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useful. The caution (as applied by Bayle) was borne in mind,
" Nec Babylonios Tentàris numeros."
The very ingenious letter of Mr. Evanson to Bishop Hurd, (which well deserves to be reprinted,) furnishes a variety of proofs and illustrations of the distinction above alluded to, and of the leading object of the first Lecture.
“With respect to Daniel, it iust be remarked, that if we except the celebrated prediction of the seventy weeks, the avowed objects of all his prophecies are the great revolutions of civil government under the four universal monarchies of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. It is, therefore, reasonable to conclude, that no circumstances are introduced by the prophet, but such as coincide, or are necessarily connected with the main scope of his predictions. Now, since the ten horns of his fourth visionary beast are declared to be emblems of the many separate kingdoms into which this prophet, so many ages before the event, repeatedly foretold the European Roman Empire would be divided, it will readily be granted, that the little horn, representing a temporal principality arising upon the ruins of some of the various governments, into which the body of the empire was at first broken, differing from the other kingdoms of the West, and though little, that is, inferior to the other principalities in power, yet assuming a tone and deportment more arrogant than any of them, blaspheming the Deity, and persecuting conscientious Chris
tians, is a very just and exact type of the Roman hierar. chy, and applicable to no other hierarchy upon earth, because none other ever acquired to itself an independent civil dominion. But then it is to be observed, that the Church of Rome, as described in this prophecy, within the limits of its own temporal jurisdiction, that is, as far as its local situation is concerned, is itself one of the disjointed members of the old Roman Empire, a horn of the emblematic beast, described both in this vision and in the Revelation of St. John. It cannot, therefore, in respect of its local situation, be considered, much less exclusively considered, as the antitype of the woman represented by the apostle riding upon that very beast, that is, supported by all the European princes; of whom the Roman hierarchy is one. Nor can the exaltation of the Bishop of Rome to the throne of civil power, which is clearly one of the chief subjects of this prophecy, any otherwise assist us in determining the æra of that universal apostacy from the true religion of the gospel, predicted by the prophets of the new covenant, than as it affords us a very convincing proof of its having taken place previously to that event; because, without a long and general falling away, both of pastors and people, from the spirit and principles of Christianity, ecclesiastical ambition could never have aimed at, much less have attained, so high a pinnacle of worldly great
The liberal divines of the Church of England, as Law, Jortin, Blackburne, &c., have seen and allowed that the spirit of Antichrist has deeply infected Protestant Churches, and many Dissenters have made the same concession, even as to their own societies. An American
divine, whose notions were sufficiently orthodox, asks, “ Where can the church be found which is thoroughly parged from these abominations? Some churches may be more pure, and may have proceeded farther in a reformation, than others; but none are wholly clear of an antichristian spirit, and the fruits of it." See “ A Treatise on the Millenium, by Dr. Hopkins, Pastor of the first Congregational Church in Newport, Rhode Island."
Good Dr. Hopkins could not exactly satisfy himself, any more than Bishop Newton, as to the time when the Millenium shall commence : for, as he observes of the Bishop of Rome, “ As this beast rose gradually, from step to step, till he became a beast in the highest and most proper sense, this involves the subject in some degree of uncertainty." But he had a very clear perception of its blessings, apparently suggested in some particulars by present inconveniences. Thus he complains of the “ nuisance" of “ huge rocks and stones," which would then be applied to mending the roads. “ Then, in a literal sense, the valleys shall be filled, and the mountains and bills made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth, to render travelling more convenient and easy.” Another of his anticipations is of a more professional nature. “Then public teachers will be eminently burning and shining lights, and the hearers will be all attention.” The work commences with a very friendly address “ to the people who shall live in the days of the Millenium,” to inform them what is now thought of them, and he very properly and modestly assures them “ all is humbly submitted to your better judgment."
NOTE () - Page 13.
This remark occasioned an attack upon the author by an “ Unitarian Baptist,” whose letter, with some observations in reply, appeared in the Monthly Repository for Nov. 1818. The offence probably originated in some misapprehension, which the appearance of the whole passage, exactly as delivered from the pulpit, may correct. The General Baptists have done good service to the cause of religious liberty, and but few of them can be implicated in, or offended by, a condemnation of Dissenting imposition, pronounced by one who is proud, on this subject, to be a disciple of that illustrious ornament of their denomination, Robert Robinson. He felt, strongly enough, the degradation of those who, having renounced the splendid vassalage of the Church, could submit to the exaction, by societies, or individuals, of creed, ceremony, or experience, as a necessary pre-requisite to those privileges which Christ designed for all his followers.
Ibis sub furcâ prudens, dominoque-
O toties servus ! Quæ bellua ruptis,
This subject is more fully discussed in Lecture III.
NOTE (9) Page 18.
Apostacy,” introduces a selection of miracles, attested by the Fathers, which is not unamusing :
“ St. Jerome tells us, that as St. Anthony was travelling through the deserts of Egypt, he espied a satyr approaching towards him; or a little man with goat's feet, a crooked nose, and a forehead armed with horns, who, in token of peace, offered him the fruit of the palm-tree, and being asked presently by St. Anthony what he was, gave this answer ; 'I am a mortal, and one of those inhabitants of the desart, whom the deluded Gentiles worship, under the name of fawns, satyrs, and incubi, and am now deputed as an ambassador from our whole tribe, to beg your prayers and intercession for us, to our common Lord and Master; whom we know to have been sent for the salvation of the whole world.'
“The same learned father informs us of a great dragon that could suck up whole oxen and sheep, with the herdsmen and shepherds, and swallow them down at once, and that Hilarion commanded him to ascend a pile of wood, which he obeyed, and was burnt to death. And that this same Hilarion could tell what particular devil any one was subject to, by the smell of his body or clothes, or any thing he touched.
“ Gregory Nazianzen informs us, that Gregory Thaumaturgus not only cast out Satan from a temple where he was worshipped, but afterwards wrote him the following billet, Gregory to Satan, Enter :' which was accordingly done.
“Sulpitius Severus tells us how a person was dispossessed by some of the straw which St. Martin had lain upon ; and how, after dispossession, he saw the devil upon a cow's back.