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D. 666. This is the precise number which the wisdom of God has communicated as the number of the beast, Rev. 13: 18. As Irenæus found this number in the Greek word Aateivos, denoting the Latin or Roman Church, so it is remarkable, that in the year A. D. 666 Pope Vitalianus ordained that all public worship should be in Latin. It is also very remarkable, that down to the present day the Roman Catholic liturgy, or established public service, is, in all countries, in Latin, whether the people understand it or not. By adding 1260 to 666, the period for the overthrow of Antichrist will be A. D. 1926. If with some writers we suppose, that the 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel mean years, by adding to 1926 the 75 years (by which 1335 exceeds 1260) it brings us to A. D. 2001, the first year of the millennium. “ Blessed” indeed is he, “who cometh” to that period.
One other scheme is this : that as the pope received from Pepin, king of France, the Exarchate of Ravenna about A. D. 752, and became then a temporal prince, that year is to be regarded as the rise of Antichrist. Of course he will be overthrown—this scheme being supposed to be true—in A. D. 2012.
I am not just now prepared to maintain the truth of any one of these schemes, although I doubt not, that one or the other of them is true; but this to my mind is very evident, that inasmuch as God has communicated the number of the persecuting beast, and calls upon the man of understanding to count that number, or to ascertain the very power described in prophecy and the commencement of the reign of Antichrist, the time will assuredly come, when the church will understand that number. The knowledge of this will be a key to unlock the mystery of the 1260 days of the Revelation. And then, doubtless, as the now obscure prophecy will stand forth in a blaze of light, the wisdom of God will be adored by the whole church.
In the meantime, in the absence of certainty, and while waiting for the light, which is yet to be shod upon the subject, every careful inquirer will be disposed to yield his opinion to the greater probability. If, then, in past events we cannot find any clear and exact fulfilment of the important prophecies concerning the equivalent periods of $ 1-2 times, 42 months, and 1260 days, the conclusion is, that in all prob ability the accomplishment or termination is yet future,
As those prophecies describe the rise and continued existence of a persecuting power, and the depressed state of the church generally, or of the church in some countries, during the period just mentioned ; and as the antichristian and per. secuting power of Rome began to indicate its character about the year A. D. 606, being in this year made universal bishop,—and as the pope was crowned and made a temporal prince in the year A. D. 752,—and has ever sinee, down to the present day, held an unrighteous sway in opposition to the kingdom of Christ,-it seems altogether probable, that the overthrow of this persecuting power will occur at some period between A. D. 1840 and A. D. 2012. They, who think the years A. D. 606, and A. D. 666 are most worthy of consideration, will of course expect the overthrow of Antichrist in A. D. 1866 or in A. D. 1926, that is, in about 30 years or about 90 years from the present time. In either case the wondrous, long-expected day is near, when the delusions of miserable men shall pass away, and it shall be said to Zion,-“ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord hath arisen upon thee?" On either supposition an immense work is to be performed by the church,—a work of such appalling magnitude, as to discourage all labors but the labors of faith and heavenly zeal. To communicate the gospel to three quarters of the whole family of man ;-to gain access to the understandings and the consciences of four or five hundred millions of uninstructed and prejudiced men, idolaters, wedded to their idols ;-to break their strong habits of sin ;-to send the Bible to every family on the earth ;and to train up half a million of preachers of the glad tidings of salvation ;-is not here work, more than enough for a century of strenuous effort on the part of the church? Is there not occasion also for trust in God's promise, for reliance on his almighty power, for all the fervency and importunity of supplication ?
THE ASPECT AND POSITION OF THE MISSIONARY Ester
PRISE, PARTICULARLY IN THE ORIENTAL WORLD.
By the Rev. George B. Cheever, pastor of the Allen-st. Presb. Church, New York.
The instability of human things is a proverb; the causes of it, though equally clear, are not so proverbial. Yet the most superficial observer must be aware of a great principle in God's dealings with this world, the principle of revolution and change, till the world becomes holy. In the nature of things this principle must prevail, for there can be no more peace or permanence to a wicked world than to a wicked man. If we are not greatly mistaken, it is declared, as a rule, that God's providence in the world is to go on overturning, and overturning, and overturning, till it shall bring all into subjection to Jesus Christ. A truly philosophic mind, philosophic in the Christian sense, would always keep this fact in view in the world's history; for it is the business of a true philosopher to discover, as far as possible, the purposes of God, and the end to which human things are tending.
To a spiritual mind the science of history, pursued, as for the most part it has been, without reference to the providence and designs of God, is as devoid of truth as the science of astronomy with the earth, instead of the sun, considered as the centre of our system. Our historical studies are on the Ptolemaic instead of the Copernican scheme, and man, instead of God, is put at the centre. We need the application of some devout and comprehensive mind, to erect history into a science, and tie it to the throne and providence of God. We need a Newton almost as much to tell us why an apple falls in God's providential government, as we dida century ago to tell us the reason of that simplest fact in God's material universe.
There is, at the present day, a wide and strong impression among Protestant Christians of almost every name,
that we are on the eve of a great universal dispensation of mercy to the world. This impression may have been weakened in some minds by particular views respecting the second and personal coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the destruction of the nations instead of their conversion, as near at hand. Still, it is widely and fondly entertained. In the consideration of the grounds of that impression, and the prospect of its realization, three main points come into view, viz., its foundation in the course of God's prophecies ; the lessons to be learned in regard to it from God's past provi. dences; and the present great apparent crisis in God's providential dispensations, in reference to the Missionary Enterprise, especially in the Oriental World
To dwell in detail upon the prophecies would require a volume. Premising, therefore, that the whole world's conversion is predicted in the Scriptures, for which assertion, if there were no other authority, Malachi 1:11 would afford sufficient ground, we doubtless have in one particular passage in the New Testament an important landmark and mooring place for our views on this subject. The Apostle Paul, in the eleventh to the Romans, affirms that the Gentile nations are to be converted to God, and that when this is done, or at least far advanced in its progress, the conversion of the Jews will follow.
That the Gentile nations never have been converted is as plain as that the Jews never have been converted; therefore, both these great events are still future. Whatever views some men may entertain in regard to the personal coming of Christ, it is manifest that no theories are to be indulged, which contravene the sense of this express predic. tion. The “ coming in” of the fulness of the Gentiles, and the general conversion of the Jews, are subjects of clear and undoubted prophecy. To suppose that the personal coming of Christ is to take place before these events, makes their prediction a falsity. It seems, indeed, in the highest degree absurd to suppose that the second coming of Christ is near at hand, when there are hundreds of millions that as yet have never even heard of his first coming. There is a great dispensation of mercy before us for the world ; the course of prophecy, the course of God's providence, and the signs of the times, all show it.
In attempting to trace the lessons to be learned in regard
to this matter from the course of past providences, some great principles in God's providential government come into notice. And first, its universal extent.
The possibility of such a thing as chance is excluded even from philosophy. John Newton used to say that he never heard a knock at the door without connecting it with the Divine Providence ; and we have often thought, in reading or remembering the story of Bruce in the History of Scotland, that there is a providence even in the weaving of a spider's web. Nor is the providence of God positive, merely where there are no intervening intelligent agents sisible between God and the result; as in the so called accidental falling of a tower, or the providential breaking of a thunderstorm. The results which human beings bring about as free agents, in all the most uncontrolled freedom of their conduct, are under that overruling Providence, just as much as the consequences of a fire in Constantinople, an eruption of Vesuvius, or an avalanche in Switzerland. The man who freights a ship, and he who, for the sake of the insurance, scuttles her; the man who fires a church at the instigation of the devil, and he who builds one for the love of Christ; the man who raises a province in rebellion, and he who fights to put it down; are all moving equally as parts of God's providential plan, as much so as the accidents that destroy both the righteous and the wicked, the storms that waste and those that fertilize a country. God does not leave the world, either of nature or of human beings, under mere law; he is himself the omnipotent Agent; and as
Nature is but the name for an effect
Whose cause is God, so the world's history, even in the maddest and wildest developments of human passion, is but the name for a tissue of events, throughout the whole of which God's overruling providence has been present. Into the weaving of this vast web ten thousand elements of wickedness bave entered ; all imaginable contrasted and conflicting colours of depravity; God's enemies raging, and the elemental war of chaos mor. ally at work ; but God's hand has always been behind the loom, arranging every thread, and guiding the whole figure, with such consummate wisdom, that by and by, when the tapestry is all finished, and hung up in eternity, will fill the