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the other, when tlie pretended vicar transferred it to angels and departtd 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 zvorship 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 his 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 beast 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, wbich must be acknowledged to shew the fallacy of this application of the prophecy; such is the re-establishment of the 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 striet 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 lie 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 corne the objections: which are assigned as so many reasons, why the Mahometan power can not be “the “ Han of Sin:” (1.) lle is not seated in Rome : (2.) jle attempted no miracles. 1. The first objection, is casily obviated. No prophecy of Antichrist represents liim 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 10 miracles. Such evidences of a divine commission he very prudently disclaimed, in the manner in which our Lord and his Apostles performed them, not able to stand so severe a test. Yet by what other means, than by those described in these prophecies of the
man of sin, “ by the working of Satan with all
power, and signs, and lying wonders *, deceiving " those who dwell on earth by the wonders which it “ was granted him to do t,” did he establish his religion? Ilis Koran itself was a lying wonder, a pretended miracle ; for he describes himself ascending to heaven to receive a part of it; and the remainder to be brought to him by angels I; and he asserts his Koran to be a divine composition; a miracle in itself; and frequently appeals to the world for its vindication as such §. What are these but “ lying won“ ders?” pretended woiracles ? “ fire from heaven, to deceive the inhabitants of the earth?
The Mahometan apostacy may therefore fairly stand by the side of the papal, as forming one horn of the second antichristian beast. And as this will be more readily admitted by those who have considered (as Dr. Benson by his concessions seems to have done) its right to the name and title of a Christian heresy or apostacy, I will here subjoin some quotations tending to illustrate this fact, which is not como monly seen or acknowledged.
“ Mahomet did not pretend to deliver any new re"ligion, but to revive the old one. He allowed “ both the Old and New Testament, and that both “ Moses and Jesus were prophets sent from God ; " that Jesus, son of Mary, is the word and a Spirit * sent from God, a Redeemer of all that believe in • him **.” Mahomet represents himself as the Paraclete or Comforter sent by Jesus Christ; John,
• 2 Thess, ii. 9. + Rev. xiii. 14.
§ Koran, passim.
Ib. p. 19. ** Sale's Koran, p. 19. 80. 65. Ockley's History of Saracens, ii.
xvi. 7.* So in Mahomet's ascent to heaven, as invented in the Koran, while the Patriarchs and Prophets confess their inferiority to him, by entreating his prayers, in the seventh heaven he sees Jesus, whose superiority the false prophet acknowledges by commending himself to his prayers t. 6. Faith in the “ divine books is a necessary article of the Mahome“tan Creed; and among these is the Gospel given " to Issa or Jesus, which they assert to be corrupted “ by the Christians .” “If any Jew is willing to “ become a Mahometan, he must first believe in “ Christ: and this question is asked him, Dost thou “ believe that Christ was born of a Virgin by the blast
(i. e. inspiration) of God, and that he was the last “ of the Jewish Prophets.” If he answers in the affirmative, he is made a Mahometan g. " Mahomet arose “to establish a new religion, which came pretty near “ the Jewish, and was not entirely different from “that of several sects of Christians, which got him “a great many followers ||.”—“ Fassus impostor (scil. “ Muhammedes) Jesum de virgine Mariâ natun, Mes
siam, verbum Dei cælitùs missum, Dei Spiritum, mi“raculis evangelicis clarum, Prophetam Dei, qui Evan
gelium tradiderit, ac docuit salutis viam, qui ven“turus ad judicium sit, et destructurus antichristum, “eț conversurus Judæos, &c. Sic Apostolis Christi “ credendum docuit ut Evangelio Christi, ac legi Mosis “et Prophetis omnibus.
Sic de Christianis æquiùs quàm de Judæis sensit, quos et benignè habuit; unde “illud Muhammedis apud Elmacinum, qui Christianum opprimit, adversarium' cum habebit die * judicii ; qui Christiano nocet, mihi nocet ; &c. Thus also the Mahometan writers, when speaking of him, say, “jussit quoque credere veritatem Prophe“tarum et Apostolorum ;-item Christum filium Ma- riæ Dei esse et Verbum ejus atque Apostolum t;" and even at this day they honour, what we call, the Christian Religion, next to their own I. “ Mahome“tism began as a Christian heresy, acknowledging “ Christ for a prophet, a greater than Moses, born of "a Virgin, the Word of God; Alcoran, v. 27." s Sale asserts the Mahometan religion to be not only a Christian heresy, but an improvement upon the
• Koran, p. 165.
|| Leibnitz's Letter, 1706.
" tianum * The impostor Mahomet confessed that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, that he was the Word of God sent from heaven, the Spirit of God declared by the miracles of the Gospel, the Prophet of God, whose office it was to deliver the Gospel, and teach the way of Truth, who is to come to judgment and to destroy Antichrist, and convert the Jews, &c. Thus also he taught, that the Gospel of Christ, and the law of Moses, and all the Prophets are to be believed. And thus he was better inclined to the Christians than to the Jews, and he treated them kindly. Whence that saying of Mahomet reported in Elmacinus, He who oppresses a Christian, shall find him an adversary to him in the day of Judgment; he who injures a Christian, injures me. Spanhemii Introd. ad Hist. Sæc. vii. p. 609. + Elmacini Hist. Saracen. p. 3.
very corrupt idolatrous system of the Jews and “ Christians of those times ll.” Joseph Mede affirms that the Mahometans are nearer to Christianity than many of the ancient heresies, the Cerinthians, Gnostics, Manichees 1. “Whatever good is to be found “ in the Mahometan Religion, and some good doc“ trines and precepts there undeniably are in it,) is in
no small measure owing to Christianity : for, Ma
Ibid. Ricaut, Ottoman Empire, p. 188. ll Prelim. p. 51. & Works, p. 645. 3