« PreviousContinue »
authority under his immediate sanction: this perfectly accords with Popery, but by no means so with Mohammedism, which has ever been in direct opposition to the papal Roman empire, and against which repeated crusades have been undertaken.
- The second beast is allowed by the Archdeacon to be the same as the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast ; therefore the little horn must, according to his scheme, typify at once both Popery and Mohammedism*: but what is there in the character of this little horn, which can reasonably induce us to suppose that it denotes tro entirely distinct religious powers? All the other horns of all the other beasts represent each a single power homogeneity therefore forbids us to suppose that it alone represents two. Its actions equally forbid such a supposition. Like those of the second apocalyptic beast, they are strictly the actions of one. The little horn, for instance, subverts three of the other horns. Popery and Mohammedism cannot both usubvert the self-same three horns : and, if they had each subverted three, then their common symbol the little horn would have subverted six. But Mohammedism never subverted any three, and the little horn does subvert three: therefore Mohammedism can have no connection with the little horn. The truth of these observations will yetfurther appear, if we consider the character of the mystic cpocalyptic harlot. This character is so strongly drawn, that the Archdeacon cannot but confine it to the papal apostasy. Hience, in order to preserve consistency, he is obliged to say, that the harlot is not absolutely the same as the second beast or the false prophet, but only as one of his two hornst. Yet, to any unprejudiced reader the harlot must appear to perform exactly the same part to the ten-horned beast described in the 17th chapter, that the second beast does to the ten-horned beast in the 13th chapter, and the little horn to the ten-horned beast in the 7th chapter of Daniel. The Archdeacon indeed himself both draws out in three columns the parallelism of the little horn, the second apocalyptic beast, and the man of sin; and eisewhere parallelizes in two columns the false prophet or the second upocalyptic beast, and the harlot.. What then can we con
p. 436, 457.
p. 354, 423.
clude, but that all three denote one and the same power, whatever that power may be; and consequently, since the harlor and the man of sin are exclusively the papal power, that both the others must be exclusively the papal power likewise *? Before this subject is altogether dismissed, I must remark, that the Archdeacon has adduced some very forcible arguments to prove that the second apocalyptic beast cannot denote, as it hath recently been conjectured, the infidel democratic power of France t. He seems to me likewise to describe most jestly the motives of the kings in stripping the harlot. “This “ hostility between the kings and the harlot,” sayshe, "does not " seem to proceed from any virtue in them, but fruin worldly “ avarice and ambition. They covet her power and her “ riches; and this change in their conduct seems to take " place from the time when they awake from their intoxica“ tion. They, who had been the means of exalting the
harlot, become the instruments of her falli."
The Archdeacon, I am persuaded, will not be offended at the freedom of these remarks. If we be rapidly approaching to the time of the end, as there is abundant reason to believe that we are, we certainly ought to redouble our caution in admitting any exposition of prophecy which will not stand the test of the strictest examination. It is by the running to and fro of many that knowledge is increased: and every person, that attempts to unfold the sacred oracles of God, ought not only to expect, but to desire, that his writings should be even severely scrutinized. He may indeed fairly demand, that he should be treated with civility: but, while he deprecates the offensive illiberality of sarcasm and the disgusting coarseness of vulgar scurrility, by some esteemed the very acmè of wit and perfection of criticism, he ought never to shrink from the manly sincerity of calm and dispassionate investigation. I cannot conclude with greater propriety than in the words of the Archdeacon himself. “Truth, in this important research, is, “ I hope, as it ought to be, my principal concern: and I shall “ rejoice to see these sacred prophecies truly interpreted,
though the correction of my mistakes should lay the four“ dation of so desireable a superstructures."
A pamphlet has been recently published by Mr. Nisbett; on the man of sin, in which, reviving the opinions of some former commentators, he endeavours to prove, that by thai mysterious character we are to understand the Jewish nation considered collectively; by his apostasy, the revolt of the Jews from the Romans; and by the coming of Christ to destroy him, the figurative manifestation of our Lord in the destruction of Jerusalem.
As I have written nothing myself on the subject, but have only expressed my unreserved approbation of what Bp. Newton has said on it, it might appear officious in me to animadvert upon Mr. Nisbett's pamphlet if he had not done me the honour to introduce my name into it. Because I deny the Pope to be the atheistical Antichrist of St. John and the wilful king of Daniel, he thinks I make a strange inference when I assert, that the prophecy respecting the man of sin has been accomplished in the Papacy; and, since (according to his idea) the church of Rome is not properly and strictly speaking apostate, he conceives, that the inference should have been; even according to my own principles, that the prophecy was not accomplished in the Popes *. He elsewhere charges me with having marred the symmetry of my system, by connecting together St. Paul's prediction and the Apocalypse without a shadow of proof that they are so connected; inasmuch as I have denied (so Mr. Nisbett asserts) the church of Rome to be an apostate church throughout the whole of my work t.
While I acknowledge my obligations to Mr. Nisbett for the polite manner in which he has spoken of me, I cannot refrain from expressing my surprize that he should hazard such very unguarded assertions. I draw no inference from my denial of the Pope's being Antichrist and the wilful king, that the prophecy respecting the man of sin has been accomplished in the Papacy: I merely aflert, on the authority of Bp. Newton's Dissertation, that that prophecy has been exactly accomplished
in the Papacy; and deny, that the prophecies either of Antichrist or the wilful king have been accomplished in the Papacy. This opinion I still hold; but, as for an inference, I drew none whatsoever.
Because Mr. Nisbett takes up the idea, that Apostasy, when understood in a religious sense, must mean an ahjuration of Christianity, he censures me for applying the apostasy of the man of sin to Popery, and charges me with being guilty of a manifest inconsistency. Before he passed this censure, he ought to have shewn, both that such must be the exclusite meaning of a religious apostasy, and that I maintained such to be the meaning of it. He has done neither. For my own part, so far from subscribing to the propriety of his definition, I directly controvert it. A religious apostasy is simply a departure from the purity of the faith; and may be to a greater, or to a smaller, extent. It by no means necessarily involves a formal abjuration of Christianity. Accordingly St. Paul considers the giviug heed to seducing spirits and doctrines concerning demons as sufficient to constitute men apostates, though they should not go the length of renouncing the whole of the faith : and, upon this apostolical authority, Mede and Newton scruple not to pronounce the corrupt church of Rome to be an apostate church. In this sense therefore of the word Apostasy, I have been guilty of no inconsistency in applying the Apostasy of the latter days and the man of sin to Popery: in Mr. Nisbett's sense of the word, I never thought of so applying it.
He further declares, that throughout my whole work I deny the church of Rome to be apostate. This assertion), like the former one, is made, I apprehend, on the ground that religious apostasy must exclusively mean a direct abjuration of Christianity. At least I can account for it in no other way:
So far from my denying the Church of Rome to be apostate in St. Paul's sense of the word, the whole of my work is built on the principle its being apostate. In my very title-page, the papal superstįtion is styled the papal apostasy. At the very opening of my work, I carefully discriminate between individual apostasy, and the quthorized apostasy of a community. And, through
out the whole treatise, the words apostate and apostasy repeatedly occur in application to the church of Rome.
He says, that I connect St. Paul's prophecy and the Apocalypse together without a shadow of proof. This is a very unfair representation. It is true, I no where prove their connection, because I professedly avoid discussing the character of the mun of sin: but, when I unreservedly declare my assent to Bp. Newton's exposition of his character, it is obvious that for the proof of its connection with the Apocalypse I refer the reader to the Bishop's exposition. This connection his Lordship appears to me to have proved almost beyond a possibility of doubt.
Here I might fairly be allowed to stop, but the love of truth induces me to add a few more observations. As for Bp. Newton, his Dissertation requires no defence either by me or by any other person. He has so fully considered the matter, that he has altogether exhausted the subject. He has shewn, completely to my own satisfaction, that the prophecy agrees in every particular with its supposed completion; and consequently, according to a rule of my own which Mr. Nisbett honours with the flattering appellation of excellent, I must allow his interpretation to be valid. Respecting the Bishop therefore I shall say nothing, but shall proceed to examine how far his opponent's system will bear to be tried by the
If the man of sin be the whole body of the Jewish nation previous to the sacking of Jerusalem, then that nation must have performed all that is ascribed to the man of sin.
Now the man of sin is said to have sat in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. How did the Jewish nation do this? Mr. Nisbett refers us to the conduct of the High Priest and the Sanhedrim. Because these commanded the aposties not to speak in the name of Jesus, and because they held their court in the temple, they arrogated to themselves a divine authority, and might therefore be said to sit in the temple of God-But how was this actually shewing themselves that they were God? They did what many secular governments have likewise done: they opposed the propagation of