« EdellinenJatka »
To adapt the foregoing prophecy to the page of history, is attended with little difficulty at the present era of the world. This was well done in the beginning of the seventeenth century, by Joseph Mede, a very learned English divine, whose works are collected into one large volume folio. He followed in part the views of writers who preceded him, and as truth is always the same, he has in his turn been also followed by many later writers.*
The word of prophecy then, adapted to the page of history, appears to coincide thus :—the Pagan Empire of Rome having at length been brought to profess the faith of Christ, and having thus become Christian Rome, about the latter end of the fifth century, it was broken up or divided, chiefly through the inroads of the Northern nations, into ten kingdoms, or governments; and their names are thus given in Machiavel's History of Florence.-1. The Ostrogoths in Mesia.-2. The Visigoths in Pannonia.–3. The Suevi and Alanes, in Gascogny and Spain.—4. The Vandals in Africa.-5. The Franks in France.6. The Burgundians in Burgundy.—7. The Heruli and Turingi in Italy.-8. The Saxons and Angles in England.-9. The Huns in Hungary.-10. The Lombards on the Danube, and afterwards in Italy.
* The accurate and intelligent Bishop Newton, soon after the middle of the last century, also published a very valuable work upon propbecy, and from that time to the present, many others have contributed largely to the stock of knowledge, so that the general subject is now pretty well understood. Bishop Newton, and also Mr. Cunninghame, Mr. Faber, Mr. Frere, Mr. Bicheno, and others of modern date, may be consulted with advantage by those wbo desire to pursue the subject, and to judge for themselves : a work less known, written by Mr. J. E. Clarke, in 1814, entitled a “ Dissertation on the Dragon, Beast, and False Prophet of the Apocalypse," contains a great variety of valuable information and research ; and others might be named,
This precise number has been recognized more than once, on particular public occasions. When originally divided, about the year 456, they were found exactly ten, as Mr. Whiston (who wrote upon prophecy in 1706) has shewn. About the year 1240, in the Diet at Ratisbon, they were spoken of as ten, and they were ten at the era of the Reformation. These kingdoms have experienced many and rapid changes, but the exact number in the outset, as ever afterwards also, has been continually defined to be ten, and the Papal states of Europe are ten at this day.
And there came up among them another little horn which was diverse from the others. There sprung up the ecclesiastical power of the Bishop of Rome, which acquired to itself importance as a horn, or temporal power. Commentators do not seem exactly agreed as to which of the three original horns or kingdoms were plucked up by the roots, or subdued before the little horn; but the patrimony of St. Peter, or the Ecclesiastical States of the See of Rome, were unquestionably formed out of the ruins of some of the original kingdoms, and it is not an easy matter now to traoe accurately, the history, and the boundaries of each. The acquisition of these states eonstituted the Bishop of Rome, a temporal prince or horn: and Bishop Newton; whose enumeration of the ten kingdoms is somewhat different from Machiavel's, and who views them as they stood at a later period, viz. about the commencement of the eighth century, considers that the three powers, which formed the temporalities of the See of Rome, were the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome. Bishop Newton, in conformity with Mr. Mede, remarks also, that the little horn is rather described as coming up after the other horns, thạn with them, as may be collected from a critical examination of the text.
For'a time, and times, and the dividing of time, the saints of the Most High are given into the hand of this little born, that he may, make war with them, and prevail: the period is for one year, two years, and half a year; the number of days in this period is
1260, if the time be computed according to the mode of reckoning used in the days of Daniel, viz. by the ancient Jewish year of twelve months, each month containing thirty days.
In other parts of prophecy, day is used to signify a year, and the same period of 1260 days, as signifying years, is spoken of in a parallel prophecy, Rev. xi, and xii. as will be seen hereafter, so that the interpretation here given, cannot be in any degree doubtful.
By reference to history, it is found, that under the edict of Justinian in the year 529, the civil law was digested and reduced into a code, which has ever since remained, as the acknowledged law of the empire, and by that code the Bishop of Rome was established, (or rather recognized as being) in plenitude of power, supreme over the Christian Church in all matters of ecclesiastical authority, with full power to destroy and exterminate at pleasure, all whom he might consider hereties. From that time to the year 1789, the date of the French revolution, making a period of 1260 years, that persecuting power has never ceased to make war with the saints, and has. continually prevailed against them, wearing out and destroying their bodies with tortyres, by sword, by fire, and by divers kinds of death. But from that period; 1789, its power has been crippled, and its strength has been so much impaired, through the convulsions, and struggles of Europe, that persecution, (though not the will to persecute,) has ceased, and now for the space of about thirty years, the saints have had rest from Autos da fè, and such other public acts of judicial slaughter.
Not that individual persecution, perhaps even unto death, may not possibly be traced; but the authorised massacre, and delivering up of the saints to death, under the public authority of the state, upon the pretence of their being heretics, has not been found to prevail, if indeed it has ever existed since the year 1789, withim the limits of the ten original kingdoms, or horns of the beast.
The exploits of this idolatrous power, in the words he speaks against the Most High, in his attempts to change times and laws, and in his persecution of the Church of Christ, will be more conveniently treated of, in commenting upon chap. xi. of Daniel, and the book of Revelations : but it is manifest before the eyes of all men at this day, that although he is not yet destroyed, but rather seems recruiting his strength, still the power of the Lord's truth, through the continually increasing progress of the Scriptures, and the out-pouring of the Spirit, cannot fail, ere long, if