of Pharaoh, or the river which had gone forth out of his mouth, being come in sight of Israel, who lay encamped by the shores of the Red Sea, that sea helped him in the terrible conflict; for, opening her mouth, or separating asunder into two parts, she gave the fugitives a free passage; and when they were passed over to the other side, she closed her mouth upon the enemies who pursued after them: “the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them.” Exodus xiv. 27,28. Compare now this text with that other; “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Rev.

xii. 16. and it appears to me that you cannot do less than recognize two mysteries of the same Israel, —one already past, the other still future, when God shall set his hand the second time to possess the residue of Israel. Isa. xi. 11.

By the attentive and judicious combination of these two passages of the Apocalypse and of Exodus, there starts out and of its own accord presents itself, what is the plain and easy intelligence of very many prophecies which clearly announce to the remnant of Israel things very similar and even greater than those which came to pass on their going out of Egypt: in the first place we understand at once, by merely reading it, the whole mystery of the expedition of Gog’s multitude, spoken of so diffusely in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel: which expedition is by the prophet placed immediately after the metaphorical resurrection of the arid and dry bones, which occupies the whole of the thirty-seventh chapter, wherein God himself, explaining the metaphor, concludeth by saying, among other things, “Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.” xxxvii. 21. This mystery of the vocation and receiving Israel being concluded, he begins forthwith to prophesy concerning a very great multitude from various parts and nations, which are to go against this same Israel: “In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel…Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm; thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou and all thy bands, and many people with thee.” Ezek. xxxviii. 8,9. Who doth not see in this, the great river of water which the dragon casts out of his mouth against the woman in her flight? The earth aided the woman, saith St. John; for she opened her mouth and swallowed all the water of the flood. The same saith Ezekiel, announcing the end of all that infinite multitude: “And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel, the valley of the passengers on the east of the sea; and it shall stop the noses of the passengers: and there shall they bury Gog, and all his multitude; and they shall call it, The valley of Hamon-gog.” Ezekiel xxxix. 11. Many other observations might be easily made upon this prophecy, if it were read with that heedfulness which I cannot at present stay to do.

Besides this, many other passages of the prophets are in the same manner explained; and among them the sixteenth chapter of Isaiah, which we shall expressly observe in the last section of the following phenomenon. The whole of the third chapter of Joel is in like manner cleared up, which has been thought to treat of the universal judgment which is to take place in the valley of Jehoshiaphat: but if the following chapter be read over, you shall be compelled to seek for some other mystery widely different. The fear of that mystery, and of the other particulars which are there announced with so much clearness, appears to be that which has made them substitute in its stead the universal judgment. “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” Joel iii. 1,2. In this text, and in all that follows till the end of the prophecy, they insist much upon these words; “I will gather all nations.” But these words, in the ordinary phrase of the Holy Scriptures, do signify no other thing, for the most part, than a great multitude of various peoples, tribes, and languages. Thus saith Zechariah; “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken.” Zech. xiv. 2. The remnant of Israel, in the 117th Psalm say, “All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.” Verse 10. Should we then understand in these places all the individuals of the human race, —those not only living, but the dead also raised up? Moreover, after the universal resurrection, shall the Jews, now restored to their land, sell the Gentiles who heretofore had sold them? For it is one of the things which God says to those nations in this very prophecy, and in this judgment which is to be held of them in the valley of Jehoshaphat: “Behold, I will raise them (the Jews) out of the place whither ye have sold them, and will return your recompense upon your own head: and I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the children of Judah, and they shall sell them to the Sabeans, to a people far off: for the Lord hath spoken it.” Joel iii. 7,8. My dear Sir, let us not lose the time: read with your eyes the whole of this prophecy; consider attentively, not one or another word separately, but the whole of them in order, one connected with the other, and I firmly believe that without further trouble we shall be of one mind.

In short, by the combination of this passage of the Apocalypse and that of Exodus, the whole seventh chapter of Micah is opened; where he who cannot lie promiseth, that the miracles which he shall do when he shall draw Israel forth from among the nations, where he keepeth them in exile and dispersion, shall be very similar to those which he anciently did when he drew them forth out of Egypt; “According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things:” Mic. vii. 15. that the Gentiles shall see miracles, as the Egyptians saw them; and the more efforts they make, the more shall it redound to their own confusion. Finally, like as when all Israel saw themselves on the other side of the Red Sea; when they saw the whole of that great and formidable river, which came against them from the mouth of Pharaoh, swallowed up before their eyes, and sunk in those violent waters; when they saw the omnipotent hand of God so manifest in their behalf, they sung, full of a holy joy and a religious dread, that sublime song, which is ever read with admiration, in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus: so, after a perfectly similar manner, when the earth shall have swallowed up all the water of the great river that issued from the mouth of the dragon, and proceeded against the woman who fled into the desert (a metaphor most clearly indicated by the very allusion), beholding herself now free and in security by means of such great wonders, they shall likewise sing unto their God that other prophetical song, so sublime, which is already prepared in the same book of Micah, and with which that prophet concludes his whole prophecy: “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities: and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Micah vii. 18-20.

The solitude of the Woman according to the Scriptures.

THE woman being at length arrived at the place which God had prepared for her, shall there be nourished “for a time, and times, and half a time,” or “one thousand two hundred and threescore days;” that is, for three years and a half. In respect to this retreat and solitude of the woman, it appears a most natural wish to know the determined place of the earth whither they are to conduct her on eagle’s wings by the appointment of God, as also what her occupations in that wilderness are to be, and what the design of God in so extraordinary a dispensation.

With respect to the first, we say, that although the text of the Apocalypse says nothing in particular, but merely announceth the mystery in very general words; yet, combining the text with other clear enough indications which are found in the rest of the prophets, we may argue, without fear of departing far from the truth, that the wilderness, or determinate spot of the earth, where God is to bring this woman, will be that same country promised with an oath to their fathers for their posterity; “from the stream of Egypt even unto the great river, Euphrates.” Gen. xv. 18. Behold on what foundation I rest this.

First; St. John says, verse 6, that the woman after her delivery should flee immediately to the wilderness, where she had a place already prepared for her by God himself: and in verse 13, where he returns to speak more specially concerning this flight, he says, that the place prepared by God, now desert and solitary, is a place belonging to the woman: “that she might fly unto her place.” Now what place doth it appear to you that must be, which belongs to the woman, and hath before been prepared for her by God? I will not deny that if there were no other light than this, it would be better to confess that the place to which the woman is to fly is a point unknown. But if we combine the little here spoken by St. John with that which is spoken upon this same point in many other passages of scripture, it appears to me that there is no necessity for this confession, and that we may without hesitation affirm the above proposition, and produce the reasons which we have for doing so. For which end we ought before all things to recollect all those very clear prophecies by which we have proved in various parts, especially in the Fifth and Seventh Phenomena, that the present exile and dispersion of the children of Jacob is a chastisement of their God, predicted in a thousand ways by their prophets; that this chastisement shall not be everlasting, but limited to a determinate time, which God only knows; that when the just indignation of God shall once have been satisfied upon that miserable people, his anger shall turn unto mercy; that, this time being arrived, God himself shall lead them out by his own omnipotent hand, from all the lands and nations where he himself keeps them dispersed, as he anciently led them out of Egypt, and shall plant them anew and stably in that very land promised for them to their fathers, and this in despite of all the powers of earth. “If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee. And he shall bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it.” Deut. xxx. 4. Of such announcements and promises you shall find an infinite number in the prophets, from Moses to Malachi.

This position being then certain and undeniable, we thus reason. —In order that God may introduce and plant anew the remnant of Jacob in the land promised for them to their fathers, it is necessary that he should first prepare for them that same land: and this is what St. John says; “the woman fled unto the wilderness unto a place prepared for her.” This preparation, according to the scriptures and according to natural reason, ought necessarily to commence by the evacuation of the same land. This then is, according to the scriptures, the first thing which the omnipotent hand of the God of Abraham hath to accomplish; and so it standeth clearly announced in the twenty-seventh chapter and 12th verse of Isaiah, as was observed in the Fifth Phenomenon. Let that prophecy be perused with new and greater attention, giving good heed to all the context and to the times of which it is spoken. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river (the Euphrates) unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish.” Isa. xxvii. 12,13. which perfectly harmonizeth with what is said in the tenth Psalm; “The Lord is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.” Verse 16. Now if this prophecy is at some time to be accomplished, when can it be but in the time and circumstances of which we are now treating? So that it is at least highly probable that in the time of the future vocation and reception of Israel, or of the flight of the woman to the solitude, that prophecy is accomplishing itself, or shall be already accomplished; consequently, that all the promised land is reduced to a true desert and solitude by that same Lord who is not only omnipotent but likewise infinitely true. And it is equally probable that this may be the preparation of the place which is spoken of by St. John, forasmuch as it is the place which belongeth to the woman.

Besides this, if some greater attention be given to the prophets, there will be found in Isaiah not traces but very clear lights respecting this very mystery. First, in Ezekiel: “As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you;” Chapter xx. 33. which are the expressions the Lord maketh use of, when speaking of the coming out of Egypt: “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered…and I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord God. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant…I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord.” Verses 35-44. Omitting for the present, not without reluctance, the many reflections which might be made upon this text, I give my attention to two expressions, which are those that bear upon my present purpose. First; “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered…and I will bring you into the wilderness of the people.” Chapter xx. 34,35. Second; “When I shall bring you into the land of Israel.” These two little clauses, pursuing the thread of the context, manifestly mean the very same thing. Therefore the desert of the people, or the land evacuated by the people who dwelt there, where God is to bring again the remnant of Israel, shall be the same land of Israel for which he hath lifted up his hand to give it to their fathers.

By Hosea (chap. ii.) the Lord speaks of the house of Jacob, under the same metaphor of a woman, his wife, cast out for her faults, and who one day shall return and cry, saying, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea ii. 14, 15.

As if he had said, at the appointed time will I call unto this miserable one, after she has suffered her double confusion, and in the first place I will make her come unto the wilderness, where I will melt her with my words. Then will I give to her workmen natural to the very place; that is, Israelites of the very root of Jacob: “I will give her vineyards [Vulg. vinitores, vine dressers] from thence.” I will likewise give to her a second time the valley of Achor; which shall be to her as the gate or entering in of hope: “I will give her the valley of Achor for a door of hope.” In order to understand completely all the force and propriety of these last words, we should know that this valley of Achor, most pleasant and fertile, (near where stood the ancient Jericho, and, as some say, the famous vineyards of Engaddi, spoken of in Solomon’s song,) was the first land where all Israel encamped, then conducted by Joshua, after having passed the Jordan. This valley, says the Lord, alluding manifestly to that first entry into the land of promise, he shall then give to the woman who is carried into the wilderness, in order that there her hopes may open, upon seeing once more that first gate of the holy land set open to her. In Micah it is written, that land shall be laid waste on account of the iniquity of its inhabitants: “Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings;” Micah vii. 13. which being executed, the flock of the inheritance of the Lord shall dwell in it, as in a desert or solitude, or as in the brakes and woods of Mount Carmel; whence it is immediately said to Messiah, or to God himself, “Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel.” verse 14. The times of which the prophet here speaks it is easy to know from the whole context.

In Isaiah (xxxii. 15.) it is said, that the peculiar pastures of this same flock, when it shall live and be fed according to the purposes of God, shall for a long time be the habitation and joy of the savage beast; and, that it might not be thought that the captivity of Babylon was here spoken of, the prophet immediately adds; that this shall last until the Spirit from on high shall be poured out upon this same flock: “a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks, until the Spirit be poured out upon us from on high.” That when this Spirit is poured out upon this flock, the desert shall be as Carmel; and that which before appeared a Carmel, or a pleasant and delicious plain, shall be reckoned a wood: “and the wilderness be a fruitful field; [Vulg. a Carmel] and the fruitful field [Vulg. the Carmel] be counted for a forest:” a very clear and expressive figure of the house of Jacob in comparison of the church of the Gentiles, which is also the house of Jacob by faith, and vice versâ of that which shall come to pass in other times; because there shall yet be another time. (Dan. xi. 35, see Vulg.) In that time, continues the prophet, judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness shall have his seat there, and allow herself to be seen in all her beauty. “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field [Vulg. in Carmel].” That the work, or the fruit of justice shall be peace; that the worship or ornament of justice shall be quietness; all which shall produce true peace and unalterable security. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Isa. xxxii. 17,18.

Having ascertained, at least probably, the place of the wilderness whither God is to conduct the woman after her mysterious birth, it now follows naturally that we consider what is to pass in that solitude; that is, the ends which God hath in view by carrying the woman thither, and keeping her as it were hid from the face of the serpent for the space of forty and two months, which is exactly the same period as that during which the Gentiles are to suffer the great antichristian tribulation. For the understanding of this point almost all the prophets offer us facilities, and we are referred to them by the continual allusions of the beloved disciple.

Not only, then, is God to draw this ancient spouse the second time out of Egypt, or out of all the nations, according to his infallible promises; but he will conduct her to the wilderness, as he did the first time, in order that being free from all distraction, and disembarrassed of every other care, she may give way to the Spirit of God, and begin to speak and to hear what he speaketh to her heart: “I will lead her into the wilderness and speak comfortably to her.” In order that there she may see and contemplate, as under one point of view, all that God hath done to her, since he graciously exalted her to the dignity of his spouse, and on the other hand that she may likewise see all which she hath done to her God, “I will bring you into the wilderness, and there will I plead with you face to face.” Ezek. xx.

35. A most vivid and natural expression for signifying a mutual judgement, where is manifested clearly the conduct of both spouses, and the reasons which may be produced upon both sides.

Therefore saith the Lord himself by Isaiah, “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.” Isa. xli. 21. And in the forty-third chapter, after reminding them of the marvels which he had done to draw them out of Egypt, he adds those words, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isa. xliii. 18,19. He then passeth on to set before their face the great and continued benefits which they have received at his hand, and the very great and incredible ingratitude wherewith he had been always met. “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel…But thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.” &c. Isa. xliii. 22-26.

In this wilderness then, in this quietness, in this mutual pleading, the ears and the eyes of the spouse being opened, and her darkness turned into light, as is likewise promised to her, (Isa. xlii. 16.) “I will make darkness light before them,” thereupon that curtain shall be drawn, that dense and cloudy veil which till now hath kept their heart shrouded up “even until this day,” as saith the apostle, and we also say until this day with the same truth, “the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.” 2 Cor.

iii. 15, 16. This curtain, I say, being withdrawn, that veil lifted up, she shall begin to see and also to hear her Holy Scriptures. With this intelligence, and with this knowledge and recollection of all the past, especially of that unjust treatment with which their very Messiah was received in the holy city, shall doubtless begin that tender, bitter, and inconsolable lamentation whereof it is spoken in the twelfth chapter of Zechariah, and which will continue without interruption until it be perfected in Jerusalem. “In that day (saith the prophet) there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem,…And the land shall mourn, every family apart;…and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born.” Zech. xii. 11,12.10. There with a softened heart, and with eyes full of tears, they shall begin to say unto Messiah, those tender words which are already entered in the same prophet, “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?” Zech. xiii. 6. And the Lord shall answer, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends,” or, in my beloved house, as the LXX read.

There in that state of quietness and solitude, shall their heart be wholly changed, that pure and limped water being poured upon them (the proper symbol of baptism and the Spirit of God) which is promised in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel from the 24th verse, “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you.” Ezek. xxxvi. 24-27. Then shall the Lord bestow those good and excellent shepherds which are promised by Hosea, (chap. ii.) and by Jeremiah, (chap. xxiii.) who shall give them convenient food of doctrine and of instruction, whereby not one individual of them shall fail nor one be lacking in their number; “I will give them vinedressers from the same place, and I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.” Jer. xxiii. 4. Those shepherds, it appears, shall be their wings, which are to conduct them in the wilderness, “where she hath a place prepared for her by God, and they shall feed her there one thousand two hundred and threescore days.” These being sanctified with that perfect sanctification which is announced to them, the heavenly Father shall shed upon them with infinite bounty and profusion “the spirit of grace and of supplication;” the good, and for a sinner, the highly necessary spirit of lamentation, of contrition, and of penitence. “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” Ezek. xxxvi. 31,32.

Then, in short, shall those innumerable prophecies be verified, of which the prophets, especially the Psalms, are full; where are announced to us the conversion, the restitution, the future assumption of the remnant of Israel, and the change of their present state into another infinitely different, which this very novelty and grandeur hath made venerable. Turn and read with great attention the prophecy of Hosea, which a little ago we pointed out.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the days when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be in that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; (my husband)…And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness:” &c. Hosea ii. 14-20.

ARTICLE THE LAST.

“AND the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. xii. 17.

The last event which is here announced by St. John, appears to be the last consequence, or final result of the vocation and assumption of the remnant of Jacob. The dragon not having been able to prevent the delivery of the woman, nor yet to devour it; nor having been able after this to obtain entrance or audience in the tribunal of the righteous judge; nor having been able to resist the great prince St. Michael, who cast him to the earth with all his angels; nor having been able, in fine, to recal the woman in her flight, the sacred text says that he was furiously irritated against her; “and the dragon was wroth with the woman;” and in order to comfort himself in any way, he took the last part and resolution that a desperado can take. He turned all his indignation, his rage, and his fury, against that part of the seed which remained on the earth; which can mean nothing else than the remains of true Christianity among the Gentiles; for it is expressly said that the remnant of the seed of the woman, against whom the dragon turned all his anger, and those who observe the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus Christ, “and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which kept the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev. xii. 17: who by pure and incorrupt faith, are the seed of Abraham, and by a necessary consequence are the seed of that woman.

And by this alone do you see the whole theatre or present aspect of our earth changed; you see here the true principle of the Antichristian revelation; you see here revealed, manifested, perfected, and consummated, that very mystery of iniquity, which already began to work in the times of St. Paul: “the mystery of iniquity even now worketh.” Of which mystery of iniquity now publicly revealed, St. John begins forthwith to speak and continues to speak throughout the whole of the following chapter, under the figure of a terrible beast with seven heads and ten horns, and of another beast with two horns, only like those of a lamb, but with the voice or speech of a dragon; concerning which metaphors we have already spoken under the Third Phenomenon.

Conclusion.

SUCH, my dear Sir, and good, friend, is what I think with respect to the true meaning of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse. In which interpretation as you have just seen, every thing runs naturally without stumbling, without embarrassment, without artifice, without violence, and as a whole conformed to the scriptures. I do not deny that in this I may be deceived, on which account I give notice, that what I have said thereon, I do not hold up as a demonstrated truth, but only as an explanation whose goodness and preferableness to others, I expect to be decided by an impartial judge who, setting all prejudice aside, shall simply attend to reason and common sense.

If the woman whom we have proposed, is not in reality the same as is spoken of in the prophecy, (which ought first to be convincingly proved on solid grounds) at least it appears most certain, that whatever this prophecy saith, is to be verified in that very individual woman of whom we have been speaking. And if, according to the scriptures, this is to be verified in her at some time, what reason can there be for questioning or doubting that she may be the very person. It cannot be denied that this view is not conformed to, but manifestly repugns the ordinary ideas; but as little can it be denied that it is accordant with all the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.

From which scriptures we know that the Gentiles called of God with such great mercies, have their fixed and precise times, already marked out in the divine prescience, which, according to the apostle, shall last only while they abide in goodness, and yield, like good grafts upon a good olive, those fruits which ought to be looked for after so extraordinary a bounty and cultivation. Which permanence in goodness, that is, in faith and justice, it is on the other hand announced to us, shall not be realized.

We know likewise, that the tribes of Jacob, cut off from their God in wrath and great indignation, have, in like manner, their times of severity and rigour marked out by the same providence; which times, as the Apostle himself predicts, shall be precisely the same with those of the continuance of the Gentiles in goodness; for as these found mercy without seeking it, through the unbelief of the Jews, so, vice versâ, the Jews shall obtain it, “for God hath concluded all under sin, that he might have mercy upon all.”

Now as the true Christian church is certainly indestructible, God must vouchsafe some extraordinary providence towards the end of the times of the Gentiles, in order that faith may not utterly fail, through the abounding of iniquity (Matt. xxiv). What providence will this be? The doctors coming to this strait, and confessing the fact, though only because they cannot help it, do yet set themselves to carry onwards to the end their favourable view of things. Accordingly they hold that the true Christian church in the terrible times of the tribulation of Antichrist, shall survive in those few, in those very few believers, who shall abide unperverted in the midst of the general iniquity. Well, this is a truth which cannot be denied. Some believers will then abide, in whom the Christian church shall live till the coming of the Lord; and those will undoubtedly, either in whole or the greater part, be the persons who, after the resurrection of the saints, shall ascend together with them in the clouds, to meet Christ in the air. But is this the only truth which is here to be considered? Is there not yet another of greater consideration? Why forget the vocation, the receiving, the restitution, the fulness of the Jews, so clear, so visible, so patent, in all the scriptures? Why despise so many miserable men? Behold here, in passing, the true cause of the obscurity of the doctors to lie in contempt for the Jews, in the not choosing to bring them into consideration, save in those things which bear against them; but totally to forget them in those that are favourable: this is what makes them unintelligible.

The providence then, which, according to the scriptures, the Lord shall exercise towards the end of the times of the Gentiles, that the church may not fail, will be the vocation of the remnant of Israel, so often foretold; just as when Israel failed, his providence was to call the nations. “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” Rom. xi. 30-32. The providence, according to the scriptures, will be to insert anew in the good olive her proper and natural branches; “for God is able to graft them in again.”

The blindness of Israel, continues the apostle, is a mystery which the Christian nations should never forget, “that ye be not wise in your own conceit;” which mystery cannot be fully concluded until the fulness of the Gentiles, which is to enter, shall have entered: and then when there is no one found who desireth to enter, when those who abide give hardly signs of life, shall all Israel be saved, as it is written: Then the merciful and almighty God of our fathers “shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isa. xi. 11,12.

Then he shall call a second time the remnant of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, faithfully accomplishing to them all the promises which he made them, even with an oath. “Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Micah vii. 20. Then shall he draw that precious remnant from among all nations, where he presently holdeth them dispersed abroad: he shall conduct them “upon eagle’s wings, or, as it were, the wings of an eagle, unto the wilderness of the peoples,” by prodigies equal or superior to those which he anciently did, in order to bring them out of Egypt, and conduct them to the wilderness of Mount Sinai: he shall there wash them from all their iniquities, old and new, with the blood of the Lamb: he shall fill them with his Spirit, and work upon them and with them that perfect sanctification, and all those marvels so great, so novel, and so extraordinary, which with such frequency and clearness are met with in the prophets of God.

To all this that voice appears to make manifest allusion, which was heard from heaven a short while before the execution of the sentence which had been just given in the extraordinary counsel of God against great Babylon. “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Rev. xviii. 4,5.

PHENOMENON IX. THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID.

WE have just finished the observation of the great sign of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, with all its mysteries. In which observation we have left that famous woman in the wilderness, in the place prepared for her by God, retired and safe from the face of the serpent, free from all distraction, and wholly occupied in nourishing herself upon that spiritual food which God hath prepared for her: all this while the rest of the earth is inwrapped with that most devouring fire or pestilence of Antichrist: “for darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people,” (it is declared and announced to this same woman by Isaiah in the sixtieth chapter); “but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen in thee.”

“Behold,” it is said in Zephaniah, “at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.” Zeph. iii. 19. And by Micah it is said, “in that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted.” Micah iv. 6.

If now you desire to know for what end, in that day, this lame woman whom he had cast out and afflicted, shall be gathered by God, you may know it by merely reading the words which follow in Micah: “And the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever,” Micah iv. 7: so that the Lord will gather her that halteth, with all her remnant, in order to reign over them in Mount Zion from thenceforth and for ever; for he adds, that when this congregation hath been made, the first dominion and kingdom shall return to the daughter of Jerusalem; “Even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah iv. 1. But what doth all this signify? What sense can it have? To me it appears that all this hath no other sense than the obvious and natural one, which is, that for this halting woman which he had cast out, and with all her precious relicts, sealed in the forehead with the seal of the living God, and congregated in that day with great mercies, he shall instantly proceed to prepare the tabernacle, or the throne of David, which is fallen down, of whose stable and permanent erection and re-edification the Holy Scriptures speak to us so constantly.

The mode of discoursing upon this point, according to the ordinary system.

PRELIMINARY DISCOURSE.

§ 1. THE tabernacle of David, or his throne, fell more than two thousand years ago, from that height in which God himself had placed it. Not only fell by its own weight, as all frail and corruptible things of our world fall, but because of the iniquity and ingratitude of the kings his successors, who were seated upon it; for, excepting two or three, all the rest were sinners. “All, except David, and Ezekias, and Josias, were defective.” Ecclesiasticus xlix. 4. On which account, the God of their fathers not only deposed from the throne of David, and for ever disinherited all his children and descendants, but he gave the throne itself a most violent blow to the earth, by the instrumentality of Nebuchadnezzar, broke it, shattered it to pieces, and reduced it to dust and ashes. David himself, speaking to God in the eighty-ninth Psalm, after bringing forward the promises which had been made in this matter, even with an oath, doth yet say to him these prophetic words: “But thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine anointed. Thou hast made void the covenant of thy servant; thou hast profaned his crown, by casting it to the ground.” Psalm lxxxix. 38,39. And in truth, the tabernacle or throne of David suffered such a shock in being cast to the earth by Nebuchadnezzar, that till this day it hath not been able to arise, nor hath either the appearance or the hope of ever rising again.

It is true (they continue), that many prophecies clearly and expressly announce the re-edification and erection of that very tabernacle or throne of David, which fell and was wholly ruined, towards the beginning of the first empire; but these prophecies, they add, cannot, and ought not, to be understood otherwise than in the spiritual sense: and in this their true and only sense, they have all been accomplished, and are actually accomplishing, in the present church, from which is the true tabernacle of David, Jesus Christ. It appears to me that I have faithfully reported, in these few words, the whole manner of the doctors’ discoursing, whether interpreters or theologians, upon the point whereof we treat.

So that, according to this manner of reasoning, the tabernacle or throne of David, hath or ought to have two senses or aspects, infinitely different from one another. The one purely material, the other purely spiritual; the one to receive blows and punishment, the other to receive mercies and favours; the one to fall, to be broken and frittered away, the other to arise sound and perfect; the one, in short, to die, and the other, infinitely different, to rise again. Accordingly, although the prophecies announce that that very throne of David, which is fallen, dead, and buried, shall one day revive, and arise from the dust of the earth, incorruptible and eternal; yet shall this not be, they say, nor can it be, according to its first sense and material aspect, but only according to the second sense and spiritual aspect. In fine, the tabernacle or throne of David, shall revive and arise once more, according to the Scriptures, but not in that sense in which it fell and died, but in another most perfect sense, in which it hath not fallen nor ever died.

I am very far from opposing myself to this spiritual sense or aspect. What is said here, or meant to be said, I also say, believe, and confess, as a truth. There is no doubt that the present church may, in a certain sense, be called a kingdom, a tabernacle, a throne, where Jesus Christ reigns spiritually, through the faith of believers, where true faith and likewise true righteousness reign; but these words, kingdom, tabernacle, throne, &c. being spoken of the present church, are words not appropriate, but manifestly of a borrowed meaning: used with propriety, but with a propriety derived from resemblance, and which consists in the very resemblance not in the thing itself. In this way, St. Paul saith with truth and propriety, “Death reigned from Adam even unto Moses,” Rom. v. 14. In the same way we say with truth, that over a great part of the world Mahomet or Mahometanism reigneth, by the faith, though false and erroneous, of those who believe and follow his doctrine. In another portion not less in size reigneth idolatry, in another heresy, and in another philosophy, and in another barbarism, &c. And in this same sense, it is most true that in another great part of the world reigns true Christianity, which constitutes the true church of Christ; and consequently Christ himself spiritually reigns by the faith of believers, especially over those who hold the faith in good works.

But in this spiritual sense, though true, is it possible fully to verify the prophecies? Is the present church in reality that very kingdom, tabernacle, or throne of David, which was entirely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, and whereof the prophets of God announce the resurrection, the erection, the solid and eternal re-edification? Consider, Sir, equivocate not, seek not forcibly to reduce into one idea two so diverse from one another. The present church is a moral and mystical body, of which Christ himself is the true head, the high priest, the prince of the Pastors, the master, the light, the way, the truth, the life, the propitiation, the redemption; but not the temporal king; because, in the Apocalypse, when he cometh from heaven to earth in glory and majesty, he brings written on his vesture and on his thigh, “King of kings, and Lord Of lords,” and as such shall be acknowledged of all the universe.

Jesus Christ is therefore, as high priest, the true head of the church, though invisible. Now is it the same to be sovereign pontiff, invisible head of a moral and mystical body, and to be the king of this same body? Is there not a notable difference between the priesthood and the empire? Is it the same thing, to be in the church of Christ high priest or supreme pontiff as to be king or monarch? We Catholics do all believe and avow it as a truth, that the bishop of Rome, as legitimate successor of St. Peter, is the vicar of Christ, is the high priest, the sovereign pontiff, the supreme father, the superior and the visible head of the mystical body of Christ, which is the church; and yet no Catholic believes, at least in these times (nor in the seven or eight first centuries did believe), that he is king or temporal monarch of the same church, or that his power is so entirely without limits, as to extend indifferently to every thing, as well civil as spiritual. The spiritual exclusively concerns the priesthood, strictly united with their visible and invisible head. The civil (and the priesthood itself, so far as it is civil) concerneth the empire, the king, the prince, or the secular power. To seek to depart from this, is to seek to confound the most clear ideas.

Of the kingdom then, of the tabernacle, of the throne of holy king David, which hath entirely fallen and been reduced to powder, since the beginning of the first empire; of this same do the prophets of God foretell, that one day it shall arise anew in the person of Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh. But may not this kingdom, this tabernacle, this throne, this royal seat (for of all these four words do the prophets make use), haply be some purely spiritual kingdom? May it not peradventure be the tabernacle of religion, or the seat of the high priest? Certainly not. The high priest, by divine institution, pertained to the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron, not to the tribe of Judah and the family of David; as of which tribe (saith St. Paul) Moses spake nothing concerning the priesthood, Heb. vii. 14. It is true that the same apostle adds, that the high priesthood is transferred to Christ, and in him confirmed for ever. But it is also true that it is not translated to Christ as being the Son of David, to whom the high priesthood did in no way appertain; nor as little as being the son of Aaron, even though he had really descended from him by some line; for, as observeth the same St. Paul, the high priesthood of Christ is not according to the order of Aaron (much less according to the order of David), but according to the order of Melchisedec. The high priesthood was then transferred to Christ, and in him for ever confirmed, but simply by the express will of God, who had thus promised and sworn in the 110th Psalm, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec,” Psalm

cx. 4; that is, adds St. Paul, “Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Heb. vii. 16.

In short, it is most certain that neither the priesthood of Aaron nor that of Melchisedec pertained to David, therefore neither the one nor the other can be called the kingdom, the tabernacle, or the throne of David. Therefore the eternal priesthood which is established in the person of Christ and which he now exerciseth in the present church, and which they call the spiritual kingdom of Christ, is very different from the throne or tabernacle of David, which fell and was entirely dissolved, more than two thousand years ago.

What would they say to me, if imitating the way of discoursing followed by the doctors, I should say of David himself the same which they here say of his tabernacle? If I should dare to speak or to advance the proposition, The holy king David fell, died, and was buried, and converted into dust; and although it is an article of divine faith from the scriptures that he is to rise again (if haply he be not already risen), yet this resurrection is already fully accomplished, and no other is to be looked for. How? Spiritually. When? When Messiah, his Son, received the high priesthood according to the order of Melchisedec, or also when the soul of David went forth from the place of departed spirits [del limbo], and was glorified with Christ on the day of the resurrection of the. Lord. If this similitude does not appear to you exact, take this other. St. Peter, in his second epistle, chapter first, speaking of his bodily tabernacle, says, “I must shortly put off this tabernacle,” that is, his body was soon to fall into the dust. It is a fact that he actually died in the time of Nero, and that his body or his tabernacle was buried and reduced to dust. It is likewise a truth, that in the resurrection that same body or tabernacle of St. Peter, which he laid down, shall rise and be re-constituted as it formerly was. Would we now believe any one who should seek to persuade us that this resurrection of St. Peter is already accomplished, seeing that, in a spiritual sense, the Vatican may be looked upon as his tabernacle? Would we not contend, that the spiritual sense did not interfere with nor hinder that, in the proper and natural sense, should one day be accomplished the true and indestructible re-constitution of the body or tabernacle of St. Peter?

According then as we are very sure that the tabernacle of St. Peter, of which he himself speaketh, though laid down, dissolved, and reduced to powder since the government of Nero, shall arise one day from the dust, that is, shall arise the same as it was laid down, and no other; that it shall arise in a state more perfect, and never again to fall away: So, the scriptures tell us, it shall be with the tabernacle of David, concerning which we speak, that his kingdom, his throne, his fallen seat, destroyed and converted into dust since the empire of Nebuchadnezzar, shall likewise one day arise, shall arise the same and no other; shall arise in a state the most perfect, incorruptible, and eternal. Now it is most certain, according to the scriptures, that the tabernacle of St. Peter is one day to be raised from the earth, not in a metaphorical and spiritual sense, but in a proper, physical, and real sense; therefore may we well assure ourselves of the same, with respect to the tabernacle or, throne of David, because the same spirit of truth which promiseth the first generally, promiseth likewise the second particularly. “In that day” (it is said, for example, in Amos) “will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” Amos ix. 11.

But why draw these and other similar prophecies, of which we shall speak further on, away to other senses purely spiritual? Why, with a violence so visible, will they strive to verify them in the priesthood or spiritual kingdom of Christ, which is the present church? Whereas this which they call the spiritual kingdom of Christ has no connexion whatever, or the least relation with the tabernacle, or kingdom, or throne of David, which is fallen down? Why, I say, do they not receive these prophecies as they are found written, in their proper and natural sense? Is it, peradventure, that being thus received, there would be received along with them some clear and manifest error? Thus they would have us to understand, but to prove it they find not. Is it perhaps, that in this proper and natural sense the thing is utterly impossible? Let the utter impossibility be demonstrated; let them show in it any repugnancy or contradiction. I know that by Zechariah, the Lord speaking of those times, saith, “If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in my eyes? saith the Lord.” Zech. viii. 6.

Shall it prove difficult for God faithfully to accomplish his word, without having recourse to other senses and refuges, unworthy of his infinite greatness and his supreme veracity? Did he not accomplish faithfully to our father Abraham, in its proper and natural sense, that famous promise? “Sarah thy wife shall bear a son.” A promise which made the righteous Abraham to smile, though not to doubt, because he already counted about an hundred years, and Sarah about ninety. Did he not faithfully accomplish to Zachariah, the father of St. John, a promise altogether similar? “Thy wife Elizabeth shall bear a son.” Did he not accomplish faithfully to the most holy Virgin Mary, that unheard of promise? “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” Luke i. 31.35. Hath he not accomplished, in fine, in all of us believers, that admirable, ineffable, and incomprehensible promise? “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him…He that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” John vi. 55, 56. 57.

If then these and so many other promises which God hath made to his servants and friends, he hath most faithfully accomplished, in that very obvious, proper, and natural sense, in which he hath spoken them; why may we not, why ought we not to believe that he will accomplish in like manner, what he hath promised of the tabernacle, throne, or royal seat of the holy king David, which is fallen down? But leaving this dispute, with which we have perhaps detained ourselves more than was necessary, let us now advance to the attentive and faithful observation of that which we find written hereon in the Holy Scriptures.

The First council of the Christian Church is considered.

§ 2. THE extravagant pretence, and open contention by certain Jewish doctors, now Christians, that the Gentiles ought to be circumcised, saying to them “unless ye be circumcised according to the law of Moses ye cannot be saved,” was the reason for which the first council of the church was held, and the apostles and the elders came together to Jerusalem to consider of this matter.

Various disputes having proceeded without coming to any conclusion in that way, St. Peter rose full of the Holy Spirit, and commanding all to hold their peace, he spoke in favour of the Gentiles, making a simple and admirable discourse, of which the substance is as followeth: “To those who from among the Gentiles have till now believed without being circumcised, or bound by the law of Moses, God hath given the Holy Ghost, even as to us of the circumcision who have believed; and in this respect there has not been any substantial difference between them and us; for God who knows the heart, hath purified them by faith as well as us; it will therefore be a rashness or a tempting of God, to seek to place upon the necks of those new disciples a very heavy yoke, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.”

To the force of this reasoning in the mouth of St. Peter, says the sacred historian, they all held their peace, which is the same as to say that they were convinced, “Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” Acts xv. 12.

In the last place spake St. James, not to oppose in any way the discourse of St. Peter, but rather to confirm, illustrate, clear, and consolidate it in such a way, as to leave this most grave business wholly determined amongst the believers, so that the Christian Jews ever zealous for their law, might be wholly calm and quiet, without any further power to embarrass the conversion of the Gentiles. Accordingly calling the attention of the council he spoke in these terms:

“Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God.” Acts xv. 13-l9.

This text has always been looked upon as very obscure, and doubtless is so, partly from its extremely laconic character, partly also because it is very difficult, being well considered, to accommodate it with the ideas which we bring into question. The mode of explaining it, and the explanation itself no less laconical, do betray in the doctors an extraordinary embarrassment. But to be able thoroughly to understand, as well the explanation as the text itself, it will be of good service to know first, and to have very present to the mind, what we are told by the same doctors upon that famous question which was put to the Lord by all those who stood by and were eye-witnesses of his wonderful ascension into heaven.

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts i. 6. This question, they say, originated in an error derived from what they had heard from their Rabbis upon the kingdom of Messiah, which they believed was to be temporal and worldly, like that of David and Solomon, although the prophets had announced one spiritual, which was to begin in this world by faith, and to be completed in heaven.

Upon this very formal decision, it will be permitted us to put these two very short questions, first, where stand these predictions of the prophets? Secondly, by what reason, or with what equity do they confound the gross ideas which the Jews have held and still do hold upon the kingdom of their Messiah, with the predictions of the prophets of God, which are so far from any such grossness? If the question, which the disciples put to the Lord in those circumstances, had originated in some vulgar error amongst themselves, was it not most natural, not to say absolutely necessary, that the good master should have said to them at least those three precious words, which on a similar occasion he spoke to the Sadducees? “You do err, not knowing the scriptures.” Was it not most natural, and even necessary, that at least he should not confirm them in that error by his answer? Let us consider the reply of our Lord, and it will be seen without being able to avoid it, that although the Lord did not reveal to them the particular and determinate secret which they desired to know, that is, the precise time of the restitution of the kingdom to Israel, he doth yet evidently confirm them in the substance of that mystery. That which they inquired was, if the kingdom of Israel, which according to the prophets ought to be restored by Messiah, would be restored immediately in those times or not. “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And the Lord replies to them that they should not set themselves to search out the times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power, “it is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power,” as if he had said: The kingdom of Israel shall be re-established, but the time when, it does not interest you to know, for the times and the seasons in which it is to come to pass, the heavenly Father hath kept in his own power. In this answer of the Lord, is there not to be seen a tacit confession that in reality there should be a time, which the Father only knew, for restoring the kingdom of Israel? How then can that be held as fable and error, which is to come to pass at a time which God only knoweth? Would the Lord have permitted that his hearers should be confirmed in an error. Let us consider the circumstances in which he gave that reply, and we shall be still more convinced of the impossibility that he would have left them with an equivocation. When the Lord spake these words, he was speaking to his disciples only, he was speaking to his friends, to men who really loved and venerated him, and who were most ready to receive and believe any thing which he should say to them, as they were simple and straight forward men, without malice, or artifice, or pre-occupation. He spake to those men, whom he himself had chosen for the masters of the world, whom he had instructed all the time of his preaching, and even after his resurrection he had not ceased to instruct them forty days, appearing to them, and speaking to them “concerning the kingdom of God;” to whom he ended by saying, “Go and teach all nations;” to whom “he opened their understanding that they should understand the scriptures,” and to whom he had said in the night of his passion, “But I have called you friends, because whatever I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Is it then probable or credible, that if the restoration of the kingdom of Israel was an error, the master of truth would not have delivered them from the same, in those circumstances in which he was about to absent himself from them? Is it compatible with the goodness and veracity of one who was every way God, that when his disciples besought him upon a point of such transcendent importance, he should not undeceive them, he should not blame their foolishness, or in a few words explain the sense of the prophecies when they announce the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Nothing of all this did the Lord, but left them in the same belief in which they were concerning the kingdom of Israel, and contented himself with merely signifying to them that they could not know the time in which it would come to pass, and to ascertain which they were so full of anxiety, because that was a thing which the Father had reserved to himself. This being set forth, we pass now to consider the text of St. James, the prophecy to which it refers, and the explanation which the interpreters give us thereof.

§ 3. “SIMEON hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down.” Acts

xv. 14-16.

All the interpreters suppose here that St. James speaks of the vocation of the Gentiles, whom in that time the Lord visited with his infinite mercy, in order to take out of them a holy people. This position admitteth of no doubt. They suppose likewise (but upon what foundation is not known) that the prophecy of Amos quoted by St. James, speaks of the same mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, as if it were therefore cited, and for no other purposes. Consequently, they suppose in the last place, that the re-edification and erection of the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, with all the other things which the prophecy announces in the train thereof, were verified and are still verifying themselves in the very mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles; who, they say, have principally formed, along with some few Jews who believed, the new spiritual tabernacle of David “which is fallen down,” that is, the present church, where Messiah himself the son of David spiritually reigneth. And to this the substance of all the explanations of the doctors may be reduced.

If we inquire now what is meant by several very remarkable things which are found as well in the text of St. James as in that of Amos, we shall by that alone come to suspect the goodness of this interpretation. What signifies, for example, that word first in speaking of the vocation of the Gentiles? What signify these words, after these things I will return? These four words which are of chief importance, are yet passed over by the most part of the doctors whom I have been able to see. One only have I found who troubles himself with them, and what is it that he says? He says shortly, that they allude to the conversion of the centurion Cornelius, the first of all the Gentiles who was called of God, as related in the tenth chapter of the Acts; after which, (post hæc after these things) the gate was opened, and the Gentiles began to enter, and till now have entered by thousands, and it is of these chiefly that the spiritual tabernacle of David is made up. Let this explanation now be compared with the text, and its incoherency will easily appear. According to it God first visited the Gentiles, in order to take out of them a people for his name, which came to pass in the conversion of Cornelius and all his family; “God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” And after these things which happened in the house of Cornelius; after this God returned again, and built anew the tabernacle of David; “after this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David.” And as this tabernacle of David, according to the same doctors, is no other thing than the Christian church, it is only after the conversion of Cornelius the centurion, that this began to exist.

Besides this, what do these words in the text of Amos mean, “And I will build it as in the days of old?” Is it that God hath built the Christian church as it was in the days of old before it fell? “I will set up the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and I will rebuild it as in the days of old.” After the tabernacle of David is rebuilt (continues the prophet) “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.” What meaneth this? It means, they say, that in the church of Christ, its ministers or workmen shall ever be held in a great and continuous occupation, their ministries succeeding one another without leaving any moment of repose, as happened to the apostles, and happeneth still to apostolic men. That the mountains shall drop sweetness, that is, they shall rain celestial consolations upon the true believers: that all the hills shall be cultivated [Vulg. culti erunt], that is, there shall not be any people or nation where the ministers of the church do not labour and where they do not gather some fruit to God. And these words which follow, “And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel.” “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God:” How, pray, are they to be understood?

It seems that we ought here to expect, of so many Christian doctors, some mercy to the miserable Jews; but our hopes vanish in this, as in every other instance; they dare not open, nor consent to the opening of one single door, for the fear of some evil consequence; accordingly these words with which this prophecy concludes, “And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God,” have according to them no other sense than this, —I will draw from under the captivity of sin and Satan the Jews who shall believe as well as the Gentiles, and I will plant them in their own land, that is, in my church; and I will never remove them from this place which I have given them, if by their iniquity they do not forsake it, as so many heretics and apostates have done.

You have here, my dear sir, all the interpretation, or as they say, the true sense intended by the Holy Spirit, as well in the prophecy of Amos, as in the discourse of St. James before the council of Jerusalem. Whether this sense, purely accommodative, be sufficient or not, fully to satisfy the searcher after truth in the Holy Scriptures, it pertaineth not to me to determine. Any one can ask himself, weighing it justly in the balance of common sense. The greatest vexation is that if any one is bold enough to raise his voice and beg some good reason for all this understanding or sense which they call the true and only one, he has nothing to expect but three or four or more strings of quotation, to show that very many other doctors have understood it so. Well, and on what ground have they proceeded in so understanding and explaining it? If that reason or foundation be not produced, what use is there in filling whole pages with quotations from authors?

Some say that this is the understanding of all the orthodox interpreters. And what does this mean in relation to the point in question? Does it peradventure mean that none but the heterodox or heretics can think otherwise? Or haply that the said understanding is a point of Catholic faith, is orthodox, is true, is indisputable? See you not, sir, their challenge and pledge? See you not the fear and the scruple with which they endeavour to terrify us?

The pledge and the challenge is still more increased. One grave author, quoting another, formally declares, that the aforesaid understanding of the prophecy of Amos, and consequently of the text of St. James, has been already determined as literally true, against Theodorus, bishop of Mopsuesta, by Pope Vigilius, in the Roman council. Any one who reads these words would look upon this dispute as concluded. I also would give it up at once, if this were certain, or if it were not evidently false. I say evidently false, because it appeareth not from history that any council was held in Rome in the time of Vigilius, either while he was antipope or while he was pope. Besides, the question which so much disturbed the peace of the church upon the three famous heads, that is to say, upon some writings of Ibas, bishop of Edesa, of Theoeleret, bishop of Scyro, and of Theodorus, bishop of Mopsuesta, did not occur in the West but in the East, not in Rome but in Constantinople. And lastly, because, of the sixty propositions extracted from the writings of Theodorus which were condemned, not one has any connexion with, or the least relation to the point which we now handle. In all these sixty propositions as laid down by historians, there doth not once occur the tabernacle of David, or the prophecy of Amos, or the council of Jerusalem, or the discourse of St. James, or any other thing which might be mistaken for any of these. The most which is found in history (and perhaps in this the equivocation might have originated) is that the enemies of Theodorus accused him, among other things, of cleaving much to certain opinions of the Rabbis, and saying that the twenty-second psalm doth not speak of Christ; but it is neither known that this general accusation was laid before the council of Constantinople, nor that the council spoke one word thereon, for the sixty propositions contain nothing concerning it. I defy all the learned to substantiate by historical documents any fact similar to that which is supposed above.

I conclude this point with these two questions. First: if this information were correct, is it to be believed that other doctors would be ignorant thereof? Secondly: not being ignorant of it, and regarding it as sure, is it credible that they would not have produced it as a proof the most decisive of the goodness of their interpretation?

Another Explanation is proposed of the Text of St. James.

§ 4. “SIMEON hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down.” Acts xv. 14-16.

It clearly appeareth that St. James here mentions two things very different from each other, which it is not good to confound with one another, since he himself distinguisheth them, saying, that the one is to take place after the other. First, after this I will return. The first, by the unanimous consent of all the doctors, is the vocation of the Gentiles, which he proves in confirmation of the discourse of St. Peter; and assureth them, according to the scriptures, that God determined to visit first the Gentiles (for the Jews although first called would not hear), and to take out of them a people for his name: “God first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name.” The second, after this, is the vocation, gathering together, and receiving of the remnant of Israel, dispersed among all nations for their unbelief: “After this I will return and build again.” So that the former only pertaineth to the subject for which that council had been gathered together; that is, to the subject of the Gentiles visited and called by God, to form a new people. And the second was directed to quiet the Christian Jews, always zealous for their law and their people, by assuring them that after the mystery of the Gentiles, the time of mercy would likewise arrive for that unhappy people, “as it was written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down.” Acts xv. 16. To this end those two capital words, first and after that, are manifestly directed.

St. James says, that the prophecy of Amos, which he quotes, and generally “the words of the prophets,” agree to these words, “First God hath visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name;” but this accordancy respects not the mystery of the Gentiles, considered in itself, but in its relation to another mystery which is to follow after it. This then is the agreement, of which he here speaks, between the mystery of the calling of the Gentiles and the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David: that first, and this second; that is to precede, and this to follow. How is it possible that a mystery should precede itself? If then the visitation or vocation of the Gentiles, to take out of them a people, is the first which God wisheth to do; if after this he is to rebuild the tabernacle of David, and the other things announced in the prophecy of Amos are to follow; then are these two mysteries wholly distinct, and the present church cannot be the tabernacle of David here spoken of.

Of this harmony of the one mystery with the other, the prophets speak very frequently, as we have so often remarked in the four preceding Phenomena. Of this harmony St. Paul speaketh not seldom, especially when he says to the Gentiles, “For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also, &c." Rom. xi. 30,31. Of this harmony Messiah himself speaketh very often in parables; especially when he saith that Jerusalem should be trodden under foot of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled: and this same harmony lies manifest in that song, not less brief than admirable, of the righteous Simeon, who holding in his arms the hope of Israel and of all the world, yet in the state of infancy, announceth full of the Holy Ghost, that he should be first “a light to lighten the Gentiles,” and afterwards “the glory of thy people Israel.” To all these things, and others of the like kind, which are found in the sacred books, these two words, first and after this, appear to allude.

Perhaps it may be objected, that neither in the prophecy of Amos, nor in the other prophets, are these words ever found, after this I will return; but always, or almost always, those others, “in that day, in those days, in that time,” &c. Well, and what inconvenience is found in this? The Prophet says, “In that day (without marking the precise day of which he speaks), I will set up the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and I will build it again as in the days of old.” St. James quoting this prophecy, marks the day or time of which this and the other prophets speak, and he marks it by these words, after this I will return, giving these two clear countersigns. First, after this, after these things, that is, pertaining to the great mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, whom God was visiting in the first place. The second countersign is, I will return. Who will return? whither and to whom will he return? He who will return can be no other than that same “nobleman, who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and return,” Luke xix. 12; and he of whom those consolatory words are spoken, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts i. 11. Whither will he return? He will return doubtless to that same land which he left, from which he is, in so far as he is a man. To whom shall he return? He shall return, according to the scriptures, to raise up in his own person, and build or build anew, as in the times of old (with that grandeur and righteousness worthy of a Man-God), the tabernacle or throne of David his father, which is fallen down. “In that day I will set up the tabernacle of David which is fallen down. After this I will return and I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down. And the first dominion shall come to them, the kingdom to the daughter of Jerusalem.” These last words of the prophet Micah visibly correspond to those others of Amos, “And I will build it as in the days of old;” and both clearly announce the judgement of the quick, or which is the same, the kingdom of Messiah over the living.

From all that we have just spoken, this conclusion follows: that first God is to gather from among the nations a people of his own in the room of Israel, who chose not to be gathered unto him. And when he no longer findeth men to collect; and those even which were gathered are decaying, either going out for want of faith, or corrupting within by the abounding of iniquity; in short, after that the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled; after all this another day shall begin to dawn, of which the prophets of God spake so much, wherein the Lord himself shall begin to pass over from the Gentiles to the Jews; and these being prepared, that is, his precious remnant being made ready; with all the convenient preparations of which we have already spoken, he shall like wise return in his proper person, from that far country whether he went long ago, to receive for himself a kingdom, and return. He shall return, I say, when he has received from the Father himself, power, and honour, and a kingdom.

All which hath been said above is confirmed by other passages of Scripture.

§ 5. FIRST; Isaiah, speaking of Messias, says of him among other things, “upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.” Isa.

ix. 7. If this text be compared with that of Amos, cited by St. James, and. they be weighed in a faithful balance, it appears impossible to find between them any difference worthy of regard. Isaiah says, that Messiah, as son of David, to whom the promises were made, should one day sit upon his royal seat and throne, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice. St. James, citing generally the words of the prophets, and in particular the prophecy of Amos, says that Messiah himself, who had then gone to heaven, should one day return to the earth and rebuild the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, raising it from the dust of the earth where it lay buried; which shall be after this, or after these things. Amos saith, that in that day the Lord shall arise and shall raise from the earth the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and build it anew, as in the days of old.

By these last words, I do not mean to say (nor may such an extravagance be attributed to me without manifest injustice) that the kingdom of Messiah, of which he speaks, shall be or can be “as in the times of old,” making the word as to turn upon the mode and not expressly upon the substance. I think and surely hold the second. If my countrymen the Jews have thought and till now think the first, or any other thing similar thereto, they have certainly erred and do err in the most substantial parts of the scriptures. But this and other errors of the like kind, manifestly gross, can be easily corrected by the scriptures themselves.

Second; the prophecy of Isaiah, of which we began by speaking, we find expressly cited in the gospel by the angel Gabriel, (Luke i. 32.) sent from God to the most holy Virgin Mary. Among the things which the angel promised on God’s part, one of them is that which the prophecy of Isaiah containeth and announceth: “And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke i. 32,33. This most solemn promise, made to the most holy Virgin in behalf of Messiah her son, is certainly what hath not been accomplished till now; and it is in like manner certain, that it is the only one which hath not been accomplished: for all the things of which the angel assures her on God’s part have been most perfectly accomplished in their natural and proper sense, as is clear from all the holy text and the creed which is founded thereon.

If this promise be the only one which hath not till now been accomplished to our Lord, it appears necessary that it should one day be accomplished in the same natural and proper sense as have the others; since there is no more reason for them than for it. If this promise be already accomplished, as they strive to maintain, its complete accomplishment ought with distinctness and clearness to be made to appear, without for that purpose having recourse to the high priesthood of Christ according to the order of Melchisedek, with which the throne of David holdeth no connexion whatever, nor the least possible relation, it being clear that the promise doth not speak of the priesthood, but of the throne of David: “And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” When then has this promise been accomplished; or when could it have been accomplished? In all the sacred history we find nothing more than that Messiah, the son of David, once entered publicly into Jerusalem among the acclamations of the people, with that new and unheard of pomp related in the Evangelists: but we likewise know that, far from placing him on the throne of David, they placed him six days after upon another the one, of grief and of ignominy, which was the cross: and the people themselves who had hailed him Son of David, cried out against him with a loud voice, Crucify him, crucify him!

After his death and resurrection, we know for certain that he passed to heaven, as he himself said, “in order to receive for himself a kingdom, and return.” We know for certain, that there in heaven he is seated on the very throne of his Father: “I have sitten down with my Father on his throne.” We know, certainly, that there he shall continue seated: “until I make thine enemies thy footstool;” and, as the apostle adds, “henceforth expecting,” &c. We know, finally, that he shall one day return to this our earth, “to judge the quick and the dead, and his kingdom shall have no end.” But neither the throne of God where he now is seated, nor the throne of ignominy where his own did place him, can be called without manifest violence the throne, or royal seat, or tabernacle of David his father, which is the thing so expressly promised.

To this they reply, that the kingdom of Messiah spoken of in the scriptures is not earthly and worldly, but celestial and divine; not temporal, but eternal; not carnal, but spiritual. Accordingly, although it be said that to Messiah shall be given the throne of David his father; that he shall sit upon that throne after it has been rebuilt and raised from the dust of the earth; that he shall reign for ever over the house of Jacob; yet can all this not be understood literally, but in another most perfect sense, which is the allegorical or spiritual; inasmuch as the throne of David over all Israel was a figure or shadow of the spiritual throne of Christ over all believers (which is no other thing than his high priesthood after the order of Melchisedec). I have protested in other places, that I do not mean to oppose myself in any way to what is said, or meant to be said, in this allegorical or spiritual sense, which I likewise say and believe with all believers. That to which I do indeed oppose myself with all my weak efforts, is the claim and pretension of those who would despotically have it, that this is the only sense of the Holy Scriptures, and that for any one to think of any other besides this, is an error, a dream, and a gross absurdity. But how prove they it to be so? I, at least, find no proof which satisfies me.

It is most certain that the kingdom of Messiah whereof the scriptures speak cannot be an earthly and worldly kingdom, but a celestial and divine one; nor can it be a carnal kingdom, but a spiritual; nor can the kingdom of Messiah be like any kingdom which we have till this day seen in our world whose princes have been and are but men, and their power merely of the earth and present world; whereas the kingdom of Messiah shall be properly called celestial, divine, and eternal: for though it shall truly exist upon the earth and over men, its authority, its power, and the person who exerciseth it are wholly celestial and divine, and shall never have an end. The words earthly, worldly—celestial, divine, being understood in this way, the whole question and dispute will cease at once, and the proper reply will be given to the other difficulty which is wont to be objected, and which reduceth itself to what Jesus Christ (they say) declared to Pilate the governor, (before whose tribunal he stood as one accused of high treason, falsely accused of having sought to make himself king, and rebel against Cæsar) that his kingdom is not of this world; “My kingdom is not of this world:” wherefore, they conclude, the kingdom of Christ is not to be looked for in this world, however much the scriptures may announce, or seem to announce so. But this is a difficulty which the very persons who propose it ought rather to be called upon to resolve; seeing that the present church, which they call the kingdom of Christ, is not certainly of the other world, but of this; is not composed of angels and other unknown creatures, but of reasonable men of the lineage of Adam, who actually dwell in this world and are of this world. They reply, and with good reason, that Christ did not say that his kingdom was not in this world, but that it was not of this world: accordingly, although the Christian church really be in this world, it is nevertheless not of this world; both because it is not of human institution, but divine, and because it is not conformed, or ought not to be conformed to the customs and maxims of the world, which are properly called worldly. Well, then, in this same sense may the kingdom of Christ, of which we speak, very well exist in this world, without being a kingdom of this world; that is, without holding any resemblance to the kingdoms of this world, or being in the least conformed to its maxims and customs. In this sense, and in this only, doth the Lord himself say of himself and of his apostles, “They are not of this world, as I am not of this world.” John xvii. 16.

But, to escape from all doubt, and thoroughly to comprehend the sense of this text, let us read it entire, seeing it is short. “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” John xviii. 36. These last words, but now, what do they actually signify? I much fear I shall obscure them, if I set myself to explain them. Therefore I leave them untouched; as they appear to me to explain themselves, and at the same time to explain the whole text.

Third; in the 132nd Psalm, David (the prophet and the king) speaks of the promise which God had made to him, confirmed with an oath, that Messiah his son should one day sit on his very throne: and for the greater confirmation he adds, that this promise of God is a truth, which shall not fail nor be frustrated. “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” Psalm cxxxii. 11. Of whom speaketh this promise of God confirmed with an oath? Speaketh it of Solomon and the other kings of Judah, or speaketh it of Jesus Christ? The interpreters commonly say, that the promise of God speaketh literally and immediately of Solomon, and the kings who followed till Jechoniah and Zedekiah, when the throne of David fell, since which time it hath not come again to be seen on our earth; and that it speaketh of Messiah only in an allegorical and spiritual sense. Nevertheless I take upon me the boldness to affirm, that the promise of God confirmed with an oath speaks literally of Messiah alone, and not of Solomon or of the other kings of Judah. The reason on which I rest is the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, from the 25th to the 31st verse: where we read that St. Peter, on the very day of Pentecost, having just received most abundantly of the Holy Ghost, made that first divine and admirable sermon, wherein he proved to the Jews by three places of the Psalms of David, three truths proper and peculiar to Messiah himself, to Jesus Christ, the son of David according to the flesh. First; that this very Jesus, powerful in word and work, whom they had rejected and hung upon a tree, had really arose according to the scriptures, whereof he himself and all the other apostles and disciples were eye—witnesses, who had seen him after he was risen, not once only, but very many times; had eaten with him and drank with him; had heard his voice; had received his instructions and commandments before he had departed from them into heaven. And it was impossible from this and from the scriptures, that hell should have held him long within her power: “for it was impossible that he should be holden of it.” To prove this he cites the text of the sixteenth Psalm: “ For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Verse 10. He further says to them, that these words could not be spoken of the very person of David, who had been buried many ages before, and whose sepulchre was still well known of them all, and to no one had the thought ever occurred that David had been raised before seeing corruption. “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that be is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” Acts ii. 29. Secondly; that the same Jesus the son of David, after being raised up from the dead, had ascended to heaven according to the scriptures, and this in the presence of St. Peter himself and all the apostles and disciples, who bore public testimony of that truth. For which he cites the 110th Psalm, saying that it cannot be spoken of David himself. “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.” Acts ii. 34,35. Thirdly; that this same Christ who had arisen and ascended to heaven, is one day to return to this our earth, according to the scriptures, and then to occupy the throne of David his father. For this he quotes to them the 132nd Psalm, adding expressly a notable circumstance, which it is not lawful to hide, to wit, that for this last act the same prophet David was prepared, by having spoken beforehand, in the sixteenth Psalm, of the resurrection of Messiah his son. “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, be would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before, spake of the resurrection. of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” Acts ii. 30, 31.

From those three passages of the Psalms, quoted by St. Peter, I draw these two consequences, which appear to me legitimate and just in every aspect. First; as the two first passages cited from the sixteenth and the 110th Psalm speak literally, immediately, and solely of Christ, the one of his resurrection, the other of his ascension into heaven, so the third, “of the fruit of thy loins will I set upon thy throne,” from the 132nd Psalm, must be spoken literally, immediately, and exclusively of Christ; because there is no more reason nor more privilege for those than for this, seeing they are all equally dictated by the Holy Spirit in one and the same day, and in one and the same discourse. The second consequence is, that as the two first quoted passages were perfectly accomplished in Christ in the proper, natural, and literal sense, so exactly, neither more nor less, ought the third to be accomplished, however much they may resist. Perhaps He who knoweth all had this repugnancy present to his mind; for not content with affirming this third thing with his simple word, as he doth the first and the second, he sought to make it yet more sure, adding a formal and solemn oath: “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” Psalm cxxxii. 11. “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.” Acts ii. 30.

Last Observation.

§ 6. THIS last observation must inevitably be somewhat more diffuse than all which have preceded it in this Phenomenon, both by reason of the various points which it comprehends, and of the more than ordinary difficulty in clearing and combining them, and likewise because their union and full intelligence appears to us of great importance.

The sixteenth chapter of Isaiah begins with this mysterious prayer: “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.” Isa. xvi. 1. These words and all that follow unto verse 6 are, there can be no doubt, most obscure; not only when considered by themselves, but even when considered along with all the context, which is wont to open the true meaning and to clear up things the most obscure. The explanation which I find in the interpreters, I confess, satisfies me not. All of them that I have been able to consult, say, that the prophet here makes a kind of parenthesis, or very short digression; because, having been speaking against Moab throughout the preceding chapter, this suggested to his memory that famous widow, Ruth the Moabitess; who, leaving her native country, came to Judea, following Naomi her mother-in-law, and after some time was married to Boaz and became great-grandmother of David. This occurring to his mind, naturally brought along with it the remembrance of Messiah the son of David, and by David likewise the son of Ruth. Upon this recollection, full of faith, hope, and most ardent desire, he prayed to God that he would send with all haste the Lamb who should spiritually govern the earth, that he would send him “from the rock of the wilderness,” (see margin of English bible,) that is, they say, from Moab, or from the stony Arabia, where the Moabites lived: not that Messiah should really have to come from Arabia, or from the land of Moab, but in allusion, they say, to the country of Ruth, his progenitor. If now we read on to the 6th verse of the chapter, we do nevertheless find, without being able to avoid it, other things, very different and very foreign from any thing that hath yet come to pass.

I propose here another interpretation of this passage of Isaiah, for the understanding of which I require not only attention, but patience. First, I agree with all in thinking that the prophet at the beginning of the sixteenth chapter makes a parenthesis or short digression, in which for a moment he extends his view to other times and other events widely different from and much greater than those of which he is speaking. This is very frequent in Isaiah, and may with truth be affirmed to be his proper character. For which short digression the very fit occasion was given, not by Ruth the Moabitess woman, but by Moab himself, against whom he is prophesying; which prophecy was fully accomplished in the time of Nebuchadnezzar (see the whole of the forty-eighth chapter of Jeremiah). But I cannot agree in this, that the parenthesis or digression of Isaiah is so short as to comprehend only the first verse; for to me it appears clear that it passes beyond it so far as to include the whole of the fifth verse, without which I know not how any reasonable meaning, agreeable to sacred history, can be given to these five first verses of the sixteenth chapter. The whole text is as follows: —“Send ye the Lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth: the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

On the supposition that all these five verses enter into the parenthesis or digression of the prophet, I say unto you, my dear sir, that all is intelligible, or may most naturally be made intelligible, without its being necessary to occur to Ruth the Moabitess, very far removed even from the times of Isaiah. My mode of reasoning is this: Isaiah had just spoken of Moab, throughout the fifteenth chapter, and still continueth the subject in the sixteenth; but as it is the proper character of the great prophet, as is said in Ecclesiasticus (ch. iv. 8.) to decline away insensibly to the things of the last times; by the occasion of speaking of Moab, and announcing to her his extreme humiliation in punishment of his extreme pride, he maketh in the midst of the prophecy, as it were a parenthesis or brief digression, and in two or three words foretelleth other very remarkable things which are to happen in other very remote times, in that same land or country of Moab. He begins by praying God to send from heaven the Lamb destined to be the ruler of the earth [Vulg. Emitte agnum, domine, dominatorum terræ, i.e. O Lord, send forth the Lamb the ruler of the earth]. What other lamb can this be destined to rule the earth, than that same whereof it is spoken in the fifth chapter of the Apocalypse, which presenteth itself before the throne of God, receiveth of his hand a closed and sealed book, openeth it there in the presence of all the assessors of judgment and of all the angels; and filleth them all, by the bare opening of it, with a very high joy which diffuseth itself over all the universe? What other lamb can this destined to rule the earth be, but he of whom it is spoken in the 7th chapter of Daniel? Who in the times of the fourth beast, that is in the last times, presents himself before the very throne of God, “as it were the son of man,” and then receiveth publicly and solemnly from his hand, “power and honour and a kingdom; and all people, tribes, and languages shall obey him.” (See the preceding Phenomenon, section 3.) This same prayer is made to that lamb, destined to rule the earth, in the sixty-fourth chapter of the same Isaiah, “O that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.” All which (however much they may think to refine it away) is clearly not compatible in any reasonable way with the first coming of the Lord, but with the second according to all the scriptures.

Isaiah addeth in his very brief prayer to the Lord, that he would send the lamb the ruler of the earth, “from the rock of the desert to the mountain of the daughter of Zion.” These words, “from the rock of the desert,” regarded by themselves, are doubtless very obscure; but being combined with other passages of the prophets, and of Isaiah himself, they will very easily be understood without violence, or rather with great propriety and in the most natural way. In Habakkuk for example, it is said, (iii. 3.) “God came from Teman, and the Holy one from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand.” Who can disallow that here, and in all this chapter the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty is spoken of? Now mount Paran is certainly in Idumea, towards the south in respect of Palestine, and therefore the LXX. instead of “from the south,” read “from Teman,” [as our version doth,] because Teman was the metropolis of Idumea. Moreover, in the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, it is said that the Lord, when he shall come in glory and majesty, shall first come directly to Idumea. “Behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. [Vulg. behold he.] The sword of the Lord is filled with blood: for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.” To this passage St. John appeareth to allude when he says, “And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.” Rev. xiv. 20. And in the nineteenth chap. ver 15, it is said of the same personage, when he cometh from heaven to earth, “and he treadeth the winepress of the wrath of Almighty God.” In Idumea, then, to the south of Jerusalem, shall the two edged sword which proceedeth out of his mouth have to do all that which may be seen and considered at leisure in the whole of the thirty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, and in the sixty-third chapter, which passages and others kindred thereto, St. John manifestly takes hold of, and combines them all to his use in the nineteenth chapter of the Apocalypse.

Adverting to all these passages it must already appear easy to comprehend the whole parenthesis with which the sixteenth chapter of Isaiah sets out, “O Lord send forth the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Zion.” After this short prayer there follows instantly in the same parenthesis, this particular prophecy comprehended in the four following verses: “For it shall be (which is the same as if he had said, it shall happen in these times, immediate upon the coming of the lamb, the ruler of the whole earth) that as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.” It appears at first sight that there is announced here a true flight of the Moabites, who, through fear of some formidable enemy, coming against them, shall abandon their country and pass to the other side of the brook Arnon. In fact, thus the interpreters suppose, insinuating that all this might have happened, and did happen in the expedition of Sennacherib or of Nebuchadnezzar.

But how can a real flight of Moab out of their country be made consistent with the words which are immediately added, “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon—day; hide the outcasts, bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab: be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler:” Isaiah xvi. 3,4.

By these words it is clearly perceived that Moab in terror shall meditate to flee forth of his confines, and in part shall begin to remove, not certainly in fear of any inimical prince who cometh up against him; but in dread of the outcasts who are close upon his land, and come flying “from the face of the spoiler.” Which alludeth manifestly to that which in other times came to pass in the same land of Moab, when those same outcasts came flying from Egypt, as may be seen in the twenty-second and twenty-third chapters of the book of Numbers. Accordingly it is here said to Moab, that he should not fear as he feared the first time, that he should not be confounded nor astonished; that before flying he should take counsel, but not adopt the counsel or imitate the conduct of the ancient king Balak, who shut his gates and would not show hospitality, nor allow those same outcasts of God to pass through his borders; (Numb. xxxii.) but to take another counsel more humane and more prudent, which is proposed to him on the part of the Lord. “Take counsel, execute judgment;” [Vulg. ini consilium, coge concilium, i.e. take counsel, gather a counsel.] What counsel is this? “make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon-day; hide the outcasts, bewray not him that wandereth.” Isa. xvi. 3. Prepare for mine outcasts an asylum, or a shadow, which in the mid-day may be dark as the shadow of night, and hide them so that they shall be invisible, neither discover them nor be treacherous to them. Now, how is Moab to hide within him the outcasts of God, if Moab himself have fled away from his border beyond the brook of Arnon. “Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, (continues the Lord) Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.”5 Isa. xvi. 4. My outcasts shall dwell, or be entertained in thy country for some little time; receive them, O Moab, and hide them with thee. Fear not that this office of humanity may be to thy prejudice in any way; for I give thee to know, that already is ceased, is ended, or about to be ended the great dust [the word which we have rendered extortioner or wringer, is rendered by the Vulgate dust] of the armies which pursued them (proceeding doubtless from the mouth of the dragon): and the miserable

5 The last part of the 4th verse rendered literally from the Vulgate is, “For the dust is ceased, and the wretched one is consumed, and he who trampled the earth is come to his end.”

one hath ended his days, or shall briefly end them, as Pagnini and Vitalbo read the oppressor; that is, he who oppressed others and made them miserable, is himself become more miserable than all of them; already is he ended or about to come to his end, who trampled the earth under his feet, “the treaders down are consumed out of the land:” who, it appears clear from all the context, can be no other than that power figured in the great statue of Daniel.

It will conduce to the full understanding of this passage of Isaiah, to advert here to these three things. First, that the land or country of Moab was so close to the land of Israel, or of promise, that they were separated only by the river Jordan. “And (says Moses, Numb. xxii. 1.) the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab, on this side Jordan by Jericho.” Secondly, that in the land or country of Moab, was the famous Mount Nebo, “to which Moses ascended, and saw the inheritance of the Lord, where also he died, according to the word of the Lord.” (Deut. xxxiv.) And there the prophet Jeremiah, “by a divine response made to him,” hid by the order of God, after the destruction of Jerusalem, the great ark of the old covenant, the tabernacle, and the altar; prophesying, “As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses.” 2 Macc. ii. 7,8. Thirdly, that when all Israel flying from Egypt, conducted now by Joshua, passed the Jordan, they entered immediately into the most fertile valley of Achor, where their hearts began to expand, and their hopes to brighten, upon the miraculous fall of Jericho, (Joshua vi.) all which may easily recall to mind, what was already observed in the preceding Phenomenon, Article VIII, when we spoke of the flight into the wilderness of that metaphorical woman, to whom are to be “given two wings of a great eagle, that she might flee into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent,” (Rev. xii. 14.) or as Isaiah hath it in the passage of which we are speaking “from the face of the spoiler.” This woman which flies into the desert into her place, as she hath to go directly to the valley of Achor as God promiseth by Hosea, (chap. ii.) so hath she to pass the second time by the land of Moab, and to be detained there some little time, as she passed and was detained the first time when she went up out of Egypt. Without this how can the prophecy of Isaiah be verified. For this end, then, is Moab counselled of God, not again to shut her gates the second time upon this woman who comes in her flight, but to receive her with humanity, and give her shelter beside himself. “Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab: be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler.” Isa. xvi. 4.

Adverting to these three points, we understand already without difficulty the last verse of the parenthesis of Isaiah. “And in mercy shall the throne be established; and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David,” &c. Isa. xvi. 5. After these things, concludes the prophet, a throne shall be established in mercy, which shall be the very throne or tabernacle of David, and upon it shall he be seated who ought by right to sit thereon, and he shall sit “judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Two things of great importance are here to be considered. First, for whom is the throne or tabernacle of David here spoken of, to be prepared? What person is this, who, after the throne hath been prepared, shall sit upon it in truth, “judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness?” Secondly, How, and with what convenient or necessary things will this preparation be made?

With respect to the first, the interpreters suppose no other mystery to be here contained, save, the announcing of the reign of Hezekiah, one of the three kings of Judah, whom the scriptures canonizeth. (Ecciesiasticus xlix.) For Hezekiah then, and for his successors, they say, that the throne of David here spoken of by Isaiah, was prepared. That good king shall “ sit upon it in truth;” he shall seek or exercise towards his subjects, justice and judgment, hasting to righteousness. In order to know if this supposition be well founded or not, let it be asked, when was this preparation of the throne of David, here spoken of, made? Doubtless it ought to have been after that which is announced in the three preceding verses had been accomplished: after that the outcasts of God had been entertained in the land of Moab, and been there hidden from the face of the spoiler, after that the great dust which he had raised had passed away, and the days that he had trampled the earth had come to an end. For in this very order are all these things contained in this very short prophecy.

Things being thus arranged, we ask again, what spoiler is this, who in those times whereof they would have the prophecy to speak, trampled the earth, raised so much dust, oppressed and made many miserable, and whose ruin preceded the preparation of the throne of David? This devastation, they reply, (for there is no other resource in those very ancient times) was, partly Assyria, and partly also Chaldea. This with Nebuchadnezzar, that with Salmonezer, but more properly and literally with Sennacherib. Well: let us proceed separately. First, the Chaldeans with Nebuchadnezzar cannot be in point with respect to Hezekiah. Why? Because they laid waste Judah and likewise Moab, about a hundred years after the death of Hezekiah, and from that epoch till the present day, a period of twenty two centuries, the throne of David hath not been prepared for any one, but during all that time has been buried in the dust. There only remaineth Assyria with Salmonezer and Sennacherib, and of it we have the same thing in a measure to say, to wit, that upon the particular point which is in question, they can have no bearing.

It is certain that Salmonezer king of Nineveh, or of Assyria, trod under foot the whole kingdom of Israel or of Samaria. But when? Sacred history says that it happened in the sixth year of Hezekiah, (2 Kings xviii. 10.) Sennacherib the successor of Salmonezer, it is certain, trampled under foot likewise a great part of Judea, and put Jerusalem into a great conflict and consternation: but when? The same sacred history saith that this took place “the fourteenth year of Hezekiah,” (2 Kings xviii. 13) and it is well to observe here, that it does not appear by any document that this prince entered into the land of Moab, nor that the Moabites fled out of their land. That only which appears is that before arriving at Jerusalem, an angel commissioned by God destroyed all his army, slaying in one night one hundred fourscore and five thousand soldiers: upon which the prince returned hastily to his kingdom. All this being certain, how can we accommodate to king Hezekiah those words, “and in mercy shall the throne be prepared”? These words being connected with those which precede, as ought to be, evidently suppose, that when the person of whom he speaketh, and for whom the throne is to be prepared, is seated on the throne of David, the great dust of him who trampled the earth shall have already passed, and the days of his devastation come to an end. So that if this spoiler were Sennacherib, the throne was prepared after that Sennacherib fled to Nineveh, leaving his army destroyed and dead: that is, it was prepared in the fourteenth or fifteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah. Where fore it was prepared for Hezekiah fourteen years after he was seated on it.

Hezekiah neither being, nor by any possibility being able to be, the person who is spoken of in these words; “And in mercy shall the throne be established; and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David,” Isa. xvi. 5; it is necessary to search out another person, to whom this may be applicable, without doing violence to the text, or without falling into a true anachronism. Search for it, Sir, as you please, and, it appears to me, you will not find another in whom to rest, but the person of Messiah himself, the Son of David according to the flesh, “when those times and seasons shall arrive, which the Father hath put in his own power.” This is what on the ordinary system is so repugnant, and avoided by all means; but it is the very thing which seems inevitable, on the system of the scriptures. To king Hezekiah it is not at all competent, according to the sacred history, neither by the text, and still less by many other scriptures, perfectly conformed to that which we treat of. To Messiah the Son of David all is competent, both according to this and according to the other scriptures. From the beginning of this sixteenth chapter, Isaiah begins to speak (by the confession of all) not of Hezekiah, but of Messiah: “O Lord, send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth.” This Lamb destined to rule the earth, they all say is certainly Messiah; and to no one has it occurred to imagine that it might be Hezekiah, notwithstanding that this king was the descendent of Ruth the Moabitess, as are also the other kings of Judah. Whereupon, for Messiah, and not for Hezekiah, “shall the throne in mercy be established; and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Isa. xvi. 5.

The text harmonizeth perfectly with the thirty-second chapter of this same prophet Isaiah, which thus begins: “Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest” (expressions most appropriate, and admirable similitudes for indicating the true peace and felicity of the kingdom of Messiah). Accordingly, he continues; “As rivers of water in a dry place; as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim; and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.” Isa. xxxii. 1-5.

They say that this is likewise also spoken of Hezekiah, and announceth his happy reign: but with what reason? If the text be read a hundred times, and all its expressions be considered, hardly will any accommodation be found possible to king Hezekiah, nor indeed to any other of the kings of the world. To perceive this it is enough to read the last words of it: “The vile person shall no more be called liberal” [Vulg. He who is foolish shall no more be called prince]: for the immediate successor of Hezekiah was the most foolish and iniquitous of all princes. In sum, let the three following chapters be read with this view, and it will be seen that every thing proceeds in perfect order and harmony with relation to the kingdom of Messiah, which all the scriptures announce to us, without the idea of Hezekiah being once able to present itself however transiently to the mind.

Having observed, and, if it is allowed to speak so, having known the person for whom the throne of David is prepared in mercy, it remaineth to us now to observe how this preparation is to be made, and in what particulars it is to consist. Thereto it will be convenient to return and read with new attention, the five first verses of the sixteenth chapter of Isaiah, adverting to those three principal things which are already noted. First: the mysterious prayer with which this parenthesis or this particular prophecy beginneth: “O Lord, send the Lamb the ruler of the earth.” Secondly: The counsel which is here given to Moab: “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon-day; hide the outcasts, bewray not him that wandereth.” Isa. xvi. 3. Thirdly: that these same wanderers or outcasts, whom the Lord calleth his own, shall for some time dwell concealed in the land of Moab. “Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab: be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler.” Isa. xvi. 4. Then these capital things in the text of Isaiah being observed, we may without any hinderance take some paces in advance, drawing from them the two following propositions.

1st. In the time whereof we speak, when God’s outcasts are seen flying from the face of the spoiler, they shall be entertained in the land of Moab, God shall discover to them in that land (where certainly they are in a cave of mount Nebo) the ark of the sacred covenant, the tabernacle, and the altar, which Jeremiah concealed there by the command of God, after Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. That sacred deposit, I say, shall be discovered, for ends which God only knows, and for which there is no necessity that our curiosity should be satisfied. “As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord show them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was showed under Moses.” 2 Mac. ii. 7,8.

The place where, by God’s commandment, the holy ark, the tabernacle, and the altar were deposited, shall (says Jeremiah), in the ages to come, be a place unknown and wholly inaccessible, until God gather, according to his infallible promises, the congregation of his people; and the Lord shall manifest these hidden things, and likewise his ends and designs: “Then shall the Lord show them these things.” And then Mount Nebo, situated in the land of Moab, shall be as it were a new and admirable theatre, where all those prodigies shall be renewed, which heretofore were seen on Mount Sinai. “Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses.” 2 Mac. ii. 8.

To this famous prophecy St. John appears to allude, when, in the last verse of the eleventh chapter of the Apocalypse, a moment before beginning to speak of the mysteries of the woman clothed with the sun, he thus speaks: “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthqnake, and great hail.” Rev. xi. 19. Perhaps you may rest upon that word in heaven, as if it were already verified, or were to be verified, in heaven above; but this were not to know the character or peculiar property of the wonderful prophecy of the Apocalypse. Of no one of the other prophets is it said, that he went up to heaven in the Spirit, in order to see there what God wished to manifest. But St. John himself advertiseth us, from the beginning of the fourth chapter, from which point the prophecy properly begins, that all, or the greater part, of his visions, were made to him in heaven, whether he went in spirit, by a particular providence or privilege: “After this I looked, and, behold a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit,” &e. Rev. iv. 1,2.

Now tell me, Sir, with sincerity, hath this prophecy of Jeremiah, so clear in itself, been verified or not? Holy Scripture giveth clear and manifest testimony that it hath not been verified till this day, in so much, that the most learned authors honestly confess it, and say, though very cursorily, that it will be fulfilled towards the end of the world, when Elias and Enoch come, who shall discover that hidden treasure, in order to facilitate the conversion of the Jews. But with difficulty can it be conceived, that the discovery of the ark of the tabernacle, and the altar, should be any considerable means for converting the Jews to Christ, or for facilitating their conversion; if they be not supposed to be already converted and fully enlightened. Let us, however, content ourselves with that which is here conceded to us, to wit, that the prophecy of which we speak hath not yet been fulfilled. As little then hath been fulfilled the congregating of the people of Israel, and the propitiation of God towards that unhappy people; “until the time that God gather his people together, and receive them unto mercy.” Therefore the gathering together of his famous people (of whom it stands written, with respect to the first coming of Messiah, that they shall not be gathered, “Though Israel be not gathered,” Isa. xlix. 5.), the propitiation of God towards this people, and the manifestation of the sacred deposit, with all the circumstances which Jeremiah announceth, ought all to be fulfilled at some future time, otherwise the prophecy will prove false. If all is to be verified at some time, what better time, according to the scriptures, and according to just reasoning, than that of which we are speaking? In the time, I say, in which God’s outcasts, gathered in great mercy, come flying, not from Egypt only, but from the four quarters of the earth, and reach the land of Moab to be entertained there? When they dwell for some short time in that land; “let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab;” hidden “from the face of the spoiler,” or “from the face of the serpent,” as St John hath it. Doth not this appear very probable, and as it were indubitable?

2nd. In these outcasts of God who arrive at the land of Moab, seeking a “covert from the face of the spoiler,” or (which appears the same mystery) in the woman of the Apocalypse who flies to the wilderness, “unto the place prepared by God from the face of the serpent,” the tabernacle or throne of David will begin to be raised from the earth, and to be prepared in due form. It is not probable nor credible that this should come to pass in a moment, but that the preparation may well enough fill the “time and times and half a time,” of the Apocalypse, in which period will be verified in Moab or mount Nebo, the mysteries announced by Jeremiah; in the valley of Achor those hinted at by Hosea, second chapter, and in the other parts of the promised land, the things which the prophets announce.

In order to prove the second proposition, no more short or efficacious way occurs to me, than to refer to all which was observed in the foregoing Phenomenon; and if this be not enough, the defect may be abundantly supplied from those four aspects in which we considered the Jews throughout the whole of the Fifth Phenomenon, and afterwards in the Seventh. To all which we add here, as an abridgment of all that hath been said this simple reflection:

It is clear that the metaphorical woman of the Apocalypse, she that halteth of Zephaniah and Micah, manifestly made up of the outcasts of God gathered “in his great mercies,” flies to the wilderness, or is conducted by the omnipotent arm of their God, with great intentions and for more than ordinary ends, proportionate without doubt to the novelty and grandeur of the wonderful events which are to precede and accompany her flight: what ends or intentions can these be? No others, my dear sir, than we find express and clear in the scriptures of truth, that is to say, the same in substance, preserving the proportion, from which the same God did actually draw forth from Egypt, this same woman, composed and formed out of these same outcasts, and conducted them to the wilderness and solitude of mount Sinai, “according to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt will I shew unto him marvellous things.” (Mic. vii. 15.) And it shall be in that day thou shalt call me Ishi, i.e. my husband…And she shall sing there, (in the valley of Achor,) as in the days of her youth, and as in the days when she came out of the land of Egypt.” (Hos. ii. 15.) “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people…And shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isa. xi. 11.

In that first time, or in that first occasion God took this woman out of Egypt, and conducted her as upon eagles’ wings to the desert and solitude of mount Sinai, that there, far from all tumult, and disembarrassed of every other care, she might be able quietly to hear the Voice of her God; in order that there she might be fed with the nourishment of doctrine, and instructed in the new laws and ceremonies with which God desired to be served; in order to prepare in her a people worthy of God, “that thou mayest be a special people unto himself.”

(Deut. vii. 6.) And in fine in order to celebrate a solemn and most close alliance, which God himself denominates a formal marriage.

In this manner then preserving the proportion, and with the same ends and designs, God will the second time draw that same woman, composed of the same outcasts of his, not now from Egypt only, but from the four corners of the earth, and will conduct her with the same and greater prodigies to another desert which he shall have already prepared: “that they may feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days…from the face of the serpent,” in order to speak to her heart: “and I will bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortably unto her:” and in order to celebrate with her another and a true covenant, stable and permanent: “Yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies…I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” Not certainly, (continues he speaking by Jeremiah thirty-first and thirty-second chap.) not certainly according to that first covenant or alliance which he celebrated with your fathers, when he drew them from the servitude of Egypt: a covenant which they themselves made vain and useless by their frequent acts of unbelief, but according to another new and everlasting covenant, which I have prepared for the two houses of Israel and Judah, or for the twelve tribes of Jacob.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; (which my covenant they break, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord); but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, (which correspondeth perfectly to the expression of Hosea, Vulg. “I will speak to her heart,”) and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jer. xxxi. 31-34.

Perhaps it may be objected that St. Paul (Heb. x. 16.) quotes this very text of Jeremiah, as if in his time it had been fully verified. To which it is replied that St. Paul cites this text of Jeremiah only to prove to the Jews, that the old covenant cannot be eternal, but must have an end, as is most clear from all the context. This very thing he proves to them in the eighth chapter of the same Epistle, by these words, “In that he saith, a new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Ver. 13.) But this is not to say that the prophecy which he quotes was already fully verified, but only in that particular and determinate point for which he quotes it; that is to say, to prove that there was to be another covenant, new and everlasting, confirmed solemnly, and sealed irrevocably, with the blood of Messiah himself, as the old covenant had been confirmed and sealed for a time with the blood of beasts. Consequently that the first testament was to have an end in order to make room for the second. This is the whole which St. Paul intends when he quotes this prophecy of Jeremiah.

Let us now continue to read the whole of what remains of it: let us add for the purpose of acquiring greater light, the consideration of the whole chapter, and even of the preceding one, and we shall find things so great, so admirable, and so new, that we shall be obliged to confess that they have neither been accomplished, nor have been able to be accomplished. The very efforts which have been made, and the violence which they make use of in order to make them appear as accomplished, are the most clear proof that they have certainly not been accomplished till this day; therefore they shall be verified in their time with all fulness.

Therefore from this metaphorical woman, I say again, composed wholly of the outcasts of God gathered “in great mercies,” (who in their flight shall be hospitably entertained for some time in the land of Moab, for the ends hinted at above, and thence pass the valley of Achor,) shall that preparation of the throne of David, whereof Isaiah says “it shall be prepared in mercy,” begin to be made, and shall continue completing itself for a “time and times and half a time:” and after this throne hath been well prepared in the form above mentioned, “He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging; and seeking judgments and hasting righteousness.” Isa. xvi. 5.

The Recapitulation and Conclusion.

WHAT has just been observed in this last section, perfectly corresponds with what has been observed in the whole Phenomenon. It corresponds first with the text of Amos, and that of St. James, who quotes it. “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” Amos ix. 11.

It corresponds in the second place, with the text of Zephaniah and Micah. “In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted;…and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever…Unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah iv. 6-8.

It corresponds in the third place, to the text of Isaiah ix. 7. which certainly speaking of Messiah says, “upon the throne of David, and upon the kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever.” “And God will give to him the throne of his father David.” Luke i. 32.

It corresponds in the fourth place, to the 132nd Psalm, in which king David himself relateth the promise made to him by God, and confirmed by an oath, that Messiah his son should sit upon his throne. “The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David, he will not turn from it, Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” Psalm cxxxii. 11. “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ.” Acts ii. 30,31.

It corresponds in the fifth place, with the twenty-third chapter of Jeremiah, certainly worthy of the greatest attention and reflection. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, which brought up, and which led, the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” Jer. xxiii. 5-8.

It corresponds in the sixth place, with all the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, especially from verse twentieth to the end, where amongst other things we read these words: “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, and my servant David shall be their prince for ever…Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezek. xxxvii. 25-28.

After the like manner speaks the same prophet in the 23rd verse of the thirty-ninth chapter. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses, whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of the enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” Ezek. xxxix. 25-29.

The same thing had the Lord spoken in the thirty-fourth chapter of the same prophet, from the 22nd verse. “Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace,…shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beasts of the land devour them: but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.” Ezek. xxxiv. 22-28.

To all which, finally, agreeth the short and admirable prophecy of the third chapter of Hosea. “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his good ness in the latter days.” Hosea iii. 4,5.

Either all these things, and others innumerable which we omit, are dreams and fictions of the prophets of God, or we must look for their full and perfect accomplishment.

PHENOMENON X. MOUNT ZION ABOVE THE MOUNTAINS.

Text of Isaiah chap. ii.

“THE word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up

sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah ii. 1-4.

The same and almost in the same words, we do read in the fourth chapter of Micah. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah iv. 1-4.

The interpreters of scripture coming to touch these two prophecies, make very merry with the grossness of our Rabbis, for having understood these things in an extremely physical sense, and saying that on the coming of Messiah, Mount Zion would physically increase in size, and become elevated above all the other mountains or hills that stand around Jerusalem. Let us for the present pass over the degree of silliness which this opinion amounts to, which yet contains nothing contrary to the scriptures, or to the power of God, and see what the interpreters say to us.

The common understanding of these Prophecies.

§ 1. OPEN, my dear Sir, any exposition whatever; I say, any whatever, because all setting out from one and the same principle, and proceeding upon one and the same supposition, it is absolutely necessary that they should all speak in substance the same thing, though they may vary somewhat in the circumstances. After having read the explanation which they give to the above prophecies, take the least trouble to confront it with the text and with the whole context, and you will find, it appears to me, two things as diverse and widely distant from each other as the east is from the west.

They declare, first, or they suppose, that in both prophecies, the present church only is spoken of: this is the house of the Lord, and likewise the mountain of the Lord’s house, by reason of its being raised, as a mountain is upon the surface of the earth. Of this mountain of the house of the Lord, both prophets declare, “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills;” Micah iv. 1. What mean these very singular expressions? They mean nothing else than that the Christian church is founded upon mountains and hills, as upon most firm and solid foundations; and what arc these? They are the patriarchs, the prophets, the apostles, and likewise the precepts, counsels, and maxims of the gospel, “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Eph. ii. 20.) All this doubtless, is a truth, but a truth which is nothing to the point in hand.

To this church then, they set themselves to accommodate, and go on accommodating as much as they can the words and expressions of the two prophecies. I say, as much as they can, for there are some few of them which without any remarkable resistance, allow themselves to be accommodated pretty well: others are constrained by actual violence and coercion; and the most part will at no rate admit of it.

In order to give their accommodations a certain kind of brilliancy, they lay great stress upon that new and admirable expression, of the Gentiles and peoples flowing toward the height of Mount Zion, “and people shall flow unto it. And all nations shall flow unto it;” they say, against the natural property of fluids which is to descend, not to ascend, and to run lightly from the height towards the valley, not the contrary. By which similitude, it is announced that the Gentiles and the people of all the world shall come to the church of Christ, not of descending but ascending, not following the inclinations of nature, but struggling against it, and by divine grace overcoming all its opposition and resistance. I say again, all this is a truth clearer than light: but is the flowing upwards any such miracle as that it should not be seen in a thousand ways, and continually practised by nature herself? Who is ignorant, for example, that our blood flows naturally not only from the head to the feet, but likewise from the feet to the head? Who is ignorant that the juices of the loftiest cedar of Lebanon flow naturally from the root to the branches? Who is ignorant that the dew, or even the most abundant rivers, cannot flow from the heights to the valleys, unless they have first flowed from the valley to the heights? So that the similitude of the nations flowing up to the mountain, is not so new a miracle as to merit a special regard. The word flow, which hath given occasion to these remarks, is found in the LXX without any mystery, it being simply shall come, (venient) and Pagnini and Vatalbo read flow together, (confluent) which conveys nothing more than a great conflux of all nations to the mountain of the Lord’s house, which is announced in the eighty-sixth Psalm. “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” Ps. lxxxvi. 9.

But the facility wherewith they accommodate to the present church the first verses, lasts so short a while, that when they come to verse 4th, they already find themselves in an impassable slough.

§ 2. BOTH prophets say, that in those times whereof they speak, when Sion is prepared and elevated above the mountains, then shall happen among many other things, one very singular, and certainly unheard of to this day; to wit, that all the nations and peoples of the earth, being judged and corrected of the Lord, shall enjoy thenceforward a perfect peace; that they shall cast away, as useless lumber, all the arms with which they had till then hurt each other, turning them all into instruments of agriculture; that one nation shall no longer lift up the sword against another nation, nor learn, nor have any one to teach the art of war; that all and every one shall live quiet and secure, without fear of an enemy “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig-tree: and none shall make them afraid,” for the Lord hath spoken and ordained it so: “for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Mic. iv.

4.

The interpreters being come to this bad pass, confess the difficulty of getting over it well; and in truth it is so, because the present church, to which they had begun to accommodate the prophecies, already reckoneth eighteen centuries, and more, and till now there hath not been the least vestige of what is here announced: and the triumphant church, or heaven, which is the ordinary refuge in great urgencies, can help us nothing in the present, seeing that there is then no necessity for labouring the fields, much less of carrying thither the instruments of agriculture.

The reply to this difficulty is not one, but many: I find at the least five, and all appear to me to leave the difficulty still standing. The first granteth to us, that when Jesus Christ was born, which was the thirty-ninth or fortieth year of the reign of Octavianus Augustus, the whole world was at peace; and this peace was announced from thenceforth to all men with good will. But what connexion can this have with the prophecies of which we speak? Let these be compared with that peace of Octavianus, which was only of a few days standing (in which the people of Herod were not prevented from lifting the sword against the innocents of Bethlehem from two years and under), and judge if it will accord there with. The second reply endeavours to persuade us, that since the coming of Christ and the foundation of the Christian church, there hath not been amongst men such great, or obstinate, or bloody wars, as before that blessed epoch. But allowing this to be certain (which it is not), how do they harmonize it with the text, which says there should be no war at all? The third reply calls us to remark, that in those prophecies it is not said, there should not or could not possibly be between Christian princes just wars, or the legitimate use of arms. This was, they add, an error of Calvin and other heretics, who pretended that the use of arms was not permitted to Christians. The prophecies speak than only against unjust and tyrannical wars, because these, not the former, were prohibited by the laws and maxims of the gospel; and it might be added, they were prohibited to all men without distinction, by the laws and maxims of nature, upon the principle that theft and homicide were prohibited. It is evident that this reply flees far away from the difficulty, instead of grappling with it; for the prophecies in question prescribe nothing, command nothing, neither to heretics, nor to the rest of men, but simply announce what shall happen on this our earth in other times which have not yet arrived.

The fourth reply says, that the proper sense of the prophecies is, that true Christians and faithful sons of the church, shall not use, nor be able to use arms lawfully, without having first endeavoured, in a friendly and pacific manner, to bring about some honest and reasonable adjustment, which has been seen, and is frequently seen, not only among individuals, but likewise among Christian princes and lords. And hath this very thing never been seen, or is it not frequently seen, or is it not possible that it should be seen, out of the church? Do not even the Gentiles the same?

The fifth reply, wholly mystical, says that the true sense of these prophecies is, that the children of the church, that is, the perfectly just and holy, entirely subject to the maxims of the gospel, and full of the Spirit of Christ, shall taste an inward and true peace, not the peace of the world, but of Christ; and this even in the midst of the perturbations and persecutions of the wicked, even in the midst of the griefs, labours, and troubles of the present life; for, as it is said in the 119th Psalm, “Great peace have they that love thy law.”

To this, in substance, doth all which we find in the doctors, as the reply and resolution of this most grave difficulty, reduce itself. If now we confront all this with the text of the prophecies, we shall have occasion for no farther labour, in order to rest fully convinced of the impropriety of the accommodation; and consequently, shall grow more and more persuaded, that the prophecies speak of other times, and announce other mysteries infinitely different, which have not yet been accomplished. What I admire is, that the explanation which they give to these prophecies being so violent, they should yet affirm that it is a true sense, and that this interpretation is of divine faith, as being agreeable to the unanimous consent of the holy fathers.

This unanimous consent of the doctors and holy fathers, which we hear so often repeated, even in things which pertain not to the points of faith nor even of morality, doth frequently present itself before us, as a most lofty and inaccessible wall, which must stop our passage and force us to turn hack. But if by curiosity we come up so close as to touch it, we find it nothing but the deception of a perspective picture: partly because not the whole, nor many, nor the greater part of the fathers touch the particular point treated of; partly that they touch it, not on purpose, in the view of searching out and teaching its true meaning, but only of drawing out some morality or some word of edification; sometimes also for that no one of the said fathers takes it upon him to assert that this moral and mystical or purely accommodative sense, in which he speaks, is the true sense. All this is clearly seen in their understanding of the two prophecies now under observation; and we may say nearly the same of the innumerable others which have been already observed.

First; it is false, that all the fathers (limiting ourselves even to those who have touched this point) agree unanimously in the understanding and application of the prophecies in question to the present church. Pope St. Gregory is a holy father, and he says expressly, that the mountain upon the mountains here spoken of is the Virgin Mary. (Com. in 1 Kings i.) St. Jerome, St. Basil, and Rupertus say, that the mountain upon the mountains is Christ himself. St. Bernard says, that it is heaven, where all is in perfect peace. So that we have, at the least, four or five fathers who, touching these prophecies, do not unanimously agree in their understanding of them. How many more would we find if it were possible to read them all in detail?

In the second and chief place; because the fathers who touch these two prophecies, touch them only in passing, and as it were incidentally; and accordingly touch them only in that accommodative sense which suits their actual purpose, which is commonly no other than the edification and spiritual profit of believers; neither more nor less than at this day is done by our most zealous preachers.

Another understanding of these two Prophecies is proposed.

§ 3. IN the first place I sincerely agree with all the doctors, both Christian and Jewish, that the times of Messiah are manifestly the times spoken of in these prophecies. “It shall come to pass in the last days:” it shall come to pass in the last of the days; that is, in the time of Messiah, in the time of Christ: but this that is, if it be not more developed, is very equivocal. The time of Messiah, the time of Christ, (according to all ancient and modern writers, and according to the fundamental principles of Christianity,) is not one only, but two times, infinitely distant from each other. —One, which is already past, and continues even till now its truly great and admirable effects; another, which hath not yet arrived, but of which it is faithfully believed and hoped that it will arrive: which second time would appear to be still more grand and admirable from the scriptures, which are thereto manifestly directed and therein terminate. This is the time so much spoken of in the prophets, when they say, in that day, in that time, in the last days, in the last of the days, in the other world (age), in the world to come. This is the time of which St. Peter and St. Paul speak so much in their epistles, saying frequently, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the day of the Lord’s coming, in the day when he shall appear, in the day of his manifestation and of his kingdom. And this is the same time of which Messiah himself speaketh so much in parables and without parables, as may be seen in the gospels.

The first time of Messiah of which the prophets speak is certainly verified already; and the world has enjoyed, doth enjoy, and may to its full satisfaction enjoy, its admirable effects: and yet the prophecies have not been fully verified; for they embrace not only the first time of Messiah, but likewise and still more the second, which is yet waited for. This is so evident and clear, that, according to the different principles or systems, there have been derived two different conclusions; and though the one be more wicked than the other, they are both of them not the less on that account illegitimate and false.

First; ‘Therefore Messiah is not come, because the prophecies have not been accomplished.’

Second; ‘Therefore the prophecies cannot be understood as they speak, but in another better sense —the allegorical and spiritual; in which sense they have been verified, and are now verified in the present church.’

If it were necessary to take a side for either of these two conclusions, and there were no hope of finding out a third more legitimate conformed to the scriptures, I would subscribe at once to the second, and bring my understanding into captivity to the obedience of faith. But is it very difficult to discover that third conclusion? Doth it not of its own accord offer itself to any understanding that is free from preoccupation or from formal and declared pledges? From all the scriptures we know with certainty that the time of Messiah embraces two different epochs: therefore… (here is the third conclusion.)

‘Therefore the prophecies of which we speak and many others similar to them, which have not been verified, nor could possibly have been verified in the first time of Messiah, may very well be verified in the second, which time is not less of divine faith than the first.’

A bad conclusion: say obstinately the Jewish doctors. Why?

Because it proceeds upon a false supposition; that is, upon two different times of Messiah: whereas there is not, neither can be any other, than that in glory and majesty which is announced by the prophets. Oh how great blindness! And do not the prophets announce with the same clearness that other time which ought to precede this? Do not they speak of Messiah as a master and example of all justice? as a merciful, peaceful, and humble man? as a man unjustly persecuted, full of opprobrium and of injuries, and most patient in the midst of great tribulations? (Psalm xxii and lxix.) Do they not speak of him and consider him as a gentle and innocent lamb? “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah liii. 7. Do they not consider him as stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted? Do they not represent him as wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and reckoned with the wicked? (Isaiah liii.) Do they not speak of the wounds of his hands and feet, of his nakedness on the cross, of his dishonour, confusion, and grief? (Psalm xxii.) Do they not speak, finally, of his death, of his resurrection, of his ascension to the heaven of his rest and glory at the right-hand of God until his other appointed time? (Psalm xvi. and cx.) Oh blind, slow, and unhappy Jews! You have no occasion, my brethren, to seek elsewhere for the cause and origin of your pains: there are you, and there are your doctors in all the fault, in having persisted obstinately in an idea so foreign and so contrary to all the scriptures; which is, that the time of Messiah was to be one only, and that in glory and majesty. “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” Luke xxiv. 25. I say to you, in the words of your Messiah, “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Luke xxiv. 26. You have not then any reason for rejecting my conclusion, nor the supposition whereon it proceedeth, since it is found quite conformable to all things which the prophets did speak.

A bad conclusion. I hear on the other hand from the christian doctors. But why? Because this second time of Messiah, which is religiously believed in and hoped for, is not, neither can be, proper for the fulfilling of that which these and other such prophecies announce to us. And why is it not? Because that second time of Messiah shall not be seen until the end of the world, when the whole human race, and all the individuals thereof, without one exception, shall be not only dead, but risen again, and congregated into the valley of Jehoshaphet for universal judgment; because this second time of Messiah shall be only for the destruction of all, and the ending of all: to cast the wicked into hell, and to carry the righteous into heaven.

But whence was this idea taken? From the Holy Scriptures? Certainly not; for they do repugn and contradict it at every step, as we have observed thus far, and shall yet have to observe. Peradventure from some true tradition? Likewise false: partly because such a thing cannot be contrary to the scriptures; partly because its origin is very modern; for it is granted that in the fifth century of the church, as St. Jerome testifies, the opposite idea, was the common one among the Catholic and pious doctors, “but even of our brethren a very great multitude adhere to them (the millenarians) in this point only:” and in another place, “many churchmen and martyrs have so declared themselves.” So that there is not any reason for rejecting our conclusion, which appears perfectly harmonious with the whole Scriptures, old and new, and with the fundamental principles of Christianity. Therefore we may well hope, without any fear, that the prophecies we speak of, with innumerable others of the like kind, shall be fully verified according to the letter, in the second time of Messiah, because in the first they could not have a place.

Now this second time being arrived, which we all religiously believe in and wait for, there shall happen among other things the elevation of mount Zion above all the mountains and hills, an expression manifestly figurative, yet most admirably fitted to explain the dignity, honour, and glory, to which the city of David shall then be lifted up; after that the throne or tabernacle of David, which is fallen down, shall have been set up and re-established therein, “as in the days of old;” and after that the first power and kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem shall have returned, “unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion, the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem;” “and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion;” then shall be verified fully to the letter the two prophecies in question, and innumerable others which announce the same thing in different words: in which time consequently shall the nations and peoples flow towards the top of mount Zion.

What nations and what peoples? Those, doubtless, who shall be left alive after the coming of the Lord, as it appears most certain there shall be such, both from so many clear and express scriptures, and from the article of faith which teaches us, “that Jesus Christ is to come to judge the quick and the dead;” which shall happen, says St. Paul, at his coming and his kingdom, “who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.” (Vulg. by his coming and his kingdom. Arias Montanus, according to his appearance and his kingdom. Erasmus in his appearing and his kingdom.]: (1 Tim. iv. 1.) How is he to judge the quick if there be none? What nations and what peoples? Those nations and those peoples, doubtless, who shall remain alive after the entire ruin of Antichrist, or of the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns; for it is certain that such shall remain as we have observed in the foregoing Phenomena.

What nations and what peoples? Those, doubtless, which shall remain alive after the stone hath descended from the mountain upon the statue, and this being destroyed, another kingdom, extending over all beneath the heavens, hath been founded upon its ruins, incorruptible and eternal; “but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever…And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. ii. 34, 35.

What nations and what peoples? Those, doubtless, who shall remain alive after the fourth beast hath been cast unto the flames, the relics and residue of those three first beasts from whom only the power and not the life was taken away. The rest of these then, which were not united to the fourth beast, and those who had no relation with the beasts, those, to wit, who compose true Christianity: all those relics of nations and of peoples, which shall be very small, according to the twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, are the peoples “who shall lift up their voice, who shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.”

Of these relics of the nations and peoples who shall remain alive “when the Lord shall come and all his saints with him,” it is thus spoken in Zechariah, at the 16th verse of the last chapter; “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalenm, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts;” because in that day, he says, a little before, the Lord himself shall be king over all the earth; “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Ver. 9.

Then in that day, (we say in conclusion,) in that second time of Messiah, shall be verified fully and perfectly, without wanting one iota or tittle, all the prophecies of which we have been speaking, and all the rest which were not verified in the former time. Then when that day is arrived, the Lord shall argue with, shall correct, shall most severely chastise the nations and the Peoples according to their deservings. “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off.” (Micah iv. 3.) And in consequence of this judgment, this correction, this chastisement, those who shall remain alive, and their posterity for many ages, shall cast away from them, by order of their sovereign all their arms, as an intolerable burden, and being wholly useless under the pacific Solomon, they shall convert them all into instruments of agriculture, and shall think no longer of any thing else than how to employ their time well, in innocency, in justice, and in piety. “But they shall sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” (Micah. iv. 4.) This appeareth to be the only understanding which can be given to these prophecies, “according to the scriptures.”

The Context of those Prophecies.

§ 4. IN order to make still more sure of the knowledge of the times of which these prophecies speak, let us follow first the context of Isaiah, and thereafter, the context of Micah.

Isaiah having given to the end of the fourth verse a most brief and admirable compendium of the felicity of those times, invites first the whole house of Jacob, saying to them, “O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Isa. ii. 5. Then turning to God, and speaking to him till the 10th verse, he doth relate the just reasons which he had for to cast away his ancient people, and disowning and forgetting them for so many ages. “Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people, the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east:” (to wit, with superstition and iniquity, as Pagnino reads:) “therefore forgive them not.” Ver. 6. After this very important parenthesis, he directs once more his word to the house of Jacob, saying to them in the name of the Lord, what follows to the end of the chapter. “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.” Ver. 10. This same counsel is given to them, this same thing is announced as about to happen at some future time, in the twenty-sixth chapter of the same prophet, verse 20-21. “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”

This counsel being given, he passeth instantly to represent with the greatest vividness what shall come to pass upon our earth at the coming of the Lord; to wit, the destruction of empires, kingdoms, and powers, the entire ruin of all impiety, the humiliation of the proud, the fear and trembling in which the most lofty and self-sufficient men shall stand in that day. In sum, the straits and tribulation of all peoples, tribes, and languages, which will precede the quietness and peace of the earth. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. And upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up…and upon all the hills that are lifted up; and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall; and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.” Isa. ii. 11-16.

These metaphorical expressions, so lively and magnificent, whereof the prophet maketh use, saying expressly that they are things reserved for that day, when “the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth,” are all to no purpose applied to the destruction of Jerusalem and Judea by Nebuchadnezzar, because the text doth not embrace one particular event only, but the whole earth. “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty…and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up…and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up…and upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall…and upon all the ships of Tarshish.” Isa. ii. 12-16.

These last words, although no other were taken into consideration, are enough to make known that it is not Nebuchadnezzar who is here spoken of; nor against Jerusalem and Judæa that it is spoken. What ships of Tarshish, or of the Western Sea, had the Jews in those times? This same expression, and the substance of the others, is found in the forty-eighth Psalm, which manifestly speaks of the day of the Lord. “For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.” Psalm xlviii. 4-7.

They say, that it is not properly the ships of the Jews, but of the Tyrians and Egyptians, which are here spoken of; for these nations desired and sought to succour Jerusalem against the might of the Chaldeans. But, putting the case that the Tyrians and Egyptians had a good will to succour Jerusalem, how could they succour her with their ships? Peradventure Jerusalem was in those days some sea-port town?

They say, likewise, that the prophecy does not speak only against Jerusalem and the Jews, but likewise against Tyre; which being in those days the queen of the sea, and covering the whole Mediterranean with her ships, could not yet defend herself against the might of the king of Babylon. Good: But to what purpose are the ships of Tarshish brought into consideration (though they had all been those of Tyre only) in Nebuchadnezzar’s expedition against Jerusalem? Who is ignorant that, though the time of this prince was terrible and most fatal to Tyre, it was not so to her ships? For as the ships of Tyre did nothing and could do nothing against the army of Nebuchadnezzar, which operated on the land; so that army did nothing and could do nothing against the ships of Tyre; which plucked out of his hands all the fruit he could have hoped to derive from his labour, by saving all the riches and immense treasures of the queen of the sea.

St. Jerome upon the twenty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel, citing the ancient histories of the Assyrians, says that the Tyrians perceiving themselves without any hope of resisting the Chaldeans, embarked on board their ships, and embarked along with them all their riches, with all that made Tyre to be worthy of estimation, and withdrew some to Carthage, a colony of the Tyrians, others to Ionea or Greece, others to different parts of Europe or Africa, leaving to the king of Babylon nothing but the destruction of the city, The truth of this notice, without recurring to the ancient history of the Assyrians, is to be discovered most clearly from the twenty-ninth chapter of Ezekiel himself; “Son of man, (says the Lord to this prophet) Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus; every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it: therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.” So that the army of Nebuchadnezzar having laboured so much in this conquest of Tyre, having served God with a great service in beating down the pride of the queen of the sea, and the same God wishing to reward this prince and his army for the great service which they had done, found it necessary to lay his hand upon another exchequer, or upon another branch of his exchequer, which was Egypt; because of Tyre they had derived no profit: “Yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus.” Why had they not derived any advantage from a city so rich as Tyrus, if it were not that her ships had delivered her inhabitants with all their riches. Therefore those words of the prophet so expressive and so vivid, “because the day of the Lord shall be upon the ships of Tarshish,” do not come in point, nor can in any way be accommodated to the times of Nebuchadnezzar, neither to his expedition against the Jews, nor to his expedition against the Tyrians. How much less to those times can all the other expressions of the prophecy be accommodated? Consider it attentively from verse 17th. “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish.” Isa. ii. 17,18. Was this all verified in the time of Nebuchadnezzar? In the time of that prince was the Lord alone exalted, magnified, and glorified? Did the idols entirely disappear?

The interpreters are divided upon this point, having two opinions, or ways of thinking. Some say that in this place not the idols of all the earth, but of the Jews only, are spoken of. These idols, they add, were wholly brought to an end, so far as the Jews are concerned, for from the captivity of Babylon, they left off being idolaters. But by what reason do they limit to the idols of the Jews, those words so absolute and universal, “and the idols he shall utterly abolish?” By what reason do they assert that from this time forward all the Jews ceased to be idolaters? Scripture itself informs us of quite the contrary. Very many were idolaters in their captivity, and almost all in Jerusalem and Judæa in the time of Antiochus were so. Others allow that it is spoken generally of the idols of the whole earth, which, although in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar they were not fully and completely exterminated, at least began to be exterminated, till in the time of Theodosius the fulfilment of the prophecy was perfected. “And the idols he shall utterly abolish.” Isa. ii. 18.

In this method of accommodating, these two capital defects, amongst others, appear of very easy observation. First, the prophet assuredly speaks of a day, a time or famous epoch, in which all the things announced by him should come to pass. Among which one is the full and complete extermination of idolatry; “And the idols he shall utterly abolish.” Now this day, or time, or epoch, the doctors will have to be the day or time of Nebuchadnezzar; but because in that day the extermination of idols did not come to pass, it becomes necessary to enlarge this day of Nebuchadnezzar to much about one thousand years, which intervened till the time of Theodosius. Whereby this is gained, that the prophecy began to be accomplished in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and concluded a thousand years after in the time of Theodosius! What so much?

The second defect: even after doing this great miracle of delaying that day about a thousand years, what thing can be concluded against this enemy, —“And the idols he shall utterly abolish?” Isa. ii. 18. Did the edicts of Theodosius wholly exterminate idols over all the earth? They exterminated them they say over the Roman empire? But though this were true, which it is not, were there no more idols in all the world than those of the Roman empire? Were not all the inhabitants of those very vast countries of Asia, from the Euphrates to China, idolaters, and are they not so until this day? Those of the interior of Africa, to the Cape of Good Hope? Those of America and all the islands of the ocean? And even in Europe itself, were not almost all the northern regions from the Rhine and the Alps, to the frozen ocean, idolaters for three or four centuries after Theodosius? So that these words “And the idols he shall utterly abolish,” Isa. ii. 18. were not verified in the day of Nebuchadnezzar, nor in the day of Theodosius, nor as little in the day which has run since Theodosius to the present time. Therefore the day shall arrive when they shall be verified, which shall doubtless be the day in which all the words that precede it shall likewise be fulfilled. “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low; and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. Isa. ii. 17. Another reflection moreover may be made as short as it is instructing. Those doctors themselves, from the beginning of this prophecy assure us, as an indisputable truth and an article of faith, that it is the time of Christ and the present church, which is spoken of. Well then, if it be so certain and indubitable, why do they not explain the whole of this prophecy consecutively of the particular time of Christ? Why do they so soon quit this time and the preaching of the gospel? Why from verse 6 do they retrograde some 600 years, and so suddenly return to the day of Nebuchadnezzar? why do they give so prodigious a leap from Nebuchadnezzar to Theodosius?

After having made these and other reflections, turn again Sir, and read with more attention all this particular prophecy contained in the second chapter of Isaiah. If in thus reading, you cast your eyes exclusively on the time of Messiah; I dare to say, that without any further diligence, you shall at once understand the whole of it, from the first to the last word; and that plainly, and consecutively, without finding a stumbling block or embarrassment to oblige you to recede, either much or little, to other days or times now gone by. In the same manner you will understand the application of the last verse of this particular prophecy, which has appeared so obscure.

§ 5. IN truth, after this prophet has represented to us with the greatest vividness the horrible tribulation of that day; the humiliation of the proud, the exaltation of the Lord alone, and the total extermination of idols, concludes the whole mystery with these words, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Isa. ii. 22. What meaneth this? To whom are these words addressed? What man is this which is to rest in that day?

Two ways of thinking are found upon this point in the interpreters. The first says that these words are directed to the Jews, in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, who is the man “whose breath is in his nostrils.” According to this interpretation the words have this sense, “Cease then from man.” Cease, O Jews, from resisting a man so great as Nebuchadnezzar, because he is a warlike prince full of fire, the scourge of God, and who is regarded by himself, and regarded of all as an exalted man, superior to all men; “for wherein is he to be accounted of?” [Vulg. “because he himself is accounted of as an exalted one,” quia excelsus reputatus est ipse.]

The second way of thinking pretends that the words are directed to the Jews, not for the time of Nebuchadnezzar, but for the time of Messiah, who is the man “whose breath is in his nostrils.” Upon this idea the words have this sense, “Cease then from man: “that is, leave off, O perfidious Jews, to resist your Messiah; leave off to persecute, to injure, to calumniate him; for although he is a meek and pacific man, he is likewise a man superior to all men, “whose breath is in his nostrils.” He is a man of God, whose omnipotence can in any moment annihilate you. We have already observed, that all the words of this prophecy which precede are not to be accommodated to Nebuchadnezzar, and the former time of Messiah, for either of these two interpretations resist the context of the prophecy.

The great day of the Lord which we all hope for, being, therefore spoken of here, we have only to search for some singular person, of whom those last words are spoken: “Cease then from man.” This man is nothing else than he in whose hands hath been, and shall be till that time, all the power that hath emanated from God, all command, all empire, all judgment. This man or these men, are evidently the same who in this prophecy of Isaiah are figured by the cedars of Lebanon, by the lofty oaks of Bashan, by the mountains and hills, by the elevated towers &c. saying that the day of the Lord shall be directly and immediately upon them.

This man then, being humbled, bent, broken, with the terrible blow of the stone, and as St. Paul saith, all principality, power, and rule being evacuated, the last words of the prophecy of Isaiah are directed not only to the Jews in particular, but in general to all the earth, and all the remnant of the human lineage, which shall not have been destroyed by the edge of the sword of the king of kings. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?” Isaiah ii. 22. Rest, now, oh poor Jews, and rest likewise all the residue of men; rest from the power and domination of men whose breath, whose force, whose greatness consisteth all in a little air which he breathes by his nostrils, and yet he thinks of himself as if he were lifted up, or of another class superior to the rest of men, puffing himself up with his power received from God, as if it were his own, “because being lifted up, he himself hath been accounted of.”

§ 6. HAVING attentively observed all the context of Isaiah, we pass on shortly to observe that of Micah, who, after having announced in the first five verses, the general mystery announced by Isaiah, and almost in the same words, applies the mystery in another way, regarding in it only that which pertains to the future estate of his people. I say future, not only in respect of the times of the prophet, but likewise in respect of our times, because the things which he straightway announceth, have certainly not been verified up to this day. “In that day (he continues), saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion, from henceforth even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come.” Mic. iv. 6-8. This same halting one appeareth in very rich attire, in the third chapter of Zephaniah at the 19th verse; “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee; and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.” Zeph. iii. 19, 20.

Two things we have hereto know, in order that the mystery may be altogether disclosed. First, who is she that halteth, “whom the Lord had cast out and whom he had afflicted.” Secondly, what day or what time is here spoken of. Both of these things the interpreters resolve with the utmost brevity, saying, that she that halteth is no other than the house of Judah, which Nebuchadnezzar carried captive into Babylon, and which after seventy years the Lord gathered back to Jerusalem and Judæa, by the license and good pleasure of king Cyrus. If there were no other clauses than this, “I will assemble her that halteth in that day,” it is clear that it might apply to the days of Cyrus. But how will the others accommodate to these times? For example; when this remnant returned out of Babylon, did God reign over them in mount Zion from thenceforth and for ever? Because this is what Micah immediately adds, “and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” Mic. iv. 7 In that time did the first power and kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem return to the remnant? For the prophet announceth this immediately after: In that day or time of Cyrus did God make this remnant which returned to Babylon “a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth?” For this God promiseth by Zephaniah, in the 19th, and 20th verses; and a little above, in the 15th verse, he had said to the same halting one, “The king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shall not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing Zeph iii. 15-17. Things these as different and foreign from those which happened in the return from Babylon, as are all which have happened up to this present hour!

Furthermore, the interpreters say of this prophecy of Micah the same which they say of that of Isaiah, that both of them begin by speaking of the time of Messiah and the Christian church. But we have already seen how impossible it is for them, in respect to that of Isaiah, to support and accommodate the application to the first time of Messiah; and there is no doubt that the same difficulty will be found in respect to this of Micah, which contains the same mystery in the same words; so that they ought to be contented, and not to take it amiss, that the whole should be explained from the beginning to the end of the second time of Messiah, without departing from it, because to this last time it is directed.

The whole of this Point is confirmed by the Forty-sixth Psalm.

§ 7. THE understanding of this Psalm is most easy, if what is said therein be combined with what we have just observed in the two prophecies of Isaiah and Micah. All proceeds naturally towards one mystery and one time. Although for my purpose the observation of two or three of the verses were sufficient, yet it appears to me convenient to take observation of the whole, both being in itself very short and interesting, and when rightly understood introducing us to the meaning of many other Psalms and of very many other prophecies.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm xlvi. 1,2. Who speaketh in this prophecy? Of what or for what time is it spoken therein? The Christian doctors (according to their system and formal pledge to accommodate it all to the present church) say that the church speaketh herein the time when, having passed the three hundred years of persecution, she remained victorious over all her enemies, in the enjoyment of universal peace, by the conversion and under the protection of the great Constantine.

This understanding would be pretty good, at least in that sense which is called accommodation, if the whole Psalm were to conclude at verse 6th. The great sorrow is, that what follows, to the end, openly refuseth this accommodation, and opposeth it; on which account the interpreters, even the most copious of them, hardly touch this latter part of the Psalm, as if there were nothing in it worthy of their consideration. Some others try to explain it very briefly, and pretend to have sufficiently explained it by simply insinuating that from Constantine to the present era, every thing has been fulfilled which the prophets declare concerning the peace and felicity of the kingdom of Messiah; but in reality they conclude nothing: wherefore they will permit us to assert, that she who speaketh in this Psalm, and the two following ones, is the same halting one, not in some indeterminate state or time, but precisely in the time and state of her future vocation, of her gathering, of her being received again, and of her fullness.

This halting one, this poor infirm one, abandoned of heaven and of earth, all covered with horrible wounds, shall most certainly one day be perfectly cured. It is true, that, by Jeremiah (xxx. 12.) the Lord says that her bruise is incur able, and her wound grievous. But it is also true, that it is so said, in order to make known unto her the severity of her malady, because immediately he consoleth her, in the 17th verse, with the promise of perfect health: “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.” Jer.

xxx. 17.

This poor one then, now restored to her health, is she who begins to speak, or on whose part the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, begins and continues to speak, throughout the forty-sixth and the two following Psalms.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm xlvi. 1,2.

The Lord is our refuge and our fortress: his omnipotent arm hath drawn us clear out of very many straits and tribulations, both new and old (Vulg. quæ invenerunt nos nimis), which have too much alighted upon us: we have now no reason to fear, though the whole earth be disturbed and discomposed, though the mountains be rooted up from their base and sunk in the deepest parts of the sea; a mode of speaking which denotes a true confidence and full security under the protection of the Omnipotent. He passeth therefore to speak prophetically and very concisely, that which shall happen upon the glorious coming of the Lord; or to speak more correctly, that which shall happen in the time of which the Spirit is speaking.

Verse 3. “Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

These expressions are confessedly metaphorical: by troubled and roaring waters being set forth: the agitation, the confused and fearful uproar of all the nations, peoples, and languages, “for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isa. ii. 21. And in like manner, by the subversion of the mountains being set forth the confusion and trembling of the most high and exalted men, who precede in dignity, and are elevated by place above the rest; the same which Isaiah clearly declareth in the prophecy which we have just observed, “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up.” Is. ii. 12

14. The same also is said of her that halteth, after her wounds are healed, and her scars closed up. “Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart.” Jer. xxx. 23,24. And, that neither the mystery nor the time for which it is spoken may be doubtful, it is immediately added that the lame one will understand these things only of the last days: “In the latter days ye shall consider it!”

Verse 4. “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most high.”

In order rightly to understand these words, which at first sight appear not to be to the point, I find no better interpreter than the Chaldee paraphrase, which as well with the Jews as with the Christians has been looked upon with great respect. In it the verse is explained thus: “Peoples like rivers and their rivulets shall come and make joyful the city of God, and shall pray towards the house of the sanctuary of the Lord in the tabernacle of the Most High.”

According to this view of it, the text accordeth with in numerable others of which the scriptures are full, and among the rest with this text of Isaiah, “And all nations shall flow unto it” (Mount Zion). With that of Micah, “And people shall flow unto it.” With that which is said to Jerusalem, throughout the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, from verse 4th, “They come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear and be enlarged,” Isa. lx. 4,5. It agrees in sum with the eighty-sixth Psalm: “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” Psalm lxxxvi. 9. If notwithstanding any one maintaineth that the river should signify some material waters properly so called, we have no desire to oppose that sense, because there is not any inconvenience in it. For which end the forty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel may be considered, where these living waters are found to flow in abundance in those times from beneath the threshold of the house, and to form that delicious stream planted on both sides with fruit trees: “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” Ezek. xlvii. 12. These same waters are found in the last chapter of Zechariah at the 8th verse: “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.” Zech. xiv. 8. All which St. John takes up, extends, explains, clears, and turns to his service, in the last chapter of his Apocalypse, as we shall observe in the proper time.

Verse 5. “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God shall help her, and that right early.”

God shall not henceforth remove himself; nor depart away from the midst of her. Of whom? Of Zion, from whom he is departed, and whom he hath separated from himself since she rejected her Messiah, and obstinately shut her eyes to the great light, and her ears to the words of his ambassadors. To the present church in the time of Constantine these words cannot be competent, because God had not departed nor removed himself away from the midst of her during the three preceding centuries, even during her greatest persecutions: but these had been as a cultivation to her, which caused her to yield excellent fruits, and in prodigious quantity. This promise of the Lord, of never departing from Zion, after he should recall and recollect her relics in the multitude of his mercies, is found repeated in a thousand ways and with the greatest clearness, in many other passages of the Holy Scriptures which we have so often observed. In Zephaniah, for example, speaking to this same halting one, and calling her by that name, these words are found spoken: “Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save.” Zeph. iii. 14-17.

The same in substance is announced in Ezekiel, after the dry and parched bones have revived, and the spirit of life hath entered into them. “And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt,…and my servant David shall be their prince for ever…Yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezek. xxxvii. 25. 27,28.

Now compare these two prophecies (though they were the only ones, and there were none besides like unto them) with the words of the Psalm now under observation, “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;” and it appears to me, that the same mystery at the same time will be found, without the possibility of doubting it.

Besides the promise which the Lord makes of not departing any more from Zion, after that he shall have gathered her and healed her of all her wounds, he immediately singles out the very time in which these things shall begin to be accomplished, saying, that it shall happen at the breaking or dawning of the day: “God shall help her in the dawning of the morning.” (Vulg. mane diluculo.)

What meaneth this? What day is it whose dawning is here spoken of? Is it haply some natural day of ten or twelve hours? Does it not start out at once to our eyes, and present itself of its own accord, that it is the same day which is so much spoken of in the prophets of God, the apostles, and even the evangelists? The day I mean of the Lord, in distinction from the day of men. To say that God helpeth his church, mane diluculo, that is opportunely, quickly, right early, are words which in reality explain nothing; because the Lord hath always and at all times helped his church, and will not cease to help her, “till the consummation of the age.”

Speaking then of the day of the Lord, David says, that much about the breaking of that day, or at the ending of the preceding day, that is, the “to-day” of which St. Paul speaketh, in the ninety-fifth Psalm: “But exhort one another daily while it is called To-day,” Heb. iii. 13; then shall God help this wretched one that halteth, giving her his hand to raise her up; “God shall help her in the dawning of the morning.” To this understanding we may say without exaggeration, “the words of the prophets agree,” and so much agree, that from hence the doctors have concluded as an indubitable truth that the Jews shall be converted in the end of the world, and in the eve of the termination of all things: and as if the day of the Lord, which was to dawn on his coming, could not be separated from the end of the world, or ought not to be separated from it. I say the end of the world, by which I understand the end of the sojourners, of generation and corruption; for I am not of opinion that the world, that is, the material bodies or celestial globes which God has created, (amongst which one is this earth of ours in which we dwell) is to have an end, or to return to the chaos or the nothing ness from which it came forth, of which I hope to speak expressly in due time.

We ought now to stay a little longer on the consideration of the word, mane, in the morning. This word is found not unfrequently in the prophets and the Psalms; and it is easy to perceive that it is made use of when speaking of the future vocation of Israel. For example, the twenty-sixth chapter of Isaiah is an admirable song, in substance very similar to the forty-sixth Psalm, which song, Isaiah himself says, shall be sung in that day in the land of Israel. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Isaiah, xxvi. 1. Among the things which the person that shall sing it prophetically declareth, this is one, that “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:” (mane, in the morning.) Isa. xxvi.

9. My soul, he says to his Messiah, has always desired thee in the night. In what night? Doubtless in the present night; for in respect of her there is night upon the whole of this subject. Nevertheless, in the midst of this night, she desires and sighs for him incessantly. But when this night is about to end, then (she says in spirit) she will no longer sleep, but arise most promptly, and fervently, and shall be awake by the dawn; “yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:” Isa. xxvi. 9. The same thing, and with more particular circumstances, is said by Micah vii. 7. which is very worthy of profound consideration.

By Hosea, in the sixth chapter, the Lord declareth, when speaking of the future conversion of Israel, as appears clear from all the context, “In their affliction they will seek me early.” (mane, in the morning.) “Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us.”

In the fifth Psalm it is said, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” In the fifty-ninth it is said, “ "I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning.” In the ninetieth Psalm (according to the Vulgate) “We are satisfied with thy mercy in the morning…We have been made glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.” In other parts, “My prayer shall prevent thee in the morning.” “Cause me to hear thy mercy in the morning.” Which all agrees with the forty-sixth Psalm now under observation. “God shalt help her in the dawning of the morning.”

Verse 6. “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.”

In the 3rd verse Zion had spoken the same thing under the metaphor of the agitation and sounding of the waters of the sea, and of the shaking and overturning of the mountains, but here she speaks it clearly without any metaphor. All the nations have been troubled, and their kingdoms bruised, doubtless by the blow of the stone. This hath all just happened in the time which is spoken of, and Zion hath seen it from afar, hath known and felt it from the retirement of her solitude. The Lord, she continues to say, hath caused his voice to be beard, and the whole earth was moved, “he uttered his voice, the earth was moved.” (Vulg.) This expression, “the earth was moved,” is found with more force and vividness in the other versions. Pagnini reads, “the earth melted;” Vatalbo, “the earth was made to tremble;” the Chaldee Paraphrase, “the inhabitants of the earth are dissolved.” This voice of the Lord, so great and effectual, is nothing else than that rod of his mouth, which is spoken of by Isaiah, “he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked;” Isa. xi. 4. or which is the same, that sword of two edges which is to proceed from the mouth of the King of kings, that “with it he should smite the nations.” Rev. xix. 15.

With this view, the whole twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah may be read, in which, by universal confession, the coming of the Lord, which we wait for, is spoken of; and among other things we ought to attend to that lively and elegant description which the prophet gives of the terror, commotion, and perturbation of the whole surface of the earth, in these words, “The earth is utterly broken down…The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,…and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isa. xxiv. 19,20. No one who readeth this chapter can be ignorant that the thing here spoken of, is not the material part of the globe which we inhabit, but its inhabitants who have corrupted its surface with their iniquity, and will corrupt it yet much more. Of this surface of the earth, he begins to speak from the first verse. “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and seattereth abroad the inhabitants there of:” Isa. xxiv. 1. and here also it is said, that after this affliction, agitations and commotion of the surface of the earth, there shall remain in it some relics of the human race, “and few men are left…When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive-tree, and as ,the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.” Isa. xxiv. 13, 14.

This movement, agitation, and perturbation of the surface of the earth having come to pass, Zion with all her precious relics, continues to say, full of sacred joy, and penetrated with the most lively gratitude,

Verse 7. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” The Lord of hosts, (this name is given to Messiah in various parts of scripture, for example in the twenty-fourth Psalm,) the Lord of hosts is with us, and the God of Jacob has called, enlightened, pardoned, and received us to his arms.

Therefore, regarding the actual state of the earth, and comparing it with past times, he invites the residue of the Gentiles to behold, admire, and praise the Lord for so many new and unheard of prodigies, which he hath wrought in our earth by his presence: one of which, and the most admirable of all, is the universal peace which is announced and described in these short and expressive words;

Verse 8,9. “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder: he burneth the chariot in the fire.”

The comparison of this text with that of Isaiah and Micah, forms, it appears to me, the proper and legitimate explanation; to which we have nothing to add, being persuaded that it can admit no other according to the scriptures. If with this clear and simple idea, the following Psalms be read, they will serve for our greater confirmation, and facilitate the understanding of many other Psalms, and of very many other prophecies. Especially, will be understood at once, the whole of the seventy-sixth Psalm, which is very like the forty-sixth, although with intimations still more particular. “In Judah is God known; his name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Zion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.” Psalm lxxvi. 1-3.

There is no doubt that these things, and many others altogether similar, they seek to accommodate in any possible way to some very ancient events which we read of in sacred history. But as this accommodation, though attempted with pains, and sometimes happily begun, cannot be proceeded in with ease, nor even in any way at all, by reason of the weighty embarrassments which continually occur at every step, the most literal interpreters find themselves at length compelled to have recourse most frequently to figurative and purely accommodative senses, and to rest therein. Of which weak refuge they will have no need, if they will in good faith admit our system, in which every thing will be found easy and plain, and the more so, the farther we advance. As we understand obviously and literally, and in that sense religiously receive, every thing in the scriptures which pertain to the first coming of Messiah and its admirable effects, so do we understand and literally receive what is written and clearly announced for the second, which is incomparably the larger part. With respect to the one and with respect to the other, the scriptures in the same manner accompany, aid, enlighten, and no where oppose us.

APPENDIX.

ANY one who reflecteth upon what we have said up to this point, will find no difficulty in believing that the phenomena which we have observed, are not the only ones which the Divine Scriptures present to us. I had, at the beginning noted twenty and four, which the purpose of observing them every one apart, and of these I have observed only ten. In which, as I have been detained much more than I had imagined, it now appears to me convenient to stop here. The observations which have been made are more than sufficient to enable us to form a prudent judgment upon the general cause which I have sought to defend.

There wanteth only attentive eyes, which, beholding every thing by itself, will compare the explanations according to both systems, and after weighing them in a faithful balance, pronounce an impartial sentence. I cannot detain myself longer; both cause other things somewhat more interesting call me, and because I feel myself already notably wearied with this cost of labour, and fancy my readers to be in the same case. Yet I must confess that it is with reluctance I quit the observation, of several points or Phenomena, which I had already prepared, especially that of Jerusalem. Permit me then to touch this point here with the greatest possible brevity, and to give some slight idea of that most substantial and interesting part which it occupies in the subject whereof we treat.

JERUSALEM

AFTER two ways do the scriptures speak of Jerusalem; the one historical the other prophetical. That which pertaineth to history hath not to do with our purpose, and needeth no particular observation. We agree with all Christians in faithfully believing all those events according as we find them written: which we understand literally without any great difficulty; and into no one’s thought will it come to give them any sense different from what the words obviously and literally convey. Not so hath it fared with the Jerusalem in prophecy; for the doctors appeal to various senses, according to the things which are announced of her: whereof some are manifestly contrary, others favourable to Jerusalem. Some announce to her so many and such horrible chastisements, as the world hath seen fully and perfectly accomplished upon her; others announce so many favours, and such extraordinary benefits upon her, that they have appeared and do still appear utterly incredible. Some announce upon her indignation and vengeance, not only for the times anterior, but much more for the times posterior to Messiah; and others announce to her love, compassion, and mercy. Some announce terror, ruin, and desolation, others goodness and peace, re-edification and creation; some death and ignominy, others resurrection and glory.

The first are without difficulty understood in their proper obvious, and literal sense: so that as the doctors say, this is their only sense, because in this sense they have been fully accomplished. God so spake by his prophets, and every thing has been accomplished as he spake it. The last prophecy against this iniquitous and ungrateful city was that of Messiah himself, who “when he saw the city wept over it.” Luke xix. 41. And that prophecy (already mentioned in the ninth chapter of Daniel, at the 26th verse) was perfectly accomplished forty years after the death of the Lord, as is notorious to the whole world. It is then clear, that all the prophecies which are written in the scriptures against Jerusalem, are to be taken according to the letter, and in that sense to be understood, forasmuch as we already see them to have been fully accomplished in that sense. But the favourable prophecies not. And why not? Because these till now have not been accomplished, nor been able to be accomplished, nor is it yet the time that they should be accomplished to the letter, especially those great and magnificent ones, whose very greatness show that beneath the shell great treasures are concealed.

You have here reduced to a few words, the practical way adopted by the doctors, of reasoning upon Jerusalem, as also upon so many other questions which we have spoken of. And you see here, I repeat again, that grand hypothesis, which hath made so large a portion of the prophecies unintelligible; the hypothesis to wit, that the great mystery of God containeth no more than the present church and heaven; that is to say, the vocation of the Gentiles into the room of Israel, because of their unbelief, and the end of the world. From which it is, as by necessary consequence, impossible that those magnificent prophecies should be properly and literally verified, which announce to Jerusalem such grandeur, majesty, and glory; and at the same time such righteousness and holiness, as hath never been seen, nor could have been seen in former ages. Accordingly, they who have looked upon that hypothesis as a truth, have not only cast out the proper and literal sense in the explanation of all these favourable prophecies, but with great and hottest zeal have most harshly abused the Jews, and treated as judaizers, as gross and imbecile, and sometimes as heretics, those who in this and other like points have believed rather in the affirmation of God, than in human suppositions.

The great and the only argument which they oppose to all the prophecies favourable to Jerusalem, is a prophecy of Daniel ix. 26. in which, speaking of the death of Messiah, (according to the common notion,) and of all the terrible results to Jerusalem and all the people of Israel, he thus declareth, “And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined…even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate.” [Vulg. until the consummation and the end.] The truth of this prophecy being supposed, which no one disputeth, they argue thus. The ruin and destruction of Jerusalem here spoken of, is evidently that which came to pass in the reign of Vespasian, about forty years after the death of Messiah; and of it the prophet declareth that it is to continue until the consummation, and until the end: therefore vain and even erroneous is the hope of any other Jerusalem; therefore they have manifestly erred, who have believed or suspected that those great and magnificent prophecies which announce another future Jerusalem upon this our earth, ought to be or can be literally understood. Which is confirmed by the nineteenth chapter of Jeremiah, at the 11th verse, where you read this sentence against Jerusalem, “Even so will I break this people, and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again,” which sentence, as St. Jerome explaineth, was not verified in that first Jerusalem which the Chaldeans destroyed, because this was rebuilt again a few years there after; but was verified to the letter in that which the Romans destroyed, for this hath not been renewed nor shall ever he renewed; as happeneth to a potter’s vessel, which being once broken to pieces, “cannot be made whole again.” But before contesting this point, it occurs to me to remark the very great inconclusiveness into which the most famous interpreters fall. They themselves, who, to take away from us all hopes of a new Jerusalem, lay before us this prophecy of Daniel, do themselves assert in many places that Antichrist the Jew of the tribe of Dan, shall build Jerusalem anew, and therein plant the court of his universal empire. But in this case, what becomes of the prophecy of Daniel? Either it is falsified, or the argument derived from that prophecy is not so conclusive as is imagined. It is a truth that Antichrist cannot survive the consummation and the end, and it is equally a truth according to Daniel, that the desolation of Jerusalem shall endure till the consummation and the end: when then shall Antichrist rebuild Jerusalem?

This being adverted to, we come now to that which is more important, to reply to this argument which offers at least a great show of strength. In two ways may the reply be rendered: one by the straight line, the other by the crooked line, or by fetching a short compass; of which, although the former be sufficient of itself, we do not therefore deem the second to be useless, for it may aid us not a little in the better and more easy understanding both of this and of other similar points. This second mode reduceth itself to the proposal of a doubt, which as it is very well applicable to various other cases, is so especially to this.

A hundred prophecies at the least speak to me expressly and by name of Jerusalem, not in any indeterminate state, but of Jerusalem destroyed for her sins, desolated, trodden underfoot: and buried in the dust; of which they tell me with all clearness, that one day she shall arise from the dust of the earth, and be revived, be rebuilt anew, and be seen in her glory. (Ps. cii.) And that this Jerusalem, of which they spake, might not be confounded with that other which was built “in troublous times,” by those who returned from Babylon, they give me certain marks so clear and so individual, that it is impossible to confound the one with the other. For example, one prophecy tells me that in the time of which it speaks, Jerusalem shall be called the throne of God. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” Jer. iii.

17. Another tells me that her name from that day forth wherein she is built anew, shall be, “the Lord is there.” Ezek. xlviii. 35. Another tells us of the same Jerusalem, that after the great tribulations which are denounced upon her for her iniquities, she shall be called the City of the Just one, the faithful city. “Thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Isa. 1. 26. And in another place, “Thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt be no more termed forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” Isa. lxii. 2-4.

The same is said in another place, “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations…Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders…Thy people also shall be all righteous.” Isa. lx. 15.18.21. “I will extend peace to thee like a river.” Isa. lxvi. 12. And to be brief, (for these are things which are most frequently found in the prophets of God,) another prophecy speaking of Jerusalem and of the Jews, says, “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” Zech. xiv. 11.

These and other prophecies which exceed a hundred, lead me to expect another Jerusalem still future, but Daniel in the ninth chapter takes from me all hope, because he assures me that the desolation of Jerusalem, which was to begin from Messiah’s death, should last irrecoverably till the consummation and the end; “and he shall make it desolate even until the consummation and the end.” Upon this supposition, which is not to be doubted, I ask, should we hold by the former prophecies, which promise a future Jerusalem, or by this last of Daniel which denies it to us.

The resolution of this doubt is not the same in two different tribunals. The one practically decides that we ought to stand by the last prophecy, though it be one only, and explain all the rest, though they be a hundred or a thousand, in other senses. The other tribunal decides that we ought to stand for the hundred prophecies, and explain the one by the hundred, and not the hundred by the one: for which three very brief reasons are alleged; first, because these are many, and this is but one; secondly, because these are clear, and this is not so; thirdly, because these are certainly favourable to Jerusalem, and that is contrary to it, and in all cases of doubt the favourable interpretation should have the advantage. Without setting myself to resolve which of these two opinions is the more just, for this belongs to impartial judges; I do only take upon myself the liberty of concluding, that as the doctors interpret the hundred prophecies in the sense which suits them, that they may not destroy their system, most frequently doing violence to them, so likewise might I do the same with this of Daniel, and with better reason.

Let it not, however, be thought that I pretend to give to the prophecy of Daniel another sense but the literal and obvious one. This would be out of harmony with myself. In the same sense in which I understand the hundred prophecies, do I without any difference understand the last, and therefore hold it for certain and infallible, that the present desolation of Jerusalem will endure until the consummation and the end. But what follows from this? that we are not to expect another and a new Jerusalem? This consequence which the interpreters draw upon their system, is precisely what I deny, as being illegitimate and false: it appeals to me that this other conclusion, in all respects most just, ought to be drawn; to wit, that the future Jerusalem, which the prophets of God so frequently announce, will not be built before but after the consummation and the end. Not before, for in that case the prophecy of Daniel would be falsified, after surely, because without this an hundred prophecies would be falsified. This conclusion which I admit and embrace as the true one, and as being so conformable to the scriptures, is likewise my second reply by the straight line.

The consummation and end of which Daniel speaks, can be no other than that of which so many prophets speak, especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Zechariah; and which is likewise spoken of in various parts of the gospels. Consequently, it cannot be the consummation and end of the world, as upon the ordinary system is believed, but the consummation and end of the age.

Between these two words, world and age, although they be many times taken in the same sense, and signify the same thing, there is really a great and notable difference, and very important in the subject of which we now treat. The world is properly used of the whole immense machine of the universe, and also more immediately it is used of this terraqueous globe on whose surface we dwell. The age is used, not only of the revolution of an hundred years, but likewise, and with more propriety, of all the external apparatus of our world or our globe, its pomp, its luxury, its fraud, its vanity, its falsehood, its sin: in short, this name age is given to this passing day of man, his power, his dominion, his virtue, his judgment, his government, &c. in distinction from the day of the Lord. I find very frequently in the scriptures, especially in the gospels, these words, the consummation of the age; and I do find more, find those, the consummation of the world.

In this sense, then, in which the other scriptures speak, Daniel declareth, that the actual desolation of Jerusalem, which began from the death of Messiah, must last till the consummation or ending of the age; that is to say, until the present day be concluded and brought to its end, and the day of the Lord begin to dawn, and Messiah come in glory and majesty, with which second coming shall begin the day of his power in the glories of the saints (Psalm cx.); until that terrible judgment upon the beast spoken of by Daniel himself, and in the Apocalypse, shall have been fulfilled: until the great statue shall fall to the earth by the blow of the stone, and disappear like light dust in the midst of a mighty wind: until the evacuation of all principality, power, and authority, spoken of by St. Paul, shall have taken place: until, finally, the times of the Gentiles shall have been accomplished. Compare in passing, these the last words of the Lord with those of Daniel, and methinks you will find the very same mystery without any difference, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” —“And the desolation shall last until the consummation and the end.” (Vulg.)

That is evidently the consummation and the end whereof Daniel speaks, which shall happen at the coming of the Lord: and therefore, the Lord himself compareth his coming to the day of Woe “when the flood came and took them all away.” (Matt. xxiv.) This consummation and end other prophets do likewise announce in the most vivid expressions, and with very particular circumstances, as we have so often observed; and yet these very prophets assure us expressly, that Jerusalem destroyed and trodden down of the Gentiles shall be rebuilt anew, with so great grandeur, with so great splendour, with so great righteousness, and with such and such circumstances; which not having been verified till this day, nor having been able to be verified before the consummation and end, or before the times of the nations are fulfilled, we ought to expect when all is verified after the consummation and end of the age, “that thy prophets may be found faithful.”

Let us now say two words upon the text of Jeremiah, which served for a confirmation to their argument. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Even so will I break this people, and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again;” Jer. xix. 11. These words (say some, following St. Jerome, though others be of a contrary opinion) cannot be properly and rigorously understood of that first Jerusalem which the Chaldeans destroyed, because that was built again a few years after; but they are with all propriety applicable to that Jerusalem which the Romans destroyed after the death of Christ, which till this day continues destroyed and desolated, and must continue in this condition to the end of the world. The words of St. Jerome are these: ‘Evidently this is spoken not of the Babylonian, but of the Roman captivity. Because after the Babylonians, both was the city renewed, and the people brought back into Judæa, and restored to their former fulness. Whereas, since the captivity, which first took place under Vespasian and Titus, and afterwards under Adrian, the ruins of Jerusalem shall remain till the consummation of the age.’6

Who can deny this last point? Whoever reads the last verse of the ninth chapter of Daniel must confess as an indubitable truth, that “the ruins of Jerusalem shall abide until the consummation of the age.” But the first, that Jeremiah was not speaking of the Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, but of the Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans six hundred years afterwards, how can we admit, if we read the text of the prophet consecutively: “And (he continues forthwith in the 13th verse) And the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses of the kings of Judah, shall be defiled as the place of Tophet, because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burnt incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink-offerings unto other gods.” Jer. xix. 13. This countersign alone, although there were no other, seems more than sufficient at once to make known the times of which he is speaking, and the Jerusalem against which he spake. When the Romans under Titus and Vespasian destroyed Jerusalem, did they destroy at the same time along with it the houses and palaces of the kings of Judah? What kings of Judah were there at that time? Did they destroy at that time all those houses wherein were offered sacrifices to idols? What idols found the Romans in Jerusalem, save those which they themselves carried up thither and placed in it after its destruction? But if we cast our eyes upon that former Jerusalem which the Babylonians destroyed in the lifetime of Jeremiah, we find houses and palaces of the kings of Judah, and we find idols in thousands, upon the terraces and the most lofty places of almost all the houses of the

6 Perspicue hoc non de Babylonica, sed de Romana dicitur captivitate. Post Babylonios quippe, et urbs instaurata, et populus redactus in Judæam, et abundantiæ prestinæ restitutus est. Post captivitatem autem, quæ sub Vespasiano et Tito, et postea accidit sub Adriano usque ad consnmmationem seculi ruinæ Jerusalem permansuræ sunt.

iniquitous Jerusalem. Therefore is it clear by this countersign alone, that Jeremiah is speaking of the former Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, not of that which the Romans destroyed. If this is so, it may be replied, how do you understand with propriety that similitude of which the prophet maketh use: “this city as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again; and they shall burn them in Tophet, till there be no place else to bury.” Jer. xix. 11.

The understanding of this similitude offered to us by the other doctors who disagree with St. Jerome, is as follows. ‘It ought to be explained (says one of them) of the renewal of its own power; for after seventy years were fulfilled, the Jewish vessel was renewed, and at the end of the age it shall be again renewed, —but by divine power, to which that is easy which to man seemeth impossible.’7 And to the end you may see that these words of Jeremiah cannot admit so absolute a sense as you seek, read those of the thirty-first chapter at the 38th verse, where it is written: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord,…it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down, any more for ever.” Jer. xxxi.

38.40. And in the last chapter of Zechariah these words are found: “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” Zech.

xiv. 11. Ill would all this be verified if that similitude as a potter’s vessel is broken in pieces, will not yield somewhat of its force.

Many other general and particular things have we to say upon Jerusalem; but these pertain directly to the third part, where we shall endeavour to give them a place, as well as many other points, which as yet we have not been able to take up. I content myself then with transcribing that famous prophecy of the holy Tobias, and therewith shall conclude this second part, presenting this great point for profound meditation.

“O Jerusalem, the holy city, he will scourge thee for thy children’s works, and will have mercy again on the sons of the righteous. Give praise to the Lord, for he is good: and praise the everlasting King, that his tabernacle may be builded in thee again with joy, and let him make joyful there in thee those that are captives, and love in thee for ever those that are miserable. Many nations shall come from far to the name of the Lord God with gifts in their hands, even gifts to the King of heaven; all generations shall praise thee with great joy. Cursed are all they which hate thee, and blessed shall all be which love thee for ever. Rejoice and be glad for the children of the just: for they shall be gathered together, and shall bless the Lord of the just. O blessed are they which love thee, for they shall rejoice in thy peace: blessed are they which have been sorrowful for all thy scourges; for they shall rejoice for thee, when they have seen all thy glory, and shall be glad for ever. Let my soul bless God the great King. For Jerusalem shall be built up with sapphires, and emeralds, and precious stone: thy walls and towers and battlements with pure gold. And the streets of Jerusalem shall be paved with beryl and carbuncle and stones of Ophir. And all her streets shall say, Allelluia; and they shall praise him, saying, Blessed be God, which hath extolled it for ever.” Tobit xiii. 9-18.

This famous prophecy is doubtless one of those many and great prophecies of which can be affirmed at the same time, two contradictory things, to wit, that it is a clear and an obscure prophecy, an easy and a difficult, an intelligible and an unintelligible one. If the idea of the kingdom of Christ here on earth, and of another Jerusalem still future, is, as they would have it, a false and erroneous idea; the prophecy of Tobias is certainly the most obscure, the

7 Exponi debet de instauratione quæ propria potentia fiat, nam post expletos 70 annos instaurata est laguncula judaica, at sub finem sœculi rursus instaurabitur sed potentia divina, cui facile est quod hominibus impossibile videtur.

most difficult, and the most unintelligible which can be imagined. On the other hand, if that idea is true and just, as it is so conformable to the other scriptures, then the prophecy is at once intelligible throughout upon the mere reading of it; so that the understanding or the not understanding of it, consists solely in the admitting or the not admitting of that idea. The interpreters pretend that there is no necessity for such an idea in order to understand the prophecy. And therefore they have made the greatest efforts in order to explain it. Whether they have succeeded or not, any one, may easily judge who will read their explanation, and compare it faithfully with the prophecy.

They say in general, and that without any definitive proof, that the whole of the prophecy, excepting the four first lines, can admit no other sense than the allegorical, mixed with the anagogical; because Tobias, as a prophet did the same (they say) as the other prophets did, that is, had in his eye at one time, both the church militant and the church triumphant, and speaks of them both under the name and figure of Jerusalem. On this supposition the interpretation requireth three senses, and even these will not wholly compass it. The first is the literal, but this serveth only for the first four lines. Why? Because they are against Jerusalem. In them being announced her chastisements, her ruin, her extermination, which was all fully verified a few years afterwards. The second sense is the allegorical, which must enter immediately in the room of the literal. Why so soon? Because these four lines being passed, it immediately begins to speak in her favour, and declare of her, or promise to her so many famous things as have not been verified, neither can possibly be verified upon the ordinary system; so that they ought to be accommodated so far as can be to the present church. The third sense which must supply all the defects of the second is the anagogical. Why? Because the allegorical, or the accommodation to the present church can with difficulty be continued through a short space, which being passed it becomes wholly unserviceable; and for that reason it is necessary, if we would not turn back, promptly to take the wings of an eagle, and make a flight to the loftiest pinnacle of heaven, in order to accommodate there, what here it is not possible to accommodate. But as little is it possible there to accommodate some considerable portion of the remainder of the prophecy, and therefore it is necessary in the prophecy to ascend and descend continually, because in the prophecy are mingled, as they say, the things of the militant and of the triumphant church: the result of so blamable a labour being that which at once discovereth itself, the violence and impropriety of the accommodation.

But if for a moment we quit the inconvenient and unintelligible gibberish of these three senses, we shall easily understand the whole prophecy, distinguishing in it its two capital points, to wit, that which is against, and that which is in favour of the same Jerusalem. We shall understand, first, how from the beginning is announced against this ungrateful and delinquent city that horrible chastisement, which hath come over her, with the dispersion and captivity of the residue of Israel, that is, the kingdom of Judah. We shall understand, in the second place, how speaking to this same Jerusalem, chastised and overthrown, he announceth to her against other times, which certainly have not arrived, all the majesty, splendour, and glory, which may be collected from these words, even although there were no other, “Thou shalt shine with glorious light, and all the ends of the earth shall adore thee.” (Vulg.) To whom are these words, and all which follow to the end, spoken, and to whom are they declared? Is it not clear that they are spoken to the same Jerusalem, to whom was before announced her imminent chastisement and total ruin? If this chastisement and ruin be not spoken to the militant Church nor to the triumphant, with what reason can it be asserted that all the prosperities which follow immediately are not spoken of the chastised and destroyed Jerusalem, but of the church partly militant partly triumphant.

With this prophecy of Tobias agree perfectly, among innumerable others, the whole of the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, the whole of the fifth chapter of Baruch, the thirtieth and thirty-first chapters of Jeremiah, the last chapter of Zechariah; of all which St. John makes his use in the twenty-first chapter of his Apocalypse. The prophecy of Baruch being short and remarkable, may, I judge, be very well set down in this place.

“PUT off, O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever. Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will shew thy brightness unto every country under heaven. For thy name shall be called of God for ever The peace of righteousness, and The glory of God’s worship. Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high, and look about toward the east, and behold thy children gathered from the west unto the east by the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the remembrance of God. For they departed from thee on foot, and were led away of their enemies: but God bringeth them unto thee exalted with glory, as children of the kingdom. For God hath appointed that every high hill, and banks of long continuance, should be cast down, and vallies filled up, to make even the ground, that Israel may go safely in the glory of God. Moreover even the woods and every sweet smelling tree shall overshadow Israel by the commandment of God. For God shall lead Israel with joy in the light of his glory with the mercy and righteousness that cometh from him.” Baruch v.

THE COMING OF MESSIAH

IN GLORY AND MAJESTY

PART III.

THE COMING OF MESSIAH

IN GLORY AND MAJESTY

PART III.

Which containeth the fruit of the preceding observations.

INTRODUCTION.

HITHERTO we have been almost entirely occupied in establishing a great space of time between the glorious coming of the Lord, of which all are in expectation, and the general judgment and resurrection: being intimately persuaded that, by this alone, without more diligence the understanding of the whole Sacred Scriptures would be plain and easy, even of that part which passes for the most obscure and difficult, which is prophecy. Whether this space of time be sufficiently established, it rests with learned, attentive, considerate, and impartial judges to decide, after having examined this great cause in all its aspects.

Besides this space of time, which is the substantial point of our system, and which any one who would directly impugn us must set himself to combat, we have likewise proposed, examined, and proved some other very important points, relative to this same space of time, most closely connected with it, and which evidently suppose it. It would be to do injustice to considerate readers, which class alone we desire, to repeat here what we ought to take for granted, that they have attentively read and considered all the phenomena which have been observed, and likewise the preparations of the first part.

Now this great space of time after the glorious coming of the Lord being once admitted and known, without its being reasonable to deny or even to doubt it, the desire appears most natural of drawing near, and ascertaining with some distinctness and clearness, if it be not possible at least to descry, though it may be from afar, some of the principal and most notable events of that momentous age. This is what we proceed to set forth, according to the notices which we find in the scripture of truth.

It is not now the question to prove the kingdom of Christ upon our earth; or, which is the same, the kingdom of God which is to come, and for the coming of which we pray according to the commandment of Christ himself. It is not now the question to prove his most glorious coming with thousands of his saints, nor the resurrection of those thousands of saints who shall be reckoned worthy of that age and the resurrection of the dead, long before the general resurrection: nor is it the question, to prove the judgment or reign of Christ over the living, nor the time which this judgment requires according to the scriptures. These things are already proved, with all the evidence which can be had in questions of this sort.

The only question now is, concerning the mode and circumstances, according to which all this is to take place. The mode of existence of so very grand and wonderful a thing is, there can be no doubt, difficult and even impossible to conceive in the present state. But can this be a just cause for doubting the said event, or for daring to deny it? Even in things purely physical, such a way of reasoning would be reputed foolish and even insufferable. Let us now pass on to propose, with all clearness and plainness, that which remains to us in handling this important subject.

CHAPTER 1.

The very day of the coming of the Lord according to the scriptures.

OF this day we have spoken not a little in various parts of this treatise, according as it has occurred; so that we have hardly any thing more to do in this place, than to make a short recapitulation of the same, —not to add any thing to the most clear and vivid expressions of the prophets and evangelists, but from the beginning to take up the thread and follow the course of so many mysteries.

This day is called in the scriptures, “the great and terrible day.” Mal. iv. it is called, “the day of the tumult of the Lord, the day of his wrath and fierce anger.” Isa. xiii. and xxxiv. It is called, “the day of Midian,” in allusion to the famous battle of Gideon. Isa. ix. 4. and x.

33. It is called, “a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm.” Zeph. i. 15,16. It is called, “a great day, so that none is like it.” Jer. xxx.

7. It is called, “a day coming at unawares;” which day “as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” Luke xxi. 35. It is called, “the great day of his wrath.” Rev. vi. 17. that is, of the wrath of God Almighty and of the Lamb: and, in fine, for shortness it is called, “the day of the Lord.”

“The times and seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power,” being then concluded, the whole orb of the earth and the church itself, with the exception of some individual few, being “as it was in the days of Noe,” Matt. xxiv. 38. and as it came to pass in the days of Lot, Luke xvii. 28. that day shall come at length so much spoken of in all the prophets and evangelists and in the writings of the apostles, and more expressly and with the most individual notices and circumstances in the last canonical prophecy, which is the apocalypse of St. John; I say, the man-God will return from heaven to earth, manifest himself in his proper person with all his majesty and glory, lovely and desirable to a few, terrible and wonderful in respect to the many. “And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matt. xxiv. 30. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Rev. i. 7. This glorious coming of the Lord Jesus is a divine truth, as essential and fundamental in Christianity as is his first coming in suffering flesh. They say that this coming shall not happen till the end of the world, when there shall be no longer in it all one living man, every thing being consumed by fire, and the universal resurrection having succeeded: but if the Holy Scripture saith most frequently, and evidently supposeth, quite the contrary, —which ought we to believe?

This great day, which heaven and earth expect with the greatest longings, being arrived, “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” 1 Thess. iv. 16. Then, at his coming from heaven to earth, (and, as I figure it to myself,) at the very moment of his touching the atmosphere of our globe, there shall happen in it, in the first place, the resurrection of all those saints “who shall be counted worthy of that age and of the resurrection from the dead;” Luke xx. 35. of whom St. Paul says, (continuing the passage above quoted,) “and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, this first resurrection of the saints of the first order having taken place, the few worthy of that name who shall still be found alive upon the earth, for their uncorrupted faith and righteousness, shall be caught up along with the dead saints who are just raised, and shall ascend along with them “to meet the Lord in the air.” All this is most clear and of the most easy comprehension, as was observed and insisted upon chiefly in our first part, dissertation second.

Things being then in this state, and the Lord having nothing in the whole orb of the earth to contemplate, save only a certain solitary woman, who is deploring in the desert her past blindness and iniquities, and whom he shall save in that day, according to his promises, (though for this end some great miracles will be necessary,) there shall forthwith begin to be accomplished over this orb of the earth all those great and horrible things which are announced for that day: all which, to shun prolixity, I comprehend in those few words of the most elegant of all the prophets, of whom it is said in the Ecclesiasticus, that “he saw by an excellent spirit what should come to pass at the last, and he comforted them that mourned in Zion.” Ecclus. xlviii. 24.

“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isa. xxiv. 17-20.

Then, in this confusion of all which existeth upon the surface of our globe, in this commotion and agitation, in this obscurity and darkness, in this fear and trembling, in this raining down of those beams of the which the gospel calleth stars, as is said in the book of Wisdom, “Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark:” Wisdom, v. 21. there is no doubt that the greater part of the human race shall perish; those, in the first place, who had in any way gathered themselves together under the fourth beast of Daniel, or pertained to the two beasts of the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse. Of these I hold it for certain that not one shall remain alive; for thus I see it expressed in both prophecies: “And I beheld,” says Daniel of the fourth beast, “till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Dan.

vii. 11. “These both,” saith John of his two beasts, “were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth:” Rev. xix. 20,21. which I find in a thousand ways confirmed in the prophecies and in the Psalms, as hath been said.

But although I hold it to be certain, that of this class of people there shall not one single individual be left alive; so, in the same manner and with the same foundation, it appeareth to me certain that there shall remain alive many individuals, not only of those who shall then pertain to true Christianity (as are those who go in the clouds to meet Christ, and those who shall compose the solitary woman), but likewise of those pertaining to the three first beasts, and who have not joined themselves to the congregation of the fourth, as hath been said and proved in other parts; which company of the living, compared with the dead, shall yet be very few. Accordingly we read expressly in the same fourteenth chapter of Isaiah at the 13th verse: “When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud.” Isa.

xxiv. 13,14. In the fourteenth chapter of the Apocalypse at the 19th verse, this metaphorical vintage is spoken of in a way capable of making the boldest tremble. “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” Rev. xiv. 19.

This horrible vintage will be necessary and indispensable at the coming of the Lord, in consequence of the miserable state in which the vine of the earth shall be found, as well to evacuate all rule, and authority, and power, or which is the same, to destroy the great image and convert it into powder, as to bring such great iniquity to an end, and anew to plant righteousness, giving their last culture to the few plants which remain fit for use; and by these means to collect most copious fruits, and most worthy of God, which till now have not been gathered, contrary to the intention of the Redeemer himself.

Now, if with moderate attention we study the scriptures, as well of the Old as of the New Testament, we shall be compelled to declare and confess that thus it shall be, in the day in which the Son of man shall be revealed (Luke xvii. 30). Jesus Christ, when he shall come again, shall certainly find our earth as it was a little before the deluge, that is, “corrupt before God and replenished with iniquity;” consequently without faith, without righteousness, without religion, and in the highest disorder and most lamentable carelessness. And he shall find it inevitable and necessary to enter into his kingdom, as Isaiah describeth him: “For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries.” Isa. lix. 17,18. And in the sixty-third chapter, the Lord himself declareth, “And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.” Isa. lxiii.

6. To enter, I say into his kingdom with an unsheathed sword: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations.” Rev. xix. 15. And as his father David, speaking of him in the spirit, declareth: “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.” Psalm cx. 5,6. Many, he saith, not all; and though the explanation of this passage, as also of others the like, for example of the 2nd verse of the twelfth chapter of Daniel, be given by several of many, that is, of all who are very many; this explanation is manifestly violent, nor resteth upon other foundation than an arbitrary and false supposition, which neither is proved nor can possibly be proved.

This first and necessary act of the judgment of Christ was concluded upon the living, this kind of fearful vintage; although the vine of the earth and the earth itself shall appear unpeopled, almost as much so as it was after the deluge, there shall not on that account fail to exist, dispersed hither and thither, some few small grapes, as likewise even happeneth in a great vintage. “There shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.” Isa. xxiv. 13. Those few relics (continues Isaiah in the passage just quoted) when the great tempest is overpast, shall lift up their voice, and praise the Lord: “They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord.” Isa. xxiv. 14. When he shall have been glorified in the destruction and ruin of all the wicked, they shall cry and sigh for him with desire and longing, to know him and to adore him; even those who are found in the utmost ends of the earth, separated from this continent by the widest seas: “They shall cry aloud from the sea…From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.” Isa. xxiv. 14.16. This passage of Isaiah being taken in connexion with the context of this chapter, cannot, in any way that I can comprehend, be accommodated to the preaching of the apostles and the vocation of the Gentiles, which appeareth the only interesting object that the interpreters of the scriptures carry in their eye.

On these few therefore who shall remain alive upon the earth, and on all their most numerous posterity, shall for many ages (which St. John in round numbers calleth a thousand years) continue the judgment of Christ upon the living; or which appears the same, his kingdom over the living and the sojourners, until these shall wholly fail, according as we shall see in its proper time.

CHAPTER II.

A General Idea of the Judgment of Christ, according to the Scriptures.

THESE two words, kingdom and judgment, or king and judge, in scripture phrase, and according to the universal understanding of all peoples, do not, neither can signify two different things, but one only. A king and sovereign prince, received and acknowledged as such by all their respective subjects, is nothing different from a judge in whom resideth entire judgment, in respect to these their subjects: nor is their reign anything else than judgment. Not that every judge is entitled to the name of king, or prince, or sovereign; but every king, or prince, or sovereign, is entitled to the name of judge, which is in justice due to him, because he is so in reality. “Thou hast chosen me (saith the wisest of kings unto God) to be a king of thy people, and a judge of thy sons and daughters,” Wisdom ix. 7; and in the sixth chapter, speaking unto all the kings of the earth, he giveth them indiscriminately the appellation of kings and of judges: “Hear therefore, O ye kings, and understand; learn, ye that be judges of the ends of the earth.” Wisdom vi. 1. The same doth David his father declare, in the second Psalm: “Be wise therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.” Psalm ii. 10. And the same thing it is very easy to observe at almost every step in reading the Holy Scriptures. The very word Rex (king) is evidently derived from the verb rego, which signifies to govern, to direct, to order, to command, to reward, to punish, &c: each of which acts doth presuppose the act of judgment. Accordingly all kings, sovereigns, or princes (be they individual persons or moral bodies) are just so many judges of their respective dominions, to whose well being and happiness they ought to attend, and watch over their protection and defence, appointing unto all and to every one what they deserve according to their works.

Now, forasmuch as the kings and sovereigns of the earth cannot by themselves judge everything, natural reason, experience, and the necessity of the case, have, from the most ancient times, taught them to have recourse to that expedient which Moses was counselled by Jethro his father-in-law to adopt; that is, to share amongst many “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness,” Exod. xviii. 21, a certain power of judgment to abide upon them, giving to every one that portion of it and for that certain time which might appear best: but upon the indispensable condition that they should all acknowledge their dependence upon the sovereign himself, from whom every one received the portion of judgment which he holdeth, that is, the power of judging within the limits of his jurisdiction. These assessors of judgment are properly the associates of the kingdom, those who along with the king do constitute the active kingdom, or the executive part of the kingdom, which is its principal part. This seems to be the true, simple, and clear idea of a kingdom or monarchy. And this appears in like manner (preserving the due proportions) to be the true idea of the judgment of Christ, which in the scriptures is announced against the proper time.

This judgment cannot be a passing thing limited to some hours, days, or years, like that of one who seated on the tribunal, doth give final sentence, after having examined and substantiated the cause of an accused person. This idea, confusedly taken up from a parable in the gospel, is by no means so just as not to call for a more attentive consideration. The judgment of Christ, though beginning in the day of his power, or the day of his glorious and majestic coming, must be a judgment permanent and eternal as Christ himself. As Christ in quality of king is to be eternal, his kingdom shall likewise be eternal, “whose kingdom shall have no end;” and so also in quality of judge shall he be eternal, because judgment is essential to a king. Neither is it possible to conceive a king or sovereign, as king or sovereign, without conceiving united with him, and residing in him, judgment, or the power of judging, of ordering, of commanding, of ruling, and of governing. Christ when he came the first time did certainly not come as a king, and consequently not as a judge; nor is there in all the ancient scriptures, nor in the gospel, nor in the writings of the apostles, one single word which persuadeth us, or in any way indicates the idea that he did, but on the contrary they do all indicate and persuade us of an idea infinitely different. To sum it all up in one word, (which certainly is worth a thousand,) our Lord himself doth assure us expressly, and with the greatest clearness of which the subject is capable; “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John iii. 17. So that they are two most widely different things, to judge the world as a king or judge, and to save as a saviour or redeemer, those who believed on him, and trusted to him, and conformed their works to their faith, which is true belief, and without which there cannot be salvation.

But when he shall come the second time, (which all who love him believe and eagerly hope for,) he will doubtless come as a king; “and it came to pass that when he was returned, having received the kingdom.” Luke xix. 15. Consequently, he will come as a judge. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:…and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” John v. 22.27. In which power substantially consisteth the new and eternal covenant of God, as how the Father doth thereby renounce and wholly make over to the Son, and deposit in his hands, all judgment, and this because he hath made himself man, and in his capacity as man, “And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” John v. 27. “And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Dan. vii. 14.

This judgment of Christ the scriptures present to us not only as most holy, most upright, and most just, but as highly magnificent, wonderful, and so full of all those perfections and excellencies, which no judgment of man hath ever, or ever could have possessed. Accordingly, it is said of Christ, in the ninth Psalm, as a thing new and unheard of in the whole world, “The Lord hath prepared his throne for judgment; and he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” Ver. 7,8. And in the ninety-sixth and ninety-eighth psalms, all the creatures even the irrational and the insensible, are invited to make themselves merry, and to rejoice, not only because he cometh, but because he cometh to judge the earth. “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” Ps. xcvi. 11-13. “Make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King; Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth.” Ps. xcviii. 6-9.

On the ordinary idea of the judgment of Christ and of his coming, I know not how there can be room for such mirth. Of such passages of scripture might be quoted two or three hundred, for there is nothing more obvious in the prophets and the psalms: but because this probably would be as wearisome as it is fruitless, I am contented at present with one single passage from Isaiah, which I shall observe in the following chapter.

CHAPTER III.

Which containeth the examination of an important text of Isaiah.

UNDER the second document of the first aspect of the fifth Phenomenon, I remember well to have kept the observation of the first half of the eleventh chapter of Isaiah in suspense till now, which appeareth to me to be a more proper and seasonable place than that. He thus speaketh: “And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the dear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isa. xi. 1-10.

It is most certain that the Jewish doctors, at least the most learned and intelligent of them, understood in the stem and the branch which were to grow from the root of Jesse, (or the family of Jesse,) two things, proper, peculiar, and essential, to the very power of Christ. By the rod they understood his absolute and universal power as king and monarch of all creation, and as supreme and sovereign judge, in whom should one day be established for ever, all judgment, as also all principality, power and rule. In the same manner they understood by the flower [Vulg. read flos, flower where we read Branch] which is to come forth, not from the rod or by means of the rod, but from the root itself, “And a flower shall grow out of his root;” the sweetness, the equity, and blessedness of his reign or judgment, together with the beauty and loveliness of his person.

This understanding appeared to these doctors the most natural, the most proper, the most agreeable to the whole context of this chapter. The rod, say they, has been ever regarded among all civilized nations, as the proper symbol, and even the peculiar insignia of power, of judgment, and of government; and in scripture itself the use of this symbol is most frequent, not only when the kings, judges, and magistrates, whether of Israel or of foreign nations, are spoken of but likewise when it is expressly spoken of Messiah, in his glorious coming as king and judge: “Ask of me, (saith God to him in the second Psalm,) and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Ps.

ii. 8,9. As the sceptre [rod] of the kingdom is a right sceptre [rod of righteousness] Ps. xlv. 5. “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” Ps. cx. 2. “The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre [rod] of the rulers.” Isa. xiv. 5. And to be short, in this prophecy of Isaiah, upon which we have begun to make our observations, Messiah himself is represented and seen, as one who carries in his mouth the rod of his rule and power, with which he strikes the earth, and destroys and annihilates every wicked person and all wickedness. “And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” Isa. xi. 4 And with respect to the other, what symbol is more appropriate for beauty, felicity, loveliness, than a flower? Messiah says of himself in Spirit, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Canticles ii. 1. Notwithstanding the propriety of this interpretation, its clearness, its simplicity and perfect conformity with the whole context of this prophecy, and of so many others, the interpreters upon their system were so far from admitting it, that they directly impugned it. And for what reason? Was it, indeed, because of the very gross and hardly decent manner in which they spoke of the kingdom of Messiah, and of his person, as one would speak of a fabulous hero or of a mere man? Was it because it is the interpretation of the Rabbis? Yes, that is the pretext, but not the true reason. This hath already been pointed out in various parts of this work, and is here manifest of itself. In this passage, as in a thousand others, one of two extremes is necessary; either to allegorize and spiritualize the whole of the prophecy contained in this and the following chapter, accommodating every thing, cost it what it will, to the present church, or entirely to change the system. The latter is not to be thought of, and therefore the former seems to be the ordinary resource in all emergencies. And being thus forced to accommodate the whole of the prophecy in a purely spiritual and allegorical sense to the present church, they are likewise forced, to smooth the path from the very first words of it, disposing of this first embarrassment, by giving another widely different understanding of the rod and the flower, which are to grow from the root of Jesse. Let us see what this understanding is, and in a just balance weigh it against the former.

“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isa. xi. 1. The rod and the flower or branch (they say) symbolize two different persons, both great and admirable in the house or family of the holy king David, and therefore pertaining to his Father Jesse. By the rod ought to be understood the Holy Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, and by the flower or branch, Christ himself. But we (says an ancient doctor, to whom all or the greatest part subscribe, following the same system) understand the rod from the root of Jesse to signify the holy Virgin Mary, having no fruitage adhering to it, and the flower our Lord and Saviour, who saith in the Song of Songs, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” Upon this flower, which suddenly arose from the trunk and root of Jesse, by means of the Virgin Mary, shall the Spirit of God also rest,” &c.8 St. Jerome upon Isaiah.

I do not oppose, nor without impiety can oppose, the truth of divine faith here mentioned by this holy doctor, that Christ was born of the most holy Virgin Mary, who was a royal virgin of the race of David. This truth all Christians ought to know and most firmly to believe. But is this truth of divine authority, and therefore certain and indubitable the same

8 Nos autem, virgam, de radice Jesse Sanctam Mariam Virginem intelligamus, quæ nullurn habuit sibi fructicem cohærentem et florem Dominum Salvatorem, qui dicit in cantico canticorem, ego flos campi, et lilium convallium. Super hunc igitur florem, qui de trunco et radice Jesse per Mariam Virginem repente consurget, et requiescet spiritus Domini, &c.

truth that is announced or spoken of in these first words of Isaiah’s prophecy? After having read and meditated the entire prophecy, together with the preceding and the following chapters (which should also come into consideration), as the accommodation which is pretended to be made of it to the present church will be found infinitely violent; so will it not be known to what purpose the birth of Christ of the holy Virgin Mary entereth in this place. Although we should attend merely to the first clause of this chapter, separating it entirely from all which precedes and from all which follows after it; even in this case the common understanding of it cannot subsist: there is seen in it, and of its own accord there presents itself a most grievous inconvenience and an insufferable consequence.

If the rod here spoken of (it may be objected by any incredulous person) really be the holy Virgin Mary, Christ was not born of her, nor could she be his mother, according to this passage of scripture. Why? Because it is expressly said that the flower should grow not out of the rod, nor by means of the rod, but immediately from the root from which the rod itself springs: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isa. xi. 1. So that either the holy Virgin Mary had no more part in the generation of Christ than what this prophecy declareth, which is none whatever; or if it is desired that the most holy Virgin Mary should be signified by the rod, it will be necessary to alter so clear a text, freely adding to it two words, in order that it may speak that which is pretended, reading it thus: And a branch (flower) shall arise out of its root through the rod. I know not that such a liberty may be permitted.

And the difficulty groweth on us if we attend to the context. Even from the preceding chapter, the times which are spoken of, as well as the events and the persons, begin to be marked. It is clearly the residue or the precious remains of the house of Jacob which is here spoken of; who (as is foretold in a thousand other places of Holy Scripture, which we have observed) shall be thoroughly converted unto God, before the coming of the day of the Lord. Here it is said of them, that already they have ceased to trust in man, or to rest from thenceforward upon the princes or powers of the earth, by whose instrumentality they had been chastened of their God, beat down and humbled to the uttermost; and that they now rested solely upon the Holy One of Israel, and that in sincerity and truth. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, (remember the woman who fleeth to the wilderness, with one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed in their forehead with the seal of the living God, as is set forth in Phenomenon VIII.) shall no more stay again upon him that smote them: but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.” Isa. x. 20. Here it is said and promised to the residue of Jacob, that the yoke which for so many ages they have borne upon their necks, and the enormous weight which hath oppressed their shoulders, shall in that day be entirely taken away. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck.” Isa. x. 27. Here finally is declared as the conclusion of the whole of this tenth chapter, the humiliation of the proud, and the entire ruin of all human greatness, under the similitude of Mount Lebanon with its loftiest cedars: “Behold the Lord, the Lord of hosts, shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he shall cut down the thickets of the forests with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a mighty one.” Isa. x. 33,34. And thereupon follows immediately the eleventh chapter, declaring that “a rod shall come out of the stem of Jesse,” &c.

Giving good heed to this previous and very important context, proceed now with the attentive reading of this whole tenth chapter, and the song of praise and act of thanksgiving, sung in the following chapter by this very residue of Jacob, delivered in that day with such great prodigies, and gathered in great mercies; and I take upon me resolutely to affirm, that thou wilt not find one single expression, nor even so much as one single word, which, all circumstances considered, can in any reasonable way be applied to the first coming of the Lord, or to its effects upon the present church. And if thou desirest to be fully certified of this truth, so that there shall not remain even a shadow of doubt, open any exposition of scripture upon this passage, and compare what thou there readest with the prophecy, and this, much more readily than all argument, will completely open thine eyes, and make the darkness vanish into light.

Furthermore, if thou refusest not to take a little bodily labour, open the Concordance of the Bible, and turn up the word Rod, and after having examined one by one all the passages in which this word is found, I hold it certain (having myself made the experiment), that thou wilt not find a single one, where it is not used in the same general sense of the actual power of judging, governing, commanding, correcting, and punishing; and some few times for the very instrument of correction or punishment: of which no one, in these its several places, hath ever thought of calling in question. From the times of Moses we read, speaking expressly of Messiah, that famous prophecy of Balaam: “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter (virga, a rod) shall rise out of Israel…Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion.” Num. xxiv. 17.19. Notwithstanding that certain more modern and very ignorant Rabbis (to whose way of thinking el Tostado inclineth) have pretended to accommodate this prophecy to David, to Solomon, and other kings of Israel and of Judah, all judicious interpreters do but smile, and with reason, at the impropriety and insolence of this understanding of it, and with all their might maintain that Messiah is therein evidently spoken of, and that He and no other is signified, as well by the rod or sceptre as by the star; nor hath it come into the head of any one to imagine that by the rod here is the holy Virgin Mary to be understood, nor to say that of this rod the Star is to be born. In one word, when expressly speaking of Christ, this same rod is used, and that most frequently, in the Prophets, in the Psalms, in the writings of St. Paul, in the Apocalypse; and it is always used in the same sense, without any change or alteration. Wherefore then in this passage of Isaiah alone, is this rod to be converted into the Holy Virgin Mary? If we may speak frankly, as the gravity of the subject requireth, it appeareth to me clear, that no other true reason is there whatever, save the fear and dread of the rod itself; and the very great and very circumstantial things, so foreign and contrary to the received system, which are predicted thereof in this passage of scripture.

From the root of Jesse, or from the house and family of David, to which the promise was given, shall arise, saith this prophecy, a rod, and a branch or flower. Upon which flower and rod, that is to say, upon this empire, upon this power, upon this admirable person, shall abide with eternal permanency the sevenfold spirit of the Lord; and by reason of that septiform spirit whereof this prince remaineth full, he shall not judge the world, as heretofore it hath been or could have been judged, by kings or judges who are mere men; that is to say, according to the allegation and the proof, or by the witness of eye and ear: “And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” Isa. xi. 3. The rod of his dominion (continueth Isaiah) shall be held, not in his hand, but in his mouth; in order to denote the promptitude and ease, wherewithal shall be at once accomplished the thing which he commandeth. With this rod (which St. John calleth a sword with two edges) he shall in the first instance strike the whole earth, slay every wicked one, and entirely destroy the whole mystery of iniquity. “And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” Isa. xi. 4. To which passage of Isaiah the whole of the eleventh chapter of the Apocalypse evidently alludeth, as also St. Paul, when he declareth of the Man of Sin, “Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2 Thess. ii. 8.

After this first blow of the rod, (which at the beginning shall certainly be a rod of iron,) after this first act of Christ’s judgment, necessarily a severe and rigorous one, the prophet beginneth straightway to describe the blessedness of another age, or time, wholly new, which is immediately to follow upon this our earth: whose peace, whose quietness, whose justice, whose sanctity in the presence, or under the rod and government of the wise and pacific Solomon, (of which are spoken these words of the forty-fifth Psalm quoted by St. Paul, (Heb. i. 8.) “a sceptre or rod of righteousness, is the rod of thy kingdom.”) are announced by similitudes and expressions so lively, so admirable, so new and unheard of in all preceding times, that their very novelty and grandeur hath made them to be discredited. Some of them I shall here set down.

In that time the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall sleep by the side of the kid. The calf, the lion, and the fatling, shall dwell together in one habitation, and “a little child shall lead them:” the bear and the cow shall feed in the same meadow; and the young ones of both, though of such diverse inclinations, shall sleep together in the same place. The lion shall then be content with that simple food which the ox useth. A tender and innocent child shall be at liberty to divert itself upon the hole of the asp, and even to lay his hand upon it without any peril, because in those times the poisonous beasts, which are now so fearful, shall not hurt nor destroy; and this not in some one determinate spot of earth, but generally “in all my holy mountain.” And what holy mountain of God may this be? To my mind, from all the signs combined with other passages of scripture, it appeareth to be that very mountain which is to become so great as one day to cover the whole earth, and which was spoken of under the first Phenomenon. “And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. ii. 35. And this conclusion is placed beyond doubt by the words immediately following, pointing out the cause and origin of such very great wonders, to wit, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” Isa. xi. 9. All these things, together with others of equal or greater significancy, doth this same prophet oft times repeat with equal vividness and clearness, especially in chapters xxxv and lxv, of which we say the same thing as of the eleventh, that the things are all of them not passed, nor present, but manifestly reserved in the treasury of God, against other times still future, as is demonstrated, and made palpable by their very strangeness and grandeur.

Finally, the prophet concludeth this point by saying, “In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, (or as Pagnini and Vatablo read it, “he who shall come forth from Jesse’s root) which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isa. xi. 10. This same one who now standeth for a sign, or a standard to the people, in order that under this banner those may enlist who would take part with him, and this too, according to Simeon’s prophecy, (Luke ii. 34.) “and a sign to be spoken against,” this same one shall be reverenced and adored of all the Gentiles, to whom they shall all bow the knee, in him hope and repose upon him all their dependence: “unto him shall the Gentiles seek,” (Vulg. deprecabuntur, pray); and as St. Paul addeth Rom. xv. 12.; following herein the LXX, “in him shall the Gentiles trust,” (Vulg. sperabunt, hope); and his rest, his seat, his tabernacle, his throne, shall not only be glorious, but glory itself; according to the LXX, et erit requies ejus honor, and his rest shall be honour; according to Pagnini and Vatablo, et erit requies ejus gloria, and his rest shall be glory.

No one can wonder (at least with any reason or justice) that I should read those last words of this famous prophecy of Isaiah after the LXX, and after Pagnini and Vatablo. I am not ignorant that St. Jerome reads them differently, giving to them another respect widely different, which is, “and his sepulchre shall be glorious:” which will occasion you some surprise, but wait a little. The most sincere interpreters, and those most intelligent in the Hebrew tongue, ingenuously confess against Jerome, that the word sepulchre, is not that which properly correspondeth to the original, except sometimes in a very wide and improper sense. The Hebrew word, they say, correspondeth perfectly to the Latin word requies, rest. But this word requies, or rest, is very general, and may easily be applied or restricted to many particular things according to circumstances: the act of sitting or reclining is commonly called rest, and likewise the seat or couch in which this rest is partaken: sleep, or the act of sleeping, is called rest: the simple cessation from all labour corporal or mental, is called rest: death itself, is called rest, especially when preceded by a troublesome, laborious, sorrowful, and wearisome life: and, finally, the place where a dead body is deposited, and which hath the name of sepulchre, is likewise, though with very great impropriety, denominated rest. Whence it appeareth clear, that whosoever hath preferred this last sense should surely discover, that in that time the same great concourse of Christians will certainly continue, which ever since the fourth and fifth centuries have gone to Jerusalem to visit the church of the holy sepulchre of the Lord.

CHAPTER IV.

The new heavens and the new earth.

ON the coming of the Lord Jesus in his glory and his majesty, the heavens and the earth which now are, being entirely destroyed, new heavens and a new earth shall begin to be, wherein righteousness shall thenceforward dwell. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” saith St. Peter in the third chapter of his second epistle. And what meaneth he thereby? Doth he indeed mean that the heavens and the earth, or the world which now is, shall then cease to be, or shall be annihilated, in order to make room for the creation of other heavens and another earth? Thus perhaps may it be imagined by one who readeth only one part of the text. There is no doubt that the whole of it looks obscure and difficult, partly by reason of the extraordinary conciseness of the expression, partly also by the collocation of his words. But in the midst of this conciseness and apparent obscurity, any one may discover the proper and natural sense, if he will read with reflection.

According (saith St Peter) as the heaven and the earth which were before the universal deluge, perished at the word of God by means of water, “Whereby the world that then was being overflowed with water, perished: 2 Peter iii. 6. in like manner the heaven or heavens, and the earth which now are, shall also perish by the same word of God and by fire; “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” 2 Peter iii. 7.

Now I put this question: Of what sort were the heavens and the earth which perished by water in the times of Noe? Were they haply those solid heavens which the Chaldeans, the Egyptians, the Greeks imagined, and which the Romans adopted from them? Or, were they those which on the present system are called heavens, that is, all the celestial bodies, sun, moon, planets, comets, and fixed stars? And, speaking of this globe of ours which we call earth, did the substance thereof haply perish by the deluge of water? It appears most certain, that neither did the one or the other so perish. For as to the heavenly bodies, the deluge of water could not reach nor touch them. And as concerneth our globe, the waters covered it as they covered it when God spake the words: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.” Gen. i. 9. But its substance did not therefore perish. What then was it that perished by the water of the deluge according to the expression of St. Peter? To this question I find no answer more natural, or more conformable to truth, than this simple one, that in the earth perished whatever was on its surface, all its inhabitants, men and beasts, excepting only the few of every species which were preserved in the ark of Noe: all the works which till that time man had wrought upon the earth perished, of which no monument hath remained to us; all the beauty, all the fertility, the admirable disposition and order according to which God had created it for man just and innocent, not for man ungrateful and sinful.

If we speak now of heaven or the heavens, thus spoken of by St. Peter: “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now,” &c. 2 Pet. iii. 5-7. Of this heaven or heavens, we may say the same which we have just said of our earth, to wit, that in the deluge perished the heaven or heavens which had been before the epoch of that great event. And what heaven or heavens were these? Not different, nor other, (in my poor judgment) than all the atmosphere which surrounds our globe as an essential part of it, which atmosphere diversified into so many climes, is, according to the scriptural way of speaking, and also according to that of all nations, whether barbarians or civilized, called generally or universally, the heaven or heavens.

Those climes and different parts of the atmosphere are doubtless, in my opinion, the heavens spoken of by St. Peter: for there are no other heavens of which it can be said with truth, that they perished in the deluge. Those of which we speak did truly perish in the deluge; but in that same sense in which the earth perished, that is to say, they were altered, deformed, deteriorated, and changed from being good, to become evil. Till the time of the universal deluge, it appeareth more than probable that our globe and all its atmosphere, and all which we call its nature, had continued in that same physical state in which they had proceeded from the hands of the Creator; because there doth not appear any great extraordinary and universal event capable of altering in any remarkable manner any of these things; but we have on the contrary a positive foundation, to wit, the very long lives of men, to account for which no other reason appeareth, save the good disposition of the earth and its atmosphere. But this terrible epoch having arrived, it appears equally certain, that all was altered, earth, sea, and air. The surface of the earth and the sea was altered, the waters occupying ever since to the present time, a great part of that which before was an united continent, as is to be seen in the islands, especially of the Archipelago; while that space which they occupied before remained free, as is proved by the infinite marine productions, which the curious every day meet with in countries far away from any sea. Likewise was changed, and by the same general cause, (which we shall set forth in due time) the whole atmosphere of the earth, all the climes or different regions thereof, passing from their benignity to rigour; from temperance to intemperance; from a quiet and peaceful uniformity, to an almost continual disturbance and alteration.

Accordingly the apostle St. Peter spake in the most proper and natural terms, when he said, the earth and the heavens which were before the deluge, perished by the word of God and by water: “but the heavens and the earth which were of old…the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” He adds, that the heavens and earth which are now, (certainly inferior to the Antediluvian) shall likewise perish in their time, not however by water, but by fire. “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire:” 2 Peter iii. 7. and in their room shall follow new heavens, which shall surpass in goodness and perfection, as well physical as moral, both the present and the past. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter iii. 13. In sum, as those present heavens and earth, though in substance the same with those which were before the deluge, are nevertheless, most widely different in respect of order, disposition, beauty, and effects; so the new heavens and the new earth which we look for, although they be in substance the same as at present, shall be infinitely different in every thing besides. This appeareth to me to be the true understanding, and the only one that can be admitted of the text of St. Peter. Which being allowed, we pass to another important observation.

The new heavens and the new earth which we expect, (saith this chief of the apostles) we expect according to the promise of God, “we according to his promise look for.” Now, where doth this promise of God appear? If with care we search all the Holy Scriptures, we find in them no other passage than the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, and the sixty-sixth, when mention is again made of what was said in the preceding. It is true, that in the twenty-first chapter of the Apocalypse of St. John, it is likewise magnificently spoken of those new heavens and that new earth; but St. Peter could not quote the Apocalypse of St. John, which was certainly written many years after his death; and St. John according to his custom of continual allusions to all the scriptures, doth clearly refer to this passage of Isaiah. Now, as in all the scriptures, there is no other place where this promise of new heavens and a new earth expressly appeareth, save this sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, it is clear that to this passage St. Peter referreth us, and likewise St. John; and it is likewise very clear that to understand well the concise text of St. Peter, as also that of St. John, we ought to study first the text of Isaiah, where the promises of God of which we at present treat are found as in their proper fountain. They manifestly and evidently speak of fallen Jerusalem and the precious relics of the Jews, as is at once and easily seen and comprehended both by what precedes in this sixty-fifth chapter, and by all which is said in the ten preceding ones. Let us enter then to the attentive and impartial examination of this fundamental document for the promise of God.

“For, behold, I create new heavens, and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and rejoice for ever (or in seculum seculi, for the age of the age, as Pagnini and Vatablo read it) in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner, being an hundred years old, shall be accursed. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. (or as Pagnini, after the LXX more clearly hath it, non egredietur inde ultra ad sepulchrum infans dierum, sive immaturus et senex, quæ non impleverit tempus suum, erit enim ado lescens centum annorum, &c. i.e. there shall not be any more carried out from thence to burial an infant of days, or a youth, or an old man who hath not filled his time, for the man of a hundred years shall be a youth, &c.) They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree, are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble: (or according to the LXX, neque filios generabunt in maledictionem, i.e. nor shall they beget children for a curse:) for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” Isaiah lxv. 17

25.

You see here the great and famous prophecy which St. Peter evidently cites when he says, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness: “2 Pet. iii. 13. and you likewise see here one of those prophecies which have put the finest minds to the greatest pain, and, as it were, to real torture. Upon their system they have imagined two methods of explaining it; or, to speak more correctly, of eluding it: which explanations, though widely different, do yet agree in this single and interesting point, of denying to this prophecy, as well as to many others, that proper and natural sense, which at once presents itself to every one who can read.

The first explanation, or the first method of eluding it, declares that these new heavens and new earth, whereof Isaiah speaketh, and, after him, St. Peter and St. John, are against a time posterior to the universal resurrection; when all things shall be renewed, when, in respect to the blessed, “the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind;” when “the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying;” Isaiah lxv. 17,19. when… This is all well; this is as true as it is inapplicable and foreign to the present question. And what sense can be put upon so many other remarkable things which this wonderful prophecy expressly announceth? None at all: for they are all omitted, because it is not possible to explain them.

The second explanation, and the most common with the literal interpreters, flees to the last refuge capable of preserving their system, which is pure allegory. But it is a thing truly admirable, to see the most embarrassed, confused, and obscure way in which so great men explain themselves, or rather do not explain themselves. The system, doubtless, is chargeable with all the blame; of which behold an instance: —“For lo, I create new heavens and a new earth;” that is, says the explanation, ‘I create a new metaphorical world, viz, the church of Christ, which is much more ample, more beautiful, and august than the synagogue, and, as it were, a world altogether new.’ A great truth! but how wide of the time and foreign from the spirit of this prophecy! “For behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy;” that is, says the explanation, ‘I create the church of Christ, rejoicing and exulting in the Holy Spirit.’ “And the voice of weeping,” saith God, “shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner, being an hundred years old, shall be accursed:” that is, says the explanation, ‘in my church shall all fill their days in living uprightly and performing righteously the offices and duties of their age; and he who shall prove himself a sinner, though he were a hundred years old, shall be held in no estimation, but reprobated and accursed of all.’ An idea how contrary to what we derive from history, as well as from our eyes and our ears! “For as,” says God, “the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble: for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them:” Isa. lxv. 22,23. the sense of which is, according to the explanation, ‘my faithful ones shall be of long life, cheerful, and truly sound in body and in mind; just as though they had been in their primeval state of innocence, and fed upon the fruit of the tree of life.’

As the substance of this explanation is the same in different words amongst all those who follow it, I have chosen two of the most learned and most literal, from whom I have copied the very words, in order that thence a conception may be obtained of the whole explanation. And if any one would make himself more sure, he can easily peruse it with his own eyes. Now I ask this question, Are the things which they thus seek to accommodate to the present church, under the name of Jerusalem, really applicable to that church? Are these things, when spoken of the church, really true? Nay, are they not all manifestly false? Can a prophecy spoken by the Spirit of God announce to the present church, under the name of Jerusalem, things which have never existed, nor can exist, in the present dispensation of providence? For example; that there should be heard in her neither lamentation nor crying; that there should be neither old man nor young man, who doth not complete his days in ‘living uprightly and rightfully discharging the duties of his age;’ that all her faithful children should live many years in health and joy, as if they did eat of the tree of life; that he who should build a house, should live in it; that he who should plant a vineyard, or a tree, should peaceably enjoy its fruits, without any one to make him afraid.

At every step, in the gospels, we find annunciations diametrically opposite to these; and large experience has taught us, that the miseries of human life —infirmity, pain, disgust, affliction, crying, and weeping, &c. are general evils, incident to all the children of Adam, from which no one is exempt, not even the most righteous and holy; to whom indeed, on the other hand, are immediately addressed those words of the apostle, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution:” 2 Tim. iii. 12. and those words of Christ himself; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice:” John xvi. 20. “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” John xv.

20.

The apostle, St. Peter, who doubtless understood all these things better, evidently quotes this prophecy of Isaiah, and gives to these new heavens and new earth according to the promise a place, not now, but after this present earth and these heavens have perished. As these entered not till after those before the flood had perished, so must these in present being perish, in order that the new ones may enter. “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire…Nevertheless we; according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. iii. 6,7.13. From these very clear words of the apostle, are to be drawn the following indisputable consequences: first, that those new heavens and that new earth cannot be the church of Christ; because, according to the apostle, the new heavens and the new earth which are promised, shall not come till after the present ones have perished by means of fire; but this has not yet happened; therefore either these heavens are not the church of Christ, or the church of Christ is not yet in the world. Secondly, as little can those new heavens and new earth be some time posterior to the general resurrection, as the first explanation pretends; because then there shall be neither death, nor sin, nor generation, nor need of houses or vines; whereof Isaiah says, that they shall all be in existence in those new heavens and new earth to which St. Peter refers. Thirdly, therefore after these present heavens and this present earth have perished by fire, and before the general resurrection is accomplished, those new heavens and this new earth, whereof St. Peter speaketh, shall be seen, and those things shall come to pass which are reserved for that epoch, according to the prophecy of Isaiah, the only one which contains any such promises. Let us now see what times and what things these are really to be, according to the prophecy.

First, the times of which this great prophet is speaking, as well in this sixty-fifth chap. as in the twenty-four preceding ones, are evidently the times close to and almost immediate upon the coming of the Lord; (as was said and proved in section fifth, aspect third, of the fifth Phenomenon;) that is to say, the times of the vocation, conversion, and ingathering with many mercies of the remnant of Israel. After the Lord hath shown himself as if inexorable to the most fervid prayer which this very Israel pours forth in the preceding chapter; after having replied to her with severity, and upbraided her with her unbelief, with her ingratitude, and with all her ancient iniquities, he suffers himself to be overcome, and gives signs of having heard her prayer, and benignly condescendeth, if not to the whole of Israel, at least to the remnant of her, saying at ver. 8. “Thus saith the Lord, as the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants’ sakes, that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.” Isa. lxv. 8,9. He passeth thereupon to speak of the most unhappy lot which shall fall to all of them who shall not hear his voice, who (as was said in the eighth Phenomenon, article second) will be at least two thirds of them. After this he turns his eyes once more on the precious relics of this very Israel, and announceth and promiseth to them, from ver. 17th to the end of the chapter, the new heavens and the new earth, with all the other particulars which in those times shall come to pass, as well in Jerusalem and Israel, as in all the residue of the Gentiles, to wit, peace, quietness, security, justice, and holiness, innocence and simplicity, and the large periods of human life, as in the times before the flood.

In those times (in which, as saith St. Peter, righteousness shall dwell) no one shall die, saith Isaiah, before mature age; if any one shall die a hundred years old, it shall be said he hath died while still a youth, and if in that age a sinner shall die, he shall be accursed then as he is now, and as in all times it is necessary that he should be. Whence it is plainly to be gathered that even in the midst of so much righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, as in that age to come shall overflow our whole earth, there shall not however fail therein, either sin or sinners, because, in a word, all shall then be as free as they are now, and all shall have it in their power to make a good or a bad use of their free will. Lamentation and crying continues Isaiah, which are now so frequent in every class of men, shall not be heard, or shall most rarely be heard in those blessed times. He who buildeth a house shall dwell therein, he who planteth a tree or a vineyard there shall eat its fruits; it shall not then happen as it hath so often happened in former ages, that he who hath not builded a house nor planted a vineyard shall make himself its master and possessor, either by force or by right of conquest, as they say. The days of my people, continues the Lord, shall be equal or greater than those of the tree he hath planted, and the labour of his hand shall wax old under his eyes. Mine elect shall not labour in those times in vain, nor beget children, for slavery and a curse, but they shall be a generation blessed of the Lord, and their children and their grandchildren blessed along with them. Of a surety all these things, and others the like, hard to be numbered by reason of their prodigious multitude, are expressly spoken of the future Jerusalem, and the precious remnant of the Jews; moreover from many other passages of scripture, and of Isaiah himself, which we have pointed out, it clearly appeareth that the remnant of all other peoples, tribes, and languages, shall most abundantly participate in all these natural and supernatural blessings, which are primarily promised to the remnant of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob: nor are we Jews so avaricious in this matter as to exact it wholly for ourselves, to the exclusion of all the nations.

CHAPTER V.

Conjecture upon these new Heavens and new Earth.

§ 1. IT appears somewhat more than probable that this our earth, this terraqueous globe on which we dwell, is not now of the same form nor in the same situation in which it stood from the beginning till the great epoch of the universal deluge. This very important proposition may be easily proved by the present aspect of the globe itself, and by all the observations which till now have been made and every day are making by the naturalists; much more if this aspect and these observations be combined with what is contained in holy scripture.

In the first place the scripture declareth that God before he created any living thing, while the earth was yet without form, and void, that is, invisible and unorganized, did cause that the waters which covered the whole should fall asunder into two parts; whereof the one part should ascend through the air, rarefied and separated by means of the firmament, and extend itself over all which we call with truth the atmosphere of the earth, and the other part should gather itself into one determinate place to which was given the name of the sea, or the abyss, leaving all besides free and disencumbered, and capable of being inhabited. That determinate place which God then appointed to the inferior waters there is not any reason for saying, or even for imagining, they did naturally leave before the universal deluge; nor as little that they left it through any great and extraordinary accident whereof there is no trace, either in sacred history, or even in the fables of the Egyptians and the Greeks. On which account we may believe and rest assured that the inferior waters continued, till the deluge of Noah, to keep, without any remarkable alteration, that very place which God appointed them from the beginning. This being laid down, let us pass immediately to observe the surface of all our globe, of our earth as now inhabited, and not only now but from time immemorial.

The actual aspect of this surface, and all the discoveries of the curious observers thereof, oblige us to believe, without being able rationally to doubt, that the waters of the sea in former times did occupy that which now is dry land, or at least a great part thereof, and this not as it were in a state of passage, but constantly and for many ages. Wherefore? because in all, or almost all which is now called dry or habitable land, (excepting only those mountains which naturalists call with good reason primitive) are found at every step clear and palpable remains of sea animals, not only on the surface of the earth, or a little beneath it, but to the depth of sixty or eighty feet; and this not only in the valleys or plain grounds, but likewise in the hills and secondary mountains, to which that name is given, because they appear to have been formed afterwards, and as it were accidentally, by the violent and confused movement and concourse of different materials.

From this certain and undeniable principle, combined with sacred history, it follows legitimately that our terraqueous globe is not now as it was in its first times, or the times of its youth. Consequently that there has happened in it, in times very remote from the present, some great and extraordinary accident, some universal subversion of all its parts, which hath caused it entirely to change its appearance, and obliged the inferior waters to change their site, and converted the sea into dry land, and likewise the dry land into sea, and caused new seas to be formed, new rivers, new valleys, new elevations, new mountains; produced in one word, a new earth or new world very different from that which till then had been. This accident can have been nothing else, let philosophisers say as they please, than the universal deluge of Noah, whereby, as saith the apostle St. Peter, “the world that then was, being overflowed, perished;” and as saith Christ himself, “the deluge came and took them all away.” Matt. xxiv. 39. The same general cause which produced over all our globe a new sea and a new dry land, did likewise necessarily change the whole aspect of the heaven; I mean to say not only the ancient order and temperament of our atmosphere, but the ancient order and disposition of the sun, of the moon, and of all the heavenly bodies, with respect to the terraqueous globe. And what general cause was this? To me it appears that no other can be pointed out, than the very omnipotent hand of the Creator, who, in his wrath against all the earth, corrupted to the last degree, caused it suddenly to move from one pole to the other, inclining its axis 23½°, and causing it to point with one of its extremities towards the star which we now call the polar star, or towards the extremity of the tail of the lesser bear.

By this sudden inclination of the axis of the earth, there would follow two necessary consequences; first, that every thing which is found in the surface of the globe, liquid as well as solid, would lose its equilibrium, and be left in the utmost disorder and confusion, not less horrible than universal; that all would be disordered, all subverted, things all falling one above another, and mingling altogether; and that, the fountain of the great deep, as saith the sacred history (Gen. vii. 11.), being broken up, the sea likewise bursting all its bounds, and pouring its waters over what was then dry land or earth, our globe would come to be entirely covered with water, as in the first moments of its creation.

The second consequence which ought necessarily to follow this inclination of the axis of the earth (upon the supposition of which we are speaking), is that the circle, or equinoctial line, which till now had been one with the ecliptic, should separate into two, of which the latter would cut the former in two points diametrically opposite, which are called the nodes; that is, in the first degree of the constellation Aries, and in the first degree of the constellation Libra. Whereof the result would be, that our globe would no longer look directly to the sun with her equator, save only in two days of every year, the 21st of March and 22nd of September; presenting always, of all other days of the year, a new spot of its surface to the direct ray of the sun. And what would result from thence? There would naturally result the four seasons which are called Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; which, from the days of Noah even until the day of the Lord, have been, are, and will be the ruin of the health of man, and as it were a universal punishment or pestilence, which has shortened our days, and made them full of pain and almost insufferable.

Then, before the deluge had the four seasons no existence? No, my friend, as I judge, and as many other grave and pious authors have judged before me. (See, amongst others, the very religious and elegant author of the Spectacle of Nature.) It is true that many others have not chosen to adopt this opinion, because it appeared to them that the world must ever have been as it now is; but it is likewise true, that the reasons which they bring against it are weak, obscure, inconclusive, and sometimes prove the direct contrary. As it is a subject of pure conjecture, any one may think as he pleaseth. I am of opinion, that before the deluge these four seasons of the year, which at present are our trouble and our ruin, were not; but that our globe always enjoyed a perpetual equinox or equality of night and day. On this hypothesis (for it is no more than an hypothesis) I seem to understand every thing, the observations of the naturalists, as well as what is found in the Holy Scriptures.

First. Upon this hypothesis, all climes, and even all circles parallel to the equator, though differing from one another, would be every one at all times uniform with itself. Secondly, The atmosphere of the earth being in all parts uniform, would be everywhere quiet; not certainly in that quietness which has the name of inertia or immobility, as a rock or a mountain remains quiet in the place which God has appointed it; but in that kind of natural and relative rest which is proper to a fluid when it is not violently agitated by any external cause, which forceth it to lose its peace, its rest, or which is the same thing, its equilibrium. Thirdly, In those times, there were not, nor could naturally be, horrible, dark, and obscure clouds, by the concourse and mixture of all sorts of different vapours and exhalations of every kind: nor would there be the violent shock of the one against the other, from the contrariety of the winds; nor by these shocks would the electric fluid be enkindled, nor consequently would there be any of those heavy rains, thunders, or lightnings, which now occasion such dread and destruction, as well to the inhabitants of the earth as to all the works of their hands.

Whence it resulteth, and must naturally result, that obstructions, plagues, infirmities of every kind, which now are numberless, were then few or unknown; and that men, and even beasts, lived naturally ten or twelve times longer than they live at present, dying of pure old age, after having lived healthy and robust, some seven hundred, others eight hundred, and several more than nine hundred years, as is clear from sacred history, that is from the only authentic history which we have of those times.

§ 2. LET us now take two steps backward. St. Peter, in the place cited, says expressly that the ancient antidiluvian world, being overflowed with water, perished; and that this present one which came in its stead shall in like manner perish by fire. “But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire.” 2 Pet. iii. 7. Whence it legitimately follows, first, that in the same manner and in the same sense in which that ancient world perished by water, this present one shall perish by fire. It follows legitimately, in the second place, that as that ancient world did not perish in its substance, but only in its accidents, that is, was horribly deformed, changing from good to evil, and after the deluge looking like a new world, very different from the old one (even as a man appeareth after long infirmity), so this world which now is, shall likewise perish by fire, not in respect to its substance, but shall only be changed from bad to good, recovering thereby its former health, and coming to appear with great amelioration, with all that beauty and perfection in which it proceeded at first from the hands of its Creator. Although this last consequence doth not appear to be contained in the words quoted, it is so in those which follow: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. iii. 13.

So that the new heavens and the new earth, or the new world which we look for after the existing one, must be incomparably better than the present, and that not only in respect of the moral, but likewise of the physical and material. In respect of the moral, because in it righteousness shall dwell, “wherein dwelleth righteousness;” which general words can be spoken with truth neither of the present world, nor much less of the old one. Likewise in respect of the physical and material, forasmuch as the new world we expect shall be according to the promise of God, and this promise in the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, where alone it is found, expressly and clearly speaks, not only of a moral, but likewise of a material and physical goodness.

This great change which we look for, in our present world from evil to good, it appears to me, ought to commence according to my system, in that same way in which in the time of Noah it commenced from good to evil; that is to say, by the restoration of the axis of the earth to that very situation in which it stood before the deluge, or which is the same, by the union of the ecliptic with the equator, without which, as there cannot be a perpetual equinox, so can there not cease to be the four seasons of the year, which are the perpetual and implacable enemies of the health of man; consequently you cannot otherwise conceive of that natural blessedness so great and extraordinary, and worthy of a new earth and new heavens, nor can it be understood how in the course of nature, or indeed without a continual miracle, the long lives of men should come to be as they were until the deluge, nor how so many other wonderful and magnificent things should be accomplished as they are frequently written in the prophets of God, concerning that natural felicity accompanied with righteousness. Whereas on the contrary, if that perpetual equinox should return to our earth, the four seasons would be forever banished out of the earth, and everything would remain most plain and easy both to be conceived and to be explained.

§ 3. THE first thing which is comprehended at once on this hypothesis, is the terrible announcements which at every step are made in the scriptures against the great day of the Lord. All these announcements harmonize with each other, and perfectly harmonize with our hypothesis; which harmony to perceive, imagine for a moment, that now in our day such an inclination should be given to the axis of the earth as would bring the ecliptic and the equinoxial into one, so as to form the same identical line: imagine likewise, that from a certain, suitable, and secure elevation, we did observe with good telescopes all the various things which would result here below in consequence of the union of these two lines. Upon this event, which we suppose sudden and violent, would naturally follow all the consequences, which we find written in the scripture of truth; first, that our earth or globe being moved from pole to pole would really remove from its place, according to that which is written in Isaiah, chapter xiii. 13. “Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.”

Second consequence. That the earth being violently removed from one pole to another, it would be natural for all the inhabitants thereof to think that the heavens with all the heavenly bodies, sun, moon, planets, and stars, did move with the same violence or rapidity, in a contrary direction. This appearance or illusion is as frequent as it is natural; those who sail with a good wind upon the sight of any land, rock, or fixed cloud, fancy that their ship is at rest, and that the other objects under their view, are in motion in a direction diametrically opposite. Which is exactly what is written in the text of St. Peter, so often quoted. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.” 2 Peter iii. 10. It is likewise what is written in Rev. vi. 14.: “And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together.”

Third consequence. That the earth being violently moved from pole to pole, it is according to nature that our whole atmosphere should be disturbed and frightfully darkened, and that the turmoil and intermixture of so many heterogeneous particles swimming therein should for the time interrupt the distinct view of the heavenly bodies. Not as the clouds now do, which, though very dense, do always permit many rays of light to pass through, but after another manner, unusual and infinitely more horrible, which without entirely hiding from us those celestial bodies, shall make them appear to us, now black, now pale, now bloody, producing on the surface of our earth another kind of obscurity very similar to the darkness of Egypt. Now this is what is announced by Isaiah l. 3. “I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.” This is what is announced in Zech. xiv. 7. “But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening-time it shall be light.” This is what is announced in the gospel, Luke xxi. 25. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.” This is what is announced, finally, in the Apocalypse, chap. vi. 12. “And, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”

Fourth consequence. That the earth being violently removed from pole to pole, all things whatsoever which are found upon its surface will lose their equilibrium, which being lost they shall fall one above another in helpless confusion, as happened in the days of Noah. Now this is what Isaiah announceth chap. xxx. 25. “in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.” This is what is announced in the Apocalypse xvi. 19. “and the cities of the nations fell:…And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

Fifth consequence. That the earth being moved from pole to pole, the waters of the sea shall likewise lose their equilibrium, which being lost, they shall rush in confusion and overflow many places of that which now is dry land, and terrify with their horrible roarings those likewise who are distant from their shores. Now this is exactly what is announced in the gospel, Luke xxi. 25,26: “And upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” Not that there is any reason to apprehend another deluge upon our earth like that of Noah’s, for which we have already said it was not sufficient that the fountains of the great deep should be broken up, and that the waters of the sea should overflow the dry land, but it was also necessary besides that there should be an incessant rain for forty days, and forty nights; it was necessary that the cataracts of heaven should be opened, and the superior waters should descend at the command of the Omnipotent, and help the inferior waters to cover the whole earth; an event which shall not happen again, as we know from the clear and express promise of God himself.

Sixth consequence. That, all the atmosphere being disturbed and so many exhalations and vapours intermingled, in their mutual shock they shall excite the electric fire, and consequently produce a prodigious multitude of flashes, which shall consume and reduce to ashes the greater part of men and their handyworks. Now this is what is most frequently announced in the scriptures; this is what is written in Psalm xviii. 13,14: “The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail-stones and coals of fire. Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightings and discomfited them.” This is what is written in Psalm xcvii. 3,4: “A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw and trembled.” This is what is written in the gospel, Matt. xxiv. where it is said, “and the stars shall fall from heaven,” words which I agree with many others, can have no other true meaning. Finally, this is the very thing which is written in the Apocalypse vi. 13: “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”

That fire which is so oft announced against the great and terrible day of the Lord, cannot, according to the scriptures, be a universal fire to cover all our globe, as did the waters in the time of Noah, nor such as shall consume and reduce it to smoke and ashes, as so many have imagined. This idea so little according to the truth, nay, manifestly false, resteth on no other foundation than an imperfect examination of the text of the apostle Peter. Some authors indeed, and not a few, are not ashamed to quote in this behalf, three or four verses of the false sybils, as if they were worthy of any estimation among Christians. The text of St. Peter, though obscure, ought upon every principle of sound, pious, and religious criticism, to be explained by hundreds of clear texts in the Holy Scriptures, and not hundreds of clear texts by one that is obscure. St. Peter himself in this very epistle, chap. i. 18. speaking of the transfiguration of Christ, whereof he was himself a witness, hath these words, so full of sincerity and truth: “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place,…Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter i. 18—21. How can it be a universal fire which burneth up and consumeth every thing without exception upon our globe, and the globe itself, when the scripture saith, “Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark.” Wisdom v. 21. How can it be a universal fire indiscriminately consuming all things upon our globe, and the globe itself, when the scripture saith, Isaiah

xxiv. that some individuals on the earth shall remain alive and unhurt. “There shall be as the shaking of an olive-tree, and as the gleaning-grapes when the vintage is done.” Isa. xxiv. 13. This point has been treated of in other places, see the addition which stands at the end of the first part, to which I refer, and likewise to the third section of the first Phenomenon.

In sum, the day of the Lord is, according to all the scriptures, directed only against his declared enemies, who in the times of which we speak shall be the most part of men, or almost all, as hath been remarked throughout the whole Phenomenon of Antichrist. This idea is found constantly and uniformly in all the scriptures of the old and new testament, as any one who will read them with care shall easily perceive. See here three or four passages as an example of very many others, altogether similar, which might be quoted.

In Isaiah xiii. 9th, it is said, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isa. xiv. 9. 11. In Jeremiah, chap. xxx. “Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked…In the latter days ye shall consider it” Jer. xxx. 23,24. In Malachi, chap iv. it is said, “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Mal. iv. 1. and to be short, in the book of Wisdom, chap. v. it is said, “He shall put on righteousness as a breastplate, and true judgment instead of an helmet. He shall take holiness for an invincible shield. His severe wrath shall he sharpen for a sword, and the world shall fight with him against the unwise. Then shall the right aiming thunderbolts go abroad; and from the clouds, as from a well drawn bow, shall they fly to the mark.” Wisdom, v 18-21.

§ 4. THIS great day being at length concluded, (the time of the duration of which we know not,) the horrible tempest being overpast, all the impious and sinful being exterminated thence, the ecliptic and equator being united in one and the same individual line, the whole atmosphere hushed, the air cleared, the sea quiet, and all its waters gathered into the place which shall then be appointed; there must necessarily forthwith appear a new earth, a new heaven, a new terraqueous orb, in every thing widely different from what the present is, even as the present appeared in every thing very different after the flood of Noah was past; and in every thing it shall be at least as good as it was in its primitive state. I say at least, because it appears to me highly probable, that in respect and honour to a person of infinite sanctity as is a man-God, every thing upon our globe should renew and ameliorate itself, taking on in its natural aspect (as it is to take in its moral) a new and sublime degree of perfection. “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Pet. iii. 13. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. xxi. 5. To all which agree the words of the apostle, when he says, “according to his good pleasure which he had purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ.” Ephes. i. 9,10.

And here thou dost behold the present age concluded, and the day of men come to its end. Thou seest here the consummation and the end of the age, whereof so much mention is made in the scriptures, especially in the gospels. Thou seest here the dawning of the bright day of the Lord, and the beginning of the age to come, whereof it is spoken still more and with equal or with greater clearness. Now beginneth to manifest itself upon our earth, that kingdom of God, for the coming of which we so often pray, “thy kingdom come.” Now beginneth the revelation or manifestation of Jesus Christ, and the day of his power, in the resplendent glory of his saints. Now beginneth the revelation of the sons of God, which are no other than the risen saints which come with Christ. Now begin the thousand years of St. John, at the beginning of which the imprisonment of the devil must take place, with all the circumstances which are written expressly throughout the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse; and now the new testament of the Father being opened, which constitutes the Son in his capacity of man heir of all things, all principality and power and rule being cast out, and all things subjected to the man-God, he beginneth to reign and to exercise his rule, his judgment, and absolute power, full of wisdom, goodness, and equity, “And the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” Isa. ix. 6. Now beginneth to be manifested more completely the great and incomprehensible mystery of the word of God, being made man, the very only begotten of God, the very God. Now in fine beginneth to be seen and known with greater clearness, the end and termination to which all vision and prophecy are directed.

Full of these ideas, (and without giving them time to evaporate and be confounded with others,) go thy ways now and read the Holy Bible, read especially the prophets; and I dare take upon me to assert, that without difficulty thou shalt understand the whole in regular order; the seventy-second and ninety-third psalms especially shalt thou read with understanding and with relish, and it shall be very easy for thee to read and to examine the whole scripture to thy satisfaction. By which means I promise to myself that which I cannot hope to obtain merely by my words and reflections.

As this new earth and these new heavens to which we are now arrived, do likewise comprehend new events and new mysteries, proportioned to an age wholly new, it is not possible for us to consider them all in the same place. We ought therefore to consider a part, if not all these new mysteries, at least the principal or chief thereof, whence an infinitude of others may be inferred.

ADDITION.

ALTHOUGH it was said at the beginning of the fourth section that it is uncertain how long the great and terrible day of the Lord’s coming will endure, that is the commotion, perturbation, and agitation of our globe; yet having now read with greater reflection the twelfth chapter of the prophet Daniel, it appeareth to me certain that it cannot endure a shorter time than the space of forty-five natural days. Whoever readeth this chapter shall at once perceive, without the possibility of a doubt, that it is a prophecy wholly directed to the last times, very immediate upon the coming of the Lord, forasmuch as there are announced therein these two capital points only; first, the vocation and conversion of the Jews; second, the antichristian temptation and tribulation of the Gentiles. Of this latter the prophet, or the angel who speaks to him, says, that it shall endure in all its force twelve hundred and ninety days, which is forty and three months. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” Dan. xii. 11. Which days being concluded, (doubtless in the first beginning of the day of the Lord,) these words are added, which have ever appeared to, me an impenetrable mystery; “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days;” Dan. xii. 12. the difference between which two periods is exactly forty and five.

Why then shall he be blessed who waiteth or abideth alive during these forty and five days? Because he will be one of the few untouched by the two-edged sword which proceedeth from the mouth of the King of Kings. Because he will be one of the few clusters which shall remain untouched in the great vine when the “vintage is done.” Because he will be one of the few which shall not have been deemed an object for the wrath of God Almighty, nor for the wrath of the Lamb. Because he will be one of the few who having seen this present earth and these heavens, shall be worthy to behold likewise the new heavens and the new earth, which “we according to his promise do look for.” This appeareth to me the true understanding and resolution of that enigma. I invite all the intelligent to examine it with greater attention, considering, as ought to be done, the whole context from the beginning to the end of the chapter.

In this examination it is very natural that some may be struck with another kind of enigma, which though accidental to the point in hand, might yet occasion a degree of embarrassment; which is, that the prophet Daniel makes the anti-christian tribulation to last for a thousand two hundred and ninety days, or forty and three months, whereas St. John in his Apocalypse assigneth to it only the duration of one thousand two hundred and sixty days, which is thirty days less. This difficulty occasioned me in other times not a little embarrassment, until I recollected those words of Matthew xxiv. 22. “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” As St. John wrote after this prophecy and promise of Christ, he sets down the time of that great tribulation as actually abbreviated, and so strikes off thirty days from the time that it was to endure according to the prophecy of Daniel. In a pestilence or conflagration so great and universal, appeareth it to thee a slight mercy to assuage the fire thirty days before the time of its appointed duration, that all flesh might not perish?

CHAPTER VI.

The Holy City and New Jerusalem which cometh down from heaven.

§ 1. THE heavens and the earth “which now are,” having perished in the coming of the Lord; a new earth and new heavens, another terraqueous globe, in every respect new, having taken their place, “according to his promise;” the first thing which presents itself to our consideration, is the King himself, who hath just come to our earth “from a far country, having received a kingdom;” who is just arrived “in the glory of his father with his angels,” Matt. xvi. 27; “with ten thousand of his saints,” Jude 14; “in the splendours of his saints” (the beauties of holiness), Psalm cx; “with the ancients of his people and the princes thereof,” Isa.

iii. 14; “to be glorified in his saints,” 2 Thess. i. 10. All which, as the Lord himself declareth, is to be understood of those saints only “who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (age), and the resurrection from the dead,” Luke xx. 35; who are all to compose the court or the active kingdom of the great and mighty King, who as such “hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. xix. 16. This court of him who is by nature the son of God; this court of the Son of man, of the son of the Virgin, of the Son of David, of the Son of Abraham, of the Man-God, which according to the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, is one day to descend along with the King himself from heaven to our earth, that he may dwell in glory on our earth, is what St. John the apostle calls the holy and new city of Jerusalem which cometh down from heaven; and by another name, the bride and wife of the Lamb.

It is true that the beloved disciple placeth this great event in the twenty-first chapter, immediately after having finished speaking, in the twentieth chapter, of the universal resurrection and judgment. This accidental circumstance, which appears favourable to the vulgar system, is evidently that which hath occasioned the great equivocation of which we shall immediately speak. But of what importance is this? St. John in this place observes and follows out the same order and method which he hath continually observed in his prophecy, that is to say, when two or three or more mysteries concur in one and the same time, he divides or separates the one from the other, speaketh of the one as if the other were not, which he leaves until he has finished with the former; which being concluded, he steps back three or four paces, and taking up the other, carries it in like manner onward to its termination and so of the rest. And what good historian does not observe the same method? This order and method of the Apocalypse from the beginning to the end, it is easy to observe; and without first adverting to this, it is not conceivable how that divine book can be rightly understood, which comprehendeth in so small a space so great, so grand mysteries, pertaining all (at least from the fourth chapter,) to the revelation of Jesus Christ, or which is the same, to his second coming in glory and majesty.

Do not expect, friend Christophilus, that I should here tell you great and extraordinary, new and unheard of things, concerning the interior glory of that new court, of that new and holy Jerusalem; which is one day to descend from heaven unto our earth; nor as little concerning what pertains to the exterior thereof. All these things are much above my comprehension; and even the Apostle says of them, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. ii. 9. Accordingly, I purpose not to dwell upon things which I understand not, and which pertain not to my main subject.

I agree in good faith with all the interpreters of the Apocalypse in this, that the twenty-first chapter is full of metaphors or similitudes, even as the whole of the book is; but do these metaphors or similitudes signify anything or nothing? Do they signify some individual, real, or true thing; or are they absolutely void of all signification? If then they signify something real and true, what is that thing? Is it some pure allegory, or is it some visible and corporeal thing? And has that thing, be it what it may, yet descended from heaven to earth? If it has not descended till this day, as evidently appeareth, shall it one day really and truly descend? Shall it be with living and sojourning men, and shall it abide with them upon our earth? After it is descended, shall “all the nations of them which are saved” in our globe, go on no longer in darkness, but in the light and brightness, or which is the same, under the direction and government of that same city? Shall the kings, princes, or heads of all tribes and nations which are saved on our earth, bring or send all their glory and honour to this same city which hath descended from heaven to our earth?

Now, my friend, the whole of this is said, and clearly and expressly affirmed in this passage of the Apocalypse. All this in very many passages of the Psalms and Prophets is said and affirmed of that same new and holy city of Jerusalem which descends out of heaven from my God; whereto doubtless those words of the eighty-seventh Psalm are directed: “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.” Psalm lxxxvii. 3; as also those words with which that Psalm concludes: “All my springs are in thee.” [Vulg. the dwelling of all the joyful ones is thee.]

§ 2. THE interpreters of the Apocalypse, following their general system, have taken infinite trouble to accommodate all these things, and to explain them in a such a way as not to prejudice their views; attributing part of them to the triumphant church, or to that Jerusalem which is above, according to the expression of the Apostle, Gal. iv. 26; and attributing part to the militant church, not to speak of that other part which is slighted and passed over, because it is not possible to make it answer to the one or to the other. They say in general, that the holy city whereof we are speaking is the celestial city, the eternal glory and felicity of the saints.

Hitherto they proceed agreeably enough to the scriptures; but the difficulty is in explaining how the city, after being built of living and chosen stones in the heavens, should descend to our globe, in order there to be seated, to be strengthened and solidly established, “the joy of the whole earth,” Psalm xlviii. Upon this capital point (which if they avoid, all their labour is to no effect), I ingenuously confess that I find almost nothing in all the interpreters of the Apocalypse whom I have read. Some say that this city, that is, the celestial city and glory of the saints, was shown to St. John under the aspect, as it were, of descending from heaven, in order that he might see it the better, that he might observe its size, its structure, and felicity, and glory, &c. But shall this city, which was shown to St. John as in the act of descending from heaven, really and truly descend to our earth? To this, others reply that it will. But when and how? The city will descend, they say, in the day of universal judgment, and that for a few hours. By which they mean, that in the day of the universal judgment and resurrection, all the souls of the righteous shall come with Christ to our earth, and taking their proper bodies, will compose in the air, right over the valley of Jehoshaphat, a kind of city, after the manner of an amphitheatre; which amphitheatre after the manner of a city shall return to heaven before the darkness. Is not this, my friend, the general, and as it were the almost universally received idea? But is not this generally received idea manifestly false? Is it not evidently irreconcilable with the prophecy itself, with all the context, and even with all the words thereof? The following are some observations which occur to me thereon. First, St. John saith, that the holy city of the New Jerusalem, spoken of throughout the twenty-first chapter, was seen by him to descend from God out of heaven to our earth, at that very time at which he saw a new heaven and a new earth: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God.” Rev. xxi. 1,2. According to this it is clear, that when the blessed time arriveth, in which the promises of God shall be accomplished concerning the new heaven and the new earth (which “we look for,” according to his promise), then ought to appear on our earth the court of the new King, or the holy city of the new Jerusalem, which descendeth out of heaven to our earth. Upon this undeniable principle, go back and read our fourth chapter; wherein you shall find, without being able reasonably to deny it, that the promises of God concerning the new heavens and the new earth, are not given for, nor can they be made to apply to the day of the universal resurrection and judgment. Because those promises, which clearly appear only in the sixty-fifth chapter of Isaiah verse 17, do speak, as present in those times, of generation and corruption, of life and death, of righteousness and sin, of long and of short lives, of the building of houses, of the planting of trees and vine yards, of oxen, of lions, of serpents living amicably together, eating of the same mess, and living upon the same food. Which all has no place, neither can have any, in the day of the general resurrection and judgment; and still less after that last day. Whence we infer, that if the new earth and the new heavens be not in Holy Scripture announced for a time posterior to the universal resurrection and judgment, as little for that last epoch can be announced this holy city of the new Jerusalem, which, immediately upon the accomplishment of the new heavens and the new earth, is to descend from heaven to our globe.

Secondly. “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” Rev. xxi. 24. These words of verse 24, not only allude to, but are the very same with what we read in the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” Isa. lx. 1-3. The same in substance is declared by Jeremiah, chap. iii. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” Jer. iii. 17. The same is found written in Psalm lxxii. “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.” Ps. lxxii. 8.10,11. The same is found in Dan. chap. vii. The same is found in the fourteenth chap. of Zech. And generally speaking the same idea in substance is found in all the prophets, and in half of the psalms, at the least. Tell me now, my Christophilus, can any of these things possibly be accomplished, or have any place after the universal resurrection and judgment in your empyrean heavens above. I know certainly that thou wilt now recur once more to the present church, but in that allegorical arbitrary accommodative, and therefore most unmeaning sense, which now my soul nauseates.

Thirdly. “In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations.” Rev. xxii. 2. The same thing we read in Ezek. xlvii. 12. “The leaf thereof for medicine.” In the universal judgment, or after the universal resurrection and judgment, in the heaven above, what use can there be for those medicinal leaves which are for the healing of the nations? The various explanations or ingenious accommodations which they have endeavoured to give of all these things, may perhaps delight one who hath a taste for the loose conceptions of the preacher, but it appears impossible that they can satisfy him who searcheth after truth.

From these few reflections which we have just made it appears clear (and this is the capital point on which the understanding of this whole prophecy dependeth,) that the holy city whereof we speak ought one day in deed and in truth to come down from heaven to our earth, not certainly the day of the universal judgment and resurrection, but the day of the “coming of the Lord with ten thousands of his saints.” It is to be established and as it were solidly founded, the joy of the whole earth, as the court and throne of the great and supreme king, “for it is the city of the great king.” Matt. v. 35. The Lord himself, in the third chap. of the Apocalypse, long before St. John saw this holy city descending from heaven, speaketh these words which affirm or suppose the same capital point. “Upon him that overcometh I will write the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh out of heaven from my God.”

This celestial Jerusalem being come to our earth, “the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.” Obad. v. 21. “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zech. xiv. 9. Then says David, all nations shall come and worship before him, because the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he ruleth among the nations. Then also shall be accomplished what is written in the ninety-sixth psalm, “fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established, that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.” Ps. xcvi. 9, 10.

§ 3. I CANNOT deny, but sincerely confess that I am not able to reply to the questions which may be put to me concerning this holy city: knowing full well that it is not the same thing to be able to prove by the scriptures the substance of any particular event which they announce, and to be able to explain the mode in which that particular event shall come to pass, and the circumstances which are to accompany it. If the mode of its existence be not found written in the scriptures, either because God pleased not to reveal it, or because in our present state we are not capable of understanding it, how should we be able to understand it? We may be able, however, to make some conjectures thereupon, and if even these prove not satisfactory, we ought religiously to confine ourselves within the limits which God hath set to our reason. It would then be temerity in us to refuse to recognize the substance of a thing for this reason, merely that we cannot conceive its manner of existence. For by that same reason I might conclude that Jesus Christ after being raised did not abide here upon our earth forty days, even though the scriptures declare it. For why? Because I know not and conceive not how he existed, nor where. I know not and conceive not what he did, or wherein he occupied himself the whole of that time, except the few instants in which he suffered himself to be seen by his disciples. Nor do I know if he were cloathed or un-cloathed, nor do I know how he entered when the doors were closed, nor do I know how the many saints who are with him existed, nor what they did, nor do I know…I know only that as Christ existed, so likewise did his saints for forty days on our earth, in a manner worthy of the state in which they were then found, that is, with their glorified bodies, or with their persons raised again and blessed. Though I do not conceive the mode with clear notions, I am not at liberty to deny the fact. In place of denying it, I legitimately infer, and religiously conclude, that in this present state I am not capable of comprehending these things, nor doth God command me to comprehend them but to believe them. Let this similitude then be applied to the subject which we treat of.

Here I close this point entirely, confessing myself incapable of saying more thereon. I seem to myself to hear that last sentence which was intimated to Daniel when he prayed, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things,” chap. xii. 8. The answer was this, “Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Dan. xii. 9. He who, not content with this, will yet desire more information, may attentively read and reflect upon that last prophecy contained in the two concluding chapters of the Apocalypse, by which the whole canonical scriptures are closed, and after which we have nothing worthy of faith divine.

CHAPTER VII.

An answer is rendered to certain Questions.

THIS point being then closed, and with it certain things which it is not “lawful for a man to utter,” we ought yet to reply to certain questions of which the answer is required of us in the way of mere conjecture.

1st. Shall this city which is to descend from heaven to our earth be a material city, with all that structure and those dimensions which are expressly written in the prophecy? To this we answer, yes, there being no necessity nor any reason whatever to spiritualize or allegorize. The square or cubical figure, and the three geometrical dimensions of length, breadth, and thickness, are surely not competent to things purely spiritual, but to things corporeal and material. This holy city is doubtless for the habitation not of pure spirits, but of persons composed of body and spirit, that is for the habitations of the thousands of saints who shall come along with Christ, having been raised from the dead. If these are to be material and corporeal, why not also their habitation? Very many grave authors lay it down and affirm as I do, with this accidental difference only, that this material city they will not place on our earth where the scriptures place it, but above in a solid heaven, which they have imagined far beyond all the universe. But if in this imagined heaven, the material city with all its structure and dimensions is not repugnant to their ideas, why should it be repugnant in a situation not imaginary, but true and known of all? If it be admitted in an uncertain place, where the scriptures do not place it, why should we not be able to admit it, in a certain and determinate place, where the scriptures do place it?

2ndly. In case that it is admitted upon our earth, shall this holy city be really as great in its three dimensions as St. John seems to describe it? He gives its breadth as well as its length, twelve thousand furlongs, whereof eight go to make up a Roman mile; so that the extent of the city on each of its four sides must be a thousand and five hundred miles; and, if its height is equal to its length or breadth, as appears to be conveyed from these words, — “the breadth and the length and the height of it are equal,” there will result a city of a cubical figure, of an enormous extent in length and breadth, and of so great a height as to surpass the limits of the atmosphere of our globe.

Upon this second question we have two things to speak to: —first, the length and breadth of the city; secondly, its height, or elevation. With respect to the first, it appears to me, from the text itself, that the twelve thousand furlongs ought not to be taken in a straight line, but by square measure: “And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs.” Rev. xxi. 16. It is not said, that with twelve thousand furlongs he measured the length or the breadth of the city, but the city itself; whence we may suspect that the twelve thousand stadia apply to the whole city, and not to each of its sides. Upon this supposition; not to be despised, the whole entire city would extend twelve thousand square furlongs, or 187½ square miles, which corresponds on each of its sides to little more than thirteen miles and a half; an extent not so extraordinary as not to have existed in other cities, as Nineveh, Babylon, Memphis, Pekin, &c. With respect to the second point we say, or suspect, after the same manner. The text saith not, that the city and its buildings were as high as the length and breadth; but simply, “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal:” a mode of speaking which may well admit of these two senses; first, the city, or its buildings, is as great as its length and breadth, —in which very improbable sense the city would not be square, but cubical: secondly, the length, breadth, and height are equal amongst themselves in such a manner as that the city, regarded in its length and breadth, carries the same equal and uniform aspect as when regarded with respect to its height; because its buildings are all equal and uniform, no one higher than another, no one more rich or beautiful than another, no one longer or broader than another; “the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” This second sense appears to me the more natural of the two, and agreeable enough to the language of the text.

3rdly. What is the meaning of the twelve gates of this city, at all times open, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel inscribed thereon, and the twelve angels which stand at them? In order to know what all this signifies, it is sufficient to become acquainted with those angels who stand at the gates, every one at his proper gate. To me it clearly appeareth that they do not signify twelve guards of the city, to prevent the passage of any traveller who might wish to enter; to accomplish which the ready way were to close the entrance by barring the gates, or entirely walling them up.

It likewise appeareth clear, that these twelve angels are much like those seven angels of the seven churches, who are spoken to in the second and third chapters of this same Apocalypse. So that, as those seven angels manifestly do signify nothing else than the Christian priesthood, or the active department of the present church, regarded under the seven or many very different conditions, in which it hath been to this day, so the twelve angels of the twelve gates of the new and holy Jerusalem, “which descendeth out of heaven from my God,” do signify nothing else than the judgment of Christ, or than his active kingdom; that is to say, twelve supreme judges, each one in his several gate, in whom is to reside all judgment emanating from Christ himself in quality of Supreme King and High Priest.

No one is ignorant that anciently judgment was held not within the cities, but in the gates thereof: this is clear from sacred as well as profane history. As little can any be ignorant of that famous and magnificent prophecy of the Son of God and his twelve apostles; “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; Matt. xix. 28. and in St. Luke xxii. he said to them with still more expressiveness and clearness, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations: and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” Luke xxii 28-30 As by these last words, “and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel,” shall by the consent of all be accomplished, not in heaven above, but here on our earth; so those which immediately precede them ought also to be accomplished on our earth, and not in heaven, forasmuch as they do together compose one and the same clause, connected, simple, and clear. Of these thrones St. John manifestly speaketh when he says, immediately after the coming of Christ and the imprisonment of the devil, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them” Rev xx 4.

It likewise appeareth clear that the twelve tribes of Israel, certainly gathered in those times in great mercy, shall find easy access to the gates of the holy and heavenly Jerusalem, forasmuch as there were “at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” Which liberty of access shall, doubtless be, not to pay honour and deference to their respective princes, but to consult them on any doubt, and through them to receive the orders of the supreme King, and to communicate them to all the earth. For then, as it is written in Isaiah and Micah, “ the law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

This administration of justice by the twelve apostles over the twelve tribes of Jacob, is found, though obscurely, in all the interpreters; but the two passages from the gospels cited above, being read without prejudice, it appears clear and undeniable, that the twelve apostles of Christ are destined to become the immediate princes or judges of the twelve tribes of Israel, every one over that tribe which shall be appointed to him; nor is it to be believed or even to be endured, as seems to me, that so great and express a promise of the Son of God, given by name to his twelve apostles, should in the end reduce itself to what we find it reduced to on the common system, that is, to nothing at all. St. Jerome upon this passage hath this exposition, ‘Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones condemning (instead of judging) the twelve tribes of Israel, because when you believed they would not believe.’ But shall this honour extend merely to the twelve apostles of Christ, shall it not be the common privilege of all who have believed, of every tribe, and language, and people, and nation? Shall these not all in the same sense condemn the unfaithful ‘who would not believe while they did believe.’ Others altogether confound the promise of Christ to his twelve apostles, with the promise which is made in the same place to all who shall forsake father or mother, &c. But to this latter class he saith merely, “and every one who shall forsake…shall receive an hundred fold, and life everlasting.” He doth not say to them, “ye shall sit,” &c. Others proceed by other courses equally rough and obscure, and they all confusedly terminate in the day of resurrection, and the universal conflagration, upon which idea (inconsistent or little according with the truth) we have already spoken enough.

4thly. Will the inhabitants of this holy and celestial city live therein so inclosed, and so invisible, as not to have power to go forth of its walls, and allow themselves to be seen by the sojourners? To this the answer is, that they shall enjoy upon this a perfect liberty. They shall stay, or they shall go from the Holy City when they please, and for what time they please. Where they shall abide, they shall be able to say with the greatest truth, “It is good for us to be here.” When they shall go forth they shall bear along with them all felicity without any fear of losing it, or diminishing it the least by any accident. They shall not only go to see, and personally visit the whole orb of the earth, but likewise all the bodies celestial, and all the works of the Creator. “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers; the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.” Psalm viii. 3. Being now heirs with God and joint heirs with Christ, the whole universe shall be theirs, as it is Christ’s, who is the heir of all things. Then, and then only, shall be accomplished in those saints that which is written in the book of Wisdom: “And in the time of their visitation they shall shine, and run to and fro like sparks among the stubble. They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.” Wisdom iii. 7, 8. Then, and then only, shall be accomplished that which is written in Psalm cxlix. “Let the saints [Vulg. the saints shall] be joyful in glory;” and then only can an answer be surely given to that question of Isaiah, “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” Isa. lx. 8.

This which we say of the saints of Christ, his joint heirs who reign along with him, we say proportionally of the King himself. He shall stand in his court, and he shall go forth from it at his pleasure. He shall permit himself to be seen when it pleaseth him, and how it pleaseth him, by the sojourners, in like manner as he permitted himself to be seen by his disciples after his resurrection. Is there in this any repugnancy or inconsistency? Shall Jesus Christ when he cometh, be perhaps less good, less benign, in respect to his faithful lovers, than he was after his resurrection, to whom he showed himself, being seen of them forty days? Those forty days, and that which happened therein, according to the gospels, may suffice, and more than suffice to teach us the character of our King; that is, his benignity and bounty in respect to his friends. Of the saints who rose with Christ, the gospel saith that they “appeared unto many.” Matt. xxvii. 53. The same we should believe will happen in the times whereof we speak, that they will show themselves or not, according as it shall appear to them necessary or convenient.

5thly. And shall those living ones, who, according to the apostle in his epistle to the Thessalonians, shall be caught up with the risen saints in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, likewise pertain to this Holy City? What shall be their lot, what their occupation and their ministry? St. Paul speaking expressly of these most blessed living ones, doth not clearly resolve this great and important question: the whole mystery is shut up in these few words: “Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. iv. 17. Now these last words, in my poor judgment, do not mean that these living ones should, before passing through the general and indispensable law of death, enjoy the beatific vision and the whole complete blessedness of the risen saints, but that having had once bestowed upon them the change or the faculty of unrestrained motion, having ascended through the air up to the highest part of our atmosphere, having seen with their eyes the sacred and holy humanity of Jesus Christ in all its glory and majesty, they shall hereby remain confirmed in grace, and likewise confirmed in the gift of unrestrained motion which they have received. Because the gifts of God, as the apostle tells us, are without repentance, Rom. xi. 29; consequently they shall remain able and free to serve the Lord most promptly in any ministry which shall then be appointed or suggested to them; and what is this ministry to be according to the scriptures? I find none more clearly expressed than that pointed out in Isaiah. “Go, ye swift messengers, (or as the LXX read mentis leres, ye of active mind,) to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto.” Isa. xviii. 2.

By this nation and people, I understand nothing else than the relics of all nations which shall survive in the various quarters of our globe, to the utmost bounds of the earth. “There shall be as the shaking of an olive-tree, and as the gleaning-grapes when the vintage is done.” Isa. xxiv. 13; of which remnants Isaiah speaketh in that twenty-fourth chapter, and in this twenty-eighth at verse 7, he continues “In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meeted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion.”

From all the context of this very brief chapter, and by regarding and well combining the four chapters with one another, it appears to me somewhat more than probable, that these fleet messengers or swift angels, of whom we now speak, are to be the envoys or ministers of the supreme King, and of his court, to whom at that time shall be appointed the commission or general order which is found in the ninety-sixth Psalm. “Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people…Say among the heathen, that the Lord reigneth.” Psalm xcvi. 3. 10.

Of these swift angels, or swift messengers, mention is likewise made as I judge, in the last chapter of Isaiah, which, with the preceding chapter, is a continued narrative of what shall happen to our earth in the age to come, or in the new heaven and the new earth; where one of the things mentioned is as follows: “And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the isles afar off; that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.” Isa. lxvi. 19.

These are probably to be those good and faithful servants, though few, of whom the Lord speaks in various parables, that he shall find at their post when he comes, and of whom he thus speaks, “Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.” Matt. xxiv. 46,47. Which to cut short, is explained in the nineteenth chapter of Luke; “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities…Be thou also over five cities.” Luke xix. 17.19.

These expressions, and so many others quite similar where with the gospels abound, ought to be understood in a real sense, intelligible to all, and to be explained to the letter in some way accessible by our understanding. The good and faithful servants of whom the Lord frequently speaketh, might, in the accommodative sense, well enough signify all those who have been found, are found, and shall be found prepared at the hour of their death. But this does not satisfy one who would give to the text its literal sense, and understand it only of those good and faithful servants whom the Lord shall actually find at his glorious coming, because he saith “when the Lord shall come.”

These then, from what appears, shall be as it were a second apostleship, or the new teachers of the new earth, who being sent to all the relics of the nations, even to the utmost bounds of the earth, shall collect them, instruct them, civilize them, sanctify them, and as it were create them anew. Not surely with those contradictions and persecutions which the first apostles experienced and suffered, but on the contrary with general benedictions and acclamations full of sincerity and truth, for as much as it is written in the twenty-fourth chap. of Isaiah at the 14th verse, that these blessed relics of all nations “shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea.” Wherefore (it is said to these new apostles, and teachers of that new earth) glorify ye the Lord in the fires, even the name of the Lord God of Israel in the isles of the sea. From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.” Isa. xxiv. 14-16. I am not ignorant that all these things they endeavour to accommodate by courtesy to the first coming of Christ, or the mission of his twelve apostles throughout all the world, but whether with propriety they obtain their purpose by so doing, let the learned impartially judge.

6thly. Shall the saints who shall come with the Lord to our earth, risen and completely blessed, and who shall form the court of this great king, consist of all who have been saved hitherto? St. John in the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse speaks only of the martyrs of Christ, who have been beheaded or violently put to death, for the testimony of Jesus and the word of God, and of those who did not adore the beast, although their blood was not therefore actually shed. The same is clearly insinuated in the 9th verse of the sixth chap. and in the 9th verse of the seventh chap. to the end St. Paul speaks to the same effect, saying, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Thess. iv. 14. In Isaiah twenty-sixth verse 19th the same idea, the very same mystery is found, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.”

Besides these dead in the Lord whom he himself calls his own, and who have died a violent death for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, there shall doubtless be very many more of particular sanctity and goodness, who shall be thought worthy of that age, and of the resurrection from the dead. Among these shall be found all those who have wrought righteousness, and taught it by their words and their works; “whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven;” and in Dan. xii. 3. it is found written, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” Of the one class and the other speaketh the apostle, when he saith, “Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming,” 1 Cor. xv. 23. In order that this expression, those who are Christ’s, may not have a very wide and definite extension given to it, as if it spoke of all who should be saved, the same apostle explains it in another place by these formal words, “but they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its corruptions and lusts.” Gal. i. 24. And thinkest thou, friend, that all Christians who have been saved to this day, or shall be saved from this time forth, are or shall be in Christ in such a manner? Or is there wanting in you discretion to judge between cattle and cattle, between the fat cattle and the lean cattle. Ezekiel chap. xxxiv. Seest thou not as it were an infinite difference between the one class and the other.

Of those last who have crucified the flesh with its corruptions and lusts, and of those who have suffered violent death for the testimony of Jesus, the Lord himself speaketh in his sermon upon the mount, in the first and the eighth blessing “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” Matt. v. 3.10. The first are evidently the humbled in heart, who being crucified to the world, Galatians sixth 14th, do live an innocent and pure life, do most punctually observe the precepts of God, doing nothing conformed to the maxims of the world, desiring to be wholly conformed to the living image of God himself; that is to his only Son Jesus Christ, whom they intensely love, and for whom they sigh night and day: The second class properly consists of those whom we call martyrs, or witnesses, whether that martyrdom for Christ and for righteousness be or be not to the shedding of blood and the loss of life. This circumstance appears purely accidental, and hath with the greatest reason been always regarded by the church as such, because the actual shedding of blood, or the dying for Christ is certainly not in the hands of the martyr, but in the hands of the tyrant, and the honour of martyrdom ought to be placed not so much in the ill will of the persecutor, as in the good will of the persecuted, who makes an entire surrender of himself for the love of righteousness.

Of those two classes of saints the Lord says not merely that they shall enter into life, or into the kingdom of heaven, but that the kingdom of heaven shall be theirs. What meaneth this singular expression? O my friend Christophilus, dost thou not here mark the difference, dost thou not most clearly observe here, the active and the passive part? Is it the same thing that I should enter into a kingdom and establish myself therein, as that the kingdom into which I have entered, and been of pure mercy permitted to establish myself; should be my own? Dost thou not see in this the supreme king, with his court, with his tribunal, with his assessors of judgment, and sharers of the kingdom, who hold a part in the lordship, in the dominion, in the government, in the empire, and in the power, and likewise those who are to obey this empire, and be commanded and governed? Or wouldst thou that there should not be a hierarchy in the kingdom of Christ? or wouldst thou that there should not be a stable and permanent order of ranks, from the supreme head which is Jesus Christ, to his assessors of the judgment and the kingdom, from these to others beneath them, and from these again to the lowest of his kingdom, who shall certainly be the most numerous? Do not theologians admit such a hierarchy, and orders of ranks, even among the blessed angels?

And now we may be able to arrive at the knowledge of this point, whether the vulgar idea that in heaven, or in the kingdom of God, all shall be kings, be allowable or not. All be kings? Then no one shall be or can be so. All be kings? Then all will command and none obey; then all will be superior and none inferior; then in the kingdom of heaven there will be no order. You will say, my friend, that the common idea of being kings in the kingdom of God, or in heaven, ought not to be understood in so strict and rigorous a sense as to exclude all order and hierarchy, but in a very wide sense, so as that all who shall enter into that kingdom shall be eternally blessed, as in this world we reckon kings and sovereigns of the earth to be. But even with this limitation, the general idea seems merely vulgar and possessed of little justice.

We do not therefore deny that all faithful Christians who observe the precepts of God, or at least offer true repentance for their sins, shall at some time enter into the kingdom of God. But it may very well be denied that those who in this way shall hardly enter into life, or into the kingdom of God, shall be or can be kings, or reign together with Christ. It may be and ought to be denied that these shall have any part in the first resurrection, and consequently “in the holy and celestial Jerusalem which descendeth out of heaven from my God.” This holy city must be composed only of saints of extraordinary sanctity, “who are Christ’s…who sleep in Jesus…who have crucified the flesh with its corruptions and lusts,” who have suffered persecution for righteousness’ sake, and resisted constantly “even unto blood,” if not in fact; at least in spirit, “of whom the world was not worthy.”

Of those Christians then who do not pertain to this privileged class, what shall be the lot in that day? if they are not to have a part with the great saints in the first resurrection, what shall be their portion? We reply that they shall remain still as they now are, enjoying their souls with beatific vision, according to the capacity of every one. Now this same condition shall they hold in the future age of which we are speaking, with this single difference, that they shall come with Christ to our earth, but shall not rise till the first resurrection, “the rest of the dead lived not (says St. John) till after the thousand years were accomplished.”

7thly. And shall any wicked ones of remarkable wickedness and iniquity have likewise a part in that first resurrection? Yea, doubtless, as is to be gathered from various texts of scripture. Those very wicked men being raised in that day together with the greatest saints, are doubtless the same who Ezekiel xxxii. 26. caused their terror in the land of the living. Men, proud, haughty, inhuman, and cruel, who, abusing the power “given them from above,” and forgetting that they are men “of like passions with ourselves,” did make the human race to groan.

Of the resurrection of these, and others of the like kind, Daniel speaketh chap. xii. 2. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” And to this agreeth, perfectly the fifth chapter of the book of Wisdom, “when they see it they shall be troubled with a terrible fear, and be amazed at the strangeness,” &c. To all which, Isaiah addeth in the last verse of the last chapter, that those same wretched men when raised, to whom he gives the name of carcasses, shall not only see with terrible fear the glory of the sons of God whom they despised and persecuted, but shall themselves be seen of all, and be exposed as it were to the abhorrence of all.

CHAPTER VIII. THE COMING UP OF THE SOLITARY WOMAN OUT OF THE DESERT, AND HER ESPOUSALS.

The literal interpretation to this effect, of the Song of Songs.

§ 1. THE woman clothed with the sun, who is one day to fly upon the two wings of a great eagle into the wilderness, unto a place “prepared for her of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days,” shall come up out of that wilderness; those forty and two months being past, and be manifested to the new world in a manner worthy of the greatness of God, worthy of the magnificent expressions of the great prophecy contained in the whole of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, and likewise worthy of so many other expressions, which have been remarked by us and observed upon in the Phenomena of the Second Part. We have there observed the end for which God shall conduct her to the wilderness, and the wonders which to that end he shall perform.

That famous woman then, the ancient spouse of God (not less remarkable in her prosperities than in her adversities), being prepared from the times of old for Messiah by means of providences and even of miracles almost without intermission, and at length being ignominiously scattered unto all the winds, “until the times of the Gentiles should be fulfilled,” is one day, according to the same scriptures, to return again into favour with her husband, is once more in her remnant to be called precious, and gathered in great mercy, and likewise received, according to the expression of St. Paul, to her ancient dignity, as hath been not only said, but proved in various parts of this work, especially in the Fifth Phenomenon.

This then is the first and the most wonderful thing which shall come to pass in our new heavens, and new earth, and therefore immediately after the coming of the Lord to the holy and celestial Jerusalem. The prophecies which announce this great event are innumerable, at the same time that they are most clear, which it will be well to have now present to the mind, especially those few most notable ones which have been already studied, and which it is not possible to repeat without wearying those who read. Among these I take upon me to repeat only that one which is found in the second chapter of Hosea, who is the most laconic of all the prophets.

The Lord begins by threatening his faithless and most ungrateful spouse, that the crisis would arrive when he would cast her away from him, and no longer regard her as his spouse, nor have compassion upon her or upon her children. “Plead with your mother, for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband…And I will not have mercy upon her children.” He passeth on then to announce great and innumerable afflictions, which she should have to suffer in the times of her exile and total abandonment. “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths…I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast-days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. And I will destroy her vines, and her fig-trees.” Hosea ii. 6.11,12. And is not this the condition wherein this wretched wife has been seen for eighteen centuries, and is still beheld by the whole world?

Finally, from verse 14 to the end, are announced to her nothing but mercies, beneficence, and such very great prosperities, that their very greatness filleth us with admiration: such as her vocation and true conversion, her conveyance to another solitude such as that of Mount Sinai, in order there to speak comfort unto her heart: her penitence, her lamentation, her justification and complete sanctification; and after all these blessings, as a necessary consequence of God’s promises, her espousals under another deed, testament, or covenant, which shall have no end. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope; and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea ii. 14,15.

2. IN that day whereof we speak, and upon the occasion of this new and most solemn espousal, it appeareth seasonable to treat of that sublime song, that admirable prophecy which is entitled “the Song of Songs.” This song, one of the most celebrated compositions to be found in the holy books: this song, manifestly divine, forasmuch as it is ever read, even when not understood, with a certain inward delight which flesh and blood cannot produce: this song, I say, is wholly unintelligible unless we be guided by true lights.

There is no doubt that some things in it have been well enough accommodated to the passion of Christ; others to the holy virgin Mary, the mother of God, &c. Who doth not read with relish the sermons upon the Canticles of the most devout father St. Bernard? Who doth not read with like relish and edification what St. Francis of Sales hath written upon this Song, and the jesuit, Luis de la Puenta, and several other mystics who have followed those famous masters of spiritual things? They all utter good, pious, religious, and holy things, as being derived from places of scripture, and agreeable to the morality of the gospel.

But not to speak now of the mystical doctors, let us come to the interpreters, who are denominated literal. These commonly say, or at least suppose, that though Solomon composed this sublime marriage song for his nuptials with the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, yet did the Holy Spirit, which guided his pen, adopt this daughter of Pharaoh as a figure of the Christian church (understanding thereby this present church of the Gentiles), and Solomon as a figure of Christ. This first part of the supposition not only appeareth false and improbable, but even insufferable. How should the Holy Spirit move the pen of king Solomon, in the composition of a song for his nuptials with Pharaoh’s daughter, when these nuptials were contrary to law? and this because Solomon and the daughter of Pharaoh figured, or that they might figure forth Christ and the present church?

You will perhaps, allege, that the marriage of Solomon with the princess of Egypt was not unlawful, both because the law did not speak expressly of Egyptian wives, but only of those of the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Jebusites, &c. and likewise because that princess renounced her idols and embraced the true religion. But both reasons appear to me false and improbable. False; because the scripture blameth Solomon equally for his alliance with the daughter of Pharaoh, as for his many other strange wives. “But king Solomon loved many strange women, (together with the daughter of Pharaoh,) women of the Moabites, Amnionites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, (Exod. xxxiv. 11.) Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods. Solomon clave unto these in love.” 1 Kings xi. 1,2. Improbable; because this fact is not found in sacred history: and it appears improbable and even impossible that it should not be found there, if it had so taken place. Upon the same foundation may I say, that all the other wives which Solomon took, Moabites, Ammonites, Idumeans, Zidonians, Hittites, &c. did likewise renounce their idols and embrace the true religion, notwithstanding that this most sensual king did for all and every one of them build temples, where they sacrificed and offered prayers unto their idols: and the same king of Israel, now effeminated and “his heart being turned away by his wives after other gods,” 1 Kings xi. 4. did not refrain himself from honouring with his presence the festivals and sacrifices of his wives.

Who then is the author, or the writer, of this divine song? My friend, I do not know, nor desire to know; because this knowledge is of no importance to me. Only I know, that its true author is the Holy Spirit, “who spake by the prophets;” because in this esteem have the ancient synagogue, as also the Christian church, ever regarded it among the canonical or divine books, and held it in an estimation and veneration not inferior to Moses and the prophets. This single consideration is sufficient for me to believe that the Song of Songs containeth no mutual and immodest loves of the young Solomon with Abishag the Shunamite, the last spouse of the holy and decrepid king David, as many rabbis think; as little any loves with the daughter of Pharaoh, as the Christian doctors have thought.

But it is at least certain, you say, that the spouse of the Song is no other than Jesus Christ, and the wife can be no other than the church of Christ. This second part of the proposition I would allow without much difficulty, if I did not certainly know that you understood by these words, the church of Christ; that is to say, the present church, of the Gentiles, in the state in which it has abidden to this day, and which it shall, or may retain until the coming of the Lord. In this understanding we can never agree. Why? Because it is a most violent interpretation, and, moreover, false and improbable. Upon which point (to cut short unprofitable disputes), I do not cite, nor think of citing, any other authority or witness than yourself.

You are not ignorant, that most ingenious and learned men have been at infinite pains to accommodate and appropriate this divine marriage-song to the present church. As little can you doubt that the result is to suppose and to affirm, but not to prove, that they say and do not, affirm and prove not. They say and affirm in general, that the spouse of the Song is the present Catholic Church; but being come to the accommodation of the different particulars which are written in the Song, no such church is any longer to be found. She is sought and is not found, except two or three times, that she may not seem to be entirely forgotten. In her stead we find substituted any good soul which would enter upon a devout life, and aspire to Christian perfection. And why so? Doubtless because to the present church, whether it be taken in its widest sense, of restricted merely to its principal part, which is the priesthood, nothing, or almost nothing, can apply of all which the husband speaketh to the spouse, or which she speaketh of herself. If this accommodation were possible, would they forsake the universal church, and pass to an individual person?

It is not to my purpose here to prove at length that there is not a single word spoken in it concerning the present church or spouse of the Gentiles; to which a great volume would be necessary. In order to be fully convinced on that head, so much labour is not necessary. It is sufficient merely to consider with attention, some one or other of the innumerable expressions which this divine song offereth to us. For example, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee,” Cant. iv. 7. If this solitary expression of praise (though there were no others of the like kind), which the husband giveth to the spouse, be certainty not capable of accommodation to the present church of the Gentiles, on this ground alone we would have a right to conclude that she is not at all spoken of anywhere in this divine song, but some one else much better, whom we, according to the Scriptures, should yet expect.

Haply you will say, that this praise, which the husband here bestows upon his spouse, doth well apply to the present Catholic church, which the Apostle designates “the pillar and ground of the truth,” because therein only is taught and practised the true faith “which worketh by love.” To which the brief answer is, that if this alone were ground enough for truly bestowing such praise on the church or present spouse, it ought likewise to be so for conferring the same praise upon the ancient church or spouse, which we commonly call the synagogue; who, in the time while she reigned, always and without interruption taught the true righteousness, and likewise practised it in very many of her members: from whom, or by means of whom, we have received and learned almost all the good which we possess. If she had not always taught true faith and true righteousness, it appears impossible that Messiah himself would have referred to her, thus teaching both the crowds and his own disciples; “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Matt. xxiii. 1-3.

You will likewise say, that the Apostle and Master of the Gentiles saith, that Christ delivered himself up to the bitter and ignominious death of the cross, “That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Eph. v. 27. Here also you may add, that the same Apostle in the same Epistle (i. 4.) says, to all and to every one of the Christians of whom the church consisted and was composed, that God had chosen them all “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” But what Christian can doubt of this truth? That most certainly was, is, and shall be the will of God, and the intention and design of the Redeemer. Consequently that is the vocation, and obligation of all the church, and all and every one of its members. And yet, it is not less certain and visible that this will of God hath not had its full effect until this present day, as it appears most certainly from the scriptures it shall one day have.

In sum, my Christophilus, let us not confound ideas, nor seek voluntarily to blind ourselves: the present church of Christ is doubtless a moral and mystical body, whose head, that is Christ, is perfectly holy, and holy the spirit which animates her, holy her faith, her morality, her laws, her sacraments, her means of salvation, “if any one shall use them carefully.” But all these things do not prove the fairness, the beauty, the righteousness, the sanctity of the Spouse; they only prove the goodness and the liberality of the husband towards her: consequently they prove very much in her favour, but none in his. More clearly thus: This moral and mystical body, whose head is Christ, is composed of innumerable members; amongst which the perfectly sound are and have ever been few, the weak and infirm very many, the useless and unserviceable without number, and the very bad and hurtful innumerable, is it not so, my good Christophilus? Hath it not ever been so (now more, now less, with slight variations) in all the ages, years, and months of the Christian era?

To this moral body, then, composed of wise and foolish virgins, of good and bad fishes, of faithful and unfaithful servants, of a little wheat, much chaff, and likewise many tares, would you dare to appropriate that word of highest praise, and so many more similar thereto, wherewith the divine Song aboundeth, “Thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee?” I dare then say to you, in the language of the apostle and master of the Gentiles, “Your boasting is not good.” It appears that with greater foundation you might appropriate those other words which were spoken to the first spouse, who was not less satisfied with herself: “For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. How canst thou say I am not polluted?” Jer. ii. 22,23. You will say that the idolatry of the former spouse is here spoke of: but, First, idolatry was not general to the whole spouse, but only to many of the members which constituted that moral body. Secondly, it is not idolatry alone that staineth and deformeth the soul, but iniquity of every sort. St. Paul, speaking of iniquity in general, and in particular of avarice, he saith that it is idolatry. (Col. iii. 5.)

§ 3. OF whom then are these words and so many of the like kind spoken? Who is this spouse, so holy as to bear the application of praises so high, as that higher can scarcely be imagined? I have sought for this holy spouse in all histories, sacred and ecclesiastical, but have not been able to find her. I have sought for her in the Prophets, from Moses to the Apocalypse, and no other do I find, after all my search, but that one only, still future, who is clothed with the sun, whom we considered at large in the VIIIth Phenomenon, whom we accompanied to the solitude, and whom we left there retired, quiet, and secure “from the face of the serpent.” When she shall issue from the solitude, and be espoused anew, under another testament and eternal covenant, which, according to the prophets, cannot happen till that most happy age which they themselves announce, or which is the same, in the new earth and new heaven. And then shall we find the spouse to whom so many commendations are addressed.

She is manifestly the same person who is spoken of in the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah, at the 6th verse: “For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God…For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.” Isa. liv. 6. 9.

She is the same spoken of, Isa. li. 17, “Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of his fury: thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out” She is the same who is spoken of, Isa lii 2 “Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion” Isa. lx. 15, “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.” Jer. xxx. 17, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.” Baruch v. 1, 2, “Put off; O Jerusalem, the garment of thy mourning and affliction, and put on the comeliness of the glory that cometh from God for ever. Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting.” —These and a thousand other things altogether similar, are surely promised, and to be accomplished in their time, to this poor woman, now “deprived of her children and desolate, a captive, alone, and removing to and fro,” Isa. xlix. 21. In the times I mean, still future, of her fulness, of her restoration to favour, and her new espousals: and all these passages harmonize perfectly with those which are found in the Song of Songs. It would not serve my purpose to bring them all forward in this place; and therefore I content myself with giving a general idea of them, and pointing out some of the most distinct and luminous.

First: The holiness which the prophets announce in that time to this metaphorical woman or former spouse, of whom we speak, is so great as till now hath never been seen on our earth. If it has not yet been seen, it must necessarily be manifested at some future time, in “order that the prophets of God may be found faithful.” The expressions of these prophets apparently could not be more clear. Take these few amongst thousands. “And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil-tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them when they cast their leaves, so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.” Isa. vi. 12,13. If now you would know certainly who is here spoken of, you need take no more pains than read with moderate attention this same chapter, at least from verse 8; wherein you shall see announced most clearly the present blindness, deafness, and hardness of Israel; the duration of this hardness, deafness, and blindness; and likewise the end and termination of it. Whereupon you shall see, without its being possible to doubt it, that she “who had been forsaken,” and who has been and still is blind, deaf; and most obdurate, is the same who shall return, and be for observation (Vulg. in ostensionem), “I will also make thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness; violence shall be no more heard in thy land, thy people also shall be all righteous.” Isa. lx. 17. Thou wouldst likewise accommodate these things to the present church. But how? Are all in her righteous, have they ever been so, shall they at any time be come so? “The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest…And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more,” Jer. xxxi. 2. 34. “ In those days and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Jer. 1. 20. “For as it was your mind to go astray from God: so, being returned, seek him ten times more. For he that hath brought these plagues upon you shall bring you everlasting joy again with your salvation,” Baruch iv. 28,29. “They shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they and their children, and their children’s children, for ever; and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen [‘nations’ , that is Christian, because at that time these were all heathen] shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.” Ezek. xxxvii. 24-28. “Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God,” Ezek. xxxix. 29. “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies: neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth…In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing,” Zeph. iii. 16, 17.

Compare now these few passages of the Prophets, and so many other’s quite similar, with all which is written under admirable figures and similitudes throughout the Song of Songs, and you shall find, or at least have a very great and strong suspicion, that the spouse of the Canticles is no other and can be no other than the spouse of the prophets. If she is one day to be so holy, that in all her borders “wickedness shall be heard no more;” if one day she is to be so holy, that though “sin be sought it shall not be found;” shall not the spouse, at such a time, be able to say of her with the greatest truth and propriety,” thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.” And shall he not be able, at that same time, to address to her with the greatest propriety and truth an infinite number of similar commendations with which the Song of Songs is full?

§ 4. BUT let us now observe some particulars in this Song, which it is impossible to accommodate to any spouse, except to her who comes up out of the wilderness.

First; The husband in this divine Song, who can be no other than Messiah, the Son of David and Son of Abraham, gives several times the name of sister along with that of spouse; “my sister, my spouse.” To whom doth this singular expression with all truth and propriety apply, save to the woman clothed with the sun, or to the former spouse in the time of her new espousals? She likewise gives to the spouse the name of brother, Chap. viii. 1. Assuredly, you will say, that Jesus Christ gives the name of brothers and sisters, and even of mother, to every one who should do the will of his Father: “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matt. xii. 50. Well; but I ask you then, if Jesus Christ, by these words spoken in such circumstances, did deny that he was the true Son, according to nature, of the holy Virgin Mary? Did he deny that that most holy and wonderful creature did the will of his Father? Did he deny that those were his parents, or, in the ordinary phrase of scripture, his brethren, who on that occasion accompanied his most Holy Mother? Surely not. So that what these words of Christ prove is simply this: that the spouse we speak of shall in those times have two true titles for which to deserve the name of sister, which the husband gives to her, and even that of mother, which he likewise gives to her, chap. iii. 15; the former because she was so in reality, both being children of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac, and of Jacob; the latter because in that time the spouse shall fully and perfectly perform the will of her heavenly Father, and that in a way till then unheard of. Accordingly the same spirit of God declares and announces of her against that time, Isa. lxii. 4. “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken;…but thou shalt be called Hephzibah,” that is, My delight in her: and, in ver. 12. “And they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.”

Secondly. Only to this spouse of whom we speak, and in the time and circumstances to which we refer, will those words, (Song of Solomon ii. 12.) “the voice of the turtle is heard in our land,” apply with any propriety. The voice or song of the turtle, appears to be nothing else than a continual lamentation and most sorrowful complaint; which has been almost all the occupation of the spouse during the whole time of her retirement and solitude, during which the spouse has spoken in her ears by means of her conductors, and to her heart. Being perfectly cured of her past blindness, deafness, and obduracy, that dense and cloudy veil whereof St. Paul speaketh, 2 Cor. iii. 14. being taken away; being at the same time, washed and clothed in celestial light as with a garment, in short, the whole mystery of her Messiah, and Messiah himself, according to the scriptures, being known, what else shall this holy and precious remnant employ herself withal, but in weeping and lamentation, imitating the moaning of the turtle? Weeping, I say, and lamenting both over the memory and remembrance of all that past before Messiah, and because of that horrible excess of his suffering and ignominious death, and from heartfelt thankfulness for the present mercy which is shown unto them, and in fine, from hearty love and ardent desire after Messiah himself. Which weeping and groaning is very clearly announced in the scripture of truth, against its own time. See what was said thereon in the Eighth Phenomenon, which treated expressly concerning the solitude of this woman.

Thirdly. To her, and to her only with any truth and propriety will these words apply which the husband uses when speaking of her, “Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning on her beloved?” To this question (to which no answer is given in the Song,) Isaiah doth well reply in these words: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.” Isaiah x. 20,21. Combine now these words “such as are escaped of the house of Jacob,” with those others of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, “and the woman fled into the wilderness,” and you shall find the same mystery which is contained in those words of the Song which we have now observed, “who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning on her be loved?” (Vulgate, and abounding with delights.) Now the abundance of delights with which the spouse cometh from the wilderness, is a necessary consequence of her coming leaning upon her beloved, or upon the Holy One of Israel in truth. Of this same affluence, the Psalms and the prophets speak most frequently, as we shall observe in due time.

Fourthly. “Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frank incense, with all powders of the merchant?” Song of Solomon iii. 6. Who does not perceive in this admirable metaphor the righteousness and heroic virtues wherewith the spouse appeareth adorned in the presence of her husband, upon her coming up out of the wilderness? By other similar and not less wonderful metaphors doth the spouse describe that same righteousness, those virtues of the spouse in various parts of this divine Epithalamium, particularly in the fourth chapter at the 10th verse, how fair are thy breasts. (Vulg. or thy loves, as Pagnini and Vatablo read, and as it ought to be read according to the testimony of that modern, most learned in the Hebrew tongue, Signior Matei.) “How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse!…a garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…Awake, thou north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” Which is all included by the prophet, or the Holy Spirit that spake by his means in these words, in this formal promise made to the spouse, or to this holy and precious remnant. “I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered.” Ezek. xx.41.

Fifthly. Finally, we make this simple and very short reflection: the husband in this Song whenever he speaks to the spouse, supposeth her in no other place than the desert and the wilderness, in mountains, in brakes, in woods, and caves of the earth, &c. This is a very grave circumstance and of the utmost weight. If we seek for this condition and find it not in all the spouses which till now have been imagined by the most ingenious minds, that were alone sufficient, though we had no other proof, to conclude at once that none of those spouses who till now have been thought of, is the spouse of the Song. And if this most weighty circumstance be clearly and palpably found from the scriptures to belong to this spouse, and if in her many other circumstances equally grave concur according to the same scriptures, and at the same time, all the expressions, forms of speech, and even words of the Song itself, ought not this to be a clear and manifest truth that the spouse of this song is the same with the spouse of the prophets? If she be the same with that of the prophets, she is likewise manifestly the same with that of the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, as we observed under the Eighth Phenomenon, who shall one day flee, fly, or be conducted to the wilderness, in order that God may speak there to her heart, instruct her, teach her, sanctify her, as is set forth in Isaiah, Hosea, Micah, and Ezekiel; and as is declared in that passage of the Apocalypse, that they may feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Upon the supposition of this spouse, every thing clears up, and all according to the scriptures, without this, away from this, nothing is clear.

From this desert and wilderness (doubtless after the expiration of the one thousand two hundred and three-score days) the husband calleth her right often, and ever with words and expressions full of love and tenderness, telling her to come forth and be crowned, for that the stern days of winter are past; that is, the times of her chastisement, her obscurity and tribulation, and likewise the days of her trial: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone…Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs:” Song of Solomon iii. 10-14. “Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon; look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon,” (all lofty and rugged mountains of Palestine,) “from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.” Song of Solomon

iv. 8.

This coronation, to which the husband with such importunity calls the spouse, it appears from the same song, shall be mutual as the new espousals ought to be: I mean to say, that the husband is to crown the spouse, his sister; seeing for this end he calls her from the wilderness, “come and be thou crowned,” and at the same time he is crowned by her. Both of these truths are found most clear in the scriptures, as we shall immediately see. In the same way it appears that this espousal and coronation of these two brethren shall be most public and solemn, such as upon our earth has never been seen. All which anciently happened to that same spouse in the day of her youth, in her first espousal, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, was but as the preliminary and the very obscure shadow of that which shall happen in the second espousal, of which whereof we now speak. There all was fear, terror, and dread, while a covenant was made with most rude persons, hardly superior to the beasts; insomuch that those persons who composed that spouse, asked as a favour, that the husband might not speak to them himself, but by means of Moses: “And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Exod. xx. 19. Here all, on the contrary, shall be love, which doth cast out fear and dread: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” 1 John iv. 18.

There, in that first espousal, the only witnesses and ministers were the angels: here, in the second espousal, the ministers, witnesses, partakers of the joy and jubilee of that most solemn day, shall not be the angels only, but likewise the whole court of the King —all the holy and heavenly Jerusalem, which hath just descended from heaven to our earth. Whereby are naturally understood, without any violence or artifice, those words of the epithalamium, or marriage song: “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” Song of Solomon iii. 11. By which words is at once comprehended, not only the new and most glad espousal between the two brethren, but likewise the new coronation, as the peculiar King of the Jews, and as the King and Lord of all creation. Both crowns (the universal and the particular) are clearly and distinctly read of in the scriptures. The universal is most frequent in the Psalms and in the Prophets; and it were a shameful thing to be ignorant of it, or to doubt it. —The particular one may be seen in the ninth chapter of Isaiah, in the ninth chapter of Amos, at the 11th verse, in the eighty-ninth and 132nd Psalms; and, to be short, in the first chapter of the Gospel by St. Luke, at the 32nd verse. The particular crown of the spouse herself, of whom we speak, may be seen throughout the fifth chapter of Baruch, where, among other things, these words are written: “Cast about thee a double garment of the righteousness which cometh from God; and set a diadem on thine head of the glory of the Everlasting. For God will show thy brightness unto every country under heaven.” Baruch v. 1,2. These words sound very lofty, and there is no reason to lower them, much less is there any for accommodating them to another spouse, of whom and to whom there is certainly nothing spoken in this place.

§ 5. IF the particulars which we have just observed convince you as to who is the true spouse of the song, I take upon me to assure you, that you will profit greatly in the understanding of that divine epithalamium, by comparing it continually with the Prophets and with the Psalms. I know likewise, that you will still meet with obscure and difficult matters, both from not understanding at once the true signification of the metaphors, or wonderful similitudes by which these obscurities are opened up, and likewise because, after having understood their substance, you will not be able without difficulty to confine them to the mystery and time whereof we speak. These particular things which are not many, held me also for no short period in suspense and indecision, until I adverted, or began to suspect that the spouse sometimes here relateth all that hath happened to her in the times of her blindness, of her darkness, of her widowhood, of her barrenness, of her transmigration, and dispersion among all nations.

For example, when she says in chapter iii. “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city; in the streets, and in the broad ways, I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” Song of Solomon iii. 1,2. And is not this punctually what has happened to that unhappy one ever since she by her unbelief and wickedness did hide herself from the sun of righteousness and leave herself in darkness? Is not this the very thing which her Messiah did most clearly announce, when he said unto her, “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” John vii. 34. Those who had these words, St. John continues, did say among themselves, (and they spoke the truth without understanding it:) “Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?” John vii. 35,36. On another occasion the Lord spake to them these words, taken manifestly from the 118th Psalm: “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Matt. xxiii. 39. And St. Paul, fully instructed in the true meaning of the scriptures, saith expressly, “that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written.” Romans xi. 25, 26.

The spouse takes up the word and relateth what had past during those nights of her darkness, tribulation and grief, “the watchmen that go about the city found me.” Of those sentinels who guard the city, the spouse speaketh to several times, and in a very different manner. Whereby we may suspect that she speaks of two sets of sentinels, both metaphorical, yet very different personages. And who are these? History and daily experience seem to point them out to us as with the finger. Of the one class she saith, “The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me: the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.” Solomon’s Song v. 7. These, as I think, cannot it seems be other than the nations among whom that unhappy one is dispersed, be they heathen, or Mahomedan, or Christian. Who that knows ought of history is ignorant of the great persecutions, tribulations, concussions, cruelties and barbarities which this miserable widow hath had to suffer in all the lands of her captivity? Who is ignorant that upon her have been accomplished to the very full, so many and such clear prophecies, as did announce to her that very fate from Moses even unto Malachi. “All (saith Jer. 1. 7.) that found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of justice; even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.” These tribulations, it is clear and undeniable, have been the greatest and the cruellest among Christians, especially in times of ignorance and barbarism, when the sentinels, not knowing “what spirit they were of,” slew, burnt, and besought fire from heaven upon them, thinking that they did God service. To which the spouse seemeth to allude in the Song, saying, “the children of my mother fought against me.”

Of the other watchmen, she sayeth merely that having fallen in with them, she besought them saying, “saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” Here is the question, but the answer is wanting. The meeting with these watchmen we see, but no beatings nor cruelties do we see, only instead of any reply, a deep silence. And who can these be? To me the Rabbis or Hebrew doctors present themselves. Of whom, saith the spouse (chap iii.) she asked for her beloved, or asked of them sure marks of the Messiah, but received no information nor distinct reply. And is not this what comes to pass, and hath come to pass until this day? Wherefore she concludes by saying, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth, I held him and would not let him go.” As if she had said, after that my teachers said nothing to me, nor gave me any clear idea of my beloved, after that I left them and despised them as most false and most ignorant masters, after that instead of hearing them, I heard Elias, “who indeed will come and restore all things,” and along with Elias, Moses and the prophets, Luke xvi. 31. then instantly at once I found him whom I desired, “it was but a little that I passed from them but I found him whom my soul loveth, I held him and would not let him go.”

If with this idea in the mind, the whole of this nuptial song be read, if it be judiciously and rightly combined with the prophets, and the Psalms, and with other scriptures of the New Testament neither few nor obscure, it appears to me certain that there will remain no insuperable difficulty in any part of this Song of Songs, but that it will all be found easy and plain, from the first word even to the last. A thing which doth not happen, nor can easily nor even possibly happen upon any idea, system, or mode of thinking, which till now hath obtained concerning this Song, not certainly carnal but spiritual, not human but divine, and I may add this one word more, a Song not for this age, or for that age, but for the age to come, in the new heavens and the new earth after Messiah shall return from heaven to our earth, having received a kingdom in glory and majesty. Read now the forty-fifth Psalm, and you shall understand it wholly.

O what things remain behind yet to be spoken, and what very important reflections I see myself constrained to omit! But may I not leave this defect to be supplied by learned and considerate readers? To whom for the present I refer, because I have neither time nor talent for so much.

The division of the Holy Land among the remnants of the twelve tribes of Jacob. The Jerusalem of the prophets still a sojourner: and her temple.

THE solitary woman having come up out of the wilderness, “as the dawning of the morning…leaning upon her beloved;” having held her new espousals under a new bond, even an everlasting covenant, with infinitely greater solemnity than that of the wilderness of Mount Sinai; having anointed and crowned her brother and her spouse as her own king, notwithstanding that he cometh crowned by his Father, the universal king of all creation, there ought straightway to follow a full and perfect accomplishment of those very great and magnificent promises of God, which we read so express and clear in the scriptures of truth, and which till now have not, nor could have obtained, consistently with scripture, their full and perfect accomplishment. Although those promises whereof I speak are little less than innumerable, we shall make our observations upon those three principal ones, from which all the rest do depend, or follow by natural consequence, and which on that very account are the most obscure (as they say), but it were perhaps better to say, the most repugnant, the most hostile, the most hurtful to the vulgar system. First: the new division of the Holy Land among the twelve tribes of Jacob, which hath never been seen in our earth. Secondly: the future Jerusalem, not certainly that which is to come down from heaven to our earth, and which we have already considered in the Sixth Chapter, but that which according to the scriptures is still to be a sojourner, and as such the sacerdotal city, the royal city, and as Jeremiah calleth it, Lam. i. 1. “The great among the nations, the princess among the provinces,” the capital and centre of unity, not only of the twelve tribes of Jacob, but likewise of all the inhabitants and sojourners of our earth.

Thirdly: the magnificent temple of this city, unique in its kind, with that which shall be therein, and therein only, can exist in those times consistently with God’s own commandment. These three very grave points whereof the prophets speak most frequently, (and from which all men shrink, fearing the entire ruin of their system) shall form the subject of the whole of this chapter.

§ 1. The Lord, by Ezekiel, in the last chapter, announceth a new division of the holy land among the remnants of the twelve tribes of Jacob, collected again by his almighty arm; which having not yet been accomplished, shall without any doubt be accomplished in its own time, for which it was announced. If you would know what time that is, read the prophet, from the thirty-seventh chapter through all the thirteen chapters which intervene before the last, and you shall find one and the same mystery constantly continued, which is the mystery, of the vocation and conversion of the remnant of Israel, with all those general and particular events which are to precede and to follow, according as we have observed above.

We know for certain that the division of the promised land, which was made in the time of Joshua, (besides which no other hath ever been made,) is infinitely different from this which is announced and prescribed by Ezekiel. That was as it were in different circles or spaces, and those very unequal, among themselves; wherein some tribes had a larger and some a smaller portion; some were established towards the sea coasts, others not a little distant from the same; some on this side, and others on that side of Jordan: whereas the division announced by Ezekiel is perfectly equal over all the tribes, all lying four-sided from east to west: and all these oblongs extending from a certain height far to the east of the sea until they terminate in the sea itself; they all proceed in the way of equal belts or stripes: whence it happeneth that to all and every one of them is assigned the same portion of territory, excepting the tribe of Joseph for his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh; “because (saith the same prophet) Joseph shall have a double portion:” which privilege shall be retained, even in that time, for the patriarch Joseph, in virtue of the particular gift made to him by his father a short while before his death: “I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren.” Gen. xlviii. 49. The tribe of Levi is likewise excepted, to which Ezekiel assigneth a double measure, (Ezek. xlviii. 8-23.) notwithstanding that tribe anciently did not hold, nor by the law could hold, any possession among his brethren, because God only was his possession. To all which it ought to be added, that in the ancient division of the promised land, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were the farthest to the south, as consequently were also Jerusalem and her temple: but in the division of Ezekiel, the tribe of Judah and Jerusalem are in the middle of all the tribes; and the holy land will extend much more to the south, “even to the waters of the strife of Kadesh,” Ezek. xlvii. 19. in order to make room for five tribes, which are to be planted to the south of Judah; those, to wit, of Benjamin, of Simeon, of Issachar, of Zebulun, and of Gad, which all, in the ancient division, lay partly to the north and partly to the west of Judah.

And what say the interpreters upon so clear a prophecy? How manage they to evade it? Some appeal to Babylon, and say, that literally it began to be fulfilled there; but that, in the allegorical sense, it hath its whole aim to the church. But how? I know not: but this I know, that the text is much more clear than the explanation which they try to give. Others, more spirited, would try to persuade us, that all the things we speak of, or the most part of them, will not admit of a literal sense. And why not? Is there any thing in the Holy Scriptures, or can there be any thing, which doth not admit, and which really holdeth not a literal sense? If any one passage be shown to me, I will at once open the Holy Bible and, fixing upon that which first occurs, will say with equal animosity, that what I read, be it what it may, admits not of a literal sense? Wherefore? Because there is not any reason, neither can be, why some things do admit a literal sense, (that is, a proper and genuine sense,) and others not.

All the things of which we speak, (I hear it answered,) do not admit, neither can admit, a literal, proper, and genuine sense; because they contradict, because they shock, because they annihilate, in sum, because they are not conceivable. But is this inconceivableness, this contradiction, this repugnancy, haply with some dogma of divine faith, or some other truth, already known and indubitable? No, Christophilus. If this were, I say not certain, but even probable, the catholic doctors would speak upon those things with a loud voice, and in a tone of security, as they have done, and with good reason, upon all points of faith; and they would show us, as with the finger, that truth of the divine faith, which these things in question do oppose and contradict.

So that all the difficulty and repugnancy consist solely in the vulgar system, upon which they all proceed, and from which they all set out, as from a solid and firm principle. But once raise this veil and draw aside this curtain, and immediately all difficulties disappear, and the truth of God, which was covered by this veil, is seen clear and manifest in all its splendour. The learned and pious Cornelius a Lapide hath the following words when speaking of the division of the holy land, contained in the last chapter of Ezekiel. —‘But how this division of Ezekiel’s lots is to be understood, or to be made, nobody explaineth, nor dare I conjecture.’ By which words it is seen, that all till his time had shunned these things. ‘Nobody explaineth:’ and, I add, that since the time of that learned man until this day, the same thing hath happened, —‘nobody explaineth:’ all shun, all fly it; as if the Holy Spirit had commanded all these things to be written, in order that those who read might avoid and flee away from them.

§ 2. The simple argument which we have just made upon this first point, we confidently extend to the two following ones. The capital city, of which Ezekiel speaks from the fortieth to the forty-eighth chapter, is evidently the same which is spoken of by almost all the other prophets, and more than of the rest, the holy king and prophet David, and after him Isaiah. This city of the prophets cannot be that which we have already considered in the sixth chapter, and which descended from heaven to our earth. The difference is palpable, if both cities be with any degree of attention compared with one another. St. John of his giveth all marks possible, to signify that it is a city composed entirely of risen and perfectly blessed saints. Ezekiel, on the contrary, gives all possible marks (as do also the other prophets) that the city of which he speaks is composed entirely of sojourners, righteous and holy, who have not seen death —nor yet passed through it. St. John says of his city, “And I saw no temple in it: for the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple there of.” Ezekiel, on the contrary, not only placeth a temple in the city whereof he speaks, but stops to detail at great length the structure of that temple, with all its measurements, with all its laws, and with all the particulars of the service which is to proceed therein according to God’s commandment. St. John saith of his city, which descended from the heavens, “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.” Rev. xxi. 25. Whereas Ezekiel, speaking of the eastern gates of his city, doth say of one of them, by which the glory of the Lord entered, “This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince; the prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord.” Ezekiel xliv. 2,3. And many other distinctive peculiarities you might easily find, by considering and comparing the one prophecy with the other.

Of this city of Ezekiel so much is spoken in the other prophets, that it would be an endless task to quote them all; some we pointed out in the fifth phenomenon; take now these few. —In the 102nd Psalm it is said, “So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory…This shall be written for the generation to come: (or, as Pagnini and the Chaldee paraphrase read, ‘for the last generation;’) and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” Psalm cii. 15-18.

The 122nd Psalm, “I was glad when they said unto me,” is well worthy of consideration, as also the 147th. The things which are spoken in these, and not a few other parts of scripture, do not square with the time of David, nor of the return from Babylon, as is most clear from sacred history. For example; “When the Lord doth build up Jerusalem, he shall gather the dispersed of Israel into one.” (Vulg. cxlvii. 2.) In the time of David Jerusalem stood built up, and there were yet no dispersions of Israel. In the return from Babylon, although Jerusalem was built up anew, the dispersions of Israel were not gathered, nor have been, till this day, but only some few pertaining to the kingdom of Israel.

In Isaiah you shall find such things, so great, so new and unheard of, concerning the future Jerusalem still sojourning upon the earth, that this prophet alone will make you to forget almost every thing besides which we have read. Read, at least, the sixtieth and sixty-second chapters, without being

affrighted, or being driven back by the violent explanations which the doctors give. After this perusal, and an attentive consideration, I intreat you, my dearest Christophilus, not voluntarily to shut your eyes to light so clear. Observe now, that I here make use neither of reflections, nor of any artificial reasoning; I only invite thee to read with thine own eyes the sacred text with all its context.

In Jeremiah you shall find, in chapters iii. xxx. xxxi. and xxxii. things very particular, great, and remarkable; amongst which consider well the words I now place before you. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse-gate towards the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.” Jer. xxxi. 38-40.

These last words appear to be the proper and natural key to all this prophecy. Consider now the great extent which Jeremiah gives to the city of which he speaks, and which the ancient Jerusalem never had: for mount Calvary, Gareb, the valleys of the sepulchres and of the ashes, where the ashes of the temple were scattered abroad, were always beyond, and never within, the walls of Jerusalem. This is so weighty a difficulty, that all perceive, but no one resolves it.

Finally, to be brief, read the whole of the eighth chapter of Zechariah, bearing in mind that it was written long after the return from Babylon; consequently all refuge to the return from Babylon and to that Jerusalem which was then built in difficult times, must be here altogether out of the question. Consider, then, these words: “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion,” or, “I will return,” as it is in the original, “and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain…If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts…Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country…And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem…And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing.” Zech. viii. 3, 6-8, 13.

Continue to read this chapter to the end, and it appears to me certain, that you shall not find any one thing in it which hath been verified up to this day. And if you will read to the fourteenth chapter you shall find in it (verse 8 to the end) another key and most certain sign of the times which are there spoken of: for example, “And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” Zech. xiv. 11. See if those who returned came from the east and from the west, and if they dwelt so securely in the midst of Jerusalem.

The great and only difficulty which is opposed to this Jerusalem whereof we speak, and whereof so many scriptures speak, is that text of Daniel (chapter ix. 27.) which says of the Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans after the death and rejection of Messiah, ‘even until the consummation and the end shall the desolation continue.’ Vulg. But this, the only difficulty, hath already been resolved in the phenomenon of Jerusalem, to which I have nothing to add, and nothing to take away from it, and therefore do simply refer to it.

§ 3. I AM not ignorant, O Christophilus, that those two points which we have just considered, though very grave, are not those which give you the most trouble, nor appear to you the most repugnant, in all this large prophecy. The new division of the holy land among the twelve tribes of Jacob, and the new Jerusalem in the midst of them, might, in your opinion, be in some degree tolerable in another distant age, were there not added by the same prophet, and that with equal and even greater clearness, a third thing, which is —the temple, described with an exactness and prolixity so great as to appear excessive; and much more that which he announces and even appoints to be done against those times in that very temple; to wit, several, or even many of the ancient sacrifices and ceremonies.

This temple, you say, as it were with trembling, —this new temple, with these august sacrifices and ceremonies, if it is meant to be taken in the literal sense, carries along with it most weighty objections and inconveniences which have obliged the Christian doctors of all ages absolutely to interdict this literal sense, without, however, directly denying or impugning it. But why so many fears to believe and hope in that which God himself hath with so much clearness announced and promised against another time? Why so many fears, O Christophilus, where there is nothing to fear?

It cannot be, I hear you reply; because, granting that we should tolerate a new temple of a new Jerusalem yet to be, there appear along with them these intolerable sacrifices, ancient rites, and ceremonies showing themselves, as it were arisen from the dead and reestablished anew in that very temple. The reason of this repugnancy (you continue) consists in and rests upon a truth; which is —that the ancient sacrifices of the ancient temple of Jerusalem, with all those which were offered to the true God from the time of the righteous Abel to that of the righteous Noah, and from that time until Moses, have already been rejected by God himself, as being all mere figures of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; which being once consummated, the things which figured it must thenceforth cease and wholly disappear. This, Christophilus, is all your argument: and I do not wonder at it; because, as theologians acknowledge no other Christian church than the present, nor any other time or age than that which now is, we ought not to marvel that they should find in all these things whereof we do now speak, (as in so many others which we have already considered,) great and insuperable difficulties. But such of us as do not speak of the present state of the Christian church, which hath obtained and shall obtain until the glorious coming of the Lord; such of us as hope for another very different state thereof, another age, a new earth and new heavens, “wherein dwelleth righteousness,” and this not after any arbitrary ideas of our own, but solely “according to his promise,” do find no repugnance, no difficulty which doth not disappear at the first breath, and upon the first reflection. Let us, however, proceed in order.

§ 4. IN the first place we ask, were the sacrifices and the other rites which by divine institution were offered to the true God in the temple of Jerusalem, prohibited in the Christian church? They all answer yes, and I believe so likewise. We ask, moreover, were they absolutely and forever prohibited by any direct law divine or ecclesiastical? It certainly appeareth not. For neither in the writings of the apostles, nor in the canons of the church doth any such law appear, nor hath there ever been a necessity for it. On the other hand, we know with all certainty, that while the temple of Jerusalem remained, that is, till about forty years after the foundation of the Christian church, the legal sacrifices were carried on as they ever had been without any change. The Christians who lived in that city, and those who came thither from abroad, the apostles themselves, and even the apostle of the Gentiles, frequently entered into that temple, as into the temple of the true God, offered prayer in it, assisted at the various sacrifices thereof, purified themselves according to the law, and in everything conformed without scruple to that which others did; a thing which they could not have done neither would have done if there had been any positive law against it.

How then were the ancient sacrifices and other rites of the ancient temple of the Jews prohibited, and how are they unlawful in our church? They are so because from the time that the temple of Jerusalem was founded, it was prohibited by God himself to offer sacrifice anywhere but in it. There being, then, no temple in Jerusalem, no sacrifice could be offered. So that the prohibition of the ancient sacrifices is indirect, and therefore it is those sacrifices were likewise prohibited in the time of the captivity of Babylon; and therefore they shall continue prohibited from the time that the temple was overthrown by the Romans, until the end and the consummation of this age; because till then according to Daniel’s prophecy, chap. ix. ver. 27. the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem is to continue; but if after that great epoch the city and its temple come to be rebuilt again, as it clearly appeareth from the scripture they will, then at that time altogether new may the legal sacrifices which were therein offered return without any hindrance, provided indeed no new prohibition of God, whereby he manifests his will, should oppose the same. And shall there then be such a prohibition or not? Undoubtedly not, because the prophecy formally assures us in clear and precise terms, that in that time, and in that temple, which they likewise announce, not only shall they not be forbidden, but they shall take place by God’s good pleasure, and even command. Is not that enough to quiet our vain fears and scruples? would we forsooth give laws to God himself, and bind up his hands?

As God when he required sacrifices from his people with certain laws and ceremonies, and in a certain determinate place, did bind men and not himself, but remained in full and perfect liberty, to command anything else, when and how it pleased him; so in like manner when he indirectly prohibited the same sacrifices, by commanding that only place whereto he had linked them to be destroyed, he did prohibit men and not himself, and doth remain in most full and perfect liberty to return and enjoin them again in that time and in those circumstances which may please him, ‘thus God commanded the things of the law, not to set a law unto himself, but unto men.’ (St. August…quest. 36 in Judices.) So that when he ordered those rites, he did not bind himself never to relinquish them, and when, for the most righteous causes, he did abandon them, why shouldest thou oblige him never to return and institute them again, and this notwithstanding he himself hath declared and promised it by the mouth of the prophets?

§ 5. I AM not ignorant, O Christophilus, of the answer which thou wilt make to all this, neither am I ignorant of the various subtle, ingenious, and likewise religious and pious ways whereby you endeavour to escape from this, and fly with honor from the most enormous weight of divine authority which is brought on the other side, and which you cannot deny. You answer, then, first according to the literal sense, that this great and prolix prophecy of Ezekiel, as well as several others, which seem to announce legal sacrifice against a future time, do only respect the coming from Babylon, and that Jerusalem and temple, which existed thereafter. But I see that this sense, which thou callest literal, cannot go along with the text so much as two steps, and thou thyself dost confess, either by thy silence or thy declaration, that it is an absolutely impossible attempt to reconcile them, being opposed to all sacred history, and even to common sense. If it were possible to accommodate these things to that return out of Babylon, by this means alone would the great difficulty be overcome, and there would be no reason for making so much work about the obscurity of the last chapters of Ezekiel.

All refuge to the coming out of Babylon being then absolutely cut off, you have your next recourse in pure allegory, whereby at least to say something which may be for edification. You assure us that the city as well as the temple of Ezekiel, and whatever is announced and prescribed therein, the Holy Spirit doth take merely as a shadow or figure of our present church; and by this figure, and under these similitudes, chiefly intendeth to signify our church, and that worship which shall be offered therein to the end of the world, for which the only proof which you quote to me is from certain homilies of St. Gregory upon Ezekiel. Yes, friend, I have read those homilies, or panegyrics of our church, and have found therein very many good, pious, and ingenious things, sincerely accommodated, and all full of good moralities. The same I have found, though in a different manner, set forth in the exposition of St. Jerome; but, to speak the truth, neither in the one, nor in the other of those doctrines, do I find the prophet Ezekiel or his prophecy. That which they say concerning this large prophecy, is no doubt holy, good, and edifying: but it appears likewise indubitable, that the whole of it is very foreign from the prophecy itself, and incapable of edifying any one who seeks what is really announced therein: and for this very reason you recur finally to the last castle, which appears to you most strong and even impregnable; which is reasoning, and you argue hence, —The legal sacrifices with all which was offered to the true God, from the time of Adam until Moses, were figures of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; which sacrifice being accomplished, those ought to cease, and to remain not only useless, but proscribed and unlawful, not being able, without an egregious falsehood, to figure as future, that which is not future, but present or past. To this terrible argument (which hath indeed appeared such to many) I reply very shortly, by these two questions. First, were the ancient sacrifices, whether legal or not legal, mere figures of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, and nothing more? Secondly, can that which was the figure of a thing future never in any case remain in life and co-existence with that which it figured? The one of which suppositions appears as false as the other.

With respect to the first; if we read sacred history, and the histories of all nations, we find no other origin of sacrifices, save the intimate persuasion of men upon the existence of a God, and their entire dependence upon that infinite Being, who had created them, and from whose beneficence they received whatever they possessed. Accordingly it is found that sacrifices began with man, and God received them graciously, while they proceeded from a simple, faithful, grateful, religious, and pious heart. God as being infinitely great and most blessed in himself, hath certainly no need of the obsequies and sacrifices of man. But man ever feeleth the obligation and necessity of paying homage to his God, and offering external marks of his faith, of his reverence, of his thankfulness, and entire dependence. And in what other way more simple, or more natural, could he give those outward signs, than by offering to God sacrifices in honour and worship of him, or consecrating some portion of that which he received from his hand.

It is true that the ancient sacrifices, as well which preceded the law as which God enjoined to his people, had no virtue or operation in themselves, whose effect did wholly depend upon the faith, piety, and sincere heart of the offerer. So saith the scripture, “And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” Gen. iv. 4,5. And why so? Not certainly because of the diversity of the offerings or sacrifices, but the diversity of their hearts. Even in the temple of Jerusalem, sacred history saith to us, that sometimes God accepted the offerings which were offered to him there, as in the times of Solomon, of Hezekiah, of Josiah, of Nehemiah, &c. and in other times he gave clear demonstration of the very contrary.

Whence, in my opinion, it follows, that the sacrifices by which anciently external worship was offered to the true God, as well before as after Moses, were not mere figures, were not instituted and ordained solely in order to figure or signify the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, but likewise and primarily for other righteous, religious, and pious, and in these times, necessary ends. Because if they had only been instituted to figure the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, God would have revealed this secret to some one of his ancient friends, in which case there would have remained in the scriptures some clear and indubitable vestiges of that institution, and of the only end for which it was intended, which however we do not find. Moreover, in this case the ancient sacrifices would have been acceptable to God on account of that which they figured, even though in another respect he might be offended at the iniquity and unworthiness of those who brought them. And consequently he would not have said by Isaiah, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats…Bring no more vain oblations: incense is an abomination unto me.” Isa. i. 11.13. Certain it is that God spake not so of the sacrifice of righteous Abel, nor of that of Noah, nor of that of Abraham, nor of that of Melchisedek; but on the other hand the scripture, speaking of Noah’s sacrifice, saith, “and God smelt a sweet savour.” Gen. viii. 21. And the church, in the canon of the mass, prayeth to God that he would accept that sacrifice, “as thou didst deign to accept the offerings of thy righteous child Abel, and the sacrifice of our patriarch Abraham, and that which was offered to thee by Melchisedek the high priest,” and finally God himself, would have prohibited them as useless and even prejudicial, from the moment that he expired on the cross. Which all indicates that the primary and immediate end of the institution of the ancient sacrifices was, “that God might be worshipped, and that the mind of the worshipper might be ordered of the Lord.” Nor therefore is the secondary and indirect end denied, to wit, the signifying or prefiguring of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross; which indeed is found expressly declared in scripture itself. (Heb. ix. 10.) If any one, nevertheless, would persuade us that this last end was the main one in the mind of God, and that other the secondary one, I do not purpose entering into a dispute no less troublesome than useless, and which would bring no furtherance to my purpose.

My second question is this: May that which was the figure of some future thing, never co-exist well with that same thing which it figured? I do not find in this any repugnancy, but it appears to me a thing which may easily enough happen; and I could even produce here not a few examples of it (which I will not tarry long in pointing out), it being sufficient for the present occasion that the temple of Jerusalem itself, and the sacrifices which were therein offered by divine appointment to the true God, were figures of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Well: I believe this, and I hold it to be indubitable; and yet for all this, I know for certain that this very temple, which for so many ages had figured our church, did co-exist with it, when founded, established, and propagated in Asia, Africa, and Europe, for much about the space of forty years. I know in like manner, that the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross having been most fully verified, the sacrifices of that temple did not cease, but continued without any alteration to be observed with the same solemnity, and with those very ceremonies which were instituted and commanded by God himself.

You will doubtless say, that in these forty years neither the temple nor its sacrifices signified or prefigured any future thing; seeing that which for so many ages they had signified and prefigured, was no longer future, but present and past; and consequently they were as if they had not been. Nevertheless, I say, that same temple, which so many years had figured, and now did not figure, a future thing, still existed, and was really the temple of God, and was a house of prayer: that Christians having “the first fruits of the Spirit,” entered into it, prayed in it, and in it adored the true God. Of St. James, the very bishop of Jerusalem, it is said, in his history, “that to him alone was it permitted to enter into the Holy of Holies.” If this is true, to what purpose did that holy bishop enter the temple, if the temple was then as if it was not? After a similar manner we reason of the sacrifices. That which they did signify and prefigure was now fully verified, and yet the sacrifices continued the same as before, in honour and worship of the true God, until the Romans destroyed the temple; nor had the Christians any scruple to assist at these sacrifices. To all which may be added that which St. Luke saith; “And a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith,” Acts vi. 7; which priests I have no doubt neither quitted the ministry of the temple nor were deprived of it: and withal upon this point the sacred historian declareth nothing.

From all this, and a thousand other reflections, which it were easy to make upon this point, it appeareth to me, that we may legitimately conclude, both, that the temple of Jerusalem, with its sacrifices and other rites, were not figures only, or mere significations of the future, and that even though they had been so, they might very well co-exist with that which they figured.

§ 6. FEAR not, O Christophilus, that in this our present church, before the glorious coming of the Lord, there shall ever have to be offered to the true God, the legal sacrifices of the ancient dispensation: nor as little do thou think for a single moment, that I am capable of advancing so manifest an absurdity. The prophets of God, who so often and with such clearness announce another Jerusalem, still future and certainly in the state of a sojourner, another temple (in part, but not wholly), similar to the first, and some of the sacrifices which then were offered, do not speak these things of this time, nor of this present church, nor of this day of men: in short, they do not speak of this old earth, and these old heavens, or climes of the heavens, in which we have abidden since the deluge of Noah; They speak only of the new earth and new heavens, “which according to the promise we look for;” for otherwise they would be contradictory to themselves.

As the ancient temple of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem itself, cannot be built according to the scriptures, so long as this age shall continue, this the time of the Gentiles, this old earth which we live in; as there is no reason to apprehend at present any such sacrifices in the temple of Jerusalem; what have we to fear at present, when we knew that Jerusalem and its temple shall remain destroyed until the consummation and the end? Whence we infer (and this is a true apology for the Christian doctors who have touched these points, from the fourth century until this day), that those who, being affrighted by the great and terrible phantasm of the Millenarians, did reject a future age, another day, another new earth and new heavens, another great space of time between the glorious coming of the Lord and the judgment or the general resurrection, have all had the best reason for being so much alarmed, and for endeavouring to put to flight or to interdict everything which we read in the prophets of God, concerning the future Jerusalem, and concerning its temple and its sacrifices, &c.

But this true phantom having vanished, what have we to fear? Who has asked our dictate or good pleasure, in order that God may do, or have it in his power to do, in another and a different age, or in another earth wholly new, whose government concerns us not? God will then do whatever he pleaseth, and all with infinite wisdom. He will do things new and unheard of till this day: “And he who sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new.” He will do things which now we are incapable even of imagining; and amongst these he will undoubtedly likewise do all that he hath announced and promised for that time, “by his servants the prophets;…because it is impossible for God to lie.”

Consequently, there will be in those times, and in that new earth, a city called Jerusalem, the capital and centre of unity; there will be in this capital city a magnificent temple, neither more nor less than as Ezekiel describeth it; there will be deposited in that new temple the very sacred ark of the old covenant, the tabernacle, and the altar, which Jeremiah, being “warned of God,” hid in a cave of Mount Nebo, prophesying at the same time, “As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather his people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.” 2 Mac. ii. 8. In sum, there shall come again to be performed in that temple, and there only, that which is now so much feared, as if it were spoken concerning us, to wit, some or many of the ancient sacrifices and ceremonies.

But to what end (I hear you in the last place make answer), to what end is this new temple (still Christian, as is supposed), and these antiquated sacrifices and ceremonies of the old covenant? To what end should there come to be placed in it the same ark, the same tabernacle and altar which were made in the desert, “according to the pattern which was shewed to Moses in the mount?” Oh, my Christophilus! Put this question to the Holy Spirit —not to me. What, would you that I should know the ends and counsels of God? “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counsellor?” “And yet permit me to say, in the words of Christ, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark ix. 23. If thou canst sincerely believe all these things, and others the like, which thou readest clear and express in the scriptures of truth, thou shalt not find any such difficulty in understanding them. But if thou wouldst first understand, if, in order to believe them, thou dost expect to see them all harmonize with a system which thou hast forged; in this case, it appears impossible thou shouldst understand them. On the contrary, all these things being once believed, thy simple and humble faith will become a solid and firm principle, upon which thou mayest labour with good hope, in the understanding of those ends or counsels of God; by help at least of certain reasonings from congruity and some prudent conjectures. One such offereth itself to me, which I now proceed to lay before thee for thy consideration, leaving a wide field open for thee to range over in quest of better. It is as follows.

The ancient sacrifices which, according to the scriptures, shall come to re-appear in the future age, in the new earth, in the new and last temple of Jerusalem, will be nothing else than a new and most wise liturgy instituted and ordained by the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ. They will be, I say, nothing else than ceremonies, not only significant, but clearly demonstrative, and which shall in that individual temple, and in that only, precede the bloodless sacrifices of the Eucharist. And why this? In order that the ancient figures may once meet and embrace that which they foreshewed; in order that those figures may at some time be seen close at hand, and being brought face to face with the original then present, may be all understood with clear apprehension, and the infinite wisdom of God be admired and blessed in their institution.

What findest thou to blame or to wonder at in this conjecture? In the present liturgy, wisely instituted by the church, doth not the reading of the prophecies which announce it, expressly or figuratively, oft-times precede our very holy sacrifice? and is it not often preceded by many old and new ceremonies, more or less significant of the same sacrifice? In the last supper of the Lord, did not the legal rites immediately precede the institution of the Eucharist? What repugnancy, then, or what absurdity can be imagined in presenting to God in those times, in that age, and in that only temple, the true and most holy sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, preceded by the rites of the law which prefigured it? What repugnancy, that the very ark of the old covenant, where were deposited not only the two tables of stone written “with the finger of the living God,” but likewise a pot of manna, the figure of our sacrament, should then serve for the laying up and perpetual preservation of the same sacrament? What repugnancy, in short, that in that time, and in that age altogether new, should be verified all that the prophet Ezekiel foretells with so much diffuseness and prolixity? If it be not verified then, when shall it be verified?

Thou sayest here (what must needs occur to every one) that St. Paul (1 Cor. xi.) asserts, that the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ shall continue only until he come. “For as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” Consequently, after he is come, there will be no more offering of this sacrifice of righteousness, nor, therefore, of the ancient rites. This small difficulty is easily resolved, simply by understanding the proper and genuine signification of the adverb, ‘until,’ (donec) either in the latin language, or still more in the phrase of Holy Scripture: e.g. “Sit at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” These words of the 110th Psalm, it is most certain, do not mean that after the enemies of Christ have been put under his feet he will cease to be seated at the right hand of God; for this rest, honour, or glory is to be eternal. In the same sense, saith St. Matthew, speaking of St. Joseph (i. 25.) “And he took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son.” And yet the perpetual virginity of this our Lady, is a point of divine faith; consequently the until, doth not signify in these passages the termination of that which is announced. In like manner may we say of the till he come of St. Paul. It doth not mean that when the Lord shall come, he shall entirely take away the sacrifice of his body and blood, but simply that it shall never fail throughout the space of time which is to intervene between its institution and the glorious coming of the Lord. This, and no other, is, in my opinion, the true sense of the text of St. Paul.

§7. RETURNING now to that which we said above, that is, to the concurrence which will take place, or which may take place in that time, and in that temple only, between the bloodless sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, with the ancient rites, it appears to me that I see the same very clearly announced in several passages of scripture. Of which two or three follow.

First. In the 51st Psalm I read these words, “Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness; with burnt offering, and whole burnt-offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.” Psalm ii. 18,19. What sacrifice of righteousness (Vulg. sacrificium) can this be which God will accept, together with oblations, holocausts, and calves, when the walls of Jerusalem shall be built up? The explanation which you give to these words comes to this, that God will accept the sacrifices which are made to him by a pious heart. But hath the sacrifice which proceedeth from a righteous and pious soul never been accepted of God before he had a temple in Jerusalem. Do the sacrifices of animals deserve the illustrious name of ‘sacrifices of righteousness.’ Others well perceiving the great difficulty, judge (as seemeth to me rashly) that these words were added to the Psalm by the captives of Babylon. But from what history worthy of faith do they derive this piece of knowledge? And though it were granted, what sacrifice of righteousness did they offer to God, who returned from Babylon? The same as formerly, without any innovation; others, finally, and those the most numerous, betake themselves here to the ordinary refuge, which is allegory “that the walls of Jerusalem shall be built,” that is, the Christian church, in which God will accept the sacrifice of righteousness, which can be no other than that which Christians offer. According to this opinion the whole burnt-offerings, and the calves, which are laid upon the altar of God, should also be allegorical holocausts and calves.

Secondly. In Malachi, it is said, “Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts: but who may abide the day of his coming?…for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap:…and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” Malachi

iii. 1-4.

I am not ignorant, Christophilus, of the very obscure and violent interpretation which you pretend to give of these words, in order, if possible, to accommodate them to the first coming of the Lord. Your principal and only foundation which carries any favourable appearance is, that Jesus Christ himself speaking of John the Baptist, quotes the first verse of this third chapter of Malachi saying expressly that he spoke of St. John. “For this is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” Matt. xi. 10. See also Luke vii. 27.

To this argument it is answered that Jesus Christ quotes the first verse of this prophet, with the best reason and highest propriety, because in it St. John the Baptist is manifestly spoken of. But in this first verse is it St. John the Baptist alone that is spoken of? This is what I deny. Of what other messenger then, or envoy extraordinary is it here spoken? It is manifestly and properly spoken, my worthy Sir, of the prophet Elias, and of his mission still future, and at the same time, though indirectly and secondarily, of the mission of St. John the Baptist; who came, as saith the gospel, “in the spirit and power of Elias;” (Luke i. 17.) St. Mark begins his gospel with the preaching of St. John the Baptist, for which he quotes not only the text of Malachi, whereof we now speak, but likewise the third verse of the fortieth chapter of Isaiah, “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert an highway for our God;” and there is no doubt that in both texts, the mission of the Baptist is announced, “in the power of Elias;” but principally that of Elias himself, in his appointed time. Read the whole context of both prophecies, and I feel persuaded that it will be sufficient to open your eyes. The context of Malachi you will finish by reading onwards from the first to the fifth verse; the context of Isaiah you can see in that which precedes and follows the particular text quoted by St. Mark, which is the third verse of the fortieth chapter as is mentioned above. It is sufficient to read those three first verses, in order to know the times whereof this prophet speaks directly or indirectly, to wit, the times of the future mission of Elias, and secondarily, and indirectly, the times now passed of the mission of St. John, who appeared in the world “in the spirit and power of Elias.”

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isa. lx. 1-3. In the time of St. John Baptist the warfare of Jerusalem (or of Israel, of which it was the capital) was not accomplished, nor was her iniquity pardoned, nor had she received “double for all her sins;” because that double she hath suffered even until this day, and continues to suffer, without knowing how long it is to endure. “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” was certainly verified in the mission of St. John, and shall yet be more completely verified in the mission of Elias; by means of which Jerusalem shall be called, with whatever is comprehended under that name. Then he shall speak comfortably to her, and pardon all her past iniquity, as to one that hath received double for all her sins.

This appeareth to be the manifest and palpable sense of that prophecy (and the same I say of that of Malachi): which Jesus Christ himself expressly confirmed, when he said, speaking of St. John Baptist, “Elias indeed hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatever they pleased:” but in order that no one might confound the spirit and power of Elias, in which St. John came as the forerunner of his first coming, with the very person of Elias which shall come as the precursor of his second, he added, “Elias shall indeed come, and restore all things,” Matt. xvii. 11: whereby, continues St. Matthew, the disciples knew that in speaking of Elias, he spake likewise of John; “then his disciples understood that he spake to them of John the Baptist.” So that the first verse of Malachi certainly speaketh of the future preaching of Elias. The four following verses cannot be applied to the times of St. John, or to the first coming of the Lord, because in these times was not fulfilled, neither till now hath been fulfilled, anything therein contained. “Behold he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts: but who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Mal. iii. 1-3.

These expressions do all appear very improper and utterly foreign to that sweet and pacific, humble and plain style in which the Lord appeared the first time on the earth, when he came in suffering flesh. Who far from purifying the sons of Levi, as silver and gold are purified, left them for the most part in all their uncleanness, wherein they continue until this day. Then they did not offer unto God sacrifices in righteousness. Fix now your eyes upon the second coming of the Lord, which the mission and preaching of Elias are to precede, and you shall at once understand when and how the Lord will purify the sons of Levi, as gold in the crucible, that is, during the forty and two months of solitude and penitence, in which the relics of Levi will be truly, most regarded. Then those relics of Levi, now purified and sanctified, shall offer unto God sacrifices in righteousness. It may be good here to remark that the prophet speaks in the plural number, sacrifices; and it is certain, that in the present church (to which they would accommodate all this) has not had, neither hath, nor can have, more than one sacrifice, which is the body and blood of Christ. But in those future times, whereof this prophecy speaketh, it will be possible to have, and then only to have the present sacrifice conjoined with the old one, and both in true righteousness. On all which accounts, the spouse shall in those times be able to say, with all truth and propriety, those words which are already entered into the Song of Songs: “The new and the old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.” Cant. vii. 13.

I conclude this point with a luminous passage of that very learned author, Antonio Vieyra, whose manuscript work, “Concerning the consummation of Christ’s kingdom upon the earth,” I have at length had it in my power to read. In the second volume, chap. xi. he treats diffusely of Ezekiel’s temple and of everything therein announced, and of the six modes which he proposes for the literal understanding of that temple, the third is in substance the same which I have just thrown out. It is true that his system begins from a false principle, in supposing that Jerusalem and her temple may come to be built before the coming of the Lord and the consummation of this age: but setting this aside, that learned man says, ‘What inconvenience is there in the figure and the thing figured being joined together? May not Alexander the Great and his picture meet together in his palace? In the very supper, and even in the very mass, were not the paschal lamb and the august sacrament of the altar found joined together? Nothing then, is there of repugnancy in the idea that in that future temple, the shadow and the truth, the figure and that which it figured, should be seen together: and in order that we may not thereby be startled, this learned man goes on to relate what he himself saw at Rome.

“I assert a thing which I remember to have seen in the course of the year of our salvation, 1650: that by Innocent X. in the church dedicated to the name of Jesus, upon occasion of the solemnity of the forty hours, there was erected with all wonted magnificence, a most spacious theatre, set off with artificial lights; of which the effect is to augment the prospect; and therein was the temple of Solomon represented in a wonderful way. In the lower part Solomon himself was to be seen with the ministering priests and Levites, offering sacrifice according to the ritual of his country: but in the upper part there shone forth from the midst of a cloud, clothed around on every side with radiance, the true bread which cometh down from heaven, consecrated according to the Christian rites, to which alone with bendings of the body and beatings of the breast, adoration was offered by an innumerable multitude of citizens and foreigners gathered together. Than which no device can be conceived or framed more worthy of representing the temple of Ezekiel, and its legal sacrifices joined in harmony with the faith of the present church and the law of grace. For there, the figure and the thing figured, the sun and the shadow, the one sacrifice and the many sacrifices, were seen together:…that the true, these the adumbrations of the true; that for worship and adoration, these for pomp merely and appearance. Now, if in that theatre the sacrifice of Christ, not future, but sometime prefigured and now present, did show forth the legal sacrifices of Solomon, why may we not, without prejudice or peril to the faith, be permitted to philosophize concerning the temple of Ezekiel and the sacrifices thereof.”

CHAPTER X.

The Residue of the Nations.

§ 1. AMONGST the great difficulties and embarrassments which the common system hath at every step to struggle with, one is the resolution of a certain problem in which the scriptures are found opposed to themselves; forasmuch as when speaking of one and the same event, some passages affirm and others deny it; some assert that the thing will infallibly happen, while others declare the very contrary. There is no doubt that this opposition of some passages of scripture to others, can only be apparent, because the Holy Spirit cannot contradict himself. But how, upon the ordinary system, to make this appearance vanish, is the great difficulty.

In very many passages, with a clearness and definiteness of expression, which doth leave the most scrupulous exactness nothing to desire, it is asserted, that there is at length to arrive a certain day, age, or time (for these three words are used promiscuously by the sacred writers to signify one and the same thing), in which the whole of our earth, all its bounds and limits, in whatever way you look upon it, all its nations, tribes, families, and kindreds, and even all its individuals, shall be blessed in Christ, shall all believe and hope in him, shall know him, adore him, bless him, love him, and consequently be all Christians and good Christians, united in one faith, animated by one spirit; as it were one great flock, simple and harmless, under the guidance and government of one Shepherd. I shall now give, as it were under one point of view, several of these passages of scripture.

The first which offers itself to our consideration, being the most ancient of all, is the promise which God made, and which at sundry times he repeated and confirmed to his most faithful friend the righteous Abraham: “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”

Gen xii. 3. And in the eighteenth chapter ver. 18. “And all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him.” And in the 18th verse of the twenty-second chapter, “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” We have it here then that all the kindreds or families of the earth shall one day be blessed in the seed of Abraham, that is Christ, as St. Paul explains, Gal.

iii. 16.

Here you say, and you say it with the greatest truth, that all these promises made to the father of all believers, were fulfilled eighteen centuries ago, to many peoples, nations, and kindreds of the earth, who have believed in and obeyed the gospel: to which I make answer that you are right, taking, however, leave to add one word which you cannot deny; to wit, that all which the Lord during these eighteen centuries hath done, is still very small in comparison with his infallible promises; and consequently that much still remaineth to be done, in order that these promises may reach their entire and perfect fullness: and to the intent you may see this, we proceed a little forward.

In the twenty-second Psalm, which is all evidently spoken of Christ, who himself spake it in spirit upon the cross, and which relateth his straits, his desertion, his nakedness, the wounds both of his hands and his feet, he himself uttereth these words, as containing a necessary consequence, in due time, of his death and passion: “All the ends of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he is the governor among the nations.” Psalm xxii. 27,28. In the seventy-second Psalm it is declared of Christ: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him…And daily shall he be praised…And let the whole earth [Vulg. shall] be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.” Psalm lxxii. 8-11.19. In the eighty-sixth Psalm ver. 9. “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.” In Isaiah xi. 9. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” In chapter

lxvi. 23. “All flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.” In Daniel vii. 14. it is said, “And there was given to him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

To make short: in the admirable song of the Magnificat, the Most Holy Virgin foretelleth, among other things, “and all generations shall call me blessed:” which all agreeth well with what was observed under the first phenomenon. “And the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Dan. ii. 35. In all these passages of Holy Scripture, and in others of the like kind which we could quote, there is first to be observed, the generality or universality with which they speak of all our globe, of all its bounds and limits, of all races, of all nations, tribes, and peoples, of all kindreds and families, without any exception. This very observation maketh St. Paul, upon the word all, of the eighth Psalm, saying, “for in that he hath put all things under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.” Heb. ii. 8. Which, as the same apostle addeth, had not happened up to his own time; and, we may add, nor till ours: “but we see not yet all things put under him.” if still we see not all things subject to him, we ought to expect another time in which they shall be so: “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak,” Heb. ii. 5. saith the same apostle in the place cited.

The second thing which is to be observed on the passages of scripture cited above, is, that not only do they announce the faith of Christ to all the inhabitants of the earth, but together therewith, a universal righteousness, never seen nor heard of in our earth. The most lively words and expressions made use of by the prophets of God, do all bear and signify all this: e. g. all kindreds of the earth shall bless —shall adore —shall praise —shall magnify — shall bless him all the day —shall serve him and obey him: and in the 145th Psalm; “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.” Psalm cxlv. 7. By what words more appropriate and more expressive can the universal righteousness of the earth be declared? This universal faith and righteousness of the whole earth, now covered with the knowledge of the Lord “as the waters cover the sea,” most certainly hath never been seen upon our earth, but the very contrary hath been seen: therefore, if the prophets are to be believed,we are compelled to declare and confess, that this time is yet to be. But when? That, O my Christophilus, is the great trouble, the great, the insuperable difficulty in your system.

§ 2. THOU canst not be ignorant, Christophilus, that very many catholic doctors (ancient and modern) have recognized, have avowed and maintained, as an undeniable truth, that blessed time, in which, all the nations of the whole world being converted to Christ, there shall reign universally upon it one uniform faith, religion, righteousness, concord, and peace: “every one under his own vine, and under his own fig tree, without any to make him afraid.” It is true that many others with St. Jerome, doubtless discerning in this opinion something most grievously inconvenient upon their system, neither confess it expressly, nor dare deny it; and, nevertheless, when they come to certain passages of the prophets, the psalms, the evangelists, St. Paul, they both suppose it and speak upon the supposition, as if there were no inconvenience involved therein.

Well then; where is this most blessed time, not yet seen nor ever heard of in our earth, to be placed? Surely, upon the ordinary system, before the coming of the Lord, after which they will admit no space of time whatever: —and so, in fact, it is placed. Some before Antichrist, others after; and both parties seem to forget very many scriptures which clearly, expressly, and manifestly oppose their manner of reasoning. Before Antichrist it cannot be, consistently with the ideas which the gospels and the writings of the apostles give us, as we have already observed; after Antichrist, still less, as was demonstrated in the fourth phenomenon; and consequently at no time.

Let us, nevertheless, for a moment allow that this blessed time is to be before the glorious coming of the Lord, and let us attentively consider the legitimate and necessary consequences which will follow from thence. First; it follows that before the coming of the Lord (be it before or after Antichrist) all the prophecies above cited, and the like which might be cited, shall have already obtained their full and perfect accomplishment. Secondly; it follows that before the coming of the Lord all the peoples, all the nations, all the congregations, or families of the whole earth shall have been converted to him. Thirdly; that before the coming of the Lord all our earth shall be filled with the knowledge, or acknowledgment, of the Lord, as all the channels of the sea are full of waters. Fourthly; that before the coming of the Lord, all peoples, tribes, and languages, the Jews included, shall have been not only Christians, but excellent Christians. Fifthly; that before the coming of the Lord, there shall have been an age or time, determinate or indeterminate, yet very great, wherein all the inhabitants of the earth shall have served and obeyed Christ, shall have been faithful, just, and holy, which is what the prophecies announce. Sixthly, and finally; that in that blessed age or time, there shall be in our earth neither idolatry nor superstition, nor false religion: there shall be no heresies, nor schisms, nor scandals, nor tares; there shall be no longer good servants and bad; there shall be no longer prudent virgins and foolish ones; there shall be no longer in the great net good fishes and bad; there shall, finally, no longer be anything of that, which Christ himself says and assures us so often there shall ever be until he come, and which till this day has been found to be most punctually fulfilled, without wanting one jot or one tittle.

§ 3. IN order to see the difficulty in all its extent, let us briefly confront some of the prophecies with others, and see whether they can be harmonized with one another upon the common system; to which intent we set down these two propositions.

First: According to the prophecies which we have noted in the first Section, before the coming of the Lord, which we expect in glory and majesty, all peoples, tribes, and languages, all kindreds and families of the whole earth, shall be converted, shall adore the true God, shall enter into the church of Christ; all shall be blessed in him; all shall love him, shall obey him, shall serve him; all shall live in mutual peace: righteousness and peace, till now irreconcilable enemies, at length uniting and kissing one another: they shall all cast away as wholly useless all sorts of arms, offensive and defensive, “neither shall they learn war any more:” all, in sum, shall compose one gentle, peaceful, innocent flock, under the care and guidance of one shepherd.

Second: According to other prophecies, and especially according to the gospels, before the coming of the Lord, which we look for in glory and majesty, although “the gospel shall have been preached in all the world,” Matt. xxiv. not all nations, but a few only, shall have received it. Even among those few who shall receive the gospel, not all shall observe it, the good seed falling frequently “some by the wayside, some upon a rock, and some among thorns;” Luke viii. 5. there shall never fail from amongst them great and terrible scandals; there shall be heresies, schisms, formal apostacies; there shall be hatreds of one another, emulations, envies, bloody and interminable wars; there shall be anti-evangelical customs; there shall ever be a great opposition, a formal and continual war between righteousness and peace; there shall be without ceasing, now on one quarter, now on another, now on many at one time, furious winds and horrible tempests, which shall make the ship of Peter “to be tossed of the waves,” and that it will be necessary to cry out, “Lord, save us, we perish.” There shall be as it were always a great prosperity upon the ways of the impious, and as it were a continual adversity, tribulation, and persecution upon those who would live godly in Christ Jesus; “because, as the Lord himself announceth, “if they persecute me, they will persecute you also.” In one word, —there will always be tares to choke the wheat and not suffer it to grow to maturity, and this onward, “even until the harvest.”

All which is contained in this second proposition, is frequently read in the gospels and in the writings of the apostles, and the large experience which we have had hath taught us the truth of these prophecies. I do not here cite them particularly, because they are things known of all; and whosoever readeth the scriptures of the New Testament, shall fall upon them at every step. Nevertheless it appeareth to me convenient not wholly to omit one of them, in which is contained, and unfolded in brief compass, the whole of this mystery: that is, the parable of the tares.

In this very clear parable or prophecy, propounded and explained by Christ himself, we see that ever and without interruption the tares are joined with the wheat and always occasion loss: for the workmen having proposed to the master of the field, that, if it appeared good to him, they would go and root them up, he replied, “Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt. xiii. 29, 30. The explanation which the Lord gives of this parable is as follows; “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world.” Matt. xiii. 37-39

So that from the preaching of Christ until the consummation of the age, there will always be in the world good grain joined with the tares, and mixed amongst them. So that until the consummation of the age, the same shall always and constantly come to pass, (more or less) which has come to pass till this present time. So that until the consummation of the age, there ought always to be joined and mixed together “children of the kingdom, and children of the wicked one,” the latter always causing the same evil which tares do in the field. And if this shall even come to pass until the consummation of the age; and if no space of time is to be admitted from the consummation of the age until the world’s end; and any short space of time is to be regarded as an error, and a dream, and a delirium, and a fable; tell me now, my good Christophilus, when and how all these prophecies which have been already cited, and so many others of the like kind which might have been cited, are to find any decent place. Turn thyself, and read them with some greater attention, and thou shalt see expressed in then without any possibility of equivocation, a faith, a peace, a righteousness universal among all the nations and all the families of the world, which condition of things is wholly incompatible with the tares of the gospel, which are to last until the end.

§ 4. WE shall search to no purpose through all the doctors, for the harmony of those two propositions; because those who with the prophets maintain the truth of the first proposition, disregard the second; and those who regard this, can as little agree to the former. And I do not wonder at it. Because it is no more than to see clearly announced in the prophets, a time wherein all the world shall enjoy peace, righteousness, and sanctity, and to read at the same time in the New Testament, these and other such expressions, “heresies must needs arise,” “it is necessary that scandals should come,” “let both grow unto the harvest,” and this harvest to be the end of the only time which they allow. The flaw is no where, my Christophilus, but in this, that the prophets, as well as the evangelists, state the truth, which on your system, can no way be harmonized; it becomes absolutely necessary, that either your system should give way, or the prophets should give way: and thou perceivest already, how very hard a thing this alternative is. It is bound upon thee then, to confess that the scriptures of truth are not capable of announcing for one time only, two things so contradictory as those which the propositions comprehend.

As on your system there is but one time only, that, to wit, which interveneth between the first and the second coming of the Lord; as on your system, the consummation of the age, or the vintage and the harvest is the same with the end of the world; as on your system there is no other time, or other age, no new earth and new heavens, after the great vintage, after the harvest, after the consummation of the age, for that very reason cannot any harmony be made among the prophecies, so as to make their apparent contradictoriness to disappear. But if the due distinction be made between time and time, as the Holy Scriptures doth, they will all be found clear, and plain, and easy. May not the things opposite, diverse, and inimical to one another, which cannot agree in one and the same time, but must destroy one another, appear in different times, each in their proper time? If before the consummation of the age, or the vintage, or the harvest, all cannot be verified, may not a part of them be verified before, and a part after? This however, (you will reply again) it is very hard to admit, for it will be the utter death and destruction of our system. Well, and what hardship find you in that? Is not this the drift and chief end to which the whole of this work is directed? Is not this what we have been proceeding to do from the beginning until now? Whence I draw this legitimate consequence that your system is not good, neither can be so judged in any tribunal, neither is capable of harmonizing certain parts of scripture with others, nor with themselves.

§ 5. WE have already proved, that on the coming of the Lord, which is abiding us, as this present earth hath to perish in order to give place to another and a new earth, so in the universal convulsion, will the greater part of the human race likewise perish, some few grapes remaining in being and unhurt, after the great vintage of all peoples, and tribes, and languages of the whole world; who, because of their innocency and simplicity of heart, shall not be deemed obnoxious to the wrath of Almighty God, as the just Noah and his family were not in the time of the universal deluge. These few and small grapes, (saith Isaiah) “shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the Lord, they shall cry aloud from the sea…From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.” Isaiah xxiv.

14. 16.

From which text of Isaiah alone, though there were not very many others to confirm and clear it up, as we shall see in due time, it is evidently to be gathered that all this residue of the nations which shall remain scattered hither and thither in all the countries and boundaries of our globe, shall not thenceforward be in the same ignorance and distraction, in which they formerly were in respect to the true God, but shall believe on him, praise him, desire him, and submit to his dominion with the greatest complacency and satisfaction. Which idea is substantially the same as is found in Jeremiah; “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” Jer. iii. 17. The same idea also, as in Tobit; (last chapter, according to the version of the LXX.) “And all the nations shall be converted in truth to fear the Lord God, and all nations shall bury their idols out of their sight, and bless the Lord.” And the same is found in all the scriptures.

And now by these alone (though proposed with such generality), thou dost see the whole of our earth entirely renewed, with the whole of the miserable lineage of Adam. Thou seest here all the lines drawn, and all the foundations solidly placed, for re-establishing solidly upon our earth the kingdom of God, which we expect and pray for, the fifth incorruptible and eternal kingdom, which, as is written in Daniel (ii. 44.) “shall bruise and break in pieces all these kingdoms, and shall stand for ever.” This residue of the nations, being perfectly instructed, sanctified, and as it were, erected anew, not less than the residue of Israel, shall compose along with it, the “one sheepfold and one shepherd” of the gospel, (John

x. 16.) shall multiply in peace, and grace, and once more fill the whole earth, continuing from generation to generation, for many, for very many ages, (which St. John explains by the perfect number, one thousand), the faith, the simplicity, the innocence, the fear and the knowledge of the Lord. This last point may seem to you hard to be believed, considering what hath ever taken place amongst men from the beginning unto the present time. But to this consideration you ought to add these others: that all times have not been equal and uniform; that God hath in some times given more than in others; that in the later times there has always been more given than in the times before; that his mystery towards men hath been more opened from day to day; that this mystery shall one day open to the perfect day, “because the hand of God is not shortened.” In sum, that he predicted the mystery of the vocation of the Gentiles, with all the good and evil effects of it, which we have actually seen most fully verified. Is not the experience of the veracity of God in time past and time present, guarantee enough for relying upon it in time to come?

CHAPTER XI.

The extraordinary Providences for preserving in those times, faith and justice over all the earth.

§ 1. SO great, so universal a faith and righteousness as is so oft, and with such magnificent expressions, announced to the new earth in the scriptures of truth, cannot certainly be conceived without some new, great, and extraordinary means or providences, as well positive, as negative, and general for the whole world. When I say new means, I do not intend thereby to exclude altogether those which we have at present, much less those which are of divine institution, as the seven sacraments, the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the doctrine, the precepts and counsels of Jesus Christ contained in the gospels, the doctrine of the apostles, and, generally speaking, all the morality of the scriptures. Those things, there is no doubt, are sufficient, and more than sufficient for our perfect sanctification, as they have been for so many saints, nor shall they ever fail while there are sojourners here below. But besides these means which we now possess in consequence of the death of the man-God, of his resurrection, and of the effusion of the Holy Spirit; we still find others in the Holy Scriptures, which now certainly we have not, and which are evidently reserved for the coming age, or for the new earth which we look for; even as we now possess so many new ones which the ancients had not, because God has never given at any one time, all which he had to give.

Among the new means whereof we speak, the first which presenteth itself to our consideration, is the presence of Christ himself upon our earth, not only as we now have him, merely in that mystery of faith, the sacrament of the Eucharist, (which sacrament in those times shall not fail,) but likewise in his proper person and majesty, as he now is in the heavens. Now this real and personal presence of Jesus Christ, as High Priest, as King or Judge Universal over all the earth, together with the presence of his saints now risen, as judges and sharers of the kingdom, cannot do less than produce great and marvellous effects in all the earth, and fill it entirely (as Isaiah announces, chap. xi.) with the knowledge of the Lord, “as the waters cover the sea.” It is very credible, and somewhat more than probable, that the most benignant and humane king (and all his saints by his example) should sometimes permit themselves to be seen by the sojourners, now in one, now in another part of the earth, now by one person, now by many. Which appearances, one would think, shall be very frequent in those times. The experience of what happened during the whole time the Lord was upon our earth after his resurrection, may both teach us, and make us acquainted with his proper and natural character, which can never change. In those forty days he ofttimes appeared now to one only, now to two, now to the eleven apostles, now also, as St. Paul addeth, (1 Cor. xv. 6.) “was he seen of more than five hundred brethren at once.” Of the saints who then arose with Christ, St. Matthew says that after their resurrection they appeared to many, “And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Matt. xxvii. 53. The gospel doth not inform us that this happened on the very day or morning of Christ’s resurrection, and for that day only, (as so many doctors have dreamed, especially those who pass upon these risen saints the unjust and cruel sentence of a second death,) but it simply informeth us that those appearances took place after the resurrection of Christ, “after his resurrection;” by these words all the forty days are left in our power, during the whole of which, or in many of them, these appearances may have taken place, as did the appearances of Christ him self, “for forty days appearing to them.” Shall Jesus Christ and his saints who are to come with him in that future age, when they return from heaven, be found less humane, less benignant, less charitable, than they were during that short time they abode upon our earth before passing to heaven?

The second means though negative, is not on that account the less effective. I mean to say, the absence of the dragon, “which is called the devil and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world,” who in these times shall be effectually secured in the bottomless pit, and there strictly bound with a great and very strong chain, answerable to his nature; and the gate of his prison shut and sealed, “that he may not any more deceive the nations until the thousand years be expired.” Which mystery is likewise found in the twenty-forth chapter of Isaiah, at the 22nd verse, as we observed in another part. The great good which must result to the whole earth from the total absence of this enemy, doth not require much elaboration: it is enough to consider the infinite evils which he hath ever caused to the miserable race of Adam from the beginning of the world until this day, which at present he causeth, and will still, according to the scriptures, cause, until the coming of the Lord, “because the devil is a sinner from the beginning.”

Along with the dragon and his angels, there shall be altogether absent from the new earth, those whom scripture denominates false prophets, under which name are comprehended all sorts of false teachers, seducers, and most wicked hypocrites, “who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” These in all times have been the principal instruments of the prince of darkness. These have caused, do cause, and until the harvest will cause lamentable and irreparable mischiefs. Now all these shall infallibly fail in those times, as it is written, “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.” [Vulg. earth.] Zech. xiii. 2. Hath this promise of God been ever fulfilled? When? If it hath never been fulfiled, a time must be on the wing when it will be most amply fulfilled. Will that time, according to the scriptures, be before the vintage and the harvest, and the consummation of the age?

§ 2. FROM the beginning of the world until the present day, as universal righteousness hath never been seen on our globe, so hath it never been able to experience universal peace: these two things being absolutely inseparable, as being mutually dependant upon one another. This then is the third means which God hath in reserve for the universal righteousness of the whole earth, that is, universal peace. That universal peace, according to the expression of the holy scripture, must be as it were the basis, and the primary and fundamental law of the reign of Christ. Accordingly we find announced against those times, nothing less than universal righteousness; “righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” or as the Arabic version reads, “shall see each other face to face;” (Psalm lxxxv.) which Psalm being read with any moderate degree of attention, is found entirely, from the first to the last word of it, inapplicable to other times besides the future times or the future world. In the forty-sixth Psalm the same idea is found, “Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder: he burneth the chariot in the fire.” Psalm xlvi. 8,9. The same is seen in the seventy-sixth Psalm, “In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling-place in Sion. There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Selah.” Psalm lxxvi. 2,3. Follow out the consideration of this brief Psalm to the end, and you will at once understand both that which it predicts, and the times to which it refers. In Isaiah ii. 4. it is said of Messiah, doubtless with the view of his second coming, (because of the first it hath not happened nor been able to happen,) “