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He built his system upon that of Grotius, who had employed much learning in his attempt to show the fulfilment of this prophecy in the heathen emperors, but especially in Domitian. The bishop applies it, with more apparent effect, to Dioclesian, and to his much longer and severer persecution. But his arguments have been examined, and refuted, by many Protestant writers; by none more ably than by Vitringa, who has shown that although in the early parts of the prophecy, it may, with great appearance of truth, be applied to the times of the heathen emperors, yet, that in the continuance of it,--in the subsequent chapters setting forth the progress, and actions, and end of the beast, all agreement ceases; and that we must have recourse to the times of the ten kingdoms rising out of the Roman empire, and the ecclesiastical power of Rome at the head of them, before we can see and acknowledge the fulfilment.

Now as this notion of the prophecy being fulfilled in the heathen emperors who oppressed the primitive Christians was natural in those times, so with equal reason have the sufferers by papal persecution applied this prophecy to their times. The reformers in the sixteenth century, exposed to the same persecution from the same source, adopted similar contracted views of this prophecy, confining it, in their turn, to their own case. But there are two circumstances in the symbolical prediction, which seem to require a more extended view and solution of it :-first, in verse the second of this chapter, the resemblance of this wild beast, not only to the fourth of the prophet Daniel, that is to the savage Roman empire, but also to the three which preceded it, the Greek, the Persian, and the Babylonian, seems plainly to indicate that in them also he is typified; and secondly, in verses seven and eight, it is pronounced expressly that “ power is given to him” (the power of the dragon) over all kindreds (or tribes) and tongues and nations, and all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the book of lite of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world,” Now this is a description of the inhabitants of the earth as general and universal as can be imagined, and has only one exception : it stretches far beyond the pale of the Roman empire, in all its divisions, whether of time or space, into all times wherein tyrannical rule has oppressed and enslaved mankind ; in all portions of the globe where true religion, by its salutary influence, has not allayed the brutal passions of men.

Attention to this inherent part of the prophecy which has been overlooked by most of the commentators, has occasioned me to interpret it in the way that I have set forth. Mede very properly denominates this seven-headed beast, Bestia secularis, in contradistinction to the two-horned beast, whom he calls Bestia Ecclesiastica, (Works, p. 498 and 505.) The former seems to have been in action from the earliest times of government after the form patriarchal, even from the times of Nimrod.' But the later enormities which are displayed in the prophecy of Daniel, and in this and the ensuing chapters of the Apocalypse, during the appointed period of 1260 years, are to be dated only from the junction and co-operation of the two. These are now to be considered as making the principal part of the warfare between the Dragon and the Woman, under their united ministry in his service.

1 Gen. x. 8, 9. “ A mighty hunter,” of men, say the commentators. He was the first who founded an extensive domination, or, to speak more properly, is specified as such in the history of mankind; for the short and confined view which the scriptural history has given us of the antediluvian world, attributes the divine anger which occasioned the Deluge in a great measure to this cause, “ the earth was filled with violence," the violence of “ mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Gen vi. 4, Jl.

In exa

The period of forty-two months being mentioned in this chapter for the last time, presents itself for a minute enquiry into this and other concurrent periods of the same duration.

There are three of these repeatedly mentioned in the Apocalypse, which will appear more evident from the following scheme, copied, after a careful review of it, out of my former work. Perfect success, however, is not to be expected in the development of prophecies as yet only partially enlightened by the occurrence of the predicted events. mining these, we must be contented with the light afforded by past or present circumstances, and not presume to a foreknowledge, unsupported by direct assurances of Scripture. The three periods are

a. During this period, the saints, or I. A time, and times, and dividing

times and laws, are given into of time.

the hand of the little horn, or Καιρον και καιρους και ημισυ και

king, rising after the ten kings. pov. Rev. xii. 4.

Dan. vii. 25; xiii, 7. Εως καιρό και καιρών και γε ήμισυ 6 The woman is nourished in the kalpov. Dan. vii. 25.

wilderness from the presence of

the serpent. Rev. xii. 14.

c The Gentiles tread the holy city. II. Forty-two months.

Rev. xi. 2; Luke xxi. 24. Μήνας τεσσαρακοντα δυο. .

d The beast continues to act against

the saints. Rev. xiii. 5. III. Twelve hundred and sixty

e The witnesses prophesy in sack

cloth. Rev. xi. 3. days.

f The woman is nourished in the “Ημερας χιλιας διακοσιας εξηκοντα.

wilderness. Rev. xii, 6. Now if we compare a and d together, they will be found to relate the same history; therefore the periods contained under I. and II. appear to be the same. Again, compare b with f; they are the same history: therefore I. and III. are the same periods. But I. which thus appears to be the same with III., has been seen also to be the same with II.; therefore all three periods are the same. Thus these three prophetic periods are of the same length or duration: they measure the same quantity of time. But another question will arise ; whether they measure the same identical period : for, although allowed to measure the same quantity of time, they may possibly succeed each other; or if they be cotemporary in some parts, yet it may not appear that they quadrate and agree in all: their beginnings and their endings may not be at the same points. Now it will not be difficult to show that all these

have some common

Uf, coincidence; they are all contained under the sixth trumpet. a and d exhibit the same history, told by different prophets, viz. that of the antichristian oppressor expected to arise out of the Roman empire, after its division into ten kingdoms. b and f contain the same history,—the nourishment of the woman in the wilderness,—which, for a particular reason, is repeated.' But the beast, represented in a and d, receives his power from the dragon, (ch. xiii. 2, 5.) who is certainly described as cotemporary with the woman; and makes war against her seed, the seed of the woman in the wilderness, the saints. Therefore a and d, and b and f, contain histories, some parts of which at least are of the same period. Again, any one who reads ch. xi. 2, 3, with attention, must perceive that c and e are purposely brought together, in order to show that they contain the same period, but e, in some of its parts, is certainly cotemporary with a and d; with the times of the beast,

1 See note, ch. xii. 14.


For the beast of a and d slays the witnesses of e. And thus all of them appear to cotemporise in some parts of their course. But, that they agree and coincide in all their points; that they synchronise, as Mede expresses it, in every part of their periods, so as to have the same beginning, middle, and end, will not be so easily admitted.

But, to render this examination less difficult, we may begin with reducing the six periods to four: for, 1. a and d may safely be pronounced to be the self-same period; viz. the time during which the antichristian oppressor is permitted to act against the saints. The history is the same, but given in different expression, yet amounting to the same duration, by two different prophets.2. b and f evidently set forth the same history and time; viz. the nourishment of the woman in the wilderness. We are therefore enabled to reduce the six periods to four :--1. the period of the continuance of the beast; a and d :-2. that of the continuance of the woman in the wilderness; b and f/3. That of the Gentiles continuing to tread the holy city; C:-4. that of the witnesses continuing to prophesy in sackcloth; e.

This is what Joseph Mede has intitled, nobilis iste quaternio vaticiniorum, æqualibus temporum intervallis insignium ;" whose periods he has endeavoured to exhibit as synchronising in all their parts. His first attempt is to show the synchronism of the time of the beast, (a, b,) with that of the woman in the wilderness, (6, f,) upon this ground, that their times begin together, and consequently must run together throughout. But the proof of their beginning together does not appear free from objection. They be

1 The forty-two months of St. John are exactly equal to three years and an half, the time, and times, and half a time, of Daniel.

note, ch. xi. 2 ; xii, 14. 2 Clav. Apoc. p. 419.

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