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embraced without disguise by a whole nation. 66 The beginning of the monster was in the apostolic age : for it were easy to trace the pedigree of French philosophy, Jacobinism, and Bavarian illumination, up to the first heresies. But it is now we see his adolescence."*
As for the papacy, it answers in no particular to the character of Antichrist as delineated by St. John.t The
• Bp. Horsley's Letter on Isaiah xvii.-See this matter shewn at large in the Abbè Barruel's Mem. of Jacobinism.
+ The title of Anticbrist has usually been applied to the Pope by protestant expos. itors, and by the Waldenses and Albigenses before the era of the Reformation : but I cannot find, that they have any warrant from Scripture for so doing. The corruptions of the Papacy are largely indeed predicted under the name of an Apostacy ; which was to consist partly in the superstitious will-worship of Saints, partly in the persecution of the pious, and partly in the exercise of a catholic tyranny over the Church: and the Papacy itself is described under the symbols of a little born, a barlot, and a two-borned beast : but tbe Pope is no where, that I have been able to discover, termed Anticbrist ; for he never denied either the Father or the Son. The identity of Antichrist and the little born has been rather assumed, than proved.
Since this was written, my opinion that the Pope cannot be the Antichrist described by St. John has been strenuously though (I think) very unsuccessfully opposed by Mr. Whitaker. As my sincere desire is that the point may be thoroughly discussed, I shall subjoin the substance of my answer to him.
The statement of the whole question is simply this. St. John assures his disciples, that, at the very moment when he was writing, there were many antichrists already in the world : and he afterwards speaks singularly of one Antichrist, whom by way of eminence he styles the liar, and whose leading characteristic should be a denial of the Fatber and the Son. Here then we have many Antichrists and the Antichrist : and the former are declared to be contemporary with the Apostle. Now we know, that, when St. John lived, there was not in existence any embodied power, either the papal or any other power, that could in its corporate capacity be styled tbe Anticbrist. Hence we may conclude, that his contemporaries, the many antichrists, were detached individuals professing some characteristic opinion which was the cause of their being so named; and, on the other hand, that the Antichrist is no individual, but a collective body of individuals. The question then is, What was the opinion of ibe many antiibrists? Was it the same, or was it not the same, as that of the Anticbrist, according to St. John's description of it? Does the Apostle give us any clue to ascertain this point? He explicitly declares, as if to prevent the possibility of error, that “ every spirit, which confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God : and this is that very essence or spirit of the Antichrist, which ye have heard shall come, and indeed even now is in the world.” Thus it is plain that what St. John calls the spirit of the Antichrist, is a denial that Jesus Cbrist is the promised Messiab manifested in tbe flesb. But, if this spirit, which is the spirit of the Antichrist, were in the world when St. Jobn wrote, and if many individual anticbrists, were likewise in the world at the same time; I know not what we can conclude but that these individual antichrists were men animated by the spirit of tbe Antichrist or the liar, which we are unequivocally told is a denial of the Son, and thence by implication e denial of the Fatber also. Accordingly St. Paul, St. Peter, and St. Jude, all concur in asserting, that men, possessed by such a spirit as St. John calls the spirit of the Anticbrist, even the very spirit which we have seen embodied in these last days, had at that early period insinuated themselves into the Church. How then can any thing that St. John here says prove the Pope to be the Antichrist, namely the deticbrist whose spirit was then in the world? All that the Apostle teaches his disciples is, that, since the delusive spirit of the Antichrist was already working, they might be sure that they were living in the last time or under the last dispensation, and
superstition of that great apostacy is indeed to continue to the very end of the 1260 days, and is therefore to be contemporary during the latter period of its existence with the rcign of Antichrist : but the domination of that infidel tyrant is so strongly marked by atheism, insubor
need not look for any further dispensation. As yet however, although there were many individual antichrists in the world, the great Antichrist himself, whose special badge should be a denial of the Fatber and the Son, was not manifested. His spirit indeed was already working in the children of disobedience, but be himself was not as yet revealed : nor does the Apostle give us the slightest intimation, that his appearance would be connected either with the taking away of that which prevented the de. velopement of the papal man of sin, or with the commencement of the 1260 years. On the contrary, wherever he mentions the Antichrist, he studiously and almost anxiously tells us, that his badge is a denial of the Messiabsbip of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Whitaker however argues, that, since I allow the man of sin to be the Pope; since the man of sin is said to oppose and exalt himself above every one that is called god or that is worshipped ; and since the word, which St. Paul uses to express this opposition, is anticimenus : therefore, because the man of sin is anticimenus, or one that opposetb bimself against all that is called god, he must be antichristus. This whole argument is founded on a misconception of the text. The gods, that the man of sin was to oppose, were mere eartbly gods ; in other words, kings and emperors. He was to oppose himself to every one that is called god, and to every thing august and venerable ; to every sebasma, in allusion to sebastus or angustus the title of the Roman emperors. (See Bp. Newton's Dissert. on the man of sin.) Hence it is plain, that an opposition of this nature will not constitute the Pope Antichrist. Impiously as the Bishops of Rome have sat in the temple of God, shewing themselves that they are God, this has been done rather in conjunction with God, than in opposition to him. In the height of their profane madness, they never thought of denying either the Father, or the Son; but rather affected to act by their commission and under their authority, considering themselves as a sort of God upon earth and claiming to be the sole' vicars of Christ. In short, the prophecy respecting tbe man of sin has been exactly accomplished in the Popes : but St. John's definition of the liar or the Antichrist, whose spirit was even then in the world, is by no means applicable to the Popes ; because their characteristic mark as a body was not a denial either of the Fatber or of the Son.
If indeed we chose arbitrarily to annex some other idea to the word Antichrist than St. John has taught us to annex to it, I have no objection in this sense to say that the Pope is an anticbrist, because he has ever shewn himself a most notorious enemy to the pure religion of the Gospel : so likewise has Mobammed, who comes much nearer to the character of St. John's Antichrist than the Pope, though even be never denied the Messiahship of Jesus Christ. But, so long as I acknowledge the authority of the epistles of St. John, I must peremptorily deny that tbe Pope is the Antichrist : both because I am plainly taught, that the spirit of that liar was working even in the apostolical age, which the spirit of tbe Papacy was not; and because I am no less plainly taught, that, whenever the monster should be publicly revealed, he should be known by his denial of the Father and the Son.
Dr. Doddridge attempts to explain away this natural objection to the application of the character of Antichrist to tbe Pope ; but in a manner, that to myself at least appears nothing better than a mere quibble. He says, that “ Popery is an usurpa tion entirely inconsistent with a due bomage to Christ,” and therefore that the Papary is Anticbrist. But what has this to do with an express denial of Christ? It is surely a most unsatisfactory answer to those, who as he himself observes " have argued, that the Pope cannot be Anticbrist, because he confesses Christ, and that it must necessarily be some entirely opposing person or sect, and which does not bear the christian náme." (Paraph. 1. John iv. 3.) As little satisfactory to me is Pyle's gloss. (Preface to I. John.)
dination, and a total want of all the kinder affections of our nature; that, for a season, till he has united himself with the man of sin the domineering head of the apostacy, the abominations even of the papal superstition are scarcely visible near the infernal glare of avowed Antichristianity.
It requires some degree of circumspection clearly to ascertain the meaning of the phrase of the end or the time of the end, sp or xp ny, so frequently used by Daniel. To myself it certainly appears to mean the termination of the whole 1260 days; the conclusion of the great drama of the two-fold apostacy and the reign of Antichrist. I conceive the time of the end to commence, so soon as the 1260 days expire; and to extend through the 75 years, which intervene between the end of the 1260 days, and the beginning of the season of millennian blessedness. I believe it in short to be the awful period, during which the judgments of God will go abroad through all the earth, and during which his great controversy with the nations will be carried on.*
Before I attempt to shew that such is the import of the phrase, it will be proper for me to observe, that a very different interpretation of it has been given by Mr. Mede, in which he has been followed by Bp. Newton, Instead of supposing it to mean the termination of the 1260 days, he conceives it to denote the latter days of the Roman empire or the whole duration of the 1260 days.t
The time of the end, or at least the first portion of it which contains 30 years (Dan. xii. 11,) synchronizes with tbe last apocalyptic vial, which will begin to be poured out 50 soon as the 1260 days shall have expired.
+ Yet it is worthy of notice, that in two places Bp. Newton understands the phrase precisely as I do; namely as denoting not the continuance, but the termination of ibe 1260 years. Commenting upon Dan. xi. 35, he observes,“ These calamities were to befall the Christians to try them, and purge, and make them white, not only at that time, but even to the time of the end, because it is yet for a time appointed and we see, even at this day, not to alledge other instances, how the poor protestants are persecuted, plundered, and murdered, in the southern parts of France." (Dissert. XVII. in loc.)
To the same purpose is his comment on Daniel xii. 9. It is indeed no wonder that we cannot fully understand and explain these things; for, as the angel said to Daniel himself, though many sbould run to and fro, and should inquire and examine into these things, and thereby knowledge should be increased; yet the full understanding of them is reserved for the time of the end, the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.As Prideaux judiciously observes, it is the nature of such prophecies not to be thoroughly understood, till they are thoroughly fulfilled." (Dissert. XVII in loc.) In both these passages, unless I greatly mistake their import, Bp.
In support of this opinion, I cannot find however, that he brings forward any argument, excepting one which is built upon his own exposition of the question and answer recorded by Daniel : “ Until how long shall be the end
of the wonders! It shall be until a time and times and a : half."* Now the import of this passage Mr. Mede sup
poses to be, that the period styled the end of the wonders, or (as he translates it) the latter end of the wonders, shall be in length three times and a half or 1260 years. Whence he argues, that, since such is to be the length of this latter end, the time of the end must denote the . whole period of the 1260 years.
Were such an exposition of the passage allowable, it would at least render it ambiguous ; for we should not be absolutely obliged to concede, that, because it was allowable, no other was allowable: but it appears to me to be by no means allowable; and I believe that our common English version has accurately expressed the sense of the original, although it doubtless is not quite literal.
If we consider the general context of the passage, Daniel first speaks of the end of certain wonders, and immediately afterwards of the finishing of these things. Now these things plainly appear to be the same as the wonders. But if these things be the same as the wonders (which I suppose will scarcely be denied); it seems most natural to conclude that the finishing of these things is the same as the end of the wonders. The finishing of these things however is plainly the absolute termination of them, and it is declared moreover to be contemporary with the restoration of the Jews : the end of the wonders therefore must at once be the termination of the wonders,
Newton considers the time of the end as being yet future, and as commencing so soon as the men of understanding or the witnesses shall have ceased to prophesy in sackcloth, that is to say, at the end of tbe 1260 years.
Dan. xii. 6, 7. † Mede's Works, B. iv. Epist. 54.--B. v. Chap. 9. Both Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton make a very important use of the sense which they annex to the phrase of the end or the time of the end. They suppose, that the kings of tbe south and the north mentioned by Daniel as attacking the wilful king, are the Saracens and the Turks. Now, whatever powers these kings may be, their wars are said to begin at the time of tbe end. But, if the time of the end denote the expiration, and not the continuance, of the 1260 years, they certainly cannot be the Saracens and the Turks. This subject will be resumed hereafter.
and must synchronize with the restoration of the Jews. Hence the end of the wonders cannot denote the whole period of the 1260 yeurs, but must on the contrary denote the termination of it ; because the restoration of the Jews, even according to Mr. Mede's own opinion,* will synchronize with the downfall of the papal Roman empire, and that downfall will not take place till after the expiration of the 1260 years.
This however is by no means the only objection to the exposition in question. Mr. Mede translates the original passage, not the end of the wonders, but the latter end of the wonders; evidently with a view to excite the idea, that of a certain period considered by Daniel as the period of wonders (suppose for instance the whole duration of his last vision) the latter portion is contradistinguislied from the former portion, and that this latter portion is termed by way of distinction the latter end of the wonders in opposition to the first part of the wonders. In order to appreciate the solidity of this exposition, it will be necessary to descend to verbal criticism. Two words t are used in Hebrew to express the end, Aarith and Ketz together with its cognates Ketzah and Miketzath. Now the former of these denotes either the continuance of a period or the termination of a period, for it is derived from a root which signifies ufier , and it is obvious, that both the successive parts of a period and the absolute termination of it are alike after its commencement : hence the Old Testament phrase of the end of days, which I last considered, denotes either futurity, that is a succession of time in general, or the end of the present order of things and the duration of the Millennium in particular. Whereas thc latter, unless I be quite mistaken, never denotes the continuance of the period of which it speaks, but always the termination of it; for it is derived from a verb which signifies to cut off or to cut short : wbence Buxtorf with much propriety observes, that it denotes the end, “ quasi præcisum dicas; ubi enim res
• Mede's Works, B. v. Chap. 8. + I do not mean to say, that no more than two words are used ; but that these are the two words with which the present discussion is chiefly concerned. Daniel sometimes uses the Chaldaic Supba instead of Ketz, which signifies precisely the same.