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12 And he exerciseth all the them which dwell therein to power of the first beast before worship the first beast, whose him, and causeth the earth and deadly wound was healed.
was cast down to the earth, xii. 9; i. e., cast alive into a lake of fire burning he was thrown down from his high with brimstone ;" xix. 20. He is here place of power. The seven-headed called a false prophet, a deceiver, a beast rose up out of the sea, xiii. 1, foreteller of future events, a diviner, but the two-horned beast rose up out an oracle, &c. Does not this have of the earth. They all had an earth reference to the heathen priests? And ly origin; they all belonged beneath; again : " And the devil (or dragon, for but for the sake of variety in the in this connection they mean the same scenery, one is said to rise from the power) that deceived them was cast sea, the other from the land.
into the lake of fire and brimstone, 12. Exerciseth all the power of the where the beast and the false prophet first beast.— He was a very success- are, and shall be tormented day and ful auxiliary to the first beast, and night forever and ever;" xx. 10. made use of his power; i. e., the pow. These quotations let us somewhat er of the empire was prostituted to aid into the history of this second beast, him. These two powers were mutual who was so much like the lamb in friends. They aided each other. They appearance, so much like the dragon had similar, if not identical, interests. in nature. But we will proceed : we The two-horned beast held a kind of shall become better acquainted with half-way relation between the dragon him. and the seven-headed beast. They 13. He doeth great wonders. That is, were all three joined in this one enter- he affected to perform miracles;
and prise, opposition to Christianity. The among other things, he appeared to dragón strove to uphold the seven- make fire come down from heaven to headed beast, — i. e., the heathen in-earth in the sight of men. False fluence exerted itself to sustain the prophets have often professed to have imperial power. The dragon and the power to perform miracles; and the last named beast represented the have been able, at times, to do their heathen and the secular power of works with so much adroitness as to Rome; and the two-horned beast, so deceive mankind, and even very inlike a lamb in appearance, and like telligent men. That God may pera dragon in his soul, may well repre- form a real miracle, no man in his sent those apparently lamb-like priests senses can doubt. He who framed and false prophets, who, by their in- all the laws of nature, can, if necesfluence over the people, sustained both sary, suspend them. He might also the heathen and secular power. To empower any chosen servant of his to worship the first beast. —He shared do the same thing; but no man of himwith the first beast all the unsubstan- self can perform a miracle. There is tial glory of his prosperity, and went no law of God by which any man can down with him to destruction, as we perform a miracle ; nor can any man shall have occasion to show. He was have that power, except by the special the same that was called “the false communication of it to him by God. prophet,” xvi. 13, of whom it was said: Miracles are departures from the “And the beast was taken, and with course of nature, and are of course him the false prophet that wrought beyond the power of man. When miracles before him, with which he men, therefore, actually perform mirdeceived them that had received the acles, it is a proof that God is with mark of the beast, and them that wor- them; that they are his servants; that shipped his image. These both were l he wishes them accredited as such ;
13 And he doeth great won-ders, so that he maketh fire and for that porpose he bestows a by them; and if it be necessary for a portion of his wondrous power upon man, in an age of great bigotry and ihem. Such being the definition and unbelief, to be received as a divinely basis of true miracles, it is not to be appointed messenger, is it not perwondered at that false prophets and fectly reasonable to believe that God pretenders should seek to imitate them. would clothe him with power by which It is precisely what we should expect he could attest his claims in the they would do ; it is what they have presence of all anbelievers ? It is also done from the earliest antiquity. God reasonable to suppose that impostors bestowed on Moses, his servant and would seek to keep themselves in representative on earth, divine power, countenance by attempting the perby which he performed miracles in formance of miracles themselves. aitestation of his claims. See the fol- True, they cannot perform miracles, lowing passage: " And Moses an- because no man ever did perform swered and said, But, behold, they them except he had received power will not believe me, nor hearken unto of God for that special purpose ; and my voice : for they will say, The Lord it is not to be believed that God would hath not appeared unto thee. And bestow such power upon an impostor. the Lord said unto him, What is that But why should an impostor desire to in thy hand ? And he said, A rod. perform miracles? or to lead mankind And he said, Cast it on the ground. to believe that he performed them ? And he cast it on the ground, and it The only answer that can be given to became a serpent: and Moses fled this question is this : he wishes not to from before it. And the Lord said be regarded as an impostor, but as a unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and true servant of God. Have not the take it by the tail. And he put forth true servants of God, then, in differhis hand, and caught it, and it became ent ages, had the power to perform a rod in his hand: that they may actual miracles? If they have, we believe that the Lord God of their can see plainly why false prophets fathers, the God of Abraham, the God should desire to be thought able to of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath perform miracles; but if they have appeared unto thee. And the Lord not, then there is no reason for such said furthermore unto him, Put now a desire on the part of false prophets, thy hand into thy bosom. And he since even the real performance of a put his hand into his bosom: and miracle, if they had power to do it, when he took it out, behold, his hand would add nothing to their claims. nus leprous as snow. And he said, The existence of false, or pretended Put thy hand into thy bosom again. miracles, therefore, is a proof of And he put his hand into his bosom genuine miracles, as the existence of again, and plucked it out of his bosom, false coin is a proof of the existence and behold, it was turned again as of genuine coin. Would there ever his other flesh. And it shall come to have been any counterfeit money, if pass, if they will not believe thee, there never had been any that was neither hearken to the voice of the genuine? It was not long after Mofirst sign, that they will believe the ses was empowered of God to perform voice of the latter sign;" Exodus iv. miracles in attestation of his appoint1-8. This covers all the ground we ment as the servant of God, that the have here taken in regard to miracles. Egyptian sorcerers and magicians atGod has the power to suspend the tempted the performance of the same laws of nature; he can create and things. They had the appearance of destroy; he can communicate this turning ther rods into serpents like power to others; he can work in and Moses. Now, unless Moses was him. come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, self a deceiver, he wrought a real mira- some ages after his day, and were put cle; but this the magicians of Pharaoh forth in his name? If so, there must could not have done; though they have been a time when they were in. might have thrown serpents from be- vented and first put forth. But this neath the folds of their garments in supposition is incredible, as they prosuch a manner, as to give the appear- fess to have been put forth by Moses. ance of having changed their rods into “And it came to pass, when Moses those animals. Not only the Egyp- had made an end of writing the words tians, but also the children of Israel of this law in a book, until they were were commanded to believe on Mo- finished, that Moses commanded the ses, not on account of his private char- Levites which bare the ark of the acter, but on account of the miracles covenant of the Lord, saying: Take which he performed; Num. xiv. 22 ; this book of the law, and put it in the Deut. xi. 1–8; Judges vi. 13. These side of the ark of the covenant of the miracles were not only such as we Lord your God, that it may be there have already described, but various for a witness against thee;" Deut. other wonderful works, such as lead- xxxi. 24–26. A copy of this work ing the children of Israel through the was also to be given to the king, that Red Sea, feeding them forty years in he might study it and live by it. the wilderness with miraculous man- " And it shall be when he sitteth upon na; smiting the barren rock, and the throne of his kingdom, that he bringing out water for their drink, shall write him a copy of this law in &c. &c. Now these facts were such a book out of that which is before the as men's outward senses, their eyes priests the Levites. And it shall be and ears, were judges of. They were with him, and he shall read therein done publicly in the face of the world. all the days of his life: that he may Public monuments have been kept learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep up, and outward actions have been all the words of this law and these performed in commemoration of them. statutes, to do them;" Deut. xvii. 18, These monuments and actions have 19. Now, in whatever after age the existed from the time the acts were book may be supposed to have been done. Imposition, in these cases, forged, it would have been impossible therefore, is impossible. — (Leslie.) to have made the people receive it as Could Moses have persuaded hun- truth ; because, on that supposition, it dreds of thousands of men that he would not have been found in the ark, had done these things, led them across or with the king, or anywhere else. the bed of the Red Sea, on dry land, For, when first invented, it must have and fed them with manna, &c. &c., been known by all, that it never had if he had done no such thing? Could been heard of before. Leslie asks, he have thus imposed upon their (and we have copied this argument senses? The thing was impossible. from him,) “Could any man now, at Could he have made them receive this day, invent a book of statutes or his five books as true, which told of acts of parliament for England, and these things, if they had known that make it pass upon the nation as the such things had not been done? See only book of statutes that ever they how positively he speaks to them, had known? As impossible was it Deut. xi, 248. Could Moses have for the books of Moses (if they were persuaded the Jews to believe that invented in any age after Moses) to they themselves had seen these things, have been received for what they deif they never had seen them? Shalí clared themselves to be, viz., the statwe say then that the books purporting utes and municipal law of the nation to be the books of Moses were written of the Jews; and to have persuaded 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means the Jews that they had owned and uments were designed to commem. acknowledged 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 pur. 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 memye 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; ii. 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 won. gious 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;
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