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From the preceding observations it follows, that Christ divides the history of his Church into seven periods, in each of which he describes three different sorts of transactions under the respective Seal, Trumpet, and Vial. The Lamb holds a book sealed with seven Seals, which he opens one after another. This book contains the history of the formation and propagation of Christ's Church, together with the opposition made to the establishment of it, and a part of this account is disclosed at the opening of each Seal. To every Seal corresponds a Trumpet, which is sounded by an angel. The sound of a trumpet naturally indicates an alarm; and such is the nature of the Trumpets in the Apocalypse. They always announce events that are alarming to the Church; such as persecutions, intestine convulsions occasioned by heretics, &c. After the Trumpets follow the Vials of the wrath of God. These convey the punishments whichi Christ inflicts on the enemies of his people: Hence it appears that the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials, unfold the three kinds of events, which distinguish each age of the Christian Church. One may remark in the "history of the Jews; that nearly the same sort of economy was observed in the divine dispensations towards that people. They were favoured with the special assistance of God; but they had also their trials, persecutions, &c: and at other times they saw their enemies, laid prostrate by the divine hand before thein..

When almighty God thinks fit to reveal future events, he generally expresses them in obscure. whole, except the two last chapters, to the persecutions which the Church suffered from the

pagan Roman Emperors, and to the destruction of the Roman empire. For this reason, the two abovementioned Authors have often been obliged to wrest the text, and give it a forced and improbable explication, to bring it witļin their system. On the same account, they have derogated from the dignity and precision of that prophecy, by applying several texts to the same event; whereas, whoever looks attentively into the tenour of the Apocalypse "will perceive that St. John's precision and brevity are such, that he never repeats the same thing.

For the unfolding of the different parts of the Apocalypse, we have föllowed, in general, the plan laid down by Mr. De la Chetardie towards the close of the last century, as it has since been improved by a late French Commentator on the scripture. It

consists in a division of the whole Christian æra to the end of time, into seven Ages, corresponding to the seven Seals, seven Trumpets, and seven Vials mentioned in the Apocalypse"; so that to each belong a Seal, Trumpet, and Vial. But in the application of the Prophecies contained under these Seals, Trumpets, and Vials, as well as in other parts of the Apocalypse, we have frequentiy deviated from the above-named Writers, to substitute what we thought a more genuine explication. It must then be observed, that an age and a century must not here be taken for synonimous terms ; but by an age in this history we shall understand *one of the seven divisions of time above-mentioned; neither are these divisions of time equal,

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From the preceding observations it follows, that Christ divides the history of his Church into seven periods, in each of which he describes three different sorts of transactions under the respective Seal, Trumpet, and Vial. The Lamb holds a book sealed with seven Seals, which he opens one after another. This book contains the history of the formation and propagation of Christ's Church, together with the opposition made to the establishment of it, and a part of this account is disclosed at the opening of each Seal. To every Seal corresponds a Trumpet, which is sounded by, an-angel. The sound of a trumpet naturally indicates an alarm; and such is the nature of the Trumpets in the Apocalypse. They always announce events that are alarming to the Church; such as persecutions, intestine convulsions occasioned by heretics, &c. After the Trumpets follow the Vials of the wrath of God. These convey the punishments whicli Christ inflicts on the enemies of his people: Hence it appears that the Seals, Trumpets, and Vials, unfold the three kinds of events, which distinguish each age of the Christian Church: One may remark in the history of the Jews; that nearly the same sort of æconomy was observed in the divine dispensations towards that people. They were favoured with the special assistance of God, but they had also their trials, persecutions, &c: and at other times they saw their enemies, laid prostrate by the divine hand before thein..

When almighty God thinks fit to reveal future events, he generally expresses them in obscure.

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terms that leave the meaning more or less uncertain. This seems to be done in order to prevent the daring presumption of some men, who might attempt, if the prophecies were clear, to obstruct and hinder their accomplishment. Others of mankind of a more timorous disposition, would be alarmed and over-much terrified at disasters which they foresaw were impending upon them. On another hand, if futurity was clearly foretold, it might seem to intrench upon that liberty, which God had been pleased to grant to man, of directing his own conduct and actions, For these reasons, the generality of prophecies are covered with a veil of darkness and uncertainty. Obscurity is therefore a general characteristic of prophecy, but it is peculiarly so of the Apocalypse, as évery Commentator has acknowledged. This book appears at first sight impenetrable. Let any one dip into it without having a key to open to him the meaning, and he will see nothing but a continued series of the most mysterious enigmas. Hence it has happened that so many different explanations have been invented. But the same obscurity was the occasion, that the ancient Fathers were so sparing in their interpretations of this prophecy. They have here and there explained a particular passage, without attempting the whole, and sometimes only given a moral exposition of it. But in this we need not wonder, because as the Apocalypse is the history of Christ's Church through the whole time of its existence, so few events had happened when they wrote, that the greatest part of the book must have appeared to them inexplicable. Hence we see the advantage of the present times for unravelling the mysteries of the Apocalypse, when so considerable à share of them has been fulfilled. Whoever looks back into the history of the Church, and compares attentively the facts with the expressions of St. John, will see a distinct analogy and conneetion between them. It must however be allowed, there remain yet very many obscurities, which if we have not always sufficiently cleared, we hope the indulgent reader will consider the difficulty and excuse the defect.

The principal help for removing the obscurities of the Apocalypse arises from a right understanding of its' general tendency. If a wrong system be adopted, the difficulty of reconciling the different parts of the prophecy becomes insuperable : and this has appeared fully in the attempts of several interpreters. But, when the plan of the book is discovered and ascertained, the difficulties decrease and the obscurities gradually disappear. Thus a surprising light breaks in upon the Apocalypse, when we view it as the History of Christ's Church divided into seven periods or ages, as we have above explained. A second means of removing difficulties is, the taking notice of the order of the different parts that compose this prophetic book. St. John gives all the seals together, then all the trumpets, and lastly the vials in the same manner. Under the seven seals a series of transactions is related, which belong to the seven successive ages

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