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CHAP. V.

THE PRESENT CRISIS PROVED TO BE THE INTERVAL

WHICH PRECEDES THE TIME OF UNPRECEDENTED TROUBLE, FROM THE CHRONOLOGICAL SERIES OF EVENTS, COMPARED WITH THE PREDICTIONS OF SCRIPTURE.

It has been already stated, that the time of unprecedented trouble will commence at the pouring out of the seventh Vial of Wrath

h; consequently the interval, which immediately precedes it, is that which takes place between the commencement of this, and the termination of the fifth Vial. Let it then only be shown, from the chronological series of events, compared with the predictions of Scripture, that the period of 1260 years being now concluded, “the Time of the End" is so far advanced in its progress, as that the first five Vials of Wrath have been already expended and the writer humbly conceives, that he shall have sufficiently proved the first point which he is endeavouring to establish.

The period of the 1260 years is a subject, which, from the prominence and frequency with which it is brought forward in the Prophetical Writings, as well as from the deep importance which it derives from its close connection with the destinies of the Church, has largely exercised the attention and consideration of the readers of prophecy: and many and diversified have been their opinions respecting the commencement and termination of this remarkable period. It appears, however, that there are two erroneous principles, on which investigations on this subject have frequently proceeded, and which have tended to involve them in much confusion and mistake.

There has been an opinion strongly maintained by several interpreters of prophecy, and through them very generally communicated to their readers, that while the period of 1260 years comprehends the reign of antichrist in the Latin kingdoms, it equally includes that of the antichristian power over the Greek Empire ; that, in consequence, the rise of the Little Papal Horn in the West, synchronises with that of the Mahometan Horn in the East; and, that having carried on their opposition to Christ and to his kingdom, in two parallel and continuous lines, during the predicted period, they will, at the expiration of it, terminate their career together. But plausible as this hypothesis may appear, and supported, as it has been, by names of no small authority, the writer ventures to affirm, that it rests on no adequate scripturak

foundation. That the Mahometan Horn, indeed, has proved a most formidable enemy to Christianity in the East, and that it will probably unite with the Western Antichrist, in the last great combined opposition to the Kingdom of Christ, when they will ultimately perish together, are points which he readily concedes : but, that in their respective progress and duration, and, consequently, in their rise and commencement, there is any stated or alleged connection between them, he cannot but regard as an assumption destitute of scriptural proof. He has endeavoured to show, in the observations on the chart prefixed to this volume, that the period of 1260 years, wherever mentioned in prophecy, is applied exclusively to the Western Empire, and to the Papal Horn; and that the vision of the Mahometan Horn, so far from having any connection with this period, has a date and a duration of its own, expressly assigned to it. Let it be remembered, that the period in queslion is, that “time and times and the dividing of tiine,” during which the Saints of the Most High are to be given into the hand of the Little Horn, which was to rise up after, and among the Ten Horns, or Kingdoms into which the Latin or Western Empire should be divided. Here it was, within this empire, thus divided, that the power of this Horn should be exercised for the period prescribed; while, for the same period, the ten kingdoms themselves, symbolized by the ten horned beast of Daniel and St. John, should, by their authority, uphold the power of the Papal Horn, and so wage war with the Saints. But, as to the Mahometan power and the Eastern Empire and Church, there is no reference or allusion made to them in these, or in any other passages, which mention the period of 1260 years.

Let it also be farther remembered, that this period of 1260 years, when it is applied to the horn and the beast of the Western Empire, predicts the duration, not of their existence, but of their power and prosperity. At the expiration of this period, the judgment begins to sit; but its sitting may be continued through a protracted season. When the 1260 years are ended, then those dispensations of Providence more directly commence their operations, which will progressively weaken the power, and annihilate the prosperity of these adversaries to Christ and his Church; and will eventually conduct them to that catastrophe, when they will “ both be cast alive into à lake of fire, burning with brimstone."* If these circumstances were steadily kept in remem

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Rev. xix, 20.

brance, it would greatly simplify and facilitate the consideration of the subject' under review.

A second erroneous principle, on which interpreters have often proceeded in their attempts to determine the period of the 1260 years, has been the endeavouring to fix on some particular era or event from which they might date its beginning, and so predict its termination; instead of waiting till the conclusion of the period having disclosed itself, they should be enabled, from thence, to discover the time of its commencement. There may be some instances in which (as it has been remarked in the observations on the Chart) it may be the purpose of God that the commencement of a prophetical series shall be seen before its termination arrives ; but this is not generally the case; and that it is not the case in the particular prophecy now under discussion, may be inferred from this circumstance; that in the whole history of the Western Church and Empire, no event of sufficient prominence and magnitude has presented itself, on which the expositors of prophecy having fastened their eye, have been induced, independently of some other considerations, to say, This is decidedly the event from which the deliverance of the Saints into the hand of the little horn is to be dated.” Those dates, on which they have fixed for the commencement of this period, have

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