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From this year then it seems most natural to date the 1260 days : for, when the Roman Bishop was appointed Supreme Head of the Church, and when all the churches
(quod Romanis Pontificibus cum ab aliis, tum ab ipsis Ecuminicis synodis, jure tributum vidimus), et reclainantibus licet iisdem Romanis Pontificibus, conservâssent hactenus favore Mauritii imperatoris. Hanc igitur causam sententia sua Phocas decidens, eam adjudicavit Romano Pontifici, ut ipse solus, non etiam Constantinopolitanus, diceretur (Ecumenicus.” Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 606.
Some, I believe, have doubted whether such a grant was ever made by Phocas; bat, as it appears to me, without much reason. We know how severely the title of Universal Bisbop was reprobated by Pope Gregory at the end of the sixth, and at the beginning of the seventh, century : we know likewise, that the title was borne not long afterwards by the Roman Pontiff, and that it was formally confirmed to him by the second council of Nice in the year 787. Hence we are certain, that it cannot have been assumed very late in the seventh century. Now Baronius tells us, that it was assumed in the year 606, giving for his authorities Anastasius and Paulus Diaconus ; the former of whom flourished in the ninth, and the latter in the eighth, century : and I can see no reason why we should refuse to credit an assertion, which places the assumption of the title about the very time when we must unavoidably suppose it to have been assumed. In short, if the account be nothing more than a forgery, it is both one of the most unnecessary and one of the most ill-contrived forgeries that ever was executed : unnecessary, because the Pope had been solemnly declared Universal Bishop by the second council of Nice in the year 787 ; ill-contrived, because the wily defenders of the Papacy must have departed very far from their wonted subtlety to deduce falsely the grant in question from such an infamous monster as Phocas. Had it never been made by any emperor, and had they been disposed to forge it for the purpose of aggrandizing the Papacy, they would surely have pitched upon a more reputable patron than Phocas; and would have ascribed it (as they did to Constantine, the original grant of St. Peter's patrimony) not to a murderous usurper, but to some emperor, whose character stood in the christian world. On these grounds, I give credit to the assertions of Paulus Diaconus and Anastasius, neither of whom lived very long after the time when the grant is aid to have been made : and probably on the same grounds, " the most learned writers, and those who are most remarkable for their knowledge of antiquity,” as it is observed by Mosheim,“ are generally agreed,” that the title of Universal Bisbop was formally conferred by Phocas upon Boniface. Eccles. Hist. Vol. II. p. 169.
The general agreement of various writers on this point, and the grounds which the Romaoists take, are well stated by Dr. Brett from Bp. Carlton's book of jurisdiction, regal, episcopal, and papal, cap. vi. p. 82, 83. “ Phocas," says he, “ fixed Boniface, the third Pope of that name, in that universal pastorship, which the Rom man see claims and exercises over the other sees of Christendom at this day : and this, as Baronius and Estius, so these following historians assert. I will begin with Paulus Diaconus, who saith, Pbocas statuit sedem ecclesiæ Romanæ ut caput et omnium ecdesiarum. Abbas Usburgensis says the same : to wit, that Pbocas ordained, that the see of the Roman apostolical church should be the bead of all churches. Platina says, that Boniface III. agrees with them herein, though he declares it in different words : Bonifacius ebtinuit e Pboca, ut sedes beati apostoli, quæ est caput omnium ecclesiarum, ita diceretur et baberetur ab omnibus. Blondus saith, Phocas antistitem Romanum principem episreporum omnium constituit. And Nauclerus saith, Phocas ad universum orbem, dimissa sanctione, constituit, ut Romana ecclesiæ, Romanoque Pontifici, omnes urbes ecclesiæ obedirent. And now our Romanists believe, as others have declared before them, that the RoEran chair bad this primacy by divine right, antecedent to Phocas's decree, by which he only engaged to make it law in the empire.” (Independent power of the Church hot Romish, p. 268, 269, 270.) This opinion, which (as I have already observed) exactly accords with the prediction, that the Roman beast should deliver the saints of Christians into the hand of his little born, is thus stated by Estius the schoolman. Nu aliud a Ploca imperatore impetravit Bonifacius tertius, quam ut cathedræ Romanæ pri VOL. I.
were declared to be subject to him in spirituals, the saints were undoubtedly delivered into his hand. Hitherto they had not been necessarily or universally subject to him ; henceforth his merciless tyranny armed the secular power against them, and pursued them with implacable animosity to the very ends of the earth. I mean not indeed to say, that he immediately began to exercise this unchristian authority ; but now it certainly was, that the saints were delivered into his hand, and placed under his control.
In order, as it were, more decidedly to shew that at this eventful era the 1260 days commenced, and the Roman beast revived, scarcely had a year elapsed from the establishment of this sacerdotal empire, when the very idolatry, which had so lately been opposed by the zeal of Serenus and censured by the piety of Gregory, was publicly authorized by the sovereign pontiff. The ancient Pantheon, formerly the general sink of all the abominations of paganism, was now restored, though under a different name, to its original destination.* The medic atory demons of corrupted Christianity occupied the vacant places of the mediatory demons of the gentiles ; and, instead of Jupiter and his kindred deities, the virginmother of Christ and all his martyred saints receive the blind adoration of the revived len-horned beust. The
matum, qui ei jure divino competebat, imperiali potestate tueretur contra præsumptionem Episcopi Constantinopolitani, qui se palam in suis literis Universalem Episcopum scribebat. (Comment. in senten. L. iv. $ 9. Tom. iv. Pars Post. cited by Brett, p. 264.) Protestants have frequently urged to Papists the disgraceful manner in which this grant was made : but they never, on that account, ventured to exchange their patron Phocas for one that would have done them more credit. Thus, when Illyricus maintained against Bellarmine, that Antichrist was born, when Phocas, in the year 606, granted to the Roman Pontiff, that he should be called tbe bead of the whole cburcb; the Cardinal readily allowed the truth of the premises, but denied the validity of the conclusion. See Brightman. cont. Bellarm. de Antichris. Cap. 3. Fol. 297.
*“ Annus Christi 607 cæptus est ab indictione 10 ma. Quo Bonifacius-ex presbytero ordinatus est, ejus nominis quartus, Pontifex Romanus die 18 va Sept.-A Phoca Augusto impetravit Pantheon, Jovi vindici consecratum, quod adhuc intactum remanserat a demolientibus dæmonum sedes Romanis Christianis : illudque expurgatum ab antique sordibus idololatriæ, in honorem Dei-genetricis Mariæ et omnium sanctorum martyrum consecravit. Narrat hæc Anastasius ; quorum etiam meminit Beda." Baron. Annal. Eccles. A. D. 607.
+ Dr. Macleane, in the chronological table affixed to Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, describes this event in the following words: "Here (in the Pantheon) Cybele was succeeded by the Virgin Mary, and the Pagan deities by Christian martyrs. Idolatry still subsisted : but the objects of it were changed.
holy city was now trodden under foot by a new race of gentiles, differing from their pagan predecessors in name rather than in nature ; and the witnesses began to prophesy in sackcloth during the long period of 1260 years, the same period in short as that during which the saints were given into the hand of the little horn.*
Not but that the Apostacy, as I have already observed, had long since individually commenced. The forbidding to marry, the abstaining from meats, the excessive veneration of supposed mediatory saints and angels, began to creep into the Church even in the fourth century : but no date can be affixed to individual criminality.t In the strictly chronological prophecies of Daniel and St. John, periods of years are always computed from some specific and definite action either of a community or of the head of a community; not from the unauthorized deeds of individuals, the commission of the first of which deeds can only be known with absolute certainty by God himself. Hence we find, that in the unchronological prophecy of St. Paulf some of the leading features of the Apostacy are marked out in general terms, the prophecy itself affecting every individual to whom the description applies : while, in the chronological prophecies of Daniel and St. John relative to the sume Apostacy, since the divine wisdom thought proper to specify a certain term of years for the tyrannical rcign of the man of sin, it was necessary to date those years not from general acts of individual criminality, but from some overt and conspicuous act of the head of a community, of the man of sin himself. This act is determined to be the delivering of the saints of God into the hand of the little horn, the commencement of the treading of the holy city or the Church under foot by the new gentile members of the revived beast, and the beginning of the faithful witnesses to prophesy in sackcloth. Now it will be difficult to pitch
upon any era for the date of this sufficiently conspicuous , act except the year 606 : for in this and in the following
Rev. xi. 2, 3. † During this period, the Roman beast may be considered as gradually rising out of be rea, and as coming to life again.
1 Tim. iv. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8.
year, the saints were formally given into the hand of the little horn; and the Apostacy of individuals became the embodied and established Apostacy of a spiritual catholic empire over which the man of sin presided.
When a spiritual universal tyrant then was set up in the Church, and when idolatry was (immediately upon his being thus set up) openly authorized and established by him ; the afflicted woman the true Church seems to have fled into the wilderness from the pollution of the holy city by the new gentilism of Popery, and the witnesses appear to have begun to prophesy in sackcloth. Not that an incessant persecution was to be carried on against them throughout the whole term of the 1260 years; but that they should continue so long to prophesy in sackcloth, or, in other words, to profess the fundamental truths of the Gospel in a depressed and afflicted state. Accordingly, as Bp. Newton well observes, and afterwards satisfactorily proves, “ there have constantly been such witnesses from the seventh century” (the century in which the Apostacy, considered as the open act of a community under its proper head, commenced) “ down to the Reformation, during the most flourishing period of Popery"
Thus it appears, that the tyrannical reign of the fourth beast's little horn, and consequently the prophetic period of 1260 days, are most probably to be dated from the year 606, and will therefore, upon such a supposition, terminate in the year 1866. Let us next turn towards the East, and see whether we cannot discover, in this same year 606, any marks of the rise of that transgression of desolation, which is so closely connected with the little horn of the he-goat, and which is to continue during the same period of 1260 days.
In the East, the year 606 beheld the crafty impostor Mohammed retire to the cave of Hera to consult the spirit of fraud and enthusiasm, and to fabricate that false religion, which soon after darkened the whole oriental world.* Having fully digested his plan in the solitude
* The coincidence of the rise of Mobammedism, and the commencement of Popery properly so called, is thus stated by Mr. Whitaker. “ Daniel states the rise of Mobummed as to take place when the trangressors are come to the full. St. Paul says,
of the desert, he began at first only privately to preach his heterogeneous system of theology about the or 609. Mecca was the theatre of his first labours; and his earliest converts were his wife, his servant, his pupil, and his friend. At length, by the persuasion of Abubeker, ten of the most respectable citizens of Mecca were introduced to the private lessons of the Islam ; the prophet persevered ten years in the now more public exercise of his mission ; and the religion, which has since overspread so large a portion of the globe, advanced with a slow and painful progress within the walls of his native town.*
Here then we behold the desolating abomination connected with the he-goat's little horn springing up at the very time when we were taught by prophecy to expect that it would spring up, namely at the beginning of the 1260 days. Small as it was at first, it soon waxed exceeding great; and, in a very short space of time succeeded in completely polluting the spiritual sanctuary of the eastern church. The exact resemblance between this desolating transgression and the religion of Mohammed, in all other respects as well as in their chronological correspondence with each other, shall presently be shewn : I shall first however try to ascertain the period, from which the 2200, 2300, or 2400, days, mentioned in the prophecy of the ram and the he-goat are to be dated ; and, if that can be in a measure ascertained, the proper reuding of the number will be ascertained likewise.
Although it certainly is a matter of doubt from what precise era this period ought to be dated, and although (as Bp. Newton justly observes) the event alone can sbe delusion of the man of sin shall be sent as a punishment, because men believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness ; where surely tbe same period (that in which the sins of the people call for judgment) is characterized for the rise of these two powers. Now St. John ascribes to each of them the same duration, and speaks of the time of tbeir end as the same, and consequently in his account they must begin at tbe same time ; in exact correspondence with each of the separate declarations of the two former writers. Such coincidences in prophecy, of which the holy penmen themselves do not seem aware, prove, like the same in history, that the writers drew originally from one source, with this only difference, that in the former case their information must have more than a human origin, even the operation of that self-same spirit, who divideth to every man severally as he will.” General View of Proph. p. 95,96,97.
Prideaux's Life of Mohammed p. 16-49--Hist, of Decline and Fall Vol. 9: P. 282–285.