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purple and scarlet, and decked himself with gold and precious stones and pearls *. He allured his votaries with the charms of music and the multifarious rites of a splendid superstition. Though six centuries elapsed ere the man of sin was revealed, the mystery of iniquity was already working even in the apostolic age t. "The seeds of corruption were sown, but they were not yet grown up to any maturity. The leaven was fermenting in some parts, but it was far from having yet infected the whole mass §."
We have seen how accurately the character of the mystic prince of Tyre answers to that of the Bishop of Rome; and we may safely venture to assert, that there is no other potentate of these last days, either popish or protestant, to whom the character will at all answer: let us now attend to the predicted time and method of his overthrow. When the prince shall perish, there shall be no more a rankling thorn to the house of Israel of all those that despised them; but they shall be gathered to their own land from the people among whom they have been scattered. Hence it will necessarily follow, both that the prince was a rankling thorn or great persecutor of the Jews, and that he will perish at the era of their restoration. In modern history we find, that the papal little horn has been the great promoter of all the persecutions and oppressions. which the Jews have suffered, compelling them to apostatise and bow down before idols and relics, taking their children from them in order that they may be educated in the superstitions of Popery, robbing them of their property, banishing and even murdering them T. And from prophecy we find, that this little horn is to be destroyed at the close of the 1260 years; that is to say, at the period when the Jews begin to be restored ||.-The
* Rev. xvii. 4. xviii. 16. Platina relates, that "in his pontifical vestments. Pope Paul II. outwent all his predecessors, especially in his regno or mitre, upon which he laid out a great deal of money in purchasing at vast rates diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, chrysoliths, jaspers, unions, and all manner of precious stones; wherewith adorned like another Aaron, he would appear abroad somewhat more august than a man, delighting to be seen and admired by every one. Lives of the Popes, P. 414. cited by B. Newton.
† Rev. xviii. 22.
See Bp. Newton's Dissert. xxii.
¶ See Bp. Newton's Dissert. vii.
Dan. vii. 11, 25, 26. xii. 1, 7.
#2 Thess. ii, 7.
prince is to be destroyed by the instrumentality of the strangers, the terrible of the nations. The Scriptures abundantly testify, that the Jews, who have long been wanderers upon the face of the earth whence they may emphatically be styled the strangers *, will at the time of the end become a principal instrument in the hand of God of punishing all their oppressors; the chief of whom, because the instigator of all the rest, has ever been the Pope -The prince is to die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of the strangers. The pope, or false Romish prophet, is to perish in Palestine; as the Jews formerly inflicted the vengeance of God, in the same country, on the various wicked uncircumcised nations of the Canaanites.-The prince is to die the death of them that are slain in the midst of the sea. The Pope, who has so long sat upon the many symbolical waters, is to perish during a time of unexampled trouble and confusion, the waves and the sea roaring, men's hearts failing them through fear. The prince is to be devoured by a fire from the midst of him, and to be cast to the ground a spectacle to all the kings of the earth. The Papacy is to waste away by an internal fire; which has already begun to consume it; the ten horns of the Roman beast, are to hate the whore, and to make her desolate and naked, and to eat her flesh, and to burn her with fire; she is finally to be completely destroyed by a fire, which may likewise be said to come out of her, even the house of Judah, which will be gathered out of her empire, and which will become like a hearth of fire among the wood and like a torch of fire in a sheaf ‡; and then all the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, will bewail her and lament for her, when
I wish this remark concerning the strangers to be considered only in the light of a conjecture. It is possible, that by them may not be intended the Jews, but some fierce northern nation, which there is reason to expect from prophecy will be very instrumental in punishing the sins of the Roman Babylon during the time that Antichrist is engaged in his expedition against Palestine. This matter will be discussed more at large, when I treat of the prophecies of Daniel and St. John. It is worthy of remark, that Vitringa, in summing up the particulars wherein the literal Babylon is typical of the mystical Babylon, enumerates the attack made upon it by fierce northern nations, the Medo-Persians and their allies, which terminated in its destruction. See the passage cited in the notes on prophecy V.
Isaiah xli. 15, 16.-Obad. 18.--Zechar. xii. 6.
Zechar. xii. 6.
they shall see the smoke of her burning *.-The mystic Tyre is to be brought by her rowers into deep waters, and to be broken by the east wind in the midst of the sea. The power of the Papacy is to be brought by its supporters, the beast and the kings of the earth, into great trouble; and to be broken by a violent wind, or dreadful war, in the midst of the symbolical sea, in the eastern region of Palestine †.-Finally God will cast the prince out of his holy mountain as profane, and will make him a terror among the nations, and will cause that he shall never be any more. In a similar manner the dominion of the little papal horn shall be utterly consumed and destroyed; and the kingdom shall be given to the saints of the Most High, or those who constitute that pure millennian church out of which the horn shall be for ever cast: the man of sin shall be consumed by the spirit of the Lord's mouth, and shall be destroyed by the brightness of his coming: the beast and the false prophet shall be taken in arms against the Lord, and shall be cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone: Babylon the great shall become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, and shall be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all in short the papal tyrant, who had so often excommunicated and thrust out of what he termed the catholic church, all who refused to partake of his idolatry and to pollute themselves with his abominations, shall now himself be cast with ignominy out of the true church of Christ; and shall be for ever separate from those, who had come out of his spiritual empire, in order that they might not be partakers of his sins, nor receive of his plagues.
*Rev. xviii. 9.
"Tempestuous winds, or the motion of clouds, for wars." Sir Isaac Newton's Observ. on Dan. and St. John. P. 18.
For the manner in which the character of this prince is applied to the literal prince of Tyre, the reader may consult Abp. Newcome's translation of Ezekiel. I confess it appears to me totally inapplicable either to Ithobal or any other Phenician sovereign. According to his grace, the rankling thorn was removed when Nebuchadnezzar subdued all the ancient enemies of the Jews. But this falls very far short of the plain import of the prophecy. The terms, in which it is expressed, extend it to the restoration of the whole house of Israel, Ephraim as well as Judah; and it positively asserts, that after the downfal of Tyre, there should be no more a rankling thorn to afflict the
When the thorn, that had so long goaded the house of Israel, shall be removed; when the Lord shall have executed judgments upon all those that despised his people: then will he gather them from all the countries of their dispersion, and bring them into the land which he gave unto his servant Jacob. There they shall dwell safely, and shall build houses, and shall plant vineyards they shall dwell with confidence, and shall know that the Lord is their God.
The dispersion of Israel through the tyranny of their shepherds— God will require his people at their hands-The restoration of Judah partly in a converted and partly in an unconverted stateThe opposition of the unconverted to the converted, a proof that the unconverted will be restored by Antichrist-Downfal of the mystic Edom-The political revival, restoration, and final union, of Israel and Judah-The overthrow of Gog and Magog at the end of the Millennium.
Ezekiel xxxiv. 1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2. Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel *-should not the shepherds feed the
ancient people of God. Now, from Babylon Judah alone returned; and, so far from afterwards enjoying a state of uninterrupted tranquillity, or (in the language of the prophet) being freed from the stings of rankling briars and ulcerating thorns, the Jews, after having been subjected to the persecutions of the Syro-Macedonian kings, were at length scattered by the Romans over the face of the whole earth. Formerly they were only chastised with whips; latterly they have been chastised with scorpians.
Mr. Bicheno I believe to be right in referring this prophecy to the yet future era of the restoration of Judah, but I think him mistaken in supposing that Tyre is the type of some great modern commercial nation. He censures Mr. Fraser for conceiving, like myself, that the prediction relates to the overthrow of papal Rome, merely because Rome is not a commercial city and possesses not any naval power. I have not read Mr. Fraser's work, and therefore know not by what arguments he supports his opinion: but this, which Mr. Bicheno brings against him, is certainly inconclusive. If it prove any thing, it will prove equally that the apocalyptic Babylon cannot be the Papacy; because the apocalyptic Babylon is described, like Tyre, as being a great commercial city, and as having many trading vessels out at sea. But I have already most fully stated my reasons for interpreting the prophecy as I have done. The reader will find Mr. Bicheno's arguments in favor of his opinion, in his Signs of the Times, part iii. p. 172-176.
*The shepherds of Israel.] These shepherds must certainly be, not theolo gical, but political, shepherds. Corrupt as the Jewish priests, scribes, and
flock? 3. But ye feed not the flock-5. They are scattered so that they have no shepherdt; and they are become meat to all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6. My sheep wander through all the mountains, and upon every high hill; yea, my flock is scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none searcheth or seeketh after them.-9. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10. Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds: and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more: for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
11. Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12. As the shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the dark and cloudy day. 13. And I will bring them out from the peoples *,
pharisees, were in the days of our Saviour, I know not with what propriety it can be said, that they scattered the flock upon the face of the whole earth in the dark and cloudy day, and that from their hands the flock will be required in the day of their restoration for, that the scattering here spoken of means a literal and not a spiritual dispersion (as that in Isaiah liii. 6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way), is manifest from its being placed in opposition to the literal gathering together and return of the Jews. Those then, who literally scattered the Jews, and from whose hands they will be required at their restoration, must undoubtedly be the shepherds here intended. The shepherds therefore must be the Roman beast under his sixth and last heads. The passage is exactly parallel with two prophecies already considered: Jerem. xii. 9-17; and xxiii. 1---8. Abp. Newcome and Michaelis justly understand the shepherds in a temporal sense; but suppose them to mean the king, his counsellors, and the heads of the people. These however do not answer to the prophetic character of the shepherds; because they certainly never scattered the Israelites. The terms of the prediction are such as to make it very unnatural and far-fetched to say, that the Jewish rulers scattered the people, by so provoking God with their sins as to induce him to send nations against them who did literally scatter them. See Mr. Lowth in loc.
†They have no shepherd.] They are under no independent government of their own; but have been long subject to the tyranny of shepherds, who preyed upon them, instead of feeding them. The sceptre is departed from Judah; and they have abode many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice. See Gen. xlix. 10. and Hosea iii. 4.
* I will bring them out from the peoples.] "This prophecy may have been in some degree fulfilled in the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity; but seems still to look further, even to the general restoration of the whole nation, which most of the prophets foretell shall come to pass in the latter days." Mr. Lowth in loc.