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they knew absolutely nothing. To quote any of the numerous prophecies which refer to this outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the dispensation which follows the completion of the Church is not necessary. The fact is repeatedly declared, and it substantiates and confirms the correctness of the views maintained in this paper regarding the dispensation of grace under which we live, and from which it will be solely our own fault if we do not obtain the highest and most glorious position to which we can look forward -the privilege, the honour, and the glory of being among the nearest to Christ of all created intelligences throughout the ages of ages which have yet to revolve before the purpose of God in creation is fully realised.
THE SEVENTY WEEKS. THE HE seventy weeks of Dan. ix. 25: “From the going forth of
' the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks and threescore and two weeks," &c.
Accurate attention to the words used, will save us from being led into error as to the starting point of the seventy weeks : “From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem."
There were four commandments or decrees that went forth,
1. Cyrus to Ezra (i. 1), B.C. 536.
Unless we note the defining words we shall be at a loss to discover to which of these decrees reference is made.
(1.) Cyrus's decree to Ezra (i. 1) is confined exclusively to the building of the temple : and mention of this, and “the house,” “the altar," the "house of the Lord,” &c., is made in chaps. i.-v. no less than 22 times. True, their enemies wrote a letter against " them (iv.) (accusing them falsely,* we may well believe) of rebuilding “ the rebellious and bad city,” and so their work was stopped "until another commandment shall be given.”
This, then, cannot be the decree referred to in Dan. ix. 25, quite apart from any difficulty of fitting in the date.
(2.) Darius's decree to Ezra (vi. 1-12). In this chapter, twelve times do we find this decree confined to “the house,” “the temple," "the house of God."
* If the accusation were true, it proves still more clearly that they were violating the terms of the decree which had been made.
THE SEVENTY WEEKS,
This, then, cannot be the decree.
(3.) Artaxerxes's decree to Ezra (vii. 7-11). This decree is
This, then, cannot be the decree referred to.
(4.) Artaxerxes's decree to Nehemiah (ii. 1-5). This is declared
gates,” and its “houses." We read of nothing
This, then, must be the decree referred to in Dan. ix. 25,* whatever may
be the difficulties created or removed. Those who have theories must be prepared to correct them, those who have them not, will be prepared to learn.
It is difficult to imagine how any should have missed the plain, and apparently unmistakable, language of verses 26 and 27.
* It should be noted that Daniel's prayer had been about " the city," — see Dan. ix. 16, 18, 19, 24, 25.
+ There can be little or no doubt that the 20th year of Artaxerxes was B.C. 455. It was so originally put in our English version. But Bishop Lloyd, at a subsequent revision, altered it to B.C. 445, to make it agree with a theory of his own, and it so stands at the present moment in our Bibles. But Petavius, Vitringa, Kruger, Hengstenberg, Tregelles, and others, all agree with Ussher's date, and make it 455 B.C.
It may be well to add here, to make this part of the subject complete, that there are 3 periods in Dan. ix., viz. :-7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week, making in all 70 sevens or hebdomads (as the word means). After seven weeks and “threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off” (Dan. ix. 26). Therefore, at the end of (7 + 7 =), 49 years + (62 + 7 =
434 years, which together make 483 years, Messiah was to be cut off. This brings us to A.D. 29 inasmuch as 455 + 29 makes 484 or rather 483 years, allowing one year for the adjustment of the two eras (it being only one year from Jan. 1 B.C. 1 to Jan. 1 A.D. 1). All the best authorities agree in making the Crucifixion A.D. 29 ; but we need go no further here than our own Bibles, for the date of our Lord's birth is given, at the beginning of the Gospels, as “ Before the account called Anno Domini the fourth year," or “The fourth year before the common account called Anno Domini.”
In Luke iii. 23, it is stated that Jesus at His baptism was “about thirty years of age." His ministry is on all hands allowed to have been about three years, and yet at the close of the Gospels the date of the crucifixion (or“ cutting off of Messiab ") is given as A.D. 33. But if He were born four years before A.D. this would of necessity be A.D. 29.
For the restoration and rebuilding of the city having been foretold in v. 25, its destruction is also foretold in v. 26. The agents are " the people of the prince that shall come.” As the destruction of Jerusalem was by the Romans," the prince that shall come " must also be a Roman.
Moreover, “ the prince" is the nominative to the verbs “confirm,” &c., in v. 27, expressed by the pronoun “ he—” “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.”
Could any have referred this to the Messiah, if they had noticed that this covenant” is mentioned again in other passages as having been made and broken by "the prince of the covenant" Dan. xi. 22, (who is the same as “the vile person ” xi. 21, and “ the little horn,” viii. 9, 23-25) ? By him the covenant is made and afterwards broken, xi. 28, 30, 32. This cannot be the Messiah, nor is it the Messiah who causes o the sacrifice and oblation to cease ” in the midst of the last week (which is still future), as is clear from viii. 11-13, xi. 31, and xii. 11, where it is also connected with the setting up of the “ abomination of desolation." Let those who doubt read carefully and accurately the passages referred to in this paragraph.
The 26th verse describes the present dispensation from the crucifixion of Christ to the rise of the Anti-Christ, while the 27th verse describes the last week (or 7 years of Anti-Christ's actings), divided as it is into two parts of 1260 days, and 31 years or 42 months. *
E. W. BULLINGER, D.D.
DANTE IN THE PULPIT. CLASS of theological ideas is gathered from sermons, songs, and
prayers; from hymn-books, newspaper articles, and works of pious fiction of the dramatic order, like Milton's “ Paradise Lost ;" or, if urgent motive to repentance is wanted, from Dante's Inferno. We have heard of the fame of Homer, the Grecian bard ; yet the influence of Dante has been nearly as great. The Inferno has penetrated the world. If images of horror are sought after, it is to
* The following diagram illustrates the whole 70 weeks:
Seventy weeks are determined upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city," &c.
his works that all subsequent ages have turned. We are told that when the historians of the French Revolution wished to convey an idea of the utmost agonies they were called on to pourtray, they contented themselves with saying it equalled all that the imagination of Dante had conceived of the terrible. Modern novelists, as well as modern ministers, have found in his prolific mind the storehouse from which they have drawn their noblest imagery, the chord by which to strike the profoundest feelings of the human heart. Revivalists, so-called, have obtained their outfit of horrid imagery here, and Inferno, with its unequalled and exhaustless stores, has been laid under tribute. Long since, eighty editions of his poems had been published in Europe, and yet the demand increases. Scholars claim that Milton himself was largely indebted to Dante's poems for many of his most powerful images. Byron is said to
. have inherited, at first or second hand, his poetic mantle, and borrowed from the same source his most moving conceptions; while Schiller wove them artfully in a noble historic mirror, and they inspired the dreams of Goethe.
I have read his great poem, " Divina Commedia," with admiration of the ability of its author. It consists of dialogues, descriptions, and didactic precepts. It is a vision of the realms of everlasting punishment, of expiation or purgatory, and of bliss, in the invisible world ; visions not found in the Bible. I wish to quote some of his imagery of the infernal regions, as a sample of much more that the clergy have read and appropriated, who preach the Gospel (?) of eternal torture, after the style, not of the Bible but Dante. By way of introduction I may say that Dante was born at Florence, Italy, 1265 ; a dark period, surely, His teacher was Brunetto Latini, and Dante profited by his instructions. His talents and his feelings were precocious, for he fell in love with Beatrice, whom he afterwards immortalized in verse, at the tender age of ten years. He did not marry his first love, but at the age of twenty-six he wedded another, with whom he lived unhappily for a time and then parted. He was an ardent Catholic, and wrote several poetical works; but the one I have named gave him the greatest fame. It consists of three parts—hell, purgatory, and heaven. Of it, a writer justly says:
“In this astonishing production, Dante does indeed 'on horror's head horrors accumulate.' For boundless and wild imagination, for gloomy grandeur, for terrific energy, it has no superior; while, on the other hand, it often charms by exquisite sweetness, simplicity, and grace.” The best English translation is Cary's. Dante died at Ravenna, Sept. 14, 1321. Let me now quote a collection of awful images in a few lines.
Of hell he says:
Accents of anger, voices deep and hoarse,
No hope may entertain.”- Inferno, c. 3.
“ To linger in eternal pain,
And death forever fly." We know the sentiment concerning death to be unscriptural, therefore unsound, hence we reject it. In the above Dante is portrayed to the life. What a collection of awful images in a few lines ! Poor creatures! God is not good enough to allow them even the “hope of death !" Next mark the lines of Inferno, when the gates of hell were approached, and the inscription over them appeared. Behold the dismal word-painting :
“Through me you pass into the city of woo;
All hope abandon, ye who enter here."—c. 3. What a strange use of language here ; “ power," “ wisdom," and “love !"- all concerned in building a place of useless torture of the most unspeakably awful kind! Dante, being exalted politically, and the opposite party getting the victory, he was degraded and sentenced to death by burning; but escaping, wandered a fugitive. This explains the melancholy tone which pervades his writings. In them he seemed to take vengeance on the generation which had persecuted and exiled him, by picturing before them such a hell as he thought they richly deserved. In the monastery of Santa Croce di Fonte Avellana, a wild and solitary retreat in the territory of Gubbio, and in a tower belonging to the Conte Falcucci, in the same district, his immortal work was written. Hear him describe the third circle in hell, on whom burning sand falls perpetually :
“ Of naked spirits many a flock I saw,