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But Mr, Whitaker has another argument yet in store, equally cogent no doubt with that which I have just noticed. He says, that even upon my own principles the Pope must be the Antichrist; because I myself introduce the well-known story of the tenth Leo's infidelity, and then ask the Papists whether they are willing to abide by that Pontiff's infallibility. Thus it appears, if I may be permitted to use a common but sufficiently expressive proverb, that Mr. Whitaker bas more strings than one to bis bow. "If he have not the Pope at one turn, he is sure to have him at another; for Antichrist he is determined to make him per fas atque nefas, In urging this argument I can scarcely consider Mr. Whitaker more serious, than I am in answering it. Antichrist is no individual. How then can the particular infidelity of Leo make the whole body of Roman pontiffs the great Antichrist? This is indeed applying a prophetic character (as Mr. Whitaker says) “with a vengeance." As for all the succeeding Popes being infidels purely out of compliment to Leo's infallibility, Mr. Whitaker believes it no more than I do: and he must be convinced in his own mind, that what I said upon the incumbency of Leo's successors to avow themselves infidels, or else to give up all claim to infallibility, was merely a țub thrown out for the amusement of the Papists. Leo, although not the great Antichrist himself, was doubtless infected with his spirit: but he was a member of Antichrist, not because he was a Pope, but because he was an infidel and confessed not that Jesus was the Christ.
Mr. Whitaker however thinks it necessary to express with all due formality his obligations to me
for having strengthened his belief that the man of sin is the Antichrist, and consequently (even according to my own system) that the Pope is the Antichrist. And how is this effected? Why, the man of sin is said to oppose and exalt himself above all that is called god or that is worshipped: the word, that St. Paul uses to express this opposition, is anticimenus: therefore, because the man of sin is anticimenus, or one who opposeth himself against every one called god, he must be antichristus*. I could have wished that Mr. Whitaker had carefully perused Bp. Newton's admirable dissertation on the man of sin before he thanked me for the services which I had rendered him: he would then have seen, that that learned prelate would never have brought forward such an argument to prove the identity of the man of sin and Antichrist. “He “ opposeth and exalteth himself above all, above " every one, that is called god or that is worshipped, " sebasma, alluding to the title of the Roman " emperors, sebastus, august or venerable. He " shall oppose, for the prophets speak of things " future as present; he shall oppose and exalt “ himself not only above inferior magistrates, who “ are sometimes called gods in holy writ, but even “ above the greatest emperors, and shall arrogate " to himself divine honours, so that be as God sitteth " in the temple of God, sbewing himself that he is " God." What now becomes of Mr. Whitaker's argument drawn from the supposed parallelism of the words anticimenus and antichristus? The gods, that the man of sin was to oppose, were mere earthly gods, or (in plain English) kings and emperors: and
* Letter, p. 61.
the passage itself is precisely parallel to that passage in Daniel's description of the little papal born, wherein it is said that he had a mouth which spake great things, and a look more stout than his fellows. Still Mr. Whitaker may argue, that, although the word anticimenus can have no relation to any opposition made by the man of sin to the true God; yet, since he is declared to shew himself to be God in the very temple of God, this alone sufficiently proves him to be Antichrist. I readily allow, that in this particular the Popes have been guilty of most horrible blasphemy: yet the manner, in which St. Paul describes this blasphemy, bears not the slightest resemblance to the manner, in which St. John defines the sin of that power which he emphatically denominates the liar or the Antichrist. The Popes have doubtless arrogated to themselves divine honours; but this has been 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 on the contrary affected to act by their commise sion 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 the man of sin has been exactly accomplished in the Popes; because they have sat in the temple of God, shewing themselves that they are God: 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 tbe Father or the Son." · Mr. Whitaker lays a great stress on the circum. stance of the primitive Church supposing the man of sin to be Antichrist, and seems to think me not a little presumptuous in daring to avow my dissent. In answer to this I can only say, that I believe the fathers to have been very right in supposing that the man of sin would be revealed upon the downfall of the western empire, and very wrong in confound. ing his character with that of Antichrist. As for the wild notions which they entertained respecting the latter, if they will be of any service to Mr. Whitaker in proving his favourite position that the Pope is Antichrist, he is heartily welcome to them*.
* How does Mr. Whitaker shew, that the spirit of the Papacy was in the world when St. John wrote ? Among other primitive bishops of Rome the apostle was contemporary with Clement, whose name is declared by St. Paul to be written in the book of life.
I have entered the more largely into a discussion of this part of the subject, in order to prevent the necessity of renewing it; for nothing is more weari. some, either to the public or to the parties concerned, than a long protracted controversy. Again therefore I assert yet more strongly than I before asserted it, that the Scriptures do not even afford us a shadow of authority for pronouncing the Pope to be that power which St. John stigmatizes as the great liar, the grand Antichrist; whose spirit he
# These same fathers”, says Bp. Newton, “entertained « strange wild notions concerning this Antichrist, that he should « be a Jew, that he should descend from the tribe of Dan, ró that he should come from Babylon, that he should fix his “ residence in the temple at Jerusalem, that he should first «« subdue Egypt, and afterwards Libya and Ethiopia, which “ were the three horns which should fall before him”. Dissert. xiv, 3,
declares declares was in the world at the very time that he was writing; and whose lie he defines to be a denial of the Fatber and tbe Son. If we choose arbitrarily to annex some other idea to the word Anticbrist than St. Jobn has taught us to annex to it, I have no objection in tbis sense to say that tbe Pope is an anticbrist, because he has ever shewn himself a most notorious enemy to the pure religion of the Gospel : so likewise has Mohammed*, so likewise more or less has every bad man. But so long as I acknow. ledge the authority of the epistles of St. John, I must peremptorily deny that tbe Pope is the Anti. christ. both because I am plainly taught that the spirit of that liar was working even in the apostolic age, which the spirit of the Popacy 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 both of the Fatber and the Son. Protestants have too long indulged themselves in a habit of styling the Pope Antichrist. The cry has passed from one to another; till at length Mr. Whitaker seems to consider it as little less than heresy to oppose it. The Pope has sins enow of his own to answer for, without having the burden that belongs to another laid upon his shoulders. His abominations are sufficiently foretold in prophecy, without forcing into the service predictions and symbols and descriptions which have no manner of relation to him. Mr. Whitaker represents him. self almost as a persecuted man for maintaining the