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Thus, when the sentiments of the fathers are thoroughly examined, they are proved to be more agreeable to the opinion of Protestants, respecting Antichrist, thân to that of the Papists. But we do not rest our interpretation on any human authority, and are therefore little disposed to dwell on this circumstance.
Before quitting this subject, I shall observe that it is manifest from the words of St. Paul, the “ mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he “ who now letteth will let, until he be taken out “ of the way;” that the apostasy which he predicts and the revelation of the man of sin and son of perdition were not so remote as the Papists suppose, and consequently that their opinions on this point are decidedly opposed to the testimony of the apostle, and therefore unscriptural and er
It is lastly asserted by Mr. Calderbank, that “ from the authority of St. Paul, it is, moreover,
evident, that Antichrist will announce himself “ not only as the avowed enemy of Christ and of “ his religion, and the most sanguinary persecutor “ of his Church, but will attempt to substitute “ himself in his place, and usurp the honours and
“ the worship which are due to no object but the
supreme majesty of God.”
That the man of sin, or Antichrist, must be the enemy of Christ and of his religion, is certain; but it does not hence follow that he is to be an avowed enemy. There is only one individual besides this “man of sin,” to whom (as far as I remember) the appellation of the Son of Perdition is given in the Scriptures, and he was not an avowed enemy of Christ, but betrayed his master with a kiss, saying, Hail, Master.* It is not impos. sible, therefore, that the man of sin, or Antichrist may, like him from whom he obtained the name of “ the Son of Perdition,” be a false apostle and pretended friend of Christ, betraying him with a kiss, saying, Hail, Master. The other features also of the man of sin, as delineated by St. Paul, will perhaps be found in one who pretends to be the friend of Christ.
Having thus shown that the language of St.
* Matt. xxvi. 49.
+ In confirmation of this, it may be remarked, that the sėcond beast in the Apocalypse, who is elsewhere called the false prophet, has horns like a lamb, i. e. he pretends to be a disciple of the Lamb, but he speaks like a dragon, Rev. xiii. ll. Paul does not necessarily imply that the man of sin was to be one individual person; that the opinion of the fathers respecting the coming of Antichrist, at or near the end of the world, is entitled to no respect, because it rested upon grounds which history has proved to be erroneous, and that it is not certain that Antichrist was to be the avowed enemy of Christ, I have, I trust, effectu ally overturned the principles upon which Mr. Calderbank rests his vindication of the Papal Power, and I shall now endeavour to prove that the prophecy of St. Paul respecting the man of sin actually describes the Papacy.
I PROPOSE in this Chapter to bring forward evi. dence in support of the position already laid down,* that the characteristical marks of the man of sin are all to be discerned in the Papacy, and consequently that the Papal power is designated in the prophecy of St. Paul under that name.
The first proof of this point is to be found in the fact, that from the early ages of the Church, the Popes have been the great patrons and supporters of saint worship and the adoration of images. It is undeniable, that such is the case in the present age, inasmuch as the invocation of saintș, and kneeling before, and kissing their images, form part of the authorised Liturgies and Manuals of that Church, of which the Pope is the acknowledged head. But these practices have been proved to be idolatry: therefore the Pope
* See page 12.
who supports them is the great patron of idolatry, and is justly called on that account the man of sin. Like Judas who was a false' apostle, and betrayed his Master, the Pope assumes the character of the apostle and vicar of Jesus Christ, but betrays his cause, and he therefore answers to the description of the son of perdition.*
* That I do not use too strong language, in charging the Popes with having been the great patrons of idolatry, will ap. ; pear evident from the following remarks, which I quote from the French Translator of Fra Paolo's History of the Council of Trent, who was himself a Catholic, and a member of the Gallican Church,
“ Images were not introduced into Churches till about the « fourth century, and were received at first only for ornament " and instruction. Thus far there was nothing blameable in “ them. They were soon abused. The ignorant and supersti“ tious people made them an object of worship. Some Bishops “ who were zealous to prevent superstition, thought it their “ duty to pull them down, St. Gregory the great condemned “ both parties as running into extremes, wishing that they “should preserve the images without paying any worship to “them. Such was the practice of the Churches in France,
England, and Germany, for several centuries. The Greeks “ did not confine themselves within such just limits. They “ authorised the worship of images to the excess of superstition, “ and Rome likewise lent itself to this practice. The Council “ of Frankfort opposed the decisions of the second Council of “Nice and the authority of the Popes, and for some time main,