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A gradual waste of the Kingdom of Antichrift.
This is laid before us in thefe expreffions of the apoftle, 2 Theff. ii. 8. " And then fhall that "wicked be revealed, whom the Lord fhall con"fume with the Spirit of his mouth." These not only imply a waste of his empire, but likewife the manner in which it fhall be carried on, not by force of arms, but by the influence of the truth, called the Spirit of the Lord's mouth. God is the author of truth, taken in its most extenfive sense, not only of revealed religion contained in his word, which is termed the truth, John xvii. but likewife of natural religion, of truths refpecting found morals, good government and ufeful arts; of truths discovered by the fpirit of adventure, and the researches of philofophy. Now the prophecy intimates, that the knowledge of those truths extensively diffused, which regard the happiness of mankind as individuals or members of fociety, fhall gradually confume the empire of Antichrift, founded on ignorance, fhall certainly, but gently, unloofe the chains wreathed round mankind by delufion.
Were I to judge from prefent appearance only, I would readily conclude, that the tyranny of Antichrift would come to a period before the close of the next century; but the reasons already advanced, for fixing the commencement of his reign, induce me to believe, that the 1260 years allotted for it, fhall not be finished until the clofe of the twentieth century.
The Death of the Witnesses.
ABOUT the year 1994, another remarkable event fhall take place, namely, the death of the witneffes. This event is laid before us, Rev. xi. 7. 10." When they fhall have finished their "teftimony, (when they are about to finish "their teftimony) the beaft that afcendeth out "of the bottomlefs pit fhall make war against them, and fhall overcome them and kill "them."
(1) Some have fuppofed, that this prophecy has been repeatedly accomplished in the death of those perfons who witneffed against the corruptions of the church of Rome, during the currency of the 1260 years, and that there was as frequently a refurrection when perfons of a fimi
The application of this prophecy to any event already paft, must be erroneous; for the death is followed by the refurrection, which coincides with the clofe of the forty-two months of the beaft's reign, and the end of the fixth trumpet. While, therefore, the Pope reigns, and the Ottoman empire is in exiftence, we may reft affured, that the refurrection intended here has not taken place, fo neither has the death which immediately precedes it.
The death of the witneffes must be understood in a myftical fenfe, to make it conformable to the refurrection which follows it; fo it fignifies
lar spirit arofe after them. But that the prophecy points to a particular time, namely, the clofe of the 1260 years, and can apply to no other, is evident, on the following grounds 1, The expreffion oray show, when they are about to finish, refers to the clofe of the time allotted for their mourning prophecy: 2d, They continue dead for a determined time, three days and a half, which cannot apply to every perfon put to death during the currency of the 1260 years: 3d, Their death is followed by their refurrection; now their refurrection is defcribed in fuch terms as can only apply to the close of the 1260 years: Thus they are called up to heaven, to exercise their office, by the voice of public authority. It coincides in point of time with the fall of the tenth part of the city, and the end of the fecond wo; but if the refurrection is limited to a precife time, so must the death that precedes it.
a deprivation of the exiftence which they formerly had as members of fociety, that is, without entering into the minutia of the prophecy, the lofs of their privileges, which the accomplishment only can explain. It may fignify in general, that towards the clofe of the dif treffes which Proteftants have experienced from the tyranny of papal Rome, when they begin to fancy themselves fecure from further injuries, a perfecution fhall be fet on foot by the diabolical malevolence and crafty defigns of the Popish powers, which fhall be carried on with violence, and in the issue shall deprive Proteftantism of a legal establishment all over Europe, and eject the Proteftant paftors from the exercise of their function.
The members of the church of Rome fhall celebrate this event with every demonftration of joy; for they shall reckon themselves happily delivered from troublesome monitors, who galled their confcience, by offering convincing evidence of the corruptions of their church, while their fecular interefts would not permit them to renounce her fuperftitions; and they "that dwell on the earth fhall rejoice over "them, and make merry, and fhall fend gifts
one to another, because these two prophets "tormented them that dwell on the earth," Rev. xi. But this triumph of Popery fhall be Y
fhort-lived, as the perfecution of Dioclefian, though the most violent, and apparently the moft fuccefsful, carried on against the primitive church, by her enemies, was the laft effort of expiring Paganism, so the death of the witneffes fhall be the laft fuccessful effort of Popery in Europe.
The Refurrection of the Witneffes.
At the end of three years and a half, that is, in the year 1698, the event described in the preceding fection is followed by the refurrection of the witneffes, Rev. xi. 11, 12. "And after three days and an half, the Spirit "of life from God entered into them, and they "food upon their feet, and great fear fell upon "them which faw them, and they heard a great "voice from heaven, faying unto them, Come "up hither, and they afcended up to heaven in "a cloud, and their enemies beheld them." In all this there is an obvious reference to the refurrection and afcenfion of our bleffed Lord. The great head of the church, after fubmitting to the variety of fufferings reprefented in the gospels, was in the end put to death by his enemies; but his death was followed by a glorious refurrection