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14 And deceiveth them that
dwell on the earth by the means the Jews that they had owned and uments were designed to commemacknowledged these books all along, orate (and we take them as a sample from the days of Moses to that day in of the whole) never took place, how which they were first invented; that can we account for the building of the is, that they had owned them before monument, and the establishment of they had ever so much as heard of the festivals? If it be said, the monuthem. Nay, more, the whole nation ment was built for some other purmust, in an instant, forget their for- pose, and the festivals were established mer laws and government, if they for some other purpose at first, and could receive these books as being afterwards came to be considered as their former laws. And they could proofs of these things, then we ask, not otherwise receive them, because would not the people have said, "We they vouched themselves so to be. never heard of this reason for them Let me ask the deist but this one short before? We have observed the festiquestion, Was there ever a book of vals, and seen the monuments from sham laws, which were not the laws our earliest days; but never before of the nation, palmed upon any peo- did we hear that these things were ple, since the world begun? If not, designed for the purpose for which with what face can they say this you now cite them." Suppose (if we of the book of laws of the Jews? may for a moment entertain the supWhy will they say that of them, which position) that in some distant future they confess impossible in any nation, age the object for which the Bunker or among any people?" It is further Hill monument was erected shall be to be said, in regard to the wonderful forgotten. Nobody then shall know works of Moses, performed in behalf why it had been built. We will then of the children of Israel, that public suppose that some designing person monuments and acts were set up to should say, that the settlers of New commemorate them, such as sacri- England came down from the north fices, feasts, fasts, &c. &c. A whole country, and on arriving on the bank class of people were set apart as of the Mystic, they found it impossipriests to teach the nation these things ble to cross over; that on the 4th forever. Monuments were built that day of July, upon a certain year, the existed for ages, to hand down the river divided, and they passed across remembrance of these events to future its bed, without even wetting the soles generations. "And he spake unto of their feet; and that the monument the children of Israel, saying, When had been erected to commemorate your children shall ask their fathers that event, and that the festival on in time to come, saying, What mean the 4th of July had been regularly these stones? Then ye shall let your observed all over the nation ever children know, saying, Israel came since for the same purpose. Could he over this Jordan on dry land. For succeed in such a design? Would the Lord your God dried up the wa- not the people say, we know not why ters of Jordan from before you, until this monument was built, (if the mem ye were passed over, as the Lord your ory of it had been lost,) but if the God did to the Red Sea, which he account you give us be true, how does dried up from before us, until we it happen that we never heard of it were gone over: that all the people before? We have the annals of our of the earth might know the hand of nation in the public archives, and no the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye such thing is mentioned there. Would might fear the Lord your God for- it be possible for any man under ever;" Joshua iv. 21-24. Now sup-heaven to persuade the people to pose that the wonders which these mon- believe any such thing?
of those miracles which he had | power to do in the sight of the
wish to examine whether Christ and his apostles performed miracles, and what was the nature of those miracles, and why they performed them, and for what purposes they referred to them, may consult Mark vi. 52; ix. 39; Luke xxiii. 8; John ii. 11, 23; iii. 2; iv. 54; vi. 2, 26; vii. 31; ix. 16; x. 41; xi. 47; xii. 37; Acts ii. 22; iv. 16, 22; vi. 8; viii. 6, 13; xv. 12; xix. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 10, 28, 29; Gal. iii. 5; Heb. ii. 4. We have already shown, that false or pretended miracles are presumptive evidences of genuine miracles; and we have therefore thought it not improper, in considering the false miracles or wonders, or signs, of the Roman pagan priests, to go into the consideration of real miracles so far as we have done. If we believe there is a God, we have no doubt of his power over nature. He, therefore, can perform a miracle (or what is to men a miracle) if he please. If he were to send a messenger to the world, in what way could he better satisfy the world of his true character, than by proving that the power of God was with him,
power beyond the power of man. This God did in the case of Moses, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their miracles bore every mark of honesty,
they were performed publicly, in the presence of enemies, not to gain the favor of men, but in the sacred performance of duty, when it was known that those who performed them thereby incurred the wrath of the leading men in power, and perilled all they held dear on earth, and even life itself. They have been attested in every age since, as the miracle of our Lord's resurrec tion has been attested by the festival of the Lord's supper, which forms an unbroken chain of evidence from the time of the resurrection to the present day. It is not to be wondered at, then, that false teachers have sought to keep up the appearance of the power to work miracles. Such was the case
vals, therefore, of the children of Israel, must have been commenced at the time alleged in the Scriptures, and for that purpose, for they could not have been commenced at any other time. How could the commemoration of the 4th of July, for the purposes for which we hallow the day, ever have been begun, if the independence of the nation had not been declared on that day? How could the festivals of the Jews, on their holy days, ever have begun, if the high, sacred, remarkable events they were designed to commemorate, had never happened? Will any man in his sober senses say, that the religious books, festivals, and regular observances of the Jews, are all so many cheats put upon the people; and that they were commemorative of things that never occurred? We cannot. There are no false miracles substantiated like the miracles of Moses, and those of the New Testament. These miracles were outward, tangible, undeniable works, such as men's outward senses may take cognizance of; they were done in the most public manner; monuments have been ept up in memory of them, and outward acts have been performed by the thousands of Israel for the same purpose; and these monuments and acts must have commenced from the time the acts were done. He who, after all this, can believe that the account of the wonders performed before the face of the children of Israel is all false, may be led even to doubt his own existence. The Jews themselves are a standing monument of the truth of the Bible; and he who can study carefully the history of that people, and still disbelieve the Old Testament account of them, must be diseased in mind, with such a passion for doubting, that he is invulnerable to all evidence. As to the miracles of the New Testament, we have not room to go into the consideration of them here. Those who
beast; saying to them that should make an image to the dwell on the earth, that they beast, which had the wound by
14. By the means of those miracles. We are told, that the frogs which came out of the mouth of the false prophet, "are the spirits of devils [adversaries] working miracles;" xvi. 13, 14; and it is also said: "The beast was taken and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him;" xix. 20. It is said of the second beast that "he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men; and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast." Do not these passages, when compared, justify the conclusion that by the second beast was intended those false prophets, or teachers of the pagan religion, who falsely pretended to perform miracles, and who were so skilled in wicked works of art and legerdemain, that they actually deceived the people in regard to those things? It surely is not intended that they actually performed these miracles; for false prophets, as we have shown under the preceding verse, cannot really perform miracles; and, moreover, had they really performed miracles, they would not have been represented as deceiving the people, which all along the second beast, or false prophet, is represented as having done. It is well to bear in mind, that the second beast existed simultaneously with the first, otherwise he could not have performed his alleged miracles in his sight. False prophets, in all ages of the world, have pre- that "the sword of the spirit" is tended to perform miracles; and "the word of God;" vi. 17. The have sometimes carried on their de-consuming with the spirit of his ceptions with so much adroitness as mouth, or fighting with the sword of to give them greatly the appearance his mouth, refers to the power of his
of reality. Such was the case with the Egyptian sorcerers and magicians in Pharaoh's court, Exod. vii. 11, as we have before noticed. Jesus foretold, that at the second advent “many false prophets should arise;" Matt. xxiv. 11; and again, that there should arise false Christs, [anti-Christs,] and false prophets, who should show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they should deceive the very elect;" verse 24; and all the rest of the world they did deceive. See Mark xiii. 22. Paul described the false prophet to the church at Thessalonica. He calls him the "man of sin," "the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God;" 2 Thess. ii. 4; [hence, his blas. phemy.] And again he says: "And then shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ;" verses 8-10. The phrase, "spirit of his mouth," will be explained by the following passages. Jesus said, Rev. ii. 16: "I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth ;" i. e., the piercing power of his word. Hence it is said, (i. 16,) “Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword;" and Paul said: "The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," &c.; Heb. iv. 12; and in Ephesians he tells us,
of the beast mentioned in the verse we have before us, who represented the wonder-working power of the pagan priests. But we shall speak further on these subjects under the
a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause
word. The false prophet would be slain with the power of the divine word, at the coming of Christ, or the full establishment of Christianity.
that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor,
15. Give life unto the image of the beast. It is no more meant here that the false prophet could give life to the image of the beast, than it was intended in the preceding verse that he could actually perform miracles. He merely had the power to make the image of the beast appear as if it were alive. Reference seems to be had here to some idol, or oracle, highly respected in the empire, perhaps made in the image of some of the great men deceased, or perhaps of the reigning emperor; and the false prophet made the oracle appear to speak, as it was once generally thought the oracle did; and the oracle announced "that as many as would not worship the image of the beast," or the oracle, one of the essential props of the pagan religion of antiquity, "should be killed," which the secular power would of course see fit to have done. These were terrific times to the poor Christians. Here we see the deception that was carried on by this false prophet, and also the cruelty that reigned in his heart. Mark the language: "The image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." Is it not true then, as stated in the 11th verse, that he spake as a dragon ?" He was auxiliary to the dragon; he moved at his bidding; he deceived the people, and used all his arts and intrigue to subserve the cause of the dragon and the seven-headed beast.
16. Receive a mark; -i. e., as a sign of their allegiance to the beast. It was the name, or number of the
beast, perhaps, or some significant appellation showing that they acknowledged the beast's authority. In their right hand, or in their foreheads.- -The false prophet had a wide influence in the empire. He caused all, of every degree, to be most publicly known as the adherents of the beast, -to wear his brand, or mark, in their right hand, to denote that all their power was given to him, or in their forehead, as the most public avowal of their adherence. They were not permitted to remain neutral. In the most public manner they must avow, and with their strongest energies they must defend, the interests of the beast. Those who received the mark of the beast, or in other words acknowledged his authority, were made to suffer all the punishments that fell upon the enemies of the Lord Jesus. See xiv. 9-11, where will be found a more full explanation of this subject. See, also, xvi. 2; xix. 20. But those who got the victory over the beast and over his "mark," were the friends of God. They worshipped God, and sang the song of Moses and the Lamb, xv. 2, and they lived and reigned with Christ, upon the earth; xx. 4. They had the name of God and of the New Jerusalem written upon them, the Father's name being in their foreheads. "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name;" Rev. iii. 12. See also xiv. 1: "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four
free and bond, to receive a mark | buy or sell, save he that had in their right hand, or in their the mark, or the name of the foreheads; beast, or the number of his name.
17 And that no man might
thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads." The false prophet also sought to regulate trade and commerce among men, and turn even those things to the advantage of the beast. See the remarks
under the next verse.
those who were with them; they have been aided in their secular employ. ments; their places of sale have been largely patronized. But on the other hand, opposite means have been used. The opponent of the dominant power, however pure, however honest he may have been, has been put down. The strong arm has crushed him. His business has been undermined; and every means have been adopted to bring on his ruin. Let all who have ever followed practices of this kind see that they have been apt learners in the school of the false prophet of the Apocalypse.
17. No man might buy or sell. After having compelled men, by the fear of losing their lives, to avow their allegiance to the beast in the most public manner, and to consecrate their strongest and most active powers to his service, he procured it to be established that no other man should buy or sell. If there were any backwardness which brought suspicion upon a man that he was not a friend of the beast, if the proof were not strong enough to convict him, and thus produce his death, then his business should be entirely broken up. All means of livelihood were thus to be taken away from those who would not give their influence to the pagan religion. They were crippled in every manner possible; they were continually harassed; all means, however unjust, that would have an effect to coerce the people into the service of the beast, were resorted to. We have seen how willing, how active, how efficient an auxiliary was this second beast, or false prophet, the lamb-like in appear-provoke their enemies, who would ance, the dragon-like in nature, the not so readily comprehend it, as if pagan priests and sorcerers. There written in a more direct and plain was none other power in the empire manner. The metaphors, therefore, that at all came up to the description are such as were drawn principally of the revelator, except the po we from the sacred Jewish books, which have now described. It has been one the Christians would readily com. of the most common means employed prehend, but their heathen enemies by false religionists in all ages of the would not. In this way the revelator world, to compel men to adopt their sought to instruct his brethren, withviews and subserve their interests, out unnecessarily exciting the venby interfering with their worldly busi- geance of their enemies. Having set ness. Every advantage has been forth the persecuting power under the thrown by them into the hands of figure of the beast, he comes at last
18. Here is wisdom. - The subject of this verse was probably regarded as important, and perhaps was easily understood at the time the book was written. At this day it is much more difficult to give it a construction. "Here is wisdom," or here wisdom is required. As if he had said, this can be understood only by the wise, or the initiated. To those who could understand the matter, this was probably the most definite description of the power intended by the beast, that is contained in the whole allegory. The Apocalypse was probably written in the allegorical style, that while it benefitted the Christians, who would understand it, it would not so greatly