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nearer to God; rise more above the cares and temptations of the world; cherish more intimate communion with the Redeemer; and thou shalt have more of the temper and joys of those who shall live in these happy days. Be not slothful; strive to extend the cause of Jesus: perhaps thou wilt not live to see the millennial temple raised; but act like David, and lay up materials for that splendid edifice that may be reared in the days of thy son.
LECTURES ON THE APOCALYPSE.
REVELATION, CHAP. XX. 1-6.
In our last lecture we spoke of the certainty of the millennium; and, while animating Christians to the discharge of their duty, briefly showed the nature of the latter-day glory.
The two points that are now to be examined in the prosecution of our plan, are these:
I. When will the millennium commence? and,
I. When will the millennium commence ?' We remark in general, it is to be at the close of the New Testament dispensation. By it (with the exception of the short interval between its termination and the judgment-day) the purposes of God with respect to the church on earth will be completed. The prophets, therefore, when foretelling these glorious events, declare that they shall take place in the latter days," or in "the last times." The kingdom of the mountain is the final state, in which the stone cut out without hands is to appear.
We remark again, that there are many circumstances which prove that this blessed period is approaching. The examination of the prophecies in which we have been engaged, shows that there are but few predictions yet to be accomplished, before "the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ." And the general aspect of the Christian world at the present moment, is such as to warrant the most sanguine expectations; for never has there been a period when such exertions were made by the followers of the Redeemer to extend his cause; when so many societies of various kinds were formed to diffuse the light and consolations of the gospel, and when such united and earnest prayer on this subject was poured out before God. We regard all these and similar circumstances as the harbinger of a blessed state for the church. He who has excited and called forth these desires, will not suffer them to be fruitless. He "never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain."
But do you ask, Are there no chronological marks that will enable us to determine with more certainty when the millennium will commence? There are,
both in the Old Testament and the New Daniel and John present two contemporary characters, who are constantly contrasted, and whose duration is exhibited under a variety of forms. These are Antichrist and the true church. The first is represented by the Gentiles, (those nominally Christian, but having the temper and idolatry of the Gentiles,) who trample the sanctuary for forty-two months, and by the beast who is to continue forty-two months. The true church, while contemporary with Antichrist, and not appearing in all its glory, is represented by the witnesses who prophesy in sackcloth for twelve hundred and sixty days, and by the woman in the wilderness who is to remain there a time, times, and half a time. From Daniel, (vii. 25. xii. 7.) we find that, in prophetical chronology, by time is meant a year; by times, two years; and by half a time, or the dividing of time, half a year. These various forms of computation are used, to teach us that they are not to be taken literally, but in the prophetical sense, in which (as we showed you in a former lecture) a day is used for a year. You know also, that instead of the solar year, consisting of three hundred and sixty-five days and some hours, the prophetic year, according to the ancient manner of reckoning, is lunar, consisting of twelve months of thirty days, or three hundred and sixty days. Three and a half such years, or forty-two such months, amount to twelve hundred and sixty days; which, according to the remark that we have just made, and that is confirmed by all the chronological prophecies, denote twelve hundred and sixty years. When Antichrist has endured for this period, he shall be utterly destroyed; the church shall come out of the wilderness, and the witnesses be no longer clothed
in sackcloth. There is no doubt concerning that power that is exhibited as Antichrist. The only difficulty is, to ascertain that period when it so far .departed from the purity of the gospel as to receive this appellation, for its corruptions were gradual. Many have supposed that the reign of Antichrist is to be dated from the year 756, when Pepin, the most powerful monarch then living, conferred on the pope a temporal sovereignty. But there appears to me far more probability in the opinion of those who date it from the year 606, when Phocas constituted Boniface III. oecumenical or universal bishop, and required all the churches to acknowledge the papal supremacy. To his usurpation the ten horns, or kingdoms, submitted. He claimed to be the vicar of Christ, and appeared with all the traits of Antichrist. It is a singular coincidence, that in this very year Mahomet began first to propagate his impostures, and to corrupt the churches of the east. If then, to the year 606 we add 1260, we shall have 1866, the year when tyranny and superstition shall for ever be destroyed; when the kingdom of the Redeemer shall appear victorious over all its enemies. But happy as it will then be, glorious as will be this dawn of the millennial day, the world will still for thirty years be improving in knowledge and holiness; and at the end of these thirty years, or in 1896, we shall have reached that period of which Daniel speaks, (xii. 11.): "There shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days;" and, after forty-five years more, or thirteen hundred and thirty-five years after the rise of Antichrist, that is, in A. D. 1941, the full lustre and the perfect glory of the millennium will be seen; for to this Daniel refers (xii. 12.); "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the
thousand three hundred and five and thirty days!" Happy they who shall live at the very first of these periods! they shall enjoy a degree of felicity and holiness of which we now can but faintly conceive! But thrice happy they who shall live when this millennial kingdom shall be in all its perfection! They will emulate the angels in their purity, their services, and their joys!
I have given you, my brethren, the usual mode of computation. But it is proper to mention, that some of the best interpreters of this book have supposed the period not to be so distant. The difference of five days and a few hours between the solar and the prophetic year, makes, in the long period of twelve hundred and sixty years, a difference of seventeen years, without regarding the fraction. This deducted from twelve hundred and sixty, leaves twelve hundred and forty-three, which they suppose to be the precise time of the reign of Antichrist. His destruction will take place, and the millennium dawn, according to this computation, in 1849; it will have made great advances in 1879; and will be in its perfection in 1924. But, notwithstanding the deserved reputation of many of those who have adopted this mode of interpretation, I doubt its correctness, and do not think that it is conformed to the ordinary mode of prophetical calculations.
Such are my sentiments concerning the period when the millennium shall commence. I do not lay them down as articles of faith, but as probabilities. The event will throw light upon the prediction. Probably, before the advent of Messiah, there were different calculations made concerning the seventy weeks of Daniel. They no longer are obscure; and those who live in the millennial day will find no