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end will fall near the year 2000 after Chrift; and at the end of the 6000th year of the world, when, according to a very early tradition of Jews and Chriftians, and even of Heathens, great changes and revolutions are expected both in the natural and in the moral world; and there remaineth, according to the words of the Apoftle, a fabbatifm, or holy reft to the people of God."
Thus was the Antichriftian power of the Church of Rome described by Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, at a time when no fuch power exifted, as it was to be in future and diftant ages, in the rife, progrefs, and establishment of its temporal and fpiritual dominion. They pointed out, in a manner ftrictly correfpondent with the whole series of the hiftory of that Church, its departure from the true faith, its errors, ceremonies, pretended miracles and canonizations of martyrs, the greatness of its authority, and the boundless extent of its dominion: they even marked with more appropriate circumstances, its fpirit of intolerance and perfecution, its monaftic establifhments, the celibacy of its clergy, its impious affumption of a divine power to
grant pardons and abfolutions for fin; the departure of the Proteftants from its communion, its gradual decline, and its final deftruction.
"If in the days of St. Paul and St. John, there were any footsteps of fuch a fort of Power as this in the world; or if there ever had been any fuch power in the world; or if there was then any appearance or probability, that there ever could be any fuch kind of power in the world ; much less in the TEMPLE or Church of God; and if there be not now [or very lately was] fuch a Power actually and conSpicuously exercifed in the Christian world and if any picture of this Power, drawn, after the EVENT, can now defcribe it more plainly and exactly, than it was originally defcribed in the words of THESE PROPHECIES; THEN, BUT NOT TILL THEN, may
it with fome degree of plaufibleness be fuggefted by an Atheist or a Deist, that these Prophecies are nothing more than enthufiaftic imaginations P.
P Clarke's Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion, vol. ii. p. 720.
THE RISE, PROGRESS, ESTABLISHMENT,
AND DECLINE OF THE
WE have already feen that the Prophets Daniel and St. John clearly revealed the rife and establishment of a Power in the Eaft, at a certain period of time, which was to be a scourge to the people of God" for their manifold offences; and which is to be confidered as one of the forms of Antichrift.-We now proceed to prove, from the authority of the most eminent and learned Commentators, Mede, Vitringa, Daubuz, Sir Ifaac and Bishop Newton, More, Whifton, Lowman, and
• See Introductory Chapter, vol. i. p. 298.
many others, and from the testimony of Hiftorical facts, that these Prophecies are ftrictly applicable to Mahomet and his followers-that they have been accomplished by them as far as time will admit of their accomplishment, and are at the present hour fulfilling before our eyes.
In the ninth chapter of the Revelation, which the Reader will recollect was quoted at length in vol. i. p. 298-301. St. John has prefigured under fuitable emblems, the origin, the characteristic manners, the arts of war, and the deftructive ravages of the pretended Prophet of Arabia and his followers the Arabians, Saracens, and TurksChriftians. corrupt upon the idolatrous and This formidable power commenced about the year of Chrift 606, which is confidered by moft of the early Commentators, as the year when the Papal Antichrift was firft eftablished b.
It is fomewhat remarkable that these powers not only arofe, but were fully established nearly together. In the year 758 the Pope received the exarchate of Ravenna, and foon after became fovereign of Rome. In 762, the Saracen Caliph, Almanfor, built Bagdad as the capital of his extenfive empire. It is certain that they
By the permiffion of Divine providence, whose designs are frequently reprefented in Scripture, and more particularly in the Apocalypfe, as being accomplished by celeftial agents; an angel defcended and opened the cave of the abyss, for fo the words of the original Greek ought to be tranflated. This figurative reprefentation properly expreffes a commiffion from heaven to allow Satan to infeft the world with fome new and great trial. "The word standing in the original for cave, is more particularly expreffive of thofe caverns, which, on account of the fprings they contain, emit a vapour, and were by Pagan fuperftition often confidered as the feats of oracles and fources of infpiration. And does not this emblem moft ftrikingly de scribe the rife of a pretended revelation? Or, when fuch, anfwering in all points to the prediction, was propagated at the period to which this Prophecy relates, does not the literal circumftance of its rife from a cave, both fix the application, and demonstrate the truth of the Prophecy? And
have declined together, and the popular opinion in Rome and Conftantinople concerning their fall is fingularly fimilar.