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Moreover a Christian application was made by others of the Apocalyptic symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel.' So that on the whole there appears to have been nothing in these prophecies sufficiently Judaic, according even to patristic views, to account for the first origination of this idea of Antichrist being a Jew.
Which being so, and conjecture permissible in the want of a satisfactory explanation on historic testimony, I would venture to suggest one thing, upon conjecture, as a possible, probable, and I think I may say, adequate originating cause of the error. It is well known with how much earnestness and solemnity St. Paul warned the early Church of the Judaic heresies that were even then stealing into it; —the Judaist's will-worship of asceticism and abstinence from meats and marriage, their observance of days, undue and erroneous views of the benefit of mere outward circumcision, attachment to the Levitical ritual, and worshipping of angels with voluntary humility ; -- the latter, I presume, under profession of unworthiness to make direct use of the mediatorship of Christ.? Now it is difficult to suppose but that St. Paul in all this spoke with reference to more than the dangers of the time then present : and denounced therein the first elements (Judaic elements) of the great apostacy of prophecy, and leaven of that deceivableness of unrighteousness which was first to prepare for, and then to constitute the religion of, Antichrist. If so, and this be the right account of the origin of the patristic notion respecting Antichrist's Judaism, then there is a residuum of important truth hidden in it. And adopting it, so expounded and corrected, we shall find it to supply almost all that was wanting of correspondence between the patristic anticipations concerning the apostacy and Antichrist's religion, and the actual religious history and character of the Roman Papacy, as history afterwards evolved it.
For we know,—and indeed have traced in history,3—how these Judaizing errors increased continually in the Church, though under a more seemly and professedly Christian form ; including the veneration of that austerity, asceticism of life, and celibacy that Clement
' E. g. Augustine and Primasius.
3 See Vol. i. pp. 259, 306, 380, &c. * I mean that whereas the Judaizers of the first age magnified the outward forms of Jewish rites and ceremonies, the successors of their spirit, in the next age, magnified the outward forms of Christian rites and ceremonies.
objected to Tatian,--the corruption of the simplicity of the Christian ministry and service into resemblance to the Levitical priesthood and Levitical ritual,—the undue and erroneous estimate of mere outward baptism, as before of outward circumcision,-the perversion of Scripture and substitution of the authority of an unwritten tradition in the priest's keeping,--and the looking into things unseen, and worshipping departed saints as mediators, to the supercession of Christ.We know how, with all this, there was also more and more a departure on the part of the people from the love of gospel truth to the love of exciting pulpit oratory, and then of fables and legends about saints; as also from real holiness of life to a fictitious and mere ceremonial righteousness, somewhat like what Cyril and Chrysostom deprecated; and how a departure moreover (according to Chrysostom's forewarning,) on the part of priests and teachers, from love to neglect and dislike of the written word; together with a spirit of worldliness, lucre-loving, and ambition. We know once more that then, and thereby, a preparation having been made for him.-viz. by the establishment of this irreligious system of religion, this unchristian kind of Christianity, with all profession of righteousness, and much of the deceivableness of unrighteousness,—the Pope of Rome,-at first prudent, like the first Gregory, respectable in morals, professedly humble, but crafty and politic,-adopting this whole system of apostacy as its head and patron, and so gathering round him as subjects the great body of the apostates of Christendom, did, conjointly with them, not only establish the Apostacy in the new Romano-Gothic kingdoms, which constituted the body of the Apocalyptic Beast, but as it were authoritatively consecrate it ; proclaiming it, with its ceremonies of an almost Judaic ritual, to be the only orthodox Christianity, and Rome, (the Apocalyptic Babylon,) now vacated of its Emperors and become the Papal capital, to be the Jerusalem of Christianity :3_at the same time that he shewed himself in its temples and churches as not merely antitype to the High Priest of the Jews, but Christ's appointed representative and Vicar for the rule of
See the abstract of patristic views pp. 546–550 suprà. 9 “ Servus servorum Dei," was the title of humility adopted by Gregory and transmitted to his successors in the Popedom.---Compare Gregory's character also with Cyril's λογιoς τις και συνετος.
3 See this illustrated in my Vol. iii. p. 261.
the Church on eartb ; and in this character claimed to himself, and received, the worship due to Christ, i. e. to God.
In concluding this Head, let me be permitted to express my deliberate conviction, with reference to the Futurists' view of Antichrist's religious or rather anti-religious profession, as if that of an open avowed atheist, that it is not merely unaccordant with the Apocalyptic and the other cognate prophecies of Antichrist, but that it is, even intellectually speaking, a mere rude and common-place conception of Satan's predicted master-piece of opposition to Christ, compared with what has been actually realized and exhibited in the Papacy. My opinion of the Pope's being Antichrist is not indeed founded on any
· Let me observe, with reference to another point in Antichrist's religious system, on which Mr. Maitland seems to me to have expressed a most inadequate judgment, -I mean the Pope's “forbidding to marry,''* —that in the view of profest religion being made effectual to subserve both irreligion and worldly policy, it was one of his measures the most characteristic, and most extraordinary. Extending not merely to the parochial clergy of Western Europe, but to the numberless communities of monks and nuns, its first effect was to consecrate, at the same time that with the strong arm of power it enforced upon them, that rule of celibacy which, under the semblance of purity and holiness, opened wide the way, and almost precipitated them into it, of licentiousness. And when direct Papal rule was established over the convents (not now to speak of the priesthood), then in those innumerable monasteries, male and female, -containing within their walls members from most of the high and considerable families in the several Western kingdoms, and absorbing into their domains no small proportion of the national territory, the accumulated result, it was said, of the piety, but rather of the superstition of successive generations, I say in these monasteries, thus as an act of religion endowed, and thus as an act of religion peopled with devotees, it was found that he had formed and held in his grasp, so many almost inexpugnable fortresses, filled with hostages for its fidelity, in the heart of each kingdom of Western Christendom. I Was there ever such a “forbidding to marry," in any other Church or Sect that Mr. M. has put forward for comparison on this bead ? And was it not then a fit subject for prominent specification (especially in an Epistle,) like that to Timothy, chiefly concerning ministers of the church) among the predictive sketches of the Popedom ?
Mr. Maitland speaks of celibacy under the Popedom as if, first, it extended only to the parochial Clergy, and affected one sex only ;- secondly, as if it was only enforced on the Clergy from the view (perhaps mistaken view, he says) of their so better performing their clerical functions. This is not the way Ranke speaks of it. See Vol. iii. p. 170. And assuredly it was not the master motive that induced the Papal determinate enforcement of it at all hazards.
+ See the historical illustrations given by me, Vol. ii. 12, 27. So Sir R. Baker, speaking of Henry VIIIth's dissolution of monasteries : “ Thinking the work not sufficiently done, so long as Abbeys and Priories kept their station ; which were as it were the Pope's fortresses. Quoted by Daubuz, p. 738."
such à priori notion of the thing ; but on the complete identification of the one and the other, after a rigid comparison of the Papal history, seat, character, doctrine, and doings with those of the Antichrist of prophecy. Having however shewn this, let me now explain and justify the super-added sentiment just exprest respecting the Papal system; as being, beyond anything that the Futurists have imagined, or ever can imagine, the very perfection of anti-christianism. And I will do it by simply putting a case in point. Which then, I ask, Reader, would you view with the deeper amazement and abhorrence :-an avowed open desperate enemy, sworn against your life, family, friends, property :-or one that while professing the utmost friendship, were by some strange impersonation of you, in your absence, to insinuate himself into your place in the family, seduce your wife to be as his wife,' your children to look to him as their father ; then to make use of his opportunities to train them (both wife and children) into unfaithfulness and rebellion to all your most solemn and cherished wishes and commands ; falsifying your letters and forging your handwriting, in order the more effectually to carry out his plan ; and even at length framing an image, and breathing voice into it, and by magic art and strong delusion making men believe that it was your own self speaking, in expression of perfect approval of his proceedings, as those of your chief friend, plenipotentiary, and chosen substitute ?-Such is somewhat of the view of Antichrist, sketched in Scripture prophecy : such, what has been realized in the Popes and Popedom. And horrid as was the atheism of the French revolutionists, yet must I beg leave to doubt whether in God's view it was as horrid an abomination, even at its worst, as the blasphemous hypocrisies and betrayal of Christ in the polished Court and Church Councils of his usurping Vicar and impersonator Leo X. Sharp as were the thorns and nails and spear of the Pagan soldiery, they were surely less painful to the Saviour than the kiss of Judas.?
· See my Vol. ii. pp. 80, 81, and Vol. iii. p. 150.
4. EXAMINATION OF THE CHURCH-SCHEME OF THE SEALS.
The Church-scheme of the Seals was made chiefly notable after the Reformation by Pareus' and Vitringa's adoption of it:1 and it has been subsequently adopted, with various modifications, by Woodhouse, Cuninghame, Bickersteth, and other English expositors.?
With regard to Vitringa I must premise that perceiving the palpable fitness, for the most part, of the symbols of the first Seal to depict the state of the Roman Empire, from Nerva's accession, immediately after the Apocalyptic revelations, to that of Commodus, he would apparently at first fain have seen his way to some consistent continuous scheme of Roman interpretation, could he have done so. But having only Mede's scheme before him, which was indefensible, and perceiving no better, he settled on that counter-scheme that I have to review :—the grand characteristic of which is to view the Seals as a series of figurations detached and complete in themselves, symbolizing the phases and fortunes of the Church, from its early origin to the consummation.
So far as regards its explanation of the first Seal with reference to the Church, it was a scheme, as we have seen, of early patristic origin. But after the first Seal, the idea of explaining the Apocalyptic horse to mean the Church was not received, I believe, or the Seals interpreted with reference to it, till Anselm of Havilburg in 1245. See p. 370 suprà.
2 Dr. Keith can scarcely be counted in the number ; his peculiarities of view being too considerable. For while supposing the white horse to figure the Christian Church, he explains the red of Mahommedism ; the black of Popery ; the pale of Infidelity.
3 « Sub bonis et laudatis principibus, à Nervà usque ad Commodum, facies Romani Imperii satis fuit æquabilis ; et emblemate, non rufi [as Mede), sed albi equi, cum sessore victorioso, figurari potuisset.” p. 310.-And, on the general scheme ; " Neque ego inficias eam, hanc interpretandi rationem " (viz. of applying the six first Seals as a prefiguration of the fortunes of the Roman Empire, up to the Revolution under Constantine) “ magnâ se commendare specie.” p. 306. He gives two additional reasons which much influenced him in its favour :-). that, except on this scheme, the immensely important revolution under Constantine seemed left unprefigured in the seven Seals :—2. that if, instead of the Constantinian revolution, the sixth Seal was made to figure the revolution at the consummation of things, (the only conceivable alternative) then the seventh Seal would seem to have nothing of prefiguration attached to it.--He proposes to obviate the latter objection by making the silence at the opening of the seventh Seal (its whole subject, according to him) signify the millennial rest : the former by reference to the vision in the xiith Chapter (i. e. in another series of the Apocalyptic figurations) as supplying the defect, and prefiguring the Constantinian revolution. Thus he satisfied himself. But his followers, for the most part, are not satisfied with it; and offer consequently modifications of the scheme, some of which will be seen in what follows of this Appendix.