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The APOCALYPSE an arrangement and eluci
dation of all former prophecies concerning the times of the Gospel.-State of religion in the Roman empire in the primitive times.
- Jealousy and malice of the pagan emperors, watchful for the destruction of christianity, at the instigation of the OLD SERPENT, there in possession of the temples.-War between the two religions.-—Triumph of the gospel.-The dragon's malice thereby increased.—He excites fresh enmity, and raises new partisans.-Recovers his old influence, and is worshipped again, but under disguised attributes.-The two beasts and the image, and their worshippers.--The MARK --071 NUMBER of the beast.
IN the times which preceded the gospel, it was not necdiful that any further or more par
ticular elucidation should be given of the prophecies concerning the monstrous wickedness, and terrible doom of BABYLON, besides what the immediate words conveyed, in which they had been delivered. Yet it seems to have been understood by the ancient jews (perhaps by means of tradition from the prophets,) that some further meaning, and a great mystery, lay concealed under that prodigious variety of magnificent figures, which had been employed by those inspired penmen to give expression to their descriptions, equal to the then unknown importance of the subject. But when the time arrived, that the supernatural agency of the holy Spirit, in this way, was about to be withdrawn, and no living prophet should any more be sent to instruct and comfort the church, against the heavy pressure of her approaching afflictions under the long tyranny of Antichrist, a different procedure was necessary. It then seemed good to the divine wisdom to give additional lights, for the better comprehension of those prophecies; and such as should clearly shew that they had not received their whole accomplishment in the overthrow of ancient Babylon, but for the greater part remained yet to be fufilled; and to give such further marķs, as should help future ages to make the right application of them, in the season of their accomplishment,
St Paul first opened to the affrighted christians the prophecies of the coming of the MAN OF SIN, “after the energy of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders,” to deceive the world, and to wage an impious war agaiņst Christ and his saints; as Daniel had expressly foretold, and as Antio, chus EPIPHANES, (in a lesser degree, and as a type of the ANTICHRIST himself,) had done to the maccabees. * And last in order of time of all the inspired writers, St John, called the divine, for the clear view he has given in his gospel of the divine nature of the Logos, or Christ, has employed his pen to the same effect, in the book of Revelations.
• See the first book of Maccabees, in the Apocrypha, and Prideaux's Connections, part ii. book iii.
+ The book of Revelations, probably owing to the mystical nature of its contents, and the numerous forgeries amongst