תמונות בעמוד

Church, which he enters, and there extolling his own supreme authority, his dominion, his unlimited power over every thing, he proclaims himself God, and ordains divine homage and worship to be paid to his person. This we learn from St. Paul, who thus speaks of him: “The man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God,* showing himself as if he were God,” | 2 Thess. ii. 3, 4.

* In the Greek, “He sitteth in the temple of God as God."'.

Would not one suspect that the devil has suggested the titles usually assumed by the sultans or Turkish emperors of Constantinople, viz. “God upon earth, the shadow of God, the giver of all earthly crowns," &c.; as thus these emperors anticipate in some measure what belongs to their last successor, Antichrist, who will arrogate to himself the real deity and power expressed by these titles.

I shall here add a copy of such like assuming titles, translated verbatim from the Arabic language, as appears in the following assent for the armistice agreed on and sent by the Grand Vizier to his Excellency Count Peter Alexander Romanzow :

“Firmly relying upon the assistance of the only, indivisible, one God, to whom nothing is comparable, and who created all things, and declared and revealed his divine will through the great Mahomet." Amen.

“The most righteous, and most powerful, and great emperor and sultan, created to this dignity by the eternal election of the Almighty; gifted with the imperial and philanthropic qualities for exhibiting the welfare and prosperity of the holy state of Mecca; and invested with the highest power, and reigning over an infinite multitude of nations, both by land and sea; who is the wisest among the righteous sultans, the most deservedly elected, and worthiest among all the regents; Sovereign Lord and Ruler over all the princes in the world; the only legislator and sovereign, chosen to it out of the most serene pedigree in the world; all his servants, that is to say, all the inhabitants of the world, return him hearty thanks for the least grace he shows to them, and especially for the grace he shows to them by the present declaration, through me, Mahomet, his unworthy servant and slave. Whereas, the extreme need and misery of his subjects, which are intrusted to him, by the eternal Creator himself, went to his heart. According to his imperial philanthropy, be all the world witness, and learn, morals. How violent the love for his subjects, being in his most noble heart, by thus condescending, through the great love he bears towards his servants, to agree upon the present armistice: He declares, before the eyes of the wise and virtuous men, whom he has made free, and exempted from their servitude, that, had it been possible, according to his honour and glory, he would have laid before them the circumstances and events which have pleased God and the great Mahomet, and which have been the cause of breaking the peace between the everlasting Ottoman empire and the Russian inhabitants. After which unreasonable and unclear behaviour in the eyes of God from the Russian side, the sovereign of the globe, my master, lighted the fire of war; but, alas! what homicide and bloodshed on both sides hath there been during these last four or five years ? " And althoug

hough it has been predestinated so to be in the eternal council of God, yet as it requires a reconciliation through the great prophet Mahomet, and seeing that at last the most famous prince, the greatest of the princes who believe in Jesus, the only elected man of the people of the Messiah, the only decider of the business and rights of the nations of Nazareth, to whom my master allows glory and majesty during his pious will; the high, the happiest governor, and emperor of Germany, and likewise the king of Prussia, the end of both which princes, so that they may be led into the way of salvation; and they having looked into the terrible bloodshedding, and written constantly to their minister, residing at the court of the

He thus imitates, bat far surpasses in arrogance, Caius Cali. gula and other Roman emperors, his ancient predecessors. who impiously claimed to themselves divine honours.

From the above passage of St. Paul, some have inferred that Antichrist will rebuild the great temple of Jerusalem. But, if that temple is ever to be rebuilt, probably it will not be done until after the ravages and persecution of Antichrist, according to that prophecy of Daniel: “And there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation : and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end,” ix. 27. Besides, one may observe that in the New Testament the great temple of Jerusalem is always expressed by the Greek word IEPON, and a common temple or church by the word NAOL, as in the present passage of St. Paul; which gives us reason to think, that the apostle does not here speak of the great temple.

However that may be, Antichrist proceeds to forbid any other deity to be acknowledged but himself, and prohibits all worship of the Supreme Being, all exercise of the Christian religion, and particularly the sacrifice of the altar, because Christ is there personally adored as God. These presumptuous extravagancies, were, in general, foretold by the prophet Daniel. “From the time," says he, " when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation

most illustrious Porte, to cry for mercy before the most brilliant and glorious throne of my master, whose unworthy slave I am. And as it was at the same time the most ardent wishes and longing from the throne of the glorious princess who is so high esteemed by the princes who believe in Jesus, who reigns over many nations of Nazareth, and governs the people of the Messiah with honour, and with heroic mind; and who acknowledges her errors and unjust contrivances against the most illustrious Porte, nainely, the empress of Russia, whose end also be blessed, and may she be led into the way of salvation! What a glory for the great and high, mighty, just, wise, and virtuous sultan, to see all the nations of Europe represented by the ministers of the princes surrounding his throne, and sighing for his · gracious will! but not to gain the favour of all those princes, nor yet influenced by their power or magnificence, hath been the cause of his gracions will; for nothing but the love for his subjecis in particular, and for mankind in general, hath he declared his most pious and gracious will to agree upon an armistice, as a beginning and the first stone to peace and harmony, which he having thus accepted of, the whole world is rejoiced, and the nations bring him thanks to his most glorious throne; and to me, his unworthy slave, he gave a full power, to which I have appointed one of the members of the highest divan, the president of the college of Revillon, a commander of six regiments of horse, the most worthy Sen Abdal Rerim Effendi, whose glory may increase! who sent to me the nine articles of it after it was agreed upon : and as I found them consisting with the honour, glory, and magnificence of my master, whose unworthy slave I am, and who gave me full power to give my assent in his gloriful name, therefore I say, with joy and praise to God, and to the great prophet Mahomet, he may continue the peace among mankind, and increase the glory of the wisest and most just sultan, &c.

shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred ninety days,” xii. 11. The continual or daily sacrifice of the altar, is here said to be taken away; and the abomination unto desolation is set up, that is, the abominable worship of a man is set up in the place of that of God. A similar impiety and abomination was formerly practised by the idolatrous king and implacable enemy of the Jews, Antiochus Epiphanes, who “ forbade holocausts and sacrifices and atonements to be made in the temple of God and set up the abominable idol of desolation* upon the altar of God." Maccab. i. 47, &c. 57. We seem to be also forewarned of Antichrist's abomination, as we observed under the sixth seal, by our Saviour himself, when he said: “ When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, he that readeth, let him understand: Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains.” Matth. xxiv. 15, 16. Upon these words of our Saviour St. Chrysostom speaks thus: “For three years and six months the Christian sacrifice must be taken away by An tichrist, and the Christians flying away before him into the deserts, there will be no one to frequent the Church, or to offer "the oblation to God.” Homil. 49. in Matth. 24.

It is worth our notice what we further learn from the above-cited passage of Daniel, that from the time when the daily sacrifice will be suppressed, and the abomination set up, there will be a thousand two hundred and ninety days, to the end of Antichrist's persecution, which Daniel had spoken of in the preceding verse. That persecution will last three years and a half, as we shall see hereafter. Hence, then, if the year be supposed to consist of 365 days, three years and a half make 1278 days, which the number 1290 exceeds by twelve; so that there will be an interval of twelve days between the time when Antichrist sets himself up for God in the temple, and the beginning of his persecution. But this interval will be thirty days, if the year be reckoned only of 360 days, or forty-two months of thirty days each, which round way of counting is usual with the prophets.

As therefore a most cruel persecution is soon to follow, and all sorts of other means will likewise be employed by that monster of iniquity, Antichrist, to force the worship of his pretended divinity upon the world, the Almighty sends a most strong and pathetic admonition to mankind to warn them against that seduction : “And I saw,” says St. John, “another

The statue of Jupiter Olympius.

angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel, to preach unto them that sit upon the earth, and over every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people:

"Saying with a loud voice: fear the Lord, and give him honour, because the hour of his judgment is come: and adore ye him, that made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of waters." Apoc. xiv. 6, 7.

The angel here may represent Henoch and his attendants, the pastors of the Church, who with great vigour will preach up, first in Jerusalem, and then in all other nations, the eternal gospel or everlasting covenant, Isai. xxiv. 5; that is, the eternal law, founded in nature itself, that forbids divine worship to be paid to any creature, as being the incommunicable right of the Supreme Being. They will say: adore not this impostor, who deceitfully pretends to a power over heaven, earth, sea, and fountains of water; but “adore him that really made heaven, and earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters," and has power to do with them what he pleases. These exhortations the preachers will enforce with that peculiar reason here given, “because the hour of his judgment is come,” because the time will soon come, in three years and a half, when the judgment of God will fall upon this “man of sin, this son of perdition," Antichrist, and he shall be exterminated.

Antichrist finding that many, particularly the Jews, refuse to pay him divine honour, he will first endeavour to bring them over by persuasive methods. For that purpose he will avail himself of the “ power which the dragon gave him," as we saw above, of performing wonders and working false miracles. Many prodigies, therefore, and extraordinary performances, by the devil's operation, he will exhibit; “whose coming," says St. Paul, “is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders," 2 Thess. ii. 9. By the dazzling appearance of these wonderful operations, many will be staggered in their faith, and will be seduced to worship this mock-God, as we seem to learn from our Saviour, who said: “There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive, if possible, even the elect,” Matth. xxiv. 24. But Christ, whose providence is never wanting to his Church, will interpose his power to baffle that of the devil and Antichrist. He will invest many of the Christian preachers, particularly Henoch and Elias, with extraordinary miraculous powers. As Moses and Aaron were sent by the Almighty to contend with

Pharaoh and his magicians, and to rescue the Israelites from slavery: so will Elias and Henoch be the two chief messengers, whom Christ will employ to oppose his enemy Antichrist, and to preserve the elect from falling into his snares. And as the magicians of Egypt, with all their demoniacal charms and incantations, were vanquished by the signal superiority of the miracles of Moses and Aaron; so will the prodigies of Antichrist be eclipsed and confounded by the far greater number and splendour of the miracles of Elias and Henoch. “And I will give,” says Christ, "unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. And if any man will hurt them, in this manner must he be slain. These have power to shut Heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues as often as they will.” A poc. xi. 3, 5, 6. These miracles we have before explained, see page 140. In conformity to this passage St. Ephron speaks thus: “God in his mercy will send Elias and Henoch, who will openly exhort the people not to believe in Antichrist.” Serm. de Antichr. And St. Ambrose: “Henoch and Elias are destined to be the Apostles of the last times; for they are to be sent before the last coming of Christ, to prepare the people of God, and to animate all the Churches to resist Antichrist.” In Ep. 1. ad Corinth. c. 4.-St. Gregory the Great likewise says, that “Elias and Henoch will appear upon the stage of the world to oppose Antichrist.” In Job, lib. 15. c. 36. When the powers of the Almighty and Satan come in competition, the latter must certainly vanish. -Whence it follows, that those only will be deluded, who wilfully shut their eyes to the clear light of evidence; and so we are informed by St. Paul; “whose coming,” Antichrist's, “is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them che operation of error, to believe lying; that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.” 2 Thess. ii. 9, 10, 11.

Antichrist seeing all his wonderful operations baffled by the shining evidence of Henoch's and Elias's miracles, and perceiving that multitudes of Christians refuse to acknowledge his godhead, he swells with anger, and being actuated by the hellish fiend that possesses him, he arrogantly boasts of his pre

« הקודםהמשך »