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the book. That design evidently was to shadow forth those revolutions of worldly power, especially within the limits of the Roman empire, which were to have the greatest influence on the character and circumstances of the Christian church. Thus far interpreters may be said to be agreed. They are at issue, however, respecting the chronological extent of these predictions. While the Catholic would generally apply them to the earlier periods of ecclesiastical history, the Protestant has extended them quite as generally to the rise of the papacy, and onward to the close of time. In this more extended view, I am myself constrained to regard them.
The seventeenth chapter treats of the papal apostacy, with an explicitness that can hardly be evaded. A city is there seen, which is described as then reigning “ over the kings of the earth.” A beast is also introduced having seven heads and ten horns. On this beast a woman is seated, decked with every meretricious ornament, having in her hand a cup, full of abominations, and of the filthiness of that fornication into which she has beguiled the rulers of the world. Now with respect to the city thus seen, it is certain, that to the capital of the empire—the city of Romeand to that city only, can this description be applied. The beast is the usual emblem of a political power, and the angel distinctly interprets the ten horns upon the beast as meaning ten kings or kingdoms; — the seven heads, as meaning seven mountains, and as being further typical of seven kings or governments. Here we
are reminded of the beast in Daniel, which also had ten horns, which an angel also explained, and explained as having the same import. Rome also, the only city ruling the kings of the earth in the age of John, is likewise memorable in the pages of her poets and historians, as standing upon seven mountains, and as having been the seat of seven successive forms of government. The woman introduced, is said to be seated upon many waters, and upon the beast. “ The waters which thou sawest," said the angel,“ are peoples and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” The woman is an acknowledged emblem of an ecclesiastical state, or a church; and as the woman here exhibited is an unchaste woman, she is, according to the established language of prophecy, the symbol of a church characterized by a false and idolatrous worship. Now, the Roman empire has been broken down into ten sovereignties, as foretold by Daniel, and as here predicted anew by St. John. We have also witnessed the rise of that politico - ecclesiastical power, so strikingly pourtrayed by the Old Testament prophet, and by the apostle of the Gentiles; and we have seen that very city become its seat, to which St. John so explicitly refers, as the place of the woman who should become drunk with the blood of saints. Can we be at any loss then in recognizing Daniel's little horn, and St. Paul's Man of sin, in the woman enthroned in the midst of the mystical Babylon? What ecclesiastical domination has Rome ever known, save that of the papacy? What heresy has ever so copied
the trappings of the harlot, or so beguiled the rulers, and the people of the earth, into the practice of irreligious and idolatrous devices? The name engraven on the brow of Christian Rome, as it is called, and engraven alike by history and prophecy, is Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth !!*
But if Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John are to be viewed as speaking thus plainly of the papal apostacy, what, it will be asked, do they state with respect to its duration ? On this point, we find them less explicit than on the former; and on matters of which inspired men have written sparingly, fallible men should perhaps speak with brevity and caution. In opposing what is visionary, however, I would feel the need of praying for help, that I may hold fast what is certain, and respect what is probable. It is no problem, that the power which has risen in such strict conformity with Scripture predictions is to experience a signal and total overthrow. It is certain, too, that this is to take place previous to the general triumphs of the Gospel. According to Daniel, the Ancient of Days shall come to crush the persecutor of the saints, and to give to them the kingdom under the whole heaven ;-according to St. Paul, the same wicked one shall be consumed by the brightness of the Redeemer's coming, and by the spirit of his mouth ;-and according to John, Babylon the Great shall fall,
to See Bishop Newton, in loco.'
to rise no more, and the very powers which gave their strength to the beast shall be made to hate the harlot which it bears, shall make her desolate, shall burn her with fire, and eat her flesh.
Nor do I at all envy the cool scepticism of the man who can attend, without interest, to the strict agreement which there appears to be between the statements of Daniel and St. John, repecting the period during which this pernicious domination shall put forth its strength. Daniel records that the little horn shall have power to make war upon the saints until “ a time, times, and the dividing of time;" or, as he again expresses it, “until a time, times, and a half.” Now it is recorded by St. John, that the woman driven into the wilderness—the certain symbol of the true churchis to be nourished there for “a time, times, and a half.” Here you will observe, that the interval during which the little horn is to prevail, and during which the church is to be concealed or depressed, is precisely the same; and after the lapse of centuries, the same terms are employed to express it. In prophetic Scripture, the word time has been used to denote a year, and for this reason, among others, commentators are generally agreed in so interpreting the word in the passages now cited ; and hence they have considered the space mentioned by Daniel and St. John, to be three years and a half. We must observe too, that the prophecy of the two witnesses in sackcloth, mentioned in the Revelations, is only another mode of representing the same afflicted
state of the church; and this depression is described as continuing through “one thousand, two hundred and three-score days." The notices, also, which occur in the same book, respecting the war made upon the saints by the beast, and a treading underfoot of the holy city by the Gentiles, are merely new descriptions of the same events, and have the same duration assigned to them, namely, “ forty and two months.” In all these specifications of number, it is remarkable, that we have the same interval presented to us, namely, three years and a half. It would seem therefore to follow, that in this number we have the appointed duration of the papal apostacy. But in the prophetic style, a day is often to be understood for a year, and upon grounds possessing the highest probability, it has been very generally concluded, that the papal apostacy is to continue in its strength through a period of one thousand, two hundred and three-score prophetic days, that is, 1260 years.*
* The following particulars are, I conceive, decisive with respect to the number 1260 as referring to years. 1. The seventy weeks of Daniel evidently meant weeks of years, and the ten days' persecution, foretold by John in the address to the church of Smyrna, would not seem to possess any meaning, except as referring to the ten years of Christian suffering under Dioclesian. This mode of expression, therefore, was not unusual with Daniel or St. John. 2. The language of the Scriptures (in Numb. xiv. 33, 34, and in Ezek. iv. 4, 5, 6) supplies further examples of this mode of computation. 3. The 1260 days were to commence after, and probably not long after, the appearance of the ten kingdoms, which was in the fourth and fifth centuries; and they were moreover to be the measurement of events which, in their origin and duration, were to be contemporary with the eleventh horn of the beast. Those events, however, began many centuries since, and are yet passing; the interval accordingly which is meant by 1260,