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by which they will be distinguished as the votaries of Antichrist.
V. 17. “And that no man, might buy or sell, but he that hath the character, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." No one will be allowed to buy or sell any commodity, unless he shows the above mentioned mark, or the name of the beast, that is, the print upon himself of Antichrist's name, or of the number of his name. A similar severity was used in Dioclesian's persecution, when it was forbid for any one to buy or sell in the public market, unless he first offered incense to an idol erected there for that purpose.
Thus will this other beast, or wicked minister of Antichrist, exert all his skill and power to enforce the execrable and absurd opinion of his master's divinity. Thus will he employ every diabolical art, both of persuasion and force, to prevail with his detestable enemy. And thus, as Tertullian says, "will the beast Antichrist with his false prophet oppress the Church with persecution.” De Resur. Carnis, c. 25.
It was said above that no one would be allowed to buy or sell, unless he bore the mark of Antichrist, or his name, or the number of his name. His name then is something mysterious, as the letters of it will contain a particular number, which God in his bounty here gives as one characteristic among others, by which he may be known, and consequently rejected and abhorred. For thus proceeds St. John,
V. 18. “Here is wisdom.” He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man: and the number of him is six hundred sixty-six.
Here is wisdom, here it is proper to take notice. He that has understanding, he that has a share of skill and knowledge, let him count the number of the beast, which he may do, for it is the number of a man; that is, it is the number of the name of a man, conformably to what is said in the preceding verse. And the number of him is six hundred sixty-six; the number thereof contained in Antichrist's name will be 666. According to the account we have given of that impious man, he will be born a Mahometan prince, and will rise to the head of the Turkish empire. We may therefore be allowed to suppose him to bear the name of Mahomet, a name which so many emperors, his predecessors, will have borne before him, in honour of the first founder of the Mahometan religion and empire. This name expressed in the Greek language, because St. John wrote the Apocalypse in Greek, is MAOMETIC, or MỌAMETIC, as Euthymius, and the Greek historians Zono
ras and Credenus write it; and according to the Greek numeration it stands thus:
It may be here observed, how contrary to the sense of scripture is the opinion of some moderns, who, in the spirit of opposition to the Catholic religion, assign for the name of Antichrist a generical term, containing indeed the number 666, but not expressing a determinate man; and this indeterminate name they apply to a succession of many persons; whereas St. John plainly says; “it is the number of a man, the number of his name;" it is therefore the number of the single name of a particular man.' And in like manner is Antichrist evidently described by St. Paul as an individual man. For in what other sense, partiality apart, can the apostle be understood, when he styles him, " the man of sin, the son of perdition, the opposer, who sitteth as God in the temple of God; the wicked one, whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth," &c. 2 Thess. 2. The description of him, which we have seen in Daniel, is likewise of the same tenor. The fathers of the Church join also in the same opinion, and are very copious in their account of his character. The whole series we have hitherto given of his history, drawn from those sources, plainly points him out as one individual being, an extraordinary man; and it will be further confirmed in the sequel. In fine, such has been the constant and unanimous tradition from the rise of Christianity through all ages; as may be seen in the series of the scripture interpreters and ecclesiastical writers. Nay, even so universal and fixed has always been that notion of Antichrist, that it may be put upon a level with the belief of the former existence of an Alexander or Julius Cæsar; nor can hardly be found now an individual in the common class of people, and of the narrowest education, but knows in general the charac
ter of that enemy of Christ, and expects his coming in the last period of the world. This tradition is therefore traced up to the time of the apostles, and owes its existence to what they taught. St. Paul is an express voucher, that he had instructed the Thessalonians on that head. “Remember you not,” says he, “that when I was yet with you, I told you these things ?"' 2 Thess. ii. 5.
To return to the transactions of Antichrist :-Finding hinnself so powerful by Satan's aid, and seconded by so able a ninister, his false prophet, while on the other hand he sees De converted Jews and other Christians refusing him divine image, and so fortified by the exhortations and miracles of weir teachers, that all his pretended wonders and persvasive arts can make no impression upon them; he resolves, by the instigation of Satan, to compel them by force into compliance, to show no mercy to the refractory, but to destroy them, and utterly, abolish the Christian name. Full of self-conceit and rage, he is determined to suffer no rival in heaven or on earth, but that all mankind shall bow in homage to him as God, and as the sole monarch of the whole world. This he designs to effect by the invincible force of his immense army, with which he purposes to carry ravage, devastation, and destruction, throughout every nation that resists him. Such are the hellish determinations he fixes; but before he commences the execution of them, Christ, the faithful governor of the Church, and supreme in his power, is pleased to give a special warning to his beloved servants, and for their support proclaims the following sentence:
Chap. xiii. 9. “If any man have an ear, let him hear:” let every one give attention.
V. 10. “He, that shall lead into captivity, shall go into captivity: he that shall kill by the sword, must be killed by the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." That is, in the following persecution and war of Antichrist, those that force others into captivity, shall themselves be made captives: and those that cruelly put others to death shall undergo the same fate. Judgment is therefore already pronounced against Antichrist and his agents, that as they deal with others, they shall be dealt with themselves. Then it is added, Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Here is the motive of the patience and the faith of the saints, or the servants of God in this world. By faith they rely on the promises of God for the reward of their patience, and leave him to vindicate, as he may judge fit, their cause with respect to
their persecutors. Such is the previous instructior. Christ sends to his servants, before the dreadful day of per ecurina. But as the converted Jews are destined to stand foren in the battle, and to be the first victims of Antichrist's fury it must therefore set forth a glorious example of fortitu t e other Christians, they are provided with an extraordt' share of grace, and a peculiar degree of courage 2 stancy for their terrible conflict. For thus we hea this sin. gular favour announced by St. John:
Chap. vii. 1. “After these things, I saw four ang ie stan! ing on the four corners of the earth, holding the one of the earth, that they should not blow* upon the rol, upon the sea, nor on any tree.
V. 2. “And I saw another angel ascending from her: 815 of the sun, having the sign of the living God: ar ile cied with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it wie given hurt the earth and the sea,
V. 3. “Saying: hurt not the earth, the sea, nor the trees. till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads."
Here are four angels, standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, which they are ready to let go, and which are to cause desolation over the whole globe. By the four winds of the earth are meant persecutions which are going to rise in every part of the ean, and which will form the general persecution of A atichris, the four winds join to compose one general wir i Butt persecution is withheld for a while by a divine Color: which is carried by an angel ascending from the easi, coming from Him who ascended above the heaven of haar u to the east.” Ps. Ixvii. 34. The wind of perset utior v hurt the earth and the sea, that is, will fall upon the Christ people wherever they are, and the trees, or their pastors clergy. But this alarming disaster is suspended, tiltteri 1 has marked the servants of God in their foreheads with .? sign of the living God, that is, with the sign of the cross oi Christ, who having died upon it, rose again to life. But who those seryants of God are, we are told in the next verse.
V. 4. “And I heard the number of them that were signed; a hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel." No sooner almost have the Jews tasted the comfort of having recovered the favour of their God by embracing Christianity, but behold! 144,000 of them are marked out and destined to be immolated to Christ by martyr.
* In the Greek, “ that a wind should not blow,” &c.
dom, and are therefore signed on the forehead by the ministers of the Church with the sign of the cross, or confirmed in faith and fortitude, as the sacrament of Confirmation is always conferred with making the sign of the cross on the forehead. Thus, then, this great number of converted Jews are prepared to grace Christianity by their triumph over torments and death. But as we learn from St. Paul, that “all Israel will be saved," (Rom. xi. 26,) it is plain that, considering the vast body of the Jewish people, the number of martyrs here mentioned, must fall much short of the number of converted Jews. The rest therefore will remain to reflect honour on the Christian religion by their zeal in promoting it, and by their exemplary lives. This select number of 144,000 champions, or twelve times twelve thousand, is made up by culling twelve thousand out of each tribe, as follows:
V. 5. “Of the tribes of Juda were twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand signed.
V. 6. “Of the tribe of Aser, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Nephthali, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Manasses, twelve thousand signed.
V. 7. “Of the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Levi, twelve thuusand signed. Of the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand signed.
V. 8. “Of the tribe of Zabulon, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand signed. Of the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand signed."
THE CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF THE SIXTH AGE.
The Almighty having prepared his faithful servants for the terrible conflict he proposes to subject them to, he announces the great persecution and terrible war, and exhibits the state of the Church at the time they begin, in the following manner:
Chap. xi. 1. “ And there was given me," says St. John, “a reed like unto a rod: and it was said to me:* Arise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that adore therein.
* In the Greek, “And the angel stood, saying."