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II. I wish to direct the attention of the people of God to that approaching overthrow of the Antichristian power, the consideration of which is greatly adapted to cheer and encourage them, amid the increase and advancement which its interests are experiencing in present times. I am sure, that the cause of Popery has never seemed so prosperous, since the era of the Reformation, as it presently does ;-that its deluded adherents have never so vigorously and successfully plied their proselytizing work as within the last thirty years; and that the great body of men in the Protestant world were never so insensible, as at present, of the value of those great privileges, which were not secured to them, but by the contendings and the blood of their martyred fathers of other days. In all this, enlightened, and conscientious, and faithful Christians cannot but perceive ground of deep and lasting regret for they did not, surely, anticipate that the deadly wound of the beast would be so greatly healed, or that the crumbling battlements of Antichristian Rome would, in these latter days, be so signally repaired; and, amid the dark and threatening aspect of divine Providence, they cannot but be led anxiously to ask-What shall be the end of these things? How long shall this "mystery of iniquity," which opposes Christ, and makes merchandise of souls, have strength, and prosper, and destroy in the earth? How long shall this great" apostacy" from the Christian faith dishonour God, and ruin souls, and oppress the Church, and stand up as a barrier in
the way of the gathering of Jews and Gentiles into one harmonious and glorious body?-Is the Redeemer unmindful of his Church? or for her sins, and the sins of the world, hath he determined to lengthen out the time of Zion's captivity?
Now, amid the darkness of Providence, the people of Christ should commune with his promises. From all that is adverse in the present experience of the Church, they should look forward to her coming joys. And when the foes of Zion obtain partial enlargements, it is the duty and the privilege of her friends to anticipate the disastrous and final overthrow which "the Lord of Hosts hath purposed" concerning them.
The event announced in my text, is the most joyful which the Church of Christ has been taught to expect in this world. It will be a signal manifestation of her Redeemer's glory,-the ruin of her greatest adversary, -the fulfilment of a long series of sublime predictions, in short, it will be the commencement of the most splendid and blissful era in her militant history; -for we learn from Holy Scripture, that the destruction of the Antichristian power will be immediately followed by the conversion of long-outcast Israel, the overthrow of Mahomedan imposture, and the extension and the triumph of the gospel over all the earth for a thousand years.
To this event, my friends, I purpose to direct your consideration; and, amid the present awful prevalence of Popery and popish-infidelity abroad, the increased strength which the Antichristian interest is
obtaining in our own beloved land, and the countenance which, in violation of divine injunctions, and of our own solemn, national obligations, is given to it by Protestants of all ranks,-amid all this, it cannot but be consoling and reviving to every faithful lover of the Redeemer's interest and glory, to contemplate Antichrist foredoomed of God, and to anticipate the splendid manifestation which Jesus will give of his power and grace, when he "shall consume that Wicked with the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming.”
The words of my text, you are aware, do not refer to Babylon of the ancient world; for, long before the time when the visions of the Apocalypse were given to the beloved disciple, that great city, "the glory of kingdoms, and the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency," had been given into the hands of the spoiler, and "swept with the besom" of fearful destruction, Babylon, in this passage, is a symbolical term, representing a great religious system, which, was to exist in New Testament times, under the Christian name, and in which a most striking resemblance to ancient Babylon would be perceived. This system is spoken of in the Apocalypse under various names It is described as "the mystery of iniquity," "the mother of abominations," "Sodom," "Egypt;" and is compared to a wild, devouring beast, having seven heads and ten horns. It was predicted of this great system, that it would rise to signal power-would have the world wondering after it-would exalt itself
in opposition to God-would delude mankind, and make merchandise of souls-would make war on the saints of the Most High-and would endure for 1260 years. All these particulars have been realized only in the corrupt and persecuting Church of Rome. Except the Papacy, no false system, under the Christian name, has endured a thousand years. No other system'comprehends such a multitude of abominations. No other system has so fearfully persecuted the Church of Christ. In short, no other system ever attained such extension, or was surrounded with so much of the pomp and grandeur of the earth.
Babylon is the symbol under which this great system of corruption is represented in my text; and, acquainted as we are with the character of ancient Babylon, we can be at no loss to perceive the reason of the application of this name to the Papal Church. All those features of wickedness, that distinguished the character of the profligate metropolis of the East, are found, in still more awful perfection, in her antitype of the West. Pride of secular magnificence, the lust of universal dominion, the worship of unnumbered idols, unbounded corruption of manners, and unrelenting oppression of the Church of God,-these are the things for which great Babylon of the ancient world was remarkable:-And who, that is acquainted with the history of the Papal Church, knows not, that, in mystical Babylon, an awful re-exhibition has been given of them all. She has pressed into her service the grandeur of this world. Over all that is called God has she aspired to reign.
are the images and the relics, before which her disciples fall down in humble adoration. Her doctrines were the means of spreading immorality over the world; and, for many generations did she, by her sanguinary persecutions, wear out the saints of the Most High. Is she not, therefore, worthily called Babylon the great?
Without confining myself, in the subsequent Discourses, to the analogy between ancient Babylon and the Papal Church, I design
IN THE FIRST PLACE, TO LAY BEFORE YOŬ, IN SOME GENERAL REMARKS, THE CHARACTER OF THE LATTER; AND, SECONDLY, TO CONTEMPLATE HER PROSPECTS AS DELINEATED IN MY TEXT.
The genuine CHARACTER of the Papal system seems, by a multitude of Protestants, to be utterly lost sight of. Our fathers, who emerged from the darkness and the delusions of Popery, knew it well, and left their convictions respecting it on record, for the warning of their posterity. But their sentiments on this subject multitudes among us have now learned to hold in utter contempt: and that great corruption of Christianity-that mighty spiritual usurpation, whose disastrous tendency was displayed, during a thousand years, in the ignorance, degradation, and misery of mankind, is now regarded, not merely as a tolerable and harmless thing, but, in many instances, as equally entitled to our affection and our esteem, with the system of truth and liberty by which, in our favoured land, it has been displaced.