A more particular account of the last times in general, and of the latter times of the last times. That the four kingdoms of Daniel are the greatest calendar (as the seventy weeks the lesser calendar) of times. That the times of the fourth or last kingdom (that is, the Roman) are the last times meant in Scripture. That the latter times of the Last times are the latter times of the fourth kingdom, wherein the Great Apostasy should prevail.
Therefore, without any more preambles, I come now directly to resolve what was before propounded, viz., First, What is meant by Last Times in general, whence and how we are to reckon them. And then, in the Second place, What are these Latter Times in my text, which must be, as I said before, a latter part of that general.
true account, therefore, of Times in Scripture, we must have recourse to that SACRED CALENDAR
remain under the bondage of the Gentiles and oppression of Gentilism. But these times once finished, all the kingdoms of this world should become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ. And to this great Calendar of Times, together with that other, but lesser Calendar, of seventy weeks, all mention of times in Scripture seem to have reference.
Now, these four kingdoms (according to the truth infallibly to be demonstrated, if need were, and agreeable both to the ancient opinion of the Jewish Church, whom they most concerned, and to the most ancient and universal opinion of Christians derived from the times of the apostles, until now, of late time, some have questioned it) are, 1. The Babylonians. 2. That of the Medes and Persians. 3. The Greek. 4. The Roman. In which quaternary of kingdoms, as the Roman, being the last of the four, is the last kingdom; so are the times thereof those last times we seek for; during which times (saith Daniel 2: 44) The God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor left unto another people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Which is figured by a stone hewn out of the mountain without hands, before the times of the image were yet spent; which stone at length smote the image upon his feet of iron and clay, and so utterly destroyed it; that done, the stone that smote the image upon the feet became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. The meaning of all which is, that
in the last times, or under the times of the last
kingdom (the Roman), should the
And this is that which the apostle saith, Hebrews 1: 2, God in these last days, or last times, hath spoken to us by his Son: and St. Peter, (I Peter 1: 20,) that he was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times. This is that fulness of time whereof the apostle speaks, Galatians 4: 4, When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman, and Ephesians 1: 9, 10, Having made known to us the mystery of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ. Agreeable unto all which is that, Hebrews 9: 26, Christ hath once appeared, * in the end of times, or ages, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Where these last times, fulness of times, and conclusion of ages, are nothing else but the times of the fourth kingdom, whose times are the last period of Daniels four, the fulness of the Prophetical Chronology, and conclusion of the sacred calendar. During these times Christ was looked for, and accordingly came and reigned; whose kingdom shall at length abolish the brittle remainder of this Romish state, according to the other part of the prophecy, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and our Lord subdue all his enemies under his feet, and at the last even death itself.
Having thus found what times are termed the last times in general, let us now see if we can discover which are the latter times of these last times, or the latter times in special, which are those latter times* in my text: which will not be hard to do. For if the last times in general are all the times of the fourth kingdom, then must our latter times, as a part thereof, needs be the latter times of that kingdom. Let us, therefore, again to our prophetical calendar, and survey Daniels description of the fourth or Roman kingdom, as it is chapter 7, from verse 19, where we shall soon find the latter times thereof to be that period of a time, times and half a time, during which that prodigious horn, with eyes like a man, and a mouth speaking great things, should make war with the saints, prevail against them, and wear them out, and think to change times and laws, until the judgment should sit, and his dominion be taken away; and in him that long-lived beast finally be destroyed, and his body given to the burning flame (verse 11). For this hornish sovereignty is the last scene of that long tragedy, and the conclusion of the fourth beast; and, therefore, the times thereof are those latter times, whereof the Spirit spake expressly, that in them there should be an apostasy from the Christian faith.