Friday, January 26, 2007

Rome 1670

For some reason, there was a school of reputable people in England and Europe who believed (perhaps more out of hope than anything else) that Rome would be destroyed in the year 1670.

Disaster prophecy always seems to recur throughout history: Millenariansm; the prophecies of the Jehovah`s Witnesses; Chicken Licken.

John Aubrey (March 12, 1626–June 7, 1697) English antiquary and writer, member of the Royal Society, and the author of Brief Lives, in his Miscellanies upon Various Subjects discussed why it was believed that Rome would disappear in 1670.

Written by Mr. JOHN PELL, D.D. from whom I had it.

THEY that called the city of Rome, "Urbs Æterna", seemed to believen that Rome could never be destroyed. But there have been great numbers of men, that did verily believe, that it shall have an irrecoverable over-throw. Writers have proceeded so far, as to foretell the time of Rome's final ruin. Some said that Rome's perdition should happen in the year of Christ 1670, they have now been decried nine whole years: so that few take care to know what reasons moved them to pitch upon that number.

A Lutheran historian, anno 1656, wrote thus, "Finem Jubileorum Ecclesiasticorum omniumque temporum in Scriptura revelatorum, desinere in Annum Christi Millesimum sexcentesimum & septuagesimum, antehac observavit Beatus Gerhardus cum Philippo Nicolao".

But all men are not of Dr. Gerhard's opinion. Many men believe, that some of the prophecies in the Revelations do reach far beyond our times, and that the events of future times will unclasp and unseal a considerable portion of the Apocalypse. One of the reasons, that recommended the number of 1670, was because it is the sum of 410, and 1260.

Historians agree, that in the year of Christ 410, in the month of August, Rome was trampled under foot, and her heathen inhabitants were miserably slaughtered by the victorious army of Alaric, a Christian King of the Goths. Paulus Diaconus saith, August the 24th was the day of King Alaric's taking Rome. Kedrenus saith, it was August the 26th, perhaps the army first entered the 24th, and the King followed not till two days after.

As for the other number 1260. It is twice found in the Revelations of St. John, ch. 11, 3. "My two witnesses shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days." And chap. 12, 6. "Should feed the woman in the Wilderness, a thousand two hundred and threescore days." And it is there expressed in another form, (42 times 30) chap. 11, 2. "The Gentiles shall tread the holy city under foot forty and two months." Chap. 13, 5. "Power was given to the blasphemous beast to continue forty and two months." Chap. 12, 14. "The woman is nourished in the Wilderness for ({Greek text: Kairon kai kaironos kai hemisu kairon}) a season and seasons, and half a season." See Act. 1, 7. 360 and 720, and 180 are equal to 1260. So it seems every {Greek text: kaipo} hath 360 days, or twelve months at thirty days to a month.

No doubt Daniel had given occasion to this expression, chap. 7, 25. " A time, and times, and the dividing of time." No man can ground any distinct reasoning upon such general words. But yet it is not tied to a just number of days, (as 360) but is capable of various interpretations in several prophecies. Daniel useth a plural in both places, and not a dual, (two times and two seasons) nor doth John say, two seasons: but by his Numeral Illustration, he teaches us to understand him, as if he had said, (chap. 12, 14). " For three seasons and half a season:" I say Numeral Illustration. For I take it to be no other than an easy example (12 and 24 and 6 are 42) to direct the sons of the prophets not yet arrived to the skill of dealing with difficult supputations of numbers not then discoverable. As Revel. 13, 18. "Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast."

By 1260 days, almost all the interpreters understand so many years, but not a year of 360 days; because they find no nation that hath so short a year. The Egyptians had a year of just 365 days; but before St. John was born, the Romans had forced them to allow 365 1/4 as we use now in England.

In an enquiry concerning Rome, it is fit to consider the length of a Roman year. (I may justly say a Roman-Moyed; for no city ever had their year's length and form of a calendar determined, settled, and commanded with so much absolute authority as Rome had) Julius Caesar by an edict commanded that number of 365 1/4 to be observed, and therefore it is called a Julian year. Three Julians and an half have days 1278 3/8, but Julian years 1378 3/8 are 1278 Julian years, and days 136 31/32; or almost 137 days.

Almost 100 years ago, Pope Gregory the XIII by a papal bull introduced a calendar wherein the year's length is supposed to have days 365 97/500 Then three Gregorian years and an half have days 1278 279/800 But Gregorian years 1278 279/800 are 1278 Julian years, and days almost 118. Wherefore instead of adding 1260, add 1278, add 137 days to the year of our Lord 410, August 26. The sum shews the year of our Lord 1688, August 163, that is, ten days after the end of December 1688 old stile. This is the utmost, or farthest day, beyond which no Apocalypse account (reckoning from Alaric) can point out a time forthe final destruction of the city of Rome.

Again (instead of adding 1260) add 1278 years, and days 118 to the year of our Lord 410, August 24. The sum shews the year of our Lord 1688, August 142, that is, eleven days before the end of December 1688 old stile. This (December 20) is the nearest or soonest day that can be gathered by Apocalyptic account (reckoning from Alaric) to point out the time of Rome's final ruin. But if it happens not before the eleventh of January, men will make no more reckoning of Alaric; but begin a new account from Attila, in the year of Christ, 453.

Calculation to a day (when we can do it) may be defended by a great example. Exod. 12, 41. "At the end of 430 years, even the self-same day, &c." John Pell."

Moral: Never abandon reason and common sense.