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kingdom ;” (verse 23 ;) and the Vulgar translation renders verse 17, “four kingdoms : so that each beast signifieth a multitude of men in a succession under one government for several ages; and so consequently the head and horns signify the power and sovereignty of such a kingdom for a long time in a succession.
So we find the state of the primitive apostolical church set forth by a woman in travaid, (Rev. xii. 1, 2,) and by a woman in the wilderness. (Verses 6, 14.) So the two-horned beast, (Rev. xiii. 11,) which is the same with “the false prophet,” (Rev. xvi. 13 ; xix. 20 ; xx. 10,) doth not signify a single person or a succession of single persons, (suppose the popes,) but a body of deceivers under one head or government.
It is generally agreed on by Protestant writers, that the pope, as head of that Antichristian state which is here described, is pointed at in this place : or that the Papacy, head and members, in a succession making up one body politic, is that monster which they call “ Antichrist.”
It is on all hands agreed on, that wherever we find all these characters, together with the circumstances set down in the text, to concentre, that must be the Antichrist, who was to be brought forth into the world before the second coming of Christ. He tells us of one to come, a strange one, a monstrous one, such an one as never was before ; and, that you may not be mistaken in this prodigious one, he gives us the lively portraiture of him.
II. Let us now descend to the particulars as they lie in the text.
1. Antichrist is described by the apostasy which should arise in the church upon the coming of this monster.—He is an apostate, and the cause of an apostasy : there was to be ý ATOOTUSI, [“ the apostasy,”] a very great apostasy, before his full revelation. (Verse 3.) “ Apostasy" is taken,
(1.) Politically: so some take it for a falling from the Roman empire.
(2.) Ecclesiastically : to fall from the church or true religion.
(3.) Figuratively : the subject for the adjunct ; meaning the chief in place and power, that causeth others to fall away; as 1 Tim. iv. 1. There shall be “ an apostasy ;” there shall be such as shall fall away, and cause others so to do.
In the two latter senses it is taken here ; for the ecclesiastical hierarchy, set out by the lamb with two horns, (Rev. xiii. 11,) is the grand apostate, and a cause of the great apostasy of many, by causing by force and fraud to worship the beast and his image. (Verses 12—16.) The time of this apostasy is a special mark of Antichrist's rising. (1 Tim. iv. 1-3.) This apostasy was to be “in the latter times” of the fourth monarchy ; set out by « forty-two months,” and “one thousand two hundred and sixty days." (Rev. xi. 2, 3 ; xiii. 5.) The apostasy of the church from the rule of faith and worship by spiritual fornication, is a signal note of Antichrist, or the Antichristian state, of which the pope is the head ; and his proper see is Babylon, the metropolis ; and the body
which was to be ordered by this false prophet as its supreme head, was and is the beast of Rome, with seven heads and ten horns, and ten crowns on his horns. (Rev. xiii. 1.) This apostasy, as to the time, is upon the rising of the Antichristian Papal state, when those “doctrines of demons," and forbidding marriage and meats, which are peculiar to the church of Rome, came into the church. The old Pagan Roman empire was broken to pieces, and had its deadly wound : which afterwards was healed by the two-horned beast, (Rev. xiii. 12,) framed into a likely image of the former Pagan beast ; by reason of which, the visible worship of Christ in the church gradually was cast out, and the spiritual fornication of saints and angels, relics, images, and such-like, which is renewed Gentilism and refined Paganism, came up gradually into the church of Rome.
The revelation of the Man of Sin doth appear by his rising gradually ; and the time of his rising will appear by the apostasy from the rule of faith, worship, and manners': so that, if we can find the defection of the church, we know one chief character of Antichrist. Some begin the apostasy from the primitive purity about A. D. 396. Many Popish
come into the church. (WOLPuius in Centenariis.) Jerome, A. D. 390, complains of the avarice and corruption of the clergy, and of the prohibition of marriage and meats. And Augustine, A. D. 399, complains how the church was fallen from her purity. Wolphius, in his “ Epistle” and in his book, ad ann. 390 and 400, brings-in a large catalogue of errors crept into the church, by which the times of the grand apostasy may be known. And it pleased God to speak in a wonderful way from heaven in those times, by prodigious comets, A. D. 383 and 389. (ALSTEDII Chronologia Cometarum.) Thus was the man of sin gradually revealed, and the apostasy did gradually proceed. Indeed, the pope could not yet show himself in the full exercise of his power in the Roman empire ; for the civil power of the Roman empire would not bear such a competition as the hierarchy of Rome ; and therefore the Roman empire, which is a civil state, was to be taken out of the way. (2 Thess. ii. 6—8.) It was to be removed from the seventh head,—the old Roman beast, as it was a civil government; and placed somewhere else ; that is, on the pope or ecclesiastical hierarchy, which usurps the power of both swords. This could not be done before the deadly wound was given to the Cæsarian family, which the idolatrous, blasphemous beast was to succeed. This is the beast which carrieth the whore ; (Rev. xvii. 3 ;) which could not be done, till the imperial sovereign power of Rome was broken, and translated to the pope. Then the Man of Sin was more fully revealed. Upon this ground, Jerome, when he heard of the taking of Rome by Alericus, [Alaric,] king of the Goths, expected the coming of Antichrist. (Epist. ad Ageruchiam.) Qui tenebit, saith he, de medio fit ; et non intelligemus Antichristum appropinquare ? “ He that letteth is removed ; and shall we not know that Antichrist is nigh ?” So in Præfat. lib. viii. in Ezech. : Pascitur anima, et obliviscitur, &c.
Some state the beginning of the apostasy and the revelation of the Man of Sin higher ; some, lower : but they agree in the main,—that this apostasy was by the pope, and upon the fall of the Roman empire. Some will have his revelation to be about the time of king Pepin and Charlemain (Charlemagne). It is true, the Papacy then came to a great height; but the church was very corrupt in doctrine, worship, discipline, and manners, and polluted with spiritual fornication after saints and angels and images, &c., long before that time. So that we may infer, that if the apostasy came in with the pope or Papacy,—as this did rise to a height, so did the apostasy from the truth,—then this character doth agree to the pope, by which he may be known to be the Antichrist. THE SECOND CHARACTER IS THE SPECIAL AND MOST SIGNIFICANT
EXPRESSIONS APPLIED TO ANTICHRIST. 2. The second character by which the pope is set forth, so as to be known to be Antichrist :
(1.) He is ο ανθρωπος της αμαρτιας, ο υιος της απωλειας, (2 Thess. ii. 3,) ó urtixeiuevos, (verse 4,) •'ayquos, (verse 8,) “ the man of sin, the son of perdition ;” by a Hebrew phrase expressing one that is a superlative, supereminent sinner, impietatis coryphæus, [“ the leader of impiety,"] as Peter Moulin phraseth him ; as we say, “a man of blood," for “a man thirsting after blood,” or a cruel, bloody man.” “ The son of perdition,” perditissimus, one (by a Hebraism) set upon destruction of others, the most flagitious, profligate sinner, the most inhuman, cruel destroyer, to whom the titles of Apollyon and Abaddon do most properly belong. He is actively and passively “ the son of perdition.” (Rev. xvü. 8; xix. 20.) He is the great destroyer of souls. (2 Thess. ii. 12.) He is the ó antiXEIJEVOS,
“the great enemy,” of all enemies of Christ: though he is not called by the name of “the Antichrist,” yet here is a word, with the article prefixed to it, which carrieth the like importance with it. He is the worst and greatest enemy of Christ, who, under a pretence of friendship and love to Christ, doth usurp and undermine his offices. He appears like a “lamb in his deportment, and “speaks like a dragon.” (Rev. xiii. 11.)
(2.) The Papacy is, of all other bodies politic, the worst ; being set out with such expressions as have the greatest emphasis in them. It would be too great a business for a sermon to give you an account of their tyranny, cruelty, luxury, rapaciousness, avarice, blasphemy, whoredom, spiritual and corporal. All the abominations of the three former monarchies do meet in this fourth, of which the Papacy is the last edition. (Rev. xiii. 1, 2.) That beast set out there is the Roman empire, as Papal, not Pagan : as appears by the crowns on the horns; but the Pagan empire had the crowns on the heads. (Rev. xii. 3.) Now that wickedness in which those former empires did excel did meet in the Papal; and therefore it is set out by the lion's mouth, the feet of the bear and the leopard. (Rev. xii. 2.) He is set out in his type in Dan. xi. 28–32: or he himself is set forth, as some think, wholly “ against the covenant," expressing an indignation against it with all his might, setting himself against the sanctuary and daily sacrifice. Graserus and others understand it of Antichrist, and not of Antiochus. The scripture, when it expresseth a person or thing in a signal way, doth it by an affixed article, (as here,) or by an abstract. Here the article showeth an eminence of wickedness : so the abstract : “ The upright love thee : " (Canticles i. 4 :) Hebrew, " uprightnesses," by which righteous persons
are set forth. So a proud person is set out by “pride :” (Jer. 1. 31 :) we render it, “O thou most proud!” So “sin for
a great sinner.” (Prov. xii. 6.) So “the man of sin signifies “the most sinful man.' He is called the ó Avouos, (verse 8,) “that Wicked one,
" " the most lawless one ;” breaking all bounds and bands, and casting away the cords of Christ ; (as they, Psalm ii. 3 ;) that will not come under the yoke of Christ, nor stoop to his sceptre ; that will not that Christ should reign. (As, Luke xix. 14.) This boundless, lawless one is therefore set out by a most unruly beast ; (Rev. xiii. 1-8 ;) and by the whore of Babylon, riding the beast, and making the kings to commit fornication with her, and making the inhabitants of the earth drunk with the wine of her fornication : (Rev. xvii. 1-4 :) this is “the mother of harlots and abominations, drunken with the blood of the saints and martyrs.” (Verses 5, 6.) This “the lawless one" is the Antichristian state, the man of sin under another notion : “Lawless,” ó A voucos, as to scripture ; so in point of doctrine, worship, government, and manners; as to human laws and powers, being above them all ; as to oaths of allegiance, &c. as to exemption of his clergy, and such-like.
If these epithets which the Holy Ghost gives to Antichrist, do all belong to the pope or Papacy, then he may be justly thought to be • described in this place.
THE THIRD CHARACTER IS THE PLACE WHERE HE SITTETH AND
3. The third particular by which Antichrist is set out is the place. * “ He sitteth in the temple of God,”-there he exerciseth his jurisdiction and tyranny,--and “shows himself that he is God;” (2 Thess. ii. 4 ;) that is, in the church, the place of the visible, external worship of God; which is called the outward court ;” (Rev. xi. 2 ;) which is trodden under foot by the draconizing beast, or Papacy, profaning the whole worship of God, and bringing-in a new Gentilism: therefore the outward court is “cast out,” and forbidden to be measured, in regard [that] that lawless monster hath broken all bands, and will not come under any laws and rules of Christ; therefore, they and their worship are cast out. The place where he sits is called ó vaos,
“ the temple
“ house of God's worship.” So it is said of the king of Babylon, that he sit upon the mount of the congregation ; ” (Isai. xiv. 13;) that is, Mount Zion, the place of God's residence and worship. So here the king of Babylon : he takes upon him to sit in “ the temple," or “ church of God ; ” which is called vans, Eph. i. 21 ; 1 Cor. ii. 16 ; 2 Cor. vi. 16. Some will have it for the temple of Jerusalem, that must be the seat of Antichrist, which is in the power of the Turk : but this cannot be, in regard [that] the other characters will not suit with the Turks, but do fall in suitably with the Pope. And B0 Jerome takes the notion of vaos, (in Quæst. ad Alyasiam,) and Augustine, (De Civit. Dei, lib. xx. cap. 19.) He saith, Rectiùs dici sessurum in templum Dei ;EIS TOV YAOU TOU Ozou. so the Greek ;-tanquam ipse sit templum Dei,
• Philippus Nicolai, De Antichristo, proves the pope to be Antichrist from this character. See DR. WHITAKER, DANEUS, CHAMIER, PETER MOULIN, JUNIUS, &c., that write of Antichrist, and prove the pope to be the Antichrist from this place.
quod est ecclesia : as we say, In amicum, id est, velut amicus.t This may very well agree with the Papacy, who pretend to be the holy catholic, and the only true, church. So, then, the pope sits in the midst of his holy catholic church of Rome, exercising his tyrannical power over the people of God: so that Mahometans cannot be the church; they wholly renounce the name of “the church of Christ.”
OBJECTION. “But how can the Antichristian synagogue, where Satan's throne is, be called the temple of God?'”
RESPONSE. The scripture speaketh of things as they once were, though they do not continue so to be; and speaks it of persons as they are in pretence and outward profession, though they be not such as they pretend to be. Abigail is called “the wife of Nabal,” when he was dead ; (1 Sam. xxx. 5 ;) and Simon, “ the leper,” though he were healed. (Matt. xxvi. 6.) So the city that was “a harlot” is called “the faithful city.” (Isai. i. 21.) It was called “the holy city," where they worshipped ; (John iv. 21 ;) it was called “the holy place,” till the “desolation” by Vespasian ; (Matt. xxiv. 15;) and “the holy city ;” (Matt. xxvü. 53 ;) though they had turned the house of God into “a den of thieves,” (Matt. xxi. 13,) and the city was a bloody city "that killed the prophets.” (Matt. xxiii. 37.) Besides, sometimes the scripture speaks of it quoad opinionem hominum, “as they are reputed by men.” They “sacrificed to the gods of Damascus,” that they would “help them ; (2 Chron. xxviii. 23 ;) they are called “ gods” on that account : so, Judges x. 13, 14. This character doth very well agree to the pope, or Papacy, to prove it to be the Antichristian state here set forth.
THE FOURTH CHARACTER IS HIS SELF-EXALTATION.
γομενον Θεον· ο
4. He is set forth by self-exaltation.—'Trepalopouevos ETI CAUTA 2E
Exalting himself above all that is called God.” And not only above all that have the title of "gods,”—as the civil magistrates, (Psalm lxxxii. 1, 6,) who have the title of “gods” by virtue of the authority that God hath invested them withal, (John x. 31, 25,) — but also above the true God, by taking on him to do more than God himself: n gebno je, quicquid est augustum, “whatsoever is held worthy the highest degree of civil reverence,” as is the majesty of kings. He as God-He takes on him the honour due to God himself, and will be adored by the highest power upon earth. He that does all this must needs be the Antichrist : But such things doth the pope : let him look to the conclusion,
Moulin (in Vale. cap. 6) shows how the pope is called God, how they plead that he ought so to be ; whereof several of their own writers; especially out of the Glossa Extravagant. cum Inter. ; which hath these words : Credere Dominum Deum nostrum papam, conditorem dictæ decretalis et istius, sic non potuisse statuere ut statuit, hæreticum censeretur : “It is heretical to believe our Lord God the pope, the maker of the said decretal, not to have power to decree as he hath decreed.” And Bellarmine (De Pontif., lib. i.) saith, speaking of the pope's supremacy, Ecclesia, secluso etiam Christo, unum caput habere debet : “The church,
• “ It is rightly said that he will sit for the temple of God; as if he were the temple of God, which is the church."-EDIT. † “ For a friend;" that is, “as a friend."-- EDIT,