Page images

particular Perfon, fuch are, 1. O 'Arrixus☺, or the Antichrift, by way of Eminence. 2. The Man of Sin, the chief Author and Servant of Sin, the Head of the Apostacy. 3. The Son of Perdition. 4. 0 'Arlinesμer©, ΑντικείμενΘ, or the Diabolical Adverfary. 5. '0 'Imentejus, the Blafphemous Ufurper of the place of God. 6. O'Avou. The Lawless one,who pretends to be above all Laws, and violates all both Human and Divine: Whofoever, I fay, will obferve thefe Titles and Characters muft needs think them fufficient Arguments of the Truth I am pleading for; but there is yet another Place that will, I think, put the Matter beyond all doubt, and that is the remarkable Declaration of our Bleffed Saviour to the Jews, John 5. 43. (who fought to kill him for afferting his Divine Miffion. v. 18) I am come, fays He, in my Father's Name, and ye receive me not, if another shall come in his own Name, him ye will receive. Which Words are a Prophetical Denunciation (notwithstanding what fome have objected from the conditional Particle ar, which they understand to include a degree of Doubt and Uncertainty) of the juft Judgment of God upon their Infidelity, that forafmuch as they had rejected the Lord of Life and Glory, coming in the Name, and doing the Works of his Father, therefore by the Permiffion of God there fhould arife one in the last Days, who fhould come in his own Name, and glorifie himself, exalting himself in the place and ftead of God, whom by reafon of the Darkness and Blindness of their Understandings

derftandings, they fhould receive as the Chrift. Now can any Expreffion in Nature be conceived more plainly to point out Perfonality than thefe! How can we elfe understand the Oppofition between I and Another; between coming in his Father's Name, and coming in his own Name? Befides, is it to be imagined that the Jews, who did from the Beginning, and do to this Day expect their Redeemer to come as a Deliverer and a Prince, cloathed with all the Majefty and Splendor of an Everlafting Kingdom, fhould ever believe any Civil or Ecclefiaftical Society, efpecially that are now in being, to be their Meffiah? Much lefs can we imagine, that they will ever fix upon the Bishop of Rome, or look for Deliverance from his Hands? This can hardly be conceiv'd. There are moreover, many Places in the Prophetical Scriptures, which by the Ancient Fathers were generally apply'd to the fame Perfon; as Ifa. 14. and 17. was by St. Cyprian*, with many* Lib.3. ad others, which falling more properly under Quirianother Head, I fhall at prefent omit, and num, cap. endeavour to give a brief Anfwer to Two 118. or Three little Objections which have been made by the Reform'd against this Doctrine. The First was that Affertion of St. Paul, Two Obje 2 Theff. 2. 7. that the Mystery of Iniquity did etions aneven then work; and that of St. John, 1 Ep. Swer'd. Chap. 2. v. 18. that there were then many Antichrifts; and Chap. 4. v. 3. that the Spirit of Antichrift was then in the World. All which Affertions amount to no more than this, that the Antichriftian Spirit was actually


operating at that time in the Beginnings of the Apoftacy; and that there were many engaged therein, who according to what I have laid down, p. 113. are therefore called Antichrifts, but do by no means weaken the Truth contended for; but (as I have there fhewn) are very confiftent with it. The other Objection is taken from the Prophecy of Daniel, who, Chap.7. faw the Vifion of the Four Beafts, and the Ten Horns of the fourth Beaft, and the little Horn that arofe out of the midst of them. Now (fay the Objectors) the Four Beafts are explain'd, v. 17. to be Four Kings, i. e. Monarchies or Kingdoms, as it is explain'd v. 23. and if by the Ten Horns of the fourth Beaft be to be underftood Ten Kingdoms, into which the fourth Monarchy fhall be divided; then by the fame Rule of Interpretation, by the little Horn arifing out of the Ten, if it be apply'd to Antichrift, which is generally own'd by the Ancients, must be understood not a Perfon, but an Antichriftian Society, Church, State, Monarchy, or Kingdom. To this I anfwer, Firft, That I fee no reafon why we fhould understand by the Four Beafts Four Kingdoms, and not Four Kings, as the Letter of the 17th Verfe expreffes it; that is, the Founders of the Four Kingdoms or Empires; and fo the calling the fourth Beaft the fourth Kingdom, may be eafily reconciled to the common way of fpeaking in Scripture, where not only Families and Cities, but even Countries and Kingdoms are exprefs'd by, and compre



hended under their Founders and Governours; and of this Opinion are not only St. Jerom, among the Ancients, but even Vatablus, Pererius, &c. among the Moderns. 2dly, Though we fhould grant, that Four Monarchies are to be underftood by the Four Beafts, and by confequence a long Succeffion of Princes, yet will it not from thence follow, that Antichriftian Kingdom (precisely taken) must be so too. For the long Duration and Continuance of the Four made fuch a Succeffion neceffary; but the fhort Reign of Antichrift being limited to Three Years Six Months, muft neceffarily terminate in one fingle Perfon; who, by being called a little Horn, Chap. 7. 20. must be explained of one Perfon, as the Ten Horns are afferted to be Ten Kings, v. 24. and (fays St. Jerom upon Dan. 7.) fhall arife from among the Ten Kings, who fhall destroy the Roman Empire, and divide it between them; (and a little af ter) who fhall not be as fome imagine, the Devil himself, but a Man in whom the Devil fhall dwell corporeally.

II. THIS was alfo II. The uncontro- From the verted Doctrine of the Primitive Church; Fathers of the Church. by which I do not mean, that it was ever established by the Authority of Councils, much lefs made an Article of Faith: But that all the Fathers.who wrote about Antichrift, who were neither few in Number, nor of the leaft Repute in the Church, nor at great distance from the Apoftolical Age, were of this Opinion. Amongst whom were (to mention no more) St. Irenæus,


From the Jews.

Cyril of Jerufalem, Hippolytus, Origen, the Author of thofe Writings commonly attributed to Lactantius, Methodius Patarenfis, Ephrem Syrus, Sulpitius Severus, &c. nor do we find that they were ever blamed, much lefs cenfured for this Doctrine. And their Autho rity muft certainly weigh with thofe who have any Reverence for Primitive Antiquity, and will judge impartially of the Truth of Things. It will be here needlefs to quote the particular Paffages of thefe Writers, which favour this Opinion, becaufe we fhall be forced frequently to have recourfe to them upon the following Heads.

[ocr errors]

III. THIS was alfo, and ftill is, III. The Opinion of the Jewish Writers upon this Subject, particularly Rabbi Jacob, in his Book entituled, Abcboth Rachel, published by Hulfius, under the Name of Theologia Judaica; as alfo Rabbi Aben Ezra, Rabbi Solemon and Kimchi, upon the Pfalms and Prophets; and the Hebrew Chronicon, entituled Seder Olam. In all which you meet with abundance of fabulous Stories concerning his Parentage, Birth, Education, Size, c. which we are no otherwife concern'd with, than as they prove the Opinion of the Jews to have been, that the Antichrift which they expected was to be a fingle Perfon, not a Society, Church or Monarchy. To which alfo may be added, the many remarkable Teftimonies of the Sybilline Oracles, which are full of this Doctrine. The Types of $7. THE Coming of this Man of Sin Antichrif. has been varioufly prefigured and typified.



« PreviousContinue »