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Religion ; of fire brought down from heaven * No wild-beast of the ancient monarchies, has been more tyrannous than this. It is indeed the image of the ancient oppression, moulded by the hand of a false prophet, who seized and delivered to successors enormous civil and ecclesiastical power, obtained under the apparent sanction of heaven, and under this monstrous domination, thus artfully and blasphemously produced, the pure Religion of the meek and heavenly Jesus has been superseded, and its saints persecuted and “ worn out."
But, secondly, the reformed Churches have discovered as manifestly, and in colours equally strong and glaring, another apostacy from the truth of Christianity; another erection of corrupt, worldly, oppressive, and blasphemous dominion, established by ecclesiastical artifices, and by pretended miracles, under the direction of another false prophet, who likewise is seen sitting in the Temple of God; in the sacred centre of the Christian Communion. There he has been seen exercising, by inquisitorial powers, the tyrannous domination of the first beast, persecuting even unto death, and denying the common privileges of life to those who, true to their Lord, refuse to receive the badge of his usurpation f. But
these, * Sée note, ch, viii. 5.
+ I have judged it unuecessary, to shew, by a deduction of particulars as they arise in history, the agreement between Popery, and the emblems of the beast; because this has been done copiously by almost all the Protestant writers on this subject. The reader will find much information of this kind in some late publications; in Campbell on Ecclesiastical History; in Whitaker on the Revelation; in Kett on Prophecy. But I will beg leave to add in behalf of us all, that, when Protestant writers attribute such descriptions to the papal church, they must not be understood, as uttering a censure on tho.
these, it will be said, cannot, both of them, be the same wild-beast, the same false prophet. Observe then, that the second beast, called also the false prophet, has two horns. He branches out into two divisions of power; two separate kingdoms; and both of an ecclesiastical description * They both apostatize from and corrupt the same faith: both are established by lying wonders ; and both promote the reign
individuals of that body; numbers of whom are known to have been as pious and good Christians, as perhaps may be found in any other community. Nor yet are all ages of the papal church to be equally branded with the same black character. The restoration of letters in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and yet more the Reformation of Religion which followed, have occasioned considerable retrenchment of abuses in this corrupt hierarchy. The power of papal Rome has declined, and with it her means of extensive and domineering violence. But it is to be feared, that the seeds and principles of such antichristian domination yet remain in her. And she is ever to be regarded with a jealous eye, till she solemnly renounces them in profession and in practice. Her beginnings were gentle, as, it seems, are in some degree her latter times: but how many centuries does history hold up to view, rendered dreadful by her enormities, such as correspond with the description of this second beast !
* Kings and kingdoms are the same; and so explained by the angel, Dan, vii. 17. 23, 2+; Rev. xvii. 12. And by the same divine interpreter it appears, that two horns are two kings, or kingdoms, of the same empire, viz. Media and Persia: Dan. viii. 20.—Some interpreters, following Joseph Mede, endeavour to account for the two horns by a division of the clergy in the papal communion into regular and secular. But the horns are kings or kingdoms, that is, so many distinct governments ; and so will be found in Daniel, and in the Apocalypse universally. If seten horns had been attributed to this beast, or even four, these numbers, being indefinite, might have been interpreted to signify great power ; power in general; and without respect to particular number: but not so here. They are two powers, both derived from the same origin ; at the same time; of the same nature; acting upon the same principles; and against the same pure Religion.
of a worldly, tyrannical, blasphemous domination. Both date their origin and rise from the same ærą. 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“ matisin, 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 en pire. It is certain also that they have declined together I.
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 coin, APOCALYPSE. pleted 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 froin Mecca t. And without this apostacy of the Christians, which he artfully fomented and always expected f, his daring schemes inust have failed. The king of Æthiopia, and his subjects were converted to Mahometism by considering, it as a divine addition to the Christian Religions. The Chris. tians 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 1l. Hence Mahometism has been frequently accounted a Christian heresy f; 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 Ma. hometism resemble Popery, as one horn of the same beast does another, in these characters of an apastate 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 Christi. anity, 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. Sir William Jones, in the Asiatic Researches, vol. i. Ricaut's Ottoman Empire, p. 187. Prideaux, Pref. to Life of Mahomet. I Kelt on Prophecy, class ii ch. 2.
* Koran, ch.3, 4, 5. &c.
Prideaux, page 76 ; 5th Ch. of the Koran. 9 Boulanvilliers, Vie de Mahomed, .p. 349. || Reland and Höttinger, quoted by Gibbon, ch. li. I See the proofs of this, in p. 364, ** Sale's Koran, p. 106.