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the horrible hypocrisy, and unparalleled cruelty, to both the bodies and souls of the unhappy sufferers, (as far as these incarnate devils have power to touch the soul,)* may worthily entitle this master piece of the miracles of Antichrist to so particular a notice from the Spirit of God.t
There is something of this kind, indeed, ascribed to the two prophets, or witnesses, themselves, but with so manifest a difference in all respects, as plainly evinces that it was designed as a perfect contrast to the miracle of the beast, which persecutes and destroys them. It is declared to be the gift of God.
"I will give power unto my two witnesses.
wondering. They themselves call it a MIRACLE, or ACT OF FAITH ; but the scripture warrants us to set it down amongst the lying wonders of the beast.
* Matt. x, 28.
Burnet, in his History of the Reformation in England, gives an instance of a subtilty and malice which cannot be surpassed by devils, in their treacherous scheme to entrap ARCHBISHOP CRANMER into a recantation, and then to burn him immediately afterwards, thus to make sure work of it, for both body and soul.
-And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies.”* This is manifestly figurative, for they are to have the power of thus contending for the faith once delivered to the saints," against their antichristian enemies, for the whole term of 1260 years; and how they have fulfilled this ministry, by the word of God proceeding as a devouring flame out of their mouths, I have already delivered my sentiments, and the consumed and low condition of popery in the present day, is the consequent effect and fulfilment of the prophecy. But the popish fire is without any such previous attestation of a divine authority and efficacy along with it, and a reasonable cause assigned for the exercise of it, but in every thing the reverse. The intention is "to deceive them that dwell on the earth," (within the pale of the roman church, very commonly meant by that phrase,) and the whole feat being a "lying wonder," or falsc miracle, the fire (though real) comes down
*Rev. xi. 3, &c.
not from the true heaven, from whence the word of God, in the mouths of his witnesses, proceeds, but from the papal heaven, or the infallible authority of holy church.
There appears then, upon the whole, a perfect consistency between Daniel and St John, and there is the same between St Paul's man of sin, and the little born of Daniel, and the image of the beast in St John. Holy David, long before all of these, had given a very tolerable likeness of this WICKED ONE, in his portrait drawn in the fiftieth Psalm; though the artists, after his time, have succeeded happily in giving additional expression to some of his features, and have thrown in considerable beauty to David's first sketch. But every thing appears differently to the eye of different painters, though the object to be represented, and the point of view be the very
"Unto the WICKED God said, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth."-He
pretends himself not only the church's EYE, but the church's MOUTH too. Every thing must be proclaimed by his permission, and without him the scriptures, and creeds, the fathers, and decrees of councils, can have no authority. But as his mouth is full of blasphemies, so also his eye is evil, and his whole body full of darkness." Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee." In the old translation it is, ""Thou hatest to be reformed." And in either it is no slander of his holiness, who hath resisted, tooth and nail, the REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH: and smothered the increasing light of instruction which shewed the necessity of reform *. The scriptures, (God's words) were not less the objects of his scorn, and contumely, and persecution than the protestants themselves. "When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentest with him." It is probable that the holy spirit here alludes to two circumstances worthy of particular notice. The wicked and timeserving policy of BONIFACE the III, in con
*See Polano's History of the Council of Trent,
firming the title of the usurper and murderer PHOCAS, about the year 607, in recompence for which good turn he received from him another, the proud title of UNIVERSAL BISHOp, which had been stoutly disclaimed by GREGORY I, his next predecessor but one, as a mark of ANTICHRIST *. The other instance is that of POPE ZACHARY I, about the year 753, hallowing the usurpation of PIPIN, for which pious act the triple crown was bestowed upon the popes by PIPIN and his sons. As these instances of his "seeing a thief and consenting to him" were the means of making his fortune, so it is probable the loss
* The complaisance of Gregory himself to the EMPEROR MAURICE, and afterwards to his murderer PHOCAS, was equally ballanced, but he lived not long enough, and so another got the reward.-PIPIN the usurper of the throne of France, and his son CHARLES the Great, and his grand son LEWIS the Pi ous, for similar reasons assisted the usurpations of the popes, and granted to them for ever the three states they had seized upon. Thus, the little horn " caused three of the ten to be plucked up by the roots before him,"-- and thus the DRAGON gave him his seat, and great authority."--From this period the bulls and edicts of popes were no longer dated as formerly, from the years of the reigning emperor, but from their own advancement to the papal chair.