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thighs of brass, the Macedonian under Alexander and his successors—the legs of iron, and feet part of iron and part of clay, the Roman empire which subdued the Macedonian, and which, in the sixth century of the Christian æra, was dismembered into ten kingdoms. The kingdom of the stone cut out without hands is expounded, as you remember, by the prophet himself, of that spiritual and heavenly dispensation to be established by the Son of Man, and which proceeding by mild, and to human wisdom, feeble means, resembled a stone cut out without human skill; but which, in its progress, is destined to smite the feet of iron and clay, and break them to pieces, and fill the whole earth.
Can any thing give an adequate idea of the magnificence of the divine inspiration in these rapid delineations of all the revolutions of the world during all ages; especially when considered in contrast with those minute details of the overthrow and abiding state of separate cities? The mind is lost in the contemplation of the foreknowledge of God.
But I proceed to notice, what is connected with the last topic,
III. The predictions OF THE A POSTACIES OF THE LATTER DAYS. For it is impossible to look back to the hisVOL. I.
tory of the church, without seeing the lamentable departures from the pure faith and obedience of the gospel which have prevailed for so many ages. In the east, the seventh century saw the impostor Mahomet infatuate with his delusion the inhabitants of the fairest portion of Christendom; whilst in the west, a gross corruption of the doctrines and precepts of the gospel darkened the glory of Christia nity. Nor does any thing more afflict the mind of the sincere Christian, or open a wider door to the objections of the unbeliever, than the perversions of the doctrine of the Christian church. It is an extraordinary relief, under the pressure of such considerations, to turn to the word of prophecy, and see the predictions of these very apostacies, delivered many centuries before they took place.
I dwell not on the features of the eastern antichrist, as painted in the book of Daniel, and the kindred language of St. John, because I hasten to notice what more immediately presents itself before our eyes, the great western apostacy. Let us first see how it is delineated by the prophetic pencil of Daniel. We there find it set forth as a seducing power, that was to arise after the conversion, downfall, and division into ten sovereignties of the fourth, or Roman empire-little, in comparison
of these others as to secular authority, but claiming and obtaining an universal spiritual authority over the body of the western kingdom,—acquiring and maintaining this through policy and craft, procuring a voluntary surrender of power from really superior sovereigns, and using it to become a leader to others in apostacy, persecution, and various kinds of opposition to the truth. 14
With these criteria, I compare St. Paul's description in the New Testament of the apostacy, or falling away, when the man of sin should be revealed, the son of perdition ; who opposeth and exulteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God; whose coming is after the working of satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish-God sending them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.The mystery of iniquity, adds the apostle, doth already work; only, he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. In this delineation, I find the same distinctive features as in the description of the prophet, with the additional marks of blasphemous usurpation of the place and authority of God-a mystery 11Daniel vii. 19—25.
of iniquity, which was already insinuating itself when the apostle wrote, but which was let or hindered, by the jealous authority of the Roman empire, united then under one potent government; but which would be revealed when the downfall and dismemberment of that empire should remove the obstacle to its development.
The same great apostle resumes the subject in his first epistle to Timothy, and foretells that in the latter times, some should depart from the faith, giving head to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy ; having their conscience seared with a hot iron ; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meals -particulars all falling under the same beads as those before enumerated.
We next come to the closing visions of prophecy in the Revelation, and, lo, the same corruption as in the prophet, the same times assigned to it, the same geographical and chronological position in the map of prophecy, lead to the confirmation of all our previous notions, and add many other decisive indications. The apostacy is here described as a power having a mouth speaking great things, and even blasphemies; it makes war with the saints; it has horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon ; it doth great wonders, and deceiveth those that dwell on
the earth. It is called Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and Abominations of the Earth. It is further depicted as a sorceress, decked in purple, and scarlet, and gold, and precious stones, and pearls: drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus - working by other governments, who agree to give unto her their strength and power—and thus becoming the fountain head of corruption; and inducing the kings of the earth to commit fornication with her. Moreover, the place is now absolutely fixed, the city of the seven mountains; the great city, that reigneth over the kings of the earth—the head of the fourth empire. The time also is more expressly limited to the period when the dismembered kingdoms of the Roman empire agree to give their power into her hands. The duration also, is defined to be twelve hundred and sixty prophetical days, or years-a period already assigned in the book of Daniel, and confirmed in the Revelation, by six or seven repeated declarations.
What spiritual power it was, that arose in the city of Rome after the fall of the empire, uniting in itself all these marks and indications, I need not tell you. Let the corrup tions of doctrine and precept, the usurpation of the rights of conscience, the prohibition of the free use of the scriptures, the spiritual es