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good Providence continue to be our Defence and Protection! But for Earthquakes, they have been more common in many Parts of Europe and America within thefe few Years, than they have been for fome Ages before.
ANOTHER Sign is the Perfecutions which the faithful Witneffes of the Truth of God fhall fuffer from the Oppofition of thofe that have corrupted the Truth by the Workings of the Antichriftian Spirit, v. 9. Then fhall they deliver you (the Teachers and Affertors of Apoftolical Truth) up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and you shall be bated of all Men for my Name's fake. And v. ro. many shall be offended, and shall betray “one” añother, and hate one another. Upon which Words I fhall mention no other Comment *Cat 15. than that of St. Cyril of Jerufalem *, If "thou hearest that Bishops contend against Bifhops, and Priefts against Priests, and People against People, even to Blood, be not disturbed at it; for it was foretold that it fhould come to pafs, (And again) Amongst the Apostles themfelyes there was Treachery, and doeft thou wonder that there is Variance amongst Bifhops?
ANOTHER Sign is, v. 11. Many Falfe Prophets fhall arife, and fhall deceive many. This Sign in particular has been vifibly fulfilled in the fight of all Men, by one of the most notorious and remarkable Inftances of Delufion that ever was acted in any period of the Church, a Delusion masked under fo
vaft a Mixture of noble Primitive and EvanI gelical Truths, and fuch Appearances of Piety and dif-interested Zeal for God,that it deceiv'd many well-meaning pious Souls, who I followed them in the Simplicity of their Hearts. These may, I think, in the most proper Sense be called Falfe Prophets, though they taught and published many great and noble Truths. Prophets, I think they may hi! be called, in the common Acceptation of the Word, for Perfons that fpeak by the Direction and Affiftance of fome fupernatural Agent. For this I am perfwaded was their Cafe, neither can I be induced to think that the whole was a Sham and Contrivance of fome cunning Leaders amongst them who were at the Bottom of the whole Design, to ferve fome By-ends of their own; and I believe it appears by this Time, that there have been fundry Things done amongst them, that greatly exceed the Powers of Nature. Secondly, They are False Prophets, as having not justify'd their Miffion by that decifive Miracle to which they made their See, The laft and most folemn Appeal. And Laftly, New Prethey may be called Falfe, as fpeaking in and tenders to by a falfe Spirit, and making thofe very examin'd, Truths they uttered fubfervient to the pro- and their moting of Error and Falfehood, as might Pretences be shown at large, and which I fear will be fhewn to be but too fadly evident by the lamentable Ef groundless and falfe, fects which it has and will have according to by N. the different Impreffions which it has made Spinckes, upon the Minds and Principles of different M. A. Perfons. I cannot pafs by this Sign, with- Printed for R. Sare,
† So do the Soci
out taking Notice of St. Cyril's Comment
nians of c our Time.
The next Sign is v. 12. That because of th abundance of iniquity, the love of many shall was cold. Upon this faith St. Cyril, Ibid. Can any here prefent fay, that he does in all Refpects love his Neighbour with Since rity? Are not our Words very often friendly, our Countenances fmiling, and our Eyes chearful, whilft the Hear contrives Deceit, and he that fpeaks Peace, has War in his Heart? (A little after). The Want of brotherly Love will
make Way for Antichrift. The Devil makes Divifions and Strife amongst Men, that the Enemy (viz. Antichrift) may be more easily let in. The fame Account given by Lactantius of the Times preling the Reign of Antichrift, pag. 646. There fhall be fo little Righteoufnefs in the World, and fuch Abundance of Covetoufnefs, Impiety and Luft, that the few good Men that fhall be left fhall become a Prey to the Wicked. They fhall live in Plenty, whilft the Righteous fhall labour under Contempt and Poverty; Right fhall be oppreffed, the Laws fhall lofe their Force, there fhall be neither Sincerity, nor Peace, nor common Civility, nor Truth among Men. he fame Account is given by Methodius Parenfis, And alas! who is there at this day at may not take up Jeremiah's Lamenta-P. 396. on, chap. 9. and wish in the Bitterness of is Soul for a Lodging of way-faring Men, in the ent retirement of a wilderness, that he might ave his people and go from them. For they be all dulterers (loving the World, and the Riches nd Pleasures of it more than God) Jam.4.4. In Affembly of treacherous men, they bend their ngues like bowes for lies, but they are not valiant or the truth upon the Earth. Take ye beed every ne of his neighbour, and truft ye not in any broher, for every brother will utterly Supplant, and very neighbour will walk with flanders, and they vill deceive every one his neigbour, and will not peak the truth; they have taught their tongue to peak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity;
quity; their tongue is as an arrow shot out, it Speaketh deceit ; one fpeaketh peaceably to his Neighbour with his mouth, but in heart be layeth wait, V. 2, 3, 4, 8.
BUT you will say, if these be the infallible Tokens, whereby we are to judge of the near approach of that Time; How comes it to pafs that fo many Holy and Good Men have been mistaken in their Judgments about it? Since fo many of the Ancient Fathers, who have written about thefe Matters, have taken Pains to apply them all to their own Times, and to perfwade themselves and others, that the Day of the Lord was at hand? To this I anfwer, That the Illuftrious Ideas which the Ancients had receiv'd from the Holy Scriptures as then understood, and from the Traditions of their Venerable Predeceffors in the Faith, concerning the Glorious Kingdom of the Meffiah, and the Reftitution of Nature (which will be the Confequences of the Great Affliction) were fo tranfporting and ravishing, that their inflamed Affections could not chufe but outrun, or at leaft lay a ftrong Byafs upon their Judgments, and make them often believe, that what they wish'd to be fo near at hand, could not be far off. So even the Difciples themselves, as foon as ever our Lord was Rifen from the Dead, could not chufe but think that the Kingdom fhould immediately be reftor'd to Ifrael, Act. 1. 6. But if we, upon whom the Ends of the World are come, have not the fame long