Two exceptions against the foregoing assertion, that Idolatry should rather be laid upon the Pagans. —This answered and proved, that Pagan Idolatry is not meant, nor the Saracen or Turk the Antichrist meant, in Scripture. —That Antichristianism cannot be charged upon those that acknowledge the true God and Christ. —The answer to this, wherein is interwoven the Author’s serious and pathetical expostulation with the Church of Rome. —That Antichrist is a counter-christ, and his coming a counter-resemblance of the coming of Christ, shown in several particulars.
But you will still allege for her behalf who seems all this while to be charged, that Antichrist and the Man of Sin is set forth in Scripture as the most hateful and execrable thing that can be in the eyes of God Almighty; but how can such a thing be said, and comparatively be, where the true God, with Christ his Son, God and man, are in any sort acknowledged and worshipped? (h)
Lord! that the whole train of Scripture, in the prophets
especially, and the example of the
the Church his Spouse? *This is a great mystery. Ephesians No marvel, then, where this mystery is not considered, if the mystery of iniquity be not understood.
poor Church of
Why was thy God, then, so unkind and cruel unto thee, to call thee whore and prostitute so often; all his prophets continually baiting thee with that so foul and odious a name of abominable harlot? Why did he scatter thee, and even drive thee naked among the nations, before his jealousy would be satisfied? For it seems He is
far more indulgent to his second wife, the Church of the Gentiles. For she worships her God in images and crucifixes, yea, calls a piece of bread her Lord and her God; and yet saith, He is no whit jealous of her, bet well pleased. She, though espoused to Christ Jesus, the Son of the living God, as her sole mediator and intercessor in the presence of God his Father, yet thinks she may fall down to Saints and Angels, yea to as many images of them as ever the Jews had of their Baalims, or the Gentiles of their demons. And yet, forsooth, because she makes her Lord the chiefest still in the honor of her affection, and uses the rest of her lovers no farther than she may still yield the first and chief place to him, she verily supposes he is no whit offended with her: whereas Israel would have been called a whore a thousand times over for as little as this; yea and like enough to have been cast off too, and her nose slit, (Ezekiel 23: 25,) long before this time.
Nay, but she wipes her mouth, and asks why her Lord should be angry; for she calls him still her Lord, and acknowledges and professes him still to be her husband. If He hath a mind to be angry with any, let him go to the Turks, Tartars, and other Mohammedans, or to the Pagans, who will not acknowledge him at all to be their Lord, though he hath offered himself, and perhaps wooed some of them; but they would none of him, but have married themselves to other husbands: here, if he will be jealous, is matter for his jealousy.
But, thou Christ-Apostatical strumpet, knowest thou not the first commandment of thy Christian decalogue to be, thou shalt have no other Christs but me? What doest thou, then, with so many Christlings? Knowest thou not that an husband is more grieved and dishonored by his wife’s adultery, than if any other woman whatsoever, yea suppose his kinswoman and daughters, should play the harlot?
are Turks, Tartars, or any other unbelieving nation under heaven, unto thy Lord
and Savior?* Are they not all as strangers to him, and He to them? But as for
thee, He had chosen thee out of many nations to espouse thee to himself; so
that thou mayest say with
didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty; for it was perfect through the comeliness which the Lord thy God had put upon thee. But thou didst trust in thy own beauty, and played the harlot because of thy renown, and poured out thy fornications upon every one that passed by.
And of thy garments thou didst take, and decked thy high places with divers colors, and played the harlot thereupon. Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of thy Lord’s gold, and of thy Lord’s silver, which he had given thee, and made to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them; and took thy broidered garments, and covered them; and thou hast set the Lord’s oil and his incense before them. (Ezekiel 16: 13-19.)
now between the Lord and his people, ye that have wives; give sentence, ye
husbands, —whether of the two in question hath most dishonored our Lord and
Savior; which of the two is most likely to fret him, and kindle the coals of
fury and jealousy— those who never were in covenant with him, nor yet are
called by his name; or whether his spouse, his darling and beloved one, to whom
he was betrothed and married. Judge according to the manner
of wedlock, and the notorious precedent of
unfaithful and treacherous spouse, the Christian Jezebel.
decision and sum of all is this. That the whoredom of the Church of God is a
spiritual adultery; and, therefore, between the idolatry of Christians and that
of Infidels and Paynims is as much difference, in God’s esteem, as is between
adultery and simple fornication. The one, as equal to murder, was in the law
punished with death; the other with a much lighter punishment. Whence in
Ezekiel, on whose words I have dwelt so long, chapter 16 verse
38, God saith to
This I would have well considered and weighed by those whom the Mohammedan blasphemy hath so dazzled, that they can hardly believe so hated and execrable a name as that of Babylon should belong unto any other, unless there be yet to come some other like barbarous tyrant and seducer after them. The cause of which error
is, that men have fancied another Antichrist than the
Holy Ghost meant of; and placed their eyes far wide of the ground of God’s
hatred, and of the nature of that mystery of abomination. But
But even this mistake, which is and hath been, of the mystery of iniquity, is itself a kind of mystery, or not without one: for Antichrist is a counter-Christ, and therefore his coming to be a counter-resemblance of the coming of Christ.
was both to come, and accordingly looked for, in the last times; that is, in
the time of the fourth
Christ came, the scepter was to depart from Judah, and that commonwealth
to be dissolved: so when Antichrist was to come, the
The Jews expected Christ to come when he did come, and yet knew him not when he was come; because they had fancied the manner and quality of his coming like some temporal monarch, with armed power to subdue the earth before
him. So the Christians, God’s second Israel, looked that the coming of Antichrist should be at that time when he came indeed, and yet they knew him not when he was come; because they had fancied his coming as some barbarous tyrant, who should with armed power not only persecute and destroy the Church of Christ, but almost the world; that is, they looked for such an Antichrist as the Jews looked for a Christ.
Wherefore, as Christ came unto his own, and his own received him not; so Antichrist came upon those who were not his own, and yet they eschewed him not: but yet as some Jews, though few, knew Christ when he came, and received him; so did some Christians, though but few, keep themselves from the pollution of Antichrist.
Lastly, as the Jews ere long shall acknowledge and run unto him, whom they pierced as not knowing him: so hath the Christian Church, for a great part, discovered that Son of Perdition, whom a long time they had ignorantly worshipped, because they knew him not. O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
But for our part, seeing our case is so like unto that of the Jews, let their lamentable and woeful error, in mistaking their Messiah by wrongly fancying him, be a warning and caveat unto us, that we likewise, upon like conceits and prejudice, mistake and misdeem not the Man of Sin.