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Howel Pt. 4. p. 56, 59. See aljop. 58.
temperaturos jurarunt. Ita Roma Romanufque Ducatus a Gre. scis ad Romanum Pontificem, propter nefandam eorum hærefin im. pietatemque pervenit. Sigon.De Regn.Ital. A.D.724,726,727.
Luitprand having prepar'd all things beforehand for so great an Enterprize, Invades the Exarchate on a sudden, and lays Siege sto Ra'ienna, the Seat of the Governor. Paul, who at present, ..by favonr of Leo the Emperor held that place, we are told by Sigonius, was very much surpriz'd, as from the highest prosperity being on a sudden cast down into the greatest difficulty. But there 6.22'as no such cause of his being surpriz'd, if we consider but what
the fame Author had related but a little before. He tells us in • many words, that Leo the Emperor being at odds with Gregory the Roman Bishop, upon the account of Images, took several courses to make him away, and for that purpose fent Paul as Ex"arch into Italy :who having once attempted it, but to no purpose, the Emperor the following year fent him a Message that if he cou'd not kill, get he should remove him from his Office, and put another
in his room. &c. (as in Sigonius.) - This happen'd but the year « before the Siege of Ravenna: and therefore whether the Exarch. shäd reason to be surpriz'd, or rather ought not to have expected ' fome such matter ; and wherber the Bishop of Rome, who had already join'd the Lombards with bim, was not concern'd, we leave the Reader to judge. - But that the Popes call'd in the Franks to subdue the Lombards; is too well known in History to need any particular Quotations : and that the Popes alfo at last, by abundance of Arts and Tricks, and Excommunications wearied out the Kings of Ita. ly, and the Emperors, till they were forc'd to lose their Dominion there, and acquiesce, is too much the Subject of the History of several Centuries together to be call'd in question by any. And the pernicious and lasting Factions of Guelfes for the Pope, and Gibellines for the Emperors, are but too fad Mopuments of that matter.
Corollary 2. Since also we have already afferted that St. Paul's Man of Sin is the fame with the Little Horn, or Second Beast, we are oblig'd to enquire into his Description and Characters, 10 fee wbether they agree to the Pope and his Ecclefiaftical Hierarchy, as
well as the former descriptions have done. And upon a bare reading of the Text, we fall easily find that it is the most clear and lively description of that Antichristian Preeminence of all the ret; and the leajt wanting of any Illustration or Explication of all others. The words are these.. . Now we beseech you, brethren, by, the coming of our Lord Je- 2Thesl2. 3.' (us Chrift, and by our gathering together unto him, .
&c. 2. That ye be not foon haken in mind, or be troubled, neither by . Spirit, nor by word, nor by Letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3. Let no man deceive you by any means : for that day Mall not come, except there come an apostacy first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition :
4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, for that is worshipped; so that he as God, fitteth in the temple of God, Mewing himself thut he is God.
s. Remember ge not that when I was get with you, I told you these things?
6. And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be re.. . vealed in his time.
7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth, willlet, untill he be taken out of ihe way.
8. And then Wall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Mall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and Mall destroy with the brightness of his coming..
9. Even him whoje coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and figns, and lying wonders. . io. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that peris, because they received not the love of the trwh, that they might be saved. .
il. And for this caufe God sball send them frong delusions that they should believe a lie. . 12. That they all might be damned, who believed not the truth; but had pleasure in unrighteousness. .
This description is to lively and clear, that I look upon it so far from needing any large Paraphrase it self, that it will ferve very well for a Paraphrase on all the other Prophecies hereto relating. On which account, I cannot but wonder at our late
execilent Commentator Dr. Whitby, who allows the agreement of this description to that great Antichrist mention'd in the Re. relation, and yet applys it to the Apostacy of the Jews, either from the Romans, or from Christianity at this time, and so expounds this day and coming of Christ, of the Destruction of Jerusalemon.
ly. I can't here stand to consider his Arguments at large: and I Sealed Book Co- nced not, because they are built on a great mistake,which I've alroll. 186r 2 after ready corrected. I thall only in short hintat a few Reasons, which the Preface. will flew his Exposition to be sufficiently unaccountable. (1.)
What need of all this Sollicitude of St.Paul,to free himself from the scandalof having affirm’d, that the destruction of Jerusalem was
at hand, when the greatest part of that Generation was already past. Matt. xxiv. 34. within which yet our Saviour had expresly asserted that Deltru.
Etion was to come;and when theDr.allows that it was buti6years then future at the writing of this Epistle? (2.) How absurd is it to interpret the tragedia, or folemn coming of Christ in the former Epistle, nay in this Epistle, and in the first verse of this very Chapter, in the beginning of this very Discourse, of his coming to judgment at the last day; and yet in the eight verfe to expound it of his coming to destroy Jerusalem only ? especially when no example can be shown that ever St. Paul uses that word in that ac. ceptation; nay when 'tis very doubtful whether ever it be so us'd in 'the whole New Testament. (3.) How comes the Apostle
to have such a concern to inform the Thessalonians, who were Act.xvij. 4. almost all Gentiles, of the Destruction of Jerusalem in Yudea,
at a thousand Miles distance ? which was of little more conse quence to them than the Destruction of any other Church or City in a remote Country. (4.) Lastly, How comes the Church of the Thessalonians to be in such a Confternation and Disturbance Opgematau, at the fuppofal that Jerufalem would soon be destroy'd: since therein none but the unbelieving Jews, and the Enemies of Christ were to perish; and since it was a place and City lö remote from them?' I do not think that if we in England, were apprehensive that theCity and Territory of Rome, was to be so destroy'd in a dozen or 10 years, that we should be in a great Confusion and Confternation thereupon,and want such pathetic Admonitions and Dehortations as the Apostle uses in the present case: which indeed are as solemn as almost any
in the whole Bible, and can by no means refer to any other coming of our Saviour than that famous one so often spoken of by this Apostle, to set up his Kingdom,and therein to Fudge the World at the last day. But if it be still wonder'd at that St. Paul should here say that the Mystery of Iniquity did already work in Ver. 7. his time, I say, It is not strange that one who knew that the great Man of Sin was to corrupt and spoil the Purity of the Christian Religion, and turn the Mystery of Godliness into a Mystery of Iniquity; and who found already the beginning of such Milchiefs creeping into the Church; and that in some of the very same points which Antichrist was to corrupt; looks upon such beginings of Antichristianism as Preludes, Preparations, and Forerunners of that grand Corruption to come afterward. And this is the obvious meaning of his words: which are almost the very fame with those of St. John, in all probability written after the Destruction of Jerufalem, and so not capable of any such Evasion as is us'd here, as we shall see presently. And it must be obsery'd that such Expressions came the more naturally from these Apostles; because they knew not but the great Antichrilt was to arise very soon afterward; as we have already Coroll. 1, & 2. at large observ'd in the Second Part of this Essay.
after the PreCorollary 3. Since we have therefore hinted at some Expressionsta
face to the Seal in St. John, which seem to relate also to this great Antichrift, it“ will be fit not to pass them over upon this occasion. The words are there. Little children it is the last time : and as ye have heard 1 Joh. ij. 18. that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrifts, whereby we know that it is the last time. Who is a liar but Ver. 22. he that'denyeth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denyeth the Father and the Son. Every spirit which confesleth Chap.iv. 3. not that Jesus Christ is come in the Aesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world. Now in order to understand these words, 10 place this Epistle before the Destru&tion of Jerusalem, when on other accounts it appears to have been written after it; and to interpret o "Arrizers, the grand Anti. christ of the Nation of the Jews in general; and mooi 'Arríxenso, many Antichrists of particular Seducers of that Nation with Dr. Whitby, seems to me a begging of the question, and not a little
absurd. Whereas without any such inconveniencies the whole may easily be thus Paraphras'd, a.d. The Age or Period we are now
in, is certainly the last Age or Period of the World, the last days.ro often spoken of by the Prophets. And this appears by the Preludes
and Preparations for that great Antichrist, whose Period belongs • to this time, and is to last to the very conclusion of this Age ; and
of whom you have so often heard us discourfing. For you may al(ready see many of his temper already corrupting and spoiling the
puré Doctrine of Christianity, and so by degrees making way for obim ; which is an Indication that we are in those last days wherein • he is to appear. And indeed we have reason enough to believe the scaming of fuchan Antichrift, or Opposer of the true and pure ends
of Chriftianity, when we already have those, who in effect deny their Saviour; and thereby deny in some fence the Father, which fent him. And sure every one of these may as well deserve
the name of the Antichrist, the Opposer of Christ and his Religie lon, as even that famous Antichrist whois to come bereafter can do. fo that I think, notwithstanding Dr. Whitby's attempts to the core trary, both St. Paul and St. John do defcribe and bint to us the Same great Antichrist which we meet with in the Revelation ; and if the Dr, had not wav'd the Explication of that Book, which affords So much light to these places, he could hardly have avoided joining with us in our prefent Interpretation of them. .
Scholium. 1. We having at the end of the description of the Second Beast, or Antichrist in the Revelation, an Account of the Name of the First Beast mystically hinted to us by its number 666. we cannot here omit to take notice of it. And indeed I find no better Conjecture hitherto about it than that which Irc. nans thimself, soon after the seeing of these Visions, Ihrewdly (uspected to be it. viz. dania. The Roman or Latin Empire ; as distinguish'd from the Greek, the Persian, the Babylonian, or any other Empire. For as that name does by its Numeral Letters amount to just that Number six hundred fixty fix, as
Sed & LATEINOS nomen habet Sexcentorum sexaginta fex numerum; & valde verifimile eft.quoniam novissimum Regnum hoc habct vocabulum: Latini enim lunt qui nunc regnant. p.449.