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the predicted season shall be accomplished, and the mystery of the Gentile Church and Israel's rejection shall be completed, Now, the fact that the whole period is thus broken into two distinct portions, that it is made the subject of two distinct oaths, uttered by our Lord with the deepest solemnity, and that the delay in the course of the two times and a half is so great, in man's judgment, as that the Church needs a renewed warning that it will not be perpetual—all these circumstances form a moral demonstration that the time is not three literal years and a half, but that it must comprise the interval of many centuries.
VII. THE DURATION OF THE SIXTH HEAD OF THE BEAST furnishes another reason for the longer reckoning, which is stated by Mede in these words :
“That king, or state of government of the beast, under which the harlot should ride him, followeth immediately on a former, which, in comparison, is said to continue but a short space (Rev. xvii. 10). But if the antichristian state shall continue but three years and a half, literally taken, how short must that time of sovereigaty be which should occasion the Holy Ghost to insert so singular a note of difference from that which followeth, that it should continue but a short space."
Mr. Maitland, in reply, denies that the words convey any such implication, and says that if the word short has any correlative sense, it is more natural to refer it to the sixth head, whose duration will have been fixed before the seventh arises.
Let us, however, consider the passage afresh. The words are these :
Rev. xvii. 9-11. “ The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth ; and they are seven kings, the five have fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come, and when he is come, he must continue a
short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”
Now the sole requisite to the strength of Mede's argument is the assumption that these words, being an explanation, refer to the time of the prophet. This, I am aware, is disputed or denied by several writers, even among those who adopt the year-day theory; and if their view were just, the argument must be waived entirely. But the arguments of Mede for the other and simpler view, which refers the explanation to the time of St. John, appear to me unanswerable. On this hypothesis, his reasoning from this text is invincible also. The whole time from St. John to the future destruction of the beast will then consist of three intervalsomthe remain. ing time of the sixth head, the whole time of the seventh, and the time, times, and a half of the eighth which is of the seven.
The three periods, then, together make up nearly eighteen centuries. The second of them alone is ex. pressly declared to have a short continuance; and hence it must be inferred, in all reason, that it is shorter than either of the others. Unless, then, we assume an enormous disproportion between the sixth and the eighth head entirely opposed to the scope of the prophecy, the time of the latter must be far greater than three natural years.
It is needless, perhaps, to continue the argument further, by a discussion of the chronological meaning of the number of the beast. This would furnish, I believe, another link in the chain of evidence, and harmonize all these mystical dates into one connected system. But the subject is too difficult, and the significance of that mysterious number too various in its aspects, to be suitable for discussion in this place. More than enough as been ad
duced to show that the year-day theory rests on a surprising combination of scriptural arguments, some of which, it is true, are indirect, and some doubtful; but the
reat majority are full, clear, and unambiguous. First of all, there are four or five distinct and clear presumptions of a general kind, that the dates have some secret meaning. There are, then, three plain and certain, and one more disputable passage, which supply an express rule of interpretation, and a key at once simple and comprehensive, the direct appointment of God himself. When we further proceed to examine the pasa sages in detail, we find that every one, without exception, yields some peculiar argument in support of this same view ; and several of them furnish us with two or three distinct proofs. And besides all these internal evidences for the system, it is found to have a basis in the heavenly revolutions themselves, and to be confirme by its manifest harmony with the most exact elements of natural science.
There is still a distinct class of arguments which have been left untouched, from the historical nature of the events with which these times are connected. But this is too wide a subject for the present work, as it involves the meaning of nearly every part of the prophetic visions. The previous remarks may be enough to stir up the incredulous to a renewed inquiry, and to exhibit to those, who may have been perplexed by recent and plausible objections, the solid and firm warrant which the Scriptures yield to us for this leading maxim of the Protestant interpretations.
THE YEAR-DAY THEORY CONCLUDED.
The direct arguments for the larger reckoning of prophetic times have now been briefly unfolded ; and many of the usual objections have been shown, in passing, to be futile and groundless. But there are several others which could not be previously noticed, and which deserve a short examination. There will then be little or nothing, I believe, in the writings of Mr. Maitland, Mr. Tyso, or the other Futurists on this subject, which will not have received, either directly or indirectly, a sufficient and solid answer.
The objections which have to be examined are drawn chiefly from the events connected with these times. Now, in truth, some of the strongest arguments for the symbolical interpretation of them may be derived from this very source. To avoid, however, too long and wide an inquiry, I will confine myself to a few remarks which may remove the force of those difficulties which have been alleged to encumber the theory. I. The first of these objections is the UNCERTAINTY
The times, if they are mystically explained, must have begun long ago. The fourth empire must also, long ago, have been parted into ten kingdoms. But there is the utmost disagreement, it is alleged, in the lists which have been made out of these ten Roman kingdoms. Almost every expositor varies in his account of them. Mr. Tyso has
ABOUT THE TEN KINGDOMS.
been at the pains to draw up a tabular list of twentynine varieties. · And hence it is argued that this division must be still future, or else there could not be so much doubt as to the kingdoms really designed. “Let the reader only look (Mr. Maitland observes) at the various lists which have been made by learned men, and I think he will have no doubt that if the number mentioned by Daniel had been nine or eleven, the right number would have been found among those petty kingdoms, whose unsettled state makes it so easy to estimate them variously."
1. The temperate statement which is here made may be owned without difficulty to be true. But the question recurs, how far, in this true and moderate form, it has any real weight as an objection to the fulfilment? We must remember that the prophecies are given to announce actual events, rather than the events fitted to an independent prophecy. If, then, in the providence of God, and for wise ends, the division was to be fluctuating and uncertain, though within narrow bounds, did this put the events out of the pale of inspired prediction? Or if they were to be the objects of prophecy, was it essential that every minute and passing change, however temporary, should be noticed, as well as those broad features which stand out on the
of history? Or, further, if the prophecy could naturally be expected to give only the most permanent and obvious features of the history, can it be asserted that either nine or eleven, or any other number, would have been a more exact description than that which really occurs ? gative answer be given, as it must, to all these ques. tions, then the objection is worthless. Its nature consists in arguing from uncertain details against the broad and evident outlines of prophecy and history, which clearly accord with each other. History proves that the
If a ne