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God had in view, by permitting fo extraordinary a power as that of the Pope to arise in the western church, may require that the same power should arise likewise in the eastern church. The design seems to be that of a wise physician, who, finding peccant humours in the body, brings on a suppuration to collect and dislodge them, that the health may be restored. The peccant humours of profesling Christians appeared early, and increased gradually. At length they formed the Papal hierarchy, around which as a centre, the superstitious and finful tenets and practices, mingled with Christianity by the cunning of Satan, and the infirmity of man, are collected ; forming a huge imposthume on the body of the church, exceedingly deformed to look at; but, when ripe, it shall be lanced, and the humours thus dislodged; the health of the fpiritual constitution shall be restored. But in regard the Greek church did not collect round this centre, it appears to be the progress of the fame design, to permit the same power to arise in Judea, for the express purpose of collecting the corrupted Greek church round him, as their centre; that, when this second suppuration is lanced by the sword of the Jews, the church may be purified, and prepared for her millennial ftate.
These conjectures seem to be confirmed by the express testimony of Zechariah, chap. ix. 13. “ When I have bent Judah for me, filled the “ bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, “ O Zion, against thy fons, O Greece.” The prophet states the parties in the battle of Armageddon. On the one hand are the Jews then converted, on the other the sons of Greece, as the chief supporters of the beast. Now, the only community bearing the name of Greeks, since the fall of the Greek empire, is the Greek church. It is probable, therefore, they shall constitute the great part of his subjects before the battle. The Papal power, thus erected in Judea, shall continue to prosper, receiving the submission of ignorant and deluded nations, until the Jews are converted; an event fo fatal to his autho. rity, that the spirit of prophecy represents it as the sixth vial of God's wrath, poured out on the beaft and his kingdom. But, before I proceed to show the effect of it on his dominion, I shall first delineate from the prophecies the circum. stances that precede their conversion, and then the manner in which it is effected.
SECTION II. A virulent Persecution of the Jews is carried on by the Papal Power, in a great Part of Apa and Africa.
One circumstance clearly revealed, is, that the Jews shall be in very great distress immediately before their conversion. To this purpose are the expressions of Jeremiah, chap. xxx. 4.-9, 10.“ And these are the words that the " Lord spake concerning Israel, and concern. “ ing Judah. For thus faith the Lord, We have “ heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not “ of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a 56 man doth travail with child? Wherefore do “ I see every man with his hands on his loins, “ as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned “ into paleness? Alas ! for that day is great, “ fo that none is like it ; it is even the time of " Jacob's trouble ; but he shall be saved out of 6 it. For, it shall come to pass in that day, faith " the Lord of hofts, that I will break his yoke “ from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, 6 and strangers shall no more serve themselves 6 of him : But they shall serve the Lord their 66 God, and David their king, whom I will “ raise up unto them.” Of this trouble, paint
ed in such lively colours, it is said, “That Ja" cob shall be saved out of it;" that is, it shall end in deliverance. And when shall that be? “ In that day, when strangers shall not more “ serve themselves of him ;' that is, at the close of their long dispersion. But being thus saved, “ They shall serve the Lord their God, “ and David their king;” that is, they shall submit to the Meffiah. These circumstances are applicable to the period immediately preceding their conversion, and to that only.
This circumstance is confirmed by the prophet Ezekiel, chap. vii. 16.-18. « But they " that escape of them, fliall escape, and shall be 56 on the mountains like doves of the vallies ail " of them mourning, every one for his iniquity.
All hands shall be feeble, and all knees shall Co be weak as water. They shall also gird them. " selves with fackcloth, and horror shall cover " them; and shame shall be upon all faces, and c6 baldness upon all their heads." From the beginning of the chapter, the prophet describes the defolation of the land of promise, by the Roman dispersion. But in order to afford fome confolation to the faithful, he observes, verse 16. That a “ remnant should escape ;” that is, af. ter all the calamities of their dispersion, who should be brought to a sense of their fin, and be made to mourn over it: He then describes that
distress which, in the course of providence, would be the mean of bringing them to a sense of fin. So that it immediately precedes their conversion.
The Prophet Daniel predicts the same trouble, with this addition, That it should be the greatest the nation had ever experienced, chap. xii. 1." And at that time fhall Michael stand up, " the great prince which standeth for the chil.
dren of thy people; and there shall be a time “ of trouble, such as never was fince there was " a nation, even to that same time: And at that o ti me thy people shall be delivered, every one « that shall be found written in the book." Here are three circumstances which fix the pe. riod of this trouble to that immediately prece. ding their conversion. The expreffion,“ at that " time,” in the beginning of the verse, connects 4t with the end of the reign of the blafphemous king, mentioned in the clofe of the preceding chapter. It is likewise the time at which Mi. chael shall stand up for the nation of the prophet. I consider Michael as a disguised name for the Messiah. If he had called him Meffiah here, it would confound this period with that of his first appearance, formerly mentioned in the prophecy of the seventy weeks, chap. ix. 24. This “standing up for them,” intimates the manifestation of him to Israel at the same