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nothing is more certain than that the Character here given of that Prophecy, to which the Church is admónished to take heed, or pay its attention, confines us tó one, but now, just beginning to attest its divine original-it is a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in our hearts; that is, till a long series of events (yet in the womb of time) shall arise, to give testimony, by degrees, till the whole evidence concludes in one unclouded blaze of conviction. So that the power and coming of our Lord must needs mean his


Yet amongst the Interpreters just before censured, there are some more eminently absurd* than the rest. One of these is even desirous to have it believed, that by this more sure word of Prophecy is to be understood. the Prophecy of ISAIAH, chap. xlii. ver. 1. although the Apostle has characterized this to be a light shining in a dark place, &c. i. e. not as convictive evidence at present, yet being a LIGHT, though shining in a dark place, it deserved our attention, till greater lights should arise, which would afford full conviction.

Now, could this be the Character of a Prophecy of the Old Testament; especially one of ISAIAH's, most of whose Predictions referred to, and had their completion in, JESUS, their great object? The daren and day-star, here spoken of by the Apostle, as of a very distant light, was, in the time of that Prophet, already risen in the hearts of his countrymen, or it would never rise.

Let us, therefore, look out for some more reasonable Paraphrase of the sacred Text.


"That you may be assured (says the Apostle) we "have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we "described to you the power of our Lord at his SECOND

COMING, you should recollect what we have frequently "told you, of his FIRST; having been eye-witnesses of "the Majesty and Miracles attending it, when there "came a voice to him from the exceeding glory, &c."Now, the MIRACLES, which accompanied, and con"firmed his mission, on his FIRST COMING, are surely sufficient to gain credit to what we have, as often, told you, of his SECOND. And, of this capital Truth, God

* See Mr. M.


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"hath been graciously pleased to add still stronger
evidence; by giving us A MORE SURE WORD of
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But the general subject of the EPISTLE will further i support the truth of this Paraphrase.- Tootto HUISO It is a farewell address to the CHURCHES, qn kist baving received intimation, from the holy Spirit, of his approaching Martyrdom.





The Apostle begins with repeating to them [from ver 3d to the 15th that elegant summary of Christian Religion, as was his wont, on all occasions, to inculcate!! But, at this juncture, CONSOLATION being what the afflicted Church most needed, he takes his topic from the REWARDS, now supposed to be approaching, at the second coming of our Lord in the consummation of all› things. PERSECUTION had soothed the Sufferers into this flattering error, which was now become general, and i not likely to be soon redressed, while they continued unable (as they yet were) to distinguish the two parts of which this PREDICTION, Concerning the second coming of our Lord, was composed. Each part had its distinct: completion, commencing at different periods. The first, » when our Lord came to judgment, on the JEWISH PEOPLE, in putting a complete period to their EcoNOMY, by the destruction of their TEMPLE; The other, when ↑ he was to pass judgment on the whole race of mankind, and make a final end of the MUNDANE SYSTEM.



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Or rather, to speak with more exactness, this prediction of the SECOND COMING was delivered in two Prophecies joined together; and, in intimation of the Jewish mode, mixed and interwoven with one another; generally as little understood, at the time of the delivery, as all those of a like import were, which had either a secondary sense, or included a double subject. But for a larger account of these, and particularly of the sort now in question, I beg leave to refer the Reader to the sixth Section of the sixth Book of this Workų pusteno. ¿1:20, A SIT



Such was the Error, which (hs we say) gave birth to the consolatory Epistle he explained.A. Batas alki ERRORS, together with the accidental good, which,q by { the directing hand of Providondays they are made tou See the Discourse on this text, Vol. . ofpokis Edit d


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produce, are easily attended with much evil; so it was here. as mbres

At first, the Error produced sobriety, vigilance, and perseverance in the FAITH. But afterwards, it had a. contrary effect. There shall come in the last days (says? this Apostle) scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and · saying, WHERE IS THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING? For since the Fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation*.

After the censure of this Impiety, the Apostle proceeds to upbraid their ignorance of the natural constitution of the Earth; which is physically ordained to bring on its own destruction, by FIRE, in some future period, as heretofore, by the destruction of WATER: and that the delay" of this dreadful Catastrophe, which affords these scoffs of Impiety, is not owing to the Lord's slackness in the performance of his promise; but to his long-suffering; that all might come to repentancet. He then describes this final dissolution of all things, by firet. Out of which (he tells them) shall arise (according to the pro-. mise of PROPHECY) a new heaven and a new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness§. And with this the FAREWELL EPISTLE concludes:




Such being the subject of it, who can doubt but that a true account of the reasoning in the latter part of the first chapter is here given? and, consequently, that the Apostle's purpose is not to speak of indefinite Prophecies already fulfilled IN, OR UNDER, the OLD TESTAMENT, but of some precise Prophecy to be fulfilled under the NEW; in order as the several parts of it (extending through a course of many Ages) should come into existence.


To THIS the Church of Christ is bid TO TAKE HEED, 'O as to a more sure word of prophecy. But had the description ended here, it would have been much too vague to enjoin our attention in so earnest and particular a manner. The Apostle, therefore, goes on to give it this characteristic Mark-that it was A LIGHT SHINING IN A DARK PLACE. A Prophecy, of which the principal parts were, at that time, surrounded and partly involved in obscurity and darkness; but yet, emitting so

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Ch. iii. 3. & seq. t Ver. 9. 4 Ver. 10, 11, 12. § Ver. 13.




many scattered Rays, as to make a careful observer inclined to think some great scene was just beginning to open, which would, amply reward our attention to this light shining in a dark place, by the change of its condition, first into a dawn; and then, into still clearer dayspring.

The Apostle having thus prepared our way to this SURER WORD, or superior excellence of PROPHECY, proceeds to acquaint us with the very IDENTICAL PROPHECY he had in his eye; which will now appear to be no other than the predictions of St. Paul and St. John concerning ANTICHRIST, or the future fortunes of the Church, under the usurpation of the MAN OF SIN; a prediction elegantly called, by way of eminence, THE WORD OF PROPHECY. For this Man of Sin began to work before the writing of this farewell Epistle. So St. Paul assures US-THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY (says he) DOTH ALREADY WORK *. St. Peter, therefore, towards the conclusion of his Epistle, recurring again, as his subject required, to God's long-suffering, in the delay of his second coming to judge the world, adds, even as our beloved PAUL also, according to the WISDOM given unto him, hath written unto you: as also in all his Epistles,


SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. Now what are these OBSCURE PARTS in St. Paul's Epistles, here characterized, but the Prophecies in St. John's Book of the REVELATIONS concerning ANTICHRIST‡, abridged by St. Paul in his Epistles, and referred to by St. Peters..


2 Thess. ii. 7.

+ Chap. iii. 15, 16.

See Sir Isaac Newton's Observations upon the Apocalypse of St. John, chap. i.

§ See the remainder of this argument in Discourse On the Rise of Antichrist, Vol. x. pp. 165, &c. of this Edit.


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P. 241. [A].

N this point it will be sufficient to refer the reader to those two excellent Writers, Dr., Samuel Clarke and Mr. W. Baxter, for a full Demonstration of the immateriality of that Substance, in which the faculties of sense and reflection reside. [See Clarke's Tracts against Dodwell and Collins, and Baxter on the Nature of the Soul. These Writers have gone much further than Locke and others on the same Subject; who contented themselves, with shewing the possibility, nay, great próbability, that the thinking substance in us is immaterial. [See Locke's Second Reply to the Bishop of Worcester, p. 600. of his Works.] But Clarke and Baxter have clearly proved, from the discovered qualities of a thinking Being, that the Soul cannot possibly be material, whatever undiscovered qualities it may be possessed of. And this conclusion was made (in my opinion) neither rashly nor at random. For, to unsettle our assurance in the truth of their Opinion, their Adversaries must shew that · such undiscovered qualities are contrary to the qualities discovered; yet contrary qualities can never subsist together in the same substance, without one destroying the other. Hence, we understand the futility of Mr. Locke's superinduction of the faculty of thinking to a system of Matter; conceived, by that excellent Writer, the modest fear of circumscribing Omnipotence; b Omnipotence is not circumscribed by denying its power of making qualities, destructive of one another, to reside in the same substance (for a power which produces nothing is no exercise of power); but by denying his power to change, together with consistent qualities, the nature of the substance in which those qualities reside. This power (supposing Mr. Locke contended for no


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