Page images

to the faithful maritime power. At the period when these events happen, and that they will happen is revealed with sufficient clearness, we may suppose Antichrist to be in Egypt and Libya : for to what other time, in the course of his whole progress, can we with equal propriety ascribe them? Thus situated, he would plainly receive the intelligence from the north and from the east. From the north and the north-east he would learn, by means of some light vessels, first that the navy of the maritime power was approaching, and afterwards that it had safely reached the coast of Palestine: from the east he would learn, by means of his own fugitive troops which had been stationed in Judea, that the maritime power had completely succeeded in its first attempt, that it had brought back a large body of converted Jews, and that those who had been restored by Antichrist in an unconverted state had suddenly embraced the faith of

wered to the oddeler amb cadinhas protestant Christianity, and had revolted from him to their already believing brethren *. Unless we admit, that either this, or something like it, will be the case; we shall find it no easy matter to account for the fury with which Antichrist is represented, as returning into Judea which he had already subdued, and as besieging Jerusalem which he had already given to his allies the unconverted Jews. For, that certain unbelieving Jews will be converted in Jerusalem, is plainly asserted by Zechariah : and, that the city will afterwards be besieged and taken, is asserted both by Zechariah and Daniel. But all those Jews, who are restored by the maritime power, will return in a converted state ; as is manifest from the language used by Isaiah and Zephaniah. By whom then can the unconverted Jews have been restored, except by Antichrist, who will make himself master of the whole land of Palestine? And why should he afterwards besiege them in Jerusalem, except on account of their conversion mentioned by Zechariah, and their revolt from his cause ? For, if they had not revolted from him after

* A map will explain, how to any person in Egypt news from Palestine must come from the north and the east.

their conversion, no reason can be assigned why he should so bitterly attack them.

Troubled with such unpleasant tidings from the east and from the north, Antichrist hastily quits Egypt and Libya, and retraces his steps to Judea. Going forth in the height of his fury, he threatens to destroy all such as should oppose him : and, calling in the aid of Popish bigotry, he sanctifies his expedition by representing it as a holy crusade against heretics; and, with banners blessed by the false prophet who (as we have reason to believe from the Apocalypse *) will be his attendant t, he devotes many to utter extermination under the blasphe. mous pretext of religion. His wonted success at first attends him. He besieges Jerusalem now occupied by his enemies, and takes it. Here he exercises his usual barbarity; a barbarity, increased ten-fold by the defection of his late allies. The houses are rified, and the women are ravished, by his licentious soldiery. Half of the inhabitants are made captive: but the other half are permitted still to remain in the city, under the control most probably of a strong garrison. Thus does he plant the curtains of his tents between the seas in the glorious holy mountain : and thus is Jerusalem, now for the last time, trodden down of the Gentiles.

During these disasters, the troops of the maritime power appear to have retreated towards the sea-shore, in order that they may be able to regain their ships, if all further resistance should prove fruitless. Here they would doubtless be joined by the great body of their allies, the first converted Jews, and by such of those that were afterwards converted, as were able to effect their escape from the rage of Antichrist. To this devoted host the tyrant now directs his attention. Anticipating an easy victory over his last enemies, either by suddenly cutting them off from their ships, or by compelling them to re-embark, and with proud exultation looking forward to the uncontrolled empire of the civilized world, he leaves Jerusalem, and advances with his whole army to Megiddo. Between this town and the sea we may suppose the troops of the maritime power and the Jews to have taken their position, hopeless probably of victory from their vast disparity in numbers to the huge hosts of their enemy. But the battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift. At this anxious moment, the glory of the Lord is suddenly manifested in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jehovah himself becometh a wall of fire around her. The Almighty Word of God goeth forth, like a man of war, in the greatness of his strength; and all his saints, the innumerable armies of heaven, are with him. His awful commission is from the Most High. For, after the manifestation of the glory, the Lord of hosts sendeth him unto the nations that have spoiled his ancient people; that he may shake his hand over them, that they may become a spoil unto those whom they had made their servants, that they may know that the lord of hosts hath sent him, that they may learn that he who toucheth Judah toucheth the apple of his eye. The tremendous vision halts for a moment on the mount of Olives; which, like Sinai of old, acknowledges a present God, and with a mighty earthquake cleaves asunder in the midst. It then advances to the valley of Megiddo, and hovers over the heads of the palsied troops of Antichrist. The divine Word displays himself to the assembled nations. The

* See Rev. xix. 19, 20.

† Mr. Whitaker conjectures, that the seat of the Papacy will be finally re. moved to Jerusalem. (Comment. on Rev. p. 443.) I think his conjecture by no means improbable. The remarkable passage, contained in Rev. xix. 19, 20, seems at least to favour the belief, that the power of the Papacy, no less than that of Antichrist, will be broken in Palestine.

fạithful look up with awful wonder, knowing that their · redemption draweth nigh. Every eye seeth him ; and they also, his kindred after the flesh, which pierced him, now behold him in his glory. He cometh with clouds : and all kindreds of the Latin earth wail because of him. He descendeth in his wrath : he treadeth the wine-press in the fury of his indignation : his garments are sprinkled with the blood of his enemies.

It appears, from comparing various prophecies toge. ther, that the overthrow of the Antichristian confederacy will be effected partly by supernatural and partly by natural agency. Christ will indeed tread the wine-press alone, for to his sole might will the victory be owing: yet will he likewise use the instrumentality of others. While he miraculously smites his enemies with a dreadful plague, so that their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth; he will send likewise among them a great tumult from the Lord, so that they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. Judah also, summoned to the dreadful task of vengeance by his God, shall take an active part in the destruction of his enemies : for, in that day, the Lord will make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left. Thus will Antichrist come to his end, and none shall help him : thus will the beast now under his last head be taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image. These both will be cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone: and the remnant will be slain with the sword of that Almighty Conqueror who sitteth upon the white horse, the sword that proceedeth out of his mouth ; and all the fowls will be filled with their flesh,

There has been so long a suspension of the visible interpositions of Providence, a suspension nevertheless expressly foretold by Isaiah *, that we are apt in the present day to feel a sort of hesitation in admitting that they will ever be renewed. The Jews perpetually required a sign of the Lord, at the period of his first advent : we, on the contrary, can scarcely bring ourselves to interpret literally even the most express predictions, relative to his miraculous and personal manifestation at the period of his second advent t. Few have felt the influence of this prejudice more than myself: and nothing but a laborious comparison of prophecy with prophecy has enabled me to subdue it. Yet, while I now fully assent to--Mr. Mede's opinion, that there will be some such preterna.

* See Bp. Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xviii. P. 96."

† “ The time for the restoration of the Jews,” says Bp. Horsley, “is no otherwise defined than as the season of our Lord's second advent." (Letter on

tural manifestation, I cannot think that he assigns to it its proper place in the succession of events. He supposes, that it will be the cause of the conversion of the Jews : whereas, according as matters appear to me, they will be

Isaiah xviii. p. 16. See also p. 14.) His Lordship might have added, with Mr. Mede, on the authority of Dan. xii. 6, 7, that the time of their restora. tion is likewise defined to be the season at the expiration of the 1260 years.

As I shall have frequent occasion, in the course of the present work, to mention the second advent of Christ, it may not be amiss briefly to state what I understand by it.

The second advent of Christ is commonly spoken of, from the pulpit and in ordinary conversation, as the time when our Lord will come to judge both the quick and the dead, and to assign to all their everlasting portion either of happi. ness or misery. This notion of it is not perfectly correct. The second advent includes indeed the final destination of the whole race of mankind ; but it includes likewise much more, commencing long before that time which we are wont familiarly to call the day of judgment. In fact, the great day of judgment synchronizes with the whole period of the second advent, comprehending at once the final destination of mankind and many other antecedent particulars. It is necessary to form a clear idea of this point ; otherwise, when it is said that the Jews will be restored at the era of the second advent, the reader might be in danger of imagining that they would not be restored till that era which is familiarly called the day of judgment, that is to say, the final consummnation of all things : whereas, after their restoration and conversion, they are to flourish in their own land during the space of at least 1000 years.

Mr. Mede has treated this subject so well, that I cannot do better than avail myself of his remarks.

" When Daniel's times are done, the Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven, to receive the empire of all the kingdoms of the world. Dan. vii. 14.

“ When St. Luke's times of the Gentiles are finished, then shall be signs in the sun and moon ; the Son of man comes also in the clouds of heaven, the redemption of Israel and the kingdom of God are at hand. Luke sxi. 27, 28, 31.

« The first coming of Christ was to be while the fourth kingdom was yet in being ; the second, when it should end.” Works, B. iv. Epist. 8. p. 744, 745.

" The times of the Gentiles are that last period of the fourth kingdom prophesied of, a time times and half a time ; at the end whereof the angel swears unto Daniel (Chap. xii. 7.) that God should accomplish to scatter the power of the holy people. This is that fulness of the Gentiles, which being come, St. Paul tells us, The deliverer shall come out of Zion, and all Israel shall be saved.Works, B. 111. Treatise on Daniel's Weeks, p. 709.

“ The mother test of Scripture, whence the Church of the Fews grounded the name and expectation of the great day of judgment, with the circumstances thereto belonging, and whereunto almost all the descriptions and expressions thereof in the New Testament have reference, is that vision in the seventh of Daniel of a session of judgment when the fourth beast came to be destroyed": where this great Assises is represented after the manner of the great Synedrion or consistory of Israel ; wherein the pater judicii had his assessores, sit. ting upon seats placed semi-circle wise before him from his right hand to his left. I beheld (saith Daniel Chap. vii. 9.) till the thrones or seats were pitched down (namely for the senators to sit upon, not thrown down, as we of late have it), and the Ancient of days (pater consistorii) did sit. And I beheld, till the judgment was set (that is, the whole Sanhedrim,) and the books were opened.

“ Here we see both the form of judgment delineated, and the name of judgment expressed ; which is afterwards yet twice more repeated : first, in the amplification of the tyranny of the wicked horn (Ver. 21, 22.), which is

« PreviousContinue »