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Thus was the empire divided and shared anno 456, the year after Rome was sacked by Gensericus, and the offspring of these nations, through many alterations, (partly by the inconstancy of human things, unions and disunions, partly by the further enlargement of the Christian faith,) are the body of most of the kingdoms and states of Christendom at this day. Three of these kings, saith Daniel, should the Antichristian Horn depress and displant, to advance himself; which three are those whose dominions extended into Italy, and so stood in his light.

1. That of the Greeks, whose emperor, Leo Isaurus, for the quarrel of images, he excommunicated, and revolted his subjects of Italy from their allegiance.

2. That of the Longobards, successors of the Ostrogoths, whose kingdom he caused, by the aid of the Franks, to be wholly ruined, thereby to get the exarchate of Ravenna, which, since their revolt from the Greeks, they were seized on, for a patrimony to St. Peter.

3. The last was the kingdom of the Franks itself, continued in the Empire of Germany, whose Emperors, from the time of Henry the Fourth, he excommunicated, deposed, and trampled under his feet, and never suffered them to live in rest, till he made them not only quit their interest in elections of Popes and investitures of Bishops, but that remainder of jurisdiction in Italy, wherewith, together with the dignity of the Roman name, he had once infeoffed their predecessors.

These are the kings, by displanting, or (as the Vulgar hath) by humbling, of whom, the Pope got elbow-room by degrees, and advanced himself to the height of temporal majesty and absolute greatness, which made him so terrible in the world.

This third blow, therefore, I suppose, is to be counted the last of the ruin of the empire; the imperial power of the ancient Rome, until the Pope (some 345 years after) revived the name, henceforth ceasing. For as for those who yet, some twenty years after our date, scuffled for that name, one of them deposing another, they were, in

deed, but shadows of Cæsars, and, as it were, strugglings with the pangs of death, until, with Augustulus, it gave up the Ghost." Yea, it is to be observed that two of them, Avitus (the very next) and Glycerius, being deposed from the empire, were made Bishops, the one of Placentia or Piacenza, the other of Portus ; as a sign, perhaps, that the Emperor of Rome henceforth should be a Bishop, and a Bishop the Emperor.

To conclude, therefore, with the application of our Apostle's prediction, whether the CHRISTIAN APOSTASY, in worshipping new demon-gods, began not with the first of these degrees, notably increased with the second, and was established by the last, I leave you to judge, when you shall have surveyed the monuments and records of those times.

It is commonly and truly affirmed by our ecclesiastical antiquaries that, before the year 360, there is no word to be found of the invocation of saints glorified, or worshipping their relics, to which I add, No! nor of

any

miracles done by them : but, presently after that year, when our first date of the empire's ruin began, search, and you shall find. I spare to name the authors, not willing to discover the nakedness of the Fathers, but whoso reads them will admire to see so truly verified what the Spirit foretold should be in the Latter Times. And, to make an end, if any shall think this speculation of Times to be a needless curiosity, I desire him to remember how our Saviour reproved the Jews for neglect hereof, Matth. xvi., 3, “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times ?” or as St. Luke, xii., 56, “How is it that ye do not discern this time?” They, through neglecting the “ signs of the times," when Christ caine, received him not : how many, through ignorance of these Latter Times, when the A POSTASY hath appeared, eschewed it not !

From which of these three beginnings of the Apostatical Times, or whether from some other moment within or between them, the Alınighty will reckon that his com

putation of these otepot xangot, which, ended, shall finish the days of the Man of sin, I curiously inquire not, but leave unto him who is Lord of times and seasons; nor do I think that the Jews themselves could certainly tell from which of their three captivities to begin that reckoning of LXX years, whose end should bring their return from Babylon, until the event assured them thereof.

CHAP. XV.

THAT DANIEL'S SEVENTY WEEKS ARE A LESSER KALENDAR OF

TIMES. THAT IN REFERENCE TO THESE WEEKS MUST THOSE
PHRASES IN THE EPISTLES TO THE CONVERTED JEWS, VIZ.,
« THE LAST HOUR OR TIME,” “THE END OF ALL THINGS,'
THE DAY APPROACHING,” ETC., BE EXPOUNDED OF THE
END OF THE JEWISH STATE AND SERVICE AT THE EXPIRY OF
THE SEVENTY WEEKS, THAT THE APOSTLES WERE NOT SO
MISTAKEN AS TO BELIEVE THE END OF THE WORLD SHOULD
BE IN THEIR DAYS, PROVED AGAINST BARONIUS AND OTHER
ROMANISTS.

I SHOULD now presently come to speak of the fourth particular which I observed in this verse; but, because in this Discourse of Times, beside the Great Kalendar of Times I so much spake of, there was some mention of a Lesser Kalendar, viz., of Daniel's seventy weeks, give me leave to note some places of Scripture which I suppose to have reference thereto, for the better clearing, not only of our former Discourse, but of some scruples that might trouble our minds, when mention is made of an end then supposed near, though the world hath so many hundred years since continued, and no end thereof is yet come.

Know, therefore, that these 70 weeks of Daniel are a little provincial kalendar, containing the time that the legal worship and Jewish state was to continue, from the rebuilding of the Sanctuary under Darius Nothus, ur.til the final destruction thereof, when the kalendar should expire ; within the space whereof their commonwealth and city should be restored, and, sixty-two weeks after that, the Messias be slain for sin; and, at the end of the whole seventy, their city and temple again destroyed, and their commonwealth utterly dissolved. To these weeks, therefore, whose computation so especially concerns the Jews, is reference made in those Epistles which are written to the Christian Churches of that nation, whether living in Jewry, or abroad dispersed. Such is St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews; both St. Peter's to those of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia; the Epistle of St. James to the twelve tribes; and likewise the first Epistle of St. John, which, though the salutation expresseth not, yet may appear, both because Peter, James, and John were all three apostles of the circumcision, and from that passage, chapter ii., verse 2, “ Christ Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world”: that is, not for the sins of us only who are Jews, but for the sins of the Gentiles also. And doth not the name of General or Catholic Epistle, given to this, as well as to those of St. James and St. Peter, imply thus much ? For it cannot be thus called because written to all Christians indefinitely and generally, since the contrary expressly appears in the former; but because this, as well as the rest, was written to those of the circumcision, who were not a people confined to any one certain city or region, but dispersed through every nation, as we read in Acts, chap. ii., verse 5, &c., that at the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles, “ There were sojourning at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven; Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, and strangers of Rome, Jews, and pro selytes," that is, Jews by race, and Jews by religion, &c. For we must not mistake those numbered here to be Gen tiles, but Israelites, both of the ten tribes captivated by

Shalmaneser, and the other two; some of whom never returned from Babylon, but lived still in Mesopotamia : but of those who returned great multitudes were dispersed afterwards in Egypt, Libya, and many other provinces, before the time of our Saviour's appearing in the flesh. So that the Apostles of the circumcision had their province for largeness not much inferior to those of the Gentiles.

But I come to note the places I spake of. And, first, out of the forenamed Epistle of St. John, where, from that prediction of our Saviour's in the Gospel, that the arising of false prophets should be one of the near signs of the nigh-approaching end of the Jewish state, the Apostle thus refers to it, “ Little children, this is the last hour :* and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.” Here, by “the last time,” I suppose no other thing to be meant but the near expiring of Daniel's seventy weeks, and with it the approaching end of the Jewish commonwealth : and why might not this Epistle be written in the last week, at the beginning whereof Jesus Ananias began that woful cry, Wo unto Jerusalem and the Temple! (Josephus, 1. 7, Belli Judaici.) By “many Antichrists,”+ are meant no other but false prophets, or counter-prophets to the Great Prophet, pretending an unction and commission from Heaven (as he had) to teach the world some new revelation and doctrine. For the name Christ implies the unction of prophecy as well as the unction of a kingdom, and accordingly the name Antichrist; and therefore the Syriac here turns it “False Christs,” that is, such as should falsely pretend some extraordinary unction of prophecy like unto him. And the coming of such as these our Saviour, in St. Matthew's Gospel (a Gospel for the Hebrews) makes one of the last signs ushering in the destruction of Jerusalem : and if the harmony of this

* Εχατη ώρα. .

+ Πολλοι Αντιχριστοι.

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