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“ God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,” rest upon the seven churches of Asia, and upon all the churches of Christ in every country and in every age! May they descend and remain upon the writer and the readers of this book! Amen and Amen.
To the Note on the mystical Number of the Beast,
Chap. xiii. 18. Page 211. After the exposition and the note on the number six hunDRED THREESCORE AND SIX had gone through the press, I had the honour of some correspondence with the respected Archdeacon Wrangham, who was so obliging as to send me his Tract on this enigmatical text. The learned Archdeacon has here collected the numerous and various opinions and guesses of ancients and moderns which have been offered as the solution of this numerical riddle. Omitting the explanations which are founded on the words Aateos and 999; not one of the rest deserves any consideration, with the exception of the Archdeacon's own conjecture. He supposes the word which solves this long-disputed passage, to be A tosatns, Apostate. The argument is as follows:-“ The beast having seven heads and “ ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, has upon his “ heads the name of blasphemy." This term, particularly in the Apocalypse, means renunciation of Christ, or apostacy. Jesus Christ is the great object set before us in this book. He appears in a state of glory; he claims the title of Alpha and Omega, and the attributes of God; he receives the praise and worship of all created beings; he unfolds mysteries; he commands, promises, and threatens, as God. Apostacy from him, therefore, is the blasphemy here spoken of; and the causer of this offence is justly called Antichrist. The word Afogatni, therefore, the numerical letters of which amount to exactly 666, is the generic word by which this sacred riddle is least doubtfully solved. The estimable Archdeacon mentions some respectable names among the learned who agree with him in this solution. He notices some private communications which he had with Mr. Faber on the subject, who remarks respecting it, “ I do not see how ATOSATns can be called either the name of “ the beast, or the name of some individual man. It is a word “ descriptive of the qualities of the beast; and it is a word de"scriptive of the qualities of a man who is an apostate: but it “ can scarcely be considered as the name' either of the beast,
any man.—But I pretend not to say," he proceeds,
“ that Arosatns likewise, as well as nativos, may not be hinted
at. It certainly describes the character of the beast very ex“ actly; and agrees, in a very curious manner, with the phra
seology used by St. Paul in 2 Thess. ii. 3, and 1 Tim. iv. 1.” Mr. Faber, however, retains his original interpretation of Matiros; and I perfectly agree with that learned writer that this is the identical word intended by the prophetic Apostle. The other interpretations I have noticed, are, in my opinion, collateral and corroborative evidences that the word Aatervos is the precise term which solves the enigma. If, however, an objector should assert that the term ought to be in Hebrew, one is actually found in that language which suits the case. If the orthography of the Greek should be cavilled against, the riddle will be solved on the objector's own principles. If a third opponent should assert that he should prefer a word describing the character instead of the name of the beast, extraordinary as it may appear, the term is found in Arosatns. The Apostl, however, or rather the Holy Spirit inspiring him, must especially have had one word in view in the passage under consideration; and until another term in the Greek language can be found, which is at the same time the name of a man and descnptive of the Apostle's hieroglyphic beast (a discovery which probably may be considered adequate to an impossibility), the word Naturos, in my opinion, must be considered as the primary term intended by the Holy Spirit.
On the Subject of the Millennium. Since the publication of the first edition of this work I have understood that the supposed doctrine of the personal reign of Christ, during the millennium, has been revived by a few respectable clergymen of the Church of England; and that this view of the subject has made some considerable progress, especially in Ireland. Some essays have lately fallen into my hands published by one of these clergymen, who adopts the signature of Basilicus. The following is the hypothesis of this writer. He supposes that Christ will appear the second time in person to restore the Theocracy of Israel; that he will bring the Jews in a collective body to Jerusalem; that he will raise the pious dead and destroy all the wicked who shall be living; that the heavens and earth which are now, will be dissolved by fire, and uncergo a material alteration, but will not be destroyed; that Christ will reign personally in Jerusalem for a thousand years, during which period all the pious who have been raised from the dead or changed at his coming, shall live upon the earth in a state of glory, honour, and felicity; that at the termination of this period the general resurrection will take place, which will be followed by the last judgment, when the dead will be judged according to their works; that all enemies being now subdued, the kingdom will be given up by the Son of God, and the mediatorial dispensation closed.
Such is the outline which is now given of this revived opinion respecting the millennium.
What has been stated in the exposition of the passage on which this hypothesis is founded, has unanswerably refuted, in my opinion, the idea of the personal reign of Christ, and established the doctrine of his spiritual dominion, during that blessed and glorious period of time. But as the subject is undoubtedly of very high importance, it may be expedient to offer a few additional remarks to corroborate that view of it, which in my judgment, is the true doctrine of Scripture, and of the church in general in its present enlightened state; and which, without controversy, must be admitted to be that of the Church of England.
It is acknowledged that the doctrine of the personal reign of Christ during the millennium was held by many individuals
in the early ages of the Church. It does not, however, appear to have been received at that or any subsequent time as the doctrine of the Church in general. On the fact of its partial reception, it may be remarked, that the Book of Revelation was but little understood by the early Christians. On the principles of prophecy, the true exposition of this mysterious and obscure part of Sacred Scripture was necessarily reserved for the later ages of the Church. It does not follow that those who lived nearer to the time when these prophecies of the future state of the Church were first published, had, on that account, clearer views of the nature and circumstances of their accomplishment. The argument, in fact, must be reversed. Prophecies receive additional light from the era of their publication to the period of their fulfilment. St. John was not commissioned to explain more than he wrote; nor is it by any means evident that he himself fully understood the explication of those predictions which he was inspired to record for the future instruction and consolation of the Church, and for the continually increasing evidence of the truth of Christianity from the subject of prophecy.
It is farther admitted, that there is something in the hypothesis of the personal reign of the Messiah, which, primâ facie, is highly plausible; and, as far as it is believed, exceedingly affecting to the mind. The author of this work states these sentiments
from his own experience. T'wenty-four years ago he published a pamphlet entitled, A Scriptural View of the Millennium, containing sentiments similar to those of Basilicus: and though he did not decidedly embrace the doctrine himself, he nevertheless wrote a preface recommending the subject to consideration and to the test of Scripture. The fallacy of the reasonings in that pamphlet consists, like that of modern writers on the same subject, in explaining literally predictions, which, in order to harmonize the doctrines of the Bible, must necessarily be understood figuratively. If the Scriptures be impartially examined; if the comments of the most wise, and pious, and learned men be admitted; if the subject be soberly reflected on; the views of the personal reign of the Saviour, with the long train of its consequences that stand in direct opposition to the tenour of many of the doctrinal parts of the sacred volume, never can be received. How can it be supposed that the saints, whose souls are now in heaven, should, after the resurrection of their bodies from the grave, descend to dwell on the earth again for a thousand years previous to the resurrection of the wicked and