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fee more largely exposed and refuted by (2) Bochart among the foreign, and by Dr. Henry Moore among our Englith writers.
9. Dr. Hanımond is every where full of Simon Magus and the Gnoftics, fo that it is the lefs to be wondered that lie fhould introduce them upon this occafion, and apply this whole prophecy to them, wlierein he is more consistent than Grotius, who applies part to Simon. Magus, and part to Caligula. The apostaly, (3) according to him, was a great departure or defection from the faith to the heresy of the Gnoftics. The man of fin and the wicked one was Simon Magus, that wicked impostor, together with his followers the Gnostics. What hindered their thowing themselves and making open pro- . feffion of their hoftility against the orthodox Christians, was the apostles not having yet given over preaching to the Jews, and turned to the Gentiles. This fame magician opposed himself against Christ, setting himself up for the chief or first Gud, superior to all other Gods; and accordingly was publickly worshipped by the Samaritans and others, and had a statue erected to him at Rome by the emperor Claudius. Himn Christ destroyed in an extraordinary manner by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter; and all the apostatizing Gnoftics who adhered to him, were involved in the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, with whom they had joined against the Christians. But the principal objection to this expotition is the same as to that of Grotius, that the apostle is here made to foretel things after the events. Simon Magus was already revealed, (Acts VIII. 9, 10.) and had bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out thát hinself was fome great one : To whom they all gave heed from the least to the greateji, saying, This man is the great power of God. Dr. Hammond himself contends, that Simon came to Rome and was there honored as God, at the beginning of the reign of Claudius; but this Epistle was written in the latter part of the fame reign, and
a confu trer an is and
(2) Bocharti Examen Libelli de Part 2. Book 2. Chap. 20. Antichristo. Op. Tom. 2. Col. 1044 (3) See Hammond's Paraphrase -1051. More's Mystery of Iniquity and Annotations.
even the Doctor in (1) another place confesseth it. The apostles too had already turned from the Jews to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas had declared to the Jews at Antioch in Pilidai, (Acts XIII, 46.) It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles : but this transaction was before this Epistle was written, and indeed before ever Paul went to Thessalonica. As part of the facts here predicted as future were already past, fo the other part are manifestly false, or of uncertain credit at best. The statue erected to Simon Magus at Rome, and his public defeat there by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter in the presence of the emperor, are no better than fables. Even papists doubt the truth of these things, and well may others deny it. Simon Magus might perhaps have many followers; but it doth not appear that many of the Christians apoftatized to him. Simon Magus might perhaps be worshipped by the Samaritans; but it doth not appear that he was ever worMhipped in the temple of God at Jerusalem, or in any house of God belonging to the Christians. He died by all accounts fome years before the destruction of Jerusalem; and it doth not appear that any of the Gnostics were involved in the destruction of the unbelieving Jews. They were so far from being all involved in the fame destruction as Dr. Hammond afferts, that that fect florished most after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the second century after Christ is fometimes distinguished by the title of Seculum Gnosticum or the age of the Gnoitics. Besides when it is faid IV hom the Lord shall confume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, it is evident that the same person who was to be consumed with the spirit of his moutlı, was also to be destroyed with the brightness of his *coming: but according to this exposition, Simon Magus was consumed by the spirit of his mouth, that is by the prayer and preaching of St. Peter; and the unbelieving Jews and Gnostics were destroyed together by the bright
(4) See his Pref, to the ift Epift. to the Thessalonians..
ness of his coming, that is by the destruction of Jerufa. lem. They who desire to see a farther refutation of this exposition, may find it in (5) Le Clerc among the
foreign, and in Whitby among our English commenta. fors.
3. Le Clerc, whose comment on the New Testament is a translation and supplement of Hammond's, hath not demolithed his hypothesis without erecting (6) another of his own, which he esteems much more probable than the conjecture both of Grotius and Hammond. He fupposeth that the apostasy was the great revolt of the Jews from the Romans. The man of sin was the rebellious Jews, and especially their fanious leader Simon, not Magus, but the son of Gioras. They trampled upon all authority divine and human. They seifed and profaned the temple of God. IV hat hindered was what reftrained the Jews from breaking into open rebellion, which was partly the reverence of the Jewith magistrates, and partly the fear of the Roman armies. The mystery of iniquity was the spirit of rebellion then working under the mask of liberty. The feditious Jews were also the wicked one; and they had among them false prophets and impostors, who pretended to thow great signs and wonders. But to this hypothesis it may be replied, that the apostasy is plainly a defection from the true religion, and it is used in no other fenfe by the apostle. It was not likely that lie should entertain his new Gentile converts with discourses about the Jewith state and government, wherewith they had little concern or connexion. It was also
(s) Clericus in locum. Whitby's contrà sese eâ fuperiores existimarint.. Pref. to the ad Epift. to the Theffalo. Scelerati illi Zelotæ et Idumæi, qui temnians.
plum Jerosolymitanum invaferant, &c. (6) Nihil vetat in medium suspic -Toxaleyovest quod coercebat Judæos, cionem proferre, quæ haud paulo veri. ne in apertam rebellionem erumperent;, finilior videtur, et Grotiana et Ham- hoc est, partim reverentia procerum mondiana conjectura. ATOS ACI ergo Judææ gentis,-partim metus exerci. fufpicor Paulum vocare defeétionem tuum Romanorum, &c. Muzeeloy avoillam magnam Judæorum, qua im. praes, quod fieri incipiebat hoc temperii Romani jugum excutere frustra pore, erat in eo fitum, ut specie liberconaturi funt.-sequitur hominem pec- tatis, &c.-Verè quidem nofter avonoy cati esse rebelles Judæos, et præfertim vocari animadvertit scelestos homines, eximium eorum ducem Sinonem, non qui antea designati fuerunt voce è artie Magum, fed Gioræ filium.-Seditiofi xelqer@.; fed intelligendi feditiofi Judæi auctoritatem omnem legiti. Judæi, &c.-Fuere et alii impostores, mam, cum exterorum, tum popula- quorun non uno loco meminit Joserium, tantum abelt ut coluerint, ut phus, &c. Cleric. in locum.
searce worthy of the spirit of prophecy to say, that the destruction of Jerusalein should not happen, unless there was first a rebellion of the Jews. No good reason is afligned, why Simon the son of Gioras should be reputed the man of fin, rather than other factious leaders, John and Eleazar. No proof is alleged, that he was ever worshipped in the temple of God as God. He was not exalted above every God or emperor; for he was vanquished and made the emperor's prisoner. His coming was not “ with all signs and lying wonders ;” for he never pretended to any such power. He was not destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem ; but was preserved alive, and (7) was afterwards led in triumph at Rome, and then was dragged through the streets with a rope about his neck, and was severely scourged, and at laft put to death in the common prison. Besides it is not very consistent in this learned critic, by the coming of Christ in ver. 8 to understand the destruction of Jerusalem, and in his note upon ver. I to say that. (8) the coming of Christ both in the first Epistle to the Theffalonians, and in this, is the coming of Christ to judge the quick and dead.
4. Dr. Whithy's (9) scheme is somewhat perplexed and confused, as if he was not satisfied himself with his own explication. " The apostasy is the revolt of the “ Jews from the Roman empire, or from the faith." If the former, it is the same mistaken notion as Le Clerc's. If the latter, it is true that many were to apoftatize from the faith, before the destruction of Jerusalem, according to the prediction of our Saviour: but it doth not appear that their number was so very great, as to deserve to be called by way of eminence and distinction the apostasy. “ The man of fin is the Jewish nation “ with their high-priest and fanhedrim." But the Jewish nation with their high-priest and fanhedrim could not be said to apoftatize from the faith which they never received: and those Christian Jews, who did apoftatize, were never united under any one head or leader, famous
(7) Josephus de Bell. Jud. Lib. 7. tus Chrifti, ad judicandum de vivis et Cap. 5. Sect. 6. Edit. Hudfori. mortuis. Cleric ibid.
(8) wageoia Christi et in 1 Ep. ad (9) See Whitby's Paraphrafe and Thessalonicenses, et in hac eft adven, Commentary. Vol. II.
or infamous enough to merit the title of the nian of fin. The Jewish nation too with their high-priest and fanhedrim were already revealed; and most of the instances which this author allegeth, of their opposing the Chriftian religion, and exalting themselves above all laws divine and human, were prior to the date of this Epistle. He was himself aware of this objection, and endevors to prevent it by saying, “that these are the descriptions of
the mun of pin, by which the Theflalonians might then “ know him, and they run all in the present tense, “ Thowing what he already did.” But it is the known and usual stile of prophecy to speak of things future as present, intimating that though future they are as sure and certain as it they were even now present. “ He “ who now letteth is the Roman emperor Claudius, and “ he will lett until he be taken out of the way, that is, “ he will hinder the Jews from breaking out into an " open rebellion in his time, they being so signally and "particularly obliged by him.” But how utterly improbable is it, that the apostle should talk and write of Jewish politics to Gentile converts! If Claudius withheld the Jews from revolting from the Roman government, did he withhold them also from apostatizing from the Christian faith? or what was it that withheld them? and what then becomes of that interpretation? “When “ Claudius thall be taken out of the way, as he was by " poison, then they shall be revealed, either by actual “ apostaly from the Roman government, or by the great " apostały of the believers of that nation.” But the apostasy of believers was not near so great nor universal as the apostasy from the Roman government. Here too is the fame ambiguity and uncertainty as before. The prophecy plainly intends one fort of apostasy, and.. this learned commentator propofeth two, and inclines fometimes to the one, and sometimes to the other; as may beli fuit his hypothesis. He is guilty too of the fame incontistency as Le Clerc, in interpreting the coming of Christ in the former Epistle, and in this Epistle, ånd in the firti verse of this very chapter, of his coming to judge the world; and yet in verse the ciglith, of his coming to destroy Jerusalem. But if the destruction of Jerusalem only was meant, what need had the Theffalo