« AnteriorContinuar »
ceeding on the same principles, and were so much more con: siderable, and brought vastly greater calamities on the Christo ian world, and 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.
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 10 the church of God; so that, on that occasion, there are great voices in heaven, sayo ing, 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 twelve hundred and sixty 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.
However, I do not deny that the time when Mr. Lowmany supposes the reign of the beast began, even the time when Pepin confirmed to the Pope his temporal dominions in Italy, was a time of the great increase and advancement of the er of Antichrist in the world, and a notable epoch. And if I may be allowed humbly to offer what appears 10 me to be the
themselves, under other prioces in the government they set up in territorics that had formerly been possessed by Christians, and in their overrunning and ravá eging Christian countries, immediately succeeded the Saracens; and froma thenceforward have been a terrible, and almost continual scourge to the church.
Preface of his Paraphrase, &c. p. 13, 14, and 16.
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 and advancement of the true church, are prophesied of under one.
Though it be true, that there is some particular event, that prevails above all others in the intention of the prophecy, some one remarkable season of the destruction of the church of Rome and papal power and corruption, and advancement of true religion, that the prophecies have a princi pal respect to.
It was certainly thus with regard to the prophecies of the destruction of old Babylon, and the church's deliverance from captivity and oppression 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 captivitý of the Jews by the Babylonians was not perfected at once, but was brought on by several notable steps. Só 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 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 froni Jehoiakim's captivity to Cyrus's decree, for the return of the Jews, and the rebuilding 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, that were not fulfilled until the 4th year of Darius ; when what remained VOL. III.
of Babylon was subject to another dreadful destruction ; which in a great measure completed its desolation ; which was at the end of the second seventy years, and at the same time that 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 until more than two hundred years after, in the time of Seleucus king of Syria.t So also it was with respect to the prophecies of the destruction of Tyre, in the xxvith, xxviith and xxviith 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 ;t and yet other parts of the same prophecy were fulfilled by Alexander ;which was about two hundred and forty years afterwards. And yet both these desolations are prophesied of under one.
And thus it seems to me very probable, that it will prore, 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 remainders 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 that is chiefly intended in the prophecies of Antichrist's destruction, there will be some re. mains 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
* Prideaux's Connexion, Part 1. p 183, 184, and 267, 268, 269. Edit. 9, and p. 271, and 279,--t Ibid. 808.....812.
- ibid. 128, 129, 130. s Ibid. p. 693.-- || See Rev. xviii. 21.0...23...,and xix. 20, 21. Dan. vii, 26, 27.
remain of the church of Rome, that 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 there will be 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 such a thing as 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 the 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 Millenni. um or spiritual rest of the world, may, for ought I know, be about the tine Mr. Lowman speaks of ; agreeable to the opinion of the ancient Jews, and many Christian divines that 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 requisite, in order to introduce and settle such a state of things, as the world is represented as being in, in that Millennium that is described, Rev. x3. wherein 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, and Satan thenceforward 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, and there shall be abundance of peace, and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas, and God's peo. ple 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 should 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, and the conversion of all the Jews, and the full enlightening and conversion of all Mahometan and Heathen nations, through the whole earth, on every side of the globe, and from the north to the south pole, and the full settlement of all in the pure Christian faith and order, all as it were in the issue of one battle, and 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, until it has diffused itself through the whole lump; and a plant of mustard, which from a very small sced, gradually becomes a great tree; Mat. xiii. 31, 32, 33, and like seed which a man casts into the ground, that springs and grows uji, 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 in Ezek. xlvii. where the progress of religion is represented by the gradual increase of the waters of the sanctuary ; being first a small spring issuing out from under the threshold of the temple ; and then, after they had run a thousand cubits, being up to the ankles ; and at the end of another thousand cubits, up to the knees ; and at the end of another thousand, up to the luins ; and afterwards a great river, that could not be passed over ; and being finally brought into the sea, and healing the waters even of the vast ocean.
If the Spirit of God should be immediately poured out, and that great 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 unparallellcd progress of the work and manifestation of divine power to bring so much to pass, by the year two thousand. Would it not be a great