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IT is very useful, as well as very curious and entertaining, to trace the rife and progress of religions and governments; and in taking a survey of all the different religions and governments of the world, there is none perhaps that will strike us more with wonder and astonishment than that of Rome, how such a mystery of iniquity could sucVol. III. B ceed

ceed at first and prosper so long, and under, the name of Christ, introduce Antichrist. Other heresies and schisms have obtained place and credit among men for a time, and then haye been happily exposed and suppressed. Ari

anism once succeeded almost universally j for a while it grew and florished mightily, but in

process of time it withered and faded away. Bdt Popery hath now prevailed I know not-how many centuries, and her ,renowned hierarchs have not, like the fathers of other sects,' ,stole into secret meetings/and conventicles, but have infected the very heart of the Christian church, and usurped the chief feat of the western jworld; have not only engaged in their cause private persons, and led 'captive filly women, but have trampled on the necks of princes and emperors themselves, and the lords and tyrants of mankind have yet, been the blind staves and vassals of the holy fee. Rome Christian hath carried her conquests almost as far as Rome Pagan. The Romanists themselves make universality and perpetuity the special marks and characters of their church 5 and no people more industrious than they in compassing sea and land to make proselytes.1 '» < All sincere protestants cannot but be greatly grieved at the success and prevalence of this re*i :Hgion,

ligion, and the papists as much boast and glory in it, and for this reason proudly denominate theirs the catholic religion. But it will abate all confidence on the one hand, and banish all scruples on the other; if we consider that this is .nothing more than what was signified beforehand by the Spirit of prophecy. It is directly foretold, that there should be such a power, as that of the Pope of Rome, exercised in the . Christian church, and that it should prevail for ja.long season, but at last should have a fall. . Several clear and express prophecies to this purpose have been produced out of Daniel and St. Paul in the course of these dissertations: but others clearer still, and more copious and particular, may be found in the Apocalyps or Revelation of St. John, who was the greatest as he was the last prophet of the Christian dispen* sation, and hath comprehended in this book', and pointed out the most memorable events and revolutions in the church, from the apostles days to the consummation of the mystery of God.

But to this book of the Apocalyps or Revelation it is usually objected, that it is so wrapt and involved in figures and allegories, is so wild and visionary, is so dark and obscure, that any thing or nothing, at least nothing clear and certain, can be proved or collected from it So

B 2 teamed • learned a man as Scaliger is noted for faying (i.) that Calvin was wife, because he wrote nd comment upon the Revelation. A celebrated (2) wit and divine of our own church hath not scrupled to assert, that that book either finds a man mad, or makes him so. Whitby, though an useful commentator on the other books of the New Testament, would not yet adventure upon the Revelation. "I confess I do it not (3) (fays he',) "for want of wisdom; that is because I neither "have sufficient reading nor judgment, to^dff"cern the intendment of the prophecies edn"tained in that book." Voltaire is pleased to sav, that Sir Isaac Newton wrote his comment upon the Revelation, to console mankind for the great superiority that he had over them in other respects: but Voltaire, though a very agreeable, is yet a very superficial writer, and often mistaken in his judgment of men and things." Me never was more mistaken, than in affirming that Sir Isaac Newton has explained the Revelation in the fame manner with all those who went before'him j a most evident proof that he had


(1) Calvinus sapit, quod in marks, he says in another place, Apoolypsin non scripiit. Vide Hoc possum gloriari me nihil ,Scasiigeranasecunda. p. 41. But ignorare eorum quæ in Apoc'aScaliger Was not very consistent lypsi, Canonico vere libro, proinhisopinion of the Revelation, phetice scribuntur, præter issud For as the Biihop of Rochester re- capnt in quo <vœ septies repeti

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