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fellows. He shall (ver. 21.) make war with the PROP. saints, and prevail against them ; (ver. 25.) And he_Xiv. shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand, for a long season; even till (ver. 26.27.) the judgment shall sit, and the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. (Dan. xi. 36. &c.) He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of Gods ;--Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, (the God of Gods, as in the foregoing verse,) nor the desire of women, (forbidding to marry, 1 Tim. iv. 3.) nor regard any God; for he shal} magnify himself above all: And in his estate shall he honour* the God of forces; and a Godt whom his fathers knew not shall he honour. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange God, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. Suppose now all this to be spoken by Daniel, of nothing more than the short persecution under Antiochus Epiphanes ; which that it cannot be I have shown above: But suppose it were, and that it was all forged after the event; yet this cannot be the case of St. Paul, and St. John, who describe exactly a like power, and in like words ; speaking of things to come in the latter days, of things still future in their time, and of which there was then no footsteps, no appearance in the world. The day of Christ, saith St. Paul, (2 Thess. ii. 3, &c.) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God,
* Gods protector, as it is in the margin of the Bible, or saints protectors. + Changing time and laws, ch. vii. 25. setting up new religions.
It is therefore a Christian (not an infidel) power, that he here speaks of.
PROP. sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he XIV. is God: Whose coming is after the working of Satan,
with all power, and signs,and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness. Again, (1 Tim iv.1,&c.)the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ;* -forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, &c. St John, in like manner, prophesies of a wild beast, or tyrannical power, to whom was given (Rev. xiii. 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17.) great authority, and a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God: And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them ; and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues, and nations; and all that dwell upon the earth, shall worship him.
And he that exerciseth his power before him, doth great wonders,
—and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles which he had power to do.-And he causeth
-that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark of the name of the beast. And the kings of the earth (Rev. xvii. 13, 15, 17.) have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beasts ; --even peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.-For God hath put in their hearts [in the hearts of the kings,] to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. The name of the person, in whose hands the (Rev. xvii. 3, 7.) reins or principal direction of the exercise of this power is lodged, is (Rev. xvii. 5.) mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots, and abominations of tle earth : (Ver. 2.) With whom the kings of the
* Doctrines, concerning dæmons, that is, ghosts or souls of (good or bad) men departed. Epiphanius, citing this text, alleges the following words, as part of the text itself ; čvorrai yág, puoi vergio λατρεύοντες, ώς και εν τω 'Ισραηλ έσεβάσθησαν. « For they shall be, says
Iogana . the apostle, worshippers of the dead, even as the dead were anciently worshipped in Israel.” And he applies the whole to the worshippers of the blessed Virgin. Hæres. 78. $ 22.
earth* have committed fornication, and the inha- PROP, bitants of the earth have been made drunk with XIV. the wine of her fornication: And she herself is (Rev. xvii, 6.) drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus : And (Rev. xviii. 23, 24.) by her † sorceries are all nations deceived: And in her is found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that are slain upon the earth. And this person, (the political person,] to whom these titles and characters belong, is (Rev. xvii. 18.) that great city, (standing (ver. 9) upon seven mountains,) which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
If in the days of St Paul, and St John, there was any footstep of such a sort of power as this in the world; or if there ever had been any such power in the world; or if there was then any appearance of probability that could make it enter into the heart of man to imagine that there ever could be any such kind of powerin the world, much less in (2 Thess. ii. 4.) the temple or church of God ; and if there be not now such a power actually and conspicuously exercised in the world; and if any picture of this power drawn, after the event, can now describe it more plainly and exactly than it was originally described in the words of the prophecy; then may it with some degree of plausibleness be suggested that the prophecies are nothing more than enthusiastic imaginations.
Thirdly; The chief evidence of the facts on which of the testhe truth and certainty of the Christian revelation de- timony of pend, to us who live now at this distance of time, is our's discithe testimony of our Saviour's followers; which, in ples as an all its circumstances, was the most credible, certain, the truth and convincing evidence that ever was given to any
Christian matter of fact in the world.
revelation. To make the testimony of our Saviour's followers a sufficient evidence to us in this case, there can be
• Have been led into idolatrous practices.
+ Φαρμακεία, (σοφούς φαρμάκοις) Methods of making men religious without virtue.
evidence. That the
PROP. required but these three things: 1. That it be cer
tain the apostles could not be imposed upon them
selves: 2. That it be certain they neither had nor things are could have any design to impose upon others: And, requisite to
3. That it be certain their testimony is truly conveytestimony ed down to us unto this day. All which things are of our Saz indeed abundantly certain, and clear enough to satis
disciples a fy any reasonable and unprejudiced person. complete
For 1. That the apostles could not be imposed upon
themselves, is evident from what has been already apostles said concerning the nature, and number, and publiccould not ness, of our Saviour's miracles : They conversed from be imposed upon them the beginning with our Saviour himself; they heard
with their ears, and saw with their eyes; they looked upon, and they handled with their hands of the word of life, as St John expresses it, (1 John, i. 1.) They saw all the prophecies of the Old Testament precisely fulfilled in his life and doctrine, his sufferings and death: They saw him confirm what he taught, with such mighty and evident miracles, as his bitterest and most malicious enemies could not but confess to be supernatural, even at the same time that they obstinately blasphemed the Holy Spirit that worked them: They saw him alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs; he appearing, not only to one or two, but to all the eleven, several times, and once to above five hundred together. And this, not merely in a transient manner, but they conversed with him familiarly for no less than forty days, and at last they beheld him ascend visibly into heaven; and soon after they received the Spirit, according to his promise. These were such sensible demonstrations of his being a teacher sent from heaven, and, consequently, that his doctrine was an immediate and express revelation of the will of God, that, if the apostles, even though they had been inen of the weakest judgments and strongest imaginations that can be supposed, could be all and every one of them deceived in all these several instances; men can have no use of their senses, nor any possible proof of any facts whatsoever, nor
any means to distinguish the best attested truths in PROP. the world, from enthusiastic imaginations.
2. It is certain the apostles neither had nor could That the have any design of imposing upon others. This is apostles evident both from the nature of the things they did
no design and suffered, and from the characters of the persons of imposthemselves : They confirmed what they taught by others.
ing upon signs and miracles; they lived according to the doctrine they preached, though manifestly contrary to all the interests and pleasures of this present world; and, which deceivers can never be supposed to do, they died with all imaginable cheerfulness and joy of mind, for the testimony of their doctrine and the confirmation of their religion. This, I say, is what deceivers can never possibly be supposed to do: For it is very remarkable the apostles did not lay down their lives for their opinions, (which enthusiasts may possibly be supposed to do,) but in attestation to facts of their own knowledge: They were innocent and plain men, that had no bad ends to serve, nor preferment to hope for in the world: Their religion it. self taught them to expect, not dominion and glory, not the praise of men, not riches and honour, not power and ease, not pleasure nor profit,but poverty and want, trouble and vexation, persecution and oppression, imprisonments, banishments, and death : These things are not the marks and tokens of impostors. Besides the success and event of their undertaking, that plain and illiterate men should be able to preach their doctrine to many different nations, of different languages, and prevail also in establishing the belief of it; that they should all agree exactly in their testimony, and none of them be prevailed upon, either by hopes or fears, to desert their companions, and discover the imposture, if there had been any; these things plainly show that their doctrine was more than human, and not a contrivance to impose upon the world. This argument is excellently urged by Eusebius: Is it a thing possible to be conceived, saith he, that deceivers and unlearned men, men that understood no other language but their mother