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here compared to devils,* from the impiety of the cause in which they are engaged, and perhaps from the eminent personal wickedness of the atheistical wretches, at this time sent abroad to preach down the gospel ; and by specious arts and false miracles, to assist the means now very successfully made use of to
* Είσι γαρ ποεύματα δαιμόνων. « For they are the spirits of
yag demons.” This description of these agents of atheism and popery abounds in characteristic marks, which will one day accu. rately determine the persons alluded to; but at present can only be the subjects of conjecture. They will be three in number, and by machiavelian subtilty, and their eminent personal wickedness, and their diabolical principles and lives, worthy to be coir pared to devils, or DEMONS; which were the wicked spirits worshipped by the heathens as Gods, and which, after being driven out of their temples by christianity, were admitted into them again by POPERY, and again worshipped as MAHUZZIM, or protecting saints. This seduction of mankind to the worship of themselves, shews that they were “ unclean or evil spirits," as they are here called.
What is meant by their being like frogs, time will explain ; as (no doubt) having been deemed worthy of notice by the spirit of prophecy, their resemblance of frogs has some important meaning. Their working of miracles is another distinguishing note, by which they will be well known. These wicked spirits, by the agency of men as wicked as themselves, , succeed so far at this period, in strengthening the fascination
suppress it by terror and force united. They are represented as “coming out of the mouths of the FALSE PROPHET and the DRAGON, because they proceed with full authority from both, and are armed with the whole strength of the civil and ecclesiastical powers.
of their strong delusion, that a league and confederacy is suge gested, and brought to effect, for the suppression of heresy ostensibly, but in reality for the extinction of christianity, for which a more favorable conjuncture never occurred, the despotic dominion της οικουμενης όλης, of the whole ANCIENT RO MAN EMPIRE being in the hands of one despot, graciously disposed in favor of the good work,
* This change of names in the two chiefs (which nevertheless appear to be essentially the same two beads of the apostacy mention. ed all along before, although under some kind of transformation which requires to be noticed in this manner,) occasioned some years ago, a considerable perplexity to an attentive mind in ac, counting for it. But time and late events have solved this dif. ficulty, and shewn the wonderful accuracy of the holy spirit of prophecy, in assigning such distinguishing marks of the characters introduced, and the period of time alluded to. This change in the stile and title of these two principals, at this pe. riod, and not before during the 1260 years of the reign of the beast, is a very strong confirmation of the interpretation I have given of the fifth vial or plague of darkness, as signifying the suppression of the temporal power of the pope; after which, he appears no more as a sovereign potentate, but as the spiritual pope ;
The greatness of the preparation here made is fully equal to the importance of the object which this secoND JULIAN has in view.The event must not be trusted solely to the holy armour of bulls, and dispensations, and anathemas, and benedictions of the
the times of these baubles being gone by, these agents of perdition must have more forceful powers of conversion and enlistment than these, which perhaps the strong delusion upon the catholic powers at this time, and the flaming zeal of so pious and catholic an emperor will jointly supply.
head of the apostacy, a FALSE PROPHET, or metropolitan bishop of an idolatrous church. For the FALSE PROPHET in his state of degradation, acts the very same part, and keeps up the same close connection with the DRAGON (or sovereign temporal power) as before; and sends out his miracle-mongers, armed with the very same spiritual weapons of warfare and APOSTOLICAL AUTHORITY, as in the days of his greatest power, and when his TRIPPLE CROWN shone with the reful. gent brightness of a sun.
The great alteration which the modern HOLY ROMAN EMpire and the POPEDOM have already undergone, and the degradation they must still in a greater degree sustain, notwithstanding present deceitful appearances of stability and peace (where there no peace), it now clearly appears was a circumstance without the particular noticing of which, the prophecy would here have been inaccurate and defective; the characters no longer answering to the titles by which they had all along from their rise until this time been distinguished.
It is said of these emissaries of the two chiefs in this holy war, that they work miracles, in proof of their divine commission to extirpate heresy; which, as this circumstance is introduced here as something worthy of remark, must be supposed to allude to false miracles of a very surprising nature, far exceeding those vulgar and often exploded lying wonders, which in every age have been the standing characteristic of the MAN OF SIN; and therefore it may not be too much to suppose (now we are fairly in the land of conjecture) that, as in Egypt, the power of performing works really supernatural, (and such as evidently exceeded the expectation of the magicians, from the hitherto known powers of inchantment,) was permitted to wicked agents for the furtherance of the designs of Providence; so may such a thing happen again, with the same view, and with a similar event. For there is a close analogy between the two facts in every particular, which is not to be supposed without a design in the Divine Author of both, to illustrate the SECOND Exo. DUS and deliverance of the church, by that which hath been done before, in parallel circumstances. The modern INCHANTERS of the man of sin, old practitioners at the arts of deception, may now be made use of to deceive their employers, by the unexpected success of their false miracles, that they shall believe their own lie with even more confidence than heretofore, and really think their cause espoused of heaven, notwithstanding the wickedness of the means employed in its support:
having gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of BALAAM for reward, and perishing (now) in the gainsaying
Thus the winding up of this great, ancient, and extensively pernicious MYSTERY OF INIQUITY, and apostacy from Christ, shall not disappear in silence; but die the death of a
* Jude 11.