« PoprzedniaDalej »
really, who shall fubdue three of these ten kings.": - 1" *? ...
• St. Cyril, who likewise flourished in the fourth century, asserted exprefsly, “ that the deventh king mentioned by Daniel, is Antichrist, who Thall violently seize, by magical and wicked contrivance, the Roman power.”
In the sixth century, Gregory the Great, in the most plain and direct manner, in his addresses to the most eminent persons of his own time, scrupled notato apply the Prophes cies concerning the cbeast in the Revelations; the man of fin, and the apostasy from the faith, mentioned by: St. Paul, to him who Thould presume to claim the title of Univerfal Priest, or Universal Bishop, in the Chriftian Church. “ I affirm confidently,” faid he; " that whoever calls himself. universal Bic fhop, or is desirous to be fo called, shows himself, by this : pride and elation of heart; to be the forerunner of Antichrist.”. Such was his language, intended to convey a severe censure upon the Patriarch of Constantinople. Yet this zealaus Bishop of 'Rome was blind to his own situation; for no one before his time had ever carried the claims and the arro gance of Papal. supremacy to such a pitch, as himself: and it is remarkable, that his imme diate successor, Boniface III. received from the tyrant Phocas, the exact title which Gré gory had thus censured. 1 :72
At the Synod of Rheims, held in the tenth century, Arnulphus, Bishop of Orleans, ap. pealed to the whole Council, whether the Bishop of Rome was not the Antichrist of the Prophets, * fitting in the temple of God,! and perfectly corresponding with the marks which St. Paul had given of him.
• In the eleventh century all the characters of Antichrift seemed to be fo united in the person of Pope Hildebrand, who took the name of Gregory VII, that Joannes Avena tinus, a Romish Historian, speaks of it as a subject in which the generality of fair, cana did, and ingenuous writers agreed, that at that time began the reign of Antichrist. St. Barnard, in the twelfth century, employed the force of his great eloquence against the corruptions of the See of Rome. The Popes," said he, “ call themselves the minila sters of Christ, and they serve Antichrist. The beast of the Revelations, to whom was given a mouth speaking blafphemies, and to war with the saints, seizes the chair of St.
Peter, Peter, like a lion ready for his prey.". And to close this detail, the Albigenses and Waldenses, who may be called the Protestants of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, expressly asserted in their declarations of faith, that the Church of Rorae was the whore of Babylon. To see
Thus have we a regular chain of testimony? to prove the successive progress of this opinion within the period, alluded to, viz. from the time of the Apostles to the Reformation. In proportion as the authority of the Popes prevailed and extinguished freedom of enquiry, these explanations of the Prophecies were checked, 'except in the case of some few perfons, who had boldness enough to affert them publicly, in defiance of the decrees of the Conclave, that menaced them with excommunication. The applican tion therefore of these Prophecies to Papal Rome, far from being a novel opinion, published to vindicate the conduct of the Reformers and their adherents, was authorised
? All the parts of this chain are clearly thown in the learned and ingenious latroduction of Bishop Hurd to the Study of the Prophecies; from whence I have chiefly selecteď the above detail..
by an antient and uninterrupted tradition in the Church, grounded upon Propbecy, and the words of the Apoftles, and was fully juftified by the declarations, conduct, and inftitu. tions of the Papifts themselves, when exer. cising their oppressive authority over the Christian world.
It is curious to inquire whether the Papifts bebold in this prophetical pidure any likeness of themselves. They imagine they view it in imperial Rome elated by her victories, exulting in her sensuality, and her fpoils; polluted by idolatry, persecuting the people of God, and finally falling like the first Babylon : wbilit a new and holy city, represented by their own communion, filled with the spotless votaries of the Christian faith, rises out of its ruins, and the victory of the cross is completed over the temples of Paganism. This fcheme is adopted by Baffuet, Grotius, and Hammond. Thefe eminent men have indeed discovered a faint and imperfect resemblance; but have they pointed out the particular nice and diflinat traces of likeness? Eager to establish their scheme, they run into a manifest absurdity, by violating the order of time, disregarding the opinions of the primitive Christians and turning away their eyes from the apprapriate descriptions of the Prophets.
The MAHOMETAN Power, another Branch ......tor Form of: Antichrift... is
All Commentators agree that the ninth chapter of Revelations refers to Mahometan. ism, and the Saracenic and Turkish powers. It is therefore clear, that the present generation is still living under the influence of the fixth trumpet, when the four angels (that is, the four Turkish Sultanies] were loosed, which were bound in the great river Euphrates". The time for their conquest was exactly Jimited, and history ascertains that this time was not exceeded; but nothing is said in this chapter of the duration of their dominion. However, since it is declared, that " in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, the mystery of God shall be finished ," it is certain that this dominion must be destroyed to wards the end of the sixth trumpet, or when the seventh shall begin to found.", ...".
Thus far is clear. But whether the Ma. hometan Power may be considered as properly the Antichrist, foretold in the prophecy of Daniel, has been doubted by many writers,