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to all, who should afterwards believe in him, to the end of the world..
After her death, (which happened about fifteen years after the crucifixion, till which time St. John remained with his charge, the mother of Jesus, in Jerusalem) he took possession of the province alotted to him in the general distribution by the apostles, and went into Asia, and founded the churches of Smyrna, Philadelphia, Laodicea, &c. but his principal residence was at Ephesus, where St. Paul had previously founded a church.
After several years labour in this part of his Lord's vineyard, this beloved disciple was sent as a criminal to Rome by the proconsul of Asia, under the charge of being a public subverter of the religion of the empire, where the emperor Domitian condemned him to be thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, from which coming out wholly unhurt, the tyrant, so far from acknowledging the almighty power of God, thus manifest in St. John's preservation, banished the holy apostle into a desert island in the Archipelago sea, called Patmos. Here it was, that his prison became a palace, by the presence of his Lord and master, when he was honoured with the prophetic vision of the Apocalypse, by which the Church received so rich a treasure, in the certain view of the dealings of God with her, during the period of her humiliation and mourning, for the absence of her great head and king
On the death of Domitian, and the succession of Nerva, about the year 96, St. John was recalled from his banishment, and again fixed his residence in Asia, where he had before written his sublime Gospel for the edification of the whole Christian world, and the conviction of Cerinthus and other heretics of that day, who began to raise doubts and difficulties with regard to the doctrines of the divinity and atonement of our Lord and Saviour.
By these facts we are led to ascertain the time of St. John's writing the Apocalypse. Domitian began his reign Sept. 13, in the year 81, and Nerva who succeeded him, began his reign Sept. 18, in the year 96, so that as the Revelation was made in the end of Domitian's reign, it might be about the beginning of the year 96.
St. Jerome confirms this idea, by expressly saying, “ that St. John wrote the Apocalypse in the 14th year of Domitian,”
THE TIME OF THE CHURCH REMAINING IN A
STATE OF PURITY,
AFTER ST. JOHN'S VISION.
FROM a full consideration of the subject, we are led to suppose, with many very able commentators, that the Church continued in a state of purity, both as to doctrine and practice, from 360 to 400 years after St. John's residence in Patmos, which was, as before mentioned, somewhere about the year 96, according to the vulgar reckoning, but was, in reality, the year 100, agreeably to the actual time of the birth of Christ, that is, the great declension of the Church, in worshipping images, or spiritual idolatry, and the reign of the man of sin, began and was perfected from the years 460 to 500, about which
last year, his authority generally prevailed throughout the Churches.
It appears from Ezekiel's measures of the temple; as explained by the learned Villalpandus, that the outer court of the temple at Jerusalem was three and a half times larger than the inner court, so that it would contain within its bounds three and an half of the inner court. As this last court was emblematic of the first continú. ance of the Church of Christ in its purity, so the outer one was of its state of apostasy, under the man of sin, or during the prophesying of the witnesses in sackcloth. If then there should be allowed a similar proportion as to time, for the inner court, or the true Church of Christ, continuing in its purity, from the time of the prophetic Revelation, agreeably to the opinion of the pious Mr. Mede, it will allow 360 or 365 years, being the proportion of twelve months to forty-two, from the year 96, or rather 100, and will give somewhere about the year 460 or 465 for the beginning of the apostasy of the church from its original purity, which being progressive, be. came complete between that time and about the year 500.
This, or something like it, for it is not pretended to ascertain times with the precision of a few years, seems to have been an ancient opinion, for St. Austin, in his Book de Civitate Dei Lib. 18, cap. 53 and 54, tells us " that there was a noted oracle delivered from several Heathen Temples of Greece, that the Christian religion should last but 365 years, for so long only had Peter en. chanted the world to adore Jesus of Nazareth, but after that time, it should vanish out of the world."
TIE TIME OF THE DESTRUCTION OF THE
GOVERNMENT OF ROME PAGAN,
OR, THE TAKING AWAY OF THAT WHICH HINDERED, AND
THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE POWER OF THE MAN OF
IT has been justly remarked by Mr. Mede, that to fix the duration of the Church's purity, or the beginning of the reign of the man of sin, we ought not to look so much for the commencement of the power of the Pope as an individual, as upon the apostasy of the Church from the purity of Christian worship, by means of spiritual fornication or the worshipping of idols, of which the Pope was to be the head, and his city (spiritually called Babylon) the metropolis; but the body was to be the Roman empire, divided into ten kingdoms, and reunited under this head, preserving the image of the former Roman government.*. This new idolatry, is that treading
* Therefore the beginning of that apostasy, or spiritual idolatry and fornication, by the worshipping of images, and the doctrine of the intercession of saints and angels, instead of the one mediator, Jesus Christ, as involving every other heresy, must be looked for, as the commencement of the great æra from which all others must be reckoned (and not the temporal power of the Pope,) notwithstanding those other heresies may have preceded it, “ for the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and
down, or profaning the court of the Temple of God; that is, of his visible worship in the Church of Christ, by this kind of new Gentilism, unto which the forty-two months are attributed, as well as to the beast.
the invention of them, the corruption of life, for the worshipping of idols, not to be named, is the beginning, the cause, and the end of all evil.”* The apostle foretels this event.t Speaking of the mystery of Godliness in the 16th verse, which should be connected with the 1st verse of the next chapter, which was “God manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glo. ry,” says " yet the spirit had expressly foretold, that in the latter times, (notwithstanding all this) some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils," or rather, as it is in the original, of Demons; that is, that there should be a departing from the faith of the assumption of Christ to the right hand of the throne of glory and incommunicable majesty in Heaven, whereby he hath a name given to him above every name, and whereof no creature in Heaven or earth can be capable. What then, is the essence of this dreadful evil, so denounced by the Spirit of God? It is the doctrine concerning demons, or demon Gods. These among the Pagans, were an infe. rior sort of deities, existing between the Gods and men, as medi. ators. Plato says, “every demon is a middle being between God and mortal men. God is not to be approached by men, but all commerce and intercourse is performed by the mediation of demons.” So says Apuleius——“ Demons are middle powers, by whom both our desires and merits pass unto the Gods. They are carriers between men on earth and the Gods in Heaven, Hence of prayers, thence of gifts ! Vide Park. Lexicon, title Deimonion, page 139, 140. So the apostle, 1 Cor. 8 ch. 5 & 6– “ for though there be that are called Gods, whether in Heaven or in earth, (as there are Gods many and Lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in
• Wisd. of Solom. 14 ch. 12 & 27 v.