doctrine", and go into evil practices; nor to be excited to persecute the saines, for the space of a thousand years; and that the church of Christ, during such a tiine, has been in a state of perfect purity and peace; free from being discurbed and distressed by idolaters, heritics, and persecutors; then may these thousand years be said to be past; but if this cannot be made to appear, then most certainly they are vet to come. Let us put this to the trial; which will be best done by considering the several epochas, or periods, from whence these tho! sand years have been dated.

1. From the birth of Christ, who came to destroy the works of the devil, and before whom Satan fell as lightering from heaven; yet this falls short of the binding and casting him into the bottomless pit: whoever considers the state of the Gen, le world when Christ came, being under the power of the god of this world, the nations thereof being left to walk in their own ways; nay, Christ forbad his disciples going into any of the cities of the Gentiles; nor had they a commission to preach the gospel to all nations, till atter his resurrection from the dead; who, I say, that considers these things, can ever iinagine that Satan was now bound? And if we lock into the state of the Jewish nation and church, how sadly corrupted in their morals, being a wicked and an adulterous generation, and dcpraved in their religious sentinents ; neglected the word of God, and preferring the traditions of the elders to it; rejecting Christ, when he came to them with all the marks and characters of the true Messiah, and treating him with the utmost indignation and contempt; and were, as our Lord says, of their

father the devil, and his lusts they would do; there can be no reason to believe i that Satan was now bound. His many attacks on the person and life of Christ,

shew the contrary; as his putting Herod on seeking the young child's life to destroy it, in his infancv; and to inake that carnage of the infants in and about Eethlehem, he did; his tempting hun in the wilderness, in the manner he did, which was bold, daring, and insolent; instigating the scribes and Pharisees to lay hands on him, and kill him; marching towards him as the prince of the world, and combating with lim in the garden ; and putting it into the heart of Judas to betray bim; and stirring up the people of all sorts to be pressing to the Roman governoi, for the crucifixion of hin, and by which means he was brought to the dust of death. And though, indeed, Satan was dispossessed of the bodies of men, which possession shews he was not bound, when dispossessed he was not bound, and cast into the bottomless pit, but was suffered to go

and rove about were he pleased; and though Christ, by liis death, destroyed Satan, who had the power of death, and spoiled his principalities and powers, and ruined his works; vet all this did not amount to a binding and confinement of his person in prison.

11. Others date these thousand years of Satan's binding, from the resurrection of Christ; when it is true, Christ ascended on high, and led captivity captive, and poured down his Spirit upon his apostles, on the day of Pentecost, whereby they were wonderfully fitted to preach his gospel; and accordingly preached it


with great success, both in Judea and in the Gentile world; but still Satan was not bound. Not in Judea ; for in the first ard purest christian church, tie filled the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira to lie against the Holy Ghost. He stirred up the Jews to lay hold on the apostles, and put them in prison; and to stone Stephen, the proto-martyr; he raised a violent persecution against the church at Jerusalem, and havock was made of it, and men and women hauled to prison; he put Herod upon killing James the brother of John, and cornnitting leter to prison. And whereas the ministers of the word went into other countries, preaching the gospel, the Jews, under the instigation of Satan stirred up tile people against them wherever they came; as ai Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Tessalonica, and at other places; and what the christian Hebrews suifered fron them, may be seen in Heb. x. 32, 33. Nor was Satan bound in the Gentile world; for though the gospel made its way into divers countries and cities, to the conversion of many souls, and the forming of many churches; yet heathenism, under the influence of the god of this world, was the prevail.ag religion every where; and the sect of the christians was every where spoken ayamist; and the apostles and ministers of the word, were every where persecuted, bonds and imprisonment waited for them in all places; and all the apostles suffered death for the sake of the gospel.

1. Others begin these thousand years of Satan's binding at the destruction of Jerusalem, which was very dreadful; in the siege of it eleven hundi ed thou. sand men perished'; and when such insurrections, intestine quarıels, seditions, murders, and scenes of iniquity were amos.g the Jews themselves, Saran could never be thought to be bound then; and after it, though things took a different Turn with the Jews, and in favour of the christians, in Judea and elsewhere; the Jews, though they had the same ill will to them, had not the same power against them; yet they themselves manifestly appeared to be under the deception of Satan, by their giving heed to false prophets, and false christs, which our Loid foretold would arise ; witness Bar Cochab, a false messiah, who rose up in the times of Trajan, whom the Jews embracing, nebelled against the empire, which brought a war upon them in which fifty eight thousand were slain «; and under the same deception by false messiahs, and under the same blindness and hardness of heart, and malice against Christ and his gospel, have continued to this day. And as for the Gentile world, though the gospel got ground every where, and multitudes of souls were converted, and the Gentile oracles were struck dumb'; the temples almost desolate, and worship in them was intermitted"; yet Gentilism continued to be the prevailing religion throughout the Ro. man empire, till the times of Constantine, at the beginning of the fourth century; as appears by the persecutions of the christians by the Roman emperors: the first persecution was under Nero; this was indeed a little before the destrucJoseph. de Bcllo Jud. I. 6. c. g. s. 3. La:ope Synops. Hist. Sacr. & Ecelesiast. I. 2.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

!-Delphis Oracula cessan!, Juvenal. Satyr. 6. v. 554: . Plin. Epist. d. 10.

e. 3. p. 110. ep. 9.

tion of Jerusalem ; the occasion of it was this, he himself set fire to the city of Rome, and then, under the instigation of Satan, charged it upon the christians, whom he most inhumanly sacked and tortured, and put to the must cruel deaths that could be invented. The tenth and last persecution was under Dioclesian, a little before the times of Constantine ; bis æra was called by the Egyptians the zra of the martyrs; the whole world was imbrued with their blood; and the world was more exhausted of men thereby than by ary war, as the historian says"; it was the longest and most severe, it lasted ten years; and perhaps, in allusion to the ten persecutio.s, or to the ten years of the last persecution, it is said in Rev. ij. 10. The devil shall cast some of you into prison, and ye

shall have tribulation ten days; and if the devil cust the saints into prison, he himself could not be bound and cast into prison ; nor could this be their reigning time; nay, Dioclesian thought he had got an entire victory over the christians, and therefore set up pillars o in some parts of the empie, signifying that the christian name was blotted out, and the superstition of Christ every where destroyed, as he called it; and the worship of the gods propagaied; so far was Satan from being bound, that he triumphed over Christ and his cause: and that he could not be bound in this period of time, appears by the mul.itude of heathen deilies worshipped; the nunber not only of heathen philosophers among the Greeks and Romans, but of the Magi in the east, and of the Druids in the west, and of the Brahmins among the Indians; also from the vile and false charges brought by the heathens under the influence of Satan against the christians, of idolatries, murders, incests, impurities, and unheard of crimes; which obliged their writers, as Justin Martyr, Teitullian, &c. to write apologies in the defence of them ; to which may be added, the scoffs and outs, the malice and blaspheny of the heathen writers against Christ and the christian religion, as Crescens, Lucian, Celsus, and Porphyry: and if we look into the christian church in the three first centuries, how it was harrassed and distressed with heretics and heresies, we shall soon be convinced that Satan was not bound, nor Christ's reign began; to reckon up only the names of them from Simon Magus to Sabellius, would fill up a page; some denying the doctrine of the Trinity; some the distinct personality in the Deity; some the person of Christ, either his real humanity or his proper Deity, or divine Sonship; as vile a set of men now were, for corruption in doctrine and practice, as perhaps ever was, and may truly be calied a synagogue of Satan, as they seein to be in Rev ii. 9. in the times of these men therefore the devil could never be said to be bound, when he had a synagogue of them.

iv. Others begin the date of Satan's binding, and Christ's reigning, from the times of Constantine; and reckoning the thousand years from hence they will reach to the beginning of the fourteenth century. Those who go this way suppose the vision in Rev. xii. and that in chap. xx. to be the same, which cannut

Sulpicius, ut supra, p. 99, 100. ° Gruter, Inscript. p. 280. apud Fabricii Salutar. Luxo Evangel. p. 157

[ocr errors]

be ; that in the former respects the imperial dragon, or the papal empire under the influence of Satan; the latter the person of the devil himself, with his angels; the former respects a battle in' heaven, the latter a combat on earth; the foriner represen's Satan as cast out of heaven on earth, the latter as cast ot of the earth into the bottomless pit; the former says nothing of the binding and shutting up of Satan, the latter does; the former speaks of him after his casting down, as at liberty to go about in the earth and distress the nations, and annoy the church; but the latter as in such confinement as to be able to do neither: but that Satan could not be bound, nor the reign of Christ take place in the above perid of time is manifest; for though upon Constantine's coining to the throne, and declaring himself a christian, the christian religion lift up its head', and flourished greatly with respect to numbers, wealth, riches and grandeur, yet all its outward greatness in the issue ended in its ruin ; and though heathenisin Was den olished throughout the empire, and pagan temples shut up, yet pagan rites and ceremonies were in roduced into the church, and gradually prevailed; and especially when the man of sin was revealed, so that the followers of antichrist go by the name of Genuiles, Rev. xi. 2. That the devil was not now bound, appears by the flood he cast out of his mouth to destroy the woman, the church, who was obliged to disappear and fee into the wilderness, the remnant of whose seed he persecuted, Rev. xii. 13–17. by which flood is meant either a flood of heresies, as those of the Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, Macedonians, and Pelagians, which sadly infested and disturled the churches; or a flood of persecution, particularly by the Arians, which was begun by Constantine himself; who, exercised vim persecutionis, towards the latter end of his life, being imposed upon; and this was carried on with gicat violence by his sons, Constantius and Valens, who embraced that heresy; and in after times by some of the northern nations, who broke into the empire, and became Arians. In the reign of Julian, which, though but short, heathenism was in a great measure restored, and many diabolical arts were used by him to revive paganism, and extirpate christianity; the scho Is of the christians forbid, their temples shut up, and those of the iscathens opened. These, with his attempt, in favour of the Jews, to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem, in spite of propiecy, and his outrageous blasphemies against the Galilean, as he used to call our Lord, plainly shew that Satan was not bound. The iri uptions of the Goths and Vandals, and other northern nations, into the empire, and the destructions they made in church and state, is a full proof of this. Within this interval of time antichrist rose up, and manifestly appeared; whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all powers and signs, and lying wonders; whose followers give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devil; and who worship deviis, and idols of gold and silver; and whose reign is to continue one thousand two hundred and sixty days or years, and so not yet at an end: and whilst antichrist reigns, Christ's reign cannot take place, nor Satan be bound. Also much aboui the same time, that vile impostor Mahomct, under the instigation of the devil, arose; when

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the hottomless pit was opened, and then Satan surely could not lie bound in it; out of which came the smoke of the absurd Alkoran, which darkened the sun and moon, the light of great part of the world; and from whence came his locusts, the Saracens, which, for some centuries, greatly afflicted the christian empire, whose king was called Abaddon, and Apollyon, Rev. ix. 11. as did the Turks after them, whose einpire was set up in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and continuel to distress Europe till the latter end of the last. And now, so long as mahometanism prevails over so large a part of the world as it does, the thousand year's reign, and the binding of Satan, cannot he expected. To which may be added, the persecutions of the Waldenses and Alligenses, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, by the papal antichrist, ahd which have been exercised on them, even in the last century, in the vallies of Piedmont P, shew that Satan cannot be bound. And as to the state of heathenism, it will appear, by consulting the Magdeburgensian centuriators, that it has subsisted in various parts of the world, throughout all the centuries, from Constantine to the fourteenth century; and about the end of the fifteenth, when America was frst discovered, in what state were the inhabitants of it? Idolaters : yea, they worshipped the devil in some places in the West-Indies?; as the inhabitants of the East-Iolies', and others in North and South America : and how many nations and kingdoms, both in America and in the East-Indies, are, at this day, under the power of heatherism? And it was a calculation made by some in the last century, that if the whole known world, was divided into thirty equal parts, nineteen of them would be found idolatrous Gentiles'. Surely then Satan cannot be bound, so as not to deceive the nations.

v. Some begin the thousand years reign, and the binding of Satan at the reformation from popery; but whether the date is from Wickliff, John Huss, and Jerom of Prague, or from Luther; they all of them either suffered death, or met with great inhumanity and ill treatment, from the instruments of Satan, and therefore he could not be bound; and great numbers of their followers were persecuted unto death. Since the reformation, were the massacre in Paris, when ten thousand protestants were murdered in one night, and seventy thousand in seven days time: and the many martyrs burnt here in England, in queen Mary's reign; and the massacre in Ireland, in which two hundred thousand perished; all under an hellish influence, are clear demonstrations that Satan was not bound. Besides, though several nations, at the reformation, fell from popery, yet all did not, and some have revolted to it since; and whoeves considers the great dea cline of religion in our day, the increase of popery, and the spread of errors and heresy among us, and the great profaneness and immorality that prevail, can never think that Satan is bound, or that the millennium is begun. Upon thie

? See Perrin's History of the Waldenses, and Morland's History of the evaogelical Churches in the valiey of Piedmont. 9 P. Martyr de Angleria Decad, 1. l. 9. Oviedo de Ind. Occident.

'Vartoinanni Navigat. l. 5.6. 2. 23. & 16. 27. Ross's View of all Religions, p. 59: see p. 77, 79, 80, 88, 89. •Schmid, compeod. Hist. Ecclesiast, tec. 17. p 500.

c. 5

« 前へ次へ »