Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

that the systems of commentators on the prophecies are not formed on plans sufficiently simple and comprehensive, he pro. ceeds to lay down certain rules of his own. The first of these rules, on which he appears to lay great stress, and has in fact made it part of the title of his book, is this : “ All the prophecies must be arranged on one uniform plan.” p. 5. It is very true that all prophecies, which have for their object the same event, or, the same series of events, must be “ ranged,” or explained, “ on one uniform plan;" for all truth, whether perfectly or imperfectly declared, is in every part consistent with itself. But there are numberless prophecies (those, for instance, concerning Tyre and Nineveh and Babylon, in the Old Testament, and concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in the New) which have little if any relation to one another, and none at all to that class of prophecies, which are the subject of Mr. Frere's Combined View. All these prophecies, which Mr. F. no doubt excluded in his own mind, he should have excluded in framing his fundamental rule; and the rule, so limited, is in. dubitably a most important one, but at the same time so obvious, that, it is presumed, no commentator ever attempted to explain two or more prophecies, relating to the same subject, otherwise than on one and the same plan, or so as to make them, in his judgment, uniform and consistent.

Mr. F appears to take to himself some credit, because an apprehension, which he had expressed, that his work would not be out, before Buonaparte would leave France and go to Italy, was, as he says, " realized.” But

" realized.” But as no reason or ground for this apprehension is suggested, it can only be regarded as a conjecture, which happened to be verified, if indeed it was verified; for Elba, to which we suppose he alludes, though previously subject to an Italian state, is neither “. Italy," nor å

..? The work consists of five chapters; of which the first contains introductory observations, rules of interpretation, arrangement of the Prophecies, and a Symbolical Dictionary: The second is on Daniel's Vision of the great Image; the third on the Vision of the Four Beasts, particularly of the Little Papal Horn; the fourth on the Vision of the Ram and the He-goat, and the Mahometan Little Horn.

The work therefore, as far as it is yet completed, is strictly a view only of the prophecies of Daniel, the author hoping at some future time to complete his plan, by adding a similar minute interpretation of the Prophecies (as he calls them) of Esdras and of St. John. But many passages of both, and particularly of the Apocalypse, are brought forward and ivterpreted in the present volume, in explaining what he deems contemporaveous with them in the prophecies of Daniels


where cutter Neill by the

and that rather every achere


part of lialy.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

One notion, which frequently occurs in the work before us, we fervently wish were as certain, as it is consolatory, Supposing the 1260 years of the dominance of the papal horn to have ended in 1792, and assigning the period of thirty years, from that date, for the final and complete overthrow of that power, and of the horns or kingdoms, into which the Roman empire was divided, he finds one of the ten kingdoms, the Protestant British nation, is at the very commencement of this time of wrath and desolation taken under the immediate protection of Heaven, and remains tranquil and victorious, beholda ing and rejoicing at the downfall of Babylon and the tremendous but just judgments of God upon his eneinies. This opinion may be seen stated in pages 14. 21. 27. 59. 93. n. 105. 114. 137. 403. and the passages of Scripture, from which it is deduced, are Rev. vii. 1-8. xiv. 1-13. xv. 2. Dan, vji. 11. 25. xi. 32.

When it is said, that after the expiration of “ a time and times, and the dividing of time” (whenever that period does expire) “ judgment was given to the saints of the Most High," * and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given" to them, we may safely conclude, that (whoever they be) they shall, as a body, be victorious; but whether they shall be instruments or merely spectators of the vengeance, whether the victory shall be aichieved with much or with little suffering and ŝlaughter on their part, there is no intimation. Neither, again, is it evident from the Apocalypse, nor proved by the commentator, that the symbolical Israel, the " sealed" and protected servants of God," are all of one nation; por that the protection is assigned to its proper time. They máy rather be regarded as denoting the faithful servants of God, of every tribe and kindred, who in times of trouble and distress adhere to him, and" follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” They “ were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb;" and therefore belong probably to some much earlier period, than that which foilows the termination of the 1260 years. Mr. Faber considers the 144,000 of chapter xiv. as the immediate successors of the 144,000 of chapter vii. who bore their testimony to the truths of the Gospel in the days of paganism, before the age of Constantine, as the other he thinks, do afterwards, during the depressed state of the Church in the wilderness, previous to the time of the reformaton. Accordingly we may observe, that immediately after , this vision, St. John sees what is justly conceived to denote the dawn of the reformation, an“ angel Hlying in the midst of beaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth." This first angel Mr. Faber applies to Lu


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

ther, the second to Calvin and the reformed continental
churches, and the third to the Church of England. But here
we are compelled, by many substantial reasons, as we consider
them, to dissent from this celebrated author, to whom in many
respects the Christian world is so much indebted for his work on
the Prophecies. If the first angel is rightly interpreted from
the Apocalypse itself (1. 20.) to denote a Christian minister,
surely the other two angels should typify individual ministers
also, and not churches. Whatever might be the merits of the
Swiss reformer in denouncing and confuting the errors of pope-
ty, when the incalculable mischief and impiety of his decretum.
horribile are laid in the other scale, we cannot easily be per-
suaded, that John Calvin would be singled out and predicted as
an“ angel” in the volume of infallible truth and holiness. Be-
sides, Calvin was contemporary with Luther; and therefore
cannot be supposed to be the second angel, “ following" the
other, whom he did not survive more than the space of about
eight years. We cannot therefore but accede to the opinion of
the incomparable Dr. Hales, that the earlier arrangement, which
he suggests, making the three angels to be Wickliffe, Huss, and
Luther, who followed each other in three successive centuries,
is far preferable. Nor is it a little striking, that of Daniel's
two numbers, 1290 days and 1335 days, counting forwards from
what seems to be the time of their comniencement, the destruc-
tion of Jerusalem, A. D. 70, when the daily sacrifice was

and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, the first leads us exactly to A. D. 1360, the precise year determiaed as the commencement of Wickliffe's testimony by, so many independent authorities, which renders the circumstance, Dr. Hales observes," really remarkable;" and the larger number 1335, similarly reckoned, brings us oi), with equal accu, racy, to A. D. 1405; in which year, as various other early aux thors have noted, John Huss began to preach against the cor. ruptions of the church of Rome. There is no prophetic num. her directing us in like manner to the other great champion of the reformation; but in the third angel, as Dr. Hales observes, the sagacity of Mede first descried the faithful representative of Luther, who in the next century, A. D. 1517, followed the other two; and warned the votaries of the beast, of the dreadtul danger that impended over them, if they still persisted in following him. Mede's Works, p. 518. ed. 1672.

The determination of the several prophetic periods in Daniel is a question of high importance, but withal extremely arduous; which will not perhaps be settled with complete satisfaction, in every instance, before the time of the end. Solutions have been offered, which have something plausible to recommend

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


of Dan

* AB

gives A



them; but, at the sanie time, all or most of them are liable to strong objections. The termination of each period will, no doubt, usher in some remarkable event or revolution ; but the nature of the events, in one or two instances, not being foretold, in that case even the arrival of the time may not unfold the prophecy, till the consistency and agreement of the whole series shall illustrate and confirm the several separate members.

Dr. Hales having observed, that there is no number in the Bible whose genuineness is better ascertained than the 2300 days, in order to come at the beginning of the days, counts back 70. weeks (or 490 years) from the destruction of Jerusalein, foretold in a subsequent vision (c. ix.) and thus the beginning of the period (420 A. C.) being known, the end of the period is known also, A. D. 1880; for 420 + 1880 = 2300.

This is very ingenious, and leads us to a safe period which is not yet arrived. But it seems altogether improbable, that a vision, the meaning of which the holy prophet immediately sought for, and which, in consequence, his heavenly instructor bade Gabriel cause him to understand, should depend for its mode of interpretation on a vision which was not seen till some years afterwards ; nor is there, it is believed, another instance to be found in Scripture of thus counting back, in order to reckon forwards. The commencement of the time must, in all appearance, be taken either from the predicted desolation, (which, whether that of Autiochus or of the Romans be intended, extends to a period so much out of the range of prophecy, that we cannot suppose it to be the time intended) or else “ from the time when the prophet wrote,(or rather when the vision was seen) which Mr. Frere takes to be the true cemmencement of “ all the historical prophecies.” It would seem therefore we must adopt the reading of the Septuagint, 2:00; from which if we deduct the date of the vision, B. C. 553, we come to 1847, the time when " the sanctuary shall be cleansed," the true import of which the time will shew. This then is Mr. Frere's calculation, p. 247.

Mr. Faber and Mr. Frere agree in supposing the years, divided into distinct portions of 30 years and 45 years, will intervene between the end of the three times and a half (or 1260 years) and the Millennium. This idea is founded on the supposition that the three periods inentioned in the last chapter of Daniel, namely, three times and a half (or. 1960 years) and


space of 75

[ocr errors]

* Antiochus Epiphanes, A. C. 170, which deducted from 2300, gives A. D. 2130." But if we calculate from the Destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70, we are carried to A. D. 2970.

1290 days

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1290 days and 1335 days, have one and the same commencement, an opinion which seems neither sufficiently proved nor probable. For when a specific date is assigned to the second of these numbers, (belonging in appearance and as is generally believed to the third also) this affords a strong presumption that the date does not belong to the first of the three. Now the time intended is marked by these two circunstances, the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation; a description which in appearance must be understood either of the profanation of the temple by Antiochus, to which Mr. Mede applies it, or of the destruction of the city and temple by Titus, to which, as we have seen, Dr. Hales with greater probability applies it.

As for the period of 1260 years, so often mentioned under different modes of corresponding numeration, and therefore infallibly fixed, we cannot but think the date of its commencement in the year 606, which Mr. Faber and others have assigned, when the saints were delivered into the hand of the little horn by the Emperor Phocas, constituting Boniface the third Universal Bishop and Supreme Head of the Church, far more probable than the earlier date of 533, which Mr. Frere and Mr. Cuninghame have chosen ; but which any other sober man must think is irrefragably refuted by the events. “ The period having begun in the month of March, 539, its termination," Mr. f. says, with a latitude of reckoning not very allowable,

may have been at any point of time from March, 1792, to March, 1793. The principal explosion of the French Revolution happened on the 10th August, 1792-an event of an importance wouderfully adapted to mark the expiration of the long period of 1260 years” of suffering. True, if the sufferings of the saints had then ended, and more auspicious days succeeded; but after the lapse of twenty-three years, of almost incessant warfare and havoc and devastation, since the French revolution, who can yet discern even the dawning of those blessed days, when.“ nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall țhey learn war any more. and we believe truly, that “ the reign of the Saints is spoken of as commencing iạmediately at the expiration of the 1260 years." P. 192.

. We can readily believe that the vials of divine wrath began to be poured out on the Beast and his followers in the porten, tous year, 1792; and that “ beavy judgments" have since in quick succession “ been inflicted on the Roman Catholic divisions of the Western Roman Empire," while “ Britain, the Protestant kingdom, has escaped," and been delivered. But it has not been “ nostra sine parte pericli." Blood lias indeed

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Mr. F. says,


the de


tize Inadir the w suppe

U A the pa




« PreviousContinue »