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In fine, notwithstanding, what is fully allowed, the doubtfulness of some of these periods, and their other possible epochs of commencement, yet the fact is clear that, construed consistently on the year-day system, they have all a probable ending somewhere within the extreme dates, distant scarce above a century apart, of A.D. 1790 and 1914. In regard of the 17 long centuries preceding, that intervene between the Apocalyptic Revelation and French Revolution, there is none within which they can with at all the same probability be similarly made to converge. And I must say that the fact of their thus travelling, as they all seem to do, to a close within our own present æra, from their several sources more or less remote in the depth of antecedent ages, much impresses my own mind, as confirmatory of the conclusion primarily deduced by me from the evidence simply of the Apocalyptic prophecy. Like as the convergency of many lines of road to a geographical centre indicates that centre to be the place of some important and mighty city, so the convergency of these many chronological lines within the present century, now above one-half run out, seems to mark this century as a most important æra of crisis, big with momentous issues as to the destinies of the world.2
To all which chronological evidence there needs to be added, in corroboration and confirmation, that of the many and extraordinary signs of the times : signs which have drawn attention, not from prophetic students only, but from the man of the world, the philosopher, the statesman ; and made not a few even of the irreligious and unthinking to pause and reflect.Thus there is, 1st the drying up, still ever going forward, of the Turkman power, or mystic flood from the Euphrates :— 2. the fifty years, *) will end (on the basis still of Clinton's Chronology) A.D. 1875. But there seems to me here far too much of the conjectural, to admit of our resting at all on the argument.
1 I mean as reckoned from 1790. 2 See the illustrative Diagram on the opposite page. The more dubious lines in my judgment are dotted.
See, in proof of this value of the Jubilee, the Investigator, vol. iv. p. 124.
interest felt by Protestant Christians for the conversion and restoration of Israel ; an interest unknown for eighteen centuries, but now strong, fervent, prayerful, extending even to royalty itself, and answering precisely to that memorable prediction of the Psalmist,“ Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favour her, yea the set time is come; for thy servants think upon her stones, and it pitieth them to see her in the dust : ”1_3. the universal preaching of the Gospel over the world : that sign of which Augustine said, that could we but see it, we might indeed think the time of the consummation at hand : 2—4. the marked political ascendency before the whole world, alike Heathen, Mahommedan, and Jewish, of the chief nations of the old Roman earth, i. e. professing Christendom, and ever increasing political, scientific, and commercial intercourse, (“many running to and fro, and knowledge being increased,” 3 such as to force the eyes of all nations on this same Roman earth as the central focus alike of commerce, science, and political power :- a sign connected, 5thly with the outgoing thence almost as universally among them of religious Christian and Antichristian missions, under the protection and auspices respectively of the chief Roman Catholic and Protestant European powers ; the Romish and Antichristian full of zeal and bitterness, and with conflict already so begun against Protestant evangelic missions and Bible-circulation, as to have forced the attention of Jews, Heathens, and Mahommedans to this grand subject of the Lord's controversy with Roman Anti-Christendom, and to be preparing them (almost as by providential voice)* for being intelligent spectators of its
| Psalm cii. 13, 14. ? Epistle to Hesychius, numbered 197 in the late Paris Benedictine Edition, Tom. ii
. col. 1106; “Opportunitas vero illius temporis (sc. finis hujus sæculi et adventùs Domini) non erit antequam prædicetur Evangelium in universo orbe in testimonium omnibus gentibus. Apertissima enim de hac re legitur sententia Salvatoris, Matt. xxiv. 14.... Unde si jam nobis certissimè nuntiatum fuisset in omnibus gentibus Evangelium prædicari, nec sic possemus dicere quantum temporis remaneret usque ad finem ; sed magis magisque propinquare merito
4" He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.... He hath called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof." Psalm I. 1, 4.
Dan. xii. 12.
tremendous issue:-6. the revolutionary internal heavings of the European nations, alike with infidel and democratic agitation, answering so well to Christ's and the apostle's descriptions of the latter days; and their preparation too for deadly conflict one with another, with new and tremendously-increased powers of destruction : all which who can think of, without the heart sometimes failing for fear. Such, I say, is the extraordinary combination of signs of the times now visible ; signs predicted more or less clearly in Scripture prophecy, as signs which were to precede the end : and considering that they all point to the quickly coming future as the very crisis of consummation, concurrently with the other various evidence that has been detailed before, (and more might yet be added,?) is it likely that we can
So, for example, Schegel in his Philosophy of History, Lect. xviii ; "Never was there a period that pointed so strongly, so clearly, so generally, towards the future as our own," &c. Robertson's translation, Vol. ii. p. 319.
And having given this from a German, let me add the opinions of two learned Professors from the other side of the Atlantic, writers of different prophetic sentiments from each other and from myself. Says Professor Bush, (Millennium, p. 88.) “We are now actually arrived at the very borders of the period which is to be signalized by the winding up of the grand despotic (?) drama that has for some ages been enacted in transatlantic Christendom.”—And Professor Robinson: “Before another half century shall have rolled away, there will be seen revolutions in the oriental mind and the oriental world, of which no one now has even a foreboding. The time is short: the crisis rushes on. Let us awake, and be prepared !"
? I must quote a remarkable passage to this effect from the late lamented Dr. Arnold's Lectures on Modern History, p. 38.
"Modern history appears to be not only a step in advance of ancient history, but the last step; it appears to bear marks of the fulness of time, as if there would be no future history beyond it. For the last eighteen hundred years Greece has fed the human intellect; Rome, taught by Greece, and improving upon her teacher, has been the source of law and government and social civilization; and, what neither Greece nor Rome could furnish, the perfection of moral and spiritual truth has been given by Christianity. The changes which have been wrought have arisen out of the reception of these elements by new races,-races endowed with such force of character, that what was old in itself, when exhibited in them, seemed to become something new. But races so gifted are, and have been from the beginning of the world, few in number : the mass of mankind have no such power. ... Now, looking anxiously round the world for any new races, which may receive the seed (so to speak) of our present history into a kindly yet vigorous soil, and may reproduce it, the same and yet new, for a future period, we know not where such are to be found. Some appear exhausted, others incapable; and yet the surface of the whole globe is known to us. ... Every where the search has been made, and the report has been received. We have the full amount of earth's resources before us, and they seem inadequate to supply life for a third period of human history.
“I am well aware that to state this as a matter of positive belief would be the extreme of presumption. There may be nations reserved hereafter for great
be mistaken in so construing them ? Does there not seem to be in them before our eyes that budding of the fig-tree which our Lord spoke of;? and which he who might see was to mark it, and know therefrom that summer would be nigh at hand ? ?
$ II. THE APPLICATION.
But if it be so, then the solemn question suggests itself, In what spirit and manner may we best prepare to meet this coming future? The thought of the nearness of the consummation is of itself unspeakably awakening and solemn; and the rather when we consider further that purposes of God's providence, whose fitness for their appointed work will not betray itself till the work and the time for doing it be come. . . . But, without any presumptuous confidence, if there be any signs, however uncertain, that we are living in the latest period of the world's history, that no other races remain behind to perform what we have neglected, or to restore what we have ruined, then indeed the interest of modern history does become intense.”
It will be interesting to compare Tertullian's view of the signs that were to precede and foreshow the consummation, and coming of the “diem Domini magnum, diem iræ et retributionis, diem ultimum, nec ulli præterquàm Patri notum, et tamen signis atque portentis, et concussionibus elementorum, et conflictationibus nationum prænotatum.” Then he proceeds to the unrolling of the prophecies, in order to fix the æra.
And 1st of Christ's prophecy in Matt. xxiv, about Jerusalem being trodden of the Gentiles, till the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled; (“donec adimpleantur tempora nationum, allegandorum scilicet à Deo, et congregandorum cùm reliquiis Israelis :") on which he adds, that both John and Daniel and the whole Council of the Prophets predict signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and on earth the straitening of the nations, and powers of heaven being shaken ; and that then the Son of Man is to be seen coming in the clouds with power and great glory : so that these signs, like the sign of the budding fig-tree, should make Christians lift up their heads, as knowing that Christ's coming and the time of the resurrection are at hand.
2. He notes St. Paul's prophecy in 2 Thess. ii, of the apostasy and the man of Sin, or Antichrist, who is to be revealed, and reign, and then to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming.
3. The prophecy connected with the vision of the souls under the altar in Apoc. vi; a passage already quoted in my Vol. i. p. 207. Whence he inferred that first Antichrist was to appear and conflict with the Churèh of Christ, then the vials of God's wrath to be poured out on the apostate harlot-city, and then the devil to be bound, the souls of the martyrs to reign with Christ, and afterwards the general resurrection to take place.
? They who are fond of quoting Christ's saying to the disciples then alire, “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons,” and again, " That hour and day knoweth no man,” as if a prohibition of all calculation of prophetic times before their fulfilment, should remember this saying of Christ also, intended specially for such of his servants as might be living near the time of the end. We are meant, it would seem, to know the nearness of the Advent, when at hand, though not the exact time; and if negligent in marking the signs given, may subject ourselves justly to the same rebuke as the Pharisees and Sadducees of old, " Are ye not able to discern the signs of the times ?” (Matt. xvi. 3.) Is not Daniel an example for imitation on this point? Dan. ix. 2.
there is to be expected antecedently a time of sifting and trial, such as perhaps has never yet been experienced. For our Christian Poet's exquisite language does by no means adequately express the probable severity of the coming crisis. Ere the sabbatism of the saints begins, something much more is to be looked for than the mere gusty closing blasts of a long tempest, or billowy heavings of the sea before a calm, as“ it works itself to rest.” The final conflict between Christ's true Church and Antichrist, and their respective chiefs and supporters, both visible and invisible, is set forth in prophecy as most severe. As a nation, as a church, as individuals, how may we best prepare to meet it?
And here it is that the moral of the Apocalyptic prophecy, its philosophy of the history of Christendom, if I may so call it, becomes unspeakably valuable. We have elsewhere had the philosophy of the same history traced by human pens; and lessons at the same time drawn from it in the way of instruction and direction for the future: for example, in a work by the late celebrated Frederick Von Schlegel professedly on the subject : 2 a writer of no common eloquence, or common reputation. But if we compare the two outlines of historic philosophy together, the human and the divine, what a contrast will appear; and how true the one; how superficial and delusive the other !
In his general abstract notions indeed of the philosophy of history and its objects, Schlegel has much that
I “ The groans of Nature in this nether world,
Which heaven has heard for ages, have an end.
Winter Walk at Noon. My reference is, as before, to the English Translation by Schlegel's devoted admirer J. B. Robertson, Esq. The Lectures which make up this Work on the " Philosophy of History,” were delivered at Vienna in the year 1828, the year before his death.-I shall freely make extracts in the Notes. It will familiarize the reader with a new point of view in which to consider the Apocalypse.