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is by Saint Jolin styled the false prophet*; and the ancient Fathers universally understood him to be the leader of the great antichristian apostacy t. He puts on the garb and outward appearance of a pure servant of God: but when he speaks and brings to light his doctrine and his decrees, the difference becomes manifest. Our Lord “ spake as never man spake,” with divine energy united to gentleness and tender affection; he spake “ comfortably to his Jerusalem,” Not so this ecclesiastical wild-beast ;- like the voice of the little horn in Daniel I, his voice is blasphemous; it is exalted “ against the Lord, and against his Anointed.”—It is of his predecessor the dragon." Ye," says our Lord to the Jewish hypocrites, “are of your father the devils.”
Ver. 12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast; &c.] This second beast, the ecclesiastical power, divided into two branches, exerciseth all the power of the first beast; that power which has been already described as given to him by the dragon, with whose voice he speaks. But this, as was before observed ||, is not in the early times of the beast's power; not during the pagan Roman empire; but after he had received his deadly wound; which mark of his chronology is twice repeated. The power which he receives from the dragon, and exercises under the first beast, whose armour-bearer he is therefore called by Irenæus **, has already been described. It is a power
* Ch. xvi, 13; xix. 20; xx. 10.
+ Irenæus, lib. v. 25. Augustin. Hom. ii. in Apocal. In the Synops. S. S. attributed to Athanasius, a kind of abstract is given of the Apocalypse : and in this the second beast is called the anti-christ, és nyó Avlexzipos, which seems to have been the prevailing notion with the Fathers. . I Dan. vii. 20. Ch. xiii. 4, 5.
John viii. 44. 11 Note, ch. xiii. 5, 6, 7
of great extent *; opposed against God, and true Religion ti idolatrous and tyrannical I. Being a false prophet S, he possesses himself of an ecclesiastical authority, and adds the influence, with which the sanctions of Religion seem to invest him, to the civil power which he obtains and exercises under the Roman beast. Thus armed with twofold authority, he employs it in the support of the power which he has obtained; and to secure reverence and obedience to that power, he sets it up as sacred.
Ver. 13. And he doeth great wonders ; &c.] The opposers of Moses, the servant of God, performed lying wonders in Ægypt. This false prophet endeavours to personate the servants of God, and, like them, to perform miracles; like Moses and Elijah, to “ draw down “ fire from heaven in the sight of men.” He is successful in the delusion, and is generally received as a prophet of God. Under the sanction of Religion, he establishes an oppressive doinination, hostile to true Religion; and which true Religion is calculated to destroy.
Ver. 14. It is the image and resemblance of the ancient tyranny, in the times of the Cæsars, by which those, suspected to be Christians, were required, at the penalty of their lives, to offer incense to the pagan emperors. By investing this tyrannical usurpation with the sanctions of sacred authority, he renders it the object of the world's foolish idolatry. And where obedience and worship are refused, they are then enforced by terror and by arms. All orders and degrees of men are enrolled, and marked as slaves of this tyranny ..
The * Ver. 7,8. + Ver. 5, 6. I Ver. 4. $ Ch. xvi 3. || Exod. vii. 12, 22. The custom of receiving marks on the forehead and right hand,
To those who withhold the decreed worship and obedience, the common privileges of life are denied; they are oppressed, persecuted, and slain. The ancient Roman tyranny denied to persons, suspected to be Christians, the privilege of buying and selling, unless they would sacrifice to idols *. This revived tyranny, the living image of the old one, does the same.
The future existence and success of such an hypocritical, blasphemous, and cruel power, has been foretold in other passages of Scripture. The little horn of Daniel came up like this, upon the former beast, upon the old-established civil power; came rooting up other branches of this power, to make way for his own domination. He is “ divers from the other horns;" he is not merely a civil power; "he has eyes, as the eyes of “a man,” and “a mouth speaking great things;" and “ he wears out the Saints of the Most Iligh,” who are giren into his hand during the very same period of time which is assigned to the first beast of the Apocalypse, all whose power is exercised by this second beast t.
as badges of servitude, is very ancient. Moses seems to allude to it in Deut. vi. 8. Such a mark was inflicted on the conquered Jews by Ptolemy Philadelphus. (Maccabees.) Irenæus relates, that the Gnostics were accustomed thus to mark their disciples. Both believers and infidels, according to the koran of Mahomet, are to be marked respectively on their faces, previous to the last day. (Sale's Koran, p. 105.) In Hindostan, some casts are yet marked in the forehead. A curious account of these marks, and specimens of their forms, may be seen in the Voyage of Fra. Paolino da San Bartolomeo to the East Indies, chap. viii; also chap. i. toward the end. See likewise Augustin. tom. xi. p. 538 : “ signacula oris, et manuum, et sinûs." Likewise see Spencer de Leg. Heb. lib. ii. c. 14.
* Euseb. Eccl. Hist. v. c. 1. vi. c. 41. Just. Martyr, quoted by Bp. Newton, iji. p. 244.
+ Dan. vii. 8. 20. 21. 24. 25. See them compared, note, ch. xiij. 5.
This prophecy of Daniel may have been fulfilled typically, and in its primary sense, in Antiochus Epiphanes * ; but that in this persecutor, the prediction was not finally completed, we may affirm upon the authority of an apostle. For St. Paul, who lived after the times of Antiochus, teaches the Christians of his time to look to a future accomplishment of this prophecy; to expect a falling away from the faith, a signal corruption, and even apostacy, in the leading powers of the Christian Church; when “the man of sin, the son of per“dition, shall be revealed,” whom he describes in words to the same effect with these of Daniel and St. John; “Who opposeth and exalteth hiinself above all that is “ called God, or that is worshipped, so that he is as God; " sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he “ is God; even he whose coming is after the working “ of satan, with all power, and signs, and lying “wonders f.” It may be useful to bring these several prophecies into one view; so that the comparison of them may be more nearly exhibited. Their relation to each other was observed by so early a commentator as Irenæus 1.
DAN. viii. 8. 24. 25. 21. 11.
2 THEss. i. 3-5. 8, 9, 10, 11.
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