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language as to render it a matter of little difficulty to trace its accomplishment in the history of the professing Church of Christ.-The words of the prophecy are as follow:
“ Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning “ the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled neither by
spirit nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as " that the day of Christ is at hand.—Let no man “ deceive you by any means for (that day shall “ not come) except there come a falling away « first; and that man of sin be revealed, the son “ of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himo self 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. “-Remember ye not that when I was yet with I told you these things? And now
know “ what withholdeth that he might be revealed in “ his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth al
ready work: only he who now letteth will let, 66 until he be taken out of the way. And then 6 shall that Wicked be revealed whom the Lord « shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and « shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
(even him) whose coming is after the working “ of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying “ wonders. And with all deceivableness of un. “ righteousness in them that perish; because they “ received not the love of the truth that they
might be saved. And for this cause God shall “send them strong delusion that they might be“ lieve a lie: That they all might be damned “ which believed not the truth, but had pleasure “ in unrighteousness."
passage of Scripture, that an erroneous notion had gone forth among the Thessalonian Christians that the day of the Lord was very near at hand. This opinion seems to have been founded upon a misconception of the meaning of certain expressions in the first epistle of St. Paul to the same Church. To correct the mistake, the apostle here assures the Thessaloni. ans that the day of Judgment should be preceded by a falling away or apostasy in the Church when that Man of Sin should be revealed, whose character, and conduct, and end, he describes in the context. In considering the whole passage, there are two things which obviously present themselves to our view as distinct objects of inquiry. The first is,- What is included in the term apostasy ? and, are there any marks of such an apostasy in the Christian Church? and secondly,-What power was intended by the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition ?
It appears from this
* 2 Thes. ii. 1-12.
I shall endeavour, in the following pages, to prosecute these different objects of research with as much succinctness as possible; and in concluding, I shall briefly review certain other passages of the prophetical writings relating to the same subject, whereby new light will be reflected upon the prophecy of St. Paul.
THE TERM APOSTASY ASCERTAINED TO BE SYNONIMOUS
WITH IDOLATRY--TWO PROPOSITIONS LAID DOWN CHARG
ING THE GUILT OF IDOLATRY ON THE CHURCH OF ROME;
FIRST, IN THE WORSHIP OF SAINTS; AND SECONDLY, OF
IMAGES-THE WORSHIP OF SAINTS BY THE CHURCH OF
ROME PROVED TO BE IDOLATRY-THE ARGUMENTS OF
THE REV. P. GARDOLPHY IN DEFENCE OF SAINT-WORSHIP
CONSIDERED AND ANSWERED.
The first clause of the Prophecy which is the subject of our investigation, declares, that “ that day shall not come, that is, the day of the second advent of Christ to judge the world, “ except “ there come a falling away first.” The word so translated is drogarise from which is derived our English noun “ apostasy,” signifying a defection from true religion.-Now it is
that in the Scriptures, apostasy is used synonimously with the sin of idolatry; so that when the children of Israel were guilty of that sin, we find that they are charged with apostasy against the Lord.
Thus when the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, built an altar by the river Jordan as recorded in the book of Joshua, the rest of the children of Israel conceiving that the altar was for idolatrous purposes, charged the tribes who had erected it with an intention to rebel or apostatize against the Lord their God ;* and the tribes of Reuben, &c. in vindicating themselves from the charge, use the following words. The Lord God of gods, He knoweth, and Israel he shall know, if it be IN REBELLION, or (according to the Seventy) atosuri, APOSTASY, that we have built us an altar to turn us from following the Lord.
In 2 Chron. xxviii. 22, the idolatry of Ahaz is described as rebellion or apostasy." And in the “ time of his distress, did he trespass or apostatize
yet more against the Lord, προσεθηκε του αποθηναι “ ano xvquov."-In Nehem. ix. 26. and Dan. ix. 9, the sin of Israel is confessed, as being rebellion or apostasy against the Lord.-Now we know that idolatry was their great national sin, and it there fore follows that their apostasy consisted in idolatry,
* Joshua xxii. 18. See the version of the seventy, who render the Hebrew 97798 Dnx 170071, xt 65&t say ATOSITS, and it shall be if ye apostatize.