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conform our interpretation of it to the rules God has already given us, or feel our ignorance of the end it was designed to serve.
But though the beast with ten horns in Daniel is applied to the fourth empirea, who can be certain that the similar beasts in the Revelation of St. John will admit of the same application ? It is not expressly asserted; true, nor are all the symbols in Daniel deciphered: the angel refused to gratify the prophet, when he pursued his inquiry, and said, “Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the
Are we then to look for a new revelation, or may we presume, that the key, already in our possession, will enable us to understand these symbolical prophecies, when they have been fulfilled ? In the time of the end, the key given to Daniel, and not
a Dan, vii. 23.
b Dan. xii. 9.
to him alone, but to others (for even the Apocalypse is not
not without explanatory remarks), will unlock the store of symbols that abound in Holy Writ, and throw light upon God's providential government, for the stay, conviction, and comfort of his people in every age.
We have not to do with many books but with one ; for though Holy Scripture was written by different persons, it was indited by one omniscient, controlling Spirit. “All scripture was given by inspiration of God — holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
We should never forget, that however numerous the instrumentality, it is the one entire and complete revelation of God's will to man; and as the architect of the building is one and not many, (the same, too, as the architect of the world,) we may confidently expect a oneness and consistency of plan and execution; and though the building took many years in its erection, its hoary foundation will correspond with the freshness and ornament of its topstone and its minute and finished detail.
a 2 Tim. iii. 16.; 2 Pet. i. 21.
The symbols that puzzled Daniel were sealed to the time of the enda; which more probably means towards the close of it than after it is arrived, viz. under the dispensation spoken of, and not under another that may succeed it. But the time of the end is coupled with the time, times, and dividing of a time, and these in the Revelation of St. Johnb correspond with 1260 days, the period most likely under which we live. There is then reason to suppose that the elucidation of Daniel's difficulties, which only satisfied him in part, will prove sufficient to decipher the other symbols after they have been fulfilled.
& Dan xii. 4-9.
b Rev. xii. 6. 14.
The same remarks will apply to other features of prophecy; for instance, as the 40 days' search in Canaan foreshadowed the 40 years' wandering in the wilderness -- as the posture of Ezekiel 390 days on the one side, and 40 days on the other , denoted the same number of years, in which God would endure the provocation of Ephraim and Judah- and as the 70 weeks of Daniel represented 70 weeks of years and not of days
so by the same analogy we are justified in regarding the 1260 days, &c. of the Revelation of St. John as denoting so many years.
Symbols, in their own nature obscure, are perhaps designed rather for the guidance and comfort of the people of God, than as any evidence to the unbeliever of the truth of revelation. « The wise shall understand o; but the wicked,” notwithstanding the warning held out by symbolical prophecy, “shall still do wickedly.” Ezekiel's posture, first on the one and then on the other side, would provoke the ridicule of the profane and worldly, but the well-disposed would lay it to heart. It may be objected, this is no proof that the day frequently mentioned in the Revelation of St. John stands for a year; it is, however, a high probability, that almost amounts to proof; for the facts brought together are these : in Daniel a beast, similar to others in St. John, denotes the fourth empire of the consecutive and dependent empires of the great image, of which each swallows up in whole or in part its predecessor; for it is stated that Babylon shall be succeeded by three empires, and at the latter end of the last of which God shall
Ú Ezek. iv. 5, 6.
a Numbers, xiv. 34. c Dan. xii. 10.