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thy prayers made in fear and holiness, with passion and desire ? Were they not made unwillingly, weakly, and wanderingly? and abated with sins in the greatest part of thy life? Didst thou pray with the same affection and labour as thou didst purchase thine estate? Have thine alms been more than thine oppressions, and according to thy power? And by what means didst thou judge concerning it ? how much of our time was spent in that, and how much of our estate was spent in this?
“But let us go one step further : how many of us love our enemies?
for and do good to those that persecute us? or overcome evil with good ? or turn the face again to them that strike us, rather than be revenged? And yet by these precepts we shall be judged; for these are the words of our Judge: I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.'
ON THE SACRED NUMBERS
In every just thought of God as Creator and Governor of the universe, we presume His omniscience and His omnipotence, that he is all-knowing, to plan all things for the end which he has designed; and all-powerful, to constrain all things to work together for that end. The ways of God, however mysterious now, shall be made manifest when the mystery is finished : all things shall then be found to have worked together for good to them that love God; and not only to have been exactly according to the fore-ordained purpose of God, but exactly at the foreordained time; that God hath kept the times and seasons in his own power, not merely for concealment, but for controul ; and that as the hairs of our head are all numbered, so are the moments of our existence, or the moments of a church, or of an apostasy, or of an empire, or of the world : that nothing has been left to chance, but that every thing has been minutely provided for in the wonderful counsel of Almighty God.
The least consideration of this kind would repress the too frequent practice of regarding the numbers and dates of Scripture as comparatively unimportant, and the still more reprehensible supposition of their being only loose approximations to the truth; both of which mistakes are far more dangerous than the opposite error of the Cabalists, who sought in every scriptural number and its combinations principles for the adjustment, not merely of time, but of morals ; elements for the measurement, not only of the creation, but of the Creator himself. That strange compound of pneumatology, physics, and numbers, which the Cabala at length became, might well be consigned to oblivion, with alchymy and astrology, which ran the same course at the same time; but the foundation on which it rested was nevertheless stable, and, when cleared of the incongruous pile heaped thereon, will display perfect symmetry and beauty.
The sacred numbers have an adaptation to each other, and an intrinsic evidence, which is marvellously grateful to every lover of proportion and of truth, and by the exactness already discoverable in them carry on the mind prophetically to that period when all the doubts in chronology shall be at an end, and each grand event in the world's history shall be found to have had its epoch assigned beforehand, and its date marked with the most perfect accuracy, by sabbaths, or septennaries, or jubilees, or millennaries.
The numbers of Scripture do, indeed, involve some of the deepest mysteries of the purpose of God; and we wonder less at the superstitious regard of the Cabalists, than at the disregard which now prevails towards their hidden meaning. For there is both the depth and the sublimity of truth in those researches, which, at the dawn of modern letters, spread the fame of Mirandula over the whole civilized world, accelerated the progress of the Reformation in Reuchlin, deepened the philosophy of Henry More, and kept within the bounds of sanity the wild and heated imagination of Jacob Behmen.
The depths of the subject we do not mean to enter, nor would this generation follow us into them. Our present purpose is limited to the endeavour of shewing the exact accomplishment of those events to which numbers are attached in Daniel and the Apocalypse, at the exact times denoted by those numbers, drawing out some few of the mysteries couched beneath one of those numbers-namely, 666. To understand this number, the Holy Spirit hath declared that especial wisdom is necessary, which we carnestly pray for while writing these lines, and we entreat our readers to take the same course before they venture to receive or to reject what we may be permitted to declare. “Here is wisdom : Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast” (Rev. xiii. 18).
The folly of man is continually bringing reproach upon the wisdom of God; and we may be unconsciously doing this now, by endeavouring to trace out from the Scriptures times and seasons which God hath kept in his own power.
We are not, however, conscious of any such sin in what we are now undertaking; we desire to limit our inquiries strictly to that which is
revealed, not to go beyond nor yet to fall short of our privileges: not to press into the hallowed precincts of the undisclosed arcana of the Most High, the secret things which belong to the Lord our God; and not to be willingly ignorant of any thing which he hath offered to our understanding. But in the revealed things there is still much of mystery; not only much which the natural man comprehendeth not because it must be spiritually discerned, but much which even the spiritual man cannot discern till God's own time for disclosing it. This is especially the case with the sacred numbers, which, though revealed for the very purpose of being discerned each in the fulness of its own time, shall not be discerned in their mutual relations to each other till the fulness of all time shall arrive, when they shall all be manifested as foreknown and pre-ordained with the most exact precision in the purpose of God.
The holy men of old knew not the exact purport of their own predictions of the grace that should come unto us, though they inquired and “searched diligently what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” But when the fulness of time for the incarnation had come, the Holy Ghost revealed to Simeon that he should not see death till he had seen the Lord's Christ; and many with him were waiting for the consolation of Israel.
God hath not, at any time, done a work of judgment but he hath first revealed the thing he was about to do to his servants the prophets. Before he brought the Deluge upon the old world he had revealed it to Noah; and Noah for 120 years had been warning all men of its approach, and preaching righteousness to the people. God shewed to Abraham that his posterity should be in bondage to the Egyptians for 400 years; and, when about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, the Lord said, “ Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do ?” The forty years' wandering in the wilderness were declared beforehand, and the seventy years' captivity in Babylon-which judgment is declared to be brought upon them because of their neglect of the commandments of God, and that the land might enjoy her sabbaths : and by the years of the captivity we might number the period during which they had provoked the Lord their God. At the end of the captivity Daniel received his visions, revealing what should befal his people from that time forward to the end. In those visions which concern the Jewish people alone, various numbers are given, to mark the sub-divisions of time; but in the visions concerning the Gentile powers, who are God's instruments for chastising his people, the numbers are either omitted or given in totals to include the whole time of Israel's purgation, reaching to the period, already fixed with the greatest precision
VOL. V.NO. II.
in the purpose of God, when Daniel and all the true servants of the Lord shall stand, each in his lot, at the end of the days.
This end of time and beginning of eternity can neither be accelerated nor retarded by creature power, being fixed in the councils of the Creator. But the end being a manifestation both of judgment and of mercy, the choice between these is offered to the creature; and its lot depends upon its choice, whether it has or has not taken warning by the threatened judgment, whether it has accepted or refused the offered mercy.
God hath declared, that, at the time of the end, the wise shall understand, while the wicked shall be doing wickedly, and shall not understand (Dan. xii. 10). We do not, therefore, take credit for superior sagacity when undertaking to interpret mysteries which have been hitherto unexplained; it is but the necessary consequence of our living at the time of the end. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy ?” (Amos iii. 7.)
The numbers in Daniel are all given with peculiar solemnity, denoting the depth of the mystery they contain. The angel who reveals them is called Palmoni, or the numberer of secrets,' or the wonderful numberer' (Dan. viii. 13); who is, no doubt, the Wonderful Counsellor and Mighty God (Isai. ix. 6). When the kingdom of Babylon was to be destroyed, the announcement of its doom is made in the terms “Mene, Mene....God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” God had numbered it to Jeremiah in fixing the term of the captivity at seventy years, and had declared by Isaiah that Cyrus should destroy the captor, and let the captives go free. Daniel then understood by books that the desolations of Jerusalem were accomplished (ix. 2); and at the time when the seventy years of Jeremiah expired, the numbers revealed to Daniel, concerning the First and the
econd Advent of Christ, have their commencement. The first number given is 2300 years (viii. 14), which includes the time of both advents; the second number given is 490 years, or 70 weeks (ix. 24), which includes the time of the First Advent only. Both these numbers must have the same commencement, for the second is declared to be given to enable Daniel to understand the meaning of the first. At the conclusion of the eighth chapter, where the first is contained, Daniel says, “I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it;" wherefore he prays to the Lord his God (in the ninth chapter), who sends forth the angel, whom he had seen in the preceding chapter, to give bim skill and understanding, saying, "Understand the matter, and consider the vision : seventy weeks are determined,” &c. (ix. 21-24), Both numbers commence from the going forth
of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem (ix. 25), but the first and larger number marks the period during which the three remaining Gentile' monarchies-Persian, Grecian, and Roman-shall exist; while the second number cuts off or determines 490 years of the whole period as the time during
which God should bear with the Jewish people, and send his Son to save them. This time of probation ended, and the Jews having filled up the measure of their iniquity, by crucifying Christ and rejecting the Gospel, they are cast off for the remainder of the first period, or for 1810 years; at the expiration of which the sanctuary shall be cleansed (viii. 14), God shall receive them into favour, and give them a new heart; He becoming their God, they His people.
Could we ascertain with precision the date of the commandment to restore and build Babylon, this would give the commencement of the 2300 years, and of the 70 weeks. But as there is scarcely any one point of chronology which has been so much disputed as this, we deem it better to fix the beginning of these periods by reckoning back from the crucifixion, the cutting off of Messiah in the prophecy (ix. 26) after threescore and two weeks, the midst of the week during which he shall confirm the covenant with many (ver. 27).
It is generally allowed that the personal ministry of our Lord lasted three years and a half; and also that the preaching of the Apostles to the Jews only, lasted three years and a half also, ending in the conversion of Cornelius. This makes the seven years, or one week (ix. 27), of Daniel's prophecy, during which many are confirmed in the covenant of mercy, and in the midst of which sacrifice ceases in the one sacrifice of Christ once offered. Let this whole week, then, be deducted from the seventy weeks, and the after of ver. 26 be regarded as designating the three years and a half of Christ's ministry; or let the cutting off of Messiah be regarded as indicating the whole period of his preaching to and rejection by the Jews, and not merely his crucifixion : in any case, we must reckon the sixty-two weeks (ver. 26) as terminating A.D. 30, when our Lord began his ministry. Before Christ 404 will therefore be the beginning of the sixty-two weeks, or the completion of the temple and the streets and walls of Jerusalem; seven weeks, or forty-nine years, of troublous times (ix. 25), being the period occupied in building the city and temple under Ezra and Nehemiah, and during the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah-answering to the declaration of the Jews (John ii. 20), “forty and six years was this temple in building,” three years being occupied in the journey from Babylon and preparatory work. By thus tracing back the periods from the crucifixion of Christ, we obtain B.C. 453 for the date of the going forth of the commandment; B.C. 404