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unlearned, all ages, sects and degrees of men, women and children of whole Christendom, (an horrible and most dreadful thing to think,) have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all vices most detested by God, and damnable to man, and that for the space of eight hundred years or more.” (Hom. of Peril of Idolatry, Part III.) And yet this defalcation, this APOSTASY, was quite consistent with the other declaration, that Christ would be with his Church to the end of the world. He never left himself without witness. The stream of spiritual truth never ceased to flow in the Church. Let me use an illustration, to shew the complete consistency of those two apparently contradictory truths, to wit, that the Church should in the great body of it be Apostate, and yet the verity of God's promise fulfilled, in its perpetual prevalence against the gates of Hell. Suppose for a moment that it had been foretold of a certain great river as it flowed along in its pride and majesty, that it should never be dried up. Now suppose that this river, through the operation of natural causes, should become exceedingly diminished in the body of its waters, so that it should dwindle down to the merest rivulet; still, if that stream, however narrow, continued to flow incessantly, until at length the outpouring of the rains of heaven swelled it again to its primitive greatness and glory, and that it should subsequently continue thus to flow on for ever, it could not be said that the prophecy had failed, and thus stamped the prophet with the character of falsehood. On the contrary, there would not be the least ground for such a charge. May we not ask whether his truth would not be more clearly exhibited from the fact, that when the danger of failure was to be apprehended, the prediction still held good. And would it not be still more confirmed, if, on looking narrowly into his prediction on the subject, all the essential circumstances, the mode, the manner, and the degree; the time of the origin, and the duration of the diminution, were found to be clearly set forth. I say, would not this
most strikingly confirm the truth of the prophet? Beyond a doubt it would And if it would, will not the same thing hold good with respect to the truth of that greatest of all prophets, who foretold at once the duration of his Church, and the rise of the APOSTASY whereby that spiritual church dwindled away to every thing but utter extinction? Of course it will. Now in using this illustration, I do not indulge the sportiveness of fancy, but I speak on hints afforded to me by the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ himself declared of those that believe in him, that “out of their belly* should flow rivers of living water.” And the Spirit interprets the figure, saying, “ this he spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.” (John vii. 38, 39.) And no doubt the Holy Ghost spake of this same spiritual and living water, when he said (Psalm xlvi. 4) “there is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the Holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.” What does the city of God here mean but the Church of God? and what river is here alluded to, but the refreshing outpourings of the water of life, from the hearts of faithful people ? Now this river never ceased to flow through the Church, although certainly we allow that it had dwindled to the narrowest possible dimensions. But then this very diminution was foreshewed. In Rev. xi. the Holy City (ver. 2) is said to be given to the Gentiles, to be trampled under foot for a set time, (to wit, mystically spoken, 1260 years) and “ I will give power, said the Holy Ghost, to my two witnesses, and they shall prophecy clothed in sackcloth."
Now, why two witnesses. 1st, Because two witnesses at least were required under the law to establish any testimony.--Deut. xvii. 6. 2ndly,Because two witnesses were held to be sufficient to confirm even the most important testimony. The words “ two witnesses" then are used
* ATO TOU xoldov, from their hollow, i. e. from their breast, from
to signify that during the APOSTASY there should be just a sufficiency of faithful persons, and no inore than a sufficiency existing in the Church, to maintain unimpeachably the truth of God. Oh, the wisdom of God ! who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who, being his Counsellor, hath taught him, for of him, and by him, and through him are all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
ON THE NAME OF THE BEAST. Connected with the attention which the Lord hath stirred up his people at this time to give to these important truths, I think it cannot be considered as unimportant that he hath led us to see the remarkable appropriateness of the word
666 as expressing the mark of the beast, and the number of his name. It is a fact, that many other words when counted in the same way, give the same number, and almost all these words point at the Romish Church. My own impression is, that the Spirit of God designed this. The word “ APOSTATE” however would seem to me to be that intended to arouse attention, and strike the mind in these our days.
With respect to this enigmatical mark or riddle, Scripture gives us a few important notes. 1. It is said “ here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.” This implies that there would be something recondite or hidden—something not quite plain as to the manner in which the word should give the required number. 2. It is said," it is the number of a man,” i. e. it is a number to be derived from the name or appellation of a man, not from the name or appellation of a thing—Apostasy is the name or appellation of a thing, Apostate is the name or appellation of a man: similarly manufacture is the name or appellation of a thing, manufactory the name or appellation of a place. Manufacturer the name or appellation of a man. 3. His number is 666. It is natural to suppose that the word should be found in that language, in which it is described, and in which the New Testament is written; that is, the Greek, all the Letters of which have a numerical force. Now the word proposed, answers all the conditions. It requires some “understanding" to see its suitableness; for it may be spelt in a manner, in which it would give quite a different number. It is the name or appellation of a man, and when spelt in the way in which we spell it, it precisely answers the numerical condition. APOSTATE then is the mark of the beast, and its number is the number of the beast. I believe its suitableness was first observed by Mr. Archdeacon Wrangham. It has been strongly supported and maintained by Mr. Faber, in his Sacred Calendar of Prophecies, Book V. Chap. IV, and there can be no doubt that it is most appropriate, suitable, and striking. The Rev. Reginald Rabett, A.M. of Queen's College, Cambridge, has however written a book, in which he objects against this word. I have read his arguments. They are worth just not a straw; they are not worth a fig. Had the Episemon been nothing but an arithmetical number, had it never been used as any thing else till of late years, and now universally understood by all the world, to be the contraction for two letters-had this been the case, still his arguments would have been without validity. No, the brand of APOSTATE is burnt broad and deep into every Popish forehead on earth. May the Lord quicken the victims to discover their danger, and to fly from it before it is too late.
Perhaps some of my readers may be curious to know how Roman Catholic writers meet the argument of Mede, identifying their Church with the Apostasy foretold in Scripture. I confess that for my own part I am
not very extensively acquainted with their writings, and moreover I have very little desire to become so. I have read however that knavish book “Milner's End of Controversy” with a considerable degree of attention, some two or three times. Verily it is a knavish book! This Dr. Milner combats Protestantism all through upon the hypothesis that it stands simply on the supposed existence of the sole right of private judgment: and I do freely allow, that he shews beyond a doubt, that Protestantism must be both unreasonable and unscriptural if it be built on such a basis. In combatting then the private judgment system as it is ordinarily understood, he is triumphant, I admit. But does he maintain Romanisn against Mede's view? Does he succeed in overturning Mede? Not a whit. He merely touches the subject passingly in a*
* I give the main part of the chapter in which the matter is referred to by way of note :-He says, “I must begin with the inquiry, whether the Pope be really and truly, "The Man of Sin, and the Son of Perdition, described by St. Paul, 2 Thes. ii. 1, 10; in short, “The Antichrist spoken of by St. John,' 1 John ii. 18, and called by him, 'A beast with seven heads and ten horns,' Revel. xiii. I, whose See or Church is
the great harlot, the mother of the fornications and abominations of the earth. Ibid. xvii. 5. I shudder to repeat these blasphemies, and I blush to hear them uttered by my fellow-Christians, and countrymen, who derive their Liturgy, their Ministry, their Christianity and civilization, from the Pope and the Church of Rome; but they have been too generally taught by the learned, and believed by the ignorant, for me to pass them by in silence on this occasion. One of Bishop Porteus's colleagues, Bishop Halifax, speaks of this doctrine concerning the Pope and Rome, as long being the common symbol of Protestantism. Certain it is, that the author of it, the outrageous Martin Luther, may be said to have established Protestantism upon this principle. He had at first submitted his religious controversies to the decision of the Pope, protesting to him thus : 'Whether you give life or death, approve or reprove, as you may judge best, I will hearken to your voice, as to that of Christ himself; but no sooner did Pope Leo condemn his doctrine, than he published his book
Against the execrable Bull of Antichrist,' as he qualified it. In like manner, Melancthon, Bullinger, and many others of Luther's followers, publicly maintained, that the Pope is Antichrist,' as