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image-worship, which was only the old idolatry of the Pagans under a new form : gor were they behind then in their murderous persecutions, their foul impostures, their filthy intrigues, and their fraudulent impositions. And though soon after the overthrow of the Greek church, the Reformation began, yet they reformed not. The Council of Trent, which was called on this occasion, sat eighteen years, and at last left things as they found them. Babylon was not to be healed!
INTRODUCTION TO THE WESTERN OR PAPAL APOSTASY.
The eastern church, as connected with the Roman empire, be. ing slain, the remainder of the prophecy may be expected to concern the western, or, " the rest of the men, who were not killed by these plagues.". This it does ; so much of it bowever, as brings us to the taking of the beasts and of the false prophet, and so to the commencement of the Millennium. The corruptions of the western church have been intimated before; as by the sealing of the servants of God in their foreheads, Chap. vii. ; by the judgments inflicted on the western empire under the first four trumpets, Chap. viii. ; and by the cloud of smoke from the bota tomless pit: but now the prophecy treats directly and exclusive of them. Nor is it surprising that the apostasy of this church should occupy so large a part of the prophecy, * insomuch as both for its duration and mischievous effects, there is nothing equal to it under the gospel dispensation. The period allotted for its dura: tion is no less than 1260 years; during which the holy city is trodden under foot, the witnesses prophesy in sackcloth, the true church fleeth into the wilderness, and the saints of the Most High are persecuted to death by a ferocious and cruel beast. This apostate church was, no doubt, the man of sin foretold by Paul i and notwithstanding what has been adranced against it by a late respectable writer, 1 bave no doubt of its being the antichrist which the Christians in Joho's time had heard should come.
* From the beginning of Chap. I. to the end of Chap. xix,
Before we enter upon this subject it will be proper to give the outlines of the ten chapters in which it is contained. Chap. X consider as mere introductory. Chap. xi. gives a general representation of this corrupt and persecuting power, with the state of the church of Christ under it, during the 1260 years. Chap. xii. gives a second, and Chap. xiii, and xiy. a third general representation of it during the same period. Chap. XV. and xvi. give a more particular account of that part of the subject which commences at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and contains a subdivision of that trumpet into seven vials, the pouring out of which brings us down to the Millennium. The xviith, xviiith, and xixth Chapters contain what in modern publications we should call notes of illustration, giving particular accounts of things which before bad only been generally intimated.
We are not to expect the events relating to the western church to follow the conclusion of those of the eastern, in order of time. lo tracing the issue of the one, we were led almost down to the times of the Reformation ; but in taking up the other we must expect to go many centuries back again. It is in prophecy as it is in history, when describing cotemporary events : the writer having gone through one series, returns and takes up the other. It is thus in
* This appears to be evidently made out by Mr. Scoth, in his notes on 2 Thes. ii. 312. and 1 Joho ii. 18. As to its being a character of antichrist that he sedenieth the Father and the Son,” (ver. 22.) it is of the antichrists already ,come that this is spoken, who had professed Christianity, and whose apostasy consisted not in a disavowal of the name of Christ, but of certain Christian doctrines, which included a virtual denial of Jesus being the Christ, as that also was a virtual denial of the Father. Had these “forerunners of anti, christ,” as Mr. Scott very properly calls them, been avowed infidels, they eould not have been seducers to the churches of Christ (ver. 26.); a name given to false teachers. Such were those deceivers in 2 John 7. who, by deoying the real humanity of Christ, denied his being come in the flesh. But if a virtual denial of the Father and the Son rendered those who were already come antichrists, there is no reason why it should not do the same of him that should come. It is not probable that John would have allowed “the man of sin” to acknowledge either the Father or the Son, while bo usurped the place of both. the history of Judah and Israel in the Second Book of Kings ; with this difference, that in carrying on those histories together, the writer went through only a single reign of one of them ere he returned to the other ; whereas in this the overthrow of the eastero church is completed before the account of the western is begun. The former brought us down to the fifteenth century ; the latter, when tracing the origin of things, may glance at events as early as the fourth.
1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud : and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. 2 And. he had in his hand a little book open, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left font on the earth, 3 And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth : and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders had utter. ed their voices, I was about to write ; and I heard a voice from heuven, saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 5. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things that therein are, and the earth and the things that therein are, and the sea and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer : 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go, and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea, and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said into me, Take it, and eat it up: and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it uas in my mouth sweet as honey : and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.