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ings, in matters temporal and spiritual, as being the vicar of Christ, and the representative of God. - The nature of his government is different from that of the other kingdoms of Europe, having an ecclesiastical supremacy joined to the temporal power. His rage for propagating idolatry ; his intolerant spirit exerted frequently, extenfively, and violently, in persecuting those who have adhered to God's written word; his attempts to alter or 'annul the eternal laws of God, by dispenfations and indulgencies, and to establish, by his own authority, as pretended head of the Church, a mode of worship diametrically opposite to that which pure Christianity enjoins, are facts which the annals of Europe fully ascertain.'
“ These things were not done in a corner.” “ He that runneth, may read.” · In the with chapter of Daniel, the spirit of prophecy having introduced the fame arrogant opponent of the Deity mentioned before, illuftrates more particularly the circumstances of his opposition; that he should not “ regard the $ God of his fathers, nor the defire of women," (or wives, as it might be rendered ;) that instead of the God of his fathers, he “ should ho"nour the god of forces, (God's:protectors,) “ with gold and silver, and with precious “ stones, and pleafant things.” That he should
succeed for the defenders or priests' of those gods-protectors, so as to cause them “ have rule
over many, and divide the land among them 6 for their reward."
Now though the Pope, by his authority, has not established nominally the Pagan superstition of an. cient Rome; yet he has enjoined celibacy to the clergy, and such as devote themselves to a religious life ; instead of the demon-worship of the ancients, he has established that of faints and angels, under the notion of their being protec. tors to individuals, families, provinces, and kingdoms. He has persuaded men to build temples, and confecrate offerings to them ; and these offerings.consist of gold, silver, precious stones, pleasant vessels, and ornaments of various kinds.
(1).I take the liberty, of differing from Mede in his translation of this passage. The word Asah is repeatedly translated, fucceed, in the former part of the chapter, par. ticularly ver. 28. The word translated ftrong holds, is allowed to be a figurative expression here, and therefore equally applicable to the priests as to the temples ; but the sense of the passage restricts it to the priests. It could be no gain or reward to saints and angels, that temples were erected, and that they were worshipped , but it was certainly great gain to the priests. Besides, the construction requires this translation; for the particle Le, for, is joincd to the word Wichtsui, defenders, not to Meham, protectors, as it ought to have been, according to Mede's translation.
He has succeeded so far as to render the clergy that support his worship, objects of veneration to the multitude; he has introduced them into the courts of princes as their confeffors and counsellors, and procured a great part of the revenues and lands of Europe to be divided among them for their reward.
As the time approached when this extraordinary character should appear, the spiritof prophecy more clearly unfolded the circumstances respecting him, which were before wrapped up in mystery. After all that is revealed to Daniel, it remained still uncertain, Whether this opponent of the Deity should be a secret or an open ene
. my? How his government should be divers from the other governments contemporary with him ? Upon what grounds he should claim such unli. mited authority? And by what means he should establish that authority in the world ? But we have an illustration of these particulars in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, chap. ii. ver. 3.-12. The passage affords to the unprejudiced mind a satisfactory answer to these feveral queries. The apostle intimates, “ that there “ should be a falling away first, and that then " that man of sin should be revealed,” that is, that there should be an apoftasy from the faith, which would produce Antichrift. At the same time, by the apostasy mentioned, he could not mean an absolute renunciation of the Christian name, for he calls it “a mystery of
iniquity,” and hints that the beginning of it appeared in his own time : “ It doth already " work;" of course he must have in view Hymeneus and Philetus, and others, who fell away from the true doctrines and pure precepts of Christianity, while they adhered to the profeffion of it ; so that the man of sin could not be an avowed, but secret enemy, who, under the mask of an outward profession of Christianity, should contradict its doctrines, and counteract its precepts.
Again, he represents him as “ fitting in the “ temple of God." The Jewish Doctors fat when they taught; the temple, in the language of the New Testament, fignifies the church. By the expression, therefore, the apostle intimates, that this extraordinary person should claim and exercise the office of a paftor or teacher in that fociety, which is by profession the church of Christ. This ecclefiaftical authority, together with the civil dominion represent. ed in Daniel, must form a government different from that of the contemporary princes.
He further asserts, that" he sitteth in the tem.
ple of God, as God, shewing himself that he “ is God,” which implies that Antichrist would not expressly deny God, but claim a delegated N
authority from him, as being his visible represen, tative, at the same time using that authority, In opposing God and exalting himself. In perfect correspondence with this idea, the Bishop of Rome claims authority to alter the laws of God, as being the vicegerent of God on earth, the visible head of the church, and the visible judge of controversy.
: The means by which Antichrist would esta; blish his authority in the world, the spirit of prophecy lays before us in these expressions : « His coming is after the working of Satan, with “ all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and “'with all the deceivableness of unrighteousunefs ;” That is, he shall arrive at his authority and power, not in the way in which prin, ces commonly extend their dominions, by open force, but by secret fraud, particularly by pretend. ing to wosk miracles', some of which shall be preternatural, performed by the operation of Sa, tan”, others shall be illusions, performed by slight of hand; together with these, he shall use thie
several (1) The Church of Rome, and her spiritual head affert that miracles are a mark of the true Church ; and chiefly by pretending to this power, they maintained their authò rity in the dark and superstitious ages.
(2) Aliquando fit in Ecclefia (inquit Lyrannus in Dan. c. xiv.), deceptio populi maxima, in miraculis factis a facerdotibus, vel eis adherentibus, propter lucrum tempos Miracula fieri hominibus ad imagines confluenti