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it is not difficult to comprehend, decline entering: and I Thall only observe, that though every other European monarchy should stand juftly chargeable with notorious antichristianism, it does not of necessity follow, that that of Great Britain carries upon it the same fatal marks ; nor, though every other writer on the subject should maintain, that the English monarchy' is unquestionably and of course one of the Ten Horns, is it an inevitable inference, that the evidence should strike me with equal force, or that I should entertain the opinion at all? It is, however, apprehended, that on this point the mind of the intelligent and unprejudiced reader will not long hesitate to decide.
As the events, foretold by St. John in ch. xvii. are of great importance, and terminate in a manner favourable to the best interests of mankind, he resumes the subject ịn ch. xix. And I saw the Beast, and the Kings of the carth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, (i. e. against Christ) and against his army. And the Beast' was taken, and with him the False Prophet*, that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast, and them that had worshipped his image: these were both cast alive into a lake of fire. This passage alike respects the oppressive governments and oppressive hierarchies of the European world. The final overthrow of the antichristian church, says a learned commentator on prophecy, ' will be acconiplished in the ' subversion of those civil powers, which have been its only and its long support'.' It is nothing,' says a
5 "The Beast and the False Prophet,' i. e, says bp. Newton (in loc.), 'the Antichristian Powers, Civil and Ecclesiastical.' & Mr. Wakefield translates it, the False Teacher.
• Commentaries and Ellays ; printed for Johnson. Signature Synergus, p. 485.
celebrated writer, ' but the alliance of the kingdom of • Christ with the kingdoms of this world (an alliance ' which our Lord himself expressly disclaimed), that
supports the grossest corruptions of Christianity; and ' perhaps we must wait for the fall of the civil powers • before this most unnatural alliance be broken. Calami'tous, no doubt, will that time be. But what convul. 'fion in the political world ought to be a subject of la
mentation, if it be attended with fo desirable an event ? • May the kingdom of God, and of Christ (that which I * conceive to be intended in the Lord's prayer) truly and • fully come, though all the kingdoms of the world be re• moved in order to make way for it"0.'
Fire is a symbol of destruction; and accordingly the casting of the Beast and the False Prophet into a lake of fire, denotes, to use the words of an early apocalyptical writer upon this passage, the perpetual ruin of all antichristian tyranny, and an utter end of all wicked do
minion".' In the 14th v. of the xxth chapter, immediately after the description of the general resurrection and the day of judgment, the fame"? language is employed. It is said of Death, that he was cast into a lake of fire. Here also the expression has a figurative acceptation : here also it denotes, not torment, but deftruetion"3: here also it is applied, not to a real, but an ideal personage. The ten-horned Beast and the False Prophet
Prielley's Hift. of the Corruptions of Christianity, vol. II. p. 489, 11 The Irenicon Abridged, by W. Sherwin, '1674, p. 37.
12 In the original the two passages váry not‘at all. In both it is thu Agjenny Te Tupos, which our translation arbitrarily renders, in one place, a lake of fire, in the other, the lake of fire.
13 • This lake of fire is but a symbolical notion, or representation of the perpetual continuation and unchangeableness of that state, into which * those matters are reduced, which are said to be thrown therein; imply
ing, that they shall no more affect mankind, as being to them utterly #deftroyed." Dzabuzi
were both cast alive into a lake of fire. * This,' says Dr. Lancaster in his abridgment of Daubuz, ' not only fig. 'nifies, that the punishment of the Beast and of the * False Prophet will be exceeding dreadful, but also that it will, and at the same time the consequences of it, be more terrible than that of their adherents. For we 'must consider, that—the Beast and False Prophet are
bodies politic and perpetual or successive; and that the • design here is to shew us, that Christ will not only 'destroy at last the persons, who at that time are in possession of what is signified by the Beast and False
Prophet, but also utterly extirpate the succession of the ' tyranny and false prophecy for ever. So that the Beast
and the False Prophet are persons in a double capacity ; that is, persons in general, enemies to Christ, and also * in possession of a power, which is to be extinguished • with them. And therefore their particular judgment • must be considered with that double view. Of these two emblematic personages the prophet asserts, not only that they were thrown into a lake of fire, but that they were thrown alive. Now, says Daubuz,' alive signifies one having power and activity ;' and therefore when
they are said to be cast alive,' this may be designed to * shew, that this sudden Revolution shall happen to them whilst they are vigorous and active, strengthening *themselves to resist'4, and little expecting to be sud* denly overcome, and that all the power of this tyranny and false prophecy shall be so destroyed, that it shall never
be able to act again. That is, not only that the persons * of them that hold the power shall be destroyed, which * is but a transient punishment; but also, that their fuc
14 Perfectly does this correspond with the account of the war of Armageddon, in which the confederated antichriftian princes are to levy mighty forces, and vigorously to exert themselves, immediately previous to their completę overthrow.
Mighty and the Nobles of this world are astonished, • when they are told there will soon be a Great
Change"'.' This celebrated German, it will perhaps be thought, was somewhat premature, when he stated this astonishment to have taken place at the time he wrote20. But as applied to the present æra his statement seems perfectly correct. The materials of a Great Change in the European world are already collected; and rapid is their increase. At length the period is ar. rived, when all the plunderers of mankind, however discriminated by titles or offices, feel alternate emotions of astonishment and terror; and are seriously apprehensive of being buried under the foundation of a Mighty Revolution.
19 Int, to the Apoc. ut supra, p. 326.
ON PROPHECY IN GENERAL, AND THE HEBREW
PROPHETS IN PARTICULAR.
ITHERTO I have been principally employed in
citing extracts, or suggesting thoughts, illustrative of the apocalyptic predictions. But as a considerable number of those, which occur in the chapters immediately succeeding, and in the subsequent part of the work, are taken either from Daniel, or from Isaiah, or from some other prophetic writer of the Jewish dispensation, I have concluded, that some extracts, relative to the Hebrew prophets, and to prophecy in general, may
be properly introduced, and that this part of the work furnishes a convenient place for their insertion. Had so large an assemblage of general observations been in. troduced in the beginning of the work, and added to those, relative to the apocalypse, which are brought forward in the mid and ivth chapters, I should have been apprehensive, left a considerable proportion of my read. ers, being principally solicitous to penetrate the import of particular prophecies, would have neglected to beitow upon them that degree of attention which they justly claim.
• To know future events,' says Dr. Sykes, and to be * able to foretell them, is not, cannot be the effect of • study, or peculiar temperature of body; it cannot be
taught in schools, since it depends upon an infinity of • free contingent actions, which he alone who governs * all things can direct or foresee. If, therefore, events • have been foreseen and foretold, at such distance of * time, as excludes the knowledge of human minds, and the powers of their conjectures, it muft be owing to • divine influence, and to that alone": There
be observed, several propositions, to prove any one of which, would be to prove the nonexistence of prophecy. But then these propositions are so unreasonable, so unfounded, that to give a simple Itatement of them will be sufficient to convince the honest inquirer, that they are completely incapable of proof. If Collins, in his work against prophecy, ' would • have acted tle part of a fair and reasonable adversary, • he should,' says Dr. Samuel Chandler, have proved * prophecy an impossible thing; either that there is no
God; or that if there is, he doth not concern himself * about the affairs of nations and kingdoms ; or that if
Principles and Connexion of Nat, and Rev. Rel. p. 176.