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be determined by history and facts, how much time may be taken up by destroying the remnant, as mentioned in the last verse of the preceding chapter. The spirit of the beast and of the false prophet may remain, in some measure and degree, after they are represented as cast into the lake of fire. There be, for a time, some adherents to the cause of the beast and false prophet, subsequently to the period when their destruction as political and ecclesiastical states, or powers, shall have taken place. These may unite with the other enemies of the Gospel in opposition to Christ and his cause; for enemies to the Gospel there will be, till Satan is absolutely bound and imprisoned. It may also be remarked, that we are not to imagine that Satan will be stripped of his power all at once. His influence, indeed, may be gradually diminished, after the destruction of the beast and false prophet, till he is seized, and chained, and cast into the bottomless pit.—Again, nothing is stated in the prophecy respecting the space of time which intervenes between this vision and the last mentioned in the preceding chapter. It is plain, therefore, that the book of Revelation affords us no positive criterion by which we can fix the commencement of the millennium. Some commentators, however, suppose, from the enumeration of the times mentioned by the Prophet Daniel, that the space of seventy-five years will intervene between the destruction of the beast and the false prophet and the millennial reign of Christ. They conclude that in this period of time, after the destruction of the popish and Mahomedan powers nationally and ecclesiastically, all individual Papists and Mahomedans will be converted to true religion. It is supposed also, that during this period the Jews will be brought over to Christianity, and embrace their longrejected Messiah; and that Mahomedans, Jews, Papists, and carnal Protestants, now united with the true and spiritual Church of Christ, will, by their combined efforts, be the means of the conversion of the whole world, by the time at which this period of seventy-five years will have arrived at its close. But here again the question arises respecting the time when the beast and the false prophet are to be destroyed. It appears to me, that this event will undoubtedly take place at the termination of the twelve hundred and sixty years. It will now be asked, “ But when “ does this period commence?” A great host of commentators fix on the year 606. This, as has been shewn, was evidently the time at which the Mahomedan power arose ; and the generality of expositors make the papal power to be contemporaneous with it. It is an historic fact, that in the year 606, the Emperor Phocas conferred on Boniface Bishop of Rome, the title of Universal Bishop. This epoch, therefore, may be considered as the commencement of Popery. Admitting that exact dates might be fixed on, this would determine the year 1866 as the era when the ecclesiastical power of Rome will be destroyed. But the perdition of the secular beast, and of the Mahomedan power, will synchronize with this event, or, at least, nearly coincide with it. The seventy-five years of Daniel, added to this date, will bring us to the year 1941, about the middle of the next century. Upon this principle, the period for the destruction of these devoted powers is drawing near; for, in the space of fortyfive years, the sands in the glass of this important term of the twelve, hundred and sixty prophetic days will have run down. In the space of this half century great changes may be accomplished in the moral and religious state of the world ; and the nations of the earth will probably have assumed a very different aspect from that which they bear at
It is, however, necessary here to make a remark of very great importance. It is evident that the precise dates of the apocalyptic prophecies can only be fixed on by the fulfilment of the events pre
dicted. It may also be stated, as an observation of equal weight, that the destruction of these powers may be, in a measure, gradual. Such a mode, in this case, would be analogous to the general conduct of the infinitely wise Governor of the world in his works of nature, providence, and grace; and it would equally fulfil the terms and declarations of the prediction. The students in prophecy well know that the seventy years' captivity of the Jews received such a gradual accomplishment. From the commencement of their captivity to the commencement of their return was exactly seventy years; and from the completion of their captivity to the completion of their return was likewise exactly seventy years. Now, admitting that the rise of Popery was gradual, its fall must necessarily be so likewise. If it be granted, therefore, that Popery peculiarly and eminently took the commencement of its rise in the year 606, it will peculiarly and eminently receive the commencement of its fall in the year 1866. If it was half a century, inore or less, before it arrived at its acme, it will be half a century, more or less, subsequent to the year 1866 before it will be finally destroyed. The battle of Armageddon, therefore, which is to subvert all the antichristian powers politically, nationally, and ecclesiastically, will probably consist of a long succession of wars and contests. If this method of interpretation be granted, which appears to me to be the mode that ought to be adopted in the computation of the twelve hundred and sixty years, this may allow us to fix the commencement of the millennium somewhere about the year 2000. This date will coincide with the sentiments of a great number of judicious commentators, both ancient and modern, on the subject. This world will then have existed in its present state, since the creation of man, six thousand years; and the seventh chiliad, or the thousand years that will immediately follow the preceding six thousand, will be a glorious sabbatic day of rest, and peace, and joy. This view of the subject coincides with the opinion of many ancient commentators and theologians, both Christians and Jews. All, perhaps, that can be said at present respecting it is, that it appears, on the whole, highly probable that the millennium may cominence nearly at this period. Some persons, indeed, of a sanguinely pious turn of mind, may think the intermediate time long before this blessed era will arrive. But what is the
But what is the space of one hundred and eighty years in comparison of the immense work which is to be accomplished before the millennium commences ? The secular Roman beast is to go into perdition ; Mahomedism is to be destroyed ; Popery is to be annihilated; the Jews are to be converted; and all the nations of the earth are to be brought to the obedience of Christ. What a great work then is to be effected before the universal reign of Christ is to commence! Eighteen centuries have elapsed since the date of the Christian era, but how little has been accomplished in comparison of what remains to be done! What a small proportion of the inhabitants of the earth are yet true Christians ! It is supposed that only a fifth part of the world are yet nominally so. But, alas! what a great proportion of these are Christians only in name!- Let it be admitted that there may be six hundred millions of human beings at this time without the pale of the Christian church. Upon this hypothesis, which is probably stated below the real fact, if nearly three millions and a half of souls were to be converted every year from Heathenism, Mahomedism, and Jewism, and were to be united to the visible Church; if all their posterity were to continue in its pale, and if the world should receive no accession of its population, it would nevertheless take up these hundred and eighty years to bring the inhabitants of the earth to the profession of the true religion. Now, what a delightful thought would it be to hear every year that three millions and a half of Jews, Mahomedans, and Pagans, were added to the Christian church! And yet this must be the average of converts annually for the space of one hundred and eighty years, admitting that all their descendants would remain Christians, before all the nations of the earth would be converted to Christianity. But how must this delight be increased in the pious mind, when it reflects, that as these millions are continually adding to the Christian church, the church itself will be gradually increasing in unity, piety, and purity; and that the number of real Christians within its pale will be constantly and daily augmented, till all shall“ know the Lord from the least even to the greatest."
What a glorious view have we here given us of the universal reign of Christ, which will shortly commence in all its light and liberty, unity and love, peace and purity, joy and triumph! Let us bless God for this delightful prospect. Hitherto Satan and his party have been permitted to prosper to an amazing degree : and whole nations, yea, almost all nations, have been deceived by the old serpent and his agents; so, that if partial restraints had not been imposed on them, and unmerited mercy had not been exercised towards man, this earth would long ago have been a counterpart of hell. Ere long, however, the Lord will make bare his holy arm to chain up and cast into prison the deceiver of the nations, and to give effectual success to his blessed Gospel. What a difference will then be accom plished in the moral and religious state of the world! Infidelity, Mahomedism, Paganism, Jewism, and Antichrist in every form, are all now lifting up their heads “ against the Lord and against his Anointed.” But we are looking forward to better days; and better days are near at hand. The dawn of this blessed era is already appearing, the Dayspring from on high is visiting us, and the Sun of righteousness