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NOTE (a)-Page 6.
WE must compute the time," observes Bishop Newton," according to the nature and genius of the prophetic language. A time, then, and times, and half a time, are three years and a half; and the ancient Jewish year, consisting of twelve months, and each month of thirty days, a time, and times, and half a time, or three years and a half, are reckoned in the Revelation, (xi. 2, 3; xii. 6, 14,) as equivalent to forty and two months, or 1260 days; and a day in the style of the prophets is a year; so long Antichrist, or the little horn, will continue; but from what point of time the commencement of these 1260 years is to be dated, is not so easy to determine. It should seem that they are to be computed from the full establishment of the power of the Pope."
This prediction does appear to be justly referred to the Papal power exclusively; but those in the New Testament demand a much wider application, to render them at all consistent. It was not the object of these Lectures to offer a minute and critical interpretation of the prophecies in question, but to take some general views of the apostacy, which might be interesting and
useful. The caution (as applied by Bayle) was borne in mind,
The very ingenious letter of Mr. Evanson to Bishop Hurd, (which well deserves to be reprinted,) furnishes a variety of proofs and illustrations of the distinction above alluded to, and of the leading object of the first Lecture.
"With respect to Daniel, it must be remarked, that if we except the celebrated prediction of the seventy weeks, the avowed objects of all his prophecies are the great revolutions of civil government under the four universal monarchies of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude, that no circumstances are introduced by the prophet, but such as coincide, or are necessarily connected with the main scope of his predictions. Now since the ten horns of his fourth visionary beast are declared to be emblems of the many separate kingdoms, into which this prophet, so many ages before the event, repeatedly foretold the European Roman Empire would be divided, it will readily be granted, that the little horn, representing a temporal principality arising upon the ruins of some of the various governments, into which the body of the empire was at first broken, differing from the other kingdoms of the West, and though little, that is, inferior to the other principalities in power, yet assuming a tone and deportment more arrogant than any of them, blaspheming the Deity, and persecuting conscientious Chris
tians, is a very just and exact type of the Roman hierarchy, and applicable to no other hierarchy upon earth, because none other ever acquired to itself an independent civil dominion. But then it is to be observed, that the Church of Rome, as described in this prophecy, within the limits of its own temporal jurisdiction, that is, as far as its local situation is concerned, is itself one of the disjointed members of the old Roman Empire, a horn of the emblematic beast, described both in this vision and in the Revelation of St. John. It cannot, therefore, in respect of its local situation, be considered, much less exclusively considered, as the antitype of the woman represented by the apostle riding upon that very beast, that is, supported by all the European princes, of whom the Roman hierarchy is one. Nor can the exaltation of the Bishop of Rome to the throne of civil power, which is clearly one of the chief subjects of this prophecy, any otherwise assist us in determining the era of that universal apostacy from the true religion of the gospel, predicted by the prophets of the new covenant, than as it affords us a very convincing proof of its having taken place previously to that event; because without a long and general falling away both of pastors and people, from the spirit and principles of Christianity, ecclesiastical ambition could never have aimed at, much less, have attained so high a pinnacle of worldly greatness."
The liberal divines of the Church of England, as Law, Jortin, Blackburne, &c. have seen and allowed that the spirit of Antichrist has deeply infected Protestant Churches, and many Dissenters have made the same concession, even as to their own societies. An American divine, whose notions were sufficiently orthodox, asks,
"Where can the church be found which is thoroughly purged from these abominations? Some churches may be more pure, and may have proceeded farther in a reformation, than others; but none are wholly clear of an antichristian spirit, and the fruits of it." See "A Treatise on the Millenium, by Dr. Hopkins, Pastor of the first Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island."
Good Dr. Hopkins could not exactly satisfy himself, any more than Bishop Newton, as to the time when the Millenium shall commence: for, as he observes of the Bishop of Rome, "As this beast rose gradually, from step to step, till he became a beast in the highest and most proper sense, this involves the subject in some degree of uncertainty." But he had a very clear perception of its blessings, apparently suggested in some particulars by present inconveniences. Thus he complains of the "nuisance" of "huge rocks and stones," which would then be applied to mending the roads. "Then in a literal sense, the valleys shall be filled, and the mountains and hills made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth, to render travelling more convenient and easy." Another of his anticipations is of a more professional nature. "Then public teachers will be eminently burning and shining lights, and the hearers will be all attention." The work commences with a very friendly address" to the people who shall live in the days of the Millenium," to inform them what is now thought of them, and he very properly and modestly assures them "all is humbly submitted to your better judgment."
NOTE (b)-Page 13.
This remark occasioned an attack upon the author by an "Unitarian Baptist," whose letter with some observations in reply, appeared in the Monthly Repository for Nov. 1818. The offence probably originated in some misapprehension, which the appearance of the whole passage, exactly as delivered from the pulpit, may correct. The General Baptists have done good service to the cause of religious liberty, and but few of them can be implicated in, or offended by, a condemnation of Dissenting imposition, pronounced by one who is proud, on this subject, to be a disciple of that illustrious ornament of their denomination, Robert Robinson. He felt, strongly enough, the degradation of those who having renounced the splendid vassalage of the Church, could submit to the exaction, by societies, or individuals, of creed, ceremony, or experience, as a necessary pre-requisite to those privileges which Christ designed for all his followers.
Ibis sub furcâ prudens, dominuque-
O toties servus! Quæ bellua ruptis,
Cum semel effugit, reddit se prava catenis?
This subject is more fully discussed in Lecture III.
NOTE (c)-Page 18.
Ben Mordecai, in his Thoughts on the Grand