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both watchful for favorable opportunities, and also of strength enough to make his own use of them, no matter by what right or reason.
Of what nature those Eyes, and that watchfulness of this crafty watchman would be, our Saviour has intimated in his prophetic para able.--" The light of the body, said he, is the eye.
If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine
eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that dark
The plague of darkness implies also a judicial strengthening of their toils, by the strong delusion of fanaticism, and bigotry to their errors, being increased and not lessened by their sufferings, that if they repent not, and come not out of Babylon, they may at last fall into the net prepared for their punishment : or, as the prophet in two several places describes the progressive stages of their
* Matt, vi. 22.
destruction. “ Thát they may go-and fall backward-and be broken and snared-and taken.” Or, as the same is repeated of the same apostates from God," which will not sanctify the Lord of hosts himself, nor let him be their fear, nor let him be their dread. But he shall be (not for a sanctuary to them but) for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence. And many of them shall stumbleand fall--and be broken and snared-and
Under the influence of a delusion similar to that which fell upon the jews, and led them into the snare of the divine judgments, the worshippers of the BEAST'repent not of their deeds, but by persevering in idolatrous errors they virtually blaspbeme the God of heaven;
* Isai, xxviii. 18; yiii. 14. These two prophecies, delivered in almost the same words, and in the same singular interrupted manner of narration, have, evidently some great event in view.-The capture of the jewish apostates, and the fall of Jerusalem, is doubtless only one of the senses in which this redoubled and remarkable prophecy will receive its' accomplishment.,
seeking thus by spiritual sorceries* the removal of their pains and their sores : and they imbibe a deeper hatred against the truth, and an inveterate desire of revenge upon its advocates ; imputing to the HERESY of the PROTESTANTS, and not the APOSTACY of PA
* The charge of INCHANTMENTS and SORCERY is frequently brought in prophecy against “the well-favored harlot, the MISTRESS of WITCHCRAFTS, that selleth nations through her whoredoms,' and families through her WITCHCRAFTS," (Nah. ii. 4.) She is called the SORCERESS and the Whore in Isaiah lvii. 3. And that it is she herself, and not another, that is meant in these passages of the ancient prophets, St John has bluntly discovered to all her lovers, by pinning a label to her stomacher. (Rev. ix. 21 ; xviii. 23 ; xxi, 8; xxii. 15.)
The superstitious practices (imitated from the heathens, and more allied to magic than to christianity, with which the popish system abounds, may perhaps be principally meant; but the prophecies of popery have wonderfully received (for the most part) a literal as well as a figurative accomplishment
.. They have been notoriously fulfilled in the charges of whoredom and sodomy, &c. and there is equally abundant and strong evidence that ACTUAL MÀGIC and sorcery were practiced in the dark ages, which there is no reason to ascribe to the slan. der and
envy of the ignorant, (as in the case of some few men of eminent abilities and learning, for no other reason unjustly accused.) Platina, and other historiographers of their own religion, assure us that twenty two of the popes gave them. selves to the devil, for his help in gaining the dignity of the popedom; and they were such monsters of every imaginable wickedness, as even Bellarmine himself acknowledges, that
anger of heaven visible in their accumulated calamities.
there was nothing left but this to fill
Seve. ral of the popes were MAGICIANS and NECROMANCERS,
and that the practice of such arts was as frequent in the convents as other abominations, the church history attests. See Gregory's History of the Church, vol. ii. p. 276.
To say nothing of the repeated instances of popes poisoning their enemies with the Ho$t, or consecrated water, or of Pope Theodorus inventing inchanted ink; for in excommunicating PHYRRUS, patriarch of Constantinople, that he might be sure of sending him to the devil compleatly, he infused certain drops of the consecrated cup into the ink, with which he wrote the sentence of cursing against him,) and other like inchantments of that kind; the whole popish system is nothing else but iuchantment in every part.
The performance of the mass, with the sprinkļing of holy water, the muttering unintelligible words, change of vestments, frequent crossings, and other antic gesticulations of the priest, bears the nearest affinity to a piece of CONJURATION. For what has christianity to do with these things ? or with altars, and candles burning upon them by day as well as night ? and crucifixes, incense, the elevation of the host, and the tinkling of a bell for the idolatrous adoration of it by the people? • The hocus pocus of TRANSUBSTANTIATION, the sacrilegipus violation of the one sacrament, and the adulteration of the other with salt, oil, and other additions; and degrading them
This is deplorable darkness indeed! even darkness which might be felt. But in cases of great criminality against light, and reason and conscience, even this is sometimes met with in the world. It is beyond the power of imagination itself to fathom the incredible infatuation, which determined obstinacy in evil does at length induce upon the minds of sinners, forsaken of the illuminating spirit of grace, because they first have departed out of the way: “Saying unto the seers, see not, and to the prophets, prophesy unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits ; cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us." If this be
both to the level of the five popish sacraments joined with bap: tism and the Lord's supper by the papists, has more of inchantment than religion in it.
Their false miracles, fictitious reliques, pious frauds, and tampering with the scriptures, are sufficient to substantiate the prophetic accusation of SORCERY ;--and the doctrine of PURGATORY, and the whole system of iniquity founded upon it, the “ covenant with hell and deatb,” indulgencies and pardons, visions and apparitions, revelations, and conferences with the dead, prayers for and to the dead, miracles pretendedly wrought by them, and superstitions established upon their alledged authority, all this can be called little else than necromaney: