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IDOLATRY violates the very essence of the LAW, and PERSECUTION defeats all the virtue of the Gospel. These two infernal Tyrannies, the Prophet represents as the Assessors of the SCARLET WHORE, now become Sovereign of the Earth.
But if we want to know the ingredients of this inchanted Cup, with which the Inhabiters of the earth have been made drunk, St. Paul will tell us. In his account of the side-board of the GREAT WHORE, he tells us, that "In the latter times some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and Doctrines of Devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received.” * In which words the Holy Spirit graphically describes,—the Worship of Saints—the fabrication of false Miracles—the invention of Purgatory, and the means contrived for escaping it—monkish and clerical Celibacy-Pagan fasts -and Jewish distinction of meats.
The last excess of the Woman in purple and scarlet colour, after having intoxicated all others, is the getting drunk, herself—I saw the Woman (says the Prophet) drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus.—In lies and hypocrisy the Whore began her reign; and in PERSECUTION, she filled up the measure of her Tyranny. Nothing now remained, but the coming vengeance of Heaven, when the TEN HORNS, or the Civil Powers of Europe confederated, shall hate the Whore, and make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.† But this being an unfulfilled Prophecy, a matter yet in the womb of Time, we make no further use of it, than just, by quoting it, to cultivate and encourage a disposition in the RULERS OF THE EARTH, to facilitate the great work which Providence hath ordained to bring to pass by their ministry.
To conclude, I presume I have now performed what I undertook, (and it is all that is necessary for the support of the Protestant cause) viz. to prove, that ANTICHRIST and the SCARLET WHORE are a SPIRITUAL Power; and therefore, no other than the POPE and CHURCH OF ROME.
One of the soberest as well as soundest Reasoners of this reasoning Age, who, free from the enthusiasm of party-zeal, carried with him to the study of Scripture all the Philosophic light and precision, which he had learnt of his Masters, LOCKE and NEWTON (who themselves employed the richest of their stores in the like sacred service) after having paid the closest attention to the predictions of the Apocalypse, hath, as the result of all, been bold enough to put the truth of REVEALED RELIGION itself on the reality of that prophetic Spirit which • 1 Tim. iv. 1, et seq. .
↑ Rev. xvii. 16.
here foretells the desolation of CHRIST'S CHURCH AND KINGDOM by Antichrist; and the restoration of both to their original Purity and POWER. "If," (says he) "IN THE DAYS of St. Paul and St. John, there was any footstep of such a sort of power as this in the world; or if there HAD BEEN any such power in the world; or if there WAS THEN any appearance of probability, that could make it enter into the heart of man to imagine that there EVER COULD be any such kind of power in the world, much less in the Temple or Church of God; and if there be not Now such a power actually and conspicuously exercised in the world; and if any picture of this power, DRAWN AFTER THE EVENT, can now describe it more plainly and exactly than it was originally described in the words of the Prophecy; then may it, with some degree of plausibleness, be suggested, that the Prophecies are nothing more than enthusiastic Imaginations."*
"Evidence of natural and revealed Religion," by DR. S. CLARKE, Rector of St. James's, Westminster, p. 282.
THE NINTH BOOK.
P. 344. A. ON this Point it will be sufficient to refer the reader to those two excellent Writers, Dr. Samuel Clarke and Mr. W. Baxter, for a full Demonstration of the immateriality of that Substance, in which the faculties of sense and reflexion reside. [See Clarke's Tracts against Dodwell and Collins, and Baxter on the Nature of the Soul.] These Writers have gone much further than Locke and others on the same Subject; who contented themselves with shewing the possibility, nay, great probability, that the thinking substance in us is immaterial. [See Locke's Second Reply to the Bishop of Worcester, p. 600. of his Works.] But Clarke and Baxter have clearly proved, from the discovered qualities of a thinking Being, that the Soul cannot possibly be material, whatever undiscovered qualities it may be possessed of. And this conclusion was made (in my opinion) neither rashly nor at random. For, to unsettle our assurance in the truth of their Opinion, their Adversaries must shew that such undiscovered qualities are contrary to the qualities discovered; yet contrary qualities can never subsist together in the same substance, without one destroying the other. Hence, we understand the futility of Mr. Locke's superinduction of the faculty of thinking to a system of Matter; conceived, by that excellent Writer, in the modest fear of circumscribing Omnipotence; but Omnipotence is not circumscribed by denying its power of making qualities, destructive of one another, to reside in the same substance (for a power which produces nothing is no exercise of power); but by denying his power to change, together with consistent qualities, the nature of the substance in which those qualities reside. This power (supposing Mr. Locke contended for no more) will be readily granted; but his argument will gain nothing by it. On the contrary, by changing materiality into immateriality, it ends the dispute with the Bishop; but to Mr. Locke's disadvantage, by proving, that the Soul, or thinking Substance in us, is immaterial.
P. 352. B. The impious notion of the human Soul's being part or portion of the Divine Substance, made the Theistical Philosophers give no credit to the Doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments. [See the Divine Legation, Vol. II. B. 3. Sec. 4.] To avoid this impiety, certain Christian Enthusiasts taught that eternity was the condition of the Soul by nature as well as by grace. And so, before they were aware, fell into the very error of the Philosophers, which they were so anxious to avoid. For eternity being confessed by all to be one of the attributes of the Deity, it followed, that the human soul was indeed part or portion of the Divine Substance. This execrable frenzy, of which Religion could never get entirely free, (known by the name of SPINOZISM) hath of late appeared under its ugliest form in the Writings of Mr. W. Law, collected from the exploded ravings of Jacob Behmen. [See a book, intituled, An Appeal to all who doubt or disbelieve the Truths of the Gospel.]-But when learned
men wake out of one delirium, it is not to recover their senses, but to fall back again into another; and that, generally, is its opposite. So it was here. The Philosophic Converts to the Christian Faith, in the first ages of the Church, were no sooner convinced of the folly of fancying that the human Soul was a Part of the Godhead, than, in their haste to be at distance from that monstrous opinion, they ran suddenly into a contrary folly, and maintained, that the Soul had not one spark of the Divinity in her whole composition; but was MATERIAL as well as mortal: now degrading man to a brute, whom before they had exalted to a God. Nor hath this extravagance been destitute of (for what extravagance hath ever wanted) the patronage of modern Divines. We have seen it lately employed in support of a fresh whimsy, viz. THE SLEEP OF THE SOUL. One thing however seems to be defective in the Scheme; which is, the not rectifying the old error of a RESURRECTION. For, I apprehend, that when a MATERIAL Soul is once gone to Sleep, nothing but a RE-CREATION can awake it.
P. 358. C. Other death had been understood, viz. Eternal life in misery. But, to see what ill use hath been made of this portentous comment, we need only attend to Collins in his discourse of free-thinking. "We learn in the Old Testament," (says he) "that Adam by eating the forbidden fruit subjected himself and all his Posterity to death. But the New Testament TEACHES US TO UNDERSTAND, by death, eternal life in misery; and from thence, we know that GOD HAD BUT ONE WAY to put mankind in a capacity of enjoying immortal happiness." p. 153. Having given, in this buffoon manner, so absurd and monstrous a picture of REDEMPTION, (to the composition of which the School Divines had greatly contributed) he, and his free-thinking colleagues, hoped that their Doctrine of Christianity's being only a republication of the Religion of Nature would go down the easier. And they well enough understood how to manage that unscriptural error to their advantage; as may be seen by Tindal's book, intituled, Christianity as old as the Creation; which combats the Christian Revelation, under cover of the absurd concessions of certain latitudinarian Divines of a later date. These concessions, Tindal miscalls the PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIANITY. Hence this formidable book became one continued thread of contemptible sophistry from beginning to end. Yet I remember the time when the false terror of it alarmed the whole body of the Clergy, for the danger of the Church, who were but just recovered from the Sacheverelcrisis.
P. 358. D. The REMONSTRANTS, fearing that this interpretation of the text might give countenance to the School-doctrine of ORIGINAL SIN, deny that Infants are here meant, by those who had not sinned, &c. But the fear is vain. It was death, and not damnation, which reigned from Adam to Moses. The expression-Kai ènì тoùs μǹ áμаprýσavras, &c.-implies it was a part only of the human species which was free from sinning after the similitude of Adam's transgression; or the being without sin. And what part could this be but the infantine?
P. 366. E. It is true, that notwithstanding the conformity of this language in the Revelations to that of Peter and to the Gospel of John, some Crities, and particularly Grotius, would have the text in the Apocalypse, which says,—all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him whose names are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world-to be thus understood-The Book of Life written from the foundation of the World-and not as here translated-Christ slain from the foundation of the World. However, both the one and the other sense infers the same truth; for if the Book of Life [of the Lamb slain] was written
from the foundation of the world, it is plain, that the Lamb slain, or the sacrifice of his death, was pre-ordained from the foundation of the World.
P. 369. F. The reason why Jesus, at the first publication of the Gospel, refers so little to the FALL, which concerned all mankind, and so much to his MESSIAHSHIP, which directly concerned only the Jews, is apparent; his Mission was first directed to the house of Israel. He left his Apostles to carry on their Ministry of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Hence St. Paul, who was more eminently the Apostle of the Gentiles, is so explicite in his account of the RESTORATION FROM THE FALL. This furnished a handle to Lord Bolingbroke to affirm, with equal ignorance and malice, that-Paul preached a NEW GOSPEL, different from that of Jesus.
P. 379. G. A learned and serious Writer,* in a late book, intituled, Observations and Enquiries relating to the various parts of ancient History,† hath a chapter concerning HUMAN SACRIFICES; which he thus introducesOne would think it scarce possible that so unnatural a custom as that of HUMAN SACRIFICES should have existed in the world. But it is certain, that it did not only exist, but almost universally prevail. Our account of the origin of this unnatural custom will much abate the wonder. However, the learned Writer solves the difficulty with much ease; by deriving it from the Command to Abraham. And here, before I enter on the matter, permit me to repeat, what I have before observed, that it indicates an odd turn of mind (however general it may be), which disposes the Learned to seek for the origin of the superstitious Rites of antiquity, rather in the casual adventures of particular men, than in the uniform workings of our common nature.§
But the learned Writer fancies his solution is much strengthened by the general notion of Antiquity, that the ANOРOПоеYƐА was a Mystical Sacrifice. Let us examine his reasoning on this head. Mr. Bryant having given us, from the fragment of Sanchoniatho, what relates to IL or KRONUS's sacrifice of his only Son (by which, indeed, it appears, that human Sacrifice was not a conceit of yesterday; the Author of that fragment plainly deriving his story from this part of the Abrahamic History), goes on in these words, 66 66 They" [human sacrifices] were instituted probably in consequence of a prophetic Tradition, which I imagine had been preserved in the family of Esau; and transmitted, through his posterity, to the people of Canaan."||
To this, let me, first of all, observe, that the supposition of a prophetic tradition rests entirely on the truth of my peculiar idea of the nature of the command to Abraham, viz. That it was a mere scenical representation, given at the patriarch's earnest request. For on this idea only could the command be considered as a prophecy. But this is doing too much honour to my hypothesis, still held, I suppose, by the more orthodox, to be a paradox ; and, what is still worse, it greatly weakens the learned Writer's reasoning; for a scenical representation, which must naturally end as this did, in a prohibition of the commanded sacrifice, could hardly induce any one, who went upon the grounds, or in consequence of a prophetic Tradition, to think that human Sacrifices were acceptable to the Deity. But the truth is, this prophetic Tradition, in the family of Abraham, is merely gratis dictum. We find not the least footsteps of it in the more circumstantial History of the other branch of Abraham's Family, the Patriarchal; which was most concerned to preserve it, had there been any such. Besides, how this commanded Sacrifice, which was forbidden to be perpetrated, should encourage human sacrifices, before men had steeled themselves, by long + Page 267. § See
MR. BRYANT. "the Divine Legation."
† Printed in quarto, 1767.