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However, I do not deny that the time when Mr. LoWMAN supposes the reign of the beast began, even the time when
divided; (Rev. xiii 1. and xvii 3, 12, 13) The beast that had ten horns, is not the city of Rome, and the neighbouring region, but the Roman empire; they are the horns, or the kings, not of the city, but of the empire. If we consider what is expressed in the passages themselves, which speak of the three years and a half of antichrist, they will lead us to understand something very diverse from the duration of his temporal dominion over St. Peter's patrimony. In Dan. vii. 25. the time, times, and half, of the little horn, is expressly the continuance of time wherein it shall be given to him to change times and laws and wear out the saints of the Most High and in chap. xii 7. it is spoken of as the time of his scattering the power of the holy people. In Rev xi. 2. the forty and two months is spoken of as the time of antichrist's treading under foot the court of the temple and the holy city; i. e. the external and visible christian church abroad in the world, or the nations of Christendom. In ver. 3. the one thousand two hundred and sixty days of antichrist are spoken of as the same time of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth; and in chap. xii. 6, and 14, the time of the woman's being in the wilderness, which was through the great power antichrist had over the christian world, and not his small temporal dominion in Italy.
It is true, some regard is had in the prophecies to the city of Rome, the city built on seven hills: which being the fountain of all rule and authority in the Roman monarchy, and the capital city of the empire, from whence the whole empire was denominated, and the place where the head of the empire usually resided, was properly used by the angel, (Rev. xvii. 9. 18.) to shew what empire antichrist should rule over, and what city he should usually reside in. And this is all that can be meant by the words of the angel; and not that those streets and walls, were snch main and essential things in what the prophecy intended by the beast; that when antichrist's dominion ceases in that place, then the beast ceases. For, if so, then it will follow, that the beast had his head wounded to death a second time, and ceased to be, when the Popes resided at Avignon in France, for the best part of a century; when not only the Popes did not reside in Rome, nor in any part of St. Peter's patrimony, nor any part of Italy; but some of them were neither Romans nor Italians. Though the angel says of the great whore, Rev. xvii. 18. The woman which thou sawest, is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth: yet by the city, in this case, is not meant so much what was contained within those Roman walls, as the Roman empire; as is evident by chap. xi. 8. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. Here, by that great city, neither Mr. LOWMAN himself, nor I suppose any other Protestant interpreter, understands the city of Rome, strictly speaking, but the Roman monarchy.
And though it be true, as Mr. LoWMAN observes, the Pope's ecclesiastical monarchy, power and influence through Christendom, was greatly established and advanced by Pepin making him a temporal prince over the Exarchate of Ravenna; yet, I would ask, whether the Pope's power and influence in the world, and his ability to disturb the quiet of the nations of Christendom, and (as expressed in Daniel,) to change times and laws, and to carry his own designs, in the various countries and kingdoms of Europe, was not greater before Pepin, than it is now, and has been for a long time? And yet Mr. LowMAN supposes that now is properly the time of antichrist's reign, that the 1260 years of his reign continues, and will continue for about 270 years longer; though his power be now so small, and has been declining ever since the reformation, and still declines continually.
One thing, Mr. LoWMAN supposes, which confirms his opinion of so late a beginning of the 1260 years of the reign of the beast, is the order of the several periods of this prophecy, and the manner of their succeeding one another.
As to his particular scheme of the seven periods, so divided and limited, and so obviously ranked in such order, and following one another in such direct and continual succession, and each ending in a state of peace, safety and happiness to the church of God, it seems to me to be more ingenious than solid, and that many things might be said to demonstrate it not to be founded in the truth of things, and the real design of the divine author of this prophecy. But not to enter into a particular and full examination of it, I would now only observe, which directly concerns my present purpose, that to make out this scheme, Mr. LOWMAN suppo
Pepin confirmed to the Pope his temporal dominions in Italy, was a time of the great increase and advancement of the power of antichrist in the world, and a notable epoch. And if I may be allowed humbly to offer what appears to me to be the truth with relation to the rise and fall of antichrist; it is this:-As the power of antichrist, and the corruption of the apostate church, rose not at once, but by SEVERAL NOTABLE STEPS and degrees so it will IN THE LIKE MANNER FALL: and, that DIVERS STEPS, and SEASONS OF DESTRUCTION to the spiritual Babylon, and revival of the true church, are prophesied of under ONE. And yet it may be true, that there is some particular event, which prevails above all others in the intention of the prophecy, some remarkable season of the destruction of the church of Rome, the papal power and corruption, and advancement of true religion.*
ses that the fifth and sixth trumpets, that bring on the two first woes, and the whole 9th chapter of Revelation, altogether respects the Saracens. But it appears to me not very credible,that the Saracens should have so much said of them in this prophecy, as to have a whole chapter taken up about them, and not a word in the prophecy be said about the Turks, who immediately succeeded them in the same religion; who proceeded on the same principles, were so much more considerable, brought vastly greater calamities on the christian world, have set up and long maintained one of the greatest, strongest, and most extraordinary empires that ever the world saw, and have been the most terrible scourge to Christendom, that ever divine providence made use of, and one of the greatest of all God's plagues on the world of mankind. For though it be true, that the reign of Othman or Ottoman, who began what they call the Ottoman empire, was a long time after this, yet the Turks themselves, under other princes, in the government they set up in territories that had formerly been possessed by christians, and in their overrunning and ravaging christian countries, immediately succeeded the Saracens; and from thenceforward have been a terrible, and almost continual scourge to the church.
Mr. LowMAN, in pursuance of his scheme, also supposes, which is yet more incredible, this period of the trumpets ends in a state of safety, peace and happiness to the church of God, so that, on that occasion, "there are g eat voices in heaven, saying, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ," chap. xi. 15. And yet he supposes, that it issues in setting up the kingdom of antichrist; and that about that very time, when these heavenly voices so joyfully proclaimed this, the beast was enthroned, and the time, times, and half, or 1260 days of his reign began, which is spoken of every where as the time of the church's greatest darkness and trouble, the time wherein the "little horn should wear out the saints of the Most High," Dan. vii 25. "The time appointed for his scattering the power of the holy people," Dan xii. 7. "The time of the woman's being in the wilderness," Rev xii. 6, 14. "The time of treading under foot the court of the temple," chap xi. 2. And the "time of the witnesses prophesying in sackcloth,” chap. xi. 3.
It was certainly thus with regard to the prophecies of the destruction of old Babylon, and the church's deliverance from captivity and oppresion by that city and kingdom; which is abundantly alluded to in these prophecies of the Revelation, as a noted type of the oppression of the church of Christ by the church of Rome, calling the latter so often by the name of Babylon, and the church of Christ Jerusalem. The captivity of the Jews by the Babylonians was not perfected at once, but was brought on by several notable steps. So neither was the restoration of the Jewish church, after the captivity, perfected at once. It was several times foretold, that the duration of the captivity should be seventy years; and also, that
Preface of his paraphrase, &c. p. 13, 14, and 16.
There are, as I apprehend, good reasons to hope, that the work of God's Holy Spirit which in its progress will over
after seventy years were accomplished, God would destroy Babylon; (Jer. xxv. 11, 12, &c.) But this period had manifestly several different beginnings, and several endings. Thus from Jehoiakim's captivity to Cyrus's decree for the return of the Jews, and the re-building of Jerusalem, was seventy years. And from Zedekiah's captivity to Darius's decree Ezra vi seventy years. And from the last carrying away of all, (Jer. lii. 30) to the finishing and dedication of the temple, was also seventy years. So also the prophecies of Babylon's destruction were fulfilled by several steps. These prophecies seem to have a principal respect to that destruction that was accomplished by Cyrus, at the end of the first seventy years forementioned. But there were other things in the very same prophecies not fulfilled till the fourth year of Darius; when what remained of Babylon was subject to another dreadful destruction. This in a great measure completed its desolation; which was at the end of the second seventy years, and when the restoration of the Jews was perfected by the decree of Darius.* But yet, there were many other things contained in the same prophecies of Babylon's destruction-rendering it thenceforward perfectly and perpetually desolate, and the haunt of serpents and wild beasts-that were not fulfilled till more than 200 years after, in the time of Seleucus king of Syria. So also it was with respect to the prophecies of the destruction of Tyre, in the xxvith, xxviith and xxviiith chapters of Ezekiel; from which many of the expressions used in the Revelation, concerning the destruction of the kingdom of antichrist, are taken, and which is evidently made use of in scripture as a type of the latter. These prophecies of the destruction of Tyre were fulfilled by various steps. Many things were fulfilled in the destruction of the old city by Nebuchadnezzar; and yet other parts of the same prophecy were fulfilled by Alexander;§ which was about 240 years afterwards. And yet both these desolations are prophesied of under one.
And thus it seems to me very probable, that it will prove, with respect to the prophecies of the destruction of mystical Babylon It is, I think, pretty manifest by the prophecies, that this antichristian hierarchy and apostate church will at last be so destroyed, that there shall be no remainder of it left, and shall have as perfect a desolation, before God has done with her, as old Babylon had; there shall be no such thing as Pope or church of Rome in the world. It seems also pretty manifest, that after that event which is chiefly intended in the prophecies of antichrist's destruction, there will be some remains of the Romish church This appears by that most particular and large description of that destruction, Rev. xviii. There it seems to be implied, not only that many shall yet remain of the church of Rome, who shall bewail her overthrow, of her people and clergy; (ver. 11, 15, 17, 18.) But that there should be some princes among them, "Kings of the earth, that have committed fornication, and lived deliciously with her;" (ver. 9, 10.) And it is exceeding improbable in itself, that every Papist, in each quarter of the world, should be destroyed, or cease from the world, at one blow.
And as long as so considerable a number remains, as may be gathered from the prophecy, they will doubtless have an hierarchy; and one among them that will bear the name of a Pope, although the church of Rome shall be mainly destroyed, and the interest of Popery shall be sunk very low in the world. So that there will yet remain a papal church and hierarchy in the world, to be wholly extirpated at another period, sometime after that great overthrow principally insisted on in the prophecies. And this second destruction of antichrist, or rather extirpation of his remains, together with the complete extirpation of all remains of mahometanism, heathenism, and heresy through the world-and the finishing stroke towards the overthrow of Satan's visible kingdom on earth, and so the beginning of the millennium, or spiritual rest of the world-may, for ought I know, be about the time Mr. Lowman speaks of; agreeable to the opinion of the ancient Jews, and many christian divines who have followed them, that the world would stand six thousand years; and then, the seventh thousand years should be the world's rest or sabbath. The ruin of the popish interest is but a small part of what is
* Prideaux's p. 271, and 272. Ibid p. 693.
Connection, part I. p. 183, 184, and 267, 268, 269 Edit. 9. and
throw the kingdom of antichrist, and in its issue destroy Satan's visible kingdom on earth, will begin in a like time. The pro
requisite, in order to introduce and settle such a state of things, as the millennium described. For then Rev. xx. Satan's visible kingdom is every where totally extirpated, and a perfect end put to all heresies, delusions, and false religions whatsoever, through the whole earth. Satan thenceforth deceives the nations no more, and has no place any where but in hell.
This is the sabbatism of the world; when all shall be in a holy rest, when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and there shall be nothing to hurt or offend; there shall be abundance of peace, the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas, and God's people shall dwell in quiet resting-places. There is not the least reason to think, that all this will be brought to pass as it were at one stroke; or that, from the present lamentable state of things, there shall be brought about and completed the destruction of the church of Rome-the entire extirpation of all infidelity, heresies, superstitions, and schisms, through all Christendom-the conversion of all the Jews, the full enlightning and conversion of all Mahometan and heathen nations, through the whole earth-the full settlement of all in the pure christian faith and order -- and all by means of the victory of the church in one great conflict with her enemies. This would contradict many things in scripture, which represent this great event to be brought to pass by a gradual progress of religion; as leaven that gradually spreads, till it has diffused itself through the whole lump; and a plant of mustard, which from a very small seed, gradually becomes a great tree; Matth. xiii. 31, 32, 33.) "And like seed which a man casts upon the ground, that springs and grows up, night and day; and first brings forth the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." And especially would this contradict the prophetical representation of Ezek. xlvii: where the progress of religion is represented by the gradual increase of the waters of the sanctuary. At first, they are a small spring issuing out from under the threshold of the temple; then, after they had run a thousand cubits, they are up to the ankles; at the end of another thousand cubits, up to the knees; at the end of another thousand, up to the loins. Afterwards they become a great river, that could not be passed over; and are finally brought into the sea, healing the waters even of the vast ocean.
If the Spirit of God should be immediately poured out, and that work of God's power and grace should now begin, which in its progress and issue should complete this glorious effect; there must be an amazing and unparalleled progress of the work and manifestation of divine power to bring so much to pass, by the year 2000. Would it not be a great thing to be accomplished in one half century, that religion, in the power and purity of it, should so prevail, as to gain the conquest over all those many things that stand in opposition to it among Protestants, and gain the upper hand through the Protestant world? And if in another, it should go on so to prevail, as to get the victory over all the opposition and strength of the kingdom of antichrist, so as to gain the ascendency in that which is now the popish world? And if in a third half-century, it should prevail and subdue the greater part of the Mahometan world, and bring in the Jewish nation, in all their dispersions? And would it not be wonderful if in the next whole century, the whole heathen world should be be enlightened, and converted to the christian faith, throughout all parts of Africa, Asia, America and Terra Australis, and be thoroughly settled in christian faith and order, without any remainders of their old delusions and superstitions; and this attended with an utter extirpation of the remnant of the church of Rome, and all the relics of Mahometanism, heresy, schism and enthusiasm-a suppression of all remains of open vice and immorality, every sort of visible enemy to true religion, through the whole earth-an end of all the unhappy commotions, tumults, and calamitics occasioned by such great changes--and all things be so adjusted and settled that the world thenceforward should enjoy an holy rest or sabbatism?-I have thus distinguished what belongs to a bringing of the world from its present state, to the happy state of the millennium, the better to give a view of the greatness of the work; and not, that I pretend so much as to conjecture, that things will be accomplished just in this order. The whole work is not the less great and wonderful, to be accomplished in such a space of time, in whatever order the different parts of it succeed each other. They that think that what has been mentioned would not be swift progress, yca,
phecy of the 6th Vial, (Rev. xvi. 12—16.) if we take it in its connection with the other vials, and consider those providential events by which the preceding vials have manifestly been fulfilled, I humbly conceive, affords just ground for such a hope.
It is very plain, from this whole chapter, as also the preceding and following, that all these seven vials are vials of God's wrath on antichrist; one is not poured out on the Jews, another on the Turks, another on Pagans, another on the church of Rome; but they all signify God's successive judg ments or plagues on the beast and his kingdom, which is in this chapter and almost every where in this book, called Great BABYLON. And therefore undoubtedly, when it is said, "The sixth angel poured out his vial on the river Euphrates, and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared ;" by the river Euphrates is meant something some way appertaining to this mystical Babylon; as the river Euphrates appertained to the literal Babylon. And it is very manifest, that in the prophecy of this vial there is an allu. sion to that by which the way was prepared for the destruction of Babylon by Cyrus. This was done by turning the channel of the river Euphrates, which ran through the midst of the city. Hereby the way of the kings of the east, the princes of Media and Persia, was prepared to come in, under the walls of the city, at each end, and to destroy it; as they did that night wherein Daniel interpreted the hand-writing on the wall, against Belshazzar, Dan. v. 30.
The prophecies of Babylon's destruction, from time to time, take notice of this way of destroying her, by drying up the waters of the river Euphrates, to prepare the way for her enemies; Isai. xliv. 27, 28. "That saith to the deep, be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers; that saith of Cyrus, he is my servant, and shall perform all my pleasure." Jer. li. 31, 32, "One post shall run to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burnt with fire, and the men of war are affrighted." And ver. 36. "I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry." The Medes and Persians, the people that destroyed Babylon, dwelt to the eastward of Babylon, and are spoken of as coming from the east to her destruction; Isai. xlvi. 11. "Calling a ravenous bird from the east; the man that executeth my counsel, from a far country." And the princes that joined with this ravenous bird from the east, in this affair of destroying Babylon, are called kings, Jer, li. 11. "The Lord
amazingly swift, do not consider how great the work is, and the vast and innu merable obstacles that are in the way. It was a wonderful thing, when the christian religion, after Christ's ascension, so prevailed, as to get the ascendency in the Roman empire in about 300 years; but that was nothing to this.