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mises to the people in general, who live under the new law, grace whereby they shall effectually keep his commandments: They shall walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes and do them : which, though not verified in every member of the Church, is however verified at all times by the good, who are the more noble part of the Church. Now, such a promise, though conditional, if grace is promised too, to perform the condition, amounts to an absolute promise of God, that the Church of Christ shall never apostatize from him. For a confirmation of this belief, he has promised to set his sanctuary in the midst of the Church for evermore : proof sufficient that the Church was never corrupted with damnable errors, and become the kingdom of antichrist : for can it be true that God has placed his sanctuary in the kingdom of antichrist for evermore?
Now let Protestants compare what the prophets here say
of the holiness of the Church of Christ, with that hideous idea which themselves have of the state of the whole Christian Church before their Reformation, when they imagine all Christendom overrun with idolatry and superstition ; and then let them show us how these prophecies were verified during the Church's apostacy, which, according to them, began very soon after the decease of the apostles, and continued down to Luther. Unless they can clearly make out this dreadful charge against the whole Christian Church, viz., That it did apostatize from the faith and doctrine of Christ, into damnable errors, idolatry, and superstition ; unless, I say, this charge can be made out, their Reformation cannot possibly stand, because it is built upon this very supposition, that the whole Christian Church which was before them had been thus corrupted for many ages. And, therefore, if this total apostacy of the Church of Christ be not true and a real fact (which the written word of God proves to be the wildest chimera that ever entered into disordered brains); if, I say, this their charge against the whole Christian Church be not true, they could have no cause imaginable for separating themselves from it; and must acknowledge themselves to be at this day in a frightful state of heresy and schism ; which, if wicked at the first setting up, is not grown more innocent since that time by the long continuance of it, for constancy in evil does not lessen but increase the blame; and if those did ill who began it, they cannot be innocent who continue it on, and by their invincible obstinacy, with all their might endeavour still to add strength to the schism: and not only the ringleaders, but their followers, too, have reason to tremble at the consequences of being engaged in so wicked a course; for not only those who do evil, but those also who consent to the doers of it (Rom. i. 32.), will undoubtedly be sharers in the guilt and the punishment.
POINT VII. PROTESTANTS hold, That the Church of Rome, though once the true Church of Christ, had become so impure and corrupt in her doctrine, when the Reformation set out, that she is rightly judged to be the whore of Babylon, mentioned by St. John in the Revelations, “who hath made all kings of the earth and all people drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Rev. xvii. 1, 2.
Contrary to the express words of their own · Bible : “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever.
Yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies: I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.” Hosea ii. 19.
So God speaks of the Church, by the mouth of the prophet Hosea. Now, before the Reformation, we know of no other Catholic Church on earth, but that which held communion with Rome, called the Roman Catholic Church : and can it be believed by any but atheists, that this spouse of Christ, whom God has betrothed to himself in righteousness and in faithfulness for ever, is at length become the harlot of the Apocalypse ?
2. “ Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands, in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word. That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy, and without blemish." Eph. v. 24, 25.
Now let Protestants compare the description which St. Paul has here given of the beloved spouse of Christ, holy, without spot, without blemish, with the description given by St. John in the Revelations of the whore of Babylon, and try whether these two descriptions, when they are understood of the same Church, can stand together in the same brain not cracked.
POINT VIII. PROTESTANTS hold, That the great Antichrist spoken of in Holy Scripture is the Pope of Rome,
and his predecessors, who have sat in St. Peter's chair, for the last thousand years and upwards.
Contrary to many clear texts both of their Bible and Testament.
1. “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thess. ii. 3.
We find by this text, that the great antichrist is one single person, one egregious impostor, who by the Apostle is styled the man of sin, the son of perdition ; how ridiculous then are they who make the great Antichrist to be a long succession of Popes, or a whole body of false Doctors !
2. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself hat he God.” 2 Thess. ii. 4. Let Protestants say
which of the Popes, for the last thousand years or upwards, did declare himself to be God? If no such thing was ever heard of, then none of the Popes is Antichrist, who, according to the character here given of him, will exalt himself above all that is called God, and sit in the temple, to be adored as God.
3. “ Who is a liar but he that denieth Jesus is Christ? He is the Antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son." 1 John ii. 22.
But, none of the Popes of the last thousand years and upwards did ever deny either the Son or the Father, or ever questioned whether Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah or Christ: then none of these Popes was Antichrist.
4. “Little children, it is the last time ; and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now
there are many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time?' John ii. 18,
The Antichrists here mentioned, who were come in St. John's time, could not be the Popes of Rome; unless you say, that St. Peter and his immediate successors, who all suffered martyrdom for the faith of Christ, and who were the Popes or Bishops of Rome in St. John's time, were Antichrists. Who then were the Antichrists that St. John speaks of? Who should they be, but the heretics of his time, who opposed the doctrine of the Apostolical Church? These by St. John are styled Antichrists, as they were precursors of the great Antichrist, and types of him. Therefore St. John, in the very next verse, says of them: “But they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of
5. “Every Spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: And this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John iv. 3.
But, no one of the Popes or Bishops of Rome that lived in St. John's time, nor St. Peter, I hope, nor St. Clement, or any of his immediate successors, nor any other of the Popes since, that we have heard of, did deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, or that Jesus was Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God incarnate ; then none of the Popes are the Antichrists mentioned by St. John: but the persons who are stigmatized by this apostle with the odious names of Antichrists are the heretics of those times who denied Jesus to be the Son of