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Christianity from motives of worldly policy; they feared least the Romans should come and take away both their place and uation. What has been so repeatedly done by various governments, is no distinctive badge of any. Nor is this all: the action of the Sanhedrim by no means comes up to the action so definitely ascribed to the man of sin. If we be al. lowed to say, that the Sanhedrim sat in the temple of God and shewed themselves that they are God, simply because they forbad the preaching of the Apostles; we may be allowed to explain away the most definite expressions of prophecy. Had St. Paul meant no more than what Mr. Nisbett ascribes to him, it is incredible that he would have used language which rea quires to be tortured into the right explanation. Let the reader compare together Bp. Newton's unconstrained ease, and his antagonist's painful laboriousness, in explaining this part of the prophecy; and I think he cannot long hesitate in determining which of them produces the most natural and obvious interpretation of it.
The man of sin is further said to come with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; and it is declared that God should send those persons strong delusion, so that they should believe a lie. What miracles did the body of the Jewish nation work for the purpose of deceiving others? Mr. Nisbett replies, that many impostors arose among the Jews, who deceived the people; that, under the pretence of a divine impulse, they made the people mad and led them into the wilderness, promising there to them signs of liberty from God; and that, even when the temple was in flames, they encouraged them to expect that God would assist them-But how does this come up to the plain import of the prophecy? According to St. Paul, the man of sin was to work lying miracles for the purpose of deceiving, not himself of course, but them that perish in consequence of their taking pleasure in unrighteousness. According to Mr. Nisbett's interpretation, the man of sin, that is the body of the Jewish nation, did not come with lying wonders to deceive others; but washimself deceived by the lying wonders, or rather the promised lying wonders, of certain VOL. II. MM
impostors. Here, as well as in the former instance, I can discover nothing like any accomplishment of the prophecy.
These remarks alone seem to me sufficient to invalidate the whole plan of Mr. Nisbett's interpretation : the prophecy has tot been accomplished in the Jewish nation; therefore the Jewish nation cannot be intended by the man of sin.
I shall conclude with two remarks of Bp. Newton. The first is, if we may rely upon the concurring testimonies of the fathers, that which letted the revelation of the man of sin was the Roman empire; hence the primitive Christians prayed for its preservation, as expecting that this great enemy' of real religion would be revealed when the Roman empire was removed. The second is, that, if this prophecy were fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem, it is surprizing that none of the fathers should ever suspect that it was then fulfilled ; but, on the contrary, should speak of its accomplishment as still future. Justin Martyr, Irenèus, Tertullian, Origen, Lactantius, Cyril, Ambrose, Jerome, Austin, Chrysostome, all agree in this point; all equally consider the prophecy as an unfulfilled one; suppose the man of sin to be the same as the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast: and it is not a little extraordinary, if the interpretation which Mr. Nisbett has adopted be the true one, that it should never have been thought of until sixteen or seventeen centuries subsequent to the accomplishment of the prophecy. In short, after carefully comparing together the expositions of Mr. Nisbett and the Bishop, I am even more firmly persuaded than ever I was that his Lordship’s views of the subject are perfectly accurate.
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