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which the Apocalypse was addressed, should have rejected a treasure designed for itself; and that the bishop of Ephesus, who attended the council, should also have rejected this book of St. John, who was buried at Ephesus.
It was visible to all eyes that St. John was continually turning about in his grave, causing a constant rising and falling of the earth. Yet the same persons who were sure that St. John was not quite dead, were also sure that he had not written the Apocalypse. But those who were for the thousand years' reign, were unshaken in their opinion. Sulpicius Severus, in his Sacred History, book xi. treats as mad and impious those who did not receive the Apocalypse. At length, after numerous oppositions of council to council, the opinion of Sulpicius Severus prevailed. The matter having been thus cleared up, the Church came to the decision, from which there is no appeal, that the Apocalypse is incontestably St. John's.
Every christian communion has applied to itself the prophesies contained in this book. The English have found in it the revolutions of Great Britain; the Lutherans, the troubles of Germany; the French reformers, the reign of Charles IX. and the
of Catherine de Medicis: and they are all equally right. Bossuet and Newton have both commented on the Apocalypse; yet, after all, the eloquent declamations of the one, and the sublime discoveries of the other, have done them greater honour than their commentaries.
Two great men,
different in their greatness, have commented on the Apocalypse, in the seventeenth century;-Newton, to whom such a study was very ill suited; and Bossuet, who was better fitted for the undertaking. Both gave additional weapons to their enemies by their commentaries ; and, as has elsewhere been said, the former consoled mankind for his superiority over them, while the latter made his enemies rejoice.
The Catholics and the Protestants have both ex
plained the Apocalypse in their favour, and have each found in it exactly what has accorded with their interests. They have made wonderful commentaries on the great beast with seven heads and ten horns, with the hair of a leopard, the feet of a bear, the throat of a lion, the strength of a dragon; and, to buy and sell, it was necessary to have the character and number of the beast, which number was 666.
Bossuet finds that this beast was evidently the Emperor Dioclesian, by making an acrostic of his name. Grotius believed that it was Trajan. A curate of St. Sulpice, named La Chétardie, known from some strange adventures, proves that the beast was Julian. Jurieu proves that the beast is the Pope. One preacher has demonstrated that it was Louis XIV. A good Catholic has demonstrated that it is William, King of England. It is not easy to make them all agree.
There have been warm disputes concerning the stars which fell from heaven to earth, and the sun and moon, which were struck with darkness in their third parts.
There are several opinions respecting the book that the angel made the author of the Apocalypse eat, which book was sweet to the mouth and bitter to the stomach. Jurieu asserted that the books of his adversaries were designated thereby; and his argument was retorted upon himself.
There have been disputes about this verse—“ And I heard á voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping on their harps." It is quite clear, that it would have been better to have
* A learned modern has pretended to prove that this beast of the Apocalypse is no other than the Emperor Caligula. The nuniber 666 is the numeral amount of the letters of his name. This book is, according to this writer, a prediction of the disorders of Caligula's reigo-after they had happened, to which were added, equivocal predictions of the downfal of the Roman empire. Hence it is, that the Protestants, who have resolved to find in the Apocalypse the papal power and its destruction, have also met with some very striking explanations.
respected the Apocalypse, than to have commented
Camus, Bishop of Bellay, printed, in the last century, a large book against the monks, which an unfrocked monk abridged. It was entitled Apocalypse, because in it he exposed the dangers and defects of the monastic life, and Melito's Apocalypse (Apocalypse de Méliton), because Melito, bishop of Sardis, in the second century, had passed for a prophet. This bishop's work has none of the obscurities of St. John's Apocalypse. Nothing was ever clearer. The bishop is like a magistrate saying to an attorney, “You are a forger, and a cheat-do you comprehend me ?"
The Bishop of Bellay computes, in his Apocalypse or Revelations, that there were in his time ninety-eight orders of monks, endowed or mendicant, living at the expense of the people, without employing themselves. in the smallest labour. He reckoned six hundred thousand monks in Europe.
The calculation was a little strained; but it is certain that the real number of the monks was rather too large.
He assures us that the monks are enemies to the bishops, curates, and magistrates
That, among the privileges granted to the Cordeliers, the sixth privilege is, the certainty of being saved, whatever horrible crime you may have mitted, provided you belong to the order of St. Francis
That the monks are like apes; the higher they climb, the plainer you see their posteriors
That the name of monk has become so infamous and execrable, that it is regarded by the monks themselves as a foul reproach, and the most violent insult that can be offered them.
My dear reader, whoever you are, minister or magistrate, consider attentively the following short extract from our bishop's book :
· Figure to yourself the Convent of the Escurial or of Mount Cassiño, where the conobites have everything necessary, useful, delightful, superfluous, and super
abundant,--since they have their yearly revenue of a hundred and fifty thousand, four hundred thousand, or five hundred thousand crowns; and judge whether Monsieur l'Abbé has wherewithal to allow himself, and those under him, to sleep after dinner.
“ Then imagine an artisan or labourer, with no dependence except on the work of his hands, and burdened with a large family, toiling like a slave, every day, and at all seasons, to feed them with the bread of sorrow and the water of tears; and say, which of the two conditions is pre-eminent in poverty.”
This is a passage from the Episcopal Apocalypse, which needs no commentary. There only wants an angel to come and fill his cup with the wine of the monks, to slake the thirst of the labourers who plough, Sow, and reap,
for the monasteries. But this prelate, instead of writing a useful book, only composed a satire. Consistently with his dignity, he should have stated the good as well as evil. He should have acknowledged that the Benedictines have produced many good works, and that the Jesuits have rendered great services to literature. He might have blessed the brethren of La Charité, and those of the Redemption of the Captives. Our first duty is to be just. Camus gave too much scope to his imagination. St. François de Sales advised him to write moral ro. mances; but he abused the advice.
ANTI-TRINITARIANS. These are heretics who might pass for other than Christians. However, they acknowledge Jesus as Saviour and Mediator; but they dare to maintain, that nothing is more contrary to right reason than what is taught among Christians concerning the Trinity of persons in one only divine essence, of whom the second is begotten by the first, and the third proceeds from the other two
That this unintelligible doctrine is not to be found in any part of Scripture
That no passage can be produced which authorises it; or to which, without in anywise departing from
the spirit of the text, a sense cannot be given more clear, more natural, or more conformable to common notions, and to primitive and immutable truths
That to maintain, as the orthodox do, that in the divine essence there are several distinct persons, and that the Eternal is not the only true God, but that the Son and the Holy Ghost must be joined with him, is to introduce into the church of Christ an error the most gross and dangerous, since it is openly to favour polytheism
That it implies a contradiction, to say that there is but one God, and that, nevertheless, there are three persons, each of which is truly God
That this distinction, of one in essence, and three in person, was never in Scripture
That it is manifestly false; since it is certain that there are no fewer essences than persons, nor persons than
That the three persons of the Trinity are, either three different substances, or accidents of the divine essence, or that essence itself without distinction
That, in the first case, you make three Gods
That, in the second, God is composed of accidents ; you adore accidents, and metamorphose accidents into persons
That, in the third, you, unfoundedly and to no purpose, divide an indivisible subject, and distinguish into three that which within itself has no distinction
That if it be said, that the three personalities are neither different substances in the divine essence, nor accidents of that essence, it will be difficult to persuade ourselves that they are anything at all —
That it must not be believed that the most rigid and decided Trinitarians have themselves any clear idea of the way in which the three hypostases subsist in God, without dividing his substance, and consequently without multiplying it
That St. Augustin himself, after advancing on this subject a thousand reasonings, alike dark and false, was forced to confess that nothing intelligible could be said about the matter.