« PreviousContinue »
he is to live till the pouring out of the last Vial, when Roine or Babylon shall be destroyed by the Earthquake, and the Beast and false Prophet being taken at the Battle of Armageddon, fhall be cast into the Lake burning with Fire and Brimstone, Rev. 11. 14. 19. 20. To this several Answers have been given. Some suppose that by the 42 Months, whereby the Times of the Beast, are measured, are meant Lunar Months (the Moon being the Regent and Governess of the Night or Darkness, a proper Emblem of Antichristianism, i Thell. 5.5. Prov. 4. 19. Eph. s. II, &c.) which do not amount to three Solar Years and a half, by the space of about twenty Days, which they allot to the third Woe, and besides that, the shortness of the Time allotted for its Completion is hinted at by the Expression of coming quickly, or speedily, Rev. 11. 14. Others, with greater probability would even truly suppose, that the Witnesses shall begin their Testimony before the Beast's Reign, and fall by their Preaching prepare the World against his Coming; and that, though they should both be the same space, yet the one commencing before the other, must by consequence end before it
; and so the void space of the latter Period may be allotted to the third Woe, or last Vials. And better Accounts may probably be given by those who are more exercised in the Knowledge of adjusting Times and Seasons, which I am not much concern'd
about, as being not essential to the Truths I am contending for.
$ 23. The Death of the Witnesses seems The Death to be the last Instance or Axt of Antichri of the Witftian Cruelty, and seems to determine a the End of
nesses and certain Period in which the Church is per-the Beast's fected, and fixed in a State of Triumph Reign. and Security, represented by a Sea of Glass mingled with Fire, whereupon were standing those that had gotten the Victory over the Beast, and over bis Ineage, and over his Mark, and over the Number of bis Name, having the Harps of God, and singing the Song of Moses the Servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb.*: . As on the other * Rev. 15. hand those that had worshipped the Beast”, 3: and received his Mark, seem to be perfected in the Mystery of Iniquity, and are accordingly represented as ripe for Vengeance,and the full Measure of the Wrath of God poured out of the Seven Vials, Rev. 15. 1. 16. 1. And I cannot but think that the serious Contemplation of this notable Period will afford us a more effectual Solution of the above-mention's Difficulty (viz. the Times of the Third Woe) than any nice Disquisitions in Chronology. I. Then the Forty Two Months of the Beast Rev. 13. 5. do not seem to limit his Duration or Continuance under the Notion and Character of a Temporal Prince or Governour, but as he is more Emphatically Antichist, an Opposer of God and Persecutor of his Church; and this seems to be the true Import of the Word monou in the Original; (i.e.) he shall act in his Antichristian
Spirit and Power, opposing and perfecuting the Church. And so the Marginal Readings of the English Bible render it, be shall make War. . So then when the Church shall be delivered and his Persecution shall be at an end, as it is Rev. 15. 2, 3. He may then be properly said is molein, and his Forty Two Months be expired; and fo the short ning of the Time observed by the Evangelifts, is with a peculiar regard to the Violence of the Persecution, Mat. 24. 21, 22. Mark, 13. 19, 20, which' Persecution must end, and the Church be 'in Peace before the pouring out of the Vials, though he himself must continue till the Effusion of the last, as was before observed. II. The Prophecying of the Witnesses 1260 Days, and the Church's being fed in the Wilderness for a Time, Times, and half a Time, i. e. Three Years and an half, as it is generally interpreted, Rev. 12. 14. may be fairly supposed to synchronize and run parallel to the Forty Two Months as before interpreted.' And III. There is no Necessity that the Effufion of the Vials should belong to any part of the Forty Two Months, but to begin upon their Expiration, as being the gradual Steps whereby God (by the Hands of some of his Servants that had ftood out their Time of Tryal under him, and were now in a State of Triumph, and represented as Angels coming out of the Temple, probably the inward Court in which the Righteous were shut
up) will destroy Antichrist and all his Followers.
By this period of Time thus differently expressed, I cannot but think are meant Natural Days, Months, and Years, as finding no Reason to the contrary ; besides that I have the Authority of almost all the Ancients upon this Head, whom I have occasionally referred to. However, far bę it from me that I should depreciate the Learned Labours of those who have endeavoured to prove the contrary, viz. that thereby are to be understood Days and Months of Years, dc. if they have provod their Point, applying it to the Duration of the Antichristian Church or Mystical Body of Antichrist; yet that will not at all weaken my Affertion, that by the same are to be understood Natural Days, as I apply them to the Person of Antichrift, but will only help to make the Correspondence between the Mystical and Natural Body of Antichrist the more remarkable and MyIterious; if the Duration of the Spiritual Tyranny of his Mystical Body be limited
to the same number of Years, as that of his Person or Natural Body is of Days; though even these must acknowledge that if by the times of Antichristian Persecution be meant 1260 Years, it will be something difficult, if not impoflible, to give an Account how
i that Time should be called a short Time. Rev. 12. 12, as, our Blessed Lord promises, Mat, 24. 21, 22, Mark, 13. 19, 20.
N 4 $ 24 This
Places of S 24. This Grand Crisis of the Church Holy Scrip- under the Workings of this Mystery of Iniluding to
quity hath been variously pointed at by the this Reign Prophets of the Old Testament, St. Ferome of Anti- has maintained that All the Prophets have chrift. spoken of Antichrist, in which (says the
Learned Dr. Allix in his Preface upon the Psalms, p.12) there is no Exaggeration ; for it was impossible for the Prophets to speak of the Messiah's Kingdom, without speaking of that Enemy who was to invade his Spiritual Kingdom, and without the Destruction of which he cannot obtain his Universal Empire over the Israelites, and afterwards over all Nations. Though it must be acknowledged that the Doctor means no more by Antichrift, than an Antichristian Kingdom or Church, notwithstanding his quoting St. Jerom, whom he could not but know to be a Friend to the Hypothesis of a Personal Antichrift. I fhall not pretend to be so particular as to point out all the Remarkable Passages of Holy Scripture that refer to him, but only to some few that may be useful for the clearer understanding of this Theory. May not this be the Time that the Prophet Isaiah principally intends, Chap. S. 14. Therefore Hell bath enlarged herself, and opened her Mouth without ineasure,
when the Honourable Men are famished, and their Multitude dried up with Thirft, and the Glory and the Multitude and the Pomp of the careless Rejoycers (mention'd v. 11, 12) Thall defcend into the Pit. Does he not mean the Antichristian Army. 4. 26, 27,