Page images

of pre-arranged and harmonious combinations among the Scriptural numbers, as may at least serve to show that the use of such a calculus as is found in the book of Enoch, is no proof that

it has been a forgery of comparatively modern times.


IF we justly attach the greatest importance to the combination and coincidence of the various facts which are contained in the prophetic Scriptures, it appears that we shall also rightly consider with the greatest attention, those indications of a definite and connected design as to duration, which are traceable in the various numbers which are referred to by the successive prophecies of Daniel and St. John.

If indeed we should fail in tracing any relation of times successively indicated by the prophetic Scriptures, this will only shew that our materials are insufficient for such purpose, while we should still conclude from the analogy of all creation, that the same admirably complete and connected

design, must be comprehended in this, as in every other portion of the works of God.

The utmost intricacy of mutual dependence has been proved to exist from the highest to the most minute objects of the creation, and the existence of each little pendent flower, in fruitfulness and health, has been traced to its relation with the mass of the earth; so that if the force of gravity were altered, by an increase or decrease of the globe, the strength given to each stem of such a flower, would require a proportionate alteration, in order to maintain its

curve unvaried.


The various evidences of combination in the design of the laws under which not only the planets move with relation to the sun, but their satellites in relation to the planets themselves, have especially made the phenomena of astronomy a series of examples, from which we not only infer combination as to bulk and form, but the greatest exactness of adjustment as to time; so that we reckon with the utmost confidence on the regularity with which the heavenly bodies fulfil their several periods, exhibiting therein a

precision, which must extend to the whole time of their existence.

Hence it may be inferred, that the period spoken of in the Scripture as "the time while "the earth remaineth," must necessarily bear some definite proportion, to the cycles of astronomy; and as this period, whatever it be, must be necessarily coincident with the period of the continuance of the solar system under its present organization, so must it also bear some definite proportion to the duration appointed for every individual in the succession of persons, and every single object in the successive period of created things inanimate, which shall have been accumulated from the first sabbath of God's rest, till the day wherein "the elements shall be dis"solved with burning heat."

But if the heavens present to our eyes the symbols of that exactness of order, which is evidently preserved by God in the arrangement of successive periods of time, and of the events belonging to each; it will be probable that the relative harmony which, as to magnitude and form, is visible throughout the creation, will also subsist as to time; every day and year being so

ordered, that if the connexion and arrangement of the events dependent on it could be discerned, as to their most remote as well as their immediate effects, there would be found the same lucid order, and the same connexion between each portion of time when compared with preceding and subsequent periods, as can be more certainly and fully developed with regard to the forms and qualities of every various class of the visible creation.

If then it be admitted, that the duration of the world is certainly pre-ordained of God, it will not be denied that the principal events of that duration must have to each other, and to the whole of the successive dispensations ordained by our Creator, a distinct and determinate relation, not only as to the fitness of their succession, but as to the absolute time at which each shall come to pass, till all be at length fulfilled.

But as the importance of that moral history of mankind which has been recorded in the revealed word of God, is far greater than that of any merely secular events, because with it are connected all the hopes and fears, the promises

« PreviousContinue »