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never come to profess gross Infidelity, the following text is fulfilled; And with all deceivableness of unrightcousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause shall God send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrightcousness.
Let none take an occasion from these remarks on false teachers and fanaticism, to think unfavorably of true religious awakenings. Blessed be God, the Holy Spirit is sent down, as rain upon the mown grass, and as showers, that water the earth, to regenerate dead souls. This the arch tempter well knows. Hence he transforms himself into an angel of light; and labors to discredit these works of grace, and to ruin the souls of men by counterfeiting these Divine operations. Fanaticism is but the counterfeit of true religion. But counterfeits suppose the existence of true coin. Learn then the weight of the following caution; Believe not every spirit; but try the spirits, whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Before I close this section, let several things be noted. Antichrist must be viewed as comprising not only the Infidel Empire of the last days, but also the spirit and prevalence of the Infidelity of the same period, where the Gospel has been enjoyed, whether the people there be or be not subjected to the Infidel empire.
The system and influence of French Infidelity may extend and prevail where their arms cannot reach. The event alone will decide, whether their arms will be co-extensive with the system of their Infidelity. The latter is their Antichristian characteristic. And this is essentially the same, even where a people may find themselves exempt from the military despotism of France. To become contaminated with the spirit of Antichrist, is to be fatally one with him. We read of Antichrist; and of those, who have the spirit of Antichrist. We read of the beast; and of those, who have the mark of the beast. We are informed of Babylon; and of those who partake of her sins, and shall receive of her plagues.
Should not political subjection to France be effected by Gallic intrigue or violence, for instance, in America; yet should that Infidelity here prevail which the old serpent, in his rage of these last days, is laboring to propagate; which French agents have introduced; and to which the depraved heart of man is too readily inclined, it must then be said, that Antichrist here exists! Should the political designs of France be here disappointed, yet should her system of Infidelity here predominate, we should be an Antichristian nation. The cause of Christ then, might here be attacked, and his witnesses slain, even though the event should be planned in an American, and not in a French cabinet.
In some of the preceding pages it has appeared, that two kinds of influence have concurred in this nation to bring on the events of the last days; the agents of French Infidelity and disorganization; and the propagators of false religion. It is not suggested, that these two classes of persons knowingly act in concert. Doubtless no express agreement has been made between them. But their affinity is real. Their invisible instigators have a system: But multitudes, who are made the instruments of it, know not the nature, or the tendency of what they propagate.
Some of the prophecies, it is thought, indicate a third influence or agency, uniting to advance the same wicked cause. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, ( wonders ) which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.* Although this prediction relates to the period after the sixth vial, and is to prepare the way for the seventh, both of which are now future, yet the height, to which this . three fold agency will then have risen, seems clearly to
* Rer. xvi, 13, 14.
indicate, that its origin must have been of long standing, or froin earlier date. The text does not say that their origin is subsequent to the sixth vial; although it gives notice of them at that period. Their existence, no doubt will prove to have been coeval with that of Antichrist. And no doubt some, if not all of them are accordingly now operating in the world, and in this nation. The dragon in this text is the devil.* The beast is Antichrist. And the false prophet is Papal religion; and it may be viewed as including the whole spirit of false religion under whatever form. What particular influence will be found to be represented by the frog out of the niouth of the dragon, as distinct from the other two; or what shades of difference the two former of these modes of diabolical agency will be found to have assumed, it may be difficult now to ascertain. I have no doubt but Illuminism is one of these three unclean spirits; and that re-established Popery, including all fanaticism and fatal error, wherever it be found, is the last. And with respect to a third, time and events will no doubt cast light upon the subject. Let it be what it may, it will
prove to have been of diabolical production. For they are spirits of devils. The devil will have peculiar power among men to instigate things favorable to disorganization and Infidelity; and by his satanic influence to prepare men to unite in his cause. He has ever been said to work in the children of disobedience, and to lead them captive at his will. But in the fulfilment of this prophecy, having come down with great wrath, be. cause he knoweth he hath but a short time, the devil will be suffered to exercise an unusual influence among men, in exciting their corruptions, as pride, lusts, covetousness, enmity, rage, and all the malignant pas. sions. Satan will then be able to instigate the wicked to overleap usual restraints; to break such bands asunder, and to cast such cords from them.t Whether any thing more than this, in a land so distant from the seat of the Antichristian beast as ours, will be observable,
* Rev. xii.
+ Psalm ii, 3.
as fulfilling the other system of diabolical influence; or whether it will not appear, that the old dragon has long been preparing some engine, which will then be brought into operation against the cause of Christ, the event must decide. The latter seems much to accord with the deep policy of that old serpent, who deceives the world. Flis plans extend far beyond the apprehensions of the multitudes, who are involved in them, and who with different motives prove instruments of their fulfilment. People may be led, by trifling and seemingly harmless views, into connexions, which Satan may eventually manage to accomplish bis malignant designs; and perhaps to subserve one of the three systems of influence under consideration.
Thus I have endeavored to make it appear, in this chapter, that the last days have arrived; and that an inceptive fulfilment of the predictions concerning Antichrist is now manifest before our eyes. Chronological remarks, and the events and signs of the times, appear to unite, and clearly to indicate the present age as the period of the rise of Antichrist.
Various other tokens of this event are suggested in the word of God; such as, Signs in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke;Wars and rumors of wars;-Pestilences, famines, and earthquakes in divers places;-And an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gos. pel to preach to them who dwell on the earth, to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, or a most remarkable missionary spirit in the Christian world, in the same hour with the fall of Papal Babylon. These signs of the last days, serious and judicious people believe they have seen fulfilling, or fulfilled. Upon this I shall not remark.
But concerning the reign of Antichrist, and the prevalence of Infidelity, if John could say to his Jewish brethren, in relation to the continuance of their national polity; It is the last time; and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know it is the last time; truly we may adopt his inference with an emphasis. If the Infidelity of the impenitent Jews indicated that wrath to the uttermost was just ready to be poured upon their nation; truly the present extensive, systematic, and prevalent agency and Infidelity of the real Anti. christ of the last time, does evince, with more emphatical decision, that the battle of the great day is not far distant. For the deduction of the Apostle rested on this ground, that the destruction of Antichrist, at the time of his first appearance, should be even at the doors. Zion will be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. The vintage will commence; the wine press will be trodden. The Lord will roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake. The wicked powers of his enemies will be swept from his presence. And the meek shall inherit the earth, and de. light themselves in abundance of peace.