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MATTHEW XXIV, XXV; LUKE XXI.
promptly, on hearing his son's it is evident that princes and mighty dream, -- Shall I and thy mother
ones are intended. and thy brethren indeed come to The heavens in this symbolical bow down ourselves to thee to the sense will of course
mean the earth ?”—and I apprehend that in- whole host of the celestial lumitelligent Jews would in subsequent naries-sun, moon, and stars ; comages be equally familiar with the prehending political authorities in signification of such language in general, and institutions supported their prophets.*
The darkening any of As the sun signified in Jacob's these lights signifies the diminution case the patriarch himself, or head or extinction of the power of those of the family, 80 in the political symbolized ; just as "a cloudy and state it is the king, or supreme ruler. dark day” is a figure for a time of I am not aware of any scripture that wrath or judgement. The followclearly proves the moon to symbol. ing Scriptures will sufficiently prove ize the Church, though it is gene- the correctness of the above interrally so interpreted : unless it be pretation : Isaiah xlvii, 5; Ezek. that, as the wife of Jacob was in- xxxii, 7, 8 and xxxiv, 12; Rev. tended by the moon in Joseph's viii, 12 and xvi, 10. The shaking dream, so the Church is also fre- of the heavens is only another quently compared to a woman be. figure for similar judgements on trothed or united in marriage.t It rulers and kingdoms, even to their may be presumed in the case of extinction. Thus in Haggai the Rachel to signify reflected authority; Lord says: "I will shake the and as all these symbols must be “heavens and the earth ; and I referred to Christ and his kingdom, will overthrow the throne of kingas containing their great antitype ; • doms; and I will destroy the so is he the great King or Sun 'strength of the kingdoms of the of righteousness," by whom all heathen ; and I will overthrow the kings reign ; and the Church shines · chariots and those that ride in only by an authority and light bor- them, and the horses and their rowed from him. The stars, or
• riders shall come down, every one heavenly host, exclusive of the sun by the sword of his brother.” and moon, symbolize princes, magis- In which passage the whole of what trates and rulers, in church or state, follows after the words, I will or both, according to the context. shake the heavens," appears to be Thus when in Isaiah xxiv it is said, explanatory of them. " that the Lord shall punish the I apprehend I need not enter host of the high ones that are on into much argument to prove that high, and the kings of the earth the prophecy before us is in this upon the earth, and they shall be
sense fulfilling at the present time. gathered together (the host and the Since the French Revolution we kings) and shut up in prison, &c.” have seen the thrones of the con
* Perhaps Judges v, 20 was understood in some such sense.
+ Compare Ephes. v, 31, 32 with Rev. xxi, 2 and 9. m Hag. ii, 21, 22. II question if the words and the kings of the earth” be not exegetical of the previous sentence ; the word and having the sense of even. Such explanatory sentences are common in Isaiah and the Psalms, (some instances of which I shall presently offer ;) and they are particularly useful in helping to fix the meaning of symbolical and figurative language.
tinental kingdoms shaken to their ' and the waves roaring ; men's foundation; and a republican spirit hearts failing them for fear, and is now ready to burst forth, like an ' for looking after those things which eruption of volcanic matter, and are coming on the earth.” I must overwhelm them all. * We have first explain the figurative part of already seen France, Belgium, It- the passage ;-in proceeding to aly, the territories of the Duke of which I am aware, that I expose Brunswick, and other places, af- myself to the objection of mixing fected by the revolutionary spirit; literal and figurative clauses in the Ireland and our own country are same sentence. But though I plead evidently ripe for explosion ; Po- for the literal sense of Scripture in land and Switzerland have been the main ; yet, like all other printhe theatre of popular tumults and ciples, it may be carried to an exstruggles ; Spain and Portugal are treme : which it certainly is, if we likely immediately to be involved
are not kept within those rules and in a war, which will provoke a limits discoverable in the Scriptures collision of similar revolutionary themselves. It is no uncommon principles with those of despotism thing to meet with such mixed and intolerance. Nor is royalty the passages in the Scriptures : though only object of present attack; the I confess there is usually some nobles of every rank are also aimed internal mark by which a careful
They have been temporarily reader, well acquainted with Scripextinguished in France, and are ture phraseology, may distinguish now seriously menaced again ; whilst the several sentences or clauses. the indications of hostility against Some such places interpret themthem in our own formerly happy selves;—others become evident from land are too fierce and loud to be the necessity of taking certain pormistaken. Still more clearly in- tions spiritually or figuratively ; dicated is the boarse croak of war and others arise from the ordinary against prelates, and against all es- use of certain words and phrases, tablished churches : and I am fully which become as it were tropical persuaded that it will ere long be expressions, from their frequent ocas distinctly heard assailing the real currence in that figurative sense. ministers of Christ of every de- Thus in Isaiah xliv, 3, 4" I will nomination. I deem it utterly im- 'pour water on him that is thirsty, possible for any pious minister to and floods upon the dry ground : be faithful, and to declare the whole I will pour my Spirit upon thy counsel of God, and not become "seed and my blessing upon thy odious to a generation which clearly offspring : and they shall spring up hates every thing in the shape of among the grass, as willows by the authority, whether political or ec- ' water courses: who doubts the clesiastical, but specially to be re- figurative meaning of those portions minded of the word and the au- marked by italics, notwithstanding thority of Jehovah. Woe, woe, woe, the literal portion of it? to my country, to Europe, to the To pass however to the passage world!
the sea and the waves This leads me to the terrestrial roaring,” it happens, that there are signs : upon the earth distress of few expressions of more frequent
nations, with perplexity, the sea occurrence in a figurative use of
* Since this was written the news has been received of the recent explosion in Paris at the funeral of General La Marque.
them; nor any more fully explained of Zion it is said ; so che abundance by the context. It must first be ob- ' of the sea shall be converted unto served, that “ waters” and “ waves" thee, the forces of the Gentiles of the sea are interchangeable terms ' shall come unto thee :”I in which in Scripture : otherwise some of the the latter phrase is evidently expassages to which I shall advert will planatory of the first. not be satisfactory. Thus in Psalm From the few instances brought xciii,--" The floods have lifted up, forward it may already have been • O Lord, the floods have lifted up perceived, that “the sea and the their voice : the floods lift
their waves roaring” must signify nations the Lord on high is
and multitudes in an unsettled and mightier than the noise of many revolutionary or hostile state, threatwaters--the mighty waves of the ening destruction. This will ap
pear more evident as we proceed. Now in Rev. xvii, 15, an infal- « God is our refuge and strength, a lible interpreter assures us,
very present help in trouble : waters are
peoples, and multitudes, therefore will we not fear though and nations, and tongues :” but as the the earth be removed, and though Apocalypse is so avowedly symbol- the mountains (the
(the symbol of ical, I will prefer adducing a few kingdoms, having established and instances of a different character. settled governments) be carried In Jeremiah li, 13, Babylon is thus
into the midst of the sea ; though addressed -“ O thou that dwellest (the waters thereof roar and be upon many waters, abundant in ' troubled; though the mountains treasures, thine end is come :" in 'shake with the swelling thereof.” which sentence, though the two last (Ps. xlvi, 1–3.) In the sixth verse clauses are literal, the first appears
the whole is thus explained : The from the context to be figurative : HEATHEN raged, the KINGDOMS were for verses 43, 44, and 55 show 'moved, HE uttered his voice, the that these waters are the nations earth melted." Verses 8-10 furwhich she had subdued, but which ther prove, that the melting of the instead of flowing to her any longer earth must also be a figure ; because as tributary streams, would all at it evidently remains afterwards, with once overflow and destroy her ;- the spoils and desolations of war
The sea is come up upon Baby- upon it. Again in Psalm lxv, 7 it is ' lon; she is covered with the mul- said of God, that he stilleth the titude of the waves thereof. Her noise of the seas, the noise of their cities are
a desolation. &c.” waves, and the tunult of the people :" “ The waters shall not flow together in which sentence the latter clause, any more unto him. (Bel)”- The though the word “and” is prefixed, is Lord hath spoiled Babylon, and not an additional circumstance, but destroyed out of her the great is explanatory of the former. A voice; when her waves do roar like similar explanatory intermixture great waters, a noise of their voice may be perceived in Psalm cxxiv, 2 is uttered.”'† Again in Isa. lx, 5, -5. If it had not been the Lord
* This one clear example may suffice : if otherwise, the Reader will find the term waters used for waves in Isaiah xi, 9 and lvii, 20, and in other places.
† The whole of this prophecy seems strikingly typical of the circumstances which shall attend the fall of mystical Babylon. Let the pious Reader ponder in these times verses 45-48.
Further instances are Jer. 1, 38; Ezek. xxvi, 3 ; xxvii, 25 ; and Dan. vii, 3.
who was on our side, now may • the time of the dead, that they * Israel say: if it had not been the should be judged, and that thou
Lord who was on our side when ' shouldest give reward unto thy men rose up against us: then they servants the prophets, and to the
had swallowed us up quick, when ' saints, and them that fear thy · their wrath was kindled against us:
small and great; and ' then the waters had overwhelmed shouldest destroy
them which * us, the stream had gone over our destroy the earth. And the tem' soul: then the proud waters had ple of God was opened in heaven,
gone over our soul.” So again in and there was seen in his temple Isaiah v, 26-" The Lord will lift the ark of his testament, and there up an ensign to the nations from far,
were lightnings, and voices, and &c." and at verse 30 it is said of thunderings, and an earthquake, them ;—"And in that day they shall ' and great hail !! * roar against them like the roaring I have thought it needful to en
of the sea; and if one look unto the large on this point, for the purpose · land, behold darkness and sorrow, of convincing the Reader of the ' and the light is darkened in the hea frequency of this figure in the pro'vens thereof;"-altogether very phetical Scriptures; (and I could similar language to that in the pro- add numerous other passages ;) and phecy before us. I will only beg also because almost all the quotathe Reader's attention to two pas- tions possess a peculiar interest of sages more, which I will merely themselves. I return now to the place in juxta position, without any exposition. comment. “ Woe to the multitude of Surely we have had “ distress of ' many people, which make a noise nations !” The landed, the funded, like the noise of the seas
and to the mercantile, the agricultural, 'the rushing of nations, that make a the manufacturing, the shipping,
rushing like the rushing of mighty the trading interests, all in turn have ' waters ! The nations shall rush experienced depression and distress; like the rushing of many waters : and so extensive has it been, that the but God shall rebuke them, and members and adherents of different they shall flee far off, and shall be administrations have repeatedly chased as the chaff of the moun- pointed to its prevailing throughout 'tains before the wind, and like a every nation of the continent, as a ' rolling thing before the whirlwind. proof that it did not originate from And behold at evening time trou- their own political measures.
And ·ble ; and before the morning he is the “ perplexity” concerning its 'not. This is the portion of them cause and cure have been equally
that spoil us and the lot of them remarkable. Numerous * that rob us.”n_" We give thee
We give thee have been assigned for it, all differthanks, O Lord God Almighty, ing from each other! the war, the · which art, and wast, and art to
peace;—paper currency, and return come; because thou hast taken to
to cash payments ;-superabundant thee thy great power and hast harvests,*
harvests,* scarcity of crops ;-free reigned.
And the nations were trade, restrictions upon it ;-machiangry, and thy wrath is come, and nery, taxes, borough-mongers, and
n Isa. xvii, 12-14. mediately followed by crops below. Taled by a minister of state ; and it was im.
various others. The remedies pro- their lips, and their feet swift to
The social bond also posed have been if possible still shed blood.” more numerous, and some of them appears dissolved: all parties in have been adopted: but perplexity
the state are dissevered from each and distress have nevertheless in- other; personal animosity embitcreased rather than diminished; and ters political movements; and every throughout it all the hand of God man's hand seems to be against his is not acknowledged :-yea to hint,
brother. It should be remembered that it is a judgement, is in high that a similar state of things broke places scouted with derision ! out with the French revolution, when
Therefore for all this, the Lord's infidelity, anarchy and sedition, ran anger is not turned away, but his like wild fire among the nations. 'arm is stretched out still."
More atrocious acts were then perThen we have " the sea and the petrated even than now: but the fire, waves roaring.” What I have said which seemed got under for a while, concerning the signs in the sun, is now beginning to rage forth moon and stars, has led me in great with the same relentless fury; and measure to anticipate this point : for it may be feared (judging from God's the perilous condition of all rulers, word) will burn up all before it, governments, and nobles arises from
until the Lord interpose. the seditious spirit existing among
Is it to be wondered at, that the people. All the governments of men's hearts begin to fail them for Europe are obliged to maintain fear, and for looking after those enormous standing armies, notori- things which are coming upon the ously for the purpose of keeping earth? The rapidity with which down the revolutionary spirit that events are rushing upon us, appear prevails.
Various demonstrations to arrest the attention of all who have already occurred, in different are considerate, and to inspire them countries. In our own country we
with apprehension.* There are inhave awful symptoms :
deed, multitudes who are yet, alas ! places we have had dreadful riots hugging themselves in a fond deluand outrages ; (e. g. Bristol, Derby sion; as if every thing around us, and Nottingham ;) in others incen- both religious and political, were diary fires, destruction of machinery, improving. But I fear even these with tumultuous and violent assem
will soon have cause to tremble : blages of the peasantry; and in all for if I mistake not, those who are populous places political unions are not utterly given up to hardness and formed to overawe and control the blindness will speedily awake to the government by physical force. Too real character and tendency of pregenerally the voice of infidelity, blas- vailing principles, and all at once phemy and speaking evil of digni- discover, that they have been themties is heard; and thousands have selves hallooing on the dogs of war, shown that
their throat is an open and promoting their own destruction sepulchre, the poison of asps under by a spurious and infidel liberalism.
* A well known philanthropist (falsely so called, for he is also a most notorious though talented infidel,) recently said to a friend of the Writer, when conversing on the signs of the times ; that it was evident we were being hurried forward towards some tremendous crisis; and that without being able to define what was coming, he felt his mind oppressed with apprehension, just as if a black thunder cloud was impending over him.-" They are the only happy men after all (said he, pointing to a Bible) who can believe that book : for if that be true, they have nothing to fear."