« VorigeDoorgaan »
that rob us.” The whole falls in likewise with the description of that awful earthquake in Rev. xi. 17—19, which shews also that the events spoken of usher in the first resurrection.—“We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power and hast reigned. And the nations were angry; and the wruth is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name both small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament, and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
(3.) It needs but few remarks in order to point out that “the signs of the times” are awfully corresponding with the state of things here described. Since the French revolution we have seen the thrones of the continental kingdoms shaken to their foundations, and a republican spirit has
pervaded the whole mass of the ten kingdoms of the papal beast, and is now ready to burst forth, like an eruption of volcanic matter, and overwhelm them all. We have seen France, Belgium, Italy, Poland, and other places, affected by the revolutionary spirit, the chief incitement to which is the democratic virus. Spain the struggle is chiefly between republicans and the disciples of ultra-despotism and intolerance. In Portugal Don Pedro was obliged to affect the liberal, and to make large concessions to the popular spirit, before he had any prospect of
We already, indeed, see in that country and in Spain, what has been previously witnessed in France, viz. the temporalities of the papal ecclesiastical establishments taken from them; thus shewing that the ten kingdoms thereof are beginning to make the whore “desolate and naked, and to eat her flesh, &c.” Rev. xvii. 16. Nor is royalty alone the object of present attack: the nobles of every rank are likewise aimed at. They have been temporarily extinguished in France, and they have more recently been despoiled of their hereditary honours, and the cry of “Down with the Lords!" in our country is becoming very plain and unequivocal. Still more clearly has the hoarse croak of war against the prelates, and against all established churches, been heard; and I fear it will, ere long, be as distinctly heard assailing all that appears to be associated with or to plead for the authority of divine Revelation. When the war against the Lamb commences with the outworks of religion, the attack upon the citadel itself may reasonably be expected. And as thus Europe is threatened with the
darkening of her sun and moon, and the putting out of her stars, so do we clearly see that instrumentality in motion, which is to effect their temporary destruction the sea and the waves roaring.” The perilous condition of rulers, governments and nobles arises from the revolutionary and levelling spirit which exists among the people; which democratic spirit has been greatly fed and strengthened by the large concessions which are continually making to it. For numbers of men, whose principles, from their rank and station in society, must be opposed to it, are nevertheless found flattering this spirit and crouching to it, as being apparently the surest path to political power; and are actually promoting their own destruction by means of a spurious and infidel liberalism.
I need not enlarge by pointing out the increase of infidelity, as exhibited in its public features. Complete toleration is now given to publications of the most blasphemous and atrocious character; and those who pander to the public appetite find, that they are the most successful, who are the most bold to “speak against dignities,” and to revile what is sacred in religion. Both in this country indeed, and on the continent, there are places opened in the larger towns, upon the Sabbath day, in which infidelity and blasphemy are set forth, and principles are avowedly broached which are subversive of the present order of things.
(4.) There is one other circumstance connected with the character and actings of this last form of Antichrist, as revealed in the scriptures, which must not be passed over: viz. that the last apostacy, out of which he will be matured, will be greatly aided and brought about by professors of Christianity who are heretics and schismatics. I feel reluctant to enter on this point, as seeming to reflect on those among whom I believe there are yet many people of the Lord. But I must not allow myself, in a work which professes to place before the reader the elements of prophetical interpretation, to neglect a point of so great importance; and I would fain hope it may prove of use to those who are indeed the Lord's people among them. The character of Dissent is, alas! within these few years, become fearfully identified, in its political actings, with the papal beast on the one hand, and with the liberal-infidel beast on the other; and if the scriptural view which is now about to be brought forward should be the means of startling some, and leading them to get up from about the tents of those wicked men and touch nothing of theirs, lest they be consumed in all their sins, I shall have reason to be thankful.
The first portion to which I would draw attention is the second epistle of Peter, beginning chapter ii. to verses 3, 4 of chapter iii. In this passage, false prophets are spoken of, who are privily to bring in damnable heresies, "denying the Lord that bought them." Ch. ii. 1. They are described as moved by covetousness, (v. 3 and 14,) in which respect they "follow the way of Balaam, who loved the wages of unrighteousness." Ver. 15. They are farther described as “walking in the lust of uncleanness, and despising government,”-"presumptous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities." Ver. 10. They speak great swelling words of vanity, (ver. 18;) they make great talk about liberty, but are themselves the servants of corruption, (ver. 19;) and especially they turn to scoff the promise of the second advent of the Lord. Chap. iii. 3, 4. That they are to appear in the last days” is also declared, chap. iii. 3, and is further apparent from its being said, chap. ii. 3, that their judgment, now of a long time, “lingereth not."
Now whoever will attentively compare the epistle of St. Jude will see, that he speaks of precisely the same persons. * And he declares of them, “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Ver. 19. So that as Peter describes them to be heretics, Jude shews them to be schismatics;—persons who refuse to submit themselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, (1 Peter ii. 13.)-men who prefer their own self-willed notions, and despise the authority of the Lord that bought them. Jude likewise describes them as "denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ;"-as perishing in "the gainsaying of Core,” (or Korah,) who rebelled against the ministers of the Lord's appoint* This will be evident from the following particulars:
PETER says1. In the last days shall come scoffers, 1. The apostles told you before, that
(chap. iii. 3.) who walk after the there should be mockers in the last desh, in the lust of uncleanness, time, who should walk after their (chap. ii. 10.)
ungodly lusts. (ver. 17, 18.) 2. They follow the way of Balaam, \ 2. They run greedily after the error &c. ver. 15.
of Balaam. (ver. 11.). 3. They despi government, and are 3. They despise dominion, and speak
not afraid to speak evil of digni. evil of dignities: whereas Michael ties:-whereas angels bring not rail- the archangel durst not bring a railing accusation. (ver. 10, 11.)
ing accusation against the devil.
(ver. 8, 9.) 4. They, as natural brute beasts, speak 4. They speak evil of those things
evil of the things they understand which they know not, and what they not. (ver. 12.)
know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt them
selves. (ver. 10.) 5. They are wells without water, 5. They are clouds without water,
clouds that are carried with a tem- carried about of winds; to whom is pest, to whom the mist of darkness reserved the blackness of darkness is reserved for ever. (ver. 17.) for ever. (ver. 12, 13.)
And other parallelisms may be found, leading to the conclusion that Jude must have written from the epistle itself of Peter.
ment,(Numbers xvi.)--and as "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame;" which, taken with their speaking evil of dignities, confirms what has been said of the sea and the waves roaring;” and he says that they are “murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
Ver. 13 and 16. Jude also brings these into the crisis of the last times, by farther telling us, that the Lord cometh with myriads of his saints, to execute judgment on them. Ver. 14, 15.
If we turn next to St. John, we shall find allusion to what are apparently the same men, and they are especially by him declared to be limbs or members of the Antichrist. In his first Epistle, chap. ii. 22, he says—He is Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son;" which is evidently akin to the heresy of those who deny (as Peter has it) the Lord that bought them, and (as Jude has it) who deny the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Again he declares of them-“As ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are
Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us." Ver. 18, 19,
Here it is evident that they are separatists; they are also declared to be false prophets, deceivers, and seducers, in like manner as Peter and Jude describe them. See 1st epl. ii. 26; iv. 1; 2nd epl. v. 7.
St. Paul likewise seems to speak of the same parties in 2 Tim. iii. 1-5, where he describes the sort of men who shall come in the last days and produce the perilous times thereof. They are covetous, proud, blasphemers, heady, high-minded, combined with various other characteristics described by him; and especially "having a form of godliness and denying the power thereof." They are likened to Jannes and Jambres who withstood Moses, (v. 8,) as "evil men and seducers, who wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived," (v. 13;) and he is admonished that the time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine; "but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (iv. 3) which sentence is evidently pointed at the animus which produces dissent and schism. *
* The Reader is referred to an exposition at length of this passage of the epistle to Timothy, contained in "Abdiel's Essays,” page 201; and to an admirable paper in the "Investigator of Prophecy,” vol. i. on the typical character of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Dr. Hildrop also in his work on Antichrist, seems to think that Dissenters will be the chief means of bring. ing in the Antichrist.
The special duties in regard to these men, which are required of those who fear God, are earnestly to contend for the faith, (Jude 3,) to take special heed unto prophecy, (2 Peter i. 19, and iii. 2) to continue in the diligent study of the scriptures, (2 Tim. iii. 13–17,) and to “turn away” from those who are seduced by this spirit of Antichrist; (ibid. iii. 5, and 2 John 10,) yet "of some to have compassion, making a difference; and others to save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 22, 23.*
THE TEN KINGDOMS; THE NAME OF THE BEAST;THE TWO
WITNESSES;--THE PROPHETICAL DATES.
THERE are a few important features connected with the prophecies concerning Antichrist, as contained in Daniel and St. John, which were not dwelt upon in the former chapter, in order that the main subject of inquiry might not be interrupted: they cannot however be passed over without a more distinct notice, and it is purposed therefore to advert to them in the present chapter. The first to which the attention of the reader is requested is
THE TEN KINGDOMS.
1. The fourth beast of Daniel vii., it will be recollected, is represented to the prophet as having ten horns, (v. 7;) which horns are explained to be “ten kings that shall arise,” (v. 24;)
* I have not taken notice of the particulars in Daniel vii. viii. and xi. and other prophecies brought forward in the previous sections of this chapter which may be considered to apply specially, or else in a secondary sense, to infidel antichristianism. For as particular features of the prophecies seem more especially to suit popery, or Mahometanism, though a sort of family likeness may be traced in all; so is it in regard to the infidel Antichrist; some portions appear intended for it more especially, though a certain similitude will doubtless be found in many others. When, e. g. at the French revolution, the Christian Era was abolished, and weeks were changed to Decades, we seem to see the horn that thinks to change times and laws. At that time also we especially see “a mouth opened in blasphemy," and the majesty of the people exalted above every thing that is called God and that is worshipped," as is stated of the Man of Sin. "And various similar points of resemblance may no doubt be traced.