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Such is all the positive knowledge, that we can now attain to, respecting the great naval power, which will act so conspicuous a part at the time of the end. Every person, who attends to the subject, will doubtless have his own private conjectures: but he is not, I think, warranted in making his conjectures public; because he cannot have those clear grounds to go upon, which almost indisputably attach to France the character of Daniel's infidel kingdom, and more recently the additional character of the Carlovingian head of the Roman beast, that is to contrive and direct the Antichristian expedition against Palestine at the time of the end. We are at present very manifestly living in the last days of blasphemous atheism and infidelity; and there is every reason to think, that we cannot be very far distant from the close of the 1260 years, from whatever precise period they ought to be dated. Now we learn from concurring prophecies, that, at the close of those years or at the time of the end, four mighty powers will be the principal actors in the great drama of nations: the Roman beast under his last or Carlovingian head, a head which we can now scarcely avoid considering as identified with the infidel kingdom, although the governor of that kingdom has not yet formally assumed the title of Roman emperor; some great protestant maritime and commercial state; a king of the north; and a king of the south. If then, what can scarcely be doubted, we be now rapidly approaching to that time of the end, when all these four powers will be in action; we may naturally expect to behold some at least of the powers already in existence. Accordingly, upon turning from prophecy to the present state of things in Europe, we see a kingdom, which exactly and in all points answers to the character of Daniel's infidel kingdom, transferring from Germany to itself the ancient imperial honours of the Carlovingian head, and rapidly establishing a sort of federal empire, which no less exactly answers to the character of the apocalyptic confederacy of the Roman beast under his last head, the false prophet, and the kings of the Latin earth*. We
* See Rev. xvi. 13---16, and xix. 17-21. The confederacy will not begin to be gathered to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, till after the overthrow of the Ottoman empire; but it will plainly be either formed or form
moreover see a mighty protestant maritime power, arriv ing with rapid strides at the most complete naval superiority that ever was possessed by any modern nation; and, having singularly availed itself of the suggestion of one whose whole life has been spent upon land*, no longer as formerly either fighting its enemies on equal terms or gaining over them indecisive victories, but annihilating whole fleets at a blow, esteeming what would once have been deemed a victory as worthy only of censure†, and triumphing over all its opponents in all quarters of the globe. We further see a vast northern sovereignty, the chief of which may well be called by way of eminence the king of the north, extending itself on every side, and rising in the inconceivably short space of little more than a century from barbarous insignificance to immense power and influence. As yet we behold indeed no state, which, consistently with the general tenor of prophecy, we can even guess to be the kingdom of the south of this however we may rest assured, that at the close of the 1260 years, some kingdom of the south will unite its arms with the kingdom of the north in opposing the progress of Antichrist; and that they will both fail in their attempt. Yet, although they will fail, no intimation is given that they will be totally destroyed by that tyrant: whence we may perhaps venture to conclude, that they will be rather baffled than subjugated‡
ing, about or before that event takes place. The three demons are not represented as gathering or forming the confederacy itself; but only as gathering it, when formed, to the battle of the Lord.
* John Clark, Esq. This gentleman, who, so far from being bred to the sea, had not even performed a single voyage, first suggested the present system of naval tactics, the prominent feature of which is to break the enemy's line of battle. A long series of indecisive actions excited the attention of the inquisitive mind of Mr. Clark. He became the inventor of an entirely new system, which was first acted upon by Lord Rodney. Since that time no engagement has proved indecisive: but each succeeding victory has surpassed its predecessor in completeness and in importance. Does not such a man deserve public honours from his country?
† On the 22d of July 1805, Sir Robert Calder, with 15 sail of the line and two frigates, fought the combined squadrons of France and Spain, consisting of 20 sail of the line, three ships of 50 guns, and five frigates. Without losing a single ship of his own fleet, he took from the enemy two sail of the line. He returned home; was tried by a court martial; and was severely reprimanded for having done nothing more.
So far indeed from the northern kingdom being subjugated, we have some reason from prophecy to believe, that it will be a tremendous instrument in
Is then England the great maritime power, to which the high office of converting and restoring a large part of his ancient people is reserved by the Almighty? To this question, I am compelled to say, that we have no right positively to answer in the affirmative. England may, or may not. The thing is certainly not improbable in itself; and I will even add, that the present aspect of affairs by no means contradicts the conjecture, that our hitherto highly favoured country may be the protestant European naval power intended by Isaiah: yet I must likewise add, that such an opinion, should it be entertained by any, can be considered in no other light than that of a mere conjecture; a conjecture authorized indeed, as some may imagine, by existing circumstances and by the high probability that we are not far removed from the time of the end, but a conjecture, totally unauthorized by the prophet himself. This however I may safely say, that, the more true piety increases among us, the more likely will it be that England is the great maritime power in question. At the present awful period, when the judgments of the Lord are so manifestly abroad in the earth, the accession even of every individual to the cause of vital religion and Christian holiness renders us more strong and more secure; and increases the probability that the maritime power may be England, because it makes us more fit for the task (a task meet only for the sincerely pious) of converting and restoring the lost sheep of the house of Judah. A wicked nation can be expected to furnish no very suitable missionaries. So great a labour of love will require proportionable purity of heart and conversation, and proportionable devotedness to the service of God. If iniquity therefore increase, and righteousness decrease, among us; I may say, without pretending to the spirit of prophecy, that we certainly cannot be that naval power, which the Lord will delight to honour by delegating to it the venerable office of carrying the Gospel to his ancient people.
the hand of God to scourge the guilty inhabitants of the papal Roman empire. The irruption of the northern power into the south-western regions of Europe will most probably take place, unless I be mistaken in supposing such an irruption to be predicted, during the absence of Antichrist in Palestine and Egypt. More will be said on this subject hereafter.
It will be proper for me now to make a few remarks on the mode of exposition, which will be adopted throughout the following pages.
Between chronological prophecies and unchronological prophecies there is a striking difference, which ought always to be kept in mind. A chronological prophecy, that is to say, a prophecy consisting of a series of predictions which succeed each other in regular chronological order like those of Daniel and St. John, is incapable from its very nature of receiving a two-fold accomplishment; because every link of such a prophecy is exclusively confined to a particular period of history by the links which both precede it and follow it, and therefore can only be applied to a single event. In short, a chain of chronological predictions is simply an anticipated history: and each link is just as incapable, and that for the very same reason, of a double completion, as each fact recorded in history is of a double meaning *. But an unchronological prophecy, that is to say, a prophecy which only predicts certain future events without specifying the precise time when those events will come to pass and without so connecting them with any preceding series as to compel us to assign them to some one particular era exclusively, is not restricted in the same manner that a chronological prophecy must necessarily be. Instead of being incapable of a double accomplishment, we perpetually find predictions of this nature evidently constructed with the express design of receiving a double accomplishment. They are first fulfilled in an incohoate manner, and afterwards will be fulfilled more amply at a period to which they ultimately and principally refer. This is remarkably the case with prophecies, which treat of the restoration of the Jews, and the advent of the Messiah: insomuch that I believe Bp. Horsley not to have been guilty of the least exaggeration, in asserting, "that a far greater proportion of the prophecies, even of the Old Testament, than is generally imagined, relate to the second advent of our Lord; that few comparatively relate to the first advent by itself, without reference to the second; and that of those, that have been
See this point discussed in the preface to my Dissert. on the 1260 years.
supposed to be accomplished in the first, many had in that only an inchoate accomplishment, and have yet to receive their full completion *." Such a mode of foretelling future events seems to have arisen from, or perhaps rather to be a part of the grand scriptural system of types and antitypes. The first advent is a type of the second advent: hence they are both styled the great day of the Lord; and hence they are frequently predicted conjointly, certain matters which received their full accomplishment at the first advent being inserted (parenthetically as it were) in a prophecy which strictly and principally relates to the second advent. In a similar manner, the Babylonian captivity of the Jews is a type of their subsequent dispersion by the Romans; hence many of those predictions, which from the elevation of their style and from other circumstances connected with them must ultimately and indeed chiefly be referred to the yet future restoration of the Jews, probably received a sort of inchoate accomplishment in their return from Babylon †. Some however there are, which must be exclusively applied to the return from Babylon; because they are connected with a specific number of years, and therefore become chronological prophecies incapable of any further completion 1. And
* Letter on Isaiah xviii. P. 3.
+ "It has been concluded by judicious divines," says Archdeacon Woodhouse, "that those partial prophecies and particular instances of the divine vengeance, whose accomplishment we know to have taken place, are presented to us as types, certain tokens and forerunners, of some greater events which are also disclosed in them. To the dreadful time of universal vengeance they all appear to look forward, beyond their first and more immediate object. Little indeed can we doubt that such is to be considered the use and application of these prophecies, since we see them thus applied by our Lord and his apostles. See Matt. i. 22, 23. xxvii. 9.---John xv. 25. xix. 36, 37.---Acts ii. 20, 27. iii. 19, 22, 24.---Heb. iv. 7, 8. x. 27, 37.---Rom. ii. 5. Gal. iv. 24.---Eph. v. 14.---2 Thess. ii. 3, &c.---2 Pet. iii. 2---14; where the prophecies of the Old Testament are applied in a more extended and spiritual sense, than in their first and primary designation." Apocalypse translated. p. 172, 173.
For observations on the double sense of divine prophecy, the Archdeacon refers us to Bp. Lowth. Prælect. xi. and note on Isaiah xl; Mr. Lowth on Isaiah vii. 15; Jortin's remarks on Eccles. Hist. p. 188---228; Serm. v. 1, 124; Sir Isaac Newton on prophecy, p. 251; Bp. Hurd's sermons on prophecy, III. IV. v; Bp. Sherlock on prophecy, Disc. 11; Bp. Warburton's Divine Legation, Book vi. 8; Bp. Horn's Preface to the Psalms; Jones on the figurative language of Scripture, Lect. v111; and Archdeacon Nares's sermonsat the Warburtonian lecture, 1805.
See Jerem. xxv. 11, 12. xxix. 10. Dan. ix. 2.