Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

6c

the addition of 1000; to intimate, that real Chriftians, though few in proportion, and varying as to their number, should be always built on the foundation of the holy apoftles and prophets. The 144,000 are fealed, to preferve them from the apoftafy of their time; that is, they are the "elect according to the foreknowledge of God "the Father;" fo that though" a Hymeneus "and a Philetus may fall away, the founda"tion of God ftandeth fure, having this feal. "The Lord knoweth them who are his." Again, they are partakers of " the Spirit of God, "by which they are fealed unto the day of redemption." Accordingly, every true Chrif tian, in the present as well as in former ages, is of the elect, and individually a partaker of the Spirit of God. By his operation he receives that faith" which is the fubftance of things hoped "for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith affords an evidence of the invisible world, and the objects of it, as diftinct from any views attained by unaffifted reason, as fight is from hearfay. Faith likewife gives a foretaste of the joys hoped for, by a view of the Christian's interest in them; and these views effectually preferve him from the craftinefs of " thofe who lie in "wait to deceive," as well as from the allurements of fense, by which the multitudes of profeffed Christians are undone.

True

True Christians are not confined to one place, or to one party, but fpread over all the visible Church, and mingled with all parties. They are not visible as a fociety diftinct from nominal Chriftians, but "their hearts being purified to

66

an unfeigned obedience of the truth," their devotions, whether performed in fecret retirements, or in public affemblies, are acceptable to Him, whose privilege it is to "fearch the hearts "and to try the reins of the children of men." They are known to the world only by abhorring its maxims, and avoiding its manners, while they confider their Redeemer's precepts and example as the fign pofts erected to mark their way to eternal glory.

SECTION V.

Of the Witnesses.

A fecond view of Christ's faithful followers in our time is given us in the account of the two witneffes (Rev. xi. 3. 14.) prophesying in fackcloth. They are contemporary with the beaft, who makes war against them, ver, 7. The time allotted to their prophecy is "a thousand two "hundred and threefcore days," ver. 3. which is precifely of the fame duration with "forty cc months,"

months," allotted to the reign of the beast, chap. xii. 5.; so that the beginning and end of their prophecy will correfpond with the rife and fall of his empire. Thefe witneffes differ as much from their contemporaries, the 144,000 fealed ones, as Elijah differed from the 7000 in Ifrael in his time, who " did not bow the knee "to Baal." Thofe teftify openly against the: antichriftianism of the Papacy, and the corruptions of the Church of Rome; while these ab-' ftain from her corruptions, and worship God fincerely in fecret. These witneffes are two, because that is the number required by the law, and approved by the Gospel, (Deut. xix. 15. Matt. xviii. 16.), "In the mouth of two witnes" fes fhall every word be established ;" and upon former occafions, two have often been joined in commiffion, as Mofes and Aaron in Egypt, Elijah and Elisha in the apoftasy of the ten tribes, and Zerubabel and Joshua after the Babylonish captivity, to whom thefe witnesses are particularly compared'. By the witneffes, the Spirit of prophecy does not underftand any two individual men, or two particular churches, but "that certain perfons should appear in every age, during the reign of An❝tichrift,

[ocr errors]

86

[ocr errors]

نگلہ

(1) Newton's Differtations on Prophecies, vol. iii. page 134.

66 tichrift, few indeed in number, yet fufficient "to establish the truth, who would openly vin"dicate the truth, and clearly atteft the corrup"tions of the Church of Rome, and the anti"christian supremacy of her head." Accordingly, fuch witnesses have appeared in every age, from the eighth century, when the reign of Antichrift began, down to the present moment'. In the eighth century, the worship of images was vigorously oppofed by the Emperors of the East, Leo Ifauricus and his fon Conftantine Copronymus, by the council of Conftantinople, held in the year 754, where the fathers declared, "That only one image was conftituted by “Christ himself, namely, the bread and wine " in the Eucharift, which reprefent the body " and blood of Chrift." The fecond council of Nice, indeed, established the worship of images in the year 787; but it was condemned in the council of Frankfort, held under Charlemagne in the year 794. The Caroline-books were likewife fet forth under his authority, in which va rious errors of the Church of Rome are condemned, and thofe truths which a Proteftant would fubfcribe, afferted.

In the ninth century, the fupremacy of the Pope, together with the worship of images, and

the

(1) See a full deduction of thefe witneffes in Newton's Diff. vol. iii. page 148 to 196.

the invocation of faints, were oppofed by the Emperors of the Eaft, Nicephorus, Leo, Armenius, Michael, Balbus, and Theophilus, and by the Emperors of the Weft, Charles the Great, and Lewis the Pious. The council of Paris, held in the year 824, agreed with the council of Frankfort, in condemning that fecond council of Nice, and the worship of images. The doctrine of tranfubftantiation first advanced in the Weft, by Pafchafius Radbertus, Abbot of Corbie, in this century, was ftrenuously opposed by Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mentz, by Bertramus, a Monk of Corbie, and Johannes Scotus. In this age too lived Claud, Bishop of Turin, who, in his numerous writings, expofed the errors of the church of Rome, and vindicated the truth. He may be faid to have fown the feeds of reformation in his diocese; and his doctrines took deep root, especially in the vallies of Piedmont, where they continued to flourish for feveral centuries.

1

In the tenth century, feverals in Germany, France and England, maintained the decrees of the council of Frankfort and Paris, against the worhip of images. In the year 909, a council was held at Trofly, a village near Soiffons in France. They concluded with a profeffion of thofe things which Chriftians ought to believe and practife; and in that profession are

none

« PoprzedniaDalej »