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These superstitions and corruptions led to a new order of things; both in the western and eastern empire. Pagan bigotry and persecution, was exchanged for Christian. They paved the way for two furious fanatical ecclesiastical powers, which sprang up out of the ashes of paganism, both in the western and eastern Church, about the same time and from similar causes; namely, the two Christian heresies* of Popery and Islamism : which, however different from each other in some inferior features, yet agreed, “like sisters" in the predominant trait of hatred and persecution of all other sects but their own.
Facies non omnibus una,
Nec diversa tamen ; qualem decet esse sororum.
In the secondary symbolical visions, the prophet has critically distinguished and described these two persecuting powers. In the primary, he has omitted the papal, tacitly referring the reader to Daniel's visions; which, therefore, we will now introduce in their proper chronological place, before we proceed to the rise of the latter, see Vol. II. p. 528.
DANIEL'S FOURTH VISION, PART III.
The prophet takes up the description of the fourth wild beast, or Roman temporal power, come to maturity on the depression of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Syrian power; (the principal branch of the Macedo-Grecian) xi. 21. "And after him [Epiphanes] the [Roman] arms shall stand up. And they shall profane the sanctuary of strength [at Jerusalem] and take away the daily sacrifice; and plant the abomination of desolation [or Roman standards on the Holy Temple, Dan. ix. 27, in the Jewish war."]
After the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the prophet proceeds thus.
32. "And such as act insincerely against the [Christian] covenant, shall the [Roman power] corrupt with flatteries [to apostatize.] But the people who know their God, shall be strong, and act [sincerely.]
33. “And the wise of the [Christian] people shall instruct many [of the Romans, and convert them to Christianity.] Yet
▪ That Popery is a Christian heresy, has been abundantly proved in the preceding part of this work; and that Islamism, or Mahometanism is so too, has been satisfactorily proved by Archdeacon Woodhouse. See Faber, Vol. II. p. 469, &c. 2d. Edit. Arianism was parent of Islamism.
they shall fall by the sword and by the flames, and by captivity, and by spoil, many days, [during the ten Roman persecutions.] He next describes the state of the Church, after the Roman government became Christian, under Constantine.
34. "But on their fall, they shall be helped with a little help* [with the countenance and protection of the civil power ; which shall produce a great accession of dissembling converts to the Church] for many shall cleave to them with flatteries, [or hypocrisy.]
35. “And of the wise [themselves] several shall fall [by heresies, schisms, and mutual persecutions] in order to purify and make white [the approved among them, 1 Cor. xi. 19, Dan. xii. 10] until the time of the end, [Dan. xii. 9.] Because [the trial is to continue] further, for the appointed time [of a time, times and half a time, or 1260 days, Dan. vii. 27, xii. 7.]
He further predicts the progress of the little horn, or papal power, after "subduing three kings," Dan. vii. 24.
36. "And the [papal] king, [thinking to change times and laws in the Church, Dan. xii. 25] shall act according to his will; and shall exalt himself, and shall magnify himself above
"In the reigns of Constantine the Great, and his son Constantius, one half of the Roman empire turned Christian; but the whole was not accomplished till the reign of Gratian, (A.D. 375,) who rejected the dignity and habit of the pontifex maximus, threw down the idols, interdicted the sacrifices, and took away the revenues, with the salaries and authority of the priests. Theodosius the Great, (in A.D. 379) followed his example, and heathenism afterwards recovered no more, but decreased so fast, that Prudentius, about ten years after the death of Theodosius, (or about A.D. 405,) calls them vix pauca ingenia, et pars hominum rarissima. "Scarcely a few souls, and the scantiest part of mankind." Sir I. Newton, p. 293.
"The heathen Roman empire had its trial for about 300 years, during which time Christianity had been preached among them; but instead of listening to THE TRUTH, they abused their power in persecuting its professors. The dominion was then transferred to the Christians themselves. And they, instead of reforming the errors of the apostacy, established them by their councils, and defended them by confiscations, banishment, imprisonment, and death."
"At length, after the Christian empire had been tried for about 450 years, a new power arose, and the dominion over the Church was given into the hand of a Christian Bishop. Rome began to flourish again, after it had been deprived of its power for upwards of 200 years, and began to enjoy dominion in its new form of government under the popedom, or papacy. But when this ecclesiastical power became enlarged, exalted, and established by Charlemagne, its power, presumption, and cruelty grew up together with its temporal dominions, and the propagation of the Romish religion throughout the extensive conquests of that emperor; thus contributing to carry the apostacy in the western Church to the amazing height it afterwards reached, so as to become the wonder of the world." Henry Taylor, On the Grand Apostacy, Part II. p. 11, &c.
EVERY GOD; and shall speak marvellous [blasphemies] against The God of GODS, [or THE MOST HIGH, Dan. vii. 25.] and shall prosper till the [period of] wrath be fulfilled, [2 Thess. ii. 8.] "For what is determined, shall be done," or performed.
He then specifies the innovations of this "lawless" power, (ó avoμos, 2 Thess. ii. 8.)
37. "And he shall neither regard THE GOD OF HIS FATHERS, [in his apostacy, 2 Thess. ii. 3,] nor the desire of wives*, [for
"The desire of women," or of "wives," (or of "wiving," Mede,) for the original, DW, like yuvaikɛg, frequently signifies both; as in David's beautiful elegy for Saul and Jonathan, "the love of women," or of wives toward their husbands, 2 Sam. i. 27, see Vol. II. p. 328; and, ovμia, "desire," is used to express Solomon's affection, by his spouse in Canticles, vii. 10. "I am my beloved's; and his desire is toward me," as his wife; so, she had intimated before, ii. 16. My beloved is my [husband;] and I am his [wife,"] and so, THE LORD foretold to Ezekiel the death of his wife; will take away from thee the delight of thine eyes," xxiv. 16-18.
The correctness of this translation is vouched by the history. The wise and politic Julian and Papian laws for the encouragement of marriage, and discouragement of celibacy, were early repealed; even by Constantine himself; who, on the contrary, granted privileges and immunities to the unmarried, and the childless; he venerated Monks and Nuns who devoted themselves to GOD, and made vows of celibacy. His example was followed by his successors; marriage was discountenanced among the secular clergy. At first, their second marriages were prohibited, but afterwards, they were interdicted from marrying at all in the time of Gregory the Great. Thus did this apostate ecclesiastical power, both in the east and west, magnify himself above all; by rescinding the primary Law of GOD and Nature, and arrogantly pronouncing that dishonourable which GOD himself instituted in Paradise for a law of perpetual obligation, Gen. ii. 24; which CHRIST confirmed, Matt. xix. 5; and which Holy Writ has pronounced "honourable in all," Heb. xiii. 4.
Deviating from this interpretation, (first given by Mede, and adopted by Bishop Newton, Vol. II. p. 174, 175,) Mr. Faber supposes, 1. that the phrase denotes CHRIST, "the desire of women," from the time of the original prediction of the promised seed, delivered especially to Eve; as being parallel to "the desire of all nations," in Haggai; 2. that the strange God was that deified liberty, to whom the French revolutionists erected a statue; and 3. the Mahuzzim, the other tutelary gods, or the various allegorical deities of the infidel republic of France; namely, reason, and the republican virtues; whom 4. they honoured with the gold and silver, &c. or spoils, and ornaments of Churches, &c. at home and abroad; and 5. divided the land for a price among the champions of the Mahuzzim, Vol. I. chap. 6.
But to this hypothesis, there seem to be insuperable objections. 1. Every part of it may be disputed as fanciful and unfounded; and 2, the whole is unchronological; for he places it under the third or last woe; whereas by his own correct statement of the argument of the preceding part from ver. 31, predicting the desolation of Jerusalem by the Romans to ver. 35, the Papal persecutions of the witnesses, p. 330, Edit. 2. the whole evidently is included under the first or the second woe, at the utmost; and has no visible connexion with the third.
bidding to marry, 1 Tim. iv. 3, and encouraging celibacy, both in the eastern and western Church.] He shall not regard ANY GOD, [not even "THE LORD who redeemed him, 2 Pet. ii. 1,] for he shall magnify himself above all. And he shall magnify, as GOD on his throne, Protectors, [or demons, 1 Tim. iv. 1, namely, Saints and Angels ;] even [as] GOD, [protectors] whom his fathers knew not: he shall honour [them] with gold and silver, and precious stones and jewels.
38." And he shall account for fortresses, the protectors; together with a strange god, [or goddess, the Virgin Mary ;] succeeding to the heathen" Queen of Heaven," Jer. xliv. 17, or "Diana of the Ephesians," Acts xix. 27,] whom he shall acknowledge: he shall multiply glory [to them] and shall make them rule over many [nations;] and he shall divide the land for gain," [or the earth, as Peter's patrimony for his own aggrandisement.]
The minute and astonishing conformity of this description throughout, with the events, and its exact harmony with the parallel prophecies of Daniel himself, and commentaries of the Apostles Peter and Paul, (here interwoven in the text,) furnish a highly probable criterion of the correctness of the translation and interpretation here attempted of this very abstruse and mysterious prophecy, upon the principles of Bishop Newton, which he has supported with great learning and ability, and at considerable length, in his Dissertations on Daniel's Prophecies, Part II; on St. Paul's Prophecies of the Man of Sin; and of the Apostacy of the latter Times, Vol. II. p. 152, 359, 426. One chasm in his argument we have ventured to fill up; “ if," says he, “the Mahuzzim (or 'protectors,' saints and angels,) be not considered as the strange god, (ver. 38,) it is difficult to say who the strange god is," p. 185. The Mahuzzim, indeed, as being plural, cannot well represent a single God; but surely the Virgin Mary, by his own account, is fully entitled to be
"The Church of Rome," says he, "is guilty of idolatry and apostacy in the oblation of prayers and praises to the Virgin Mary, as much, or more, than to GOD BLESSED FOR Ever. This is the grand corruption of the Christian Church; this is 'the apostacy,' as it is emphatically called, and deserves to be called; the apostacy that the Apostle had warned the Thessa
lonians of before; the apostacy that had also been foretold by the prophet Daniel," p. 395; and if so, surely, in this very
Nor is this apostacy confined to the Romish Church: "the Greeks still, at this day, in their horary prayers, thus invocate the blessed Virgin: 0 thou virgin mother of God, thou impregnable wall, thou fortress of salvation, (Psalm xxviii. 8,) we call upon thee, that thou wouldest frustrate the devices of our enemies, and be a fence to this city," p. 181.
It was not without reason, therefore, that Mahomet objected that the Trinity of the Christians consisted of "the Father, the Son, and the Virgin Mother of God." For a hundred, nay, a thousand honours, prayers, and vows are daily addressed to the Virgin Mary in heaven, and to her images upon earth, for one to THE HOLY GHOST; who, with THE FATHER and THE SON together, is, and ought to be glorified, now, and for evermore, Amen.
THREE WOE TRUMPETS.
5. The sounding of the fifth trumpet produced the first of the three emphatic "woes;" a star fallen from heaven opened the pit of the abyss, with a key given to him, and let out a great smoke, as of a furnace that darkened the sun and air. And out of the smoke issued, with their "destroying king," (the angel of the abyss, Satan,) a swarm of locusts, having stings in their tails, like scorpions. These were commissioned not to hurt the grass, green herbs, or trees, but only to torment, for five months, the men who were not sealed in their foreheads, Rev. ix. 1—5.
As Peter the Apostle had the keys of heaven committed to him, so had Mahomet*, the impostor, or false prophet, (who blasphemously assumed the title of the Prophet of God,) the key of the abyss, to let out the smoke of false doctrine to darken the world, by the help of a swarm of Arabian locusts, or fanatical Saracens ; as they are characteristically described by their horses, their crowns, or turbans, and their long hair like women, but teeth like lions, and breast-plates.
Abulfaragi describes a remarkable dimness of the sun in the
* Various are the guesses of commentators respecting this star; Nestorius, Sergius, and even Luther, have been proposed by Protestant and Romish expositors; Bishop Newton's conjecture, Vol. III. p. 98, is here followed.
+ Saracens, from Saric, in Arabic "a thief," or "robber," Gen. xvi. 12.