« PreviousContinue »
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be
taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.”—DANIEL xii. 11, 12.
This is a very difficult passage, but we have no right to pass it by; and if the discussion should seem uninteresting we must pardon the necessity of it, while we accept conclusions only in as far as they seem borne out by data. But my discussion will be less the expression of opinions of my own, and rather what I have been collecting during many years—the opinions and the interpretations of some of the best, and wisest, and most laborious men who have given their attention to this very important subject. What I shall endeavor to show now 1*
is this, that whatever theories of the fulfilment of these dates are held, whether they fix the commencement at this period, or at that period, or at some other period, nearly all concur in one remarkable conclusion, namely, that 1867 is to be the great crisis, the testing crisis in the events of history, in the fulfilment of prophecy, and in the experience of mankind. What I wish to show is that the best, the wisest, and the most thoughtful of writers on the subject of prophecy, however much they may differ in certain details—and they do differ-nearly all coincide in this, that 1867 is to be a great crisis ; and that if all that some expect to occur at that period do not occur, we are at least on the eve of events, as Lord Carlisle has expressed it in his work upon Daniel, the most stupendous, if not ushering in the very close of this present Christian economy, we must carefully weigh the quotations, that thus we may be able to judge whether the data on which these writers have come to their conclusions be correct or not.
Elliot and Mede have shown that the 2300 years, which Daniel gives as one of the great chronological epochs, terminate about the year 1821 or 1822; that is, dating them from the march of Xerxes, and the meridian splendor of the Persian Empire. But a very learned and able clergyman of the Church of England, who has written a work called “The Terminal Synchronism of Daniel's Two Periods," differs from Mr. Elliot. He thinks that the 2300 years, one of Daniel's great epochs, after which, as I showed you, the Eastern Apostacy, or the waters of the river Euphrates that should overflow
Europe, that is, the power of Mahomet, should begin to subside, began at the autumnal equinox of 433 B. C. ; and if the 2300 years began at the autumnal equinox of 433 B. C., then that great period would terminate in the autumnal equinox of 1867. Elliot's opinion was that the 2300 years measure out the taking away
of the daily sacrifice, and the exhaustion of that great eastern éclipse which was to overshadow the light and the sunshine of heaven in the eastern world, and that they end in 1821; at which date Mahometanism as a power in Europe was shaken to its centre, and began to cross the Bosphorus, and to fall back upon its ancient channels in Asia, and to cease to be a dominant, triumphant, and advancing fanaticism. But this writer thinks that the proper date is 433 B. C.; and if so, then they would terminate in 1867, when, according to him, Mahometanism will be utterly expunged, and the cross will shine where the crescent now waves in triumph. But more than this; this writer thinks also that the expression“ time, times, and half a time,” which all commentators admit to be 360 years, twice 360 years, and 180 years, making altogether 1260 years, called in the Apocalypse 42 prophetic months, which is the same thing-called also 1260 prophetic days-start from A. D. 607. Mr. Elliot, and Newton, and Mede, think that the 1260 years, descriptive of the great Western Apostacy, began at the year 532, at which era Justinian constituted the Bishop of Rome to have supreme civil, ecclesiastical, and spiritual jurisdiction ; they consider that at that period the Apostacy was invested with Supreme civil and ecclesiastical power, and therefore with its permanent form as a politico-sacerdotal system.
But this writer differs from them; he says that the 1260 years do not begin at 532 after Christ, but that they begin at the year 607, when the Emperor Phocas constituted Pope Boniface III. the universal head of the universal Church, and the supreme and chief bishop, priest, and prelate of Christendom. If you take this latter opinion, then you add the 1260 years to the year 607, and it brings you down to the same period at which his 2300 years terminate, namely, 1867; and according, therefore, to this theory, not only will Mahometanism totally cease at that period, but the Papacy also, with its pope and its cardinals, and its whole ecclesiastical despotism, will sink like a millstone into the depths of the ocean; and the world east and west, emancipated from the incubus that has crushed and darkened it, shall reflect the beams of an unsetting sun, and form a portion of that great empire which constitutes the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. I must say I prefer Elliot's; but what I wish to impress is the remarkable fact that both interpretations land us in 1867, as a great dominant era, characterized by stupendous events, and involving mighty changes in the present constitution of things. The theory adopted by the interpreters I prefer is that the 1260 years
which were to mete out the dominant power of the great Western Apostacy began in A. D. 532, when Justinian in his · Pandects' gave the supreme authority to the Bishop of Rome. If you add 1260 years to 532 it brings you down to 1792. Accordingly, at the exhaustion of the 1260 years, in 1792, the Papacy, according to the description in the word of God, was to come under the judgment of Heaven, and gradually to be exhausted.
Read " Alison's History,” or any other authentic history, and you will find that the great outburst of the French Revolution in 1792 commenced so overwhelming an onslaught on the Papal power, with all its dependencies, that from that day to this Romanism has been a dying system, exhausted of its chiefest vitality, and struggling for a foothold in any land to which it can have access; so much so, that I have repeated again and again the conviction, that I have no more fear of Popery gaining the upper hand, than I have of Mahometanism or Hindooism gaining supremacy. The Pope is on his last legs, struggling for existence; and the only unhappy feature, and the most unhappy one, I must candidly confess, is that the only nation upon earth where it is gaining power amid the population is in this land of ours. Among the lowest classes, I know, from statistics which I could quote did time permit, the Roman Catholic religion is losing every day. Among the middle classes it never had a footing; but among the higher classes it is at this moment daily gaining converts. They serve their apprenticeship to gaudily decorated churches, some of which have been recently opened; and after they have been saturated with homepathic doses there, they finally hand themselves over to the allopathic treatment of Pio Nono, and become members of the Roman Catholic Church. It does seem the most inexplicable thing that the peers of England,