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“ and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the “ ftall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for “ they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet, “ in the day that I Ihall do this, faith the Lord of. « Hofis *.'

# Chap. iv. 1, 2, 3.

CHOP CH AP. VÌ.

ON ANTICHRIST.

1 John ii. 18.“ Little Children, it is the last time : and as ye have heard that ANTI

CHRIST fall come, even now there are many " Antichrifts; whereby we know it is the last 16 time.”

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Ibid. ver. 22.-"Who is a liar, but he that “ denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Anti" christ that denieth the FATHER and the 66 Son."

1 John iv. 2, 3.-"Hereby know ye the Spirit " of God: every spirit that confeffeth that Jesus « Christ is come in the fiesh, is of God; “ and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus

Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and « this is that spirit of Antichrift, whereof you « have heard, that it should come, and even “ now already is it in the world.”

2 John, ver. 7.--" For many deceivers are “ entered into the world, who confess not that “ Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a is deceiver, and an Antichrift."

THERE is no subject of prophecy upon which so much has been written, and to so little purpose, as upon the great Antichrist. It seems to have been a favourite theme of the commentators upon the prophecies, from the age of the primitive fathers down to the present day. And yet, however bold it

down

may found to assert it, time and its events have now proved, that all of them have been mistaken. The amount of what the fathers have said is, that Antichrist would be a great and direct adversary to Chrift, to come at the decline of the Roman empire, and in the last days. Had they rested there, they would not have been very distant from the truth: they would have said no more than Daniel had said before them, and John himself has predicted in the text. But taking upon themselves the office of prophets, and foretelling that he should come with certain marks and figns, unfortunately not to be found in holy writ, they conceived that he was to be a Jew, of the tribe of Dan, to come from Babylon, to refide at Jerusalem, and to conquer Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. And these strange ideas of him, visionary as they really were, continued down to the æra of the Reformation. , It now happened, that in this great controversy between protestantism and papal apoftasy, resentment and passion gained so much the ascendant as to obscure, in fome degree, the light of truth on both fides. The two parties did not hesitate to stigmatize each other, with the most opprobrious names to be found in the Scriptures. With the Roman Catholics all Protestants were Schismatics. On the other hand, the Reformers, forgetting the long-established opinion of the primitive fathers, that Antichrist was to come in the last day, charged the church of Rome with being the prototype of that most hateful enemy of Christ, THE GREAT ANTICHRIST. Nor were they, however mistaken as to truth, mistaken in their policy, for they brought over many protelytes by it, and the church of Rome remains branded with the opprobrious name to this day: and yet the Protestants did not deserve the name of Schismatics, noc, was Antichrijf the real type of the church of Rome, but of another more wicked and mischievous enemy of the church of Christ; as I hope to prove in the sequel of this commentary.

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In the mean time, I shall examine into the validity of the argument, upon which the protestant commentators have built this misapplication of the great Antichrist to the church of Rome. And here, it would be inconfiftent with the intended brevity of these commentaries, to traverse minutely all they have said upon it. Bishop Newton, that learned and unwearied seeker after the truth of prophecy, has, however, considered their principal argument, and given it his unreserved fanction, and therefore I shall confine my remarks to what he has offered upon

the subject.

And yet,

The Bishop, whose mind was piously engaged to promote the Reformation, by continuing the Higma of Antichrift upon the church of Rome, begins his argument with rejecting the opinion of the primitive fathers, as containing * ftrange and wild notions concerning this “ Antichrift.' willing to apologize for their mistake, he adds, “But “ it is no wonder that the fathers, nor indeed that

any one, should mistake, in particularly applying " the prophecies which had not then received their “ 'completion.” To this I cheerfully assent: for there is no truth more evident to my mind, than the impossibility of unfolding all the particular circumstances of a great prophetic event before its completion. Conscious of this impossibility, the great Lord Bacon advises us to "fort the prophecies ;" that is, after we have sufficiently explored all that the prophets have said upon them, to separate those which have been fulfilled, from those which have

* Newton, Disc. v. i. p. 271,

not:

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not: that thus, in respect to the first class, we may have in the books of prophecy the signs and marks, and in the hifiories of the times, the events predicted as it were before us'; from which it will be easy, by comparing the signs of each prophecy with itslappropriate event, to fhew, with certainty its completion, and to demonstrate the truth of prophecy. And in regard to the second, all that we ought, all that is intended that we should, and therefore all that we can know,..is the general i nature of the events foretold, and that they shall come to pass in the course of the providence of God in his own' time. So much may be known by a ferious and pious application of the mind to the study of the prophecies, and so much it seems to be our duty to know, and to deliver it down to those that shall come after us ;. because it will render the prophecies, which relate to future events, more easy to be understood by those that shall be alive when the events shall come to explain and fulfil them ; befides, it will prepare and impress upon the minds of men, disposed 'to godliness, that reverential awe and fear of the God of PROPHECY and TRUTH, which may recommend them to his merciful protection, amidst all his dreadful judgments upon the wicked. But to explain, with any degree of certainty, all the mysterious prophetic marks of such future events relating to the manner, the means, and circumstances by which, and the time when, they shall come to pass, is impoffible ! Of this truth the learned bishop feems to be well apprized, in his apology for the fathers; and yet he, and all his modern followers, have committed the

very errors of the fathers, for which he himself has thought an apology necessary. Instead of:“fort

ing the prophecies,” and confining his particular explanations to the event of those that were past, he has travelled through all the prophecies relating to futuré events, and brought thence all the marks and

signs

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