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work, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way;" that the apostasy which he predicts and the revelation of the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition were not so remote as the Papists suppose, and consequently that their opinions on this point are decidedly opposed to the testimony of the Apostle, and therefore unscriptural and erroneous.
It is lastly asserted by Mr. Calderbank, that “from the authority of St. Paul, it is, moreover, evident, that Antichrist 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 honours and the worship which are due to no object but the supreme majes
ty of God.”
That the Antichrist must be the enemy of Christ and of his religion, is certain ; but it does not hence follow that he is to be an avowed enemy. There is only one individual besides this MAN OF SIN, to whom (as far as I remember) the appellation of the son of PERDITION is given in the Scriptures, and he was not an avowed enemy of Christ, but betrayed his master with a kiss, saying, Huil,
Master. (Matt. xxvi. 49.) It is not impossible, therefore, that the MAN OF SIN, or Antichrist, may, like him from whom he obtained the name of the son OF PERDITION, false Apostle and pretended friend of Christ, betraying him with a kiss, saying, Hail, Master.* His other features also, as delineated by St. Paul, will perhaps be found in one who pretends to be the friend, yea, the VICAR of Christ.
Having thus shown that the language of St. Paul does not necessarily imply that the MAN OF SIN was to be one individual person; that the opinion of the Fathers respecting the coming of Antichrist, at or near the end of the world, is entitled to no respect, because it rested upon grounds which history has proved to have been erroneous, and that it is not certain that Antichrist was to be the avowed enemy of Christ, I have, I trust, effectually overturned the principles upon which Mr. Calderbank rests his vindication of the Papal Power, and I shall now prove that the prophecy of St. Paul respecting the MAN OF SIN actually describes the Papacy.
* In confirmation of this, it may be remarked, that the second beast in the Apocalypse, who is elsewhere called the false prophet, has horns like a lamb, i. e. he pretends to be a disciple of the Lamb, but he speaks like a dragon. Rev. xiii. 11.
Evidence from history that the Papal Power exhibits all the characteristical marks of the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition.
I PROPOSE in this chapter to bring forward evidence in support of the position already laid down,* that the characteristical marks of the MAN OF SIN are all to be discerned in the PAPACY, and consequently that the PAPAL POWER is designated in the prophecy of St. Paul under that name.
The first proof of this point is to be found in the fact, that from the early ages of the Church, the Popes have been the great patrons and supporters of saint worship and the adoration of images. It is undeniable that such is the case in the present age, inasmuch as the invocation of saints, and kneeling before, and kissing their images, have been proved to form a conspicuous part of the authorized Liturgies and Manuals of that Church, of which the Pope is the acknowledged head. But these practices have been proved to be idolatry: therefore the Pope
* See pp. 29, 35.
who supports them is the great patron of idolatry, and is justly called on that account the Man of Sin. Like Judas who was a false Apostle, and betrayed his Master, the Pope assumes the character of the apostle and vicar of Jesus Christ, but betrays his cause, and he therefore answers to the description of the Son of PERDITION.*
* That I do not use too strong language, in charging the Popes with having been the great patrons of idolatry, will appear evident from the following remarks, which I quote from the French translator of Fra Paolo's History of the Council of Trent, who was himself a Catholic, and a member of the Gallican Church.
Images were not introduced into churches till about the fourth century, and were received at first only for or. nament and instruction. Thus far there was nothing blameable in them. They were soon abused. The ignorant and superstitious people made them an object of worship. Some Bishops who were zealous to prevent superstition, thought it their duty to pull them down. St. Gregory the Great condemned both parties as running into extremes, wishing that they should preserve the images without paying any worship to them. Such was the practice of the churches in France, England, and Germany, for several centuries. The Greeks did not confine themselves within such limits. They authorized the worship of images to the excess of superstition, and Rome likewise lent itself to this practice. The Council of Frankfort opposed the decisions of the second Council of Nice and the authority of the Popes, and for some time maintained the ancient simplicity. But at length the ascendant of Rome over the Western churches drew them into her opinion, and this worship prevailed every where until the Reformation, when the Lutherans revived the doctrine of the Council of Frankfort, and the Calvinists ran into the extreme of the Iconoclasts.” Histoire du Concile de Trente, Tome ii. p. 646, Note.
It may be observed in the second place, that the Man of Sin was evidently to be an Ecclesiastical Personage. Such is the conclusion Jerome arrived at from his being described as sitting in the temple of God; he says that “ Antichrist shall sit in the temple of God either at Jerusalem, as some imagine, or in the Church, as we more truly judge, showing himself that he is Christ the Son of God."* This characteristic of the Man of Sin undeniably belongs to the Papacy.
It was further predicted of the Man of Sin, that he should oppose and exalt himself aboye all that called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. In the Scriptures, civil rulers or magistrates are frequently denominated Gods. Thus in Deuter. x. 17. Jehovah is called the God of gods, which signifies that He is the God of the princes of the earth:-in Exod. xxii. 28. Ye shall not revile the gods, and shall not curse the ruler of thy people. And in Psalm lxxxii. 1. God judgeth among the gods, and ver. 6. I have said ye are gods, which last text is expressly referred to by
* Quoted by Bishop Newton.