THE APOSTASY OF THE LATTER TIMES.
A treatise on I Timothy 4: 1, 2, &c.
The dependence of the text upon the last verse of the preceding chapter —Why, in the description of the Mystery of Godliness, the words assumed into glory are set last —Division of the subject —The author’s three reasons for rendering the text differently from the common translation.
Apostasy in the Scripture imports “Revolt” or “Rebellion” —That “Idolatry” is such, is proved from several passages in Scripture —By “Spirits,” in the text, are meant “Doctrines” —Doctrines of Demons are to be taken passively, viz. for Doctrines concerning Demons —Several instances of the like form of speech in the Scriptures.
Demons (according to the Theology of the Gentiles,) were —1. For their nature and degree, a middle sort of divine powers between the sovereign Gods and mortal men —2. For their office, they were supposed to be mediators and agents between the celestial Gods and men. —This proved from Plato, Plutarch, Apuleius, Celsus in Origin, and St. Austin —The Doctrine of the Mediation of Demons glanced at, and reproved by the Apostle. Colossians 2: 8. —The distinction of sovereign Gods and demons proved out of Old Testament, and elegantly alluded to in the New. I Corinthians 8: 5, 6
The Gentiles’ doctrine concerning the original of the demons, viz. that they were the souls of men deified, or canonized, after death —This proved out of Hesiod, Plato, Trismegist, Philo Biblius, the translator of Sanchoniathon, Plutarch, Tully. —Baal, or Bel, or Belus, the first deified King; hence demons are called in Scripture, Baalim —Demons and Heroes, how they differ —Demons, called by the Romans Penates, Lares, as also Dii Animales, soul-gods —Another and a higher kind of demons, such as never dwelt in bodies: these answer to angels, as the other (viz. the soul-demons) answer to Saints
The manner and way of worshipping the demons and retaining their presence, viz. by consecrated Images and Pillars —That images were as bodies for demons to animate and dwell in —The worshipping of images and columns a piece of the Doctrine of Demons —This proved out of Trismegist, Porphyry, Arnobius, Minucius, Felix, &c. —The worshipping of demons in their relics, shrines and sepulchers another piece of Demon Doctrine —That Gentiles’ temples were nothing but sepulchers of dead men —The gross idolatry of the Egyptians.
A recapitulation or summary of the Doctrines of Demons —How the severals thereof are revived and resembled in the Apostate Christian Church —That the word “Demon” is sometimes in Scripture taken according to the theology of the Gentiles, and not always for an evil spirit —That it is so to be taken in the text was the judgment of Epiphanius; an observable passage quoted out of him to this purpose.
Why those words in the description of the Mystery of Godliness (received into Glory) are set last —That praying to Saints glorified, as Mediators and Agents for us with God, is idolatry —For the proof of this several grounds are laid down —To be prayed to “in Heaven,” to present our devotions to God, and to deal as an Agent and Mediator between us and Him, is a “Prerogative” appropriate to Christ, a flower of his Glory and Exaltation to sit at God’s right hand, a Royalty incommunicable to any other —That none but Christ our High Priest is to be an Agent for us with God in the Heavens, was figured under the Law, in that the High Priest alone had to do in the most holy place, and there was to be Agent for the People —That though Christ in regard of his person was capable of this God-like Glory and Royalty, yet it was the will of God that he should purchase it by suffering an inimitable death —This proved from several testimonies of Scripture –Saint-worship is a denial of Christ’s prerogative —Bread-worship in the Eucharist, to what kind of idolatry it may be reduced —How Saint-worship crept into the Church.
That idolatry is the main character of the Church’s apostasy, proved by three Arguments
An exception against the foregoing assertion —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.
The second particular in the description of the great apostasy, viz. the persons apostatizing express by , some —The great apostasy was to be a general one —The word [, some] does not always imply a few, or a small number, proved by several passages in Scripture —The true Church of Christ was never wholly extinguished —Wherein we and the Papists differ about the Church’s Visibility —In what respects our Church was visible, and in what it was invisible, under the Apostasy and Reign of Antichrist —This is further cleared by the parallel State of the Israelitish Church under the apostasy of Israel
The third particular, or the time of the apostasy —That the last times in Scripture signify either a continuation of time, or an end of time —That the last times simply, and in general, are the times of Christianity; the last times in special and comparatively, or the latter times of the last times, are the times of the apostasy under Antichrist —That the times are set out to us to be as marks to inform us when the things to fall out in them should come to pass; and not the things intended for signs to know the Times by —This observation illustrated from Daniel 8.
A more particular account of the last times in general, and of the latter times of the last times —That the four Kingdoms of Daniel are the Great Calendar (as the Seventy Weeks the Lesser Calendar) of times —That the times of the fourth or last Kingdom (that is, the Roman) are the last times meant in Scripture —That the latter times of the last times are the latter times of the fourth kingdom, wherein the great apostasy should prevail.
Two enquiries concerning the latter times —I. What
durance are they to be of —Answer: That the times of the
That we are not to reckon the latter times, or the times of the Empire’s ruin and the apostasy attending, from the full height thereof: this illustrated from other computations in Scripture —The three main degrees of the Roman Empire’s ruin —Who are those three kings whom the little Horn (or Antichrist) is said, in Daniel 7, to have displanted or depressed, to advance himself —About what time saint-worship began in the Church —That we are not too curiously to inquire from which of the three degree of the Empire’s ruin the apostatical or latter times take their beginning.
That Daniel’s Seventy Weeks are a Lesser Calendar of times —That in reference to these weeks must those phrases in the Epistle to the converted Jew, viz. “the last hour or time,” “The end of all things,” “the day approaching,” etc., be expounded, of the end of the Jewish State and Service at the expiry of the Seventy Weeks —That the Apostles were not so mistaken as to believe the end of the world should be in their days, proved against Baronius and other Romanists.
The fourth particular, viz. the warrant or proof of this prophecy —When the Spirit speaks expressly, and when by secret instinct or inspiration —That the Spirit foretold the great apostasy expressly in Daniel 11: 36-39 —An exact translation of these verses —The chief difficulties in them explained, and incidentally other places of Scripture —The different opinions of Junius and Graserus about verse 38 —The Author’s translation free from the inconveniences of both —A particular explication of “Mahoz,” and “Mahuzzim:” that hereby are meant Fortresses Bulwarks, as also Protectors, Guardians, Defenders, &c. —How fitly this title is applicable to Angels and Saints, accounted to be such by those that worshipped them.
A particular explication (by way of paraphrase) of the forementioned Prophecy in Daniel 11. —This further illustrated by several observations, wherein the events are represented as exactly suitable and applicable to Daniel’s prophecy —That at the beginning of saint-worship in the Church, Saints and their relics were called Bulwarks, Fortresses, Walls, Towers, Guardians, Protectors, &c., according to the native signification of the word used by Daniel, Mahuzzim —A brief explication of the following verses in Daniel 11: 40-43.
The Author’s three reasons for translating the text differently from the common versions —That the preposition () in the text signifies through or by —Other places of Scripture where it signifies likewise Causam or Modum Actionis.
The words of the text explained —That for the character or quality of the persons that made way for, or brought in the Great Apostasy, some were liars, some had seared consciences, some forbade marriage and meats; others were guilty of all these imputations —What is meant by the hypocrisy of Liars —That this appeared in three things: 1. Lies of miracles; 2. Fabulous Legends; 3. Counterfeit writings under the name of antiquity —That lies of miracles appeared in, 1. their forgery; 2. Illusion; 3. Misapplication —What is meant by having seared consciences —That strange and indecent tales wherewith the legends and the like writings are stuffed, argue those that did either vent or believe them to be men of seared (that is, hard and unfeeling) consciences —Some instances of the indecency of those stories.
That the worship of saints and their relics was brought in and promoted by the hypocrisy of liars, or by lying miracles. —No mention of miracles done by the bodies or relics of martyrs in the first 300 years after Christ; nor was the mediation of martyrs believed in the first ages of the Church —That the Gentiles’ Idolatry of Demons was advanced by lying miracles, proved out of Eusibius, Tertullian, Chrysostom.
That saint worship was advanced by fabulous legends, this proved from the acknowledged design of the Latin legends, as also of that Greek legender, Simeon Metaphrastes; particularly his fabulous narrations concerning Anastasia, S. Barbara, S. Blasius, S. Catharine, S. Margaret, &c.
An useful digression concerning the time when Simeon Metaphrastes lived, and the occasion of his writing. That his living within the time of the great opposition against saint-worship moved him to devise such stories as made for the credit and advantage of that cause then in danger —A brief historical account (even out of the records left by the adversaries) of the great opposition in the Greek and Eastern Churches against worshipping of Images and of Saints: when it began, how long it lasted, and under what Emperors —Of the great Council held at Constantinople under Constantinus Copronymus against Idolatry —An attempt to foist in two Cannons in favor of saint-worship frustrated —Several slanders and calumnies fastened upon the Council and the Emperor by the idolatrous faction —The original of these slanders: that they were notorious lies, proved from the Decrees of the Council.
That saint-worship was promoted by counterfeit writings under the name of antiquity —that image-worship and the idolatry of the Mass-God were advanced by the hypocrisy of liars —This illustrated from several fabulous narrations —A foul story made use of by the Second Council of Nice in behalf of image-worship
That by these two characters (forbidding marriage, and commanding to abstain from meats) are chiefly deciphered Monks and Friars —That prohibition of marriage and abstaining from meats are inseparable characters of Monastic Profession —That the renouncing of possessions or having no property in anything (another principle in Monkery) may be included under the abstaining from meats —That the word translated “meats”, implies all things needful for maintenance of life, proved from several places of Scripture.
The Monastic life and saint-worship began much about the same time —That Monks and Friars (chiefly intended in the text by the words “forbidding to marry,” &c.) were the main authors and advancers of saint-worship, proved from the testimonies of Chemnitius, St Austin, Gregory of Tours, as also Eunapius, a Gentile writer —That Monks and Friars were the ringleaders and chief advancers of image-worship, appears in that (during the Iconomachical Controversy in the East) the greatest part of the storm fell upon those of the Monastic Profession —That the idolatry of the Mass-God was promoted by the same persons.