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and turn from her idolatries, than thus to add to the sin of idolatry, the awful crime of perverting the Scriptures, in order to palliate or excuse her offences, We ask: How can the fact of a woman being cured in consequence of touching our Saviour's garment when he was alive upon earth, justify the worship of a piece of carved wood or painted canvass called after Him, now that He is ascended into heaven, and this in express violation of the second commandment? What is there common to the two cases ? The same remarks apply to Acts xix. 12, the third text quoted in the Catechism. And with respect to John iii. 14, which is produced for the like purpose of justifying the worship of images, I observe, that if the brazen serpent was intended to be an object of worship, then this worship must have had respect to the living serpents, which it represented; and it will follow on this hypothesis, that God himself did command his people to worship serpents!—Such are the consequences which flow from the perversion of sacred Scripture, by the Church of Rome. But it is manifest that the brązen serpent was, like the cherubim, an hieroglyphic; and it most probably signified the bruising of the head
of that old serpent, the Devil, by our Lord when he hung upon the cross, and there spoiled principalities and powers. (Colos. ii. 14, 15.)
I shall now close this chapter, with one remark. It may appear at first view, strange and wonderful, to those Protestants who are little acquainted with the character of the Church of Rome, that she should venture to quote the Scriptures of truth in justification of a practice, which is so palpable a violation of the Divine law, as that of image worship. But let such persons reflect that the great enemy of God and man in tempting our Lord in the wilderness, did also make use of the language of Scripture for that purpose.
A position laid down, that the Papal Power is the Man of
Sin. The objections of the Rev. Mr. Calder bank to the Protestant doctrine of Antichrist, stated and answered.
In the preceding chapters, the charge of idolatry has been brought home to the Church of Rome, by evidence derived from her authorized formularies; and it has been proved that by this idolatry was accomplished the Apostasy in the Church, predicted by St. Paul, in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. I now proceed to the consideration of the second proposed object of inquiry, viz. What power was intended by the MAN OF SIN, mentioned in St. Paul's prophecy? And I shall endeavour to show that the characteristical marks of that man of sin and son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, &c. are all to be found in the Papacy, and consequently that the Papal power is the man of sin.
Before, however, that I enter on the direct proof of this position, it will be necessary for me to consider some arguments against it, which are to be found in the Series of Letters, by a Catholic clergyman, which have already been frequently mentioned. The Rev. Mr. Calderbank endeavours in his 24th Letter, to show “the absurdity of the opinion, which supposes the Pope to be Antichrist.” After some general observations, through which I do not consider it necessary to follow him, he thus states his grounds for rejecting the: Protestant exposition, of St. Paul's prophecy of the Man of Sin:-“ From the passage of St. Paul,” (2 Thess. ii.) “it appears evident, that Antichrist is destined to be some one individual or other, and from the unanimous testimony of the ancient Fathers, it also appears that his coming into the world will take place at some time which is not very remote from the period of its general destruction. From the authority of St. Paul, it is moreover evident, that he will announce himself not only as the avowed enemy of Christ, and of his religion, and the most sanguinary persecutor of his Church, but will attempt to substitute himself in his place, and usurp' the honour, and the worship, which are due to no object but the supreme majesty of God.”
After having in these words laid down the principles upon which he considers himself entitled to interpret the prophecy of St. Paul, Mr. Calderbank proceeds to reason from these principles, as if they were quite undeniable; and certainly if the assumed premises be granted, the conclusion must follow, that the Papal power is not the Man of Sin.
I shall now, however, proceed to show that the principles thus taken for granted, have no foundation in the Scriptures, and consequently that the superstructure raised upon them must fall to the ground.
It is assumed, in the passage above quoted, that the power described by. St. Paul, is to be “some one individual or other.”_It is true that he is styled in the prophecy “that MAN OF SIN, the SON OF PERDITION," the language is therefore in the singular number. But it does not hence follow, that a single individual is intended. In Dan. vii. 17, the four Beasts which were symbolical representations of the four Gentile Monarchies, are called "four kings," a king being used for a kingdom. In Heb. ix. 7, 25, the HIGH PRIEST in the singular number, is used for the series, or order of high priests. In Isaiah lxvi. 7, the Church of God is personified under the character of a WOMAN, who travails in birth and brings forth a MAN CHILD, which child is in the next verse called a nation, and denotes the nation of the Jews, which is suddenly to be converted to the truth in the last days.--The same figure of a woman is used to denote the true Church, in Galat. iv. 26, and in Rev. xii. 1-6. The figure of a woman is once more used to denote a corrupt church, in Rev. xvii. Having thus so many