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Vulgar Æra, St. John salutes the Churches-and asserts the Deity of their Saviour, who should come to judge the World.


1600 furlongs. the followers of Vitellius, laying all waste with
fire, and the Bebriaci conquering the followers of Otho with
great slaughter.

Then follow the seven plagues :

1. The grievous sore, chap. xvi. 2.—the diseases of the soldiers of Vitellius, through intemperance.

2. The sea turned into blood, ver. 3.-the fleet of Vitellius beaten, and the maritime towns taken from them by the Flavii.

3. The rivers turned into blood, ver. 4.-the slaughter of the adherents of Vitellius at Cremona, and elsewhere, near rivers.

4. The scorching of the sun, ver. 8.-the diseases of the Vitellii increasing, and their exhausted bodies impatient of the heat.

5. The seat of the beast darkened, ver. 10.-all Rome in commotion through the torpor of Vitellius.

6. Euphrates dried up, and a way made for the kings of the east, and the three unclean spirits like frogs-the Flavii besieging Rome with a treble army; one part of which was by the bank of the Tiber.

The shame of him who is found asleep and naked.—Vitellius; ver. 15.-Armageddon; ver. 16.-the Prætorian camps.

7. The fall of Babylon, ver. 19.-—the sacking of Rome.

1. The whore, chap. xvii. 1.-Rome.

2. The seven kings, ver. 10.-Cæsar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Galba.

3. The eighth, which is of the seven, ver. 11.-Otho, destined by adoption to be the son and successor of Galba.

4. The ten horns, ver. 12—16.-the leaders of the Flavian factions.

5. The merchants of the earth, chap. xviii. 11. i. e. of Rome, which was then the emporium of the whole world.

6. The beast and the false prophet, chap. xix. 20. Vespasian and his family, contrary to all expectation, becoming extinct in Domitian; as the family of the Cæsars, and of the three princes, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

7. The millennium, or a thousand years, chap. xx.-Taken from Psalm xc, 4. a time appointed by God, including the space of forty years, from the death of Domitian to the Jewish war, under Adrian.

8. Gog and Magog going out over the earth, ver. 8.-Barchochebas, the false Messiah, with an immense army of the Jews, coming forth suddenly from their caves and dens, tormenting the Christians, and carrying on a destructive war with the Romans.

9. The New Jerusalem, chap. xxi. 1, 2.-the Jews being brought so low as to be capable of injuring no longer, the whole world resting after being expiated by war, and the doc. trine of Christ propagated, and prevailing every where, with incredible celerity.

It does not appear necessary to enter into any confutation of this scheme, which is founded upon the hypothesis that the Apocalypse was written before the Jewish war. This opinion too has been lately defended at great length by Mr. Tilloch,

Asia Minor.

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4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace Asia Minor. riod, 4799. be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which



who has adopted Sir Isaac Newton's idea, that the Epistles
contain quotations from the Revelations. Mr. Tilloch has ma-
naged this part of his argument with great skill, but the argu-
ments for the latter date are so much more satisfactory, that I
cannot assent to the supposition of the early date. Mr. Til-
loch's collections of parallel passages between the Apocalypso
and the Epistles, however, appear to prove, that the apostles in
general were well acquainted with the subjects concerning
which St. John prophesied, but that they knew them by the in-
fluence of the same Holy Spirit, which dictated them to St.
John. The expressions in question, therefore, were common
to all the inspired writers of the New Testament.

If the evidence for the late date of the Apocalypse were not
so decisive, I should have gladly assigned a much earlier period
for its composition: more especially as the destruction of Jeru-
salem appears to have been an opportunity so favourable to appeal
to the afflicted, yet desperate sons of Israel at that dreadful time,
and to have elevated their hopes to another and more enduring
city, which hath immovable foundations-the new Jerusalem,
which the prophet saw coming down from heaven. After a very
careful perusal both of Michaelis and Mr. Tilloch's objections,
it appears most probable that the generally received opinion
is most correct, that St. John was banished into Patmos to-
wards the end of Domitian's reign, by virtue of his edicts for
persecuting the Christians; and that he had the Revelations
contained in the Apocalypse during his exile; though the book
itself could not have been published until after the apostle's
release and return to Ephesus. The unanimous voice of Chris-
tian antiquity attests, that St. John was banished by the order of
Domitian. Irenæus, Origen, and other early fathers refer the
apostle's exile to the latter part of Domitian's reign, and they
concur in saying that he there saw the Revelation. Internal
evidence likewise supports this conclusion. For, in the three
first chapters of the Apocalypse, the seven Asiatic churches are
described as being in that advanced and flourishing state of so-
ciety and discipline, and to have undergone those changes in
their faith and morals, which could not have taken place if they
had not been planted for a considerable time. Thus, the church
of Ephesus is censured for having left "her first love." That
of Sardis "had a name to live, but was dead." The church of
Laodicea had fallen into lukewarmness and indifference. Now
the church of Ephesus, for instance, was not founded by St.
Paul until the latter part of Claudius's reign: and when he
wrote to them from Rome, A.D. 61, instead of reproving them
for any want of love, he commends their love and faith (Eph. i.
15). Further, it appears from the Revelation that the Nico.
laitans formed a sect, when this book was written, since they
are expressly named: whereas they were only foretold in gene.
ral terms by St. Peter, in his second Epistle, written A.D. 65,
and in St. Jude's Epistle, which was written about A.D. 65 or
66. It is also evident from various passages of the Revelation,
that there had been an open persecution in the provinces. St.
John himself had been banished into Patmos for the testimony
of Jesus. The church of Ephesus (or its bishop) is commend-
ed for its "labour and patience," which seems to imply perse.
cution. This is still more evident in the following address to
the church of Smyrna (Rev. ii. 9.) "I know thy works and tri-
bulation," ıfır; which last word always denotes persecution

Julian Pe- was, and is to come; and from the seven spirits which are Asia Minor. riod, 4799. before his throne;

Vulgar Æra,


in the New Testament, and is so explained in the following


Lastly, in Rev. ii. 13. mention is made of a martyr named Antipas, who was put to death at Pergamos. Though ancient ecclesiastical history gives us no information concerning this Antipas, yet it is certain, according to all the rules of language that what is here said is to be understood literally, and not mystically, as some expositors have explained it. Since therefore the persecution, mentioned in the three first chapters of the Apocalypse, cannot relate to the time of Claudius, who did not persecute the Christians, nor to the time of Nero, whose persecution did not reach the provinces, it must necessarily be referred to Domitian, according to ecclesiastical tradition.

Domitian's death is related to have happened in September A.D. 96. The Christian exiles were then liberated, and St. John was permitted to return to Ephesus. As, however, the Emperor's decease, and the permission to return, could not be known in Asia immediately, some time must intervene before the apostle could be at liberty either to write the Apocalypse at Ephesus, or to send it by messengers from Patmos. We conclude, therefore, with Dr. Mill, Le Clerc, Basnage, Dr. Lardner, Bishop Tomline, Dr. Woodhouse, and other eminent critics, in placing the Apocalypse in the year 96 or 97.

The occasion of writing the Apocalypse is sufficiently evident from the book itself. St. John, being in exile in the island of Patmos, is favoured with the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ to him, and is repeatedly commanded to commit to writing the visions which he beheld. (See Rev. i. 11. 19. ii. 1. 8. 12. 18. iii. 1. 7. 14. xiv. 13. xix. 9. and xxi. 5.) The scope or design of this book is two-fold; first, generally to make known to the apostle "the things which are;" (i. 19) that is, the then present state of the Christian churches in Asia; and, secondly and principally, to reveal to him "the things which shall be hereafter," or the constitution and fates of the Christian church, through its several periods of propagation, corruption, and amendment, from its beginning to its consummation in glory. "The prophecy of the Revelation," says Daubuz, "was designed as a standing monument to the Church, to know what destinies attend it; and that, when men should suffer for the name of Christ, they might here find some consolation both for themselves and for the Church :-for themselves, by the prospect and certainty of a reward;-for the Church, by the testimony that Christ never forsakes it, but will conquer at last."

In endeavouring to ascertain the probable meaning of this mysterious book, I have consulted some of the works which have lately appeared, as well as of Mede, Lowman, and Mr. Faber. I know the danger of attempting to fix the interpretation of the book; and how indelibly it fixes the stigma of deficiency of judgment on the unsuccessful interpreter. Calvin and Whitby were considered wise, for their prudence in declining all attempts to explain the Apocalypse. The learned and laborious Hierophant, whom I have principally selected from among the thronging guides, who have presented themselves to conduct me through the labyrinth, is the great master who has explained to us the origin and progress of the heathen idolatry. Mr. Faber seems to have solved more difficulties, answered more objections, and thrown a brighter lustre on some of the more



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5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, Asia Minor, riod, 4799. and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the Vulgar Era, kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed 96. us from our sins in his own blood,

6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

7 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.

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

$ 3. REV. i. 9, to the end.

St. John relates the appearance of Christ to him in the Isle
of Patmos, and his prophetic Commission.

9 I John, who am also your brother, and companion in
tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus
Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word
of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many


16 And he had in his right hand seven stars; and out

involved passages, than any other author whatever. He has
not escaped, however, the usual fate of those who venture to
comment on the Revelation. He has failed in some instances,
and neither his learning, ingenuity, originality, nor talent, can
rescue him from the consequences—a suspicion of a want of judg-
ment. While this eminent theologian is my chief guide, I take
the counsel of all whose suggestions appear worthy of attention,
and not unfrequently decide for myself, where their directions
either clashed or were contradictory.

Julian Pe- of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his Asia Minor. countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

riod, 4799. Vulgar Æra, 96.

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter: 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest, are the seven churches.

$ 4. REV. ii. 1-7.

Address to the Church at Ephesus, and to all Churches
which are beginning to apostatize.

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;
These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his
right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen; and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

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Address to the Church of Smyrna, and to all Churches
under Persecution or Affliction.

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write;
These things saith the First and the Last, which was dead,
and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but

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