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of David, entering the heaven of heavens in the guise of a lamb just slain, and unsealing the volume of prophecy. Christ, crucified and received up into glory, is unfolding the awful decrees of his Father to the saints and angels by whom his throne is surrounded. This vision is exempt from difficulty and obscurity. The third vision contains the six first seals of the prophetic volume, and my business is with that. Its first revelation is that of the rider of a white horse, armed as a warrior, and crowned as a king, going forth to conquer. This person is involved in no obscurity. He recurs in c. 19, and he is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war ::
and his vesture was dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. Therefore, the first seal had its scene in heaven, and exhibited to the visionary, the Lord arming for judgment and preparing to set forth in execution of it. By the second seal, peace is taken from the land that they should kill one another, and a tagre sword was given to the angel of that prophecy. Leaving which for the moment, I will pass on to the last of the six, which was full of unexampled horrors, and, in the upshot of which, “The kings of the land, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand ?" Much obscurity is added to the prophecies, as handled by us, through the extensive loss of ancient history. We cannot interpret words or symbols in entire ignorance of the facts to which they alluded. But the epitome of Xiphilin has preserved to us the substance of those extraordinary transactions in which the vision of this seal has its palpable solution. The end of the expedition of the white-horse cavalier, making war in judgment and righteousness, was (so far as Israel was concerned) when Barcochab and Akiba, and all their followers, great and small, perished in the dens and rocks of their excavated mountains, and prayed in vain, or perhaps not always in vain, that they might fall in upon their heads.
The first operations of the expedition of judgment took peace from the land that they should slay one another. The revolt of the Barcochabites was rendered illustrious amidst its horrors by the devoted unanimity of the fanatic nation. But the first operations of direct judgment had their rise when the Sicarians, disciples of Judas Gaulonites, began the work of intestine havoc, and their cessation when Jerusalem, gorged to the very last hour with the blood of her own children, was taken and demolished; and they occurred in the days of Nero and Vespasian. The later operations, which fell upon the times of Trajan and Adrian, were greater and more terrible, and occupy three of the six prophecies in the book of the Lainb. In the first of these, death and hades are let loose and empowered to destroy one fourth part of the people by sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild beasts of the earth. These words describe a war of unexampled ferocity and destructiveness. In ferocity, the wars of the first
Barcochab have scarce any recorded parallel. The Jews devoured* the flesh of the Romans, made garments of their skins, and girded on those garments with their bowels. As to destructiveness, Dion asserts that, under the second Barcochab, 580,000 Jews fell by the sword, and, by famine, disease, and fire, a number exceeding calculation, But ferocity and havoc are vague terms; the scripture mentions one circumstance very unusual in the wars of civilized nations-viz., that many people were devoured by the wild beasts of the earth. Dion becomes almost an expositor of that scripture, when he tells us that wolves and hyænas went howling through the cities. The 2nd of these three seals exhibits a scene in heaven; the saints and martyrs of God pray for judgment against their murderers, but are exhorted to rest yet for a little season until some brethren, who still survived, had received the crown of martyrdom. And the 3rd contains the extinction of all the Jewish state, civil and spiritual, sun, moon, and heaven, and the extermination of the rebels in the cavities of their mountains. The pause awarded in heaven should seem to be that which intervened between the crimes of Andrew (the Barcochab of Trajan) and those of the greater Barcochab of Adrian, who filled up the number of the martyrs of Palestine.
In making these remarks, I have not yet touched upon the third clause, being that which intervenes between the system of civil war and that of national war. We shall find it a firm link of connexion between them. The angel of the third seal carried a pair of balances, and a voice was heard, saying a chønix of wheat for a denarius, and three chænices of barley for a denarius, and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. The voice is an injunction to the angel of the third epoch, commanding him to produce an extraordinary dearth of corn; for the chønix was about % of a modius, and the maximum price of a modius of wheat in Sicily, in Verres' time, wast only % of a denarius, and the debasement of the coin will never account for a twelvefold price. On the other hand, he was directed to foster the vintage and the harvest of oil. The main part of the period intervening between Vespasian and Trajan (fifteen years out of eighteen) was occupied by the reign of Domitian. And we have the good fortune to learn from an incidental allusion made by his brief and unsatisfactory biographer, that the peculiar dispensation in question fell upon his time, summa ubertas vini, frumenti verò inopia. The dearth of corn and abundance of wine must have been a dispensation spreading itself over several years of his reign. A single bad harvest, accompanied by a good vintage, would never have induced that emperor to break in upon the rights of property and freedom of trade, by a law ordaining an extensive excision of vineyards throughout the empire, and their cultivation in grain. That must have been a measure resorted to in hopes of mitigating an evil which appeared to be permanent and increasing. The invisible ministers of wrath were not revealed
# H. S., duobus . .
* Dion, p. 1146.
Sueton. Domit. c. 7.
to his eyes, and he did what human policy suggested to him, in order to alleviate the deficient and more necessary markets, at the expense of those whose abundance was comparatively useless. If these remarks, while they illustrate the revolt of the Jews, are successful in fixing by strong and clear characteristics, providentially saved out* of the wreck of heathen learning, a portion of the apocalypse, they may render a service. One portion, definitely ascertained, may be like the standing-place of Archimedes, and may have a tendency to impart a comparative degree of certainty to what follows, always understanding us to speak of what is past, and not to encourage speculations in which “mortalis ultra fas trepidat.”
The state of Judæa was brought to an end; her sun was darkened, her stars were fallen, and her heavens had departed, like a scroll when it is rolled together. The rabbis of succeeding ages were placed in a different situation from R. Akiba, as regards those fanatic or fraudulent machinations which an expected Messiah must, in the very nature of things, occasionally give rise to. It could not, in process of time, be pronounced of any man that he was of the posterity of Jesse, or that his ancestors had ever been settled in Bethlehem Ephratab. Those particular tokens of a Messiah were neglected because they could not be ascertained; and were at last so far despised that it was no absolute requisite for the Messiah of the Jews even to be a Jew himself, for R. David Kimchi announced to his nation that the sultan Saladin was the predicted Messiah. In the reign of Constantius, the Jewish nation were collected in great numbers in the cities of northern and central Palestine, and raised a most desperate rebellion against his lieutenant, Gallus Cæsar, in A.D. 355. Socrates relates that the Jews who inhabitedt Diocesarea (otherwise called Sepphoris) took up arms against the Romans and began to devastate the neighbourhood by their excursions; but Gallus sending an army, routed them, and ordered their city to be razed to the ground. Sozomen uses nearly the same expressions. But the affair appears still more serious in the chronicle of St. Jerome, a man well acquainted with Palestine and its history. “In the year 355, the Jews took up arms to rebel, and they put the soldiers to death in the nighttime, but Gallus subdued them, slew many thousands of them, without sparing even the innocence of childhood, and consigned to the flames their cities–Diocesarea, Tiberias, Diospolis, and many others.” Whoever will contemplate the distance from Tiberias to Diospolis will perceive the extensive and serious nature of this struggle; and, since Tiberias was one of the places whose excavated mountains received Akiba and his multitudes, it is not unlikely that Gallus may have had again to besiege Betthera. Both Socrates and Sozomen are agreed that his success in this contest was what elated his mind with the pride which soon ruined him. Our fragment of Ammianus com
* Did we possess the full history of these times, we should know what bearing the harvests and vintages of Domitian's reign had upon the great events in question.
† Socrat. ii. c. 33. Sozom, iv, c. 7.
mences with his fourteenth book, and this curious history is lost in his thirteenth. One circumstance may be conjectured from the Cæsars of A. Victor-viz., that they chose a Roman for their ruler, if they did not even invest him with the purple as a tyrannus or pretender to the empire. Interea Judæorum seditio, qui Patricium nefariè in regni speciem sustulerant, oppressa ; neque multo post ob sævitiam atque animum trucem Gallus Augusti jussu interiit. Patricius is the name of a Roman, but nothing is known concerning the individual who engaged himself in this strange adventure. He was not the last or greatest Roman who meddled with Judaism. Gallus was attached to Christianity, and was a scourge to the Jews; but within six years of his death, his brother Julian ascended the imperial throne, openly renounced Christianity, and addicted himself to the mysteries of Mithras, as taught by the eastern Mages and Chaldees, as well as to various horrible superstitions of the Greeks. If the Jews of his days were really Jews in their doctrine, he had, as they well knew, not one sentiment in common with them except the hatred of Christ and Christians. Yet they entered into the plans which he formed for rebuilding the city and temple of Jerusalem with* prodigious splendour, while he was on the point of setting forth to conquer Persia. There is reason to think that be meditated an imitation of his uncle Constantine, (who, to promote the establishment of a new state religion, founded for himself a new capital,) and intended to establish in his glorious new Jerusalem the central seat of that Mithriac and NeoPlatonic syncretism which his writings advocated with a phrenzy of superstition. In an epistle to the Jews, he says: “When I shall have finished the war in Persia, I will, at my own labour, build up the city of Jerusalem, whose restoration you have so long desired, and inhabit it,+ and give glory in it, together with you, to the Superior One,
TU Kpelttovi." His tongue and pen were too restless for any man, Jew or Gentile, to be ignorant that the Kreitton of Julian was the
sun, whose worship, with that of all the host of heaven, was an abomination to every real Jew. Meanwhile he did not wait till his return to rebuild the temple, but set his lieutenant Alypius immediately to that work. Alypius undertook it with more or less of sincerity, and was assisted by the labours of the Jews. But,“ when they were digging foundations, fearful globes of fire broke out with repeated eruptions, scorched some of the labourers, and prevented their approaching the spot; and by this persevering resistance of the element the undertaking was frustrated.” From whatever cause this event arose, it was very strangely viewed by Julian. He imagined, in his folly, that Mithras had sent his Great Light to shine upon and auspicate his work, and that the Jews had misunderstood the sign; and, in his vexation and disappointment, he rebuked and derided them almost as if they had been Christians.
“Let no man (he writest to one of his heathen priests) try to deceive us, and disturb our minds concerning Providence. For as for the prophets of the Jews,
• Sumptibus immodicis.
+ Oikocou noaç oixnow. # Ep. ad Pontificem, p. 296.
who throw these things in our teeth, what say they concerning their temple, whieli, having been thrice overthrown, is not yet built up? I say not that to insult them. Not I, who, so long after its destruction, meditated to restore it in honour of the God who is therein* invoked. But I now mention it merely to shew that nothing human is indestructible, and that the prophets who wrote such things were triflers, fit companions for silly old women. I think it may well be, that the deity may be great, and yet that his prophets and interpreters may be none of the wisest, because they have not committed their souls to the purification of the encyclical studies, nor have been willing to open their closely-shut eyes, or dispel the mist that covers them. But those men seeing the greatt light, but not seeing it clearly or with certainty, but as it were through a cloud, not being aware that it was the pure essence of light, but thinking it was fire, and discerning nothing clearly that was round about them, cried out, ‘Shudder ! tremble! fire ! flame ! death! the sword! thet fiery sword !'-usinga power of words to express one thing—viz., the destroying power of fire. But, with respect to these things, I had better explain to you in private how much those teachers of what relates to the Deity are, in that respect, inferior to our poets.”
This deplorable effusion informs us that the Jews then professed to have inspired prophets interpreting the divine will, and that those
prophets were conversant with the mysteries of the Great Light, although an unexpected alarm brought back the apostates to some other thoughts. And these prophets were the men with and through whom the great intrigue of Julian was conducted. In Julian's projected residence at the new Jerusalem more, perhaps, was meant than was said, and the Jews and Gentiles of the syncretism may have whispered among themselves præsenss Divus habebitur, adjectis imperio gravibus Persis.
Such ideas are not inconsistent with corrupted Judaism, for the Jerusalem Targum does not scruple to say that the Messiah || shall come from Rome.
Orosius, ( an excellent author who wrote no more than fifty years after the time spoken of, throws much light on these machinations.
“When Julian was preparing for his Persian war, and was leading with him to his predestined ruin, the assembled forces of the Romans, he offered the blood of the Christians to his gods by a vow, and intended to persecute the churches openly if he could obtain the victory. For he even commanded an amphitheatre to be built in Hierosolyma, in order, when he returned from Persia, to expose to infuriated wild beasts, the bishops, monks, and other saints of that city, and to contemplate their laceration."
Some such opinions were early entertained concerning him, for the words generally imputed to him when he received his wound_“thou art victorious, o Galilean !"-implied that his war against Persia was, in some sense or other, a war against Christ. They would not have been ascribed to him had the Christian church been unconcerned in the struggle between the two heathens. Orosius cannot be contradicted by an appeal to the less sanguinary previous conduct of Julian, because we know to what superstitious atrocities he was addicted. At Carrhæ, when entering Persia, he crucified a young woman (i. e. hung her up with her two arms extended), and ripped up her entrails,
Κληθεντος επ' αυτω. Qu.
† For this phrase, see vol. i. p. 465. I 'H poupata, the phrase constantly employed for the fiery sword at the gate of Paradise.
Four hundred and eighty-three days from his commandment to rebuild the city and the temple was a sufficient time for the achievement of his Persian war. ll See Buxtorf, Lex. in Romu.
Oros. vii. 30.