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SERMON XII. Uses of this inquiry into the prophe
Rev. xxii. 7. Behold, I come quickly : Blessed is be that
keepeth tbe sayings of the prophecy of this book.
Prophecies concerning AntichrIST.
1 Ep. John ii. 18, --re have beared that Antichrist Mall
MONG the more remarkable pro11 phecies concerning the Christian Church, there are several, which describe the rise, progress, and downfal of a certain Power, represented under various symbols or images, and distinguilhed by many appellations; but more especially known by the name of ANTICHRIST.
These prophecies come now, in the order of this Lecture, to be considered. The subject is, in a high degree, curious VOL. II.
and important; but of no eafy discussion : not fo much on the account of any peculiar difficulty in the prophecies themselves. as from the prejudice of party in explaining them, and still more, from the general prejudice that lies against every attempt to explain them.
To make my way through all these obstructions, I shall begin with laying before you a clear and distinct state of the question itself, which is chiefly agitated by inquirers into these prophecies.
It is admitted, that many predictions in the Old and New Testament, particularly in the book of Daniel, in St. Paul's Epistles, and in the Revelations of St. John, clearly point out a very extraordinary power, which was to manifeft itself in the latter times, that is, in the times subsequent to the in'troduction of Chriftianity. The characters, by which this power (acknowledged by all under the name of Antichrift) is chiefly distinguished, are thofe of Tyranny[d],
[a] By the word Tyranny, here and elsewhere in these discourses, as applied to the Pope, I would be under
Idolatry, Idolatry, and Intolerance. And, to abridge our trouble in searching after this threebeaded monster, we are directed by the prophets to look for him within the boundaries of what was properly called, the Roman Empire, and even in the city of Rome itself.
Thus far there is no dispute. The only question is, To what Roman power, exa hibiting those characters, the prophecies are to be applied. And even this question is reduced within narrow limits. For Two Powers only have sublisted in Rome, from the Christian æra to the present times (within which period we are, again, allowed to expect the reign of Antichrift); the Roman Emperor, in the first place; and, afterwards, the Roman Pontifs. So that,
stood to mean, that super-eminent dominion, which he exercised, or claimed a right of exercifing, over the princes and states of his communion, in all affairs both
temporal and spiritual.-I use the word (somewhat · improperly, perhaps) for the sake of brevity, as I know
of no other single term, that so well expresses my mean: ing.