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of a worldly, tyrannical, blasphemous domination. Both date their origin and rise from the same æra. The year 606, says Prideaux, gave rise to both In the very same year that the tyrant Phocas, by a grant to the Bishop of Rome, enabled him to assume the title of universal pastor, or ecclesiastical supreme judge, the false prophet Mahomet retired to his cave, to broach his superstition: “ so that antichrist seems " at this time to have set both his feet upon Christen“dom together, one in the East, and the other in the “ West.” Thus the two horns of Antichrist sprouted at the same time, and grew up together, being fed and nourished out of the same corruptive matter. “ The quibbling philosophy of Greece, mixed with " the eastern, and these with Christian notions, be
gat that spirit of controversial accuracy and dog. “matism, which divided Christianity into a thousand
sects, and prepared the way for the Mahometan " and Papal superstitions t."
And these horns, or powers, not only arose, but were fully established nearly at the same time. In the year 758, the Pope received the exarchate of Ravenna, became a temporal potentate, and soon after sovereign of Rome. In 762, the Saracen Caliph Almansor built Bagdat, as the capital of his extensive empire. It is certain also that they have declined together .
The Mahometan, as well as the papal, was no new religion, but a corruption of that which we acknowledge to have been revealed to Adam, to Abraham, to Moses and the Prophets, and finally coinpleted in our Lord Jesus Christ. For Mahomet admitted, as the basis of his superstructure, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, alleging only that they had been corrupted in those places, which he found it convenient to frame anew *. So the Christians received him as a prophet, at the time of his flight from Mecca t. And without this apostacy of the Christians, which he artfully fomented and always expected I, his daring schemes must have failed. The king of Ethiopia, and his subjects were converted to Mahometism by considering it as a divine addition to the Christian Religiong. The Christians were uniformly invited to embrace Mahometism as a more perfect divine Revelation. They, with the Jews, as believing the foundations of the same Revelations, were at first treated with peculiar lenity and respect. They were called the people of the book, and as such, were tolerated in the profession of their respective religions, on paying a moderate tribute, , while the Harbii, that is, the idolaters and atheists, were extirpated 1. Hence Mahometism has been frequently accounted a Christian heresy (; and as it had its origin in Christianity, so to Christ it looks in the end. For, according to the creed of the Mahometans, Jesus is expected to descend to earth, to embrace the religion of Mahomet, to slay Antichrist, and to reign with his Saints**. And not only does Mahometism resemble Popery, as one horn of the same beast does another, in these characters of an apostate church; but the resemblance is equally complete in those marks of which the papal writers * boast, as characteristic of their only true Church ; Amplitude, Duration, Temporal Prosperity. If these are marks of the true Church, both these usurpations have equally enjoyed them. And as their immense civil power and dominion arose and was established nearly at the same time; so from the same æra, the declension of that power is to be dated. The latter end of the seventeenth century, saw the tide of prosperity ebbing apace in both t. In short, both these are religious powers; or, to speak more justly, and according to the prophecy, worldly powers masked under a religious semblance; they pretend their rights from Religion; and support them by the civil sword, which they both have wielded with oppressive violence. Both claim their authority originally from the same source, from the Christian Religion; the one as vicar and representative of Christ; the other by commission from the Father of Christ, acknowledging the revelation given to the Son, but pretending to restore it to an original purity. Both attack Christian liberty, by the arbitrary introduction of burthensome and unauthorized ceremonies ; both attack and render nugatory that most essential part of Christianity, the Mediatorial office of our Lord; the one when the pretended prophet took it upon himself;
* Life of Mahomet, p. 16.
+ See Sale's Koran, Prelim. Discourse, pp. 42. 44, 45. 51. Så William Jones, in the Asiatic Researches, vol. i. Ricaut's Ottoman Empire, p. 187. Prideaux, Pref. to Life of Mahomet. 1 Kett ou Prophecy, class ii ch. 2.
* Koran, ch. 3, 4, 5. &c.
Boulanvilliers, Vie de Mahomed, p. 349. | Reland and Höttinger, quoted by Gibbon, ch. li. See the proofs of this, in p. 364, ** Sale's Koran, p. 106.
* Bellarmine, &c. &c.
† It has been observed, that no successful efforts have been made either by the Mahometans or Papists to extend their influence and dominion, from the peace of Ryswick, in 1697, followed by that of Carlowitz in 1699.
the other, when the pretended vicar transferred it to angels and departed saints *.
The preceding commentary was written, nearly as it now stands, before I had consulted any commentator concerning the interpretation of the lamblike beast. I find that many of the Protestant writers have attributed this prophecy to popery, but few, if
* It has been a favourite object with some very respectable modern writers, to represent the infidel democratic power which appeared at one time to spring up with the French revolution, as fulfilling this prophecy of the false prophet. I will propose a few reasons to shew why it cannot be so. 1. The horns like a lamb denote an ecclesiastical power : but the French power is wholly civil, and it imposes no religion on the conquered. 2. There are in this infidel attempt, no pretended miracles or heavenly commission, no “ fire from Heaven." 3. The French have indeed set up an image, a lively representation of the ancient tyrannies : but it is not pronounced sacred; nor is its worship enforced: they require no more than other political conquerors, submission to their civil sceptre ; they do not persecute for religion's sake. 4. There is good reason to believe that as the two beasts are to perish together, (ch. xix. 20.) so, their period being of the same length, that they arose together; or, to speak more accurately, that the second beast arose when the first was renewed, and his deadly wound healed : for, the splendour of the first beast, after bis renewal, is attributed to the successful ministry of the second. The first beast, after his first introduction, is never afterwards mentioned without some mark or sign of his being in conjunction with the second. (See ch. xiv. 9; xv. 2; xvi. 2. 13.) So early as the pouring forth of the first Vial, the two beasts are together in action ; for this Vial falls on those who have received the mark of the beast and have worshipped his image, but both the mark and image were produced by the second beast. The rise of the second Least is therefore much too early for the times of the French revolution.
The above was written in the early times of the French revolution, when these infidel democratic notions were first published. Events have since happened, which must be acknowledged to shew the fallacy of this application of the prophecy; such is the re-establishment of lhe Christian Religion in France, freed from some of the burthens of popery, and with toleration of all Christian sects.
any, to Mahometism.
This has engaged me in a more strict enquiry concerning the parallelism of these two apostacies, and I will now give the result of it.
Dr. Benson, in his exposition of the prophecy of " the Man of Sin,” (2 Thess. ii. 1-12.) has attempted to shew, that popery alone, and no other person or power, can have pretensions to fulfil it. And he is clearly successful in his attempt, till he comes to the Mahometan religion. In favour of the claims of this superstition he allows, (1.) that Mahomet, though no Christian himself, led an apostacy of Christians : (2.) that, as he built his religion on Christianity, so he may in some sense be said to “sit in the temple of “God:” (3.) that he was “ a man of sin," and a temporal potentate: (4.) that he arose after the downfall of the Roman empire, which was the time when this man of sin was to be expected. These are important concessions, which no learned and candid examiner of the question will be disposed to retract.
But now come the objections: which are assigned as so many Teasons, why the Mahometan power can not be “the .“ Man of Sin:” (1.) He is not seated in Rome : (2.) He attemptel no miracles. 1. The first objection, is easily obviated. No prophecy of Antichrist represents him as seated at Rome, excepting that of Rev. xvii, which will be found to belong to one horn, or branch of him only, and that is the papal, there established. II. But Mahomet, it is said, attempted no miracles. Such evidences of a divine commission le very prudently disclaimed, in the manner in which our Lord and his Apostles performed them, not able to stand so severc a test. Yet by what other means, than by those described in these prophecies of the