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Uses of this inquiry into the prophe
Rev. xxii. 7. Behold, I come quickly : Blessed is be that
keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Prophecies concerning ANTICHRIST.
1 Ep. John ii. 18, -- Ye bave beared that Antichrist hall
MONG the more remarkable pro
phecies concerning the Christian Church, there are several, which describe the rise, progress, and downfal of a certain Power, represented under various fymbols or images, and distinguished by many appellations ; but more especially known by the name of ANTICHRIST.
These prophecies come now, in the order of this Lecture, to be considered. The subject is, in a high degree, curious VOL. II. B
and important; but of no easy discussion : not fo much on the account of any peculiar difficulty in the prophecies themselves, as from the prejudice of party in explaining them, and still more, from the general prejudice that lies against every attempt to explain them.
To make my way through all these obstructions, I shall begin with laying before you a clear and distinct state of the question itself, which is chiefly agitated by inquirers into these prophecies.
It is admitted, that many predictions in the Old and New Testament, particularly in the book of Daniel, in St. Paul's Epistles, and in the Revelations of St. John, clearly point out a very extraordinary power, which was to manifest itself in the latter times, that is, in the times subsequent to the introduction of Chriftianity. The characters, by which this power (acknowledged by all under the name of Antichrift) is chiefly distinguished, are those of Tyranny[d],
[a] By the word Tyranny, here and elsewhere in these discourses, as applied to the Pope, I would be under
Idolatry, Idolatry, and Intolerance. And, to abridge our trouble in searching after this threebeaded monster, we are directed by the prophers to look for him within the boundaries of what was properly called, the Roman Empire, and even in the city of Rome itself.
Thus far there is no dispute. The only question is, To what Roman power, exhibiting those characters, the prophecies are to be applied. And even this question is reduced within narrow limits. For Two Powers only have sublifted in Rome, from the Christian æra to the present times (within which period we are, again, allowed to expect the reign of Antichrift); the Roman Emperor, in the first place; and, afterwards, the Roman Pontifs. So that,
stood to mean, that super-eminent dominion, which he exercised, or claimed a right of exercising, over the princes and states of his communion, in all affairs both temporal and spiritual.--I use the word (somewhat improperly, perhaps) for the sake of brevity, as I know of no other single term, that so well expresses my incan: ing