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may be healed; the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” In like manner, they say, that they desire the blessed in heaven to be their inter
MYSTERY OF THE NUMBER 666.
Rev. xiii. 18.
Many writers have supposed, that the account in Daniel, respecting the image which was set up by Nebuchadnezzar, was a type of the papal power, and that the worship of that image referred to the worship of the Roman Catholic church. Thus they have confirmed themselves in this opinion, from the passage in the Revelation, concerning the image and worship of the beast, ver. 18. “ Here is wisdom ; let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred, threescore and six.”
The sacred scripture does not say that we cannot fully understand this passage, which has been considered most difficult of comprehension ; on the contrary, we are commanded to gain a knowledge of it. In order, therefore, to show the fallacy of such a supposition as the above, I shall, although many have been the attempts of commentators in all ages of the Christian church to develope this great mystery, add one to the list. And were I not constrained, by the existing facts which had taken place in the time of John, to believe that this passage was so understood by him, I should have been silent respecting this most abstruse and important text.
Rev. xiii. 15—18. “ And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And be causeth all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom ; let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred, threescore and six."
Some have imagined, that this mystical number relates to a king ; some, to a kingdom ; and others, to the pope. But the Revelation treats of the different states of the Christian churches, as appears from the second and third chapters, where the churches are particularly spoken of. For the last prepares the mind for what follows, respecting the states of all the churches of Christ; not only the churches of Asia, which were established in the time of the evangelists, but also of the states of all the Christian churches to the end of time, viz. “ He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches." Had these words signified the churches of Asia only, it would have been written, let him hear what the Spirit HATH SAID unto the churches. I say, as this is a book which treats concerning the different states of the Christian churches, this mystical number, which is said to be the number of the beast, and the number of a man, cannot relate to kings, kingdoms, or popes.
The Revelation is a book, which was always understood by the fathers of the first Christian churches, to treat concerning spiritual things, or things relating to religion. And this passage plainly refers to the conquest
and depopulation of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, when the true worship of God, the divine theocracy, with the communication by Urim and Thummim ceased in the year of the Julian period 4115, when all the holy vessels of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, were taken away by the monarch of Babylon, who cut in pieces all the vessels of gold, which Solomon, king of Israel, had made in the temple of the Lord; and carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour captives, even ten thousand, and all the craftsmen, and smiths ; none remained, save the poorer sort of the people of the land,'* 2 Kings, xxiv.
I say, that this number, six hundred, three score and six comprehends the interval of time from the destruction of the first temple, and the captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, when the Urim and the Thummim, the Shechinah, or divine communication ceased, to the destruction of the second temple, by the Romans, with all the sacrificial worship, the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the nation, which was 669 years. At the establishment of the Christian religion, all these circumstances and things, which were types, given under the Mosaic dispensation, were fulfilled by Christ, by whom the true spiritual Urim and Thummim were to be communicated, agreeably to the words of the inspired writer. “Let
* This ten thousand, in the original, relates to the princes and all the mighty men, or the nobles, for we cannot suppose that the population of Jerusalem consisted of ten thousand only, when in the siege which took place eleven years after this period, 1,100,000 perished. Besides, it is said, when he took Jerusalem, and carried the people into captivity, with the king Jehoiakin, and the nobles, that he left
save the poorer sort of the people of the land, Joseph, de Bell.
thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one,” the great high-priest of God, the spiritual Melchizedeck, the king of righteousness.
That this number was thus understood, and so applied by the evangelist, is evident. If we subtract the year of the Julian period, 4115, at the destruction of the first temple, when the divine communication ceased, from the year of the Julian period, at the birth of Christ, 4711, the remainder is 596, the interval of time between these two remarkable epochas; then, if to this remainder, 596, we add 70 years of the Christian æra, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Romans, at the establishment of the Christian religion, it gives us this mystical number, 666; comprehending that interval of time between the destruction of the first temple, when the visible divine communication ceased foreverấto the complete destruction of the second temple, when the Christian dispensation was confirmed, agreeably to those words of our Lord. Luke ix. 27. “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall rot taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God, when the spiritual communication was given to the Gentiles at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews, which is to endure forever. So that this number has no reference to kings, kingdoms, or popes, as has been supposed for many centuries; but it refers to the time when the divine theocracy ceased in the true visible church of God, among the Jews: to the establishment of the true visible church of God, by our Lord Jesus Christ, among the Gentiles.
THE SYRIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCHES IN INDIA.
Although gross darkness seems to have enveloped the minds of the greatest part of the people of India, we find that the ancient Syrian Christian churches have settled there from the early ages of Christianity. I shall furnish the reader with a few extracts from Buchanan's Researches ; the author having visited these churches by the permission and authority of the governor-general, the Marquis Wellesley, who gave orders that every facility should be afforded to him in the prosecution of his inquiries. He says, 6 When the Portuguese arrived, they were agreeably surprised to find upwards of a hundred Christian churches on the coast of Malabar. But when they became acquainted with the purity and simplicity of their worship, they were offended. These churches,' said the Portuguese, belong to the pope.' Who is the pope ? said the natives; never heard of him.' The European priests were yet more alarmed when they found that these Hindoo Christians maintained the order and discipline of a regular church under episcopal jurisdiction, and that for 1300 years past they had enjoyed a succession of bishops, appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. We,' said they,
are of the true faith, whatever you from the west may be; for we come from the place where the followers of Christ were first called Christians.""
“When the power of the Portuguese became suffi cient for their purpose, they invaded these tranquil churches, seized some of their clergy, and devoted them to the death of heretics. Then the inhabitants heard,