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s shall drink, and ye shall be thirsty; behold my
servants shall rejoice, and ye shall be ashamed; “ behold my servants shall sing for joy of heart,
and ye shall howl for vexation of spirit*.” So St. John, on the same fubject : “ But the fearful, and < unbelievers, and the abominable, and murderers, “ and whorenongers, and idolaters, and all liars, “ Thall have their part in the lake which burneth “ with fire and brimstone ; which is the second
Having given this idea of the superlative felicity of the blessed, in a future life; which certainly is as sublime and extensive as human language can describe, or the human mind conceive, he next describes the holy city, the new Jerusalem, or the place in which they shall reside, and be separated for ever from the wicked. And here, in order to conform his language to the limited comprehension of human nature, he represents the Holy Jerusalem, the place and kingdom of the blessed, as formed of
pure gold, like unto clear glass,” and adorned with all the most precious pearis and jewels known to man in his mortal state, and then tells us, that “he “ saw no temple therein, for the LORD GOD AL“ MIGHTY, and the LAMB, are the TEMPLE of “ it; and that the city had no need of the sun, " neither of the moon, to shine in it, for theGLORY " OF GOD did lighten it, and the LAMB was the
Light thereof. And there shall not enter into " it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever “ worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they “ which are written in the LAMB's Book of Life S. “* And á pure river of water of life, clear as crys
* Ifa. Ixv. 12, 13, 14.
* Ver. 8.
$ Ver. 27.
tal, proceedeth out of the THRONE OF GOD " and the LAMB. And there fhall be no curse: “ but the THRONE OF GOD, and THE LAMB, “ shall be in it; and his servants shall obey HIM. “ And they shall see his face, and his name hall “ be written in their foreheads. And there jaall “ be no night there : and they need no candle, “ neither light of the fun; for the LORD GOD GIVETH THEM LIGHT ; and THEY SHALL REIGN
FOR EVER AND EVER.'
** Chap. xxii, 1, 2, 3, 4, Se
CH A P. IV.
ON THE MAN OF SIN,
THE SON OF PERDITION,
As described in 2 Thess. Chap. II. St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, when treating of the second coming of Christ to judge the world, intorms them, “ That the day of “ the Lord fo cometh as a thief in the night, and
as tra vail on a woman with child * ;' ing, that although no man thall know the time, the event shall come to pass. The Thessalonians, although no reference was made to the time, were led to believe that this awful day was near at hand. The apo file, conceiving that this error, should it be
to spread, might be productive of much mischief, wrote his second epiftle to correct it. This was an error inconsistent with the rebuke given by Christ himself to the apostles, when their improper curiosity rendered them anxious to be informed on the same subject. “It is not for you,” says he, “ to know the times and the seasons, which the fa“ther hath put in his own powerf.” To explain himself more fully, the apostle treats of two great events which were to come to pass before the day of our Lord; namely, the coming of the apoftasy, and the revelation of “ the Man of Sin ;” and ear. nestly in treats the Theffalonians to “ let no man "deceive them by any means, for that day shall
not come, except there come a FALLING AWAY
first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son "of Perdition;" and thus he undeceives the church of Theffalonica, by declaring that, before the
* Chap. V. 1, 2, 3.
† Acts i. 7.
coming of our Lord, two great events shall come to pass in succession, viz. “a falling away," or a great apostasy first, and after that “the revela* tion of the Man of Sin in his time."
Having reminded them of these truths, of which he had informed them before, he expoftulates with them on their mistake and credulity: “ Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I “ told you of these things?" and yet, fearing that they might not perfectly be convinced, he repeats, and with great energy enforces the same truths: “And now ye know what with-holdeth,” (evidently referring to thea postate power) that he, the “ Man “ of Sin might be revealed in his time,” in his proper season, or between the apoftasy, and the coming of Christ. And that they might have no doubt of the appearance of the Man of Sin, notwithstanding the aportate Power, according to the decree of divine wisdom, was to come first, and "prevent for a "time," he assures them that the “mystery of ini.
quity” (to be revealed in the Man of Sin) doth already work, only he (ihe apoftasy)
66 who “ now letteth, will let, until he be taken out " of the way. Thus declaring that the mystery of
iniquity,” or the atheiliical principles of the “ Man of Sin," as it is afterwards clearly explained by the apostle, was even then making some fecret progreis in the world; and would continue gradually and imperceptibly to increase, until the influence of the apotiary should be po reduced as to make room for them in the minds of mankind; and then that wicked should be revealed :" and after thete two events, “ the day of our Lord Jesus 1 Chrifi thould come."
I have been thus particular in explaining these veríes, becaute, upon the matureit contideration, I have been obliged to differ from the learned bishop 4
Newton, and other commentators, respecting the Power which the apostle affirms should “let and 6 with-hold the revelation of the Man of Sin until “ his time.” It is their opinion that the Roman empire was that power, and that the Pope is antichrift*. [ confess, that after having carefully considered the sense of every word in this chapter, I cannot find one which admits of the least allusion to that empire, either in its Pagan or Christian state On the contrary, we
are expressly told by the apostle as plainly as poslīble, and repeatedly too, that it is " a falling away, an apostalų," from the doftrine of Christ, which shall come first, and " let s and with-hold the revelation of the Man of 66 Sin.”
Besides, the apoftle speaks of the Power which was to do this in the future tense, and not then existing. Except there come, says he (or shall come) “a falling away first;" and it is well known, that the Roman empire had come more than eight hundred years before the apostle wrote, and was then existing in all its glory : and therefore, without imputing great inaccuracy to the spirit of prophecy, the interpretation contended for, cannot hold good.
As to “ the apostasy, which was to come first," and "
prevent the revelation of the Man of Sin,” it is clearly foretold in sundry parts of the New Teftament.' By St. Paul, in his first epistle to Timothy, it is called a “ departure from the faith ;" and by St. John it is described by the figures of " a star “ falling from heaven unto the earth ;” and of the “ court which is without the temple." All Pro
+ Chap. iv. 1, 2
* Bithop Newton, vol. ii. p. 116, &c. * Rev. ix, 1. xi. 2.