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character of the Man of Sin, the Apostle next reminds the Thessalonians, that while he was with them, he had warned them of these things, and he speaks of a certain obstacle to the revelation of Antichrist, which must be taken out of the way before his appearance, and this, as we have already seen from the concurring testimony of the Fathers, was the Roman Imperial power, on the destruction of which Antichrist was expected to appear. Accordingly, no sooner was the Western Roman empire overthrown, than the Papal power was seen rapidly growing up to maturity amidst the secular thrones which had partitioned among them the territories of the Cæsars.

From the 8th verse, we learn that the Lord shall consume the man of sin with the breath of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming. The former clause may denote the gradual wearing away and consumption of that power, by the light of the gospel, which manifestly began to take place at the Reformation in the sixteenth century, and has continued, though with considerable vicissitudes and interruptions, to the present day. The latter clause points out to us, that the final destruction of Antichrist

shall not be effected until the second advent of our Lord. If, therefore, after having beheld the Papal power reduced to the lowest state of degradation and impotency since the commencement of the French Revolution, we have recently seen its apparent revival and re-establishment in a part of its lost influence and possessions, this event ought not to excite our surprise, as it would be inconsistent with the express declarations of prophecy to expect Antichrist to cease to exist before our Lord comes again to establish his kingdom on the ruins of all its enemies. Then only shall that LAWLESS ONE be destroyed by the brightness of our Saviour's appearance.

St. Paul concludes his description of Antichrist by declaring that "his coming is after the energy of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie. That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous

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power has arrogated to itself authority to trample upon the highest human dignities, and to absolve men from their oaths of allegiance to lawful princes; and that it has been the great patron of idolatry, and has thus in effect raised itself above all laws both human and Divine. Now, it can require no arguments to prove to those who believe the Scriptures, that such a power seated in the Church of Christ, and pretending to be his Vicegerent, must owe its origin to the great energy of the enemy of God and man. The matter is self evident. Since Satan is the father of lies, and of all evil, he must in a peculiar manner be the contriver of this monstrous wickedness. The coming of Antichrist is to be with all power and lying wonders. It is, accordingly, a matter of notoriety, that Papal Rome has always pretended to support its authority by miracles. "Bellarmine reckons the glory of miracles as the eleventh note of the Catholic Church." (Bishop Newton's Dissert. on the Prophecies, Diss. XXII.) If we go back to the earlier periods of the history of that church, we find that lying miracles are one of her most constant resources in order to support her false doctrines or her pretensions. Thus,

at the second Council of Nice, which was acknowledged by Pope Adrian the First, and is now revered by Papists as the seventh general Council, the worship of Images was supported by the most absurd and sottish stories of miracles. Even in the present age,

*

*Out of the acts of that Council, I have selected some examples of the miracles which are there recorded as authentic. From the life of one St. Symeon, the following story is related. A certain woman of Rhosopilis had lived with her husband twenty years, and had no children, and was also possessed with a devil. At length her husband expelled her from his house. She thereupon went to St. Symeon, who cast out the devil, and directed the woman to return to her husband, whose heart the Lord had turned to receive her. She accordingly went back to him, and soon afterwards conceived and brought forth a son. relation afterwards goes on to say, "that the woman being led to it by faith, erected an image of St. Symeon in her house, which being overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, who dwelt in the saint, performed miracles;--so that persons vexed with devils were cleansed, and the sick were cured by it. One woman who had constantly suffered for fifteen years with a flux of blood, came in faith to see the image, and immediately her flux was stopped. For she said within herself, if I shall only see the likeness of the saint, I shall be healed."

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Another story is told of an image of St. Symeon, which was assaulted by a multitude of infidels, or enemies of image worship. One man ascended a ladder to throw down the image; but no sooner had he put out his hand than he was struck down, and fell from the top of the ladder to the ground; a second and a third person who renewed the attempt shared the same fate. The relation ends as follows. "Great fear then fell upon all the faithful that were present, who were struck with the blindness and audacity of these profane infidels, and having adored the image with prayer, they departed." goσxuvoUVTES META προσευχήν τη εικονι ανεχώρουν.

A story is related by Constantine the Bishop of Con

the Romish Church has not ceased to claim miraculous powers;* and she thus continues to identify herself with the prophetical de

stantia in Cyprus, of a man who, as he was going to his work driving a pair of oxen, entered a chapel of the virgin to pray, and seeing a picture of the virgin on the wall, he took his goad and knocked out the right eye of the picture. After leaving the chapel, he struck his oxen with the point of the goad, whereupon the goad broke, and a piece of it flew into his right eye and put it out. The Bishop adds, "I myself saw the man and knew that he was blind of one eye."

The same Reverend Bishop tells a story of a man in the city of Citium, who having driven a nail into the forehead of a picture of St. Peter, was seized with an intolerable pain in his forehead, and remained in a state of torture for two days. The Bishop of Citium, learning the circum. stance, ordered the man to go and draw out the nail; he did so, and was immediately cured. This story was confirmed before the Council by the oath of the Bishop of Citium!!! See Sacro Sancta, Concil. ad Regiam Edit. Paris, 1671. Tome VII. p. 266--270.

* For evidence of this fact, see "Official Memoirs of the Juridical Examination into the authenticity of the miraculous events which happened at Rome in the years 1796-7," with an account of similar prodigies which occurred about the same time, at Ancona and other places in Italy." Translated from the French, compared with the "Original Italian of Sig. Gio. Manchetti, Apostolic Examinator of the Clergy. London, Keating & Co. 1801."

In the above publication, we are told, that no less than twenty-six pictures of the Virgin Mary opened and shut their eyes; which was supposed to be a manifestation of her peculiar grace and favour to the Roman people. At Ancona, the picture of the blessed Virgin, under the title of the Queen of all the Saints, opened and shut its eyes. At Veruli and other places, the pictures of the blessed Virgin and her infant son Jesus opened and shut their eyes. At Torrice there was a variation in the colour of the countenance in a statue of the blessed Virgin, called our Lady

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