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contended for; and, besides, have been, by the judgment of all allowed Antiquity and all Christian authors till the fag-end of this last century, understood of the spiritual beauty and glory of the Evangelical Church, under the happy times of the Gospel. Whosoever shall be pleased to take a strict view of these several Scriptures, shall find them only to import the calling of the Gentiles, the conversion of the Jews, the abundance of rich graces poured out upon believers, God's gracious protection and enlargement of his Christian Church, the subjugation and overthrow of the public enemies thereof: all which may well stand without any relation to this pretended Dominion of the Raised Martyrs or Changed Saints. So as I cannot but wonder to see Christian authors so apt to humour the refractory Jews, in a literal construction of the prophetical predictions of the restoration of that pompous and secular glory, which they have hitherto fondly dreamed of, and hath been hitherto unanimously decried by all the ancient and late Doctors of the Christian Church and to see these evangelical promises thus carnally drained into a wrong channel; which, certainly, whoso shall stand upon in so gross a sense, may as well contend that the New Jerusalem shall really have twelve gates of twelve pearls, and streets of pure gold, and the foundations of the walls all manner of precious stones*: and, if these be figurative, why should the other be literal?
But that Scripture, which might seem to bear most The Prophecy weight in this subject, is the prophecy of Daniel: who, of Daniel imin the construction of the favourers of the Millenarian properly alledged to this opinion, is pretended to speak particularly of the ty- purpose. rannical reign of Antichrist, of his destruction, of the happy deliverance and peace of the faithful under the Gospel; not without a special designation of the punctual time, wherein that Man of Sin shall be revealed, and wherein God's people shall enjoy rest and happiness, both in the beginning and termination thereof. Insomuch as, besides Alstede, our learned Mede, in a Latin Manuscript of his, which came lately to my hands, concerning the Revelation of Antichrist, grounds his judgment upon Daniel's prophecy: not a little blaming some late expositors, for turning the stream of those predictions another way.
But, reserving a due reverence to so great and eagle-eyed thors, I dare appeal to all unbiassed judgments, whether it do not best suit with all the circumstances of those ænigmatical prophecies of Daniel, to confine their relations only to the Jewish Church; making their utmost extent to be the death of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem, without any further meddling with the state of the Church Evangelical: saving only in that one touch of the Second Coming of Christ to judgment, wherein both the whole Church and World is jointly concerned.
To make, therefore, the Fourth Monarchy to be the Roman tyrannizing over the Reformed Church under the Gospel, and the Little Horn with Eyes to be the Antichrist of the last times, and to draw
* Rev. xxi. 19, 21.
the computation of the times mentioned unto an accordance to an imagined calculation, may seem to be no other, than a straining of the text beyond the intention of the author. Sure we are, that all those prophetical predictions were literally and really fulfilled to and upon the Jews, under the reign of those kings, amongst whom the Grecian Empire of Alexander the Great was shared; and that, in the just times, which were designed: but, upon what grounds we may stretch them further, to a re-accomplishment in these last times, it is neither easy nor safe to determine.
Two things must be yielded. First, that those descriptions, which are made by Divines* of that cruel tyrant and persecutor, Antiochus Epiphanes, may well, by just allusion, be applied to the Antichrist under the Gospel. Secondly, that it hath pleased the Spirit of God, to make use of the same expressions in John's description of times, which had formerly been taken up by Daniel: but, hereupon to infer a revolution of the same condition of the Christian Church in the last age of the world, both in respects of her enemies and several events, seems strangely inconsequent.
The most urThe probablest and most urgent passages of the Progent passage phet Daniel, and those which are most stood upon by of the Prophe- the fore-named authors, are Dan. xii. 11, 12. And cy of Daniel from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is the man that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.
Where these two things are taken by these expositors for granted. 1. That the taking away of the daily sacrifice and this desolatory abomination, is to be understood of the last destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. 2. That the days there mentioned, are to be understood to be so many years; which shall immediately succeed in the process of the Evangelical Church.
So as, by Alsted's confident account, the destruction of Jerusalem falling upon the sixty-ninth year of Christ, presently begins the reckoning of the thousand two hundred and ninety prophetical days; that is, so many years: which do expire in the year of Christ 1359: about which time divers worthy persons, say they, began to oppose Antichristian impiety. From this period, they tell us, we must begin to compute the second number mentioned by Daniel, which is the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days; that is, years which shall bring us unto the year of Christ 2694: in which, saith Alstedius, the Thousand Years of the Saints spoken of in the Revelation shall have end; and, they being ended, the war of Gog and Magog shall begin, which the Last Judgment supervening shall put to an end. So then, take from these two thousand six hundred and ninety-four years, one Thousand Years of the Saints' Reign, there remain one thousand six hundred and ninety-four. In this year then, or sooner, saith he, the Thousand Years of the happy Reign of the Saints shall take their beginning.
* Oecolampad. Comment. in Danielem. 1. ii.
But, what a weak and sandy foundation is this, whereon to raise so high a structure! a foundation, merely laid upon a mis-constructive conjecture.
For, what if that desolation mentioned, be not that of Titus? what if those days, be not years? where are we then, for the time of our Millenary Reign?
Let us, then, obtain leave, to enquire a little into both these.
And, for the first, it is more than probable, by all circumstances, that this desolating abomination here spoken of, is the same with that, which is forementioned Dan. vii. 25. and Dan. viii. 13, 14. wherein the taking away of the daily sacrifice and the desolation specified are foretold by the angel, interpreting the vision; and the very same time limited for the fulfilling of it: both which are, accordingly, with much clearness of indubitable truth, accomplished in that persecuting tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes. Compare we the texts and the times. He, saith the angel, shall think to change times and laws and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times, and the dividing of time; Dan. vii. 25. By him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice, by reason of transgression; and it cast down the truth to the ground, and it practised and prospered; Dan. viii. 11, 12. Now, what is a time, times, and a parcel of time, by Daniel's own exposition*, but three years and some days? and what are those three years and few days, but those three years and ten days, wherein the rage of persecution continued upon the Jews till the happy restoration of God's worship wrought by Judas Maccabeus, who, in seven months and ten days after this, forced the confirmation of it from the persecutors? And who is the man, that shall do this great mischief intimated? Even that bloody Antiochus, which is so exactly deciphered by the Prophet, as if he meant to forestall all question, that might arise concerning him in the following generations: for it cannot be doubted, that the Great Horn of the Goat †, which was the Third Monarch, was Alexander the Great; which horn being broken, the four horns that arose instead thereof, were unquestionably those Four Kingdoms towards the four coasts of heaven, amongst which that Grecian Monarchy was divided: which were, of Egypt, towards the South, falling to the share of Ptolomy Philadelphus; of Syria, towards the North, which fell to Seleucus Nicanor; of Macedon, towards the West, which fell to Cassander; and of Asia the Less, to the East, which fell to the share of Antigonus. Now out of one of these, saith the Prophet, that is Seleucus Nicanor, King of Syria, shall arise that little Horn, the cruel Antiochus Epiphanes, who shal make such woeful havock amongst God's select nation, the Jews; styled the people of the Saints of the Most High; Dan. vii. 27. in taking away the daily sacrifice, and defacing the sanctuary: whose
* Seven times, i. e. Seven Years. Dan. iv. 16.
† Dan. viii. 8, 9.
grievous persecution, for the first stage of it, was of that punctual duration.
And, to make the matter yet more clear, if we shall compare Dan. viii. 14. with this instanced text of Dan. xii. 7. we shall find the number of the days pitched upon to be the very same for a time, times, and half a time: so as the one thousand two hundred and ninety days immediately specified, make up that three years and a half, wherein the fury of Antiochus's persecution shall continue; without any relation to the Roman Titus, which is pretended by these authors to make good their imagined computation. Reverend Calvin, whose judgment I so much honour that I reckon him. amongst the best interpreters of Scripture since the Apostles left the earth, is willing to construe this of the last desolation of the Jews by the Roman Victors; but knows not what to make of the days specified: professing, that he is no Pythagorean, for matter of numbers; and, therefore, contents himself to take this one thousand two hundred and ninety days, only pro longo temporis tractu, "for some long indefinite tract of time." But, whereas Alstede builds his conceit upon the succession of these two numbers; making the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days (i. e. years) to follow after the former one thousand two hundred and ninety expiring, out of both making up his accomplished number of the Saints' Reign; Calvin checks him with a plain perperàm; and resolves, upon a certum est, that both these numbers are coincident, and are to be taken for one and the same, with that small addition of the greater and later sum of years to the former: which if it be yielded, we are altogether to seek for our calculation of the Thousand Years wherein the Saints must reign upon earth.
Only one main rub seems to lie in our way, which we must be careful to remove. Our Saviour himself speaks of the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the holy place, as a thing in his days yet to come t; and, therefore, with undoubted relation to the Roman Army led by Titus, and to the final sacking of Jerusalem. All which I do willingly grant, without any the least derogation from that former verity: for, what is the holy place, but the Temple of Jerusalem ? and what is the abomination of desolation, but the idolatrous, heathenish, destructive army? such was both that of Titus, and that of Antiochus. The place, then, of Daniel, to which our Saviour alludes, with charge to him that reads to observe, is not the forementioned text now insisted upon; but Dan. ix. 27. wherein the angel, after the end of the designed weeks, tells us of the final destruction of the city and the sanctuary, which in the just time was accordingly fulfilled: so as this passage of prophecy hath no affinity at all with that of the xiith of Daniel; being not so much before it in place, as after it in time.
Yet, if the event had not punctually made good every jot of this
* Quidam separant, sed perperàm, dies 1290 et 1335. Nam, certum est pro eodem accipi. Calv. in loc. Dan. Ser. 12.
+ Matt. xxiv. 15.
THE REVELATION UNREVEALED.
prediction, so construed as we have declared, there might be some doubt of the sense contended for; but now, the issue of the things did so evidently answer to the words thus interpreted, as one would think there could be no place left for contradiction: for, as Junius, Rolloc, and Deodati have clearly computed it to my hands, from the time that Antiochus Epiphanes began to set up idolatry at Jerusalem, until the time wherein he was compelled by the victorious Maccabeus, both to permit, and allow, and ratify the reformation thereof by his charter *, there passed three years, seven months, and about thirteen days; which amount to the thousand two hundred and ninety days, mentioned v. 11. And, from the setting up of that idolatry, if we reckon to the time of the full deliverance of God's people from the yoke of that tyranny, it will fall upon the second number mentioned, v. 12. wherein that wicked Antiochus was taken away by death; which makes up the thousand, three hundred, and five and thirty days: which day whoso should live to see, is declared to be blessed, for his happy freedom, and comfortable enjoying of the holy worship of God.
the words are
And, now, what is here in the letter of Daniel's pro- These pretendphecy, that doth but look towards the Thousand Years' ed doctrines Reign of the Saints upon Earth? Surely, not one syl- cannot be Daniel by way lable, that may, without a violent angariation, be drawn grounded upon of Type, or to such a sense. And, if Alstede shall pretend that these mysteries of Analogy. En the later times, concerning the Antichrist and the time quiry made of the Saints' Reign, are to be found in Daniel, not in whether, since the express letter, but in a way of type or analogy; because he meets with the same phraseology of time, and the like description of persons and things in the Evangelist's Revelation, which he finds in Daniel's prophecy; surely, he had need of greater authority for the warrant of such application, than I fear can be produced: and, if that were yielded; yet that, which we are wont to say of similitude, is verified much more in prefigurations, that they are not intended to hold universally; and, in short, Symbolical Divinity is not to be trusted, for matter of proof.
single, the sense be clear.
What mysteries there may be in numbers; and upon what reason it hath pleased the Spirit of God to take up the same terms of numeration for days, months, years, and times in the case of the Christian Church, which he made use of in the Jewish; I suppose it were too much presumption in any man to determine.
And, if the events of things be the best commentaries upon prephecies, how unanswerable those have proved to the computations and sense of our new Chiliasts shall, in due place, be made manifest.
Now if there be any other amongst those sixty-five places alledged by Alstedius, wherein the favourers of the Millenarian Reign can place any confidence for the evicting of their opinion, I should be glad to see it driven up to the head. For my part, I must sincerely
* 2 Maccab. xi. 33.