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"Let him that hath understanding count the " "number of the beaft: for it is the number of a man ; and his number is fix hundred three "fcore and fix." Moft interpreters, from Irenæus downwards, have confidered this number, as containing the name of the beast in a cypher, which, when decyphered, is LATEINOS', that being the proper name in Greek of the western Roman empire. I have no objection to this interpretation, as far as it, goes; but I apprehend, it is not the whole of the truth. As the feven heads contain a double mystery. fhewing the place of Antichrift's empire, and the time of its erection, fo likewife does the number 666. It fhews the place, by giving the name, and fixes the time, by directing us to add to the date of the vifion 666 of that kind of number commonly in use among men to calculate


(1) In Greek, numbers are marked by the letters of the alphabet, and the name is decyphered thus:

7501 St


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culate diftant periods, that is years. Now the Apostle received the vision about the year go', to which, if you add 666, it will bring you down to the year 756; and in that year the Bishop of Rome was invested with the rights of a temporal fovereign. With that period, there fore, commenced the forty-two months of his reign.

4. These fentiments are confirmed, when I reflect, that the duration of the temporal fovereignty is a proper fubject of prophetic calculation, because it is a notour event. The beginning of it is well known, so must the end. If therefore it meafures a period of forty-two months,

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(1) The commonly received opinion is, that the Apocalypfe was written in the year 96. But all allow, that the Apostle John was banished to the ifle of Patmos by Domitian, who ended his reign and perfecution together in the year 96; therefore the prefumption is, that the Apoftle received thofe vilions previous to that æra. Mofheim obferves from Hegefippus, that Domitian's perfecution began in 92, and that the Emperor's chief reafon to per fecute Chriftians, was a fear that fome of the relations of Chrift would ufurp the empire. If fo, it is reafonable to fuppofe, that the Apostle John, the only one then alive who had feen Chrift, the beloved difciple likewife, fhould be the chief object of the tyrant's jealoufy, and the first victim of his rage, from which I think it is probable that he was banished to Patmos previous to the year 92.


months, the fall of it muft carry conviction to every rational mind, in the leaft acquainted with the tranfactions of Europe. But if we date the time of Antichrift's continuance, from the Bifhop of Rome's apoftacy, the commencement of it is not so obvious. It was fo gradual in its progrefs, that the most accurate hiftorian cannot say what is the precife period at which it began. Accordingly, there is a confufion and embarraffment in the interpretations of those who date from that period; their uncertainty with regard to the commencement, neceffarily affecting their views of the completion.

If we date the forty-two months of the beaft, from the period in which the Bishop of Rome attained the temporal fovereignty, there will be little difficulty in reducing them to the years of the common computation.

Aiftulphus king of the Lombards took Ravenna, A. D. 752. Being in poffeffion of the Exarchate, he claimed the Dutchy of Rome as a part of it. But the Romans being unwil ling to acknowledge his claim, or pay tribute, he led his forces against Rome, A. D. 754. The Pope Stephen II. alarmed by the danger, applied to Pepin of France for protection. This Pope, and his predeceffor Zachary, had laid Pepin under confiderable obligations fome time before.

before. For when Pepin, who was Mayor of the palace to Childerick, caused his lawful fovereign to be deposed, and had himself proclaimed in his ftead, he applied and obtained from Zachary the fanction of the Roman Oracle to his ufurpation, and Stephen confirmed the deed of his predeceffor. In return for these fervices, Pepin led an army into Italy, A. D. 755, against the Lombards, conquered Aiftulphus, and obliged him by a folemn treaty to renounce the Exarchate, which Pepin bestowed on Stephen and his fucceffors in office, under the name of St. Peter's Patrimony. The next year Aistulphus violated, without remorfe, a treaty into which he had entered with reluctance, and led his forces a fecond time against Rome. Upon this Pepin returned to Italy, and not only obliged Aiftulphus to raife the fiege of Rome, but besieged him in his turn in Ravenna, and forced him to executé the treaty, by renouncing the Exarchate, which Pepin again delivered over, by a grant to Stephen and his fucceffors in office, laying the charter, together with the keys of the feveral cities belonging to the Exarchate, with much folemnity, on the altar of St. Peter, A. D. 756'.


(1) Segonius de regno Italiæ, 80. Mizeray's Hiftory of France, vol. i. p. 216.



Duration and End of Antichrift's Reign.

HERE the forty-two months of the beast's reign began. But in order to discover where they end, it is neceffary to afcertain, whether they are to be taken in a literal fenfe, for three natural years and a half; or in a myftic fenfe, putting a day for a year, in which cafe they amount to 1260 years. The defenders of the beaft labour hard to establish the literal sense; but the following reafons must convince the unprejudiced, that they are to be taken in a mystic fenfe :

1. This mode of calculation was familiar to the whole Jewish nation; for as the law ordained every seventh year to be a year of reft, this naturally led them to reckon time by weeks of years, as well as weeks of days, and by parity of reafon a day for a year.

2. This mode of calculation was commonly ufed by the prophets. Thus, there is an emblematical representation of a siege, (Ezekiel iv. 6.); and God commands the prophet to lie on his fide forty days, to reprefent forty years; for (fays he) I have appointed thee each day


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