Page images

are either expressly determined as such, or limited by circumstances, which will not admit them prophetic. .

Now, we all know the length of natural time, and shall thereby be able to determine the periods of prophetic time, if a key be given, by which to find the proportion of the one to the other. This key must be somewhere in the Revelation. For if the true length of these times could not be, at least nearly determined, these numbers would be here to no purpose at all. The learned prelate. Bengelius, found this key in the Chap. xiii. and if it is not there, it is no where else. There, the words of the fifth verse run thus: “ And power was given to Him (the beast) Ton guon troviñsus bellum gerere, to make war forty and two months.According to the natural measure of time, this would be three years and a half; a time too short for this beast, to perform all ascribed to it by the prophecy. We must there. fore take these forty-two months, to be a prophetic time. Now in the 18th verse of this chapter, we read these memorable words : “ Here is the wisdom-let him that hath understanding so šXW Tóv všv, qui intelligentia est praeditus) count the number of the beast ; for it is the number of man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six” i, è. these are the years of his reign, according to the natural manner of counting. As he who has judgment, is here advised to calculate by this number and since the text expressly directs our attention to this number: here is wisdom ; this passage most assuredly contains this key. And since the Orientals counted their year by the moon, this key will stand thus ::

If forty-two prophetic months give six hundred and sixty. six lunar years, what will be a prophetic hour, a day, a week, a month, a year? For this number six hundred and sixty-six, cannot be taken to run parrallel with the fortytwo months, neither can it be considered as a protraction of that time ; because in either case none of these two num

bers could be compared with the other by calculation, as the spirit of prophecy here directs.

The solution of this problem produces the following aggregate, in which I shall not take notice of those divisions of time, less than a day, Prophetic time.

Common time.
an hour chap. viii. 1. = about 4 days.
1 hour chap. xiv. 15. = .8 days. .

1 day ... = 196 days.
1260 days chap. xii. 6. 677 years, 97 days.

1 month chap. ix. 15. . 13 years, 318 days.

5 months. ..i = 79 yrs. 19 wks. 1 day. : 1 year ...i. = 196 years 117 days.

1 h. 1 day, 1 m. 1 year = 212 years 275 days. The learned prelate Bengelius, has also attempted to determine the length and duration of those indetermined terms of times, found in the Apocalypse, by a profound mathematical operation, which solves some of the most critical and intricate questions in. Astronomy, concerning, the revolutions of the Heavenly bodies; bụt to me, his solutions on this head, have always appeared too far fetched, fanciful, and defective in their application to the prophecies. Those who wish to examine him on this subject, and understand the German and Latin languages, may satisfy themselves, by reading his inestimable commentary on the Revelation of St. John; his Gnomon, and notæ in Apocalypsin ; and his Cyclus, or singular investigation of the great year of the world. Bengelius is without doubt the most able expositor on this important book, of all German authors; and in my opinion the first of all I have read on this subject. His profound judgment, his extensive knowledge of history, and his great proficiency in every other branch of literature, requisite in order to understand this book, enabled him, although in want of the knowledge of the ordinary and methodical prophetic time in this prophecy, to strike the true point of accomplishment in very

many of these prophecies. And his expositions of those predictions, carry a degree of evidence, which forces the mind to acquiesce. The author of this treatise has availed himself, on many occasions, of his assistance, as well as of the exposition of Doctor Yung.

I will now attempt to illustrate my own system of prophetic chronology, concerning the ordinary and methodi. cal times used by the spirit of prophecy in the Apocalypse ; as also of those indetermined terms of time, in the limitation and adjustment of which, I humbly assume to differ from the decision of the great Bengelius. The author enters on this subject with unaffected diffidence--he treads on holy ground with awe. Yet a conscious rectitude of intention, a hope of obtaining the reader's indulgence, and a conviction of this subject, being peculiarly seasonable at this perilous time, have animated him in this undertaking, to which he otherwise avows himself unequal. He would therefore entreat all, who honour this treatise with any degree of attention, duly to consider his arguments on so important a subject. As he shall do little more, than draw the reader's mind to notice the internal method, and the contents of the Revelation itself, his authorities cannot be invalidated, if once firmly established.

The Apocalypse is a series of prophecies, arranged by the Divine hand into an admirable system, which constitutes it one great whole. It cannot be explained by detached pieces, like other prophetical books of the holy scriptures. Its general design must be known, the harmony of the different parts, and their dependence on each other understood, to warrant an author in this enterprise. No book of the Old or New Testament is so designedly written with art and wisdom, as to general method and adjustment of all its particular parts, as these sacred oracles; and this internal method of the prophecy itself, into which its whole contents are adjusted, constitutes and expresses alle


prophetic chronology, or computation of times, and periods, in which these predictions are to meet their completion. Not only the contents of this book are prophetic, but also the order and method in which its contents are presented to us, is expressive of the times and periods of the church of Christ, under the New Testament dispensation. Some of my readers will take this, to be no more than a hypothesis as yet; however a series of signal events will soon convince them, that it is a well established truth.

The prelate Bengelius's system of calculation on the determined prophetic times, is neither erroneous nor defective; if those numbers which it comprises, are taken to be no more, than what the spirit of prophecy intended them to be, to wit, extraordinary numbers, to enlarge the methodical periods of time in this book. But if we attempt to arrange the whole series of prophecies by them, this system is certainly very imperfect, and by no means satisfactory to an inquisitive mind." It only touches some particular links in this extensive chain of predictions, and leaves all the rest without a proper chronological adjustment. Hence the learned prelate's system has neither a certain date, nor a perfectly important fact, from which to commence the train of accomplishments; and in all those points, which it does not immediately regulate and determine, there is too much room for the ingenuity of man. Although he has marked the greater part of the accomplishments of these prophecies with a lucky and firm hand; yet, by reason of these imperfections of his system of calculation, the mind will barely yield him a high degree of probability. They always induced me to search, in expectation of another key to a new system of prophetic time, as a main basis to the numbers of his computation. Such a one would be desirable and necessary, as would supply all those deficiencies, arrange the whole series of prophecies, shew the length of every link in this chain, the period of every prediction, in which it is to be accom

plished, and determine its precise point of beginning and . end; and such a one could not fail of producing effects, worthy of this Revelation. For it is the concatenation of a series of prophecies, and their completion in the signal events of many centuries, which furnishes an argument of such strength and force, as even to awe infidelity into silence and dismay. A system of prophetic chronology of this kind, the spirit of prophecy has certainly given somewhere, for it is promised in Daniel xii. and such a one, I humbly conceive to have discovered in the Apocalypse.

The general design of the Revelation is, a prophetic history of the triumph of the Christian Religion, or in other words, of the great conflict between the Redeemer of the world and the prince of darkness, from its commencement to its final termination. Every emblematical presentation in the order of the whole vision, has its appropriated place in this plan of action and only there, and no' where else will it meet its genuine completion. A prophetic chronology therefore, by which the whole series of predictions is arranged and adjusted in due order, must begin in the same moment of time, with the prophecy, otherwise its dates would not accord with the history of the church, and of nations. Most authors begin the accomplishment of these prophecies from the year ’96, in which the apostle received the Revelation in the island of Patmos; but this is surely a mistake, for both the church and the great conflict commenced before that time. It would have been most agreeable, to affix the first link of this chain to the week of our Lord's passion; but it cannot be extended to that point. The prophecy itself also presupposes in its five first chapters, the Lamb of God as slain, and the seven churches in Asia minor as planted. Daniel affixes chapter ix. 26, 27. the final doom of his nation, to the expiration of his seventy weeks of years. There the church of the Old Testament had been visibly and forever razed and abolished; and precisely to the

« PreviousContinue »