Page images



Retrospective and Comparative View of the

State of England, from the end of the Revolutionary War to the present Period - 227

[blocks in formation]






It is generally admitted by the students of prophecy, that both Daniel and St. John agree in predicting a remarkable period, in which, during a space of 1260 years, the church of Christ, throughout the Western part of the Roman empire* under its last divided form, would be

* It may facilitate the following discussion to state, that by the Western part of the Roman Empire, the writer intends to designate that portion of Europe which on the division of the territories of Theodosius between his two sons, was assigned to Honorius, and which from that time constituted the Empire of the West. Of this Empire Gibbon very accurately describes the boundaries, showing, that while it lay to the West of Greece, comprehending, however, the Provinces on the Eastern coasts of the Adriatic, it was bounded on the north, generally, by the Rhine and the Danube, so as to include within its limits the city Vienna. This portion of territory is sometimes


oppressed, corrupted, and persecuted by the civil and ecclesiastical powers, bearing the name of Christ, and professing to act by his authority. It seems, also, to be a point little less generally conceded, that the same inspired writers unite in predicting a second period, which shall commence at the expiration of the former; and in the course of which these tyrannical powers, after being wasted by a series of desolating judgments, shall at length be utterly broken; and the Church, being by degrees emancipated from bondage, shall make a rapid advance towards her promised millennial glory. With respect to the duration of this second period, St. John furnishes no precise information ; though he details at considerable length several interesting and important particulars, which will successively occur in its progress. Daniel, on the other hand, while he more cursorily notices these events, tells us by implication, that the period in question will occupy a space of seventy-five years;

for “ Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and

called also the Latin Empire, or the Papal Earth, and contains the Ten Kingdoms into which, on the overthrow of the Roman Western Empire, it was originally divided, though amidst succeeding fluctuations it may not always have retained precisely the same number.

[ocr errors]

thirty days.” This period, thus defined, the prophet further calls “ The Time of the End;" a name, descriptive of the tendency of those events by which it will be distinguished; for it is within this period that God will gradually put an end to the triumphs of his enemies, to the sufferings of his Church, and to the dispersion of the Jews.

With respect to the Commencement of this period, St. John teaches us that it is to be ushered in by the sounding of the seventh trumpet

or of the third and last woe-trumpet : so called because of the calamitous nature of those dispensations which it would introduce. For, as the two preceding trumpets had predicted the desolation of the Eastern Church by the successive invasions of the Saracens and Turks; so this was intended to denounce that aweful visitation on the Western Church, when, according to Daniel, “the judgment should sit, and they should take away the dominion” of the little horn, “to consume and destroy it to the end.” No sooner, therefore, was the arrival of this expected period - the period of judgment, as it may also be properly denominated — announced by the sounding of the seventh angel*, than there were great voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” The time was now arrived, when the obstacles which had hitherto precluded the accomplishment of this great object, should be removed; when that series of events should now at length commence, which in its progress would weaken, and in its final issue destroy every Antichristian power. In the fu

* Rev. xi. 15.

. anticipation, therefore, of this grand consummation, the representatives of the Church also were seen by St. John “falling down upon their knees, and worshipping God;" uniting their voice of praise with that of the heavenly choir, and saying, “ We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art and wast, and art to come, because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come; and the time of the dead that they should be judged; and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great: and shouldst destroy them that destroy the earth.” It follows, “ And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament; and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” These expressions - the usual scriptural

« PreviousContinue »