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wills, and that which relates to the estates of persons dying -
ART. IX. Discourses on Prophecy, read in the Chapel of Lincoln's Inn at
the Lecture founded by the Right Reverend William Warburton, late Lord Bishop of Gloucester. By East Apthorp, D.D. Reator of St. Mary
le-bow. 2 vols. 8vo. 125. Rivington. London. WE may venture to pronounce the author of these Lectures,
or Sermons on Prophecy, to be a man of extensive reading, sound learning, and great erudition. He has handled his fubject in a very malterly manner, and like a friend to truth,
The two volumes before us confilt of twelve historical, critical, and explanatory discourses on the following subjects: 1. History of Prophecy; 2. Canons of Interpretation; 3. Prophecies on the Birth of Christ; 4. Chronological Character of the Meffiah ; 5. i heological Character of the fame; 6. The Chain of Prophecies relating to him ; 7. Prophecies of the Death of Christ ; 8, and 9. ditto of his Kingdom; 10. Chatacter of Antichrift; 11. The Mystic Tyre; and 12. Prophecies of the Origin and Progress of the Reformation. These he has entered into largely and fully, and supported and proved what he has advanced, by the illustrations and authorities of the most eminent and ancient moral philosophers.
In the first lecture he has stated the general idea of inspiration, and given a short history of prophecy; in the second he has eftablished the most ufeful canons of interpretation ; especially that which results from the natural and obvious coincidence of predictions and events, and exemplified it in the harmony between the religious prophecies and life of Christ; to which canons he has annexed literary observations on the myftic and double senfe; on prophetic actions and symbolic language. In the fourth and fifth, he shews that the divine author and doctrine of our religion were announced to the prophet Daniel, in the reign of Cyrus, with an exact specification of the very time of Christ's ministry, and the year of his palfion, with his signal judgment on the Jewish nation after 40 years, when he destroyed their city. The feveral characters of redemption there revealed are also shewn to be inapplicable to any civil or fecular events, and a proper demonstration, that Christianity, there divinely predicted, was as divinely revealed, In the fixth, the whole chain of prophecies respecting Christ is harmonized, and sufficient examples produced to evince the conclusion.
In the third lecture, the virgin-birth and sublime attributes of our Redeemer are illustrated, and in the seventh, the perfect expiation of fin by his death and sacrifice.
In the eighth and ninth, the agreement of prophecy and history is hewn in a general view of the adverse and prospe
rous fortunes of the Christian church. In the tenth, the author of our faith is viewed in contrast to the name and characters of antichrift; which in the eleventh is represented under the emblems of idolatrous and tyrannic kingdoms, particularly the commercial state of Tyre, the city of Rome and her ecclefiaftical dominions; and in the twelfth are pointed out the remedies of those corruptions, the declining power of antichrift, and the moral means of advancing the promised purity, amplitude and felicity of the Christian church.
But as our author's explanation of the prophecy in the tenth chapter of the Revelations of St. John is in some measure not vel and curious, we have for the entertainment of our readers here given it, and in his own words.
• The REFORMATION accomplished by Luther is figured by a mighty angel descending from Heaven, or divinely commisioned ; clothed suith a cloud, the symbol of the divine protection : with a rainbow on his head, making offers of reconciliation to the corrupted church: his face was as it were the un, diffuting the light of the gospel : and his feet as pillars oj fire, intimating that his followers should suffer persecution, yet be reieived from the rage of their enemies. He is itiled a mighty angel, not so much on account of the undaunted spirit of Luther, as of the great revolution effecied by his means. He has in his hand
little open buok, the original gospel ; open, as containing no new revelation; little, as applying only such parts and doctrines of the scriptures as refutes the prevailing superstitions. He fet his right foot upon the sea, the emb'em of war, and his left foot on the earth, the symbol of peace ; intimating that the reformation Mould experience the viciffitudes ot both, but chiefly of the former. He cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth! the gospel was openly, resolutely, and efficaciously preached and published.
* And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.' “ As Heaso ven signifies the station of the supreme visible power, which is the
political heaven ; 10 thunder is the voice and proclamation of that so authority and power, and of its will and laws, implying the obedi
ence of the subjects, and at last overcoming all opposition *. • Thunders are the symbols of the supreine powers, who established the reformation in their respective dominions : Seven is a number of perfection, and according to the great interpretert, whom I follow, it denotes the leven states of Europe, who established the reformation
1. The Germanic body, in whịch, by the treaty of Smalcald, the Protestant princes formed a distinct republic. 2. The Swiss cantons, 1534. 3. Sweden, 1533. 4. Denmark and Norway. 5. Eng. land and Ireland, 1547. 6. Scotland, 1550. 7. The Netherlands, 1577. These governments received and eltablished the reformation within 60 years after Luther's first preaching against indulgencies. All other countries, where the reformation made some progress, but with
Lancaster, Symb. Dię p. 123,
+ Mr. Daubuz. p. 46c,
out being established by authority, are described by other symbols: But the foregoing seven uttered Tas saulo Deras, their own authoritative voices, to settle true religion by Law, each in their own dominions.
• And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to qurite. The posture and action of the prophet is fymbolical of the raised expectation of good men, that, when the reformation was establifhed in the principal kingdoms and ftates of Europe, the fall of antichrift for Popery) would foon follow, and introduce the glorious orion of truth and peace on earth. But a voice from beaven commands him to feat up those things which the seven thunders have uttered, and write them not ; intimates that the first reformers would be mistaken in their zeal, and disappointed in their expectation; that the new reform would not soon be followed by the fall of popery, and the conversion of unbelief; but that, by the divine permiffion, the free course and progress of the reformed religion should be checked by the power of the temporal princes, not in the number of the seven thunders. Such was Charles V. young, aspiring, selfish, and aiming, by the influence of the papal system, to make himself absolute in Germany. Such was híz son Philip II. a tyrannical bigot, who made it his principal object to establish popery and the inquisition throughout his vaft dominions. In Poland, and the hereditary countries of the house of Auftria, the lupreme powers by persecution and ill policy prevented the establishment of the reformation. France was the theatre of the most violent opposition to it during the inglorious reigns of Henry II. Francis II. and Charles IX. And Lewis XIV. half unpeopled his kingdom by his great armies, and by the expulsion of the Protestants ; fo that, according to this prophecy, the happy state of the church was not then to be effect. ed by the civil powers, but by some other means in some future time.
• The angel in the vision lifting up his right hand, swears by bim that liveth for ever and cver, who created heaven and the earth and the fea, (by the very formlary proteking against the dominionship of the apoftate church), that the time for the pure and happy ftate of the reformed church 1hould not as yet ότι χρονος ουκ εςαι Ετι.
But that in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when be shall begix ito found *, then the mystery of God jould be finished t, should be brought to its perfection. The mystery of God is his counsel in secret design, of which Christ is the counsellor and executor.
The event,' says our author, ' of the first five trumpets are past ; the first epoch of the sixth trumpet is the Turkish empire, 1453.; the fecond epoch is co-extended to its whole duration; we of the present age, actually living under the fixth trumpet, are coeval with the eastern and western antichrist; are witnesses, to the declining of antichristianism; and it is evident from reason, as well as the terms of this prophecy, that this improving state of religion and happiness is to be effected by the inftrumentality of men in a course of measures and events not generally fupernatural, though never excluding the divine direction and superintendance.'
• Or ratherwhen he shall have founded," orde HEXAM OQATTIS AT + Texsou teEtie Velegana Traducelan. Confummabitur vulgate.
The author has laboured in the course of these lectures to affert, according to St. John, “ the testimony of Jesus by the
spirit of prophecy,” and in the completion of this task has, interspersed such remarks as will gratify the philological interpreter, as well as exercise the power of reason in the pursuit of truth. Our author has taken upon him in a decisive
way to predict the fall of Rome from the prophecy of Ezekiel. He very peremptorily declares, in his iith sermon, that the city of Rome will be levelled with the ground by an earthquake.' Fire will issue out of her bowels, water will cover the spot where the now stands, and her place will no'where be found. He
may poffibly be right in his interpretation, but we think he fees further than other men can see.--According to his own words
• Critical interpretation consists not merely in weighing the moment of words, but in seizing the genius and fpirit of composition. In Jacred composition especially a rigid adherence to the diction and letter would prevent the discovery of truth, conveyed from and to the imagiDation, in its most adventurous flights, with the utmost vivacity of figured ftile.'
He has therefore, in his interpretation, proceeded in this manner, and laid the predictions of former times so open and clear, that he must be a sceptic indeed, who withholds his faith.
In his history of prophecy, he has divided it into four emi nent periods, in which it thone with signal luftre; these were the time of Moses; that of David during the existence of the Babylonian and Persian empires; and in the Evangelic age, or first century of the Christian Church, at the end of which time this excellent gift entirely ceased; the few notices we have of it afterwards being little more than that impreffion, which a miracle of so extraordinary a kind made on the mindsof men, till (in his own beautiful allegory) the memory of it gradually died away like the “ faint murmurs of a diftant thunder, or the heaving of the " ocean when the storm subsides.”
In his last discourse, he seems to congratulate the Protestants on the declining itate of Popery, and to give them assurance, that in due time the prophecy of St. John will be fully completed in the total overthrow of the Romilh Church. The power of the popes (says he) is every year growing less and less; to that from lords of the Christian world, they are now become fuppliants to princes of their own communion. And from an opi. nion that it is “ the high privilege and indispensable duty of all “ who enjoy the blessings of the reformed religion, to promote “ its progress and advancement in these and succeeding times,' he proceeds politically to.point out modes that must conduce to that end. In a word, we caạnot but recommend a perusal