MEASURES OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEVEN TIMES.
WE must next note a number of deeply interesting facts connected with the measures of the SECOND HALF of this great dispensational week of "seven times "-facts which seem to indicate that the oft-repeated "time, times, and a half"is adjusted, like the whole period, to run out on the three astronomical scales, and to lead in a similar way, to successive stages of the predicted historical movements. The bisection dates of the rise of the Papacy are, as we have shown, especially the following:
A.D. 533. Justinians pope-exalting decree.
590. Accession of Gregory the Great.
607. Decree of Phocas.
663. Vitalians Latinizing decree.
Now from these dates, as starting-points, measure on the three astronomic scales the "time, times, and a half" of the predicted duration of the Papacy.
Lunar Calendar Solar A.D. 533 1755 1774-5 1793
A.D. 607 1830 1848-9 1867-70
A.D. 663 1885 1905 1923
The result is three groups of dates, the two first of which are all connected with Papal overthrow in the most definite and unquestionable manner.
The first group consists of, first, Voltaires literary incendiarism; secondly, the accession of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, and thirdly, the Reign of Terror. The second group gives the dates of the anti-Papal revolutions, which caused:
1. The abdication of Charles X., after the three days war of the barricades in Paris and the victory of the people. Belgium became independent this same year; Saxony, Hesse Cassel, Mannheim, Weimar, Hanau, and Jena, all obtained from their rulers constitutional government; and the Papal chair was for two months vacant.
2. The remarkable set of anti-Papal revolutions eighteen years later, 1848, the year of the great revolutionary earthquake before alluded to.
3. The year 1870-the final fall of the temporal power. The four years 1866- 70, years fresh in the memory of this generation, witnessed the final stage in the overthrow of the long-falling temporal power of the Papacy. The first Napoleon had dealt it heavy blows, blows of such stunning force that it seemed almost dead. But it still possessed some vitality, and revived for a time. The injuries received had nevertheless been fatal, and the recovery was more in appearance than reality. The powerful reactionary policy of the allies, and the fears of the generation which had witnessed the French Revolution, and of the succeeding one, threw back the cause of liberty and the progress of nations for a time. The former tyrannies were reinstated, and maintained with a vigilance born of fear; and just as France had to submit to the old Bourbon despotism, so Rome had for a time to submit again to the popes. The submission, however, was an unwilling and restless one, during the whole period from the peace of 1815 to the overthrow of 1870. Italian aspirations for national unity and for political liberty-kindled by the French Revolution, and quickened by subsequent ones and by the examples of other nations-formed a powerful factor in the question. The popes adopted a line of conduct which could not have been better chosen had they desired to secure their own overthrow. They had learned no lesson from the adversity they had suffered. Pius IX., who became pope in 1846, attempted at first some liberal reforms, and had he continued this policy he might have staved off the evil day. But it was not to be; the long impending downfall was to reach its close during his pontificate, and, all unwittingly to himself, he consistently acted as if he wished to hasten it. The adversities of his predecessor, and his own, had taught him no wisdom. Even after the revolution of 1848, which made him for two years an exile, he pursued the same tyrannical course. When in 1850 he returned to Rome, under the protection of French soldiery, his policy became only more suicidal than ever. He re-established the Jesuits, re-opened the dungeons of the inquisition, and deliberately set himself to reorganize the European commonwealth on the model of the darkest days of the dark ages. On his own sole authority, without the concurrence even of a council-a thing that no pope had ever done before-he added a new dogma to the faith of the universal Church, the foolish and idolatrous doctrine of the "immaculate conception," which all men were required, on pain of damnation, to receive. He reorganized a Roman Catholic hierarchy for Protestant England, and busied himself in canonizing saints and gathering around him in Rome numerous and imposing bodies of bishops and dignitaries from every part of the world. He enforced in Rome a law prohibiting Protestant worship, save at the embassies; persecuted those who dared to read the Scriptures in the social circle; and at last compiled and published his famous "Syllabus"; gathered his great Ocumenical Council of the Vatican; so managed it that the assembled archbishops, princes, cardinals, patriarchs, bishops, abbots, generals of orders, etc., had no liberty even to discuss the great question brought before them, but were fraudulently forced to pronounce in favour of the superlatively absurd and monstrously wicked dogma of Papal infallibility. This new canon of the Roman Catholic Church was decreed July, 1870.
The blindness of the Roman pontiff and his hierarchy to the truth, to the temper of the times, to the state of Europe, and to the doom immediately impending over them, was complete. A strange, judicial insanity seemed to have befallen them. Men marvelled at their madness, and Bible students recalled the solemn statement of the apostle about this Romish apostasy-that because they would not receive the truth of the gospel in the love of it, therefore God would send them, in judgment, strong delusion, so that they would believe a lie, to their own condemnation and ruin.
Very speedily was the blasphemy of this infallibility decree rebuked by the Most High! The same day that it was published, there was despatched from Paris to Berlin the declaration of war which sealed the fate of the second French empire, and with it that of the temporal power of the Papacy. July 18th, on which the pope read, amid the thunder and lightning of an awful storm, the decree which marked the climax of Papal pretension, the announcement of his own infallibility, Napoleon III. despatched his challenge to Germany. We know what followed: how Protestant Prussia humbled herself before God by a day of special prayer on the 27th, and besought His blessing on her quickly gathering armies; how the wicked and withered and bloodstained emperor of Catholic France, accompanied by his poor, unfortunate boy, assumed the next day the command of the wretchedly organized French troops at Metz; how the Germans defeated the French, both at Weissembourg and at Geisburg, on August 4th, and on the 6th at Worth and Forbach; how they bombarded Strasburg and defeated Bazaine, and drove him back into Metz, gained another great victory at Gravelotte, and forced the emperor and the entire army into SEDAN, where, on September 2nd, they had to surrender, and were all taken prisoners; how 300,000 men marched on Paris, and establishing their headquarters at Versailles, besieged it in September; how other German armies overran all France; how Bazaine had to surrender Metz and 173,000 men in October; and how, before the end of the year, France lay bleeding and prostrate at the feet of her Protestant foes, without an army in the field or an ally in Europe. And we know also how, long before this crisis arrived in France- Rome having been evacuated by the French troops, which were sorely needed at home-the pontifical government fell, to rise no more. The king of Italy forewarned the pope of his intention to occupy Rome on September 8th, and did so in the following month. Rome decided, by an overwhelming vote, for union with Italy, and was, with its surrounding territories, incorporated by Royal decree with the Italian kingdom in October, 1870.
This was the full and final fall of the temporal power of the Papacy. It was on the day of the last meeting of the council, which had deified a man by declaring him possessed of the Divine attribute of infallibility, that Victor Emmanuels announcement reached Rome; it was on the day that the German armies closed round Paris that the Italian general Cadorna invested Rome. The struggle lasted but a few hours; the pope understood that further resistance would be mere wanton waste of life, for his Zonaves numbered but 8,000, and 50,000 Italians were arrayed against him. As soon as a breach had been made in the walls of Rome, the word to surrender was given.
"There, yea, there, on the proud dome of St. Peters, being raised, and beginning to flutter, was the white flag; and there, unwinding itself, did it float out upon the September breeze, and waved in the forenoon sun- waved over pontiff and cardinal, over the circus of Nero and the inquisition of the popes. Was it real? Eyes would be wiped to see if they did not deceive. Eyes-ay, the, eyes of soldiers- would be wiped from thick, hot tears. Could it he-could it ever be? Come at last! The hour for which ages had impatiently waited, for which myriads of Italians had died. Italy one! Her arms, outstretched from Etna and Monte Rosa, clasping at last every one of her children; and even availing, by their returning strength, to lift up her poor old Rome from under the load of the priest and the stranger.
"He who two brief months before had, amid deep darkness at noonday, read out by artificial light the decree of his own unlimited power and irreformable law, lay down that night amid a rude and intrusive glare streaming from across the Tiber into the multitudinous windows of the Vatican. It came from the lights of Rome, all ablaze with illuminations for the fall of the temporal power." [Rev. W. Arthur, MA: "The Pope, the Kings, and the People."]
Even so Romanist an authority as Cardinal Manning admits that this fall is unlike any of the previous preliminary temporary falls. He says: "There is one point in which the present crisis of the Holy See and of the Christian Church differs from all that has gone before it.. Always in the ages past, when one or more of the European powers were in conflict with the Holy See, one or more of the other powers were friendly and gave it protection.. Now not one stands in its defence they have all with one accord hid their faces from the vicar of our Lord; they are all consenting to the deed. The princes and rulers of Christendom have forsaken their Master, and their silence in the hour of danger is flight. Never till now have all the nations of Europe consented in the deed of the nations who have usurped Rome. Never till now has the public law of Europe been changed to sanction the usurpation. For the first time the HEAD OF CHRISTENDOM is excluded from the senate of Christian sovereigns, though the temporal sovereignty of the supreme pontiff is of Divine institution"
[The whole course of these four years was filled with events singularly fatal to the Papacy, including overthrows of Catholic Austria, Spain, France, and the Papal States of Italy. The decisive battle of Sadowa, in 1866, between Protestant Prussia and Papal Austria, settled the question of ascendancy in central Europe in favour of Prussia and Protestantism, and that for the first time in history. The conspicuous loss of power in all Papal countries was crowned at last, when the prophetic period had fully run out, by the final overthrow of the secular power of the popes in Rome itself. The year 1866 was the 1260th solar year from the decree, and 1870 the 1260th from the death of Phocas. - Manning: "Temporal Power," Preface, p. xiii., Third Edition.]
Chronologically the four last years of the temporal power of the Papacy were removed from the four last years of the Emperor Phocas, whose decree appointed the pope to the headship of all the Christian Churches, by
"TIME., TIMES, AND A HALF,"
or 1,260 full solar years. The decree of Phocas, memorialized by a pillar still standing in Rome, was given in AD. 607, and the emperor died in A.D. 610.
AD. 606-610 1,260 years, solar 1866-1870
Can any one suppose that these things happen by accident?
Consider what a combination is here! Far back, at the beginning of the dark ages, a wicked usurper and murderer, thinking perhaps to atone for his crimes, presumes to bestow a prerogative which pertains to Christ alone-the headship of all the Christian Churches East and West-on the bishop of the ancient seat of the empire, ROME; and the ambitious and worldly-minded bishop dares to accept the gift, and seat himself in the temple of God, as if he were God. Divine prophecy had foretold, more than a thousand years before, the uprising of this power at this period, and had foretold also that it should endure in the Roman world for 1,260 years. We pass on through the centuries, and note how this same power grows greater and greater, till it wields an authority mightier than that of the Caesars at the pinnacle of their glory, for it rules over two hundred millions of mankind, and, according to its own account, rules not in earth only, but in heaven and in hell. We note how the saints are given into its hand, and perish by millions at its instigation.
We note how all the monarchs of the Roman world give it their voluntary submission for centuries, and how at last they rebel against it, and seek to overthrow it; how they succeed in doing this time after time, though not fully or finally, till, when eleven centuries have been left behind us, we see this power declining and failing. Twelve pass away; it is weaker still! Will it last out to a thirteenth? No; its duration is fixed at 1,260 years. We scan its condition more closely. Fall succeeds fall; yet it rises again, or rather, is helped up again. The last four years are come; it still stands trembling. The fateful year is ushered in. Its first six months pass, and there is no sign of a crash; midsummer comes, and, lo! the storm breaks, and before winter appears all is over-as a reigning dynasty in Europe it has fallen, to rise no more! Is not this the finger of God?
Another fact should also be noted here. From this notable date of the fall of the most idolatrous, corrupt, and persecuting power which the world has ever seen, the power which, in the ancient prediction of Daniel vii. is represented as the cause of the destruction of the Roman world,-from the fall of the temporal power of the Papacy, we go back "seven times"; and where do we land in the remote captivity era of Israel and Judah? In the reign of Manasseh, whose sins are especially assigned as the provoking cause of the Babylonian overthrow.
Of him it is said, in #2Ki 21 -
1. That he went to the greatest lengths in idolatry, introducing carved images into the very temple of God, restoring the altars and groves which his father Hezekiah had destroyed, making his son pass through the fire, and worshipping and serving all the host of heaven.
2. That he imitated and even exceeded the wickedness of the heathen round about him in their ways, and seduced his subjects to follow his example, until they were more corrupt and abominable than the Canaanites whom the Lord had cast out before Israel.
3. That he filled Jerusalem from one end to the other with innocent blood.
It is scarcely needful to point out that in all these points, idolatry, corruption, and bloodshed, as well as in his being the cause of the ruin of Judah, this Manasseh was a most striking type of the Papal antichrist, who filled the Church with image and saint worship and mariolatry, with indulgences and corruptions, and with persecution and bloodshed.
B.C. 650. AD. 610. AD. 1870.
EASTERN BISECTION DATES.
If we take now the two bisection dates which have to do with the rise of the Mohammedan power and the eastern question, instead of with the rise of the Roman Papacy in the West, we shall find that three and a half "times," both from the Hegira era and the Omar capture of Jerusalem, lead down to years which witnessed stages of overthrow of the Ottoman power. The Mohammedan calendar is, as we have said, strictly lunar, and dates from the Hegira era, as our calendar, which is solar, dates from Anno Domini. Measuring 1,260 years from the Hegira, we reach on the lunar scale 1841, and on the solar 1882. [Our present year, 1887, is the Mohammedan year 1804-1806.]
A.D. 622 1,260 lunar years 1844 A.D. 622 1,260 solar years 1882
It will be remembered that the first of these years, 1844, was that of the Turkish Hatti Hamayoun, or enforced decree of religious toleration-a decree, the granting of which was a proof of the complete loss of independence of the Porte; and 1882 was the recent year which witnessed the bombardment of Alexandria, the notable victory of Tel-el-Kebir, and the occupation of Cairo, the total defeat of the Mohammedan rebellion, and the virtual establishment of an English protectorate in Egypt-a movement, the whole of which was a heavy blow to the Porte, as her authority was through it, virtually though not nominally, brought to an end in Egypt.
From the second bisection date, the Omar capture of Jerusalem, A.D. 637, three and a half "times" have already ran out on the lunar and calendar scales, but not yet on the full solar.
A.D. 637 lunar 1860 A.D. 637 calender 1877-8 A.D. 637 solar 1897
The first of these years was, as we have already shown, a most critical one in the history of the Porte and in the history of the Jews. It was the first stage in the liberation of the Holy Land from direct Turkish rule,- an early stage in the cleansing of the sanctuary from the power of the desolater; and it was also the year of the formation of the "Universal Israelite Alliance," an initial step towards Jewish national reorganization. The action of England and France in Syria on this occasion must be considered a marked stage in the decline of the Ottoman power, as each such interference with its governmental action is an additional demonstration to the world of its loss of independence.
Though having mainly to do with the East, this year was, as we have seen, a critical or in the West also. It was the year of Garibaldis victories in Italy, and of the proclamation of the first Italian king who reigned over that long-divided and priest-ridden land since the days of the old Roman empire. The calendar termination from this Omar date is the year 1878, the year of the Berlin Conference, with its wholesale dismemberment of Turkey. The remaining solar termination is still ten years distant, 1897. What is it likely to witness? Some more final and fatal fall of Ottoman power? or some more distinct stage of Jewish restoration? or both? Time will declare.