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troversy between the Protestant and Papat Christians to a short issue.

· I know, the advocates of Rome pretend, that, not a sense of duty, but a Spirit of revenge operates in the minds of Protestants, when they affect to lay so great a stress on the Apocalyptic prophecies. Reward ber, even as she rewarded you [b]- is, they say, another of their favourite texts, by which they take themselves to be as much obliged, as by that which they fo commonly alledge for quitting her commu-nion. It is not, therefore, to cover themselves from the inputation of schism, but, to authorize the vengeance, they meditate against us, that we are stunned with the cry of Antichrist and Babylon[i]."

To this charge, I can only reply, That, if

any Protestant writers have put that sense on the words-reward ber, as je rewarded you - they must answer for their own te

[..] Rev. xviii, 4.

[] M. de Meaux: L'Apocalypse avec une explication. Avertisement aux Proteftants, p. 303, &c. Par. 1690. Vol. II.



merity and indiscretion. They, who understand themselves, and the language of prophecy, disclaim the odious imputation. They say, That they neither admit the lawfulness of persecution in any case, on the account of religion, nor have the least thought of instigating the Christian world to any fanguinary attempts against the Papacy. What the event may be in the councils of Providence, is another consideration : But they neither avow, nor approve those principles, which tend to producé it. They, further, infift, That the two passages under consideration, though, both of them, expressed in the imperative form, require a very different construction: That the language of prophecy seems very often to authorise what it only foretells; and to command that which it barely permits: that, therefore, the sense of such passages is to be determined by the circumstances of the case; that, where obedience is lawful, there the preceptive' form may be admitted ; but, where it is not, there

nothing nothing more is intended than the certainty of the event: That this distinction is to be made in the present case; for that Christianity doth not allow vindictive retaliations, or boly wars, for the fake of religion, and that offensive arms taken up in the cause of God (how confidently foever some have justified their zeal by the authority of the Jewish Law, ill-applied) are abominable and antichristian: Whence we rightly conclude, that-reward her, as he rewarded you-are words not to be taken injunctively; while those other words come out of her, my people--expressing nothing but what it was previously our duty to do, are very clearly to be so taken.

Lastly, we say, that the context in the two places alledged, justifies this distinction. Come out of her, my people. Why? That ye be not partakers of ber fins, and that ye receive not of ber plagues. The reason is just, and satisfactory. Reward ber. Why? No reason is assigned, or could be assigned consistently with the spirit of the Christian


religion ; religion : It only follows, as the bas rewarded you - words, which exprefs only the measure, and the equitable grounds of the allotted punishment, not the duty of Christians to inflict it.

I rerurn, then, from the confutation of this cavil (the most plausible, however, as well as invidious, which the wit of Rome has started on this subject) to the conclufion, before laid down, That the completion of the Apocalyptic prophecies in the Papal apostasy, if seen and confessed, affords an unanswerable defence and vindication of the Protettant churches.

This conclusion, that The Pope is AntiCHRIST, and that other, that the SCRIPTURE IS THE SOLE RULE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH, were the two great principles, on which the Reformation was originally founded. How the first of these principles came to be DISGRACED among ourselves, I have shewn in another discourse [k]. It may now bę worth while to observe, in one word, through [x] Sermon VIII.


what fatal mismanagement the latter principle was even generally DISAVOWED and DESERTED.

When the Reformers had thrown off all respect for the Papal chair, and were for -regulating the faith of Christians by the sacred fcriptures, it still remained a question, On what grounds, those scriptures should be interpreted. The voice of the church, speaking by her schoolmen, and modern doctors, was universally, and without much ceremony, rejected. But the Fathers of the primitive church were still in great repute among Proteftants themselves ; who dreaded nothing so much as the imputation of novelty, which they saw would be fastened on their opinions, and who, besides, thought it too presuming to trust entirely to the dictates of what was called the private Spirit. The church of Rome availed herself with dexterity, of this prejudice, and of the distress to which the Protestant party was reduced by it. The authority of these ancient and venerable


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