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fee more largely expofed and refuted by (2) Bochart among the foreign, and by Dr. Henry Moore among our English writers.

2. Dr. Hammond is every where full of Simon Magus and the Gnoftics, fo that it is the lefs to be wondered that he fhould introduce them upon this occafion, and apply this whole prophecy to them, wherein he is more confiftent than Grotius, who applies part to Simon Magus, and part to Caligula. The apoftafy, (3) according to him, was a great departure or defection from the faith to the heresy of the Gnoftics. The man of fin and the wicked one was Simon Magus, that wicked impoftor, together with his followers the Gnoftics. What hindered their thowing themfelves and making open profeffion of their hoftility against the orthodox Chriftians, was the apoftles not having yet given over preaching to the Jews, and turned to the Gentiles. This fame magician oppofed himself againft Chrift, fetting himself up for the chief or firft God, fuperior to all other Gods; and accordingly was publickly worshipped by the Samaritans and others, and had a ftatue erected to him at Rome by the emperor Claudius. Him Chrift deftroyed in an extraordinary manner by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter; and all the apoftatizing Gnoftics who adhered to him, were involved in the deftruction of the unbelieving Jews, with whom they had joined against the Chriftians. But the principal objection to this expofition is the fame as to that of Grotius, that the apoftle is here made to foretel things after the events. Magus was already revealed, (Acts VIII. 9, 10.) and had bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himfelf was fome great one: To whom they all gave heed from the leaft to the greateft, faying, This man is the great power of God. Dr. Hammond himfelf contends, that Simon came to Rome and was there honored as God, at the beginning of the reign of Claudius; but this Epistle was written in the latter part of the fame reign, and

(2) Bocharti Examen Libelli de Antichrifto. Op. Tom. 2. Col. 1044 1051. More's Myftery of Iniquity


Part 2. Book 2. Chap. 20.
(3) See Hammond's Paraphrafe
and Annotations.

even the Doctor in (4) another place confeffeth it. The apoftles too had already turned from the Jews to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas had declared to the Jews at Antioch in Pifidai, (Acts XIII. 46.) It was neceffary that the word of God should firft have been spoken to you; but feeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlafting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles: but this tranfaction was before this Epiftle was written, and indeed before ever Paul went to Theffalonica. As part of the facts here predicted as future were already past, so the other part are manifeftly falfe, or of uncertain credit at beft. The ftatue erected to Simon Magus at Rome, and his public defeat there by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter in the prefence of the emperor, are no better than fables. Even papifts doubt the truth of thefe things, and well may others deny it. Simon Magus might perhaps have many followers; but it doth not appear that many of the Chriftians apoftatized to him. Simon Magus might perhaps be worthipped by the Samaritans; but it doth not appear that he was ever worfhipped in the temple of God at Jerufalem, or in any houfe of God belonging to the Chriftians. He died by all accounts fome years before the deftruction of Jerufalem; and it doth not appear that any of the Gnoftics were involved in the deftruction of the unbelieving Jews. They were fo far from being all involved in the fame deftruction as Dr. Hammond afferts, that that fect florished most after the deftruction of Jerufalem, and the fecond century after Chrift is fometimes diftinguifhed by the title of Seculum Gnofticum or the age of the Gnoftics. Befides when it is faid hom the Lord shall con•fume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, it is evident that the fame perfon who was to be confumed with the fpirit of his mouth, was alfo to be deftroyed with the brightnefs of his coming: but according to this expofition, Simon Magus was confumed by the fpirit of his mouth, that is by the prayer and preaching of St. Peter; and the unbelieving Jews and Gnoftics were deftroyed together by the bright

(4) See his Pref. to the 1ft Epift. to the Theffalonians.


nefs of his coming, that is by the deftruction of Jerufalem. They who defire to fee a farther refutation of this expofition, may find it in (5) Le Clerc among the foreign, and in Whitby among our English commenta


3. Le Clerc, whofe comment on the New Teftament is a translation and fupplement of Hammond's, hath not demolished his hypothefis without erecting (6) another of his own, which he efteems much more probable than the conjecture both of Grotius and Hammond. He fuppofeth that the apoftafy was the great revolt of the Jews from the Romans. The man of fin was the rebellious Jews, and efpecially their fanious leader Simon, not Magus, but the fon of Gioras. They trampled upon all authority divine and human. They feifed and profaned the temple of God. What hindered was what reftrained the Jews from breaking into open rebellion, which was partly the reverence of the Jewith magiftrates, and partly the fear of the Roman armies. The mystery of iniquity was the fpirit of rebellion then working under the mafk of liberty. The feditious Jews were alfo the wicked one; and they had among them falfe prophets and impoftors, who pretended to fhow great figns and wonders. But to this hypothefis it may be replied, that the apoftafy is plainly a defection from the true religion, and it is ufed in no other fenfe by the apoftle. It was not likely that he should entertain his new Gentile converts with difcourfes about the Jewish ftate and government, wherewith they had little concern or connexion. It was alfo

(5) Clericus in locum. Whitby's Pref. to the ad Epift. to the Theffalo


(6) Nihil vetat in medium fufpicionem proferre, quæ haud paulo verifimilior videtur, et Grotiana et Hammondiana conjectura. Añosaσia ergo fufpicor Paulum vocare defectionem illam magnam Judæorum, qua imperii Romani jugum excutere fruftra conaturi funt.-fequitur hominem peccati effe rebelles Judæos, et præfertim eximium eorum ducem Simonem, non Magum, fed Gioræ filium.-Seditiofi Judæi auctoritatem omnem legitimam, cum exterorum, tum popularium, tantum abeft ut coluerint, ut

contrà fefe eâ fuperiores exiftimarint.. Scelerati illi Zelotæ et Idumæi, qui templum Jerofolymitanum invaserant, &c.

Toxalexor eft quod coercebat Judæos, ne in apertam rebellionem erumperent; hoc eft, partim reverentia procerum Judææ gentis,-partim metus exercituum Romanorum, &c. Musigion avopas, quod fieri incipiebat hoc tempore, erat in eo fitum, ut specie libertatis, &c.-Verè quidem nofter avoμov vocari animadvertit scelestos homines, qui antea defignati fuerunt voce è avti

; fed intelligendi feditiofi Judæi, &c.-Fuere et alii impoftores, quorum non uno loco meminit Jofephus, &c. Cleric. in locum. fcarce

fearce worthy of the fpirit of prophecy to fay, that the deftruction of Jerufalem fhould not happen, unless there was firft a rebellion of the Jews. No good reafon is affigned, why Simon the fon of Gioras fhould be reputed the man of fin, rather than other factious leaders, John and Eleazar. No proof is alleged, that he was ever worshipped in the temple of God as God. He was not exalted above every God or emperor; for he was vanquifhed and made the emperor's prifoner. His coming was not "with all figns and lying wonders;" for he never pretended to any fuch power. He was not deftroyed in the deftruction of Jerufalem; but was preferved alive, and (7) was afterwards led in triumph at Rome, and then was dragged through the streets with a rope about his neck, and was feverely fcourged, and at laft put to death in the common prifon. Befides it is not very confiftent in this learned critic, by the coming of Chrift in ver. 8 to underftand the deftruction of Jerufalem, and in his note upon ver. 1 to fay that (8) the coming of Chrift both in the firft Epiftle to the Theffalonians, and in this, is the coming of Chrift to judge the quick and dead.

4. Dr. Whitby's (9) fcheme is fomewhat perplexed and confufed, as if he was not fatisfied himself with his own explication. "The apoftafy is the revolt of the "Jews from the Roman empire, or from the faith." If the former, it is the fame mistaken notion as Le Clerc's. If the latter, it is true that many were to apoftatize from the faith, before the deftruction of Jerufalem, according to the prediction of our Saviour: but it doth not appear that their number was fo very great, as to deferve to be called by way of eminence and diftinction the apoftafy. "The man of fin is the Jewish nation "with their high-prieft and fanhedrim." But the Jewith nation with their high-priest and fanhedrim could not be faid to apoftatize from the faith which they never received: and those Chriftian Jews, who did apoftatize, were never united under any one head or leader, famous

(7) Jofephus de Bell. Jud. Lib. 7. Cap. 5. Sect. 6. Edit. Hudson. (8) παρεσια Chrifti et in Ep. ad Theffalonicenfes, et in hac eft advenVOL. II.

tus Chrifti, ad judicandum de vivis et mortuis. Cleric ibid.

(9) See Whitby's Paraphrafe and Commentary,






or infamous enough to merit the title of the man of fin. The Jewish nation too with their high-priest and fanhedrim were already revealed; and most of the inftances which this author allegeth, of their oppofing the Chriftian religion, and exalting themfelves above all laws divine and human, were prior to the date of this Epiftle. He was himself aware of this objection, and endevors to prevent it by faying, "that thefe are the defcriptions of "the man of fin, by which the Theffalonians might then "know him, and they run all in the prefent tenfe, fhowing what he already did." But it is the known and ufual ftile of prophecy to speak of things future as prefent, intimating that though future they are as fure and certain as if they were even now prefent. "who now letteth is the Roman emperor Claudius, and "he will lett until he be taken out of the way, that is, "he will hinder the Jews from breaking out into an open rebellion in his time, they being fo fignally and "particularly obliged by him." obliged by him." But how utterly improbable is it, that the apoftle fhould talk and write of Jewish politics to Gentile converts! If Claudius withheld the Jews from revolting from the Roman government, did he withhold them alfo from apoftatizing from the Chriftian faith? or what was it that withheld them? and what then becomes of that interpretation? "When "Claudius thall be taken out of the way, as he was by poifon, then they shall be revealed, either by actual apoftaly from the Roman government, or by the great apoftafy of the believers of that nation. But the apoftafy of believers was not near fo great nor univerfal as the apoftafy from the Roman government. Here too is the fame ambiguity and uncertainty as before. The prophecy plainly intends one fort of apoftafy, and this learned commentator propofeth two, and inclines fometimes to the one, and fometimes to the other, as may bett fuit his hypothefis. He is guilty too of the fame inconfiftency as Le Clerc, in interpreting the coming of Chrift in the former Epiftle, and in this Epistle, and in the firft verfe of this very chapter, of his coming to judge the world; and yet in verfe the eighth, of his coming to deftroy Jerufalem. But if the deftruction of Jerufalem only was meant, what need had the Theffalo

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