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I have told you, before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass yo might believe.
JESUS. Babylon the Great is fallen, is fallen! Come out of her, my people, chat ye
bé not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and fa. mine.
Rev. xviii. 2. 8. Be ye ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.
PRINTED IN THE YEAR M.DCCC.VIII.
THE FIRST EDITION.
NEWBURY, Jan. 19, 1793. H.
ISTORY no where informs us of any event so extra
ordinary as the late revolution in France. If viewed on all sides, with its attending circumstances, by an attentive and unprejudiced eye, it must surely excite the greatest astonishment; and those who have been used to unite in their minds the providence of God with human occurrences, (whether they approve of this great change of things or not), cannot help inquiring, Is this from men, or is it from God? Is it one of those commotions produced by the conflicting passions of men, that rise and sink, and are soon forgotten; or is it one of those events which mark the great æras of time, and from which originate new orders of things ?-If the latter, it is undoubtedly the theme of prophecy.
Appearances indicate that this will be a fatal stroke to the Papal usurpations, and to the reign of despotism. Those prophecies, therefore, which direct our hopes to that interesting period, when all Antichristian tyrannies are to perish, deserve, at this time, peculiar attention. But where shall we find a clue to guide us in our inquiries? The author of the following thoughts consulted commentators the most generally approved, on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation of John. He found much to edify and to excite curiosity, but was still in the midst of a wilderness. At length he was determined to commit himself to his own investigations, and explore these regions of wonders, without placing implicit confidence in any guide.
A serious application to the study of the prophecies, and an attentive observation of the signs of the times, have produced in my mind the strongest persuasion, that the utter downfal of the Papacy, the final overthrow of despotism, the restoration of the Jews, and the renovation of all things, are near at hand; and that every year will astonish us with new wonders. As the days of Noe were,
so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of mun be."*
From this persuasion arises the indispensable duty of calling the attention of mankind, with peculiar earnestness, to the things which belong to their peace. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain : let all the inhabitants of the land tremble ; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand.”+
I know what an author, who writes on subjects like these, has to expect. But my heart tells me, that I publish these thoughts with the purest intentions, and that my only aims are to serve the interests of Christianity, to promote the welfare of my countrymen, and the common cause of humanity, by inviting men to consider the signs of the times; that, as individuals, and as a nation, we may examine our ways, repent, and reform ; that thus the Divine displeasure may be averted, and that constitution, which has secured to this empire so many blessings, to which most other nations are strangers, may be purified and strengthened, and by these means be continued to our posterity. I do therefore most fervently pray, that God may succeed this feeble attempt, and bless us, and all men, with
THE kingdom which God was to set up under the
1 Messiah, according to the prophets, was to be a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Unto us a Child is born-the government shall be upon his shoulder.Of the increase of his governinent und peace there shall be no end.-The wolf and the lamb shall feed together. He shall speak peace to the heathen,* who have long been the prey of destroyers, and of one another. If we contemplate the principles of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, they promise fair to produce the enjoyment of all that which the prophets predicted. But where is the effect? The annals of the Christian world, as well as those of the Pagan, discover to us little more than the history of ambition, supersti. tion, and bloodshed. The career of this kingdom began in piety towards God, and in love and peace to all mankind. But systems of error, superstition, and oppression, soon interrupted its progress and perverted its principles. Christianity has been converted into a system of com. merce, and those called the ministers of Christ, have been a corporation of traders in the souls and liberties of mankind.
Were I to attempt to define the character of Antichrist, I should say, It is all that which opposes itself to the kinga dom of Christ, whether it flow from the ecclesiastical or civil powers. Although the Papacy, more strictly speaking, is especially the Antichrist, yet, the civil constitutions of nations, as well as the ecclesiastical, so far as they accord with, or have a tendency to promote, that pride and that ambition which lead to oppression, persecution and war, are Antichristian. Whatever in religion is destructive of union among Christians, which leads to domination over conscience, to hirider free inquiry after truth, or any way oppresses and persecutes men for matters cognizable only by God, is Antichristian. Wherever there is intolerance; wherever we find conditions of communion among Christians imposed, which Christ hath not clearly enjoined; wherever creeds and modes of worship are enforced by human power, and men are made to forfeit any of their cia'.
* Isa. ix. 6, 7. lxv. 25. Zech. ix. 10.