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thereof from that which followed, that it should continue but a short space ? Doth not this imply that the next state (wherein the whore should ride the beast) was to continue a long space ? Therefore, three years and a half, historically taken, cannot be the time of the Church's APOSTASY, and the Antichristian sovereignty of Rome; and if it cannot be taken historically, it must be taken prophetically, every day for a year; and so 1260 days counted so many years shows the extent of these Latter Times to be 1260 years.
Now for the second thing proposed, the beginning of these Latter Times ; St. John tells us in the Revelation, that his blasphemous beast of forty-two months continuance should succeed upon the mortal wound of the Cæsarean or imperial sovereignty of Rome; and Apocal. 17, 12. 13, the idolatrous beast which carries the great whore upon his back, should have a plurality of kings start up at the same time with him, who should agree to submit their
power and kingdom unto this whore-ridden beast. And would not he also in the same chapter have us to take notice, that the Antichristian state of the beast which was to come should be the next to that of the Cæsars which then reigned ? For the angel there tells him, that the state of the beast wherein the whore should ride him, which then was not in being, but should afterwards ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition, that this state or head of the beast should succeed so iminediately upon the sixth state or head, (viz. the Cæsarean then reigning) that howsoever, for some respect it might be called an eighth, yet should it in very deed be but the seventh. For how could it be otherwise, when the beast in the vision had but seven heads and no more.—Vide verse 8, 10, 11.
Agreeable to this is St. Paul's Epocha, 2 Thess. ii. 7, who tells us, that as soon as the imperial sovereignty of Rome which then hindered, should be taken out of the way, then should that wicked one be revealed. Thus the Fathers generally expound it. Hence was that custom in
the Church, in the most ancient times of it, to pray in their liturgy for the lasting of the Roman empire; that so Antichrist might be long a coming.–Tertul. Apol. cap. 32 and 39. Ad. Scap. cap. 2. Upon this ground St. Jerome, when he heard of the taking of Rome by Alaricus, the Goth, presently expected the coming of Antichrist, He who hindered, is taken out of the way; and we consider not that Antichrist is at hand.*.Idem Præfat. in lib. 8. Comment. in Ezek. My mind is refreshed, and for the present forgets the woful calamities that this last age labours with, groaning and travailing in pain, till he who hinders, be taken out of the way,
and the feet of the iron statue be broken to pieces by reason of the brittleness of the clayey toes.
The world goes to ruin, and yet the haughty neck does not bend, t &c. Thus he. After that the most glorious light in all the world was put out, and the head of the Roman empire was cut off, and so the whole world was destroyed in the destruction of that one city, I- :-as he elsewhere deplores that woful calamity, Præf. in lib. 1. Comment. in Ezek.
Answerable to that which St. John told us, Daniel's kalendar also inforios us, that the hornish tyrant who was to act the “ Latter Times” should then begin to appear, when ten kings should arise in the fourth kingdom. For the ten horns which at the last he espied upon the beast's head, and observed a little horn with eyes and a mouth to spring up amongst them, and displant three of them, (chap vii. 8,) the angel, (verse 24,) expounds to be ten kings which should arise out of that kingdom, and another (to wit, Antichrist) should arise behind them (so it should be translated as the Septuagint doth*), which should be diverse from the first, (that is, a king of another nature) and should bring down or humble three kings, and play those recks which follow in the text. Thus the Father's universally, and from the utmost antiquity expound this Scripture. Justin Martyr, Dialog. cum Tryphone, takes it as granted that this Horn is that Man of APOSTASY,+ that would attempt all the mischief imaginable against us Christians. Irenæus, scholar to Polycarp, 1. 5, c. 21, aliis 25, saith, The prophet Daniel, eyeing the end of the Fourth or Last Kingdom, that is, those Ten Kings into whom their Kingdom should be divided, and upon whom the Son of Perdition should come, (viz. the Little Horn that should domineer and overtop them] saith (chap. 7.) that the Beast had ten horns grow out of his head, and that there came up among them another little horn, and that before this horn three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. § Yea, a little after, he tells us that St. John, in his “ Ten kings which should receive their kingdoms at one hour with the Beast,” expounds this of Daniel, What was before prophesied concerning the LAST TIMES, and the ten kings therein amongst whom the empire that now reigns should be divided, John, the disci. ple of our Lord, hath more clearly expressed in his Apocalypse, where he tells us what those ten horns were which Daniel saw, viz.,“ Ten kings, which had received no kingdom as yet, but were to receive power as kings one hour with the Beast," chap. xvii. 12. || Nay, St. Jerome, in his
* Ad Gerontiam de Monogamia: qui tenebat, (saith he) de medio fit, et non intelligimus Antichristum appropinquare.
+ Pascitur animus, et obliviscitur seculi calamitatum, quod in extremo fine jam positum congomiscit et parturit, donec qui tenet, de medio fiat, et pedes statuæ quondam ferreæ fragilitate digitorum fictilium conterantur: cadit mundus, et cervix erecta non flectitur, &c.
# Postquam clarissimum terrarum omnium Lumen extinctum est, imo Romani imperii truncatum caput, et in una urbe totus orbis interiit.
Οπισω αυτών. .
ή ο τας αποστασιας ανθρωπω.
$ Daniel novissimi regni finem respiciens, id est, novissimos decem reges, in quos divideretur regnum illorum, super quos filius perditionis veniet, cornua dicit decem nasci Bestiæ, &c.
|| Manifestius adhuc de novissimo tempore, et de his qui sunt in eo decem regibus, in quos dividetur quod nunc regnat imperium, si avit Johannes Domini discipulus in Apocalypsi, edisserens qua fuerint decem cornua quæ à Daniele visa eunt, &c.
Comment upon this seventh chapter of Daniel, will give us to understand that all the ecclesiastical writers delivered this to be the true exposition: for, having there confuted Porphyry, who, to derogate from the divinity of this prophecy, would have it meant of Antiochus Epiphanes, and therefore written when the event was past, he concludeth thus, Let us therefore affirm, agreeably to the concurrent judgment of all ecclesiastical writers, that in the consumination of the world, when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there shall arise ten kings, who shall share the Roman world among themselves, and that an eleventh king (the little Horn in Dan. vii.) shall arise, who shall subdue three of those ten kings; in which little Hornish tyrant Satan shall dwell entirely and bodily.* Who these three kings were which this Horn displanted to make himself elbow-room, you shall hear more anon. But I will not conceal that I have heard of another exposition, which fits our turn for the beginning of the A POSTASY no less than that of the fathers : namely, that by ten kingdoms may be meant the full plurality of the Rornan provinces, so much whereof as three is of ten should have the imperial power rooted out of them, and fall under the dominion of the Antichristian Horn, who should act the sovereignty of the Latter Times, or the last sovereignty of that kingdom. Now it is most true, that the Pope's patriarchdom in the west holds just that scantling of the ancient territory of the Roman Empire, which a man may judge by his eyes or compasses in a map: and yet I prefer the other exposition before it.
To come to an issue: it is apparent, by all that hath been said, that these Latter Times, with that wicked sovereignty which should domineer in them, were to take beginning from the wound, the fall, the ruin, the rending in pieces or rooting-up, of the imperial sovereignty of the city of Rome. When that city should cease to be the lap of that sovereignty which the Cæsars once held over the nations, and many new upstart kings should appear in the place and territory of that once-one empire; then should the APOSTASY be seen, and the Latter Times, with that Wicked One, make their entrance. Now in what age this fell out, I think no man can be ignorant, who hath but a little skill in history.
* Ergo dicamus quod omnes scriptores ecclesiastici tradiderunt, In consummatione mundi, quando regnum destruendum est Romanorum, decem futuros reges, qui orbem Romanum inter se di. vidant, et undecimum surrecturum esse regem parvulum, qui tres reges de decem regibus superaturus sit, in quo totus Satanas habi. taturus sit corporaliter.
THAT WE ARE NOT TO RECKON THE LATTER TIMES, OR THE TIMES
OF THE EMPIRE'S RUIN AND THE APOSTASY ATTENDING, FROM
But you will say, The imperial sovereignty of Old Rome fell not all at once, but had divers steps and degrees of ruin, so that the doubt will be, notwithstanding, from which of these steps of the fall thereof these Latter Times must be reckoned.
I answer, From any of them. For as the imperial sovereignty fell by degees, so the APOSTASY under the lattermost sovereignty grew up also by degrees; and for every degree which the ruinous empire decayed, was the