« PreviousContinue »
period of his government ; and, keeping your eye all along on the ecclefiaftical and civil ftate of our western world (the predicted theatre of all these tranfactions) see, if you can help concluding, I do not fay at what precife time, but about what time, Antichrist appeared; fee, if the commencement of his reign be not fo far determined as that you may be certain of its being long since paft; and see, if very much, at leaft, of that allotted periods through which his dominion was to continue, according to the prophecies, be not, by the evident átteftation of history; now run out.
TO DRAW, then, what hath been faid on the feveral marks of Antichrist, to a point. Considerz within what part of the world, he was to appear; in what feat or
' throne, he was to be established ; of what kind, his fovereignty was to be; with what attributes, he was to be invested , in what Jeafon, or about what time, and for how long .a time, he was to reign and prosper: Consider these FIVE obvious characters of Anti
christ, which the prophets have distinctly fet forth, and which, from them, I have fuccessively held up to you: And, then, compare them with the correspondent cha. racters, which you find inscribed, by the pen of authentic history, on a certain power, sprung up in the West ; feated in the city of Rome; calling himself the Vicar of Chrift; yet full of names of blasphemy, that is, ftig matized with those crimes, which Christi, anity, as such, holds most opprobrious, the crimes of tyrannic dominion, of perfecution, and even Idolatry; and lastly, now subfifting in the world, though with evident symptoms of decay, after a long reign, whose rise and progress can be traced, and whose duration, hitherto, is uncontradicted by any prophecy: Put, I say, all these correspondent marks together, and see if they do not furnish, if not an absolute demonftration, yet a
high degree of probability, that apostate papal Rome is the
, foretold. 02
At least, you will admit that these correspondencies are signal enough to merit your attention, and even to justify your pains in looking further into fo curious and interesting a subject. Ye will fay to yourselves, That the prophecies concerning Antichrist deserve at least to be confidered with care, since in so many striking particulars, they appear, on the face of them, to have been completed.
This conclufion it is presumed, is a reasonable one: And the end of this difcourse will be answered, if ye are, at length, prevailed upon to draw this conclusion.
Rev. xxii. 7. Bebold, I come quickly : Blessed is be that · keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this
ţime and difficulty, we naturally ask, “ CUI BONO, to what considerable end and purpose, are our labours to be referred ?"
Although it may, then, be presumed, that enough hath been said on the prophecies to excite a reasonable desire of look
ing further into them, and even to produce : a general persuasion, that they have been, or may be, understood; yet, it may quicken your attention to this argument, and support your industry in the prosecution of it, to set before you the uses, which may result from a full and final conviction (if such Bould be the issue of your inquiries), That these prophecies are not intelligible only, but have, in many instances, been rightly applied, and clearly fulfilled.
These uses are very 'many. I shall collect, only, two or three of the more im. portant, for your confideration.
Though every period of prophecy be instructive, that which takes in the great events and revolutions, which have come
to pass in tlie Christian Church, is, for obvious reasons, more 'especially interesting to us, who live in these latter ages of the world.
of the numerous predi&tions, contained "in'either Teftament, which, it is presumed, - respect these events, the most considerable
by far, because the 'most minute and circumftantial, are those of St. John in