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with the sacred buildings of the Capitol. Italy; indeed, is a storehouse of fire. And when the 1260 years are expired, Rome itself, with all its magnificence, will be absorbed in a lake of fire, sink into the sea, and rise no more at all for ever *
It was this grand Antichristian apostacy t, of which we lrave been speaking, that St. Paul unquestionably alludes to in 2 Thess. ii., 1---12; in 1 Tim. iv. 1-3; and in 2 Tim. iii. 1-5. St. JOHN speaks of the same thing, 1 John ii. 18, 22; and in the book of Revelation he hath described the abominations of the Church of Rome at considerable length, but in language highly figurative 1. If we will be at the pains to lay all these predictions together, and compare them with those of DANIEL, before mentioned, we cannot fail seeing to whom all the characters belong, and how awful the destruction is, which awaits this mother of abominations.
“ But what is all this to us? Have we not long ago' renounced the errors and delusions of the Church of Rome, and declared ourselves professors of the genuine doctrines of the Redeemer of mankind! May we not expect,
* Being persuaded of the destruction of this metropolis of the Christian world, one cannot help feeling pleasure that the French have remover many of the finest pieces of art from this vast repository of curiosities [*].
[*] The great regret is, that the French should have obtained these valuable acquisitions, in a manner which proves that they are totally unworthy of them, and are so little capable of properly estimating their value. What a source of wealth and splendour might not such monuments bave procuted to an honourable people. Distinguished foreigners of all nations attracted by them, would have poured into the Frenck metropolis to be gratified with the sight. But the despot now ruling France, has given to them such a warning in his equally unjust and impolitic detention of the English, that all foreigners will regard his Metropolis in the light of a Bastile, and his dominions as the land of cruelty, of blood, and of death.-Editor.
+ ALEXANDER Pope, Esq. though a Catholic, as is supposed, to the day of his death, was convinced that the Church of Rome had all the marks of that Antichristian power predicted in the writings of the New Testament. And though he had not courage to profess himself a Protestant, he was firmly persuaded of the truths of Christianity. RUFFHEAD, p. 542.
I The seven seals in this hieroglyphical book refer to Rome in her Pagan state: the seven trumpets to the Roman empire in its Chris tian state; and the seven vials to the same Roman empire, broken into ten kingdoms, in its Popish and Antichristian state.
therefore, to be delivered from those judgments, which have already fallen upon France and other countries, and which shall assuredly fall on all the Antichristian states in Europe, which formerly made a part of the Roman empire?"
The ten * kingdoms, before spoken of, we know, are all to fall, at the end of the said 1260 years, from the time they owned the dominion of the little horn. Now, England is universally allowed to be one of the ten. If we begin to reckon the 1260 years from the time when GREGORY the Great, Pope of Rome, sent over Austin, and his companions, to preach the gospel to our idolatrous ancestors, there are a few years yet to expire, before our doom shall be sealed in the courts above t. The French can have no power against us till the commission is signed by the GOVERNOR of the world. The times and the seasons he hath reserved in his own hand. Nations do not rise and fall by chance.
« But, is there no possibility of preventing, or avoiding, the universal subversion awaiting both us, and all the other kingdoms of Europe, which constituted parts of the ancient empire ?”.
There seems to be one way *, and but one, in the nature of things. And what may that be? I am sorry to say it is
* These ten kingdoms began to take their rise about the year of our Lord 450, and proceeded more and more towards permanency for many years. The revolutions and convulsions of those ages were horribly cruel, bloody, aud distressing.
+ There is some reason, from the present appearance of things, to suppose, that the 1260 prophetical years must be calculated froni a period somewhat earlier than the commencement of the seventh century. The year of our Lord 538 accords with the downfall of the Pope's temporal dominion, A, D. 1798.
| I am led to think there is still a possibility of averting our unhappy doom, from the case of Nineveh in JONAH; and that of Jerusalem in JEREMIAH, particularly ch. xxvi. 1-8. It were happy for us, if the possibility amounted to a probability. Compare Jer. xviii. 1-10. Our safety by no means depends upon our more frequent repetition of pharisaical forms, and superstitious ceremonies, but upon correcting what is amiss in our morals, and un-evangelical in our doctrines and ecclesiastical constitution. Was not the present Pope of Rome dethroned at the very moment he was surrounded by his cardinals, and celebrating his own exaltation to the Papal chair? Was there ever a more worthy and religious Pope, than his present Holiness ? Were the ancient Jews ever more strictly and superstitiously religious, than when they crucified the Lord of Glory? or, than when their temple and nation were destroyed ?
one, which is by no means likely to take place --- It is a thorough reformation both in theory and practice; in Church and State; a general reformation in the moral and religious conduct of the inhabitants of this country. For these purposes, must not religion be reduced to gospel purity and simplicity *? must not the Church be totally uncomected with,
† Consult Dr. HARTLEY, in bis Observations on Man, for a more particular account of the fall of the Establishments in Christendom. Our ecclesiastical governors would do well to weigh seriously what that learned Physician hath said upon this subject, while yet there is time. See Part 2. Prop. 82.—But what can we expect from men, who are surrounded with worldly honours, entitled to a vast patronage of livings, and tempted with near 100,000 pounds a year, to let things continue as they are? He must be almost more than man, whose virtue rises above such seducements. TilloTSON, BURNET, and others, will complain all is uot right; will profess they wish things to be altered; but how seldonı do we find a Bishop or dignified Clergyman, who believes the Scriptures so firmly, as to renounce all the riches and honours of this world, and to walk according to the unadulterated Gospel of the SAVIOUR of mankind? When a man is made a D. D. does not the spirit of a D. D. usually come upon him? and when a Bếp, the spirit of a B-p? Thougti he had been ever so eager for the removal of abuses before, does he not usually endeavour to lull conscience to rest, and even become an advocate for the continuance of things in their present state ? To be sure, he has much to lose, and little to gaiu, by any change that can take place: and “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” When a man has subscribed an indefinite number of time: to a set of propositions, some of which he doubts, and others of which he disbelieves, it is a thousand to one, but he goes on to the end of the chapter, and sinks at last into eternal perdition, as a base prevaricator with God and conscience. If in such a case, we can be in a state of satety for eternity, I am clearly of opinion, 'religiou is all a farce, and it is of little consequepce, with respect to the future woridi, whether we be Christians or Heathens, jew's or Mahometans.-GOD requireth truth in the inward parts!
It should seem, that the civil part of the British constitution is also capable of considerable improvement. Every thing of both kinds, however, might easily be accomplished by the enlightened endeavours of our present legislature. Do not the criminal laws of the couniry likewise stand in need of revisal? Let ary man judge of the truih of this, wheu it is considered that we have upwards of 160, offences punishable with deatli.'
The jurisprudence also of the country seems to want reform in a -variety of respects. The court of chancery in particuiar is enormously tedious and expensive [*]. Do not other departments of the law too need much reform? In the county of Middlesex alone, in the year 1793, the number of bailable writs and executions for debts, from ten to twenty pounds, amounted to no less than 5,712, and the agand separate from, the Civil Constitution? This is the opinion of soine respectable men. Must not our Bishops and Clergy be recluced to the scriptural standard? Jesus Christ lest sole king in his own church? and human ordinances, in things sacred, give way to divine prescriptions?
Without these great moral and religious changes, can we expect to be preserved from the general wreck of Europe? And whether these changes are likely to take place among us, let any cool and impartiai observer judge. Should not our learned Bishops and Clergy see these things, and zealously attempt a reformation in themselves, in the 'ecclesiastical part of the constitution of the country, and among the great body of the people? Should they not universally cry aloud and not spure; and sound the trumpet in God's holy mountain ? Should we not all set ourselves in good earnest to stem the torrent of iniquity, which overflows these happy lands, and threatens to involve us in one general calamity? The time is come.
God hath sent forili the sword among the nations, and it is REFORMATION or RUINATION* Witbout this it may be declared by gregate amount of the debts sued for, to 81,791 pounds-Tbe costs of these actions, although made up and vot defended at all, would anzount to 68,728 pounds.—And, if defended, the aggregate expence to recover 81,791 pounds, must be no less than 285,920 pounds! being considerably more than three times the amount of The debts sued for or defended.--At present, the rule is, to allow the. same costs for forty shillings as for 10,000 pounds. Why are these abuses permitted to continue? Is not the case but too clear? In. short; the whole heud is sick, and the whole heart faint : from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is
soundness among The B- - play into the hands of the C-y; the
Ls into the hands of the A- -s; the P-s into the hands of the A &c. &c. &c. thus the world goes round. There is more truth in Mr. Pope's observation than at first appears; that "
an honest man's the noblest work of God." Vide Treatise on the Police of London.
[*] The Editor is credibly informed that there are causes in this court which have been in prosecution above a century. * It is not enough that such, men as P
---S, B- 0, Wm-1), H
y, and others, should contend in favour of the Gospel of CHRIST, while they themselves, are, by their conduct, the graud supporters of our ecclesiastical hierarchy, with all its corruptions. If they wish effectually to serve their country, and the cause of huinanity, they should apply their rare abilities, to reduce the national religion to the pure standard of the Gospel. But what can we expect, when men's eyes are blinded, and their hearts
the authority of the Word of the LORD, that as soon as ever the predicted 1960 years are accomplished, we shall be swept bribed by worldly honours and preferments ? Abundance of persons in the Church of Rome have seen, and do now see the abuses and corruptions of tbat Church-father PAUL, for instance, in the last age, Dr. GEDDES and Mr. BERRINGTON in the present—but they caumot prevail upon themselves to quit their stations: Rev, viv. 9-11, should be consulted: so some persons with us liave long seeu the abuses and unevangelical traits of our own Church, anı yet they make themselves easy, by writing in defence of the immortal cause of Christianity, while the vessel, in which they themselves are embarked, is in danger of being dashed against the rocks. If one man has a right to prevaricate, and subscribe what he does not believe, why has not another? Though of a sentiment in religion very different, I must say, that LINDSEY, JEBB, HAMMOND, DISNEY, and others, who have sacrificed their preferment to the peace of their own minds, are honourable mei, deserving of all praise. But can we say the same of those Clergymen, who go on subscribing and swearing to various particular propositions, which they well know or believe to be wrong?
There is some reason to suppose Mr. CHILLINGWORTH's conduct has had a considerable effect in reconciling the Clergy to subscribe to doctrines, which they avowedly do not believe. For this great man declared, in a letter to Dr. SHELDON, that, " if he subo scribed, he subscribed his own damnation," and yet, in no long space of time, he actually did subscribe to the Articles of the church again and again! LORD! what is man?
Vide Biog. Brit. by KIPPIS, vol. iii. p. 516. The salvo by which he and some other Clergymen, highly respectable, get over their scruples, is, to subscribe the 39 Articles as articles and terms of peace. This, however, appears to me a shameful evasion, and inconsistent with common honesty. At this rate, a man in Italy may subscribe Pope Pius's Creed; in Turkey the Koran of MAHOMET; or in a Jewish government, the Talmud of the Rabbins [*]
Since the above was written, I have been struck with a similar septinient in the first part of Mr. PAINE's Age of Reason ; and here at least I have the pleasure of agreeing with that celebrated Deist, though we differ toto cælo upon almost every thing where the Sacred Writings are concerned :-" It is impossible,” says he very justly, “ to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief of things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the comunission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of a PRIEST for the sa of gain, and in order to qualify himself for that trade he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive any thing more destructive to morality than this ?”
. This subject is considered in a very serious point of view by Bishop BURNET in his Pastoral Care, 3d edit. p. 96-99, only he