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ry for the glory of the church. Behold, then, Antichrift revealed, and the fources of his enormous power unfolded.
He is reprefented as a temporal prince fitting in Rome, on the throne of the ancient Cefars, but poffefling a small territory, for the unity of the empire is diffolved, and the territory divided into several separate independent kingdoms, yet claiming, and successfully establishing an unlimited fupremacy, in matters temporal and fpiritual, not only over the princes and people of the empire, but in fome measure over all nations. While the fuccefs of his claim is owing partly to the voluntary but blind fubmiffion of the contemporary princes; partly to the influence of a great fociety, fimilar in spirit to himself, profefling to be the teachers of Christianity, yet in reality falfe prophets, inculcating every where, and on all men, fubmiflion to his authority; partly to the artifice of this fociety, holding him up to the world as a vifible reprefentative of the Deity, and as fuch endowed with infallible authority, which, wherefoever it is established, puts it in his power, by fentences of death and confifcation, to terrify the refractory into fubmiffion; and partly to the artifice of representing his authority, as neceffarily connected with the existence of the true church of Chrift; he is
is in reality the fupporter of a vile proftitute, unfaithful to her alleged husband, ufing forceries, and every inveigling art, to draw admirers, while her fuccefs eftablishes his claim, on account of their mutual connection. Such are the features of Antichrift in the prophecy. That each of them feparately, and the whole affemblage, fit the Bishop of Rome, as exactly as if he fat for the picture, all Europe knows; and for my part, I cannot fuppofe that this ftriking refemblance betwixt the portrait and the man arises from chance, without a design in the fpirit of prophecy to represent him, any more than I can believe that the beautiful fabric of the world owes its regularity to a fortuitous concourfe of atoms.
Thus far we have feen the view which the prophecies give of the corruptions of professed Chriftians in our times, and the great punishment inficted by the Sovereign Ruler on account of thefe corruptions. Let us now confider the view given of the real followers of Chrift in the fame period. It is laid before us in three feveral reprefentations; that of the 144,000 fealed ones, (Rev. vii. 2.—8. chap. xiv. 1.--5.), the two witneffes prophefying in fackcloth, (chap. xi. 3.-6.), and the woman hid in the wilderness, (chap. xii. 6. and 14.).
Of the 144,000 fealed Ones.
THE time of the 144,000 fealed ones commenced much earlier than the period in which we live; but ftill they continue in our time, and beyond it, existing coeval with the beaft and Babylon, as appears from the contraft in their characters: "These are they which were not defiled with 66 women, for they are virgins :" that is, they are free from the fpiritual fornication of Babylon, extensively prevailing in their time. The circumftances refpecting them which are remarkable, are thefe That they should make but a small part of all Ifrael, that is, of the profeffed people of God: That the great body of Ifrael fhould be corrupted; hence the neceffity of their being fealed for preservation: That they fhould not be confined to any particular tribe or fituation in the land, but fhould be taken from among all the tribes, and over all the extent of the land: That their profeffion, though fincere fhould be fecret, making melody to God, while their voice was not heard by the world; "for "no man could learn that fong :" That they fhould be free from the idolatry of their contemporaries, and fhould be followers of the example of their Redeemer.
If we examine matters attentively, we shall find, that this is a true ftate of genuine Chriftianity, from a fhort period after the converfion of Conftantine, to the prefent moment. Previous to that æra, a profeffion of Chriftianity expofed men to a variety of hardships in their perfons and effects, fo that the generality of those who embraced it were influenced by a conviction of its truth, the hypocrites among them were few. From the period that Chriftianity became the established religion of the empire, multitudes embraced it to acquire the favour of the Emperor. In procefs of time, a profeffion of it became a neceffary teft of admiffion into civil and military employments, fo that the generality embraced it from motives purely fecular, without any conviction of its truth, and the real Christians among them were of course proportionally few. During the dark ages of superstition and idolatry, when the kingdom of Antichrift was at the height, we can eafily fee, that the number of real Chriftians were very few. At the Reformation, when whole nations threw off the yoke of Antichrift, and embraced a purer outward form of Chrif tianity than that which prevailed in the dark ages, we cannot fuppofe, that all who separated themselves from the communion of the church of Rome were animated by motives purely reli
gious. If we examine the state of religion at the present moment, in thofe countries where the Reformation is established, we muft infer, that the number of real Chriftians is compa ratively few. All are admitted to the outward privileges of Chriftianity as a birthright, and the prejudices of their early education induce the generality to adhere to it afterwards, without ever enquiring into its truth; fo that we may infer, without a breach of charity, that if the place of their birth had been different, they would with equal eafe have embraced, and with equal zeal maintained Mahometanifm or Paganifm. To the thoughtlefs many, we may add not a few who are profeffed infidels, and join with the many who pretend a refpect for revealed religion, while they avowedly indulge those criminal paffions which are inconfiftent with its pure precepts. To fum up the account, take in thofe who from fecular motives lay a restraint on their outward conduct, while they are strangers, if not enemies to the spirit of Christianity at heart; and we must infer, that the number of real Christians, compared with the nominal, is indeed fmall. No doubt the proportion of real to nominal Chriftians must have varied at different periods, yet ftill they are reprefented by 144,000, which I confider as an indefinite number, being the fquare of 12, with