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• The continued expectation of the Messiah," says Dr. Lardner, " as a worldly king and conqueror, and their un“ easiness under the Roman yoke, were the immediate occa65 sions of their rebelling against the authority to which they

were then subject. And the same principles that induced 5 them to reject and crucify Jesus, brought upon them their 56 utter and final ruin." *

Here then, it should seem was the very characteristic feature of the Man of Sin, described by the Apostle-who exalted himself above all that was called a God or that was worshipped above the imperial majesty and dignity of Cæsar himself-the highest of earthly Gods. And what is particularly worthy of the notice of the judicious and attentive Reader is, that this description of the Apostle is, in the closest manner connected with that coming of the Messiah with which the Jews, though fallaciously, connected their expectations of universal empire, and for the sake of obtaining which, they apostatized, or rebelled against the Romans. Is it necessary to say a word more to render it, in the highest degree probable, that the Apostle meant to describe this distinguished trait of the character of the Jewish nation ?

“ But allowing," says Bishop Hallifax," that by opposing " and exalting himself above all, or every one, that is called a " Godmor that is worshipped-may be only meant, that the « Man of Sin should exercise, a super-eminent jurisdiétion

over the Kings and Princes of this world; it must still be 66 acknowledged, that when it is added besides, of this "6 Monster of Iniquity, that he should assume to himself a

sovereignty never before asserted or so much as thought " of by any earthly Monarch, however absolute in other in.

stances-should aspire to rule as God, in the Temple or “ Church of God; and in consequence of his usurped “ occupancy of that holy place, should presume to shew « himself that he is God; arrogating more than human ho

nours, and claiming to partake of the incommunicable ate « tributes of the Supreme Being, by diabolical pretences to lying wonders, calculated to impose only on those who

believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness : 66 These things are utterly incompatible with all our notions

Sec Lardaer's Jewish Antiquities, Vol. I. page 70. Quarto.

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66 of

B of seculas dominion, and must be conceived as the una 56 doubted marks of an Ecclesiastic Tyranny.” * .. Although there appears to be no reason to doubt the propriety of the learned Bishop's conclusion, that St. Paul's description of the Man of Sin contains in it, the undoubted marks of an Ecclesiastical Tyranny---yet it is unquestionable that the Church of Rome was not the first to arrogate to itself such a tyranny, and to aspire to rule as God, in the Temple of God for the Gospel History will furnish abundant evidence that the Jewish nation were their precursors in the infamy of having assumed a sovereignty which had all the marks of an Ecclesiastical Tyranny.

The resemblance of the portrait drawn by the Apostle, it will readily be allowed, is remarkably striking as exhibited in the Rómish church. And, indeed, it is ever to be las mented that there were, in that church, so many melancholy and affecting proofs of an enormous spiritual tyranny having existed in it, and such as must be an eternal monument of the Anti-christian spirit, by which she has been governed, But were not the Jewish Rulers in our Saviour's time actuated by the same spirit? Did riot our Lord tell them to their faces that they shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, and that they would neither go in themselves, nor suffer others who were entering to go in ? Are we not told that when St. Paul had informed the Jews of his having received a com: mission to go to the Gentilesamthat they no sooner heard this declaration than they immediately lifted up their voices and said-Away with such a fellow from the earths for it is not fit that he should live. Nay, did not St. Paul himself call the Jews, ás a Nation-the common enemies of mankind, and that in a letter addressed to these very Thessalonians ? And what was the reason which he gave for his so stigmatizing them ? Was it not because they forbad the Christian Teachers, and among the rest ST. PAUL,. even to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved? And what was this but Spiritual Tyranny and usurpation in the esttreme, and arrogating a despotic sovereignty over the minds of men ? Nay, could it be carried farther than this, even by the Romish Church, in the pleni: tude of her Anti-christian Tyranny Ard is it wonderful that St. Paul should have expressed his unqualified sense of the

* See Hallifax on the Prophecies, pages 143, 144.

iniquity

aniquity of sucả gross usurpation of the prerogative of God, especially as he had himself so frequently been the viktim of

their tyranny ?. What was sitting in the Temple of God, and shewing themselves as if they were God, if confining the divine favor exclusively to themselves, and dictating the terms of salvation, was not? If the Jews could have had their will or could have accomplished their purpose, either by force of fraud would not the whole Gentile world have remained to this day in the darkness of heathenism, and instead of wor. shiping the one living and true God, been, at this moment, worshipping stocks and stones, the works of their own hands? In a word - Is not the whole history of the Acts of the Apostles an irrefragable proof that this characteristic feat. ture of the Man of Sin, belonged to none, with more strict propriety, than to the Jews as a nation?

The learned Dr. Benson, in his Dissertation on the Man of Sin, page 176, readily allows that the Scribes and Pharisees did arrogate to themselves a divine authority, and therefore might be said to sit in the temple of God: “Yet," he says, 66 the Apostle could not foretel that as a future event. They $ did so already, and for some time they had done so." But has this learned Writer distinguished, with sufficient accuracy, what the Apostle speaks of as future, and what had already taken place The Apostle Paul most unquestionably speaks of the apostasy which was to precede the coming of Christ or rather the full manifestation, by the destruktion of Jerusalem; of the true nature of his coming, aš yet future. He speaks of the lawless one, as yet to be revealed : But, as if he meant accurately to distinguish what then existed from what was yet future

he speaks of the Man of Sin as then actually opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God-or that is worshipped and as sitting in the temple of God, &c. for the verbs are, in the original, as well as in the translation, all in the present tense, It seems therefore to have been an hasty and unwarrantable assertion that, " the Apostle is all

along to be understood in the future tense.

It may, indeed, possibly be objected to the interpretation hêre adopted, particularly, as it respects the Jews grasping at universal empire--that they never did attain to it, and that therefore they could not have been the objects intended by the Apostle. But to this it may be replied, that it may, fairly, be doubted, whether the Apostle's language amounts

to

to a declaration that they had actually attained to that empire; for his words are, who opposeth and exalteth himself-ror rather, who is opposing and exalting himself. And it is not a little remarkable, that that able Scholar and judicious Divine Dr. Jortin, when referring to this very passage says, * 56 That verbs active sometimes signify a design and endea66 vour to perform a thing, whether it be accomplished or 66 not,” Dr. Benson has likewise said that, “ If the Man of Sin, should attempt to exalt himself above

every

Poten, “ tate, it would answer this prediction, though some should “ with difficulty, or not at all, submit to him." +

But to proceed--The Apostle goes on, in the 6th verse, to tell the Thessalonians that they were well acquainted with the hindrances of the full revelation of the Man of Sin, &c. And now, says he, Ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. There seems to be some difficulty in ascertaining, with precision, what it was to which the Apostle here alludes—as with-holding # the full revelation of the Man of Sin-but this difficulty appears not to be peculiar to the hypothesis here espoused. One thing, however, is certain, viz, that though we may be ignorant what this restraining power was—the Thessalonians, most certainly were not. And it is a remarkable circumstance in the Apostle's account of the matter, that he expressly asserts of the Mystery of Iniquity—that it was already working, s though he

* See Jortin's Discourses on the Christian Religion, 2d Edit. p. 185.

+ See Benson in loc. # The following Note of Mr. Hardy is well worth the perusal. 66 EZ

nunc quid detineat. sc. moretur adventum Christi-. nempè Romanus impe. “ rator; sicut sæpe neutrum nomen etiam de personis ponitur. Mens ". Apostoli est, non priùs revelandum esse Antichristum, quàm deletum aç dissolutum sit Romanum imperium; id vero apertè Paulus dicere noluit, “ nè calumniain pateretur, quasi Romano imperio, quod æternum fore “sperabat, malè optaret, et occasionem præberet persequendi Christianos."

$ It is difficult to reconcile what Bishop Hallifax has said upon this subject; for in page 141, he has observed, “ that the beginnings of the Apose

tacy were discernible when St. Paul wrote his Second Epistle to the “ Thessalonians”.--but in page 163 he says, that “ at the time this pro" phecy was written by St. Paul, there was not, and had not been, the « slightest vestige of a power resembling that foretold, in any part of the " then known world ;" and he adds..." judging from appearances only... " there was not the least likelihood that any such should arise, mnch less " that it should originate in a Church so averse to worldly Grandeur, as

that of Christ."

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who let would continue to let, till he should be taken out of the way.

The conjecture of the learned Dr. Whitby concerning the power which let-or hindered the full revelation of the Man of Sin by the rebellion, or Apostasy, of the Jews against the Romans, appears to have much probability in it, and as such, it is here presented to the Reader, for his candid and attentive perusal. After having mentioned the opinion which has been espoused by the advocates for the application of St. Paul's language to the Church of Rome, he says, " My conjecture is this. of He who now letteth, i.e. the Emperor Claudius, will let, till he 66 be taken

he will hinder the Jews from breaking " out into an open rebellion, in his time, they being so signally " and particularly obliged by him, that they cannot for shame, " think of revolting from his government ; for he had made 66 two Edicts in their favour; the one concerning the Alex“ andrian Jews, to this effect, that the just Jews should 66 suffer nothing because of the madness of Caius, who would “ be worshipped as a God, and that they should have liberty o to observe their own laws and customs. And that other “ Edict, in which he gives them liberty over his whole Ems pire, without molestation to observe their own laws and

customs, declaring that he did it because he judged them 66 worthy of that favour, for their affection and fidelity to of the Roman Government.

• After his death, the affairs of the Jews, saith Josephus, “ became worse and worse, not only by reason of those Ma“ gicians who deceived the people, and of those Thieves who or stirred them up to the war against the Romans, persuading " them not to be subject to them, but because Nero sent a 66 letter to Portius Festus, Governor of Judea, by which the " Jews were deprived of their equal share of government “ in Cæsarea; whence, saith Josephus, was the rise of all " our calamities; the Jews persisting still in sedition, till 66 they broke out into the war. In the seventh of Nero, ss Albinus succeeded Festus, then dead, who, saith Josephus “ was one who exceedingly wasted the country, and laid the “ seeds of their future captivity. In the ioth of Nero, * Gessius Florus succeeded him, who brought many cala“ mities upon the Jews, saith Josephus, which having

tragically represented, he concludes thus - What shall i “ say more? For it was this Florus, who compelled us to

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