תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” And this power of the Roman emperor as Pontifex Maximus, was that which St. Paul mentions “ only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way,” as if he had said, the established power and authority of the Roman emperor, as Pontifex Maximus, will prevent the rising of the man of sin in power, till the Roman empire shall be shaken to its centre, and “then” taking advan. tage of that important period, “ shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy by the brightness of his coming : even him (that is the man of sin) whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all powers, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceiveableness of unrighteousness, in them who perish.” We shall be exposed to be misled, if we do not attend to the character of the Pontifex Maximus under the Roman government; it being generally conceived by the translation into the English word High Priest, that it was the same office, as that of Priest with us. But the real signification of the word is the great sacrificer. The word Priest is a modern word, derived from the Saxon word Priester, Presbyter or Presbuteros, in the Greek, and so answers to the Presbyter or Bishop of the New Testament. But there is no officer in the Church of Christ, that comes up to the idea of a Pontifex Maximus of the ancient Pagans, whose duty it was to slay and offer continual sacrifices, and to foretel future events from the appearance of the entrails of the beasts, from whence their title was taken, and should have been translated into English, the great or chief sacrificer.

I am aware of the danger of indulging a visionary spi. rit in tracing and calculating times and periods, not ex.

[ocr errors]

pressly revealed in the Scripture: therefore in any attempt that has been made, to show when the prophesy of the witnesses in sackloth commenced, no pretensions to knowledge on this subject are presumed, farther than what is set forth by the Holy Spirit. But, as has been already observed, there are duties enjoined to be performed, and certain evil consequences to be avoided in those times called the last times, the latter times, and the last times of the latter times, it becomes therefore the duty of every Christian to inquire of their approach, while there can be no necessity of knowingabsolutely the very precise moment. We have but barely looked back to facts that we know have come to pass, and have compared them with the words of prophesy, in the best manner we are capable ; at the same time claiming, as has been before hinted, a great latitude and every proper indulgence for, or on account of our ignorance of precise dates of chronologic truths, the manner of reckoning time, &c. &c.

If what has been said shows sufficiently, that the puri. ty of the Church continued but 360 or 365 years, or thereabouts, from the prophesy of St. John in 96, or 100, and that from the end of that period, to wit, about 460 till the year 500, the apostasy of the Church was com. pleted, by the establishment of idolatry in the worship of images, saints, and angels, which is the whoredom of the Church in forsaking the true God, or rather having other mediators than the Lord Jesus. Then the time of the reign of the man of sin, or the commencement of the 1260 years, being also that of the witnesses prophesying in sackloth, follows of course, and continued till about the year 1760; and as the rise of the man of sin appears to have been progressive from 460 to 500, so, it may be supposed, his fall will also be progressive from 1760 to 1800. This

may, in some measure, account for Daniel's remarkable addition of 30 days to the number of 1260, which will bring us to the year 1790. Daniel goes one step farther, and declares those peculiarly blessed, who shall live to see the end of 1335 days or years, which brings us to the year 1835, as a period of great joy and exultation.*

* This addition of 45 years to the 1290, seems to be prefigurative of the space between the commencement and finishing the signs of the times, or the remarkable events immediately ushering in the advent of the Saviour, as the burning of Rome—the total destruction of the man of sin—the return of the Jews, &c. &c.— The children of Israel were 45 years from their leaving Egypt, to their taking actual possession of Canaan : it was about 45 years from the birth of Christ to the calling of the Gentiles.

Since writing this, I have taken up Dr. Priestly's comparison of Moses and the Hindoos, where, in page 402, he says, of Daniel's other prophesy of 2300 days or years, “ that having neglected to mention the date from which it is reckoned, it ought to be accounted from the time of the vision, in like manner as the prophesy in Gen. xv. 13. of the 400 years service of the Israelites in Egypt, which was literally fulfilled, if reckoned from the time of the vision, but did not exceed 215 years, of actually dwel. ling in Egypt.” If this is done, he says the prophesy will end in 1760; and if the promise to Abraham, of the last return of the Jews to their own land is taken in, (or at the beginning of) the fourth generation, and each generation to have intended 1000 years, as is contended by some able writers, then it will happen about the year 1835. And it is worthy of notice, that the angel, when communicating with Daniel, says, “ these things,” which he was about to reveal to him, “were noted in the Scripture of Truth :" the Scripture could be no other, than those parts of the Old Testament then written. Vid. Dan. x. and 21.

It is remarkable, that when the prophesy relates to the Church of Christ the period is mentioned by 1260 days, according to the measurement by the Sun, the author of light, but when it relates These several periods seem to be remarkably important in Daniel's prophesy, and promise to be productive of extraordinary events to the Church of Christ; and particularly to be the latter times of the last times, when the great wonders related in his prophesy will be more clearly understood by events that may then happen, when the wise shall begin to understand.

to the Heathen emperor, or the power of the Dragon, it is mentioned by months which are governed by the moon, as ruling the night. In Daniel it is called a time, times, and half a time—that is three years and an half, or 1260 days. The time of the Gen tiles treading under foot the holy city, was to be forty and two months, equal to 1260 days. The time of the witnesses prophesying in sackloth was 1260 days. The woman fleeing into the wilderness, was to be fed 1260 days. When she fled into the wilderness from the power of the Dragon, where she was nourished for a time, times, and half a time, equal as before to 1260 days, from the face of the serpent. Power was given to the Dragon to speak great things and blasphemies, forty and two months.

The children of Israel, in passing through the wilderness, also had precisely 42 encampments, predictive of the 42 months or 1260 days of the Church or woman being in the wilderness. All these terms refer to one and the same period.

Still I would not be contentious about precise times. There is but one other construction that, in my opinion, has much weight with it—that is the year 606, at which time the Pope was more formally vested with temporal power, though he was well established in it before and at the same time the impostor Mahomet appeared in the world, who might be the star falling from Heaven. The difference of time is but trifling, when considering events on so great a scale-the necessary consequences will be the same, and mankind are equally interested in observing a conduct, highly proper in either case.

THE

STATE OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH,

DURING THIS PERIOD OF 1260 YEARS, FROM THE YEAR 500:

PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO TIIE PURITY OF PUBLIC WORSHIP AND ATTENTION TO THE INSTITUTIONS AND ORDINANCES OF THE GOSPEL.

IN the beginning of this century, Theodoric, the successful king of the Ostrogoths, having removed the emperor of Rome out of the way, and seized the throne, determined to settle his new government in peace, so as to render it durable in his family ; he therefore did not hesitate to acknowledge the supremacy of the emperor at Constantinople, though in reality it was vox and præterea nihil, being barely in words, and a mere pretence.

The next great object he turned his attention to, was the Bishop of Rome, whom he found best calculated to give a permanent degree of stability to the new acquired authority of the purple. This idea he formed with great judgment, on the knowledge he had of the entire subjection of the people to the authority of the bishops in general, and particularly of him who sat in the chair of St. Peter, and who they generally considered as the chief pon., tiff and vicar of Christ himself, and who began to assert his independence on every human power, and on whom all the other bishops were in a manner becoming dependant. Theodoric accordingly did not overlook this important engine for the accomplishment of his purposes, but op

« הקודםהמשך »