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wards of a lock very intricately formed. But the author, without doubt, having conceived ideas very different from our own, of the machine he meant to open, lays juft claim to approbation, for his fincere and earnest endeavours to effect a very laudable purpose.
After all, we are candid enough to allow, this method may carry conviction to other minds; and if it should not, that at leaft thofe difcoveries which it has produced, may be of great ufe to other learned men who shall confider the same subject; and, united with preceding efforts, and the fullness of time, may contribute no contemptible fhare to the complete ecclairciffement of this august mystery. We, therefore, wish this performance may fall into the hands of all fuch as are able and difpofed to pay due attention to the fubject.
Whatever the Protestant churches abroad, or thofe of the diffenters at home, may think of this author's fcheme in general, we are apt to believe his idea of restraining what relates to Philadelphia, in the prophetic vifion, fo partially to the church of England, will appear, in their judgment, to want liberality, and perhaps draw upon him the imputation of bigotry; a charge from which, on this account, we cannot imagine him to ftand entirely clear, even within the pale of his own church.
The comparison of the feven golden candlesticks in the Revelation, with the candlestick of Mofes, confifting of a stem or fhaft, and fix branches, is ingenioufly fupported. Our readers may not be difpleafed to see the paffage, which we fhall lay before them, with a previous paragraph introducing the fubject. There is on one of the letter-prefs pages a draught reprefenting the candleftic of Mofes, our omiffion of which, we do not apprehend, will create any difficulty to the attentive reader.
The first thing to be confidered in the above vision must be the reprefentation of the feven golden candlesticks. In the midst of thefe was feen walking a glorious appearance of Christ, cloathed in all the pomp of majesty, as the great eternal high-prieft of his people, both able and willing to avenge them of their enemies, and establish them in perfect peace and glory. Thefe candlesticks are the feven periods or divifions of the church, and are made ufe of as a proper reprefentation of religion, which is a ftrong burning light, illuminating the dark gloomy minds of erring mortals, and directing them in the way of endlefs peace and felicity.
In order the better to illuftrate the meaning of these candlesticks, we must compare them with that made by Mofes, according to the exprefs command of God. Though these are
represented as standing separate, and that of Mofes as being only one; yet, upon a proper comparison, it will be found to have the fame typical meaning and tendency, and to be explanatory of many particular terms ufed in thefe myfteries. The candlestick of Mofes was to be made, with its feveral apurtenances, of a talent of pure gold, in the following manner. The middle part of it was the main fhaft, or stem; from which proceeded fix branches, three branches from one fide, and three branches from the other fide. The two lowermoft, extending oppofite to each other, were in a manner united by a knop, formed in that part of the fhaft of the candlestick from whence they proceeded, directly under their connexion. Two more branches proceeded in the fame manner above them, and two more ftill above these. Every one of these several branches had lamps fixed to their extremities, and on the top of the middle ftem was likewise fixed a lamp.
The two lowermoft branches, connected together with a knop, may fignify the two feveral periods of the church be fore the law, here called the churches of Ephefus and Smyrna. The two other branches above them may represent the two churches under the law, called Pergamos, and Thyatira, and the two uppermoft branches express the two Christian churches, called Sardis and Philadelphia. The middle ftem, being as it were the parent of these branches, is the third Chriftian church, called here the church of Laodicea, and in other places of Scripture, the Great Church, as being that into which all the nations in the world will bring their glory and honour, as the prophets have every where loudly fung. We may now see the propriety of Chrift's walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks, he giving life and exiftence to them all, and, like the fhaft of Mofes's candlestick, bearing and fupporting all the reft. Thus we fee, likewise, the unity of our most holy religion, which, with its feveral branches, forms one glorious fyftem, that will blaze and flourish to the end of time.'
The metaphorical words blaze and flourish, at the conclufion, are not happily, indeed not properly, connected.
The Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine explained ; In an hiftorical View of the past and prefent State of the Chrif tian World compared with the prophetic Vifions. By Thomas Vivian, Vicar of Cornwood, Devon. 8vo. 2s. 6d. Dilly. AFTER the ftate of doubt and uncertainty in which we were left by the performance last reviewed, we were prepared to receive, without discontent, a much flighter degree
of fatisfaction from the perufal of the prefent work on the fame difficult fubject, than we gratefully acknowledge it has given us.
This explanation evinces its author to poffefs no ordinary fhare of abilities, either natural or acquired; and he appears to have conducted his important undertaking in the true fpirit of a Christian divine. Judgement, candour, and moderation, accompanied by a difcerning and temperate spirit of conjecture, feem jealously to have watched his footsteps through the facred labyrinth, and to have enabled him, from extensive reading and erudition, to form a more fuccefsful clue than perhaps any preceding adventurer. It gives us pleasure to fee this work, as its dedication announces, under the patronage of the author's diocefan, the bishop of Exeter. Its intrinfic merit, though it may not need fuch a recommendation, at leaft deferves the credit it will be thought to derive from this circumftance.
Mr. Vivian divides his expofition into feven chapters, which are preceded by a fhort introduction, fhewing the defign of the facred book, and the importance of the fubject; and are followed by ample annotations, equally inftructive and enter-. taining.
The plan of the work will be fufficiently conveyed to our readers by the heads of the feveral chapters, which are as follow.
Chap. I. Containing the Seven Epiftles to the Seven Churches of Afia, under the Inspection of St. John; in which are Directions, Reproofs, and Confolations, fuited to their different States.-Chap. II. Containing under Seven Seals, opened one after another, the prophetical Hiftory of the pri mitive, pure, and rifing Church of Chrift: a Period, extending from the Delivery of the Prophecy to the Reign of Conftantine, about Two Hundred and Forty Years.-Chap. III. Containing the Hiftory of the Chriftian Church, now delivered from the perfecuting Pagan Emperors, but departed from the Simplicity of the Gofpel. This Period extending from Conftantine, and not yet compleated, is defcribed under Seven Trumpets. Chap. IV. Exhibiting a permanent View of the internal State of the Chriftian Church, during the Period of the Seven Trumpets. Here the Contests between the purer and more corrupt Parts are defcribed under Seven Contempo rary Visions. As this Part differs from the reft of the Book, it is diftinguished by the Title of The Little Book.-Chap. V. Of the Seven Vials to be poured out hereafter on the apoftate Part of the Chriftian Church, and putting an End to the
Apoftacy. This Period will not begin till the Seventh Trumpet founds, and will probably end at the fame Time as the Vifions of the Little Book, about the Year 2000.-Chap. VI. Of the Millenium, or the Reign of Chrift during the Seventh Millenary of the World, or from the Year 2000 to 3000. After which follows the Refurrection and laft Judgment.-Chap. VII. The Glory and Happinefs of Heaven, to continue for ever. The Conclufion.'
As a Specimen of the author's ftyle, which we think excels in point of perfpicuity and neatness, we fubjoin his feventyfourth annotation on the concluding verfe of the Apocalypfe; it being difficult, within our limits, to detach fuch a portionof the text as would, by itfelf, be clear and intelligible; befides that we are warmly difpofed to recommend the whole to the serious perusal and attention of the public.
"Be with you all, Amen.] On looking back on the visions in this Book, and comparing them with the History of the Chriftian church, one Reflection feems very natural. Let us fuppofe that St. John had as clear a view of the events that were to befal the church, when he wrote this book, as we have now by the records of history. Let us fuppofe that he knew the Chriftians would be perfecuted for the two next centuries, and then gain an establishment under the Christian emperors; together with all the circumftances attending these facts, which we now read in the annals of thofe times. Let us fuppofe that he knew perfectly the ravages of the northern, nations; the religion of Mahomet, enforced by arms; and the devaftations of the Turks. Let us fuppofe that he knew that a Chriftian bishop fhould rife to fuch a degree of power as to be the tyrant of the church, a promoter of idolatry and various fuperftitious ceremonies, and a perfecuter of them that adhered to the word of God. In a word, let us fuppofe that he knew as much of the then future hiftory of the church as we know now. Let us farther fuppofe that he meant to defcribe all he knew, under a feries of prophetic vifions, and that with fo much clearness as to convince an attentive reader, that he really had fuch a knowledge of future events, given him by God, for wife purposes.,
Now, fuppofing all, this, it may be asked, could he have executed his defign more effectually, and with greater beauty and propriety, than is done in this book?
For objects in vifion, expreffive of future events, he would naturally have recourfe to the hiftory of the Old Testament, and the circumftances of Jewish worship: for this language had already been adopted by the old prophets, and by the H 3 Chriflian
Chriftian teachers. He would reprefent conquerors by warhorfes; a destroying enemy by locufts, a burning mountain, or the fea and rivers bloody: the agency of invisible spirits, by Michael the tutelar angel of Judea; or by a ferpent or dragon, when he would exprefs the invifible enemies of God's people. As the Jewish church was known by the name Daughter of Zion, it would be natural to fignify the Christian church alfo by a woman; in whom the dress and other circumftances would be expreffive either of its purity or corrup tion; a state of perfecution, or worldly profperity. The active members both of the pure and the corrupt church, would naturally be ftyled prophets; these being the chief directors of old, both in the pure church at Jerufalem, and in the idolatrous part that worshipped the golden calves at Bethel.
In a word, were a Jew converted to Chriftianity to defcribe, in prophetic language, the future hiftory of the Chrif tian church, made known to him by Revelation, it would probably be juft fuch a compofition as this of St. John. The vifions would follow in the fame order of time as the events were to happen; as is really the cafe, according to the account given of the book in this expofition: a circumstance in which it differs from all the expofitions known to the author.
And as different actions done at the fame time must be related feparately, in order to diftinguish vifions reprefenting contemporary events, from thofe that defcribed fuch events as were to follow one another in point of time; this difference might be pointed out by placing the contemporary visions in a feparate part, or Little Book.
This would probably be the cafe, fuppofing the writer, to have a diftinct view of future events, and to be left to himself to describe them in vifions and prophetic language. But in fact the cafe was fomewhat different. The writer feems really to have feen the vifions which he defcribes, fome on the land, fome on the fea, others in the air or heaven, while he was in Patmos. And we cannot conceive any visions better fuited to exprefs the events. He defcribed what he faw, and probably might not know himself all that was meant thereby. For he feems to have written all he knew, except in the cafe of the Seven Thunders, in the tenth chapter, where he was forbidden to write what he heard. Neither this nor any other prophecy is of private fuggeftion, proceeding from a man's own will or imagination; but holy men of old fpake as they were moved by the Holy Ghoft: searching what manner of things and times the fpirit that was in them did fignify.