Page images
PDF
EPUB

temperaturos jurarunt. Ita Roma Romanufque Ducatusa Gre. cis ad Romanum Pontificem, propter nefandam eorum hærefin im.

pietatemque pervenit. Sigon. De Regn. Ital. A.D.724, 726,727. Howel Pt. 4.

*Luitprand having prepar'd all things beforehand for so great an P. 56, 57. See · Enterprize, Invades the Exarchare on a sudden, and lays Siege aljop. 58. *10 Rassenna, the Seat of the Governor. Paul, who at present,

..by favonr of Leo the Emperor held that place, we are told by Si-
• gonius, was very much surpriz'd, as from the highest prosperity

being on a sudden cast down into the greatest difficulty. But there
692'as no such canse of his being surpriz’d, if we consider but what
the fame Author had related but a little before. He tells us in
many words, thar Leo the Emperor being at odds with Gregory
the Roman Bishop, upon the account of Images, took several
courses to make him away, and for that purpose fent Paul as Ex-
arch into Italy :who having once attempted it, but to no purpose,
the Emperor the following year fent him a Message that if he cou'd
not
kill

, ger he should remove him from his Office, and put anorber in his room. &c. (as in Sigonius.) - This happen'd but the year

before the Siege of Ravenna: and therefore whether the Exarch. had reason to be surpriz’d, or rather ought not to have expected * Some such matter ; and wherber the Bishop of Rome, who had already join'd the Lombards with him, was not concern'd, we leave the Reader to judge. But that the Popes call'd in the

Franks to subdue the Lombards, is too well known in History to need any particular. Quotations : and that the Popes alfo at last, by abundance of Arts and Tricks, and Excommunications wearied out the Kings of Italy, and the Emperors, till they were forc'd to lose their Dominion there, and acquiesce, is too much the Subject of the History of several Centuries together to be call'd in question by any. And the pernicious and lasting Factions of Guelfes for the Pope, and Gibellines for the Emperors, are but too fad Monuments of that matter.

Corollary 2. Since also we have already asserted that St. Paul's Man of Sin is the same with the Little Horn, or Second Beast, we are oblig'd to enquire into his Description and Characters, 10 fee whether they agree to the Pope and his Ecclefiaftical Hierarchy, as

well

[ocr errors]

&c.

je not

that when I was get

well as the former descriptions have done. And upon a bare read-
ing of the Text, we shall easily find that it is the most clear and live-
by description of that Antichristian Preeminence of all the rest ; and
the leajt wanting, of any Illustration or Explication of all others.
The words are these.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by

, the coming of our Lord Je- 2 Thess. 2. 3. sus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2. That ye be not foon fhaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by Spirit, nor by word, nor by Letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3. Let no man deceive you by any means : for that day Mall not come, except there come an apostacy first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition :

4. Who opposeth and exalreth himself above all that is called God,
for that is worshipped; so that he as God, fitteth in the temple of God,
Pewing himself ibut be is God.
5. Remember

with
you,
I told

you these things?

6. And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time.

7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth, willler, untill he be taken out of ihe way.

8. And then Wallthat wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Mall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and Mall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

9. Even him whoje coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.

io. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

ii. And for this cause God sball send them ftrong delusions that they should believe a lie.

12. That they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

This description is to lively and clear, that I look upon it so far from needing any large Paraphrase it self, that it will ferve very well for a Paraphrase on all the other Prophecies hereto relating. On which account, I cannot but wonder at our late

excellent

[ocr errors]

cxecilent Commentator Dr. Whitby, who allows the

who allows the agreement of this description to that great Antichrist mention'd in the Red relation, and yet applys it to the Apostacy of the Jews, either from the Romans, or from Christianity at this time, and so expounds this day and coming of Christ of the Destruction of Jerusalem on

ly. I can't here Itand to consider his Arguments at large: and I Sealed Book Co- nced not, because they are built on a great mistake,which I've alroll

. 16- 2 after ready corrected. I shall only in short hintat a few Reasons, which the Preface. will flew his Exposition to be sufficiently unaccountable. (1.)

What need of all this Sollicitude of St.Paul,to free himself from
the scandal of having affirm’d, that the destruction of Jerusalem was

at hand, when thegreatest part of thatGeneration was already past, Matt. xxiv. 34. within which yet our Saviour had expresly asserted that DeltruEtion was to come;and when theDr.allows that it was butio

years then future at the writing of this Epistle? (2.) How absurd is it to interpret the Taçsoia, or folemn coming of Christ in the former Epistle, nay in this Epistle, and in the firit verse of this very Chapter, in the beginning of this very Discourse, of his coming to judgment at the last day ; and yet in the eight verse to expound it of hiscoming to destroy Jerusalem only? especially when no ex. ample can be Thown that ever St. Paul uses that word in that ac. ceptation; nay when 'tis very doubtful whether ever it be so usid in the whole New Testament. (3.) How comes the Apostle

to have such a concern to inform the Thessalonians, who were Act. xvij. 4. almost all Gentiles, of the Destruction of Jerusalem in Iudea,

at a thousand Miles distance? which was of little more conse-
quence to them than the Destruction of any other Church or
City in a remote Country. (4.) Lastly, How comes the
Church of the Thessalonians to be in such a Confternation and
Disturbance Olgeidau, at the supposal that Jerusalem would soon
be destroy'd : fince therein none but the unbelieving Jews, and
the Enemies of Christ were to perish; and fince it was a place
and City so remote from them? I do not think that if we in
England, were apprehensive that theCity and Territory of Rome,
was to be so destroy'd in a dozen or 16 years, that we should be
in a great Confusion and Confternation thereupon,and want such
pathetic Admonitions and Dehortations as the Apostle uses
in the present case: which indeed are as folemn as almost any

[ocr errors]

in the whole Bible, and can by no means refer to any other co-
ming of our Saviour than that famous one so often spoken of
by this A postle, to set up his Kingdom,and therein to Fudge the
World at ihe last day.. But if it be still wonder'd at that St. Paul
should here say that the Mystery of Iniquiry did already work in Ver. 7.
his time, I say, It is not strange that one who knew that the great
Man of Sin was to corrupt and spoil the Purity of the Christian
Religion, and turn the Mystery, of Godliness into a Mystery of
Iniquity; and who found already the beginning of such mit-
chiefs creeping into the Church; and that in some of the very
same points which Antichrist was to corrupt; looks upon such
beginings of Antichristianism as Preludes, Preparations, and
Forerunners of that grand Corruption to come afterward. And
this is the obvious meaning of his words: which are almost
the very fame with those of St. John, in all probability writ-
ten after the Destruction of Jerusalem, and so not capable of
any such Evasion as is us’d here, as we shall see presently. And
it must be obsery'd that such Expressions came the more natu-
rally from these Apostles; because they knew not but the great
Antichrilt was to arise very soon afterward; as we have already Coroll. 1, & 2.
at large observ'd in the Second Part of this Elay.

after the PreCorollary 3. Since we have therefore hinted at some Expressions Ted Books

face to the Seal in St. John, which seem to relate also to this great Antichrist, it will be fit not to pass them over upon this occasion. The words are these. Little children it is the last time: and as ye have heard 1 Joh. ij. 18. that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time. Who is a liar but Ver, 22. he that denyeth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denyeth the Father and the Son. Every spirit which confesleth Chap.iv. 3. not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world. Now in order to understand these words, 10 place this Epistle before the Destru{tion of Jerusalem, when on other accounts it appears to have been diritten after it; and to interpret ö 'Arrixerso, the grand Antichrist of the Nation of the Jews in general; and mooi Arríxenso many Antichrists of particular Seducers of that Nation with Dr. Whitby, seems to me a begging of the question, and not a little

absurd.

to

absurd. Whereas without any such inconveniencies the whole may easily be thus Paraphras’d, q.d. 'The Age or Period we are now *in, is certainly the last Age or Period of the World, the last days fo

often spokex of by the Prophets. And this appears by the Preludes * and Preparations for that great Antichrist, whose Period belongs

this time, and is to last to the very conclusion of this Age ; and of whom you have so often heard us difcourfing. For you may alseady see many of his temper already

, corrupting and spoiling the 'puré Doctrine of Christianity, and so by degrees making way for obim ; which is an Indication that we are in rhofe last days wherein

he is to appear. And indeed we have reason enough to believe the " coming of such an Antichrist, or Opposer of the true and pure ends of Christianity, when we already have those, who in effect deny their Saviour; and thereby deny in some fence the Father, which fent him. And sure every one of these may as well deserve the name of the Antichrist, the Opposer of Christ and his Religie on, as even that famous Antichrist whois to come hereafter can do. fo that I think, notwithstanding Dr. Whitby's attempts to the contrary, both St. Paul and St. John do defcribe and hint to us the Same great Antichrist which we meet with in the Revelation ; and if the Dr. had not wav'd the Explication of that Book, which affords so much light to these places, he could hardly have avoided joining with us in our present Interpretation of them.

Scholium. 1. We having at the end of the description of the Second Beast, or Antichrist in the Revelation, an Account of the Name of the First Beast mystically hinted to us by its number 666. we cannot here omit to take notice of it. And indeed I find no better Conjecture hitherto about it than that which Ireneus + himself, soon after the seeing of these Visions, Ihrewdly Suspeĉed to be it. viz. sani@. The Roman or Latin Empire“; as distinguish'd from the Greek, the Persian, the Babylonian, or any other Empire. For as that name does by its Numeral Letters amount to just that Number six hundred fixty six, as

† Sed & LATEINOS nomen habet Sexcentorum sexaginta fex numerum; & valde verifimile est.quoniam novissimum Regnum hoc habct vocabulum: Latini enim funt qui nunc regnant. p.449.

« PreviousContinue »