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** prophesying of the two faithful witnesses (of the Law and of the Gospel) clothed in suckcloth," in the next yerse, 9. 28.
While in a third contempuraneous vision, the term of the sufferings of “ the church militant” in the wilderness, where she is to be miraciilously supported from the fury of the dragon; who hath persecuted her boih in her patriarchal state in which she is represented as a glorious matron, clad with the sun, and having the moon under her feet, and crown of twelte stars upon her head, symbulical of Jacob's family. Gen. xxxvii. 10. and also in her evangelical state, after the birth of a male child,” destined to rule all the Gentiles with an iron sceptre ;" plainly des scriptive of JESUS CHRIST. Ps. ii. 8. 9. is first stated, to amount to 1260 days; and afterwards, to a time, and times, and half a time;" Rev. xii, 1.14.- -So solicitous was the HOLY SPIRIT, to furnish in the apocalypse, two distinct explanations of that mystical number in Daniel, as denoting both 42 months, or three years and a half) and 1260 days!
If then we count backwards 1260 years, from A. D. 1880, their termination, as already shewn; it will give A. D. 620, for the commencement of this disastrous period of the sufferings of the
two faithful witnesses ;” about the time of the adoption of the Gregorian Liturgy in the west, and of the publication of Mahomet's visions and revelations in the east; whereby " the Holy Catholic Church” throughout the earth, has ever since been grievously afflicted and persecuted, upon a wider scale than before, during the sounding of the first four trumpets : still suffering the woes, attached to the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets respectively; Rev. viii. '13. and which will not expire, ụntil the sounding of the seventh or last trumpet, when “the mystery of GoD shall be finished, according as He unnounced by his serrants the prophets." Rev. x. 7. and "the kingdoms, of this zorld shall become the kirgdoms of our LORD, and nf his Christ," Rev. xi. 15, as foretold by Daniel, vii. 13-27.
And that A. D. 620, is indeed the most eligible commencement of the period of 1260 prophetic days or years ; may further appear, from the various conjectures of the learned, on the subject : all Protestant writers agreeing that it refers either to the downfal of the Pugun Antichrist, or rise of the Papal; but differing about the precise time :
1. The sagacious Mede, who in his Clavis Apocalyptica, first furnished "the key”to the rational interpretation of“ the apocalypse,"by critically comparing its “ synchronisms” or contemporaneous visions, dates the commencement of this period, between A. D. 365, the death of Julian the Apostate, and downfal of the Pagan power of the Roman empire, and A. D. 455, the taking of Rome by the Goths. Works p. 600.
2. Whiston, following, and frequently correcting and improving on Mede, prelars and supports the latter date, a. D. 455, or A. D. 456. Essay p. 201—271.
3. Sir Isauc Newton, dates it from A. D. 379, or A. D. 979; when the Emperor Valentinian, passed the edict of appeal to the court of Rome which laid the foundation of the Pope's Ecclesiastical supremacy in the west. Observations, &c. p. 91---111. Vol. V, Churchmi. Mag. Dec. 1809.
4. The modern writers King and Valpy, date it from A. D. 538. supposing the period to terminate A. D. 1798, the memorable epoch of the deposal of Pope Pius VI.
5. Bishop Newton in his elaborate Dissertations on the Prophecies, dates it from A. 1). 606, the year in which the Antichristian title of Universal Bishop was conferred on the Pope. Vol. II. p. 211.
6. The anonymous author of a Commentary of the Revelation, ingeni. ously (and sometimes fancitully) explained by allusions to the Jewish temple service; 8vo. 1787, Payne ; dates it from A. D. 620, when the Gregoriun Liturgy, began to be established, and the Mahometun imposture to be published" When the Dragon in his lowered state, carried on an insidious war (against the Saints, or faithful witnesses] under the mask of the Gospel on one side of the empire; and under the face of the Patriarchal religion on the other, according to the pretence of Mahomet," p. 171, 478. To this most sagacious and original expositor, perhaps, since the days of Mede, we owe the important Chronological adjustment of the three divisions of Duniel's seventy weeks; which I endeavoured to support and establish, in the INSPECTOR, 1798; the termination of the grand prophetic period of 2309 days in the year, A, D. 1880, and the commencement of the period of general persecution, A. D. 620, which I have here adopted, and I am now at liberty to divulge the name of this truly pious, learned, and respectable Layman, which his obstinate modesty forbad, during his life-time, the late Hans Wood, Esq. of Rosmead, in the county of Westmeath, IRELAND ; who is gone to his reward !
7. Lowman, in his elaborate commentary on the Revelation, dates it from A. D. 756, the commencement of the l'ope's temporal dominion, by the grant of the exarchate of Ravenna.
8. Wesley, in his notes, Rev. xii. 6---14. adopting the strange and crazy expositions of Bengelius and the German in ystics, dates it from A. D. 847, when the pestilent Manichean heresy began to prevail in the East: but in defiance of all Chronological principles, he curtails the period of 1260 years, to 777 common years! and on the other hand, protracts “a lime,” (Bxpor@.) to the immense length of 1111 years!
9. To elude the force of this prophecy, the Romish writers understand the period of 1260 days, literally, as equivalent only to three years and a half; which they suppose to be the longest duration of any of the persecutions under the heathen Emperors : Sce Wulmsley on the Revelation, under the fictitious title of Pastorini's general history of the Church, p. 63, 273, 325. Of these several hypotheses, the four first are excluded by Time,
that great unfolder of mysteries by events; for though the Popul and Mluhome. tan Antichrist, are verging to decay, the Infidel, their offspring, is full mighty to persecute: the three last, are irrelevant, or absurd, or uncritical; there remain then only two that are eligible ---those of Bishop Newton and Wood ;-of which the latter is most comprehensive, as including the Mahometan, who surely is equally intitled to the palm of persecution, with his predecessor the Papal Antichrist:
The circumstances of the last persecution, death, and resurrection of the fuithful witnesses, are related in the following mysterious and awakening passage : Rev. xi. 7, 12." And when they shall finish their 7 testimony, the wild beast that ascendeth out of the abyss, shull muke war with them, and overcome them, and kill them, and their carcases (shall lie] in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodo:n (for its wickedness] and [Egypt for its persecutions where also our LORD was crucified [afresh, and put to open shame]. And they of the peoplesand tribes, and tongues, and nations, shall view their carcases three days and a half; and shall not suffer their carcases to be interred; but the inhabitants on the Earth shall rejoice over them, and be exhilarated ; and shall send gifts to each other, because these two prophets' tormented the inhabitants on the Earth.
" And after the three days and a half, a spirit of life from God entered into thein, and they stood on their feei! and great fear fell upon those that beheld them.
" And they heard a great voice from the heaven, saying unto them, ascend hither, and they (scended into the heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.
" And in that hour there happened a great Earthquake, and the tenth of the city, fell; and there were slain in the Earthquake seven thousand puen of name ; and the rest became affrighted, and gave glory to the God of Heaven.
“ The secoud woe is past, and lo the third woe cometh quickly.”
The generality of Commentators understand all this in a figurative sense, and assign various dates of its fulfilment; but the opinions of Mede and Wood, &c. adhering to the literal interpretation, seem to have most weight, as being most conformable to the circumstantial de.' tail of the vision; which to allegorize throughout, with any semblance of consistency, would, I am persuaded, be a vain and absurd attempt; though the dífhculty of explaining it literally in every particular, may be found insuperable at present, until its accomplishment.
From the ominous signs of the times indeed, and the astonishing and tremendous growth and havoc of the infidel Antichrist, throughout the whole Christian and Mahometan world, there is abundant cause to dread, that “the second woe,” is drawing to a close, and will terminate with the downfal and destruction of all Religious Establishments, following the fatal example of revolutionized France !---For, to adopt the language of Mede, " Aut enim fullor, aut Apocalipsis nimis aperte suggerit, paulo ante Bestice excidium, universum orbem reformatum, (quamtum brevi admodum tempore) oppressum atque, horreo dicere, penitus subversum iri !" pag. ult. And he elsewhere states his opinion more explicitly :
I conceive not this cludes testium to be such, as should extinguish the persons (or whole materials as I may so speak) of the reformed Churches, but the public fubrick of the reformation.”-" An extermination of the reformed pastors out of their places and churches ; and not a general extermination of the body of the Reformed People ; which are too many to be dealt with according to former violence, and shall remain to terrify the Beast, and revenge the cludes of their prophets, before almost they shall have done rejoicing over them.”
Z z 2
And alluding to that shameful spoliation of ecclesiastical property * which disgraced the commencement of the REFORMATION, he ob serves :
“ Moreover, there is a sin of which the whole body of the Reforniation is notoriously guilty; which nevertheless, is accounted no sin, and yet such an one, as I know not whether God ever passed by without some visible and remarkable judgment. This seems to call for a scourge, before Antichrist shall go down : and that may be, as far as I know, this feared clades teșiium. I will not name it, because it is invidious ; and I am not wil. ling to say so much for the probability thereof in this case, as perhaps I could.”
pp. 487,760, 761, 766, 92:3. Had this sagacious and profound divine lived to see in the tremendous explosion of the French Revolution, the patrimony of the Gallican Church altogether confiscated, the national temples bit or profaned, the minislers of the altar massacred by thousands, and banished by the decrees of the state ; (and surely among so many, some fuithful witnesses :) Had be
* On this important and delicate subject, Mede has elsewhere fully expressed his sentiments :
« Adco'illud, quod salvator de seipso dixit, Luc. 24, 26. Nonne hîc oportuit pati CHRIST UM, et [d'inde) introire in glorian suami-in prophetis quoque suis vim suam et veritatem consequetur.
“ Et quis novit annon Ecclesia Reformata protrum Christo hac parte illatum, tese tium, ad tempus, sublatione, luitura sit; quod eos, pro legationis dignitate, dum frue. bantur, non habuissent: Notum est nimis quod ab Erriesiis Refor natis in hanc parten peccatum sit: utque dum Prophetre CHRISTI templo Dei repurgando strenue incubuere , alii interim, gazis ejus expilandis, oblationibus pro intervertentis, sanctissimum opus commacularunt: ne alimentis quidem alicubi (magno veræ religionis dedi. cere) relictis, quibus ministri ejus honeste et pro ordinis sui dignitatę susientarentur; nedum ut quod superabundarct, ad Kei reformula amplificationem, belli sacri necessitules, afflictorum fratrum subsiciium, aliosque pios usus seponerent. Annon vero id genus fuit prævaricatio illa, ob quam olim templum Judaicum, Antiocho Epiphani pros. phanandum, atque religio VERI Der triennio similiter conculcanda, daia fuerit? Exercitus, inquit Daniel, dabitur ei contra juge sacrificium, propter pr varicationen, et projiciet veritat m in terram et faciel, et prosperabitur. Cap. 8, 12 (Vide autem his. toriam Lib. 2. Maccab. ab initio cap 5, ad 5, et judica)Sed nolo amplius, un, guem in hoc ulcere. Hoc tantum adjiciam, Forte hoc honoris et potestatis augmen: rum Testibus a resurrectione sua, SUPREMI MAGISTRATUS jussu, (quæ " box illa de cælo" esse videtur) obventurum, tanquam in infamiæ illius et ignominiæ coinpon: sationem, qua eosdem Bestiani mortuos multaverunt; si modo id significat um fuerit “
prohibitione ista sepulture.” Comment. Apocalypt. ad. cap. 11. p. 487. The excellent bishop Jewel, saw and lamented likewise this sacrilegios devasta. tion of the church-patrimony, and in one of his sermons before queen Elizabeth, (who it is well known gave but too much encouragement thereto) he hail the boldness to make a plain representation of these abuses, and to shew what would be the consequences of them :
“: In other countries (said he) the receiving of the Gospel hath always been the rár:se that LEARNING was more set by; and LEAKNING hath ever been the furtherance of the Gospel: In England, I know not how it cometh otherwise to pass ; for since the Gospel hath been received, the maintenance of Learning hath been de cayed, and the lack of LEARNING will be the decay of the Gospel." In his conclusion, he thus addressed the rapacious courtiers, who too often paid themselves out of the church-patrimony, for their services to the crown:-“ You cnriched them which wached, and blindled, and devoured you; spoil not them now, thac feed and instruct and comfort you!" Alaş! may we not now say of the present race--mutůto nomine, de te fabula narratur !
lived to see the partial spoliation of the clergy of IRELAND, by the last edict of her last provincial parliament; and these fatal precedents, thrcatened to be carried into execution, on a larger scale, throughout the united empire, in a new modification or abolition of parochial tythes and ecclesiasticul dues ; lad he lived to see the venerable Church of ENGLAND, (the fairest offspring of the Reformation, and the purest national church upon earth) assaulted on all sides by open and inveterate foes, or undermined by false and treacherous friends, even by her own unnatural sons, which “ did eat at her table," and " dipped their hand in her liberal dish," yet base!y “ betray her with a kiss;" He would indeed shudder at the gloomy prospect of impending destruction of religious establishments, that seems not unlikely, and in no long time, to close the period of the second woe.
Still however, to support “ the patience" and uphold “the frith of the saints,” in these disastrous days, that " they foint not,” or sink not into a criminal despondency, God has been graciously pleased, to shed a gleam of comfort over the gloom of this concluding period of the church militant : for THE SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH declares by Daniel, 12, 10-12.
Many shall be purified, and made white, and proved [by sufferings], but the wicked shall do wickedly: and all the wicked shall not understand, but the wise shall understand.
“ And from the time that the duily sacrifice, shall be removed, and the abomination of desolation set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he thai waiteth, and reacheth to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days."
These mysterious passages seem to denote that the wise and good every | where, shall be purified and perfected by a course of tribulations and sufferings; and that they shall be gradually enabled to have a right understanding of the mysteries of God's providence revealed in the ScripTURE OF TRUTH : whereas the foolish and wicked, shall be infatuated; they shall neither leave off their evil ways, nor understand that " the predicted end of these things is death.” And from the time of " the removal of the daily sacrifice," and setting up the abomination of desolation," at the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, A. D. 70. to this auspicious period of rightly understanding the SCRIPTURE OF TRUTH, shall be 1290 days, commencing A. D. 1360. (= A. D. 70+1290), the precise year in which the illustrious father of the Reformation, “ENGLAND's morning star," Wicliff, first began to preach at Oxford, against the papul Antichrist :---and in A.D. 1405 [= A. D. 70+1335] he was followed by his disciple, " the blessed” martyr Huss, in Bohemia, who began in that year to preach boldly against the errors of the Church of Rome; and was afterwards condemned to the flames, and burnt as a heretic, by the perfidy and bigotry of the council of Constance, in violation of the emperor Sigismond's passport, or safe conduct, “ to go to and return from the council." See the safe conduct itself, in Hales's Survey of the modern state of the Church of Rome, p. 103. published in 1788.
I proposed these conjectural solutions, of the mysterious numbers 1290 and 1335 days, in The Inspector, 1799, with diffidence ; led thereto by the following passages of L'Enfant's Histoire du Concile de Constance :**