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remaining mass out of which it was taken should do so only individually and unconnectedly.
On such principles of abstract interpretation, the present vision may be pronounced to declare, that, out of the woman or the collective body of faithful worshippers, should be taken, at the commencement of the latter 1260 years, a faithful Christian ecclesiastical community, which however had previously existed (like a child in the womb) conjunctively with that collective body of faithful worshippers ; and that, during the lapse of the 1260 years, this faithful Christian ecclesiastical community should preach or set forth the Gospel as a distinct and regularly political Church, while the collective body of faithful worshippers out of which it was taken should do so only in an individual capacity at this time or at that time. In other words, the present vision declares, that, throughout the entire period of the 1260 years, a whole Church or Community should never cease to hold fast the profesşion of the true faith, notwithstanding that the dragon, by the agency of his borrowed members, should fiercely attempt to devour it; and that, throughout the same term of 1260 years, numerous individual faithful worshippers, or (it might be) faithful Churches reformed from the paganising corruptions of the mystic Gentiles, should set forth the truth in the midst of the great wilderness of apostate error, though no such single individual and no such single reformed Church in particular should thus set it forth during the whole 1260 years. 2. Let us now proceed, in the second place, to compare the machinery of the present vision with the machinery of its predecessor. · I have already established the position, that the vision of the two witnesses and the vision of the dragon and the woman are synchronical, each commencing with the period of the latter 1260 years, and each running through the entire term of that period. I have likewise established the position, that the several events, foretold in these two visions, take place on the very same geographical platform ; namely, the western third part of the Roman Empire, which is the exclusive subject of the little open book, and which is the peculium of the ten Gothic horns with the eleventh ecclesiastical horn. Hence we may be morally sure, that the machinery of the one vision must be closely connected with the machinery of the other vision, and consequently that the interpretation of the one will greatly facilitate the interpretation of the other. On these grounds, if we shall find, that the several parts of the machinery of the former vision correspond with the several parts of the machinery of the present vision, we shall have gone far in the applicatory interpretation of the present vision : because the former vision has already been interpreted and applied to its corresponding historical events. We shall not, indeed, have completed the applicatory exposition of the present vision; for, if the two were alike in every predicted particular, the one would be a mere repetition of the
other couched under a different set of symbols : but, in that case, we shall at all events have gone far in the work. Let us, then, inquire, how far the machinery of the one vision answers to the machinery of the other vision.
(1.) In the preceding vision of the two witnesses, the various actors are all comprehended within the limits of the holy city, however different may be the stations which are assigned to them within those limits : in the present vision, both the woman and the man-child and the dragon are described as equally occupying the symbolical heaven. Heaven, therefore, in the present vision, corresponds with the holy city in the last vision. Accordingly, both heaven and the holy city alike symbolise the visible Church existing under the sway of its spiritual governors or viewed under the aspect of a regularly organised polity'.
Hence the opening of the present vision, and the opening of the last vision, propound to us one and the self-same matter : namely, that, at the commencement and during the lapse of the latter 1260 years, the visible Church of the Western Empire (for the platform of the Western Empire is exclusively the geographical subject of the little book) should comprehend within its pale two distinct classes of professed Christians; the one class being a body of measured or faithful worshippers, the other class being a still
See above book i. chap. 1. § II. 1. (2.) 4. (1.)
larger and more powerful body of gentilising or apostatising worshippers unconsciously and secretly under the influence of the evil spirit.
(2.) In the preceding vision, the temple with its inner courts is occupied by the measured worshippers of God: in the present vision, one particular region of heaven is occupied by a woman, whose symbolical decorations consist of the sun and the moon and the twelve stars. Now the measured worshippers of the temple and its inner courts stand in exactly the same relation to the unmeasured Gentiles of the outer court, that the woman does to the borrowed members and the subject stars of the dragon. The woman, therefore, in the present vision, corresponds with the measured worshippers in the last vision. But the measured worshippers denote the collective body of the faithful, during the whole period of the latter 1260 years, though with a limitation in the little book to the geographical platform of the Western Empire. Therefore that same collective body of the faithful, during that same period, must also, as we have already found, be symbolised by the woman. The measured worshippers, however, form the continued line of that mystical Israel, which is said to have been sealed in the reign of Constantine or during the period of the sixth apocalyptic seal. Therefore the woman, during her gestation and previous to the commencement of the latter 1260 years, represents the whole body of the sealed and mystical Israel. Such being the case, the woman, from first to last, like the sealed Israelites and the measured worshipping Israelites conjointly, symbolises the whole collective body of sincere and uncorrupted Christians from the time of Constantine down to the expiration of the latter 1260 years, though with a special reference during the lapse of that period to the uncorrupted Christians of the Western Empire.
The identity of the woman in the present vision and of the measured worshippers in the preceding vision is additionally shewn by the peculiar ornaments ascribed to the former. ,
So far as her figure is concerned, the woman appears in the hieroglyphical picture, as clothed with the sun, as standing upon the moon, and as wearing a crown of twelve stars. Hence, as the woman in the present vision represents the same collective body as the measured worshippers in the preceding vision, her ornaments must obviously have relation to the component parts of the measured worshippers. Now the measured worshippers in the temple and at the altar are the mystical Israel of God: whence, as the imagery is doubtless borrowed from the constitution of the literal Israel, they are composed of the high-priest, the inferior priests and levites, and the whole body of the Hebrew laity. Such, then, must likewise be the composition of the woman, when viewed in the peculiar dress which is ascribed to her. Accordingly, the sun, with which she is clothed, symbolises Christ, the antitype under the Gospel of the high-priest under the Law: the moon,