Catalogue Entry: THEM00044

Untitled treatise on Revelation

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Yahuda Ms. 1, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel

Custodial History

SL227, described in the Sotheby catalogue as 550 pp., was bought at the Sotheby sale by Gabriel Wells for £105 and SL228 by 'Ulysses' (Jacob Schwartz?) for £85; both were subsequently acquired by Yahuda, and the bulk of lot 228 is now Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 2. On 24 May 1949, Yahuda told the London dealer Heinrich Eisemann, 'the new arrangement [of SL227] contains 1,300 pages, that is more than double the 550 given in the catalogue [...] whole lots had to be taken from other manuscripts and rearranged. As a price I would suggest $6,500'. Evidently no sale resulted.

Sotheby Lot

SL227 and 2 bundles from SL228; also (according to a note appended to Yahuda Var. 1 Ms. 10) 8 ff. of SL248; possibly other material

Contents

Incomplete and seriously disordered, many sections occurring in several variant drafts: Newton clearly never arrived at a satisfactory plan for the overall structure of the work. There are several cases, especially in Ms. 1.4, where a title is followed only by a fragment of text and both have been struck through: these are not noted in the following summary.

Ms. 1.1

f. 1 Untitled introduction.

f. 12 'Rules for interpreting ye words and language in Scripture'

f. 13 'Rules for methodising construing the Apocalyps'

f. 15 'Rules for interpreting the Apocalyps'

f. 20 'Prophetic figures' [title altered from 'Definitions']

f. 24 'Definitions' [an earlier draft of the foregoing 'Prophetic figures']

ff. 28-55 'The Proof' [of the previous sections]

Ms. 1.1a

ff. 1-31 'The Proof' (another draft)

Ms. 1.2

f. 1r 'Position 1./ The seales & wthin ye seventh Seale the Trumpets are distributions of Time wch succeed one another orderly wthout any interruption or interfering.'

f. 3r 'Position 2./ The seven Trumpets Thunders & Vials of wrath are ye same & signify so many courses of war.'

f. 11 'Position 3/ The woman in travail is ye Church of Christ, & ye Dragon a great Heathen Kingdome & both together ye subject of the seven Seales.'

f. 17r 'Position 4/ The wounded Beast is a great heathenizing Christian kingdome derived out of the Dragon, & rose in ye sixt Seale first out of ye Sea & then after a deliquium out of ye bottomles pit, & became ye subject of ye seven Trumpets; being ye same with ye Whore's Beast, & wth the fourth Beast in Daniel, & wth ye legs of Nebuchadnezzar's Image, & with ye apostate church of ye latter times prophesied of by St Paul.'

f. 31r 'Position 5./ The seven Heads of ye Dragon & Beast are distributions of them into so many successive parts by ye opening of ye seales in order: every part or head being continued from ye opening of one seale to ye opening of ye next & the seventh head first through ye time of silence & holy rites & then through all the Trumpets.'

f. 36r 'Position 6./ The horns of ye Dragon & Beast are ten contemporary kingdoms springing out of their seventh head soon after ye beginning of ye Trumpets & voluntarily uniting & conspiring into one body politiq[ue] called ye Beast.'

[There is no Position 7.]

f. 53r 'Position 8./ The Image of ye Beast is an Ecclesiasticall Assembly of men representing ye ten hornd Beast & deriving its authority from ye two hornd Beast and was made between ye beginnings of ye seventh seale & first Trumpet.'

f. 57r 'Position 9./ The two and forty months of ye Beast's making war the like reign of ye Whore, the stay of ye woman in ye Wilderness, the treading under foot of ye holy City, & ye prophesying of ye two Witnesses in sackcloth are throughout synchronal & extend from ye beginning of ye Wo-Trumpets to ye killing of ye Witnesses.'

f. 64r 'Position 10/ The temple wthin ye holy City troden under foot by ye Gentiles, denotes the same thing wth the Woman in the Wilderness persecuted by the Dragon & Beast: the Temple answering to ye Woman, ye City to ye Wilderness, & ye Gentiles to ye Beast yt was & is not.'

[No text follows the heading of Position 10.]

Ms. 1.3 [The foliation of this section is sporadic and very idiosyncratic.]

f. a 'PROP. I./ The seales & wthin ye seventh Seale ye Trumpets are distributions of Time wch succeed one another orderly wthout any interruption or interfering.'

f. c 'PROP. IV/ The Calamities wch follow upon sounding ye Trumpets, are all by war.'

f. 1 'PROP. II/ The seven Vials of wrath described in Chap 15 & 16 are the same with ye Plagues or woes of the seven Trumpets in Chap 8, 9, 10, 11.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. III./ The seven Thunders also (ch 10.3) most probably denote the same thing with the seven Trumpets.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. V/ The fals Prophet mentioned in chap 16 & 19, is the same with the two horned Beast in chap 13.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. VI./ The ten horned Beasts in chap 13 & 17 are ye same.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. VII./ The two horned Beast ch 13 is ye same wth ye Whore of Babylon ch 17.'

f. 9 'PROP. . VIII./ The Dragon & Beast are ye Kingdome whose symptomes are declared in ye Seales & Trumpets, whereof ye Dragon begins wth ye Seales & ye Beast wth ye Trumpets.'

f. 16a 'PROP. . IX. The Kingdom represented by ye Dragon & Beast is ye same with the fourth Kingdom in Daniel represented by the dreadfull Beast wth great iron teeth, as also by the iron leggs of Nebuchadnezzar's Image. And the two horned Beast is ye same with the little horn of that dreadfull Beast.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XI.' Another draft of the foregoing, originally with identical title, but 'Dragon &' and 'two horned Beast' are crossed out, and the latter replaced by 'Whore of Babylon'.

[unfoliated] 'Posit IX. The two horned Beast is a body of men wch began about the opening of ye seventh seale, & by policy & deceipt grew up wthin ye nations wch worshipped ye ten-horned Beast untill it overtop't all earthly powers.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. VIII The two horned Beast is some kind of Dominion wch by Policy & deceipt grew up within ye nations wch worshipped the ten horned Beast untill at length it overtop't all other powers within those nations.' [Title and beginning of text struck through.]

[unfoliated] 'Posit. IX./ The two horned Beast, called also ye fals Prophet, is a body of Heathenizing Christians under two supreme Bishops, & a little before ye opening of ye 7th seale rose out of ye inferior sort of people wthin those nations wch afterward worshipped ye other Beast; & by deceiving men administered to ye ascention of that beast out of ye bottomles pit, & at length exalting himself by ye like deceipt became the whore upon his back exprest in Daniel by ye little horn of ye 4th beast & in Ezekiel 23.15 by Tyre.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. IX./ The Image of the Beast is also some contemporary & internal body politiq[ue] representing ye ten horned Beast, but yet deriving its authority from the two horned Beast.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XII./ The seven Heads of ye Dragon & Beast are ye distributions of the Kingdom into so many successive parts by the opening of the seales in order: every part or head being continued from the opening of one seale to the opening of the next & the seventh seale to the beginning of the seventh Trumpet to sound.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XIII./ The ten hornes of the Beast are ten contemporary Kingdoms voluntarily uniting & conspiring into one Body politiq[ue] called the Beast.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XIV./ The Horns of the Beast are Kingdoms derived from the Dragon, & the Dragon himself became one of the hornes.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. IV./ The calamities wch follow upon sounding the Trumpets, are all by war.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XV./ The two & forty Months of the Beast the like reign of the Whore, the stay of the Woman in the Wilderness, the treading under foot of ye holy City, & ye prophesying of ye two witnesses in sackcloth, are throughout synchronal, & extend from the beginning of ye Wo Trumpets to the killing of the witnesses.' [Text largely struck through.]

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XVI/ The Temple within the holy City troden under foot by the Gentiles, denotes the same thing with ye Woman in the Wilderness persecuted by the Dragon & Beast: the Temple answering to ye Woman, the citie to ye Wildernes, & ye Gentiles to ye seventh head of ye Dragon.'

[unfoliated] 'PROP. XI./ The hundred & forty four thousand sealed Servants of God are extended from the beginning of ye seventh seale to ye death of ye Witnesses: & the Palm-bearing multitude from their resurrection to the utter ruin of ye Beast.'

f. 57r 'Prop. XII/ The time from ye beginning of ye seventh seale to ye beginning of ye seventh Trumpet is but one & the same continued Apostacy which arrives to a greater height at ye beginning of ye fift Trumpet, & at ye greatest height at ye death of ye Witnesses & after their resurrection declines gradually untill first ye great City Babylon be ruined & a while after all the nations wch gave their kingdome to it be overthrown wth an exceeding great slaughter.'

Ms. 1.4

f. 1r 'Prop 21./ The beginning of ye seventh Trumpet is at ye end of the world.' [Partially struck through.]

f. 4v 'Position./ The Subject of this Prophesy is the Roman Empire signified by ye Dragon & Beast.'

f. 12r 'Prop. 26/ The sixt seale falls in wth the time between ye beginning of ye reign of Constantine the great, & the death of Theodosius.'

f. 17r 'Prop 27/ The four first seales agree to the time between St Iohn & ye beginning of ye tenth Persecution: the second seale beginning with Trajan, the third wth Severus, & ye fourth wth Maximinus.'

f. 20r 'The first Seale opened.'

f. 20r 'The second Seal opened.'

f. 22v 'The third Seal opened.'

f. 24r 'The fourth Seal opened.'

f. 26r 'Of the Wild Beasts'

f. 27r 'Of the Famin & Pestilence.'

f. 30r 'Prop./ The fift seale begins wth the tenth Persecution: that is wth the year 303.'

f. 31r 'Prop./ The sixt seale begins at ye victory of Constantine over Maxentius, A.D. 312.'

f. 43r 'Prop./ The first Trumpet begins with ye invasions of ye Eastern regions A.C. 395. The second with ye invasion of Gallia & Spain A.C. 408. The third wth ye invasion of Afric A.C. 427. And ye fourth wth ye wars in Italy A.C. 536.'

f. 43r 'Of the time of holy Rites.'

f. 50r 'The holding of ye winds.'

f. 62r 'The Introduction to ye Vialls of Wrath Chap: 15'

f. 62v 'Position/ The times of ye Trumpets began at ye death of Theodosius ye great. A.C. 395.'

f. 107r 'Prop./ The first Trumpet began wth ye invasions of ye Eastern regions A.C. 395. The second wth ye invasion of ye western A.C. 408. The third wth ye invasion of Afric A.C. 427. And ye fourth wth ye wars in Italy A.C. 536.'

f. 110v 'The first Trumpet.'

f. 138r 'The second Trumpet.'

f. 147r 'The third Trumpet.'

f. 152r 'Posit/ The four first Seales agree to ye time between the first preaching of Christianity & ye beginning of ye tenth Persecution: the first Seale beginning wth the Ascention or Pentecost A.C. 33 the second wth Trajan A.C. 98, ye third wth Severus A.C. 193, & ye fourth wth Decius A.C. 251.'

f. 156r 'Of the Lamb's taking the Book.'

f. 164r 'Of the four Horsemen in general.'

f. 169r 'The second Seale opened.'

f. 174r 'The third Seale opened.'

f. 181r 'The fourth Seal opened.'

f. 183r 'Of the succeeding quaternion of plagues.'

f. 183r 'Of ye Wild Beasts.'

f. 188r 'Of the sword.'

f. 190r 'Of the Famin.'

f. 192r 'Of ye Pestilence.'

f. 197r 'Posit./ The fift Seale begins wth Dioclesian's Persecution A.C. 303; The sixt wth Constantine's throwing down of Idols A.C. 330.'

f. 197v 'The fift Seale opened.'

f. 202r 'The sixt Seal opened.'

f. 210r 'The seventh seale began with ye peace made wth ye Goths & ye delivery of ye Churches to ye Homoüsians. Decemb. A.C. 380.'

Ms. 1.5

f. 1r 'Position/ The Dragon was ye whole Roman Empire untill its division, & then ye nations of ye Western Empire were ye Beast wth its ten horns & those of ye Eastern ye Dragon continued.'

f. 5r 'The history of ye Dragon.'

f. 9r 'The history of ye Beast'

f. 74r 'Posit./ The Ecclesiasticall Hierarchy of ye triunitarian Church commencing after the death of Constantius & headed by ye Bps of Rome & Alexandria, was ye two horned Beast.'

f. 75r 'Of ye Beast's rise out of the Earth with two horns.'

Ms. 1.6

f. 1r 'The first Trumpet.'

f. 17r 'The second Trumpet.'

f. 25r 'The third Trumpet'

f. 45r 'The fourth Trumpet.'

Ms. 1.7

[Beginning missing: f. 1 begins in mid-sentence.]

f. 4r 'Prop/ The first Trumpet begins wth ye Visigothic wars, AD. 396. the second wth the Alemanic wars A.D. 407. The third wth ye Vandalic wars A.D. 428 & the fourth wth the Ostrogothic & Lombardic wars A.D. 536.'

f. 10r 'The second Trumpet.'

f. 14r 'The third Trumpet.'

f. 21r 'The fourth Trumpet.'

f. 31r 'Prop./ The fift Trumpet expresses the wars of ye Saracen Empire upon ye Romans & begins with ye rise of ye Mahometan religion A.C. 609.'

f. 42r 'Prop/ The sixt Trumpet conteins ye wars of the Turkish Empire upon ye Romans, & begins with ye solution of ye four Euphratean Sultanies A.C. 1258.'

Ms. 1.8

[Beginning missing: last sentence of a passage evidently concerning the opening of the first seal.]

f. 1r 'The second Seal opened.'

f. 6r 'The third Seal opened.'

f. 9r 'The fourth Seal opened.'

f. 10r 'Of ye sword.'

f. 12r 'Of ye Wild Beasts.'

[Incomplete: breaks off in mid-sentence at the top of f. 24r. f. 17v features a hand-drawn map of the Middle East.]

Notes

Watermarks generally match those used by Newton in letters of the mid-1670s.

First 19 folios of Ms. 1.1 printed in Manuel, Religion, 107-116. Sections 1.1 ff. 1-26, 1.1a and 1.3 printed with a parallel Italian translation in Mamiani, Trattato, 1-251 (though Mamiani uses a different referencing system, referring to these as sections 1, 1.1 and 1.3 respectively). Several sections discussed in some detail in Westfall, 'Newton's Theological Manuscripts', 131-4.

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