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The Rife, Progrefs, and Establishment of the IN-
THE RISE, PROGRESS,
AND DESTRUCTION OF THE
As this was the greatest corruption of Christianity that was to be permitted to take place in the world, it cannot be thought extraordinary, that more of the Prophecies, which we have brought forward to the notice of the Reader in the Introductory Chapter, are applicable to it, than to any other branch of Antichristian Power. As both Mahometanism and Infidelity confifted more of open hoftility, they were likely to be better diftinguished by Christians, without the aid of such strong prophetical light, as that which is afforded to expose, and to bring into full view, the
counterfeit Christianity of the Church of Rome.
A combination of Prophecy with Hif tory will fhew with what perfect exactness this Papal Power of Antichrist is marked out by the Prophets Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John.
To guide our enquiries to the right points of obfervation, St. John has defignated, by certain appropriate allusions and descriptions, the peculiar nature of this power, the time when it began to manifeft itself to the world, and the feat of its authority and government. ;
And I stood upon the fand of the sea, and faw a beast rife up out of the fea, having Seven heads and ten horns, and upon his borns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blafphemy. This wonderful beaft with a crown on each horn, and a blafphemous infcription on each of his feven heads, denoted the new form of government that was to be erected in the city
Rev. xiii. I.
Lowman on the Revelations, p. 173.
of Rome, by the great commotions of the world, after the Imperial Power had been deftroyed, and the Empire was divided into ten distinct and independent fovereignties.
In the myftical description which the Apostle afterwards gives of this beast, it will greatly affift our inquiries to discover by a given number, when this Antichriftian power fhall arife; and from thence afcertain with more precifion what Power is meant by this prophetical reprefentation. Here is widom: let him that hath underStanding, count the number of the beaft: for it is the number of a man, and his number is fix hundred threefcore and fix. If we compute this number 666 from the time when St. John faw this Prophetic vision, we shall find that this new Power was established at the termination of this mystic number of
d Rev. xiii. 18.
• It is very remarkable that this myftic number fhould fo accurately apply both to the time when the Papal Antichrift established his reign, and the titles he affumed. See note to the Introductory Chapter, vol. i. p. 393. Pyle's Paraphrase, p. 105. Newton, vol. iii. p. 390. Lowman, p. 194.
• Lowman, p. 191.
years. St. John was banished to the ifle of Patmos in the latter part of the reign of Domitian, and returned from thence immediately on his death. Domitian reigned from 81 to 96. Now St. John faw the vifion in the isle of Patmos; and it is generally acknowledged, that the Papacy received the temporal power, and became the beast, in 756.
The feat of this Power is fixed at Rome. THAT GREAT CITY, which in the times of Pagan idolatry had been the mistress of the antient world by the force of her arms, became in more modern ages, by the establishment of her fpiritual laws, fo much exalted in power, as to reign over the kings of the earth. The woman, upon whofe forehead was infcribed Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and abominations of the earth,,is, according to the explanation of the angel, the city of Rome; for the feven heads of the beast that carried her are feven mountains on which the woman fitteth, and the woman which thou faweft is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Rome is well known to be built upon feven hills; and at the time when