Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

Sodom, and Egypt, where also the Lord was crucified. (Rev. xi. 8.) Yea, these very principles it was that nailed him to the accursed tree, and have ever since been crucifying him afresh: and either under the image of a mock deity—a wafer, a pastry-cake god—been putting him to open shame, or else utterly denying, renouncing, and blaspheming him. But while these are the heads of evil -while the Papist, the Infidel, and the Mahomedan carries the brand of

APOSTATE on his forehead, the expansive character of Scriptural language leads us to identify with these evils every other species of perverted or lifeless Christianity. All those that name the name of Christ, and do not depart from iniquity, though they may not carry the brand in their forehead, betray the genuine nature of the character by their lives and conduct. By their fruits we may know them; they are branded in their right hand. (Rev. xiii. 16, xiv. 9, xx. 4.) So that whether it be the superstitious Greek Church or any similar community-whether it be the Socinian, the Unitarian, or the still more subtle Freethinker, they all constitute one UNHOLY Church, sprung from and making a common cause with Rome.

Thus as the fellowship of a common faith, of the Holy Spirit, and of Divine Truth makes the Holy Church essentially one, although perhaps temporarily, and for wise reasons, divisions to a certain extent may have been allowed to exist in it; so does “ the fellowship of enormous abominations and mortal errors" constitute one spiritual Babylon, doomed to consumption by the Spirit of the Lord's mouth, and to be destroyed by the brightness of his coming. So that as the first Adam, in his guilt and in its consequences, was the figure of him that was to come, even of the holy Jesus (Rom. v. 14); so is the UNHOLY Church in a marvellous and striking manner the figure of the mystic body of Christ, the Church HOLY, Catholic, and Apostolic.

There is something plain, definite, and tangible in the views which are here set forward. Unquestionably the great A POSTASY and its concomitants do constitute the body, and are influenced by the spirit of the foretold Antichrist. Without going the length of saying that the Lord may not have allowed some individual or individuals in the past time: or may not be about to allow some such in the future to stand more prominently forward as head of the vast irreligious community; without, I say, touching at all upon this point, which is disputed, certainly the body of the Apostasy is influenced by the Spirit of Antichrist; for it disannuls the Gospel, it virtually “ denies the Father and the Son," 1 John ii. 22, and is just the very evil, the coming of which was looked forward to with such fearful anxiety by the early Christian Church.

In the light of these truths, we may perceive what constitutes the force of the charge that has been so usually brought against the Pope and his Church of their being Antichrist. Such has been the ignorance prevailing on the subject, that for a series of years past, it has rather been a matter of jest than earnest, to call the Pope by that name.“ The Pope is Antichrist,” one would say“ Well, and what is Antichrist ?” would be the reply“ The Scarlet Lady of the Revelations,” would be, in all probability the answer. What the result ? Just scorn and contempt. In fact, men have been using names without ideas. They have not been used to consider what Antichrist is, nor what is signified by the abominable harlot revealed in the Revelations. It is no wonder that they should not have been able to discern the nature of the relation that the Pope bears to these characters, or whether he bears any relation to them at all. But here we see 1. that Popery constitutes a great APOSTASY from the truth of the gospel. 2. That it was the cause of the * origin of Mahomedanism which was employed

* The Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of Paganism: their public and private vows were

by God as an avenging judgment on its unholy parent. 3. That it did by its errors corrupt the Greek Church, and all those Churches that existed in the beginning with it. 4. That it has been the true cause of the unbelief and hardness of heart, which have distinguished the Jews for so many ages past. They could not suppose that the idolatrous system which they saw before their

addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the East; the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs and saints and angels, the objects of popular veneration ; and the Collyridian heretics, who flourished in the fruitful soil of Arabia, invested the Virgin Mary with the name and honours of a goddess. Intemperate zeal and curiosity bad torn the veil of the sanctuary; and each of the oriental sects was eager to confess that all, except themselves, deserved the reproach of idolatry and polytheism. In the year 569, four years after the death of Justinian, and two months after the defeat of the Abyssinians, whose victory would have introduced into the Caaba the religion of the Christians, Mahomed, the only son of Abdallah and Amina, was born at Mecca. In his early infancy, he was deprived of his father, his mother, and his grandfather; his uncles were strong and numerous; and, in the division of the inheritance, the orphan's share was reduced to fire camels and an Ethiopian maid-servant. At home and abroad, in peace and in war, Abu-Taleb, the most respectable of his uncles, was the guide and guardian of his youth : and, in his twenty-fifth year, he entered into the service of Cadijah, a rich and noble widow of Mecca, who soon rewarded his fidelity with the gift of her hand and fortune. By this alliance, the son of Abdallah was restored to the station of his ancestors : and the judicious matron was content with his domestic virtues, till, in the fortieth year of his age, he assumed the title of a prophet, and proclaimed the religion of the Koran. Conversation enriches the understanding: but solitude is the school of genius. From his earliest youth, Mahomed was addicted to religious contemplation. Fach year, during the month of Ramadan, he withdrew from the world and from the arms of Cadijah. In the cave of Hera, three miles from Mecca, he consulted the spirit of fraud or enthusiasm, whose abode is not in the heavens but in the mind of the prophet. The faith, which, under the name of Islam, he preached to his family and nation, is compounded of an eternal truth and a necessary fiction : “There is only one God, and Mahomed is the Apostle of God.”—Hist. OF DECLINE, Vol. ix. p. 255-284.-Quoted in Faber's Calendar of Prophecy, Vol. I). p. 394-396.

eyes, under the name of Christianity, was deserving of any thing but their utter abhorrence. 5. We see also that it has persecuted to the death the faithful witnesses for God's truth in every age. And 6. That it is the true parent of modern infidelity, as well as of most of the divisions that exist in the Protestant Church. Such is Popery, and such have been its effects. Thus we see the gigantic system of evil, if I may so speak, which comes under the title of Antichrist or Antichristian. Here we have no laughing-stock, no nonsense, no absurdity.

HOW POPERY SHOULD BE DEALT WITH. How then are we to deal with the Papists? In a manner so simple, so easy, so plain, and so satisfactory that the humblest Christian may inanage the controversy against the most learned Papist. He needs no knowledge of the Fathers, none of the councils. He needs no acquaintance with the views of former controversialists. All that he need have is his Bible and a Roman Catholic Prayer Book. His Bible tells him (let him read Mede and he will see how) that God foretold a great APOSTASY of his Church, an Apostasy that should change that Church (e.e.) from the temple of God into the synagogue of Satan. If he be enlightened by the Spirit of God, let him take any one of the peculiar prayers of the Mass Book, and he will see that it is nothing more nor less than a blasphemous incantation devised by Satan for the very purpose of provoking and offending the glory of the holiness of the Lord of Hosts : let him make this plain to those that hear him. Instead of adopting this course hitherto, we have acted in a manner essentially different; we have been assailing rather the letter than the spirit of Popery ; seeking for grounds of objection to the evil in holes and corners, and in paltry particulars, instead of attacking it in its integrity; founding our opposition either on individual grounds, or at least on something which, being essentially individual in its nature, has had, by a tedious and unsatisfactory logical process, to be brought home to the Romish Church as its act and deed. We have, in fact, not been attacking Popery but circumstances connected with it; exhibiting blemishes which might be supposed to exist in a good system, rather than proving that “ the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." I must say, for myself, that I am really shocked, when under a sense of the enjoyment of the full and free salvation of the gospel of Jesus, under a sense of the all sufficiency of Jesus, and of his sole sufficiency, and of the jealousy wherewith God views a giving to the creature that honour which he hath reserved for himself, and which is alone his due ; I am shocked when under feelings of this sort, I read almost the very simplest and most innocent of the Popish prayers. They are monstrous, they are odious, they are hateful, they are diabolical. Take for example their prayer before Mass-let it be considered by any one gifted with the Spirit of God, and it will be evidently seen that it has been suggested by the devil for the dreadful purpose abovementioned. It involves, no doubt, important spiritual truths, but these connected with such foul lies, that the whole must be a most offensive compound in the eye of him who is purer than to behold iniquity. I give the prayer with such observations as occur to me in the reading of it.

A PRAYER BEFORE MASS, REMARKED ON. “O most merciful Father, who didst so love the world “as to give up for our redemption thy beloved Son, who “ in obedience to thee and for us sinners,'humbled him“ self even unto the death of the cross,' and continues to offer himself daily by the hands of his Priests for the living and the dead.[Impious lie! Can we conceive any thing more likely to provoke God Almighty ? If there be one thing in the world that is stupendously grand it is the sacrifice of Calvary-God manifest in the flesh, numbered among malefactors, and

« EdellinenJatka »