Page images
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ticular attentions which tend to cherish ex connected with religion, than any other instrupectation, be is perfectly disengaged from the ments of conveyance. force of the above reasons, and at liberty tu Succession in estates must he regulated by leave liis fortune to his friends, to charitable positive rules of law, there being no principle and public porposes, or to whom he will; the of natural justice whereby to ascertain the same blood, prosignity of blood, and the like, || proportiou of the difierent claimants, not to are merely modes of speech, implying nothing mention that the claim itself, especially of real, vor any obligation of themselves. collateral kindred, seems to have little founda

There is always, bowever, a reason for pro- tion in the law of nature. These regulations viding for our poor relations in preference to should be guided by the duty and presumed otbers who may be eqnally necessitous, which inclination of the deceased, so far as these is, that if we do not, no body else will; man considerations can be consulted by general kind, by an established consent, leaving the rules. The statutes of Charles the Second, reduced brauches of good families to the commonly called the statutes of distribution, bounty of their wealthy alliances.

which adopt the rule of the Roman law, in the The not making a will is a very culpable distribution of personals, are sufficiently equitomission, where it is attended with the follow-able. They assign one-third to the widow, and iug effects: where it Icaves ghters or two-thirds the children : in case of no younger children at the mercy of the eldest children, one-half to the widow, and the other son; where it distributes a personal fortune half to the next of kin; where neither widow equally amongst the children, although there nor lineal descendants survived, the whole to be no equality in their exigencies or situations; the next of kin, and to be equally divided where it leaves an opening for litigation; or amongst kindred of equal degrees; without lastly, and princip:lly, where it defrauds cre distinction of whole blood and half blood, ditors; for by a defect in our laws, while has or of consanguinity by father's or mother's side. been long and strangely overlooked, real The descent of real estates, of houses, that estates are not subject to the payment of is, and land, having been settled in more debts by simple contract, unless made so by reniote and ruder times, is less reasonable. will; althougb credit is in fact given to the There never can be inuch to complain of in a possession of such estates. He, therefore, who rule, which every person may avoid by so easy neglects to make the necessary appointments la provision, as that of making his will; otherfor the payment of his debts, as far as bia wise, our law in this respect, is chargeable with effects extend, sins, as it has been justly said, some fagrant absurdities; such as that an in his grave; and if he omits this on purpose estate sball in no wise go to the brother or to defeat the demand of his creditors, he dies sister of the half blood, though came to the with a deliberate fraud in his heart.

deceased from the common parent; that it Anciently, wlien one died without a will, the shall go to the remotest relation the intestate Bishop of the diocese took possession of his has in the world, rather than to his own father personal fortune, in order to dispose of it for or mother, or even be forfeited for want of an the benefit of bis soul; that is, to pious or an heir, though both parents survive; that the charitable uses. It became necessary, there most distaut paternal relation shall be prefore, that the Bishop should be satisfied of the ferred to an uncle or own cousin by the authenticity of the will, when there was any, mother's side notwithstanding the estate was before be resigned the right he had to take purchased and acquired by the intestate him. possession of the dead mau's fortune, in case self. of intestacy. In this way, wills, and contro Land not being so divisible as money, may versies relating to wills, came within the be a reason for making a difference in the cognizance of Ecclesiastical Courts; under the course of inheritance, but there ought to be jurisdiction of which, wills of personal (the no difference but what is founded upon that only wills that were made formerly) still con reason. The Foruan law made none. tinue; though, in truth, no more now a days

A. P.

No. I. Vol. 1-N. S.




never did exist; and that what we call pre. I Trust it will not be contrary to the dictions are only bistories written, in a proplan of your Miscellany to admit some obser- phetic style and manuer, after the events had vations upon the late affairs of Europe, which, happened. To prove this, no one tolerable wonderful and inscrutable as they seem to be, | argument has hitherto been adduced. On the I consider as having been long traced out by contrary, there are all the proofs and authothe finger of prophecy, and prepared for oc- | rities, which the nature of the inquiry admits, currence and action in the present æra of the that the Prophets prophecied in such and world.

such ages; and you have as much reason to The age in which we live preseuts one of believe these, as you have to believe any the scenes of that great and awful drama which ancient matter of fact whatever; and by the was to be expected near its close. The general same rule that you deny this, you might deny plau and economy of the Almighty govern- | the crediblity of all ancient history. ment, which is the fuluess of the Gentiles, For the most remarkable series of proand the diffusion of Christianity, so as to over- | phecies, that in wliich all Christians are deeply spread the earth like the waters, are in these interested, we have the joint suffrages of Pagan latter times more fully developed and under as well as Christian authors-that the predic. stood. The fuggy vista of the ancient pro- tions were pronouced at least two hundred phecies is now better seen througli, and as years before the birth of bim to whom they the plot, originally contrived by divine wis- | allude. No one will deny the well authentidom and goodness, thickens as it draws near | cated fact of history, that the Septuagiut its close, future events are more clearly con trauslation of the Bible into Greek (out of the jectured by comparing them with the past, | original Hebrew), from which the Vulgate and by reasoning upou that harmony and copy has chiefly been rendered, was made by uniformity of purpose which will be always the command of Ptolemy Philadelphus, the found to prevail in God's moral, as well as in great Egyptian Macenas of his age. We know bis oatural government.

then, that the prophecies relating to the birth One of the strongest evidences for the truth of Christ were written at least two hundred of revealed religion is that series of prophecies years before his birth, supposing that this preserved in the Old and New Testaments. Greek copy of the Bible had been the first Many of these prophecies are not yet fulfilled, that ever appeared in the world, and that, though uttered some thousand years ago; but contrary to common sense, an original Hetbis is no arguinent against their completion. brew text had never existed. Prophecy is of the nature of its divine Author, But if we are satisfied that these prophecies with whom a thousand years are but as one were published two hundred years before the day, and therefore they are not fulfilled | birth of their objcet, why should we besitate to puuctually at once, but, according to a fine grant that they were actually written in the age remark of Lord Bacon, “they have spring when they purport to have been written? Is it ing and germinant accomplishments through easier to predict an event which shall occur many ages, though the height and fulness of two hundred years hence, than to predict one them may refer to some one age."

which shall occur within eight hundred years? It is the prerogative of God alone, or of|If the darkness of future events can be peve. those commissioned by him, to foretel future trated by the eye of prophecy at all,why should events; and the consequence is so plain and we bound the vision by the arithmetic of cennecessary, from the believing of prophecies turies ? to the believing of revelation, that an infidel It is one great excellency of the evidence bas no way of evading the conclusion, but by drawn from prophecy for the truth of reli. denying the premises.

gion, that it is a growing evidence; and in this So many ages have passed since the spirit respect we, who live in these latter times, have of prophecy ceased in tbe world, that several || eminently the advantage of those who lived persons are apt te imagine that such a thing leven in the days of Moses and the Prophets of

[ocr errors]

Christ and his Apostles. They were bappy in- whom I consider as another Cyrus; a special deed, in hearing their discourses, and seeing agent and justrument of the divine will contheir miracles, and doubtless “ many righte- ducted, visibly, by the Almighty hand, and alons men bare desired to see those things which they lowed the use and enjoyment of a large share of side, and have not seen them, and to hear these temporal prosperity, as one of the incidental things which they heard, and have not heard consequevces upon acts concurring with his thon," Matthew, c. 1, v. 17; but we have this own ultimate designs. advantage over them, that several things, The temporal exaltation of such an agent, which were then only foretold are now fai and the seeming consequent irregularity in the filled; and what were to them only matters of economy of rewards and punishments, siguihes faith, are become facts and certainties to us, nothing when brought in comparison with the mpoo whom the latter ages of the world have good of the general purpose. The felicity corne. God, in bis goodness, has provided and glory are personal; they are those of the for, and meted out w every age its portion of man and the individual whilst the geort, to evidence wheru pon to establish his truth. Mi be wrought by his instrumentality, is perhaps, racles were the great proofs of revelation in the a change in the whole systein of the mpral and first ages who saw tbem performed; pro- the Cloristian world. phecies are the great proofs of revelation to Permit me, Sir, impressed with these ideas, the last ages who see them fulfilled. All pre to call the attention of your readers to the tence, 100, for denying the truth of Scripture prophecies of Scripture which this man seems is by those means absolutely precluded; for more especially appointed to fulfil. I mean bow can it be pretended that the prophecies those proipliecies wbicb relate to the overwere written after the events, when it ap-tbrow of the Papal power. If there be any pears that the latest of the prophecies were thing replete with truth, curiosity and intewritten and published near eighteeu hundred rest, it is this subject. Your female readers, years ago, and the events have many of them Sir, will find it, even in point of entertainheen accomplished several ages after the pre- ment, as full of interest as any story they ever dictions, and are accomplishing in the world at read of mere imagintion; and when tbey this present time; that in respect of the consider that it is the voice of truth and revelaoverthrow of the Papal power in particu- tion, that the interest embraces the whole comlar, which is the subject of this discussion. pass of created beings; that the author is

We are therefore reduced to this necessity, ! God and the hero is Christ, and the mathat we must either renounce our senses, and chinery and tbe action are those of the moral deny what we read in our Bibles, together world; when they consider these things, I witb what we may see or observe in the world : expect that they will follow me through ibis or else we must acknowledge the truth of and the next paper with seriousness and attenprophecy, and, in consequence of that, the tion; my purpose is briefly to trace the rise, truth of divine revelation.

progress, establisbment, and destruction of the Let us theu take bold of this sacred thread, Papal power of Antichrist. as a clue to guide us through those mazes of

I pretend to little originality, and shall divine wisdom wbicb we may be suffered to freely make use of the assistance and words of explore; and let us console ourselves, that if | others. The foundations upon which the inthe shine of the temple, the glorious Sheck. terpretation of prophecy immovably stand, inab, the mark of the visible presence of God were not the work of one or two bands. In wyder the Jewish economy, be withdrawn this dark, but rich mine, numbers have toiled, from us, we have the more certain and sted and still toil on ; but it may with justice be fast light of prophecy; we have a Temple of said of our English interpreters that they have our own in the holy Scriptures, in which the contributed a rock of native granite, to form a mysteries of God are enshrined, and sealed up 1 pedestal for Christian prophecy, upon wbich in bis holy repository. We bave a Mount she is so securely mounted, that neither inSinai wbich, though wrapt in clouds and dark

fidelity nor fauatiscim can shake her. Dess, emits, every now and then, a ray of light As the papal power was the greatest cor. and glory, to cheer us ou oar journey, and ruption of Christianity, it cannot be thought direct us in our path.

extraordinay, that more of the prophecies of We have lately seen an end of the Pa- : Revelations are applicable to it thau to auy pal power; to the extinction of which the other branch of Antichristiav power. prophecies of Revelations have been applied As both Mabomet anisto and Infidelity conupwards of five hundred years. The destruc sisted more of open hostility, they were likely lite blow has been dealt by a great conqueror,

to be better distinguished by Christians,

without the aid of such strong prophetic : the seren here's of the beast that carried her are light, as that which is afiorued to expose, and Saver mountains on which the woman sitteth, and to iring in full view, the counterfeit Christis the woman which thou stricest is that great city, auity fibe Church of Rome.

which reignetk orer the kingg of the earth. Rome A combination of prophecy with history is well known to be built upon seven bilis; will sbow with what perfect exactness this and at the time wben this revelation was comPapal power of Antichrist is marked out by municated to St. John, ils dominion was exthe prophets Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John. ' tended over all the knows world.

To guide our inquiries to the right points 1 Furnished with these plain directions by the of observation, St Jobu has designated, by Apostle, we proceed to trace the gradual rise certain appropriate allusions and descriptions, and progress, decline and fall of the man of sin, the peculiar nature of this power, the time as presented to our view by history and the when it begav to manifest itself to the world, course of present events. and the seut of its authority and government. The temporal dominion of the Pope arose

And I stood upon the sund of the sea, and saw a out ott be ruins of the Roman empire. beast rise up out of the sea, haring seven heads and “During a period of two hundred years," ten horris, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon says Gibbon, “Italy was unequally diviiled his heads the naine of hlasphemny. This wonder between the kingilom of the Lombards, and ful beast with a crown on each horn, and a the Exarchate of Ravenna. The offices and blaspliemous inscription on each of his seven ll professions, which the jealousy of Constantine heads, denoted the new form of government hrad separated, were united by the indulgence that was to be erected in the city of Rome, by of Justinian; and eighteen successive Exarchs the great comniotions of the world, after the were invested, in the decline of the empire, Imperial power had been destroyed, avd the with the full remains of civil, of inilitary, and empire was divided into ten distinct and inde even of eeclsiastical power. Their imediate peudeut sovereignties.

jurisdierion, which was afterwards consecratIn the mystical description which the Apos. ed as the patrimony of St. Peter, extended tle afterwards gives of this beast, it will great over the modern Romagna, the inar: les or ly assist our inquiries to discover by a given valleys of Ferrara avd Commacliio, five warinumber, when this Antichristian power shall time cities, from Rimini to Ancona; and a arise ; and from thence ascertain with more second, inland Pentapolis, between the Adriprecision what power is meant by the pro atic coast and the hills of the Apennine Three phetical representation. Here is uisdoue: let subordinate provinces of Rome, of Venice, him that hath understanding, count the winber of and of Naples, which were divided by hostile the beast : for it is the number of a man, and his lands from the palace of Ravenna, acknownu inber is sir hundred threescore and six. If we ledged, both in peace and war, the supreinary compute this number 666 from the time when of the Exarch. The Duchy of Rome appear's St John saw this prophetic vision, we shall to have included the Tuscan, Sabine, and Lafind that this new power was established at tjan conquests, of the first tour bundred years the termination of this mysiic num'er of years. of the city; and the limits may be distinctly

St. Jobu was banished to the isle of Patmos traced along the coast, from Civita Vecchia, in the latter part of the reign of Domitian, to Terracina, and with the course of the Tyber and returned from thence in mediately on his from Ameria and Narni to the port of death. Domitiau reigned from 81 t 26. Now | Ostia." St. Johu saw the vision in the isle of Patmos ; “ The Bishops of Italy and the adjacent and it is generally acknowledged, that the islands ackuowledged the Roman Pontiff Papacy received the temporal power, and bell (Gregory the Great) as their special metrocame the beast, in 756.

politan. Even the existence, the union, or The seat of this power is fixed at Rome. the translation of episcopal seals, was decided Tbat great city, which in the times of Pagan by his absolute discretion; and his successful idolatry had been the mistress of the antient inroads into the provinces of Greece, of Spain, world by the force of her arms, became in more and of Gaul, might countenance the more modern ages, by the establishment of her lofty pretensions of succeeding Popes. spiritual laws, so much exalted in power, as to! “In 729, Italy revolted from the eastern, or reign orer the kings of the earth. The woman, Greek Emperor Leo; but the Pupes exhortupon whose forehead was inscribeul Nystery, Baby- ing the Italians vot to separate from the body lon the Great, the mother of Harlots, and ahonni of the Roman monarchy, the Exarch was pernations of the earth, is, according to the ex. mitted to reside within the walls ot' Raveunit, planation of the angel, the city of Rome ; for a captive rather than a master : and till the

« PreviousContinue »