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d not say the same thing , & have not the fame
object. For the first little book that appea
reth sealed with seven seals, principally cm respects the affairs & the adventures of the De first Period of the fourth Monarchy, viz. the
temporal Roman Empire. And the second
them, but that all that is faid in these Epift.
John on the contrary in this Epistle sets that
intended therein. Why the I see but one thing that seems mightily to wrote but Tavour thic Opuno11 OI !
favour the opinion of those that believe that to seven the seven Epistles are Prophetical. 'Tis the Chcs. number of seven. Why did the H. Spirit write
to no more than seven Churches Were there not many more in Afia? Were these the only ones in which there was any thing to be reproved, or to whom the H. Spirit had something to say?
. It seems therefore that the seven Churches are the Universal Church of all Ages divided into seven Periods. But this reason doth not appear strong enough to me. First, because the number of seven is evidently consecrated in the Revelation. The holy Spirit userh it in counting up all things , the seven Spirits, seven Lamps, seven Angels, &c. Surely whatever we understand hereby, 'tis certain that the number of Spirits , of Lamps & of An. gells is not reduced to the number of seven. Not but that oftentimes the number of seven in the Revelation must be taken for a determinate number as in the seven Seals , in the seven Trumpets, & the seven Vialls; but that is when the division of time into Periods is treated of. Now this is that which is doubt. ful, that by these seven Churches are meant
seven Periods. And we shall also see here. after that wh:t is said to these seven Chur
ches doth not at all agree with the events, in what manner foever the times be divided. So that this only thing that the H. Spiritmakech here seven Churches doth not prove that they are so many Period's of the duration of the Church. 'Tis probable that by these he means all the other Churches of Afia , and if any will have it so, all those that were at that time in the world. And he chose among these seven the names of the principal ones, intending that the other lefser Churches should reckon that as spoken concerning their prefent estate, which is spoken to the seven principal ones among them,
B 3. .: 2dly,
2 dly, Who knows whether there were at that time more than seven considerable Churches in Afia? The other were' so very much below these, for Dignity, Grandure & Excellency, that the H. Spirit judged it not proper to make any account of them, the AdVertisements that he gives to these seven Churches being sufficient for the Disorders which might be in all the others, which Disorders were apparently the same. For 'tis usü. all enough for little flocks to follow the examples of the greater ones.
Lastly, it doth not appear that the holy Spirit, in what follows, hath divided the du. ration of the Church lince J. Christ's time to the end of the world, or to the coming of Jesus Christ's Kingdom into seven Periods, For the seven seals, the seven Trumpets, the seven Vialls, do not each of them take up all time. They succeed one another. The seventh . seal brings forth seven Trumpets, & the fixth Trumpet is subdivided into seven Vi. alls. It had been very methodical in a Reve. lation, after having obscurely mark'd out the seven Periods of the Church by the seven Epistles, to describe the same times by fe. ven other Characters more observable & more distinct. This is indeed what some modern writers do believe that God hath done; pretending that the seven seals & the seven Trum. pets are co•temporary, & divide the duration of the Christian Church into seven Periods, as the seven Epistles to the seven Churches do.But this opinion will not appear probable to those
er having the Che Famet
Min lee it, topirit faith my resemb which are
have noh: How with
that study the Prophecies & the events with
I look on that as nothing that is said to
The principal thing that hinders me from Theapclosing with the opinion of the Prophetical plications
* that are sense of the Epistles , is that I do not find that made of the applications which are made of them to the seven
Epistles the Ages that have past since the Apostles , rothe ledo answer expectation. 'Tis true, there are some ve
ods are places where the applications are not unhap. noc tiappy. But seeing this is not to be met with py. every where , I believe that they have hit luckily by chance. Otherwise the Prophecy should every where agree with the events. To the end one may better judge of the force of this last reason, I shall set down two or three of the mystical interpretations that are given to these Epistles. This will please those who cannot or will not go to seek them in their Springs. Į begin with that of Patrick Forbes. a Scotch
B 4 : Diving
doanswehere the applia not to be
or three of reason, the judge of the events.