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and as upon Rome, so also upon all the Gentile Christians, who have a Name to live but are dead, being fallen away from their First Love and Faith, and so having made themselves Vessels fit for Destruction, when this sore Judgment shall go forth.
IV. ANOTHER Reason for the Preference of the Antient Notion of Antichrist to the Modern, and the Distinction of Babylon from Antichrist, is taken from St. Paul's Account of the Time of his Rise. For this is laid as a Foundation by him, That there must come a great Falling away, Defection, or Apostasy, before the Time of Antichrist. And if so, then the Apostasy of the Gentile Church, or of some Eminent part of it, cannot rightly be accounted the State of Antichrist which is to follow upon it. The Roman (or any other) Church may leave her First Love, and may suffer Falle Prophets and Teachers to seduce the Servants of God to commit Fornication, and '
may Defile her Garments with sundry Abominations and Spets of the Fleshly Wisdom, and may boast of being Rich in all Spiritual and Temporal Goods, and having need of nothing, at the same time that she is in the sight of God molt miserable and wretched : But though all this will and must make ready the Way for the Revelation of Antichrist, that Man of Sin who is opposed to Christ, the Lord our Righteousness; yet is not this Falling away of the Roman, or any other Church, in strict Propriety to be called Antichristian, though in a more large Sense it may take well enough that Name.
T Wherefore there may be an Apostasy from
the Primitive and Apoftolical Faith, without pafling thereby dire&ly over to the Tents of Antichrist : And the Corrupt Worship of an Unfaithful Church may be Idolatrous, more or less; and yet not be an Anti
ehristian Worship, or the Worship of the Beast. cher Moreover it clearly appears from what
Christ revealed to this Apostle, that an Apoftasy from the Orthodox Faith shall precede the Times of Antichrift; though neither the Place where this is to be, nor the exa& Time when, be here determined at all. Buc most certain it is that such a preceding Apoftasy there must be, so that any true Faith shall hardly longer be found among them that make Profession of it : which will be an Harvest indeed for Antichrift. For they
(and only they) Thall be seduced by him seepage
who bave not received the Love of the Truth ;
neither have believed the Truth (of the GoLX vij spel in its Purity]; but have had Pleasure
in Unrighteousness. Since this is the very Cause for which God shall send them strong Delusions, that they should believe a Ly, that is, the Great Ly of Antichrist setting up him. self for God. And whereas the Apostle opposes to ['Aandea] Truth, 'Adria, which is translated Unrighteousness, this manifestly shews it to be an Error in Practice rather than in Speculation, because 'Als xic is Unrighteousness in Fact, or a Falshood in the Nature of the Tbing, called also a Lying Vaniry, that is, Idolatry. For by this Name of Anxice is Idolatry, which is the highest In
justice against God, always understood in the first two or three Chapters of this very Apostle's Epistle to the Romans, where it is notoriously meant of theRomanIdolatry,orUnjust Worship,whereby the Glory of the Creator is in any Degree given to a Creature : as likewise in his Second Epistle to the Corinthians, as may appear from that famous Text, Ch. vi. 14. And here also in this to the Thessalonians, as it seems in his very Revelation concerning Antichrift, Chap. ii. 12. where it must be observed that the 'Adrxia, or False
This take Worship, of the Corrupt Christians, is plain-coonship is F christians:
and therefore not the same. So spreading fash that the modern Notion of Antichrist is inconsistent with the Account of his Rise gi- tanti ay male
amaz! of the Corrupt Church, which is Spiritual- Papiste. Whoredom , must needs be distinguished from that Worship which is to be introduced by Antichrist, being no less than a Total Apoftacy from Christianity.
V. A Fifth Reason for the Distinction aforesaid betwixt Babylon and Antichrist, is, : because Antichrift, according to the general = Opinion of the Antient Ecclesiastical Wri
ters, shall express his utmost Hatred of Idola fin
by utterly rooting out all manner of Idola: try; and so in like manner others of the Antient Fathers when they speak of Antichrist. And this Opinion antiently fo universally received, that Antichrist was to shew himself an Hater of Idols, they did ground not mérely upon the Silence of Scripture as to the Charge of Polytheism, or even of so much as eating the things offered to Idols, and communicating in the Idols Temples, or bowing before an Image ; but upon the express mention of his Opposition to all that is called God, with the Atheistical Exaltation of himself to receive more than humane Honours in the Temple of the true God, and his fending or leading his Tributary Kings with their Armies to extirpate the Idolatrous City and Kingdom, as before hath been shewn. Antichrist therefore is not the same with Babylon : but on the contrary he shall
be her profess’d Enemy, running into a + His is the that the holdeth Sacred, or that is worshipped,
quite contrary. Extream, and despising all case with that so he may set up himself upon the Ru
ine thereof. 'Whence it appears that the for midere spiritual Adultery of the Church of Rome,
if Rome be Babylon, and the Idolatrous MixUnitarian tures that may be found in her Worship,
cannot properly be called an Antichristian
, notwithstanding it may be the moft affech tole proper and effectual Means to introduce it.
is further lowing Argument, which shall be the last that I will here mention.
VI. BECAUSE Antichrist by this Declaration against Idolatry, as aforesaid, shall affume to himself the Name of Divine Majefty, and be worshipped as God with proper and Divine Honour. This Idolatrous Worship of Antichrist, as a God by Commiffion, or Appointment, is confirmed by St. John, in that he says they worshipped the Beast [i. e. Antichrift] saying, Who is like unto the Beast? which Words contain a Periphrasis of the True God, of whom the Holy Scripture useth to speak in such Terms as these. For this see Psal. xxxv. 10. lxxi. 19. Ixxxix. 8. cxiii. 5. and Mic, vii, 18. To which the Original of the Surname of the Maccabees, from the Inscription on the Banner of Judas that was first so called, is generally referr'd by the Learned. As also in a blasphemous Allusion to the name of the Lord of Hosts, or the Lord mighty in Battel, and to the aforesaid Military Inscription of Judas Maccabeus, it is likely enough thaç the Worshippers of Antichrist may cry out, who is able to make War with Him? Nor would it be hard from hence to derive the true Signification of the Word Maozzim in Daniel, comparing it with an Expression of St. Paul in Phil. iii. 19. But howsoever that may be, it doth not seem as if Antichrift would exalt himself, by favouring any thing that may look like Idolatry; but rather on the contrary as if he would honour no other God but himself, and would erect his Empire chiefly upon the Principles of Mr. Hobs's Leviathan,by assuming to himself all Religious Power whatsoever. For 1