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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 monu. them. Nay, more, the whole nation ment was built for some other par. must, 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 impossi. priests 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. I believe any such thing? The festi
of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the vals, therefore, of the children of wish to examine whether Christ and Israel, must have been commenced his apostles performed miracles, and at the time alleged in the Scriptures, what was the nature of those miraand for that purpose, for they could cles, and why they performed them, not have been commenced at any and for what purposes they referred other time. How could the com. to them, may consult Mark vi. 52; memoration of the 4th of July, for ix. 39; Luke xxiii. 8; John ii. 11, the purposes for which we hallow the 23; iii. 2; iv. 54; vi. 2, 26; vii. 31; day, ever have been begun, if the ix. 16; x. 41; xi. 47; xii. 37; Acts independence of the nation had not ii. 22 ; iv. 16, 22; vi. 8; viii. 6, 13; been declared on that day? How xv. 12; xix. 11; 1 Cor. xii. 10, 28, could the festivals of the Jews, on 29; Gal. iii. 5; Heb. ii. 4. We have their holy days, ever have begun, if already shown, that false or pretended the high, sacred, remarkable events miracles are presumptive evidences they were designed to commemorate, of genuine miracles; and we have had never happened? Will any man therefore thought it not improper, in in his sober senses say, that the reli- considering the false miracles or wongious books, festivals, and regular ders, or signs, of the Roman pagan observances of the Jews, are all so priests, to go into the consideration many cheats put upon the people ; of real miracles so far as we have and that they were commemorative done. If we believe there is a God, of things that never occurred? We we have no doubt of his power over
There are no false miracles nature. He, therefore, can perform a substantiated like the miracles of miracle (or what is to men a miracle) Moses, and those of the New Testa- if he please. If he were to send a
These miracles were outward, messenger to the world, in what way tangible, undeniable works, such as could he better satisfy the world of men's outward senses may take cog- his true character, than by proving nizance of; they were done in the that the power of God was with him, most public manner; monuments power beyond the power of man. have been kept up in memory of This God did in the case of Moses, them, and outward acts have been and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their performed by the thousands of Israel miracles bore every mark of honesty, for the same purpose; and these - they were performed publicly, in monuments and acts must have com- the presence of enemies, not to gain menced from the time the acts were the favor of men, but in the sacred done. He who, after all this, can performance of duty, when it was believe that the account of the won- known that those who performed ders performed before the face of the them thereby incurred the wrath children of Israel is all false, may be of the leading men in power, and led even to doubt his own existence. perilled all they held dear on earth, The Jews themselves are a standing and even life itself. They have monument of the truth of the Bible; been attested in every age since, and he who can study carefully the as the miracle of our Lord's resurrechistory of that people, and still disbe- tion has been attested by the festival lieve the Old Testament account of of the Lord's supper, which forms an them, must be diseased in mind, with unbroken chain of evidence from the such a passion for doubting, that he time of the resurrection to the present is invulnerable to all evidence. As day. It is not to be wondered at, then, to the miracles of the New Testament, that false teachers have sought to we have not room to go into the con- keep up the appearance of the power sideration of them here. Those who I to work miracles. Such was the case
beast; saying to them that should make an image to the dwell on the earth, that they beast, which had the wound by of the beast mentioned in the verse of reality. Such was the case with we have before us, who represented the Egyptian sorcerers and magicians the wonder-working power of the in Pharaoh's court, Exod. vii. 11, as pagan priests. But we shall speak we have before noticed. Jesus fore. further on these subjects under the told, that at the second advent " many next verse.
false prophets should arise ;' Matt. 14. By the means of those miracles. xxiv. 11; and again, that there should
We are told, that the frogs which arise“ false Christs, [anti-Christs,] came out of the mouth of the false and false prophets, who should show prophet, "are the spirits of devils great signs and wonders ; insomuch [adversaries) working miracles;" xvi. that, if it were possible, they should 13, 14; and it is also said: “The deceive the very elect;" verse 24; beast was taken and with him the and all the rest of the world they did false prophet that wrought miracles deceive. See Mark xiji. 22. Paul before him ;' xix. 20. It is said of described the false prophet to the the second beast that “he doeth great church at Thessalonica. He calls wonders, so that he maketh fire come him the “man of sin,” “the son of down from heaven on the earth in the perdition, who opposeth and exalteth sight of men; and deceiveth them himself above all that is called God that dwell on the earth by the means or that is worshipped ; so that he, as of those miracles which he had power God, sitteth in the temple of God, to do in the sight of the beast." Do showing himself that he is God;" not these passages, when compared, 2 Thess. ii. 4; [hence, his blas. justify the conclusion that by the phemy.) And again he says: “And second beast was intended those false then shall that Wicked be revealed prophets, or teachers of the pagan whom the Lord shall consume with religion, who falsely pretended to the spirit of his mouth, and shall perform miracles, and who were so destroy with the brightness of his skilled in wicked works of art and coming. Even him, whose coming legerdemain, that they actually de- is after the working of Satan, with ceived the people in regard to those all power, and signs, and lying wonthings ? It surely is not intended that ders, and with all deceivableness of they actually performed these mira- unrighteousness in them that perish ;" cles; for false prophets, as we have verses 8–10. The phrase, “spirit of shown under the preceding verse, his mouth,” will be explained by the cannot really perform miracles; and, following passages. Jesus said, Rev. moreover, had they really performed ii. 16: I will come unto thee miracles, they would not have been quickly, and will fight against them represented as deceiving the people, with the sword of my mouth ;" i. e., which all along the second beast, or the piercing power of his word.' Hence false prophet, is represented as having it is said, (i. 16,) “Out of his mouth done. It is well to bear in mind, that went a sharp two-edged sword ;": the second beast existed simultane- and Paul said: “The word of God'is ously with the first, otherwise he quick and powerful, and sharper than could not have performed his alleged any two-edged sword,” &c.; Heb. iv. miracles in his sight. False prophets, 12; and in Ephesians he tells us, in all ages of ihe 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
a sword, and did live.
that as many as would not wor15 And he had power to give ship the image of the beast life unto the image of the beast, should be killed. that the image of the beast 16 And he causeth all, both should both speak, and cause small and great, rich and poor, word. The false prophet would be beast, perhaps, or some significant slain with the power of the divine appellation showing that they acword, at the coming of Christ, or the knowledged the beast's authority. full establishment of Christianity: 1 In their right hand, or in their fore.
15. Give life unto the image of the heads. — The false prophet had a wide beast. - It is no more meant here that influence in the empire. He caused the false prophet could give life to all, of every degree, to be most pubthe image of the beast, than it was licly known as the adherents of the intended in the preceding verse that beast,- - to wear his brand, or mark, he could actually perform miracles in their right hand, to denote that all He merely had the power to make their power was given to him, or in the image of the beast appear as if it their forehead, as the most public were alive. Reference seems to be avowal of their adherence. They had here to some idol, or oracle, were not permitted to remain neutral. highly respected in the empire, per- In the most public manner they must haps made in the image of some of avow, and with their strongest enerthe great men deceased, or perhaps gies they must defend, the interests of the reigning emperor ; and the of the beast. Those who received false prophet made the oracle appear the mark of the beast, or in other to speak, as it was once generally words acknowledged his authority, thought the oracle did; and the ora- were made to suffer all the punishcle announced "that as many as ments that fell upon the enemies of the would not worship the image of the Lord Jesus. See xiv. 9–11, where beast,” or the oracle, one of the will be found a more full explanation essential props of the pagan religion of this subject. See, also, xvi. 2 ; xix. of antiquity, “should be killed,” | 20. But those who got the victory which the secular power would of over the beast and over his “mark," course see fit to have done. These were the friends of God. They worwere terrific times to the poor Chris- shipped God, and sang the song of tians. Here we see the deception Moses and the Lamb, xv. 2, and they that was carried on by this false lived and reigned with Christ, upon prophet, and also the cruelty that the earth; xx. 4. They had the reigned in his heart. Mark the lan- name of God and of the New Jerusaguage : “ The image of the beast lem written upon them, - the Father's should both speak and cause that as name being in their foreheads. “ Him many as would not worship the image that overcometh will I make a pillar of the beast should be killed.” Is it in the temple of my God, and he shall not true then, as stated in the 11th go no more out; and I will write verse, that “he spake as a dragon ?" upon him the name of my God, and He was auxiliary to the dragon ; he the name of the city of my God, moved at his bidding; he deceived which is new Jerusalem, which com. the people, and used all his arts and eth down out of heaven from my intrigue to subserve the cause of the God; and I will write upon him my dragon and the seven-headed beast. new name;" Rev. iii. 12. See also
16. Receive a mark ; - i. e., as a xiv. 1: “And I looked, and lo, a sign of their allegiance to the beast. Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and It was the name, or number of the 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 17 And that no man might name.
thousand, having his Father's name those who were with them; they have written in their foreheads." The been aided in their secular employfalse prophet also sought to regulate ments; their places of sale have been trade and commerce among men, and largely patronized. But on the other turn even those things to the advan- hand, opposite means have been used. tage of the beast. See the remarks The opponent of the dominant power, under the next verse.
however pure, however honest he 17. No man might buy or sell.- may have been, has been put down. After having compelled men, by the Thé strong arm has crushed him. fear of losing their lives, to avow His business has been undermined; their allegiance to the beast in the and every means have been adopted most public manner, and to conse to bring on his ruin. Let all who crate their strongest and most active have ever followed practices of this powers to his service, he procured it kind see that they have been apt to be established that no other man learners in the school of the false should buy or sell. If there were any prophet of the Apocalypse. backwardness which brought suspi- 18. Here is wisdom. — The subject cion upon a man that he was not a of this verse was probably regarded friend of the beast, if the proof were as important, and perhaps was easily not strong enough to convict him, understood at the time the book was and thus produce his death, then his written. At this day it is much more business should be entirely broken difficult to give it a construction. up. All means of livelihood were " Here is wisdom," or here wisdom is thus to be taken away from those required. As if he had said, this can who would not give their influence be understood only by the wise, or the to the pagan religion. They were initiated. To those who could under. crippled in every manner possible ; stand the matter, this was probably they were continually harassed ; all the most definite description of the means, however unjust, that would power intended by the beast, that is have an effect to coerce the people contained in the whole allegory. The into the service of the beast, were Apocalypse was probably written in resorted to. We have seen how will the allegorical style, that while it ing, how active, how efficient an benefitted the Christians, who would auxiliary was this second beast, or understand it, it would not so greatly 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 power we from the sacred Jewish books, which have now described. It has been one the Christians would readily comof 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, with. views and subserve their interests, out unnecessarily exciting the venby interfering with their worldly busi- geance of their enemies. Having set
Every advantage has been forth the persecuting power under the thrown by them into the hands of I figure of the beast, he comes at last