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tion it as showing the belief of the Fathers in the restoration and re-establishment of the Roman empire, which has certainly since their day been attempted.
It seems then, on the whole, that, as far as the testimony of the early Church goes, Antichrist will be an open blasphemer, opposing himself to every existing worship, true and false,—a persecutor, a patron to the Jews, and a restorer of their worship, and, further, the author of a novel kind of worship. Moreover, he will appear suddenly, at the very end of the Roman empire, which once was and now sleeps; that he will knit it into one, and engraft his Judaism and his new worship (a sort of Paganism, it may be) upon the old discipline of Cæsar Augustus; that in consequence he will earn the title of the Latin or Roman King, as best expressive of his place and character; lastly, that he will pass away as suddenly as he came.
Now concerning this, I repeat, I do not wish to pronounce how far the early Church was right or wrong in these anticipations, though events since have variously tended to strengthen its general interpretations of Scripture prophecy.
It may be asked, What practical use is there in speaking of these things, if they be doubtful? With a short notice of this objection, I shall conclude.
First, it is not unprofitable to bear in mind that we are still under what may be called a miraculous system. I do not mean to maintain that literal miracles are taking place now, but that our present state is a portion of a providential course, which began in miracle, and at least at the end of the world, if not before, will end in miracle. The particular expectations above detailed may be right or wrong; yet an Antichrist, whoever and whatever he be, is to come; marvels are to come; the old Roman empire is not extinct; the devil, if bound, is bound but for a season; the contest of good and evil is not ended. I repeat it, in the present state of things, when the great object of education is supposed to be the getting rid of things supernatural, when we are bid to laugh and jeer at believing every thing we do not see, are told to account for every thing by things known and ascertained, and to assay every statement by the touchstone of experience, I
must think that this vision of Antichrist, as a supernatural power to come, is a great providential gain, as being a counterpoise to the evil tendencies of the age.
And next, it must surely be profitable for our thoughts to be sent backward and forward to the beginning and the end of the Gospel times, to the first and second coming of CHRIST. What we want, is to understand that we are in the place in which the early Christians were, with the same covenant, ministry, sacraments, and duties;-to realize a state of things long past away;
-to feel that we are in a sinful world, a world lying in wickedness; to discern our position in it, that we are witnesses in it, that reproach and suffering are our portion, so that we must not "think it strange" if they come upon us, but a kind of gracious exception if they do not;-to have our hearts awake, as if we had seen CHRIST and His Apostles, and seen their miracles,— awake to the hope and waiting of His second coming, looking out for it, nay, desiring to see the tokens of it ;-thinking often and much of the judgment to come, dwelling on and adequately entering into the thought, that we individually shall be judged. All these surely are acts of true and saving faith; and this is one substantial use of the Book of Revelation, and other prophetical parts of Scripture, quite distinct from our knowing their real interpretation, viz. to take the veil from our eyes, to lift up the covering which lies over the face of the world, and make us see day by day, as we go in and out, as we get up and lie down, as we labour, and walk, and rest, and recreate ourselves, the Throne of GoD set up in the midst of us, His majesty and His judgments, His Son's continual intercession for the elect, their trials, and their victory.
May God enable us all thus to walk by faith, not by sight, and live in the past and future, not in the present!
THE CITY OF ANTICHRIST.
REV. xvii. 18.
"The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth."
THE city spoken of in these words is evidently Rome, which was then the seat of empire all over the earth,-which was supreme even in Judæa. We hear of the Romans all through the Gospels and Acts. Our SAVIOUR was born when His mother, the Blessed Virgin, and Joseph, were brought up to Bethlehem to be taxed by the Roman governor. He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. St. Paul was at various times protected by the circumstance of his being a Roman citizen; on the other hand, when he was seized and imprisoned, it was by the Roman governors, and at last he was sent to Rome itself, to the emperor, and eventually martyred there, together with St. Peter. Thus the sovereignty of Rome, at the time when CHRIST and His Apostles preached and wrote, which is a matter of historical notoriety, is forced on our notice in the New Testament itself. It is undeniably meant in the text, by the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
The connexion of Rome with the reign and exploits of Antichrist, is so often brought before us in the controversies of the day, that it may be well, after what I have already had occasion to say on the subject of the last enemy of the Church, to consider now what Scripture prophecy says concerning Rome; which I shall attempt to do, as before, with the guidance of the early Fathers.
Now let us observe what the Chapter says, in which the text occurs, concerning Rome, and what we may deduce from it.
This great city is described under the image of a woman, cruel, profligate, and impious. She is described as arrayed in all worldly splendour and costliness, in purple and scarlet, in gold and precious stones, and pearls, as shedding and drinking the blood of the saints, till she was drunken with it. Moreover she is called by the name of "Babylon the Great," to signify her power, wealth, profaneness, pride, sensuality, and persecuting spirit, after the pattern of that former enemy of the Church. I need not here relate how all this really answered to the character and history of Rome at the time St. John spoke of it. There never was a more ambitious, haughty, hardhearted, and worldly people than the Romans; never any, for none else had ever the opportunity, which so persecuted the Church. Christians suffered ten persecutions at their hands, as they are commonly reckoned, and very horrible ones, extending over two hundred and fifty years. The day would fail to go through an account of the tortures they suffered from Rome; so that the Apostle's description was as signally fulfilled afterwards as a prophecy, as it was accurate at the time as an historical notice.
This guilty city, represented by St. John as an abandoned woman, is said to be seated on "a scarlet-coloured monster, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns." Here we are sent back by the prophetic description to the seventh chapter of Daniel, in which the four great empires of the world are shadowed out under the figure of four beasts, a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a nameless monster, "diverse" from the rest, "dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly;" "and it had ten horns." This surely is the very same beast which St. John saw the ten horns mark it. Now this fourth beast in Daniel's vision is the Roman empire; therefore "the beast" on which the woman sat, is the Roman empire. And this agrees very accurately with the actual position of things in history; for Rome, the mistress of the world, might well be said to sit upon, and be carried about triumphantly on that world which she had subdued, and made her creature. Further, the prophet Daniel explains the ten horns
of the beast to be "ten kings that shall arise" out of this empire; in which St. John agrees, saying, "The ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast." Moreover in a former vision Daniel speaks of the empire as destined to be "divided," as "partly strong and partly broken." Further still, this empire, the beast of burden of the woman, was at length to rise against her and devour her, as some savage animal might turn upon its keeper; and it was to do this in the time of its divided or multiplied existence. "The ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate" her, "and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire." Such was to be the end of the great city. Lastly, three of the kings, perhaps all, are said to be subdued by Antichrist, who is to come up suddenly while they are in power; for such is the course of Daniel's prophecy-" Another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings, and he shall speak great words against the Most HIGH, and shall wear out the saints of the MosT HIGH, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hands until a time, times, and the dividing of time." This power, who was to rise upon the kings, is Antichrist; and I would have you observe how Rome and Antichrist stand towards each other in the prophecy. Rome is to fall before Antichrist rises; for the ten kings are to destroy Rome, and Antichrist is then to appear and supersede the ten kings. As far as we dare judge from the words, this seems clear. St. John says, "the ten horns shall hate and devour" the woman: and Daniel says, "I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn" with " eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things:"-that is Antichrist.
Now then, let us consider how far these prophecies have been fulfilled, and what seems to remain.
In the first place, the Roman empire did break up, as foretold. It divided into a number of separate kingdoms, such as our own, France, and the like; yet it is difficult to number ten accurately
1 Dan. ii. 41, 42.