CMF eZine The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship. Pages Of AntiChrist and His Ruin A Premonition to the Reader Of AntiChrist A Particular Description of AntiChrist Where AntiChrist First Appeared Of the Ruin of AntiChrist The Soul of it Destroyed, and How The Ordinances of AntiChrist The Body of AntiChrist Destroyed, and How Brave Days When AntiChrist is Dead Of the Manner of the Ruin of AntiChrist A Tenth Part Falls First The Nine Parts Fall Great Babel Falls Of the Signs of the Approach of the Downfall of AntiChrist First Sign Second Sign Third Sign Fourth Sign Fifth Sign Of the Instruments That God Will Use to Bring AntiChrist to His Ruin Of the Causes of the Ruin of AntiChrist First Cause Second Cause Third Cause Fourth Cause Fifth Cause Sixth Cause Seventh Cause 19 August Of AntiChrist and His Ruin By John Bunyan Eschatology, End Times 0 Comment Of AntiChrist and His Ruin And Of The Slaying the Witnesses Prefatory remarks by the Editor This important treatise was prepared for the press, and left by the author, at his decease, to the care of his surviving friend for publication. It first appeared in a collection of his works in folio, 1692; and although a subject of universal interest; most admirably elucidated; no edition has been published in a separate form. Antichrist has agitated the Christian world from the earliest ages; and his craft has been to mislead the thoughtless, by fixing upon the humble followers of the Lamb his own opprobrious proper name. The mass of professed Christians, whose creed and mode of worship have been provided by human laws, has ever been opposed to the sincere disciples of Christ. To imbibe every principle from investigation and conviction of the holy oracles—to refuse submission to any authority in the spiritual kingdom of God, except it is to Christ, the supreme head and only lawgiver in his church—to refuse obedience to human laws in the great concern of salvation and of worship; whether those laws or decrees emanate from a Darius, a Nebuchadnezzar, a Bourbon, a Tudor, or a Stuart—to be influenced by the spirit which animated Daniel, the three Hebrew youths, and the martyrs, brought down denunciations upon them, and they were called antichristian: but alas! the sincere disciples of Jesus have ever known and FELT who and what is Antichrist. They have been robbed—incarcerated in dungeons—racked and tormented—transported—drowned—hung or burned. The most frightful atrocities have been committed upon the most peaceful and valuable members of society; because they valued their soul’s peace in preference to temporal advantages. These cruelties are THY cursed deeds, O Antichrist! The hand writing against thee is exhibited in blood-stained and indelible characters. The Great God has decreed thy downfall and ruin—”That wicked—whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,” (2 Thess 2:8). All who are found partakers in his community, must be consumed with an everlasting destruction. No “paper-winkers”1 can hide this truth from the enlightened regenerated mind. “O my soul, come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel!” In Bunyan’s time great cruelties were practiced to compel uniformity. To that absurd shrine many thousand invaluable lives were sacrificed. Blessed be God, that happier days have dawned upon us. Antichrist can no longer put the Christian to a cruel death. It very rarely sends one to prison for refusing obedience to human laws that interfere with religious worship. “My kingdom is not of this world,” said the Redeemer: and his followers dare not render unto Caesar, or temporal governments, that which belongs exclusively to God. Human coercion, in anything connected with religion, whether it imposes creeds, liturgies, or modes of worship, is Antichrist: whom to obey, is spiritual desolation, and if knowingly persevered in, leads to death. On the contrary, the kingdom of Christ is love, meekness, forbearance, persuasion, conviction, and holy faith. The Christian who dares not obey Antichrist may still, in some countries, suffer personal violence; but the olden cruelties have given way to the spread of the gospel. Should the wicked spirit of persecution still light its unhallowed fire in any sect; may heaven forgive and convert such misguided men, before the divine wrath shall consume all that pertains to Antichrist. “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” Bunyan conceives that previous to the universal triumphs of the Savior, Antichrist will spread his influence over the whole earth; and the church be hidden from outward observation, in the hearts of believers. This idea, which was also cherished by Dr. Gill, and others, deserves careful consideration; while we keep in mind, that leaven which must spread, however invisible in its operation, until the whole earth shall be leavened. The dread enemy may yet appear in a different shape to any that he has hitherto assumed. When mankind, by the spread of knowledge, shall throw off the absurdities and disgraceful trammels of hypocrisy, fanaticism, and tyranny, which has so long oppressed them; there may be experienced a vast overflowing of infidelity, and perverted reason assume the place of Antichrist. Through this and all other opposing systems, Christianity must make its irresistible progress: all that opposes is doomed to ruin by the Great God. Every heart will be subdued by that blessed knowledge, which has the promise of the life that now is as well as of that which is to come. Bloodless victory! The ark being exhibited, every Dagon must fall before it, then shall be realized the heavenly anthem, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” GEORGE OFFOR. 1 ‘Paper-winkers,’ in every edition, except the first, which was from the author’s manuscript, has been altered to ‘paper-windows.’ Bunyan’s allusion is to the winkers, called by many ‘blinkers,’ put by the side of a horse’s eyes, to keep him under the complete control of his driver—and by ‘paper-winkers’ the flimsy attempt of Antichrist to hoodwink mankind by printed legends, miracles, and absurd assumptions—it is one of the almost innumerable sparks of wit, which render all the writings of Bunyan so entertaining and strikingly instructive.—Ed. Of AntiChrist and His Ruin And Of The Slaying the Witnesses Prefatory remarks by the Editor This important treatise was prepared for the press, and left by the author, at his decease, to the care of his surviving friend for publication. It first appeared in a collection of his works in folio, 1692; and although a subject of universal interest; most admirably elucidated; no edition has been published in a separate form. Antichrist has agitated the Christian world from the earliest ages; and his craft has been to mislead the thoughtless, by fixing upon the humble followers of the Lamb his own opprobrious proper name. The mass of professed Christians, whose creed and mode of worship have been provided by human laws, has ever been opposed to the sincere disciples of Christ. To imbibe every principle from investigation and conviction of the holy oracles—to refuse submission to any authority in the spiritual kingdom of God, except it is to Christ, the supreme head and only lawgiver in his church—to refuse obedience to human laws in the great concern of salvation and of worship; whether those laws or decrees emanate from a Darius, a Nebuchadnezzar, a Bourbon, a Tudor, or a Stuart—to be influenced by the spirit which animated Daniel, the three Hebrew youths, and the martyrs, brought down denunciations upon them, and they were called antichristian: but alas! the sincere disciples of Jesus have ever known and FELT who and what is Antichrist. They have been robbed—incarcerated in dungeons—racked and tormented—transported—drowned—hung or burned. The most frightful atrocities have been committed upon the most peaceful and valuable members of society; because they valued their soul’s peace in preference to temporal advantages. These cruelties are THY cursed deeds, O Antichrist! The hand writing against thee is exhibited in blood-stained and indelible characters. The Great God has decreed thy downfall and ruin—”That wicked—whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,” (2 Thess 2:8). All who are found partakers in his community, must be consumed with an everlasting destruction. No “paper-winkers”1 can hide this truth from the enlightened regenerated mind. “O my soul, come not thou into their secret, unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel!” In Bunyan’s time great cruelties were practiced to compel uniformity. To that absurd shrine many thousand invaluable lives were sacrificed. Blessed be God, that happier days have dawned upon us. Antichrist can no longer put the Christian to a cruel death. It very rarely sends one to prison for refusing obedience to human laws that interfere with religious worship. “My kingdom is not of this world,” said the Redeemer: and his followers dare not render unto Caesar, or temporal governments, that which belongs exclusively to God. Human coercion, in anything connected with religion, whether it imposes creeds, liturgies, or modes of worship, is Antichrist: whom to obey, is spiritual desolation, and if knowingly persevered in, leads to death. On the contrary, the kingdom of Christ is love, meekness, forbearance, persuasion, conviction, and holy faith. The Christian who dares not obey Antichrist may still, in some countries, suffer personal violence; but the olden cruelties have given way to the spread of the gospel. Should the wicked spirit of persecution still light its unhallowed fire in any sect; may heaven forgive and convert such misguided men, before the divine wrath shall consume all that pertains to Antichrist. “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” Bunyan conceives that previous to the universal triumphs of the Savior, Antichrist will spread his influence over the whole earth; and the church be hidden from outward observation, in the hearts of believers. This idea, which was also cherished by Dr. Gill, and others, deserves careful consideration; while we keep in mind, that leaven which must spread, however invisible in its operation, until the whole earth shall be leavened. The dread enemy may yet appear in a different shape to any that he has hitherto assumed. When mankind, by the spread of knowledge, shall throw off the absurdities and disgraceful trammels of hypocrisy, fanaticism, and tyranny, which has so long oppressed them; there may be experienced a vast overflowing of infidelity, and perverted reason assume the place of Antichrist. Through this and all other opposing systems, Christianity must make its irresistible progress: all that opposes is doomed to ruin by the Great God. Every heart will be subdued by that blessed knowledge, which has the promise of the life that now is as well as of that which is to come. Bloodless victory! The ark being exhibited, every Dagon must fall before it, then shall be realized the heavenly anthem, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” GEORGE OFFOR. 1 ‘Paper-winkers,’ in every edition, except the first, which was from the author’s manuscript, has been altered to ‘paper-windows.’ Bunyan’s allusion is to the winkers, called by many ‘blinkers,’ put by the side of a horse’s eyes, to keep him under the complete control of his driver—and by ‘paper-winkers’ the flimsy attempt of Antichrist to hoodwink mankind by printed legends, miracles, and absurd assumptions—it is one of the almost innumerable sparks of wit, which render all the writings of Bunyan so entertaining and strikingly instructive.—Ed. A Premonition to the Reader A Premonition to the Reader After that God had delivered Babylon and her king into the hands of the kings of the Medes and Persians, then began the liberty of the Jews, from their long and tedious captivity: For though Nebuchadnezzar and his sons did tyrannically enslave, and hold them under; yet so wrought God with the hearts of those kings that succeeded them, that they made proclamation to them to go home, and build their city, temple, &c., and worship their own God according to his own law (2 Chron 30:6; Ezra 1). But because I would not be tedious in enumerating instances for the clearing of this, therefore I will content myself with one, and with a brief note upon it. It is that in the seventh of Ezra 7:26: ‘And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be to death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.’ This is the conclusion of a letter that king Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest and scribe, when he granted his petition, and gave him leave to go to Jerusalem to build the temple, and to offer sacrifice there to the God whose house is in Jerusalem. And a conclusion it was, both comfortable and sharp; comfortable to Ezra and his companions, but sharp unto his enemies. I shall here present you with a copy of the letter at large. ‘Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own free-will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee. Forasmuch as thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors, to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem, according to the law of thy God which is in thine hand; And to carry the silver and gold, which the king and his counsellors have freely offered unto the God of Israel, whose habitation is in Jerusalem. And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the free-will-offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem: That thou mayest buy speedily with this money bullocks, rams, lambs, with their meat-offerings and their drink-offerings, and offer them upon the altar of the house of your God which is in Jerusalem. And whatsoever shall seem good to thee, and to thy brethren, to do with the rest of the silver and the gold, that do after the will of your God. The vessels also that are given thee for the service of the house of thy God, those deliver thou before the God of Jerusalem. And whatsoever more shall be needful for the house of thy God, which thou shalt have occasion to bestow, bestow it out of the king’s treasure-house. And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily. Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and levites, singers, porters, nethinims, or ministers of this House of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment’ (Ezra 7:11–26). This is the letter; and now for the scope thereof. First, Generally. Secondly, Particularly. GENERALLY. The general scope of the letter is this: A grant given by the king to Ezra the scribe, to go to Jerusalem, and build there the temple of God, and offer sacrifice in it according to the law: With commissions annexed thereunto, to the king’s lieutenants, treasurers and governors on that side the river, to further the work with such things as by the king was commanded they should. PARTICULARLY. But we will consider the matter particularly. 1. As to the manner of the grant which the king gave to Ezra and his brethren to go thither. 2. As to the king’s grant, with reference to their building, and way of worship. 3. With reference to the king’s liberality and gifts towards the building of the temple, and by what rules it was to be bestowed. 4. As to the way that the king concluded they should be governed in their own land. 5. With reference to the king’s charge to his officers that were thereabout, not to hinder Ezra in his work. 6. And lastly, with reference to the king’s threat and commandment to do judgment if they should hinder it. First, As to the manner of the grant that the king gave to Ezra and his brethren to go to build, it was such an one as forced none, but left every Jew to his own choice, whether he would go, or forbear. The words are these: ‘Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest, a scribe of the law of the God of heaven, perfect peace, and at such a time. I make a decree, that all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own free-will to go up to Jerusalem, go with thee’ (verse 12, 13). Thus gracious then was the king: He made a decree, That all they of the captive Jews, their priests and levites, that would return to their own land, to build their temple, and to sacrifice there, might: He would hinder none, force none, but left them free, to do as they would. Secondly, As to the king’s grant, with reference to their building, and way of worship there, nothing was to be done therein, but according to the law of the God of Ezra, which was in his hands (verse 14). Hence, when he was come to Jerusalem, he was to inquire concerning Judah and Jerusalem; to wit, what was wanting in order to the temple and worship of God there, according to the law of his God, which was in his hand. Also when they went about to build, and to sacrifice, all was to be done according as was commanded by the God of heaven (verse 23): Yea, this was granted by the king, and his seven counsellors. Thirdly, As to the king’s liberality towards the building of this house, &c. it was large: He gave silver, gold, bullocks, rams, lambs; with wheat, wine, oil, and salt (verse 17, 22); but would by his royal power, give no orders how in particular things should be bestowed, but left all that to Ezra the priest, to do with it according to the will, word, or law of his God (verse 18). Fourthly, As to the way that the king concluded they should be governed in their own land, it was by their own laws; yea, he did bid Ezra the priest, after the wisdom of his God that was in his hand, set magistrates and judges, which might judge all the people, &c. only he bid him make them such, which did know the law of his God: Also the king added, That they should teach it to them that knew it not. Fifthly, As to the king’s officers, he gave them a charge not to hinder, but further this work. To further this work, not by putting their hand thereto, (that was to be left to the Jews alone, especially to Ezra, according to the law of his God,) but that they should speedily give him such things which the king had commanded, to wit, silver, and wheat, and wine, and oil, and salt, for their encouragement; and to do therewith, as by the law of their God they should. Further, That they should not impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon the priests, levites, singers, porters, nethinims, or ministers (verse 20–22). Sixthly, And now we come to the conclusion, to wit, the king’s threat and command to do judgment on them that obeyed not the law of Ezra’s God, and the king. Considering what hath been said before, I conclude, 1. That this king imposed no law, no priest, no people upon these Jews; but left them wholly to their own law, their own ministers, and their own people: All which were the laws of God, the priests of God, the people of God, as to their building of their temple, and the worship of their God. 2. He forced not THIS people, no, not to their land, their temple, nor their worship, by his or their law; but left them free to their own mind, to do thereabout as they would. 3. He added not any law therefore of his own, either to prescribe worship, or to enforce it upon the Jews. But you will say, upon what then was the threatening and the command to punish grounded? I answer, upon a supposed breach of two laws. He of the Jews, that in Jerusalem, rebelled against the law of the Lord, was in his own land left by the king to be punished by the same law, according to the penalties thereof: And he of the king’s officers, that refused to do the king’s laws, that refused to give the Jews such things as the king commanded, and that would yet exact such customs and tributes as the king forbade, should be punished by the king’s laws, whether unto death or unto banishment, or unto confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment. And if all kings would but give such liberty, to wit, that God’s people should be directed in their temple-building, and temple worship, as they find it in the law of their God, without the additions of man’s inventions: and if all kings did but lay the same penalty upon them of their pretended servants, that should hinder this work, which this brave king Artaxerxes laid upon his; how many of the enemies of the Jews, before this time, would have been hanged, banished, had their goods confiscated to the king, or their bodies shut up in prison! The which we desire not; we desire only that this letter of the king might be considered of, and we left to do as is there licensed and directed: And when we do the contrary, let us be punished by the law of God, as we are his servants, and by the law of the king, as we are his subjects; and we shall never complain. Only I cannot but observe how prettily it is done of some, who urge this text to colour their malice, ignorance and revenge withal, while they cry, The law of God, and The law of the king, when they will neither let, according to this scripture, the law of God, nor the law of the king take place: Not the law of God; for that they will not leave us to that, to square and govern ourselves in temple-work, and sacrificing by. Nor will they do the law of the king, which has made void, ipso facto, whatever law is against the word of God; but because themselves can do, they will force us to do so too.2 Before I leave this, I would touch once again upon the candor of this king Artaxerxes, who thus did: Because he gave this leave and license to the Jews, contrary (if he had any) to his own national worship; yea, and also to the impairing of his own incomes. Methinks he should have a religion of his own; and that, not that of the Jews, because he was a Gentile; and not, as we read of, proselyted to the Jews religion. Indeed, he spake reverently of the God of Israel, and of his temple-worship, and sacrifices, as did also several other kings; but that will not prove that he was adapted to that religion. That his incomes were impaired, ‘tis evident; because he took off toll, tribute, and custom from them, of whom mention is made before; nor is it, I think, to be believed, that he did exact it of their brethren. But we may see what the Lord can do; for thus to do, was put into the heart of the king by the God of heaven (verse 27). This therefore ariseth not of nature: no more did the kindness of Cyrus or Darius, of whom we read in the beginning of this history. As God therefore did put it into the hearts of the wicked kings of Babylon, to distress his church and people for their sins; so he put it into the hearts of the kings of the Medes and Persians, who were to be, in a sense, their saviors; to ease them of those distresses, to take off the yoke, and let them go free. Indeed, there was an Artaxerxes that put a stop to this work of God (chap 4), and he also was of the kings that had destroyed the Babylonians; for it doth not follow, because God hath begun to deliver his people, that therefore their deliverance must be completed without stop or let. The protestants in France had more favor formerly, than from their prince they at this time have; yet I doubt not but that God will make that horn also one of them (in his time) that (indeed) shall hate the whore. As the sins of God’s people brought them into captivity; so their sins can hold them there; yea, and when the time comes that grace must fetch them out, yet the oxen that draw this cart may stumble; and the way through roughness, may shake it sorely. However, heaven rules and over-rules; and by one means and another, as the captivity of Israel did seem to linger, so it came out at the time appointed; in the way that best pleased God, most profited them, and that most confounded those that were their implacable enemies. This therefore should instruct those that yet dwell where the woman sitteth, to quietness and patience. To quietness: For God rules, and has the dispose of things. Besides, it is a kind of arraigning of his wisdom, to be discontent at that which at present is upon the wheel. Above all, it displeases him that any should seek, or go about to revenge their own injuries, or to work their own deliverances; for that is the work of God, and he will do it by the kings: Nor is he weak, nor has he missed the opportunity; nor doth he sleep but waketh, and waiteth to be gracious. This also should teach them to be patient, and put them upon bearing what at present they may undergo, patiently. Let them wait upon God; patiently let them wait upon men, and patiently let them bear the fruits of their own transgressions; which though they should be none other but a deferring of the mercy wished for, is enough to try, and crack, and break their patience, if a continual supply, and a daily increase thereof be not given by the God of heaven. And before I do conclude this, let me also add one word more; to wit, to exhort them to look that they may see that which God at present may be doing among the Babylonians. When God had his people into Babylon of old, he presented them with such rarities there, as he never shewed them in their own country. And is there nothing now to be seen by them that are not yet delivered from that oppression, that may give them occasion to stay themselves and wonder! What, is preservation nothing? What, is baffling and befooling the enemies of God’s church nothing? In the Maryan days here at home, there was such sweet songs sung in the fire, such sweet notes answering them from prison, and such providences, that coals of burning fire still dropped here and there upon the heads of those that hated God; that it might, and doubtless did make those that did wisely consider of God’s doings, to think God was yet near, with, and for, a despised and afflicted people.3 I conclude then, first with a word of counsel, and then with a word of caution. First, Let us mend our pace in the way of reformation, that is the way to hasten the downfall of Antichrist, ministers need reforming, particular congregations need reforming, there are but few church-members but need reforming. This twenty years we have been degenerating, both as to principles, and as to practice; and have grown at last into an amazing likeness to the world, both as to religion and civil demeanor: Yea, I may say, so remiss have churches been in instructing those that they have received into fellowship with them; and so careless have the received been, of considering the grounds of their coming into churches, that most members, in some places, seem now to be at a loss; yea, and those churches stand with their fingers in their mouths, and are as if they would not, durst not, or could not help it. My Second is, A word of caution. 1. Take heed of over-looking, or of shutting your eyes upon your own guilt: ‘He that covereth his sins, shall not prosper.’ It is incident to some men, when they find repentance is far from them, to shut their eyes upon their own guilt, and to please themselves with such notions of deliverance from present troubles, as will stand with that course of sin which is got into their families, persons, and professions, and with a state of impenitence: But I advise you to take heed of this. 2. Take heed in laying the cause of your troubles in the badness of the temper of governors. I speak not now with reflection upon any, excepting those concerned in this caution: God is the chief, and has the hearts of all, even of the worst of men, in his hand. Good tempered men have sometimes brought trouble; and bad tempered men have sometimes brought enlargement to the churches of God: Saul brought enlargement (1 Sam 14:28). David brought trouble (2 Sam 12:10). Ahab brought enlargement (1 Kings 21:29). Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah did both sometimes bring trouble (2 Chron 19:2; 20:35; 32:25). Therefore, the good or bad tempers of men sway nothing with God in this matter; they are the sins or repentances of his people, that make the church either happy or miserable upon earth. Take heed, I say therefore, of laying of the trouble of the church of God at the doors of governors; especially at the doors of kings, who seldom trouble churches of their own inclinations: (I say, seldom; for some have done so, as Pharaoh:) But I say, lay not the cause of your trouble there; for oftentimes they see with other men’s eyes, hear with other men’s ears, and act and do by the judgments of others: (Thus did Saul, when he killed the priests of the Lord (1 Sam 22:18); and thus did Darius, when he cast Daniel into the lions’ den (Dan 6:7). But rather labor to see the true cause of trouble, which is sin; and to attain to a fitness to be delivered out thence, and that is by repentance, and amendment of life. If any object, That God oft- times delivers his of mere grace: I answer, That’s no thanks to them; besides, we must mind our duty. Further, When God comes to save his people, he can cut off such objectors, if they be impenitent, as the sinners of his people; and can save his church, without letting of them be sharers in that salvation: So he served many in the wilderness; and ‘tis to be feared, so he will serve many at the downfall of Antichrist. I shall say no more, but to testify my loyalty to my king, my love to my brethren, and service for my country, has been the cause of this my present scribble. Farewell. Thine in the Lord, J. BUNYAN. 2 The absurd act to compel uniformity in modes of worship, (14) Charles II, had then recently passed; and when this treatise was written, it desolated the country. This paved the way for the glorious Revolution. The wicked fell into the pit which they had dug for the righteous; the hopes of the Papists were crushed; toleration to worship God was established. Let us follow Bunyan’s example, and attribute these mercies to a gracious God.—Ed. 3 When seven members of the first protesting church in London were burned, a proclamation was made that no one should pray for them, speak to them, nor once say, ‘God help them.’ But the church pressed through the officers,—embraced and prayed for and with the martyrs; and all the people with one consent said, Amen; to the astonishment of the officers. And so these godly martyrs, praying and praising God, sweetly ended their lives in the flames at Smithfield.—Clarke’s Martyrology, p. 500 and 516.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 42–45). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of AntiChrist Of AntiChrist Antichrist is the adversary of Christ; an adversary really, a friend pretendedly: So then, Antichrist is one that is against Christ; one that is for Christ, and one that is contrary to him: (And this is that mystery of iniquity (2 Thess 2:7). Against him in deed; for him in word, and contrary to him in practice. Antichrist is so proud as to go before Christ; so humble as to pretend to come after him, and so audacious as to say that himself is he. Antichrist will cry up Christ; Antichrist will cry down Christ: Antichrist will proclaim that himself is one above Christ. Antichrist is the man of sin, the son of perdition; a beast, [that] hath two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon (Rev 13:11). Christ is the Son of God; Antichrist is the son of Hell. Christ is holy, meek, and forbearing: Antichrist is wicked, outrageous, and exacting. Christ seeketh the good of the soul: Antichrist seeks his own avarice and revenge. Christ is content to rule by his word: Antichrist saith, The word is not sufficient. Christ preferreth his Father’s will above heaven and earth: Antichrist preferreth himself and his traditions above all that is written, or that is called God, or worshiped. Christ has given us such laws and rules as are helpful and healthful to the soul: Antichrist seeketh to abuse those rules to our hurt and destruction. Antichrist may be considered either more particularly, or more generally. 1. More particularly: And so there are many Antichrists (1 John 2:18). 2. More generally: And so the many maketh but one great Antichrist, one man of sin, one enemy, one great whore, one son of perdition (2 Thess 2:3; Rev 19:2). Again, Antichrist must be distinguished, with respect to his more internal and external parts; and so there is the spirit, soul, or life (1 John 4:3); and also the body and flesh of Antichrist (2 Thess 2:7). The spirit, or soul, or life of Antichrist, is that spirit of error, that wicked, that mystery of iniquity, that under color and pretense of verity, draweth men from truth to falsehood. The body or flesh of Antichrist, is that heap of men, that assembly of the wicked, that synagogue of Satan that is acted and governed by that spirit. But God will destroy both soul and body; He ‘shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: [or from the soul, even to the flesh] and they shall be [both soul and body] as when a standard-bearer fainteth’ (Isa 10:18).  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 45–46). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) A Particular Description of AntiChrist A Particular Description of AntiChrist Antichrist therefore is a mystical man, so made, or begotten of the devil, and sent into the world, himself being the chief and highest of him. Three things therefore go to the making up of Antichrist, the head, body, and soul. The devil he is the head; the synagogue of Satan, that is the body; that wicked spirit of iniquity, that is the soul of Antichrist. Christ then is the head of his church; the devil is the head of Antichrist; the elect are the body of Christ; the reprobate professors are the body of Antichrist; the Holy Ghost is the spirit of life that actuateth Christ’s body; that wicked spirit of iniquity, is that which actuateth the body of Antichrist. Thus therefore are the two great mighties set forth before us, who are the heads of those two bodies; and thus are these two bodies set before us, who are to be actuated by these two spirits. The reason why Christ came into the world, was, That he might destroy all the works of the head of Antichrist, and they which he endeavoureth to complete by his wicked spirit working in his body (1 John 3:8). And the reason why Antichrist came into the world, was, That the church, which is the body of Christ, might be tried, and made white by suffering under his tyranny, and by bearing witness against his falsehoods. For, for the trial of the faithful, and for the punishment of the world, Antichrist was admitted to come: But when he came, he first appeared there where one would have thought there had been no place nor corner for his reception.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, p. 46). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Where AntiChrist First Appeared Where AntiChrist First Appeared The devil then, made use of the church of God to midwife this monster into the world, as the Apostle plainly shews, there he first sat, shewing himself (2 Thess 2:4). Here therefore was his first appearance, even in the church of God: Not that the church of God did willingly admit him there to sit as such; he had covered his cloven foot; he had plumbs in his dragon’s mouth, and so came in by flatteries; promising to do for Christ and his church, that which he never meant to perform. For he shewed himself that he was God, and in appearance, set his heart to do as the heart of God (Eze 28:2–6). And who could have found in their hearts to shut the door upon such an one? True, he came, when he came thither, out of the bottomless-pit; but there came such a smoke out thence with him, and that smoke so darkened the light of the sun, of the moon, of the stars, and of the day, that had they [the church] been upon their watch, as they were not, they could not have perceived him from another man. Besides, there came with him so many locusts to usher him into the house of God (Rev 9:2, 3), and they so suited the flesh and reason of the godly of that day, that with good words and fair speeches, by their crafty and cunning sleights, whereby they lay in wait to deceive, they quite got him in, and set him up, and made him a great one, even the chief, before they were aware. Further, He quickly got him a beast to ride on, far, for sumptuous glory, beyond (though as to nature, as assish a creature as) that on which Baalam was wont to ride: And by this exaltation he became not only more stately, but the horns of the beast would push for him (Rev 17:3–6). Again, This man of sin, when he came into the world, had the art of metamorphosing, and could change himself, both in form and shape, into the likeness of a beast, a man, or woman; and the kings of the earth, with the inhabitants of the world, began then to love such women dearly; wherefore they went to her into the bed of love, and defiled themselves with the filthiness of her fornications, gave her their troth, and became her husbands, and beloved sons; took up helmet and shield, and stood to defend her; yea, though Christ himself, and some of the chief of his followers, cried out of her shame, and of the evil of their doings; yet would she be audacious. Also this woman had now arrayed herself in flesh-taking ornaments, of the colour of purple and scarlet, and was decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls, after the manner or attire of harlots. Thus came she to them, and lay in their bosoms, and gave them out of her golden cup of the wine of her fornication; of the which they bibbed till they were drunken; and then, in requital, they also gave her of such liquors as they could, to wit, to drink of the blood of saints, and of martyrs of Jesus, till she, like these beasts, was drunken also. Now when they were drunken, they did as drunkards do, revel, roar, and belch out their own shame, in the sight of them that were sober: Wherefore they cried out upon such doings, and chose rather to die, than to live with such company. And so ‘tis still with them where she yet sitteth, and so will be till she shall fall into the hands of the strong Lord, who will judge her according to her ways. And that she must do, as is implied by this, That her fornications are in a cup; she has therefore but her cup to be drank out; wherefore when it is empty, then, whether she will or no, the Lord God will call her to such a reckoning, that all the clothes on her back, with what pearls and jewels she has, shall not be able to pay the shot.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 46–47). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of the Ruin of AntiChrist Of the Ruin of AntiChrist Antichrist, as was said, had a time to come into the world, and so must have a time to go out again: For although he saith that he is a God, yet must he be subject to the will of God, and must go as well as come according to that will. Nor can all the fallen angels, with all the members and limbs of Antichrist, cause that this their brat should abide so much as one day longer than our God’s prefixed time. And this the head of Antichrist understandeth very well: Wherefore the Holy Ghost saith, ‘Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time’ (Rev 12:12). Besides, the text says plainly, The Lord shall destroy him (2 Thess 2:8), and that he goeth into perdition (Rev 17:11; 19:21). Also the church of God believes it, and the limbs of Antichrist fear it. Now when, or as his time shall come to be destroyed, so he shall be made a hand of; and that with such instruments and weapons of God’s indignation, as best shall be suited to his several parts. Such weapons as are best for the destroying of his soul, shall be used for the destroying of it; and such weapons as are best for the destroying of his body, shall be made use of for the destroying of it.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, p. 47). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) The Soul of it Destroyed, and How The Soul of it Destroyed, and How And therefore, as to his soul, or that spirit of error that governs him in all his works of mischief; this must be consumed by the spirit of Christ’s mouth, and be destroyed by the brightness of his coming. This we have in the words of Paul: ‘For [saith he] the mystery of iniquity [the spirit of Antichrist] doth already work: only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then 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’ (2 Thess 2:7, 8). The Apostle here treateth of Antichrist, with reference to his more subtil and spiritual part, since that indeed is the chiefest of Antichrist: Wherefore he calls it that wicked; not, that wicked one, as referring to the whole; but that wicked, as referring to the mystery or spirit of iniquity, the heart and soul of Antichrist; and tells us, that the Lord shall ‘consume him with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy him with the brightness of his coming.’ Now, by the spirit of his mouth, I understand his holy word, which is called ‘The word and breath of his lips’ (Isa 11:4). And also, ‘The sword of his mouth’ (Rev 2:16). By ‘the brightness of his coming,’ I also understand, not only his presence, but an increase of light by his presence; not only to help Christians to begin to bear witness against some parts and pieces of the errors of Antichrist, but until the whole is rooted out of the world. By this, I say, must the soul, spirit, or life of Antichrist be taken away. But how shall Christ by this rod, sword, or spirit of his mouth, consume this wicked, this mystery of iniquity? Not by himself immediately, but by his spirit and word in his church; the which he will use, and so manage in this work, that they shall not rest till he by them has brought this beast to his grave. This beast is compared to the wild boar, and the beast that comes out of the wood to devour the church of God, (as we read in the book of Psalms 80:13) But Christ, with the dogs that eat the crumbs of his table, will so hunt and scour him about, that albeit he may let out some of their bowels with the tushes of his chaps, yet they will not let him alone till they have his life: For the church shall single him out from all beasts, and so follow him with cries, and pinch him with their voices, that he alone shall perish by their means.4 Thus shall Christ consume and wear him out by the spirit of his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming Hence you find again, That this wicked, is to melt and consume away as grease: For the Lord Jesus shall consume him, and cause him to melt away; not all at once, but now this part, and then that; now his soul, and after that his body, even until soul and body are both destroyed. And that you may be convinced of the truth of this thing, do but look back and compare Antichrist four or five hundred years ago, with Antichrist as he is now, and you shall see what work the Lord Jesus has begun to make with him, even with the spirit and soul, and life of Antichrist; both in confounding and blasting of it by this spirit of his mouth, as also by forcing of it to dishonorable retreats, and by making of it give up to him, as the conqueror, not only some of his superstitious and diabolical rites and ceremonies, to be destroyed, but many a goodly truth, which this vile one had taken from his church, to be renewed to them: Nay, further, he hath also already began to take from him both kingdoms and countries, though as to some not so absolutely as he shall do by and by. And in the meantime, this is the plague wherewith the Lord shall plague or smite the people that have fought against Jerusalem: ‘Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth’ (Zech 14:12). And how has this long ago been fulfilled here in England! as also in Scotland, Holland, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, and other places! (Isa 17:4–6). Nor hath this spirit of Antichrist, with all his art and artificers, been able to reduce to Antichrist again, those people, nations, or parts of nations, that by the spirit of Christ’s mouth, and ‘the brightness of his coming,’ have been made to forsake him, and to turn from him to Christ: The reason is, for that the Lord has not retreated, but is still going on in the spirit of his mouth, and his brightness, to make that conquest over him that is determined, in the way that is determined: Of which more shall be spoken afterward; for the path-way that he goeth, is as the shining light, which shines more and more unto noon. True, the fogs of Antichrist, and the smoke that came with him out of the bottomless-pit, has darkened and eclipsed the glorious light of the gospel: But you know, in eclipses, when they are on the recovering hand, all the creatures upon the face of the earth cannot put a stop to that course, until the sun or the moon have recovered their glory. And thus it shall be now, the Lord is returned to visit the earth, and his people with his primitive luster; he will not go back, nor slack his hand, until he has recovered what Antichrist has darkened of his. ‘The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly’ (Jer 23:20). Therefore he saith again, ‘The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun [was in her eclipse;] and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound,’ &c. as the verse before has it: ‘In the day when the towers fall.’ For (as was said before) as to the recovery of the light of the gospel from under antichristian mists, and fogs of darkness; Christ will do that, not by might nor power, but by the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming: Wherefore the soul of Antichrist, or that spirit of wickedness by which this gospel-light hath been diminished, must be consumed and destroyed by that spirit also. Nor can any other way of conquest over that be thorough, and lasting; because that spirit can by no other means be slain. The body of Antichrist may be destroyed by other instruments, but spirits cannot be killed but by spirits. The temporal sword then may kill the body, but after that it hath no more that it can do, wherefore, the other must be dealt with by another kind of weapon: And here is one sufficient, the spirit against the spirit; the spirit and face of Christ, against the spirit, that wicked, of Antichrist. And by this spirit of Christ’s mouth, all the spirit that is in all the trinkets and wash of Antichrist shall also be destroyed; so that those trinkets, those rites, ceremonies, and ordinances of this man of sin, shall be left as carrion upon the face of the earth, and shall stink in the noses of men, as doth the corrupted blood of a dead man 4 Christian, read in these words your duty. Bunyan felt the tusks of the wild boar, even to the peril of his life. He bore with resignation all his sufferings, and was blest. Pity those whose souls are under the yoke. Antichrist, if cruel to the body, is more dangerous to the souls of men. Your prayers and exertions should be redoubled until it is delivered up to the just judgment of the Almighty. Come out, O Christian, and be separate from every system which is stained with the blood and defiled with the soul-harrowing groans of the saints of God.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 47–48). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) The Ordinances of AntiChrist The Ordinances of AntiChrist Now therefore will the beauty of Antichrist fade like a flower, and fall as doth a leaf when the sap of the tree has left it; or as the beauty departeth from the body, when the soul, or life, or spirit is gone forth. And as the body cannot be but unpleasant and unsavoury when under such a state; so the body of Antichrist will be to beholders, when the Lord has slain the spirit thereof. It is the spirit of Antichrist that puts life into the body; and that puts luster into the ordinances of Antichrist, as the light of the sun, and of the moon, and of the stars, do put luster upon the things of this visible world: Wherefore, when this spirit, and soul, and life of Antichrist is slain, then it will be with him as ‘twould be with the world, had it no light of the sun, of the moon, or of the stars. And hence, as the loss of our natural life is compared to the loss of these lights (Eccl 12:2); so the loss of the life, soul and spirit of Antichrist is compared to these things also. For, the soul of Antichrist is compared to a heaven; and her ordinances and rites, to the ordinances of heaven: wherefore, when the Lord comes to fight against her with the spirit of his mouth, he saith, ‘The stars of heaven [shall be darkened], and the constellations thereof shall not give their light’ (Isa 13:10); because he will slay that spirit of Antichrist that is in them (Isa 34; Rev 6:13, 14). Take things therefore more distinctly, thus: The antichristians’ spirit, is the heaven of antichristians; their sun, moon and stars, are their superstitious ordinances; their earth is the body or flesh of Antichrist, otherwise called the church and synagogue of Satan. Now as the earth cannot live, and be desirable, without the influences of the spirit of the heavens; so neither can Antichrist live, when the Lord shall darken the light of his heaven, and shall slay the spirit thereof. Hence you read, as I touched before, that when his heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll, ‘all the host thereof,’ unto which I compare the ordinances of Antichrist, ‘shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig-tree’ (Isa 34:4). But how, or why doth the leaf, or the fig fall from the tree? Why, because the spirit, or sap of the tree, is gone from them. Therefore, the first and chief proceeding of the Lord with the man of sin, is to slay his soul, that his body may also be consumed: And when the spirit of Antichrist shall be made to leave both the body and ordinances of Antichrist, ‘twill be easy to deal both with the one and the other. And first, for the ordinances of Antichrist; because the spirit of error is in them, as well as in the body itself. When that spirit, as I said, has left them, they will of themselves even moulder away, and not be: As we have seen by experience here in England, as others also have seen in other countries. For as concerning his masses, prayers for the dead, images, pilgrimages, monkish vows, sinful fasts, and the beastly single life of their priests, though when the spirit of Antichrist was in them, they did bear some sway in the world; yet now, of what esteem are they? or who has reverence for them? They are now blown together under hedges, as the dry leaves, for the mice and frogs to harbor in: yea, the locusts too, camp in the hedges among the dry leaves, in the cold day, and ‘when the sun ariseth they flee away’ (Nahum 3:15–17). When ‘tis a cold day for them in a nation, then they lurk in the hedges, though their ordinances lie there, as leaves that are dry, and fallen down from the tree; but when the sun ariseth, and waxeth warm, they abide not, but betake them to their wings, and fly away. But one would think that fallen leaves should have no great nourishment in them: True, if you have respect to men, but with vermin anything will do: We speak then of them with reference to men, not with respect to the very members of Antichrist: And I say, as to them, when the spirit of Antichrist is gone out of these ordinances, they will be with them as dry leaves that no body seeketh after. The ordinances therefore of Antichrist are not able to bear up themselves in the world, as the ordinances of the Lord Jesus are, for even the ordinances of Christ, where the spirit of Christ is not, are yet in some esteem with men: But THESE, when the spirit of delusion has left them, are abhorred, both skin and bones: For in themselves they are without any sense, or rationality (Eze 20:25, 26); yea, they look as parts of things which are used to conjure up devils with: These were prefigured by the ordinances that were NOT good, and by the judgments whereby one should not live. For what is there, or can there be of the least dram of truth or profit in the things that are without the word, that being the only stamp by which one is distinguished from the other? I say, What is there in any of them, to the man whose eyes are open, but delusion and deceit! Wherefore, as has been expressed already, when the Lord Christ, by the spirit of his mouth, &c. shall drive this mystery of iniquity from them, and strip them of that spirit of delusion that now by its craft puts bewitching excellency upon them, they will of themselves become such stinking rivers, ponds and pools, that flesh and blood will loathe to drink of them; yea, as it was with the ponds and pools of Egypt, they will be fit for nought but to breed and hatch up frogs in. Wherefore these ordinances shall be rejected, not one of them shall find favor with men on earth; when the Lord, ‘by the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming,’ shall have separated their spirit from them. Now, by ordinances of Antichrist, I do not intend things that only respect matters of worship in Antichrist’s kingdom, but those civil laws that impose and enforce them also; yea, that enforce THAT worship with pains and penalties, as in the Spanish inquisition: For these must, as the other, be overthrown by Christ, by the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming: For these laws, as the other, took their being, and have their soul and life by the spirit of Antichrist; yea, as long as there is life in them, ‘tis because the spirit of that man of sin yet remaineth in them. Wherefore, these are also great ordinances, though of another nature than those mentioned before: Great, I say, are they; forasmuch as neither the church of Antichrist, nor his instruments of worship, can either live or stand without them. Wherefore, it was admitted to the image of the beast, not only to speak, but to cause. To speak out his laws of worship, ‘and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed’ (Rev 13:15). And mark, This is because that the life that was communicated to the image of the beast, was by him also communicated to his word and authority. Wherefore, these laws must not be separated from those in which the spirit of Antichrist is; yea, they are the very pillars and sinews by which antichristianism remains: And were these dis-spirited, the whole building would quickly become a ruinous heap. What could the king of Babylon’s golden image have done, had it not been for the burning fiery furnace that stood within view of the worshippers? (Dan 3). Yea, what could that horrible command, to pray, for thirty days, to neither God nor man, but to the king, have done, had it not been for the dark den, and the roaring lions there in readiness to devour those that disobeyed it? (Dan 6). As therefore the burning fiery furnace, and the den of lions, were the support of the horrible religion of the Babylonians of old; so popish edicts are the support of the religion of Antichrist now; and as long as there is spirit, that is, authority, in them, they are like to those now mentioned; the spirit of such laws is that that makes them dreadful: For as the furnace would have been next to nothing, if void of fire; and the den as little frightful, if destitute of lions; so these laws will be as insignificant, when Christ has slain that spirit that is in them; that spirit that causes that as many as will not worship the image of the beast, should be killed. Nor can any sword reach that life of Antichrist that is in these, but the sword of Christ’s mouth: Therefore, as all the religious rites and ceremonies of Antichrist are overthrown by his spirit working in his, as Christians; so those antichristian laws will have their soul and their life taken from them also by this spirit of his mouth working in some of his, as magistrates, and no otherwise; for before kings and princes, &c. come to be enlightened about the evils that are in such edicts, by the spirit of the living God, they will let this image of the beast both speak and cause, &c. But when they shall see, they will say, let it be decreed that this prop of Antichrist be taken down. It was decreed by Darius, that they that prayed, for thirty days, to any God but him, should be cast into the den of lions (Dan 6:9); but this was before he saw; but when he came to see, then he decreed again; a decree that quite took away the power of that which he had decreed before (Dan 6:26). Nor are we without instances of this kind nearer home: who is now afraid of the act for burning of those that papists call heretics, since by the king and parliament, as by the finger of God, the life and soul is taken out of it. I bring this to shew you, that as there is life in wicked antichristian penal laws, as well as in those that are superstitiously religious; so the life of these, of all these, must be destroyed by the same spirit working in those that are Christ’s, though in a diverse way. Nor will the life of these sinews, as I have called them, be taken away; but as God shall enlighten men to see the abominable filthiness of that which is antichristian worship: as would easily be made appear, if some that dwell in those countries where the beast and his image have been worshiped, would but take the pains to inquire into antiquity about it. As the noble king, king Henry VIII did cast down the antichristian worship; so he cast down the laws that held it up: so also did the good king Edward his son. The brave queen, queen Elizabeth also, the sister to king Edward, hath left of things of this nature, to her lasting fame behind her. And if one such law of Antichrist hath escaped the hand of one, another hath taken it, and done that execution on it that their zeal and piety prompted them to. There is yet another thing that the spirit of Antichrist is immediately concerned in; and that is, the antichristian names of the men that worship the beast: the names, I mean, that the Antichrist hath baptized them into: for those names are breathed upon them by the very spirit of Antichrist; and are such as are absolutely names of blasphemy, or such as do closely border thereupon; some such as Elihu durst not for his life give unto men, only he calls them ‘flattering titles’ (Job 32:21, 22). Now therefore, of the danger (though not of the names themselves) you read sufficiently in the scripture; and perhaps the Holy Ghost has contented himself with giving of items that are general, that men might, as to them, be the more cautious of what names they give one to another (Rev 17:5); but this is clear, they are worn by men of spiritual employ: but since they are but mentioned, and are not distinctly nominated, how should we know which are they, and which not? Verily, by searching the word of God, and by seeing by that what names we are allowed to give unto men, with reference to their offices, dignities, and places: for God has a quarrel with the names, as well as with the persons that wear them; and when his Son shall down with Antichrist, he will slay seven thousand names of men, as well as the persons of the worshippers of the beast (Rev 11:13). But there are things, as well as men (Job 22:28); and these also have been baptized into those names by the very spirit of Antichrist, and must be destroyed by Christ, the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming: ‘The idols he shall utterly abolish’ (Isa 2:18); and there are men that are idols as well as things (Zech 11:17): wherefore, let men have a care, as to shun the worship of idols, so that they bare not the name, or stand in the place of one: and the reason of this caution is, because name and thing are both abominable unto God. To give you the number of these names that the spirit of Antichrist has baptized men into, (besides the things that do also wear such blasphemies upon them,) would be a task too great for me, and too wearisome for you. It shall satisfy then, that I give you notice that there are such things and men and names; and that I put you upon search to find out what they be. But whatsoever of the spirit, or soul, or life of Antichrist is in these names, men, or things, must be consumed by Christ, by the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming.5 Another thing that I would touch upon is this; to wit, The lying legends, and false miracles that Antichrist cries up: These, by the means of which such as dwell upon the earth are deceived, and made to adore and worship the beast: these have their life and soul (as had those mentioned before) from the spirit of wickedness; and must be destroyed as they, namely, by Christ, the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming: for these are not of the body of Antichrist, but rather such implements, or whatever you will call them, by which the spirit and soul of Antichrist is conveyed into, and kept also alive in the body of Antichrist, which is the church and synagogue of Satan; you may call them organs and means by which that wicked worketh in the mysteries of iniquity, for the begetting of, and maintaining a lying and false belief of the religion of the beast: nor can it be thought, but that, as the antichristian statists6 of Antichrist, mentioned before, do put a dread and fear upon men that are worshippers of the beast, and his image, to the holding of them still to his service; so these legends and miracles do, on the other hand, abridge and bind their consciences to that worship; but all because of that spirit of Antichrist that is in them.7 So then, here is the spirit of Antichrist diffusing itself into all the things pertaining to the kingdom of the beast; for it dwells in the body of Antichrist; it dwells in the matters and things of worship of Antichrist; it dwells in the titles and names that are antichristian; and it dwells in the laws, legends and miracles of Antichrist. And as it is the spirit of Antichrist, so it must be destroyed; not by sword, nor by bow, but by Christ, as fighting against it with the spirit of his mouth, and as conquering of it by the brightness of his coming. 5 No man of the most refined education could have manifested greater delicacy than Bunyan has in treating this subject, leaving his reader to imagine whether the high-sounding titles, such as ‘His Holiness,’ ‘God’s Vicegerent upon earth,’ which are given to men, are consistent with the simplicity of the gospel or not. If they are not, they belong to Antichrist, and will be consumed with the stubble at the brightness of Christ’s coming, when he shall judge the earth.—Ed. 6 Antichristian statists of Antichrist. Those who weigh things to place them in their relative order in the kingdom of Antichrist, as the decree followed by the lions’ den, &c. 7 The homilies read in the Church of England prior to the Reformation, called ‘The Festival,’ contains the pith of these lying legends and pretended miracles. Omitting the obscene parts, it ought to be republished, to exhibit the absurdities of popery as it was then seen in England.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 49–51). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) The Body of AntiChrist Destroyed, and How The Body of AntiChrist Destroyed, and How We come now to discourse of the body or flesh of Antichrist, and of the destruction of that; for that must be destroyed also. Now the body of Antichrist, is that church or synagogue in which the spirit of Antichrist dwells, or unto which the spirit of Antichrist is become a soul and life. And this is to be destroyed, either as it is a body mystical, or under the more gross consideration. First, As it is a body mystical, and so it is to be destroyed absolutely. Secondly, As it is to be considered more grossly, and so it is to be destroyed conditionally. That is, if repentance doth not save the men that have gone to the making up of this body, and to the rejoicing in it. As she is a body mystical, so she is to be destroyed the same way that the things of Antichrist, of which we discoursed before, were to be destroyed; to wit, by Christ, the spirit of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming. This then is the sum, as to this: That the church of Antichrist, as a church, shall be destroyed by the word and spirit of Christ. Nor can anything in heaven prevent it, because the strong God has decreed it: ‘and a mighty angel took up a stone, like a great mill-stone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all’ (Rev 18:21). This city, Babylon, is here sometimes considered in the whole, and sometimes as to the parts of it; but always, whether in whole, or in part, as some, or else as the whole of the antichristian church; and as such, it must not be destroyed, but by the means aforesaid. By which means her witchcrafts, spiritual whoredoms, spiritual murders, thefts, and blasphemies, shall be so detected and made manifest, so laid open, and so discovered, that the nations shall abhor her, flee from her, and buy her merchandise no more (Rev 18:11). Hence her tempting things rot, and molder away; for these will not keep, they are things not lasting, but that perish in the using: what then will they do when they are laid by? Therefore it follows, ‘All things which were [thy] dainty and goodly [ones] are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all’ (Rev 18:14). Now, if when she had things to trade with, her dealers left her; how shall she think of a trade, when she has nothing to traffic with? Her things are slain, and stink already, by the weapons that are made mention of before; what then will her carcass do? It follows then, that as to her church-state, she must of necessity tumble: wherefore, from Revelation 18:22 to 24, you have the manner of her total ruin as a church, and something of the cause thereof. But as she must, with reference to her body, be considered mystically as a church; so also she must be considered as a body of men, (this is that which I called more grossly,) and as such, against whom the wrath of God will burn, and against whom, if repentance prevent not, he will have indignation forever. These, I saw are them; to wit, as they are the body of the people, that have been seduced by this spirit of Antichrist, that have been made use of to do all the mischiefs that have been done both to true religion, and to the professors of it, for this many hundred years, wherefore these must not escape. Wherefore you find, that after Antichrist, as to the spirit and mystery of Antichrist, is slain, that the body of Antichrist, or the heap of people that became her vassals, come next to be dealt withal. Therefore, the angel that standeth in the sun, makes a proclamation to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, to gather themselves, and to come unto the supper of the great God; that they may eat the flesh of the several sorts of the men that have been the lovers, the countenancers, the upholders and defenders of her antichristian state, worship, and falsehoods (Rev 19:17, 18): for abundance of their hearts shall be hardened, and made yet more obdurate, that they may be destroyed for the wickedness that they have done. Wherefore, you find (as did the enemies of the church of old,) that they might revenge themselves for the loss of their idol, or antichristian state, begin a new war with the king, whose name is the Lord of hosts: ‘And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army’ (Rev 19:19). Their implacable malice remained when their church-state was gone; wherefore they will now at last make another attempt upon the men that had been the instruments in Christ’s hand to torment them that dwelt on the earth; of which more hereafter. Now therefore is the last stroke of the batter,8 with reference to the destroying of the body of Antichrist; only the head of this monster remains, and that is SATAN himself: wherefore, the next news that we hear, is, that he is taken also: ‘And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. and he laid hold on the Dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled,’ &c. (Rev 20:1–3). 8 ‘The last stroke of the batter,’ probably alludes to an engine of war used by the ancients, called a battering-ram.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 51–52). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Brave Days When AntiChrist is Dead Brave Days When AntiChrist is Dead Now therefore there will be nothing of Antichrist to be seen throughout the nations, but ruinous heaps, and desolate places. It is said of the army of the man of sin, when he came into the land of God’s people, though it was before him ‘as the garden of Eden,’ yet behind him ‘twould be as ‘a desolate wilderness’ (Joel 2:3); such ruins would he make of the flock of God, and of all their ordinances, and heavenly dainties. But when the days that I have spoken of, shall come, it will be to him a time of retaliation: for it shall then be done unto Antichrist, as he hath done to the church of God: As he hath made women childless, so shall he be made childless; as he has made Zion sit upon the ground, so now must this wicked one come down and sit in the dust; yea, as he has made many churches desolations, so now shall he be also made a desolation. Wherefore, whoso will find his body, they must look for it in the side of the pit’s mouth; and whoso will find his friends and companions, they must look for them there likewise. ‘They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude: her graves are round about him: all of them uncircumcised, slain by the sword: though their terror was caused in the land of the living, yet have they borne their shame with them that go down to the pit, he is put in the midst of them that be slain. There is Meshech, Tubal, and all her multitude:—There is Edom, her kind, and all her princes, &c.—There be the princes of the north, all of them,—which—with their—might’ are laid with them that are ‘slain by the sword, and bare their shame with them that go down to the pit’ (Eze 32:25–30). For ‘as Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth’ (Jer 51:49). The margin reads it thus: Both Babylon is to fall, O ye slain of Israel! And with Babylon the slain of all the earth. Now then she is gone down, when all these things shall be fulfilled; and what remains now, but to talk of her, as folk used to do of them that are dead: for the day will come that the church of God shall have no more of Antichrist, Babylon, or the mother of harlots, than only the remembrance of her; to wit, that there was such an enemy of God in the world; that there was such a superstitious, idolatrous, bloody people in the world. Wherefore the people that shall be born, that shall live to serve God in these happy days, they shall see Antichrist only in its ruins; they shall, like the sparrows, the little robins, and the wren, sit and sing, and chirrup one to another, while their eyes behold this dead hawk. ‘Here [shall they say] did once the lion dwell; and there was once a dragon inhabited: here did they live that were the murderers of the saints; and there another, that did used to set his throat against the heavens; but now in the places where these ravenous creatures lay, grows grass, with reeds and rushes (Isa 35:7), [or else, now their habitation is cursed, nettles grow, and so do thorns and brambles, where their palaces were wont to be]. And as no good was with them while they lived, so their name stinketh now they are dead: yea, as they wrought mischiefs, and lived like the wild beasts when they enjoyed their abundance; so now the wild beasts of the desert, yea, they of the desert, shall meet with the wild beasts of the island: and the satyr shall cry to his fellows. Their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, even as devils and wicked spirits do haunt the desolate houses of the wicked, when they are dead’ (Isa 34). ‘And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there: neither shall the shepherds make their folds there’ (Isa 13:19, 20). A while after this, as was hinted before, the Christians will begin with detestation to ask what Antichrist was? Where Antichrist dwelt? Who were his members? And, What he did in the world? and it shall be answered by them that shall have skill to consider his features by the word, by way of taunt and scorn, ‘Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch; and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit, as a carcass trodden under feet’ (Isa 14:16–19). There will be a strange alteration when Antichrist is dead, and that both in the church, and in the world. The church and the members of it then, shall wear the name of their God in their foreheads; that is, they shall be bold in the profession of their king, and their God; yea, it shall be their glory to be godly; and carnal men shall praise them for it: the praise of the whole earth shall the church of God be in those days. Then there shall no more be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord: no lion shall be there; the unclean shall no more tread in the paths of God’s people, but the ransomed of the Lord shall walk there. Glory that has not been seen nor heard of by the people that used to walk in sackcloth, shall now be set in the land of the living. For as it was said of Christ, with reference to his day; so it shall be said of saints, with reference to this day: many kings and righteous men have desired to see the things that will be seen then, and shall not see them: but without all doubt, the men that shall be born at this time, will consider that these glories, and liberties, and privileges of theirs, cost the people that walked in the king of Babylon’s fiery furnace, or that suffered the trials, troubles and tyranny of the antichristian generation, more groans and hearty wishes, than they did them that shall enjoy them. Thus then it will go; the afflicted prayed for them, and the possessors bless God for the enjoyment of them. Oh! now shall the church walk in the light of the Lord, and sit every man under his vine, and under his fig-tree, and none shall make him afraid! ‘For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: And they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city, (or the exactress of gold) ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no seller is come up against us’ (Isa 14:1–8). Also the world will now be (as it were) another thing than it was in the days of Antichrist: now will kings, and princes, and nobles, and the whole commonality be rid of that servitude and bondage which in former times (when they used to carry Bell and the dragon upon their shoulders) they were subjected to. They were then a burden to them, but now they are at ease. ‘Tis with the world, that are the slaves of Antichrist now, as it is with them that are slaves and captives to a whore: they must come when she calls, run when she bids, fight with and beat them that she saith miscall her, and spend what they can get by labor or fraud upon her, or she will be no more their whore, and they shall be no more her bosom ones. But now! Now it will be otherwise! Now they will have no whore to please! Now they will have none to put them upon persecuting of the saints! Now they shall not be made, as before, guilty of the blood of those against whom this gentleman shall take a pet! Now the world shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked; yea, they shall cleave to, and countenance the people of God, being persuaded, as Laban was of Jacob, that the Lord will bless them for his people’s sakes: for at this day, ‘the remnant of Jacob shall be [among the Gentiles] in the midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men’ (Micah 5:7). Also in these days men shall come flocking into the house of God, both kings and princes, and nobles, and the common people, as the doves do to their windows: and for that cause it is spoken to the church, with reference to the latter days, saying, ‘Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand, and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited’ (Isa 54:2, 3). Now will be broken up those prophecies and promises that to this day lie as under lock and key, and that cannot be opened until they be fulfilled. Now will the Spirit of God be poured forth abundantly; and our rivers shall be in high places, that is, shall break forth from the hearts of great ones; yea, then shall our waters be made deep: ‘And I will cause their rivers to run like oil, saith the Lord God’ (Eze 32:14). Then shall the differences, the divisions and debates that are among the godly, cease: for men ‘shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion’ (Isa 52:8): yea, the watchmen of God’s people shall do so; for it is for want of light in them, that the lambs have so butted one another. Now the church of God shall read with great plainness the depths of providence, and the turnings and windings of all God’s dark and intricate dispensations, through which she hath waded in the cloudy and dark day: now, I say, they shall see there was an harmony in them; and that if one of them had been wanting, the work and way of her deliverance could not have been so full of the wisdom, and justice, and goodness of God; Wherefore now will that song be sung with clearer notes than ever: ‘Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou king of Saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest’ (Rev 15:3, 4). And again, ‘For true and righteous are his judgments: For he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand’ (Rev 19:2).  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 52–54). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of the Manner of the Ruin of AntiChrist Of the Manner of the Ruin of AntiChrist What Antichrist is, I have told you; and that as to his soul and body. I have also told you where, or in what things the spirit and life of Antichrist lieth, and how he shall reign for a time. I have moreover shewed you that he shall be destroyed, and by what, and that with reference both to his soul and body. Wherefore, waving other things, I shall here only present you with a few short hints concerning the manner of his downfall. There is the downfall, the time of the downfall, and the manner of the downfall of Antichrist. The manner of the downfall of Antichrist, may be considered, either with respect to the suddenness, unexpectedness, terribleness, or strangeness thereof. It may also be considered with respect to the way of God’s procedure with her, as to the gradualness thereof. As to the suddenness thereof, ‘tis said to be in an hour. It is also to be, when by her unexpected; for then she saith, ‘I sit a queen’ (Rev 18:7, 8). For the terribleness of it, The nations shall shake at the sound of her fall (Eze 31:16, 17). And for the strangeness thereof, it shall be to the wonder of the world (Isa 14:12), it will be as when God overthrew Sodom. But I shall not enlarge upon this method in my discourse, but shall shew you the manner of the ruin of Antichrist, with respect to the gradualness thereof (Eze 16:36–43; Rev 18:8; Isa 47:9). Antichrist then shall be brought to ruin gradually; that is, by degrees: A part after a part; here a fenced city, and there a high tower, even until she is made to lie even with the ground. And yet all shall be within the compass of God’s days, hours, or moments; for within the compass of these limited times Antichrist shall be destroyed.9 Now, (as I said) He, she, Sodom, Egypt, Babylon, Antichrist, shall be destroyed, not all at once, after the way of our counting of time; but by step after step, piece after piece. And perhaps there may be in the words now following, something that signifies this: They shall ‘shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end’ (Jer 51:31). This is also shewed by the vessels in which is contained the wrath of God for her, together with the manner of pouring of it out. The vessels in which it is contained are called VIALS; Now a vial is that which letteth out what is contained in it by degrees, and not all at once. There are also two things to be considered, as to the manner of its being poured out of them. The first respecteth the nature of the vial. The other, the order of the angels that poured forth this wrath. For the First: The vial, as it letteth out what is in it by degrees; so it doth it with certain gusts, that are mixed with strength and violence, bolting it out with noise, &c. As for the order of the angels, or that order that they observe, they plainly shew that this enemy must come down by degrees; for that these vials are by them poured out one after another, each one working something of their own effects, before another is poured forth. The first is poured forth upon the antichristian earth: The second, upon her sea: The third is poured forth upon her rivers: And the fourth, upon her sun: The fifth is poured forth upon the seat of the beast: The sixth, upon her Euphrates: And the seventh, into her air (Rev 16:2–17). And, I say, they are poured forth not all at one time, but now one, and then another. Now, since by these vials Antichrist must fall; and since also they are poured forth successively: ‘Tis evident that this man of sin, this son of perdition, is to fall and die by degrees. He would not die at all, as is manifest by his wrestling with it; but he is a strong God that judges, and therefore he must come down: His friends also, with what cordials they can, will labor to lengthen out his tranquility; but God hath set his bounds, and he cannot go beyond the time appointed. We must also put a difference betwixt her being fought withal and wounded, and that of her dying the death. Michael and his angels have been holding of her in play a long season; but yet she is not dead (Rev 12): But, as I said, she shall descend in battle and perish, and shall be found no more forever. 9 Upon the Sunday sports being authorized, and pious ministers persecuted for refusing to wear popish vestments in the reign of James I, that godly Puritan, Mr. Carter, exclaimed, ‘I have had a longing desire to see or hear of the fall of Antichrist: but I check myself. I shall go to heaven, and there news will come, thick, thick, thick.’—Life by his Son, p. 13.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 54–55). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) A Tenth Part Falls First A Tenth Part Falls First To speak then to the manner of the ruin of this Antichrist, with respect to the gradualness thereof: It must piece after piece be overthrown, until at last every whit thereof is rolled down from the rocks as a burnt mountain. And hence we read that this city falls first in a tenth part thereof, even while nine parts remain yet standing: Nor doth this tenth part, notwithstanding the faith and faithful testimony of the two witnesses, quite fall, until they are slain, and also raised again: For ‘tis said, The same hour that the witnesses were raised, the tenth part of the city fell (Rev 11:13): The tenth part of that city that reigneth over the kings of the earth, which city is Sodom, Egypt, Babylon, or the great whore (Rev 17:18). By the city then, I understand the church of Antichrist in its utmost bounds; and so it reacheth as far as the beast with seven heads and ten horns hath dominion. Hence this city is also called cities, as one universe is called by the name of several countries, &c. And them cities also are called ‘the cities of the nations’ (Rev 16:19): For as when they are put together, they all make but one; so when they are considered apart, they are found in number ten, and answer to the ten horns upon the heads of the (seven headed) beast that carries her, and do give her protection. This then I take to be the meaning: That the antichristian church is divided into ten parts, and each part is put under one of the horns of the beast for protection: But that aid and protection shall not help, when God shall come to execute judgment upon her: For it saith, ‘A tenth part of the city fell’; that is, first, and as a forerunner of the fall of all the rest: Now where this tenth part is, or which of the ten parts must fall first, or whether indeed a tenth part is already fallen, that I will leave to those that are wiser than myself to determine. But since I am speaking of the fall of a tenth part of Antichrist; a word or two about the means of the fall thereof. The means of the fall of this tenth part, is an earthquake; yet not such as is universal, over the face of all, but an earthquake in that tenth part where that city stood that should fall. Now by earthquakes here, cannot be meant anything but such a shaking as unsettleth the foundations of this tenth part: But whether it shall be in this tenth part as a city, or in it as a state, that I shall not determine; only my thoughts are, That it shall be an earthquake in that kingdom where this tenth part shall happen to be: An earthquake not to overthrow further than is appointed; and that is the city which is called the tenth part of the great Antichrist. So far as that state is a state, so far then it is shaken for reformation, not for destruction; for in the earthquake were slain seven thousand (names of) men; and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. But thus much for the first: Great Babylon falleth first, in a tenth part of it.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 55–56). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain0 The Nine Parts Fall The Nine Parts Fall Again, The next step that the strong God taketh towards the utter overthrow of Antichrist, will be more sore upon the whole, though not at first universal neither, yet in conclusion, it shall throw down the nine parts that are left: For thus it is recorded: ‘And the cities of the nations fell’: The cities of the nations, the antichristian churches, otherwise called the daughters of the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. Now to shew you the hand of God in this second stroke, wherewith the Lord will smite this enemy. 1. Here we have a great earthquake. 2. And then, The fall of the cities of the nations. For the earthquake, it is said to be such as never was, ‘so mighty an earthquake, and so great’ (Rev 16:18); for it extended itself as far as the other nine cities had any ground to stand on; for it shook the foundations of them all. The fall of the cities, was not immediately upon the shake that was made, but the earthquake produced an eruption, an eruption in the nine remaining parts of this city: And such an eruption as is of the worser sort, for it divided them into a three-headed division: ‘And the great city was divided into three parts’: the great city, to wit, the powers by which they were upheld. The meaning then is this; when God shall strike this man of sin the second time, he will not be so sparing as he was at first, when he struck but a tenth part to the ground; but now he will so shake, so confound, so divide, so raise up Antichrist against himself, to wit, in the body and members of him, that they shall set to fighting, and to tearing one another in pieces, until they have consumed the whole of these nine parts. It was, saith the text, divided into three parts, which divisions are the worst of all: It will be therefore such a division as will bring them all to ruin. Hence it follows, ‘And the cities of the nations fell.’ Wherefore, this three-cornered eruption will be the most dreadful to Antichrist that ever was: It will be like that that was in Jerusalem when she came to be laid even with the ground; and like that that came upon the armies of the Gentiles, when they came up to fight against Jehoshaphat. ‘For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another’ (2 Chron 20:23). This, I say, is the division that this mighty earthquake shall make betwixt the horns that are left to these nine parts that remained, when the tenth part of the city fell. And this will come to pass through the increase of the heat of God’s anger: For he is angry with the waters where the woman sitteth, because they have delivered up his beloved to the bloody whore; wherefore, he now will give them blood to drink in fury. Hence his beginning to deal with Antichrist, is called, the beginning of revenges: ‘I will make [saith God] mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy’ (Deu 32:42). And therefore it is said again, that when God comes to do this work upon this Antichrist, it is because ‘it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion’ (Isa 34:8). ‘For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come’ (Isa 63:4). A peace therefore cannot be made among these cities when God has forbidden it: Wherefore the effect of all, is, The cities of the nations fall. There is therefore like to be no more good days for Antichrist after this earthquake has begun to shake her: No, nothing now is to be expected of her, but rumors, tumults, stirs, and uproars: ‘One post shall run to meet another,—to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end’: And again, ‘A rumor shall both come one year; and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler,’ &c. (Jer 51:31, 46). So that this earthquake has driven away peace, shaken the foundations, and will cast the nine cities down to the ground.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, p. 56). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Great Babel Falls Great Babel Falls And this is a second stroke that God will give this man of sin, and a third cometh quickly. Wherefore it follows upon the downfall of these cities of the nations, that ‘great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.’ Now then, have at great Babylon. Great Babylon! What is that? Why, I take it to be the mother, the metropolitan, the great whore herself: For though sometimes, by the great whore, or great Babylon, we may understand, the church of Antichrist in general; yet by it is meant more properly, the mother of the daughters, of whose overthrow we have spoken before. We are now then come to the threshold of the door of the house of the OLD one; to the door of the mother of harlots, and abomination of the earth. This then that but now is said to come into remembrance with God, is that which gave being to the cities destroyed before; to wit, the mistress, the queen, the mother-church, as she calleth herself. And this is the wisdom of God concerning her, that she should not be the first that should die; but that she should live to see the destruction of her daughters, and pine away under the sight and sense of that, even until judgment also shall overtake herself. Thus Pharaoh and his chief ones did live to see the greatest part of Egypt destroyed before judgment overtook them, but at last it came to their doors also. Zedekiah lived to see his children slain before his face, before judgment overtook him to his own personal destruction (Jer 52:8–11). Babylon also, when God sent the cup of his fury unto her, yet was to live to see the nations drink before her: ‘Take the wine cup of my fury [said God to the prophet,] and cause all the nations to whom I send thee, to drink it’ (Jer 25:15). To wit, All the kingdoms of the world which are upon the face of the earth. ‘And Sheshach shall drink after them’ (verse 26). But what was Sheshach? may some say. I answer, It was Babylon, the princess of the world, and at that time the head of all those nations (Dan 4:22), (as this queen is now the mother of harlots). Wherefore, the same prophet, speaking of the destruction of the same Sheshach, saith, ‘How is Sheshach taken? and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!’ (Jer 51:41). Now, if this was the method of God’s proceeding with his enemies in the way of his judgments of old, why may we not suppose that he will go the same way with his great enemy now: especially since those judgments mentioned before, were executed upon those, which, in some things, were figures of the great whore. Besides, we read here plainly, that when the cities of the nations were fallen, great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give her to drink of the cup. From all which I conclude, as I did before, that the mother, the metropolitan, the lady of kingdoms, shall live to see her daughters executed before her face: After which she shall come into consideration herself; for she must assuredly drink of the cup.10 This destruction therefore must be last, for the reasons urged before, and also because she most deserves the bottom of the cup. The bottom is the dregs, the most bitter part, and that where the most heat, and fiercest wrath of God doth lie (Psa 75:8): Wherefore, although you find that by the first earthquake a great slaughter was made, and that a tenth part of the city fell; yet from that judgment some did escape: ‘And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven’ (Rev 11:13). But now, this earthquake, by virtue of which the cities of the nations fall, and as an effect of which great Babylon is come into ‘remembrance before God,’ neither spares one of the daughters of this whore, nor any man that is a lover of them; but it so is seconded by a ‘hail-storm,’ and that hail-storm worketh so in wrath, that not one escapes by repentance. Every hail-stone was the weight of a talent, which some say is six pounds above half an hundred weight:11 By this therefore God shews, that now his anger was wrought up to the height. I know not wherewith so to compare these hail-stones, as with the talent of lead that was laid over the mouth of the ephah, which was prepared to hold the woman, whose name was wickedness, this very whore of Babylon: For that talent of lead was to keep down this mistress, that she might get no more out of the ephah, and these hail-stone are to banish her out of the world (Zech 5:5–11): Therefore it follows, that she must have the most heavy judgment, even the bottom of the cup. ‘And great Babylon came into remembrance before God.’ To remember with God, is to visit either with grace or wrath, God is said to remember Rachel, when he visited her with the blessing of a fruitful womb (Gen 30:22). It is said also that God remembered Noah, when the time came on that he was to be delivered from the flood (Gen 8:1). Here also he is said to remember Babylon, that is, to visit her with his anger for the wickedness that she had committed: ‘To give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.’ Now then is the time of iniquity, when it will be come to the full; and now also is the time of God’s anger, when it will be come to the full: Now therefore must the murders (Rev 18:24), and thefts, and blasphemies, and fornications, &c., belonging to this mother of harlots, be recompensed to the full, to wit, with the dregs of this cup: Yet since the hail-stones come by weight, and the wrath comes by measure, (for so a talent and a cup imports) it follows, that the Almighty God, even in the midst of the heat of all this anger, will keep to the rules of justice and judgment while he is dealing with this enemy: He has not passions, to carry him beyond rules of judgment; nor weakness, to cause him to fall short of doing justice: Therefore he has (as was said) his judgments for her by weight, and his indignation by measure: But yet this weight and measure is not suited to her constitution, not with an intent to purge or refine her; but it is disposed according to the measure and nature of her iniquity, and comes to sweep her, as with the besom of destruction, until she is swept off from the face of all the earth. And thus I have shewed you the manner of the ruin of Antichrist; that is, That it will be gradual, part after part, until the whole be overthrown. And this truth may be applied both to the soul, as well as to the body of Antichrist: For the soul, spirit, or life of Antichrist must also after this manner be destroyed. And hence it is said to be consumed, that is, by degrees: For to consume, is to destroy by degrees: Only this caution I would have the reader remember, That much of the soul of Antichrist may be destroyed, when none of her daughters are; and that the destruction of her spirit is a certain forerunner of the destruction of her body in the manner that we have related. Now since she is dying, let us ring her passing-bell; for when she is dead, we that live to see it, intend to ring out. ‘For thus saith the Lord God; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee; when I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living; I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God’ (Eze 26:19–21). 10 How remarkably has this come to pass since Bunyan’s time; a slow but sure progression. That darling ugly daughter, Intolerance, was executed by the Act of Toleration. The impious Test by the repeal of the Sacramental Test Act, &c., &c.—Ed. 11 There is great difficulty in estimating the weight of a talent. Dr. Gill considers it about sixty pounds; this was the lesser Roman talent. Michaelis estimates the Jewish talent at thirty-two pounds and a half. The attic talent of gold used in Greece in the time of Homer is estimated at less than an ounce. The safest conclusion as to the weight of the hail-stones is, that they were enormous, and fell with a velocity to crush all animals to instant death.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 57–58). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of the Signs of the Approach of the Downfall of AntiChrist Of the Signs of the Approach of the Downfall of AntiChrist Having in the foregoing discourse spoken of Antichrist his ruin, and the manner thereof, I now come to speak of the signs of the approach of her destruction. And whether I shall hit right, as to these, that I must leave to time to make manifest; and in the mean while to the wise in heart to judge. That she shall fall, there is nothing more certain; and when she is fallen, that she never shall rise again, is also as firmly decreed; yea, and shewed too by him that cast the millstone into the sea, and said, ‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all’ (Rev 18:21). This is therefore her fate and destiny, from the mouth of the holy one; and is sealed up in the scriptures of truth, for the comfort of the people that have been afflicted by her. True, the time of her fall is not certainly known by the saints, nor at all believed by her; wherefore, her plagues must come unlooked for by her. And as to the saints, their guesses, as to the time of her ruin, must needs be conjectural and uncertain. For her part, she shall say, and that when she stands where she must suddenly fall, ‘I shall be a lady forever’ (Isa 47:7–9). And as to the saints that would very willingly see her downfall, how often have they been mistaken as to the set time thereof. Nor have I been without thought, but that this mistake of the godly may become a snare to Antichrist, and a trap to her upholders. For what can be a greater judgment, or more effectually harden the hearts of the wicked, than for them to behold that the predictions, prophecies, expectation and hopes of their enemies (as to their ruin) should quite (as to the time) be frustrate, and made void. Moses prophesied, and the people hoped that God would give Israel ‘the land of Canaan’; and yet the Canaanites beat them (Num 14:40; Josh 7:5–9). Jeremiah prophesied that the enemy should come and take the city [of] Jerusalem; but because he came once, and went back without doing it, how stout and hardened were the hearts of that people against all the rest of his prophetic sayings, as to such a thing (Jer 37). Now the error lay not in these prophets, but in the people’s mistaking the times: and if mistakes do so much harden the heart of the wicked, what will they do to such of them who make it their business to blind and harden their hearts against God, by abusing all truths? Surely, when men seek to harden their hearts by abusing of truth, they will do it to purpose, when they have also the advantage of the weakness of their professed enemies to do it by: especially when their enemies shall say they speak by the word of the Lord, and time shall manifest it to be both a mistake and a falsehood. It is to be bewailed, namely, the forwardness of some in this matter, who have predicted concerning the time of the downfall of Antichrist, to the shame of them and their brethren: nor will the wrong that such by their boldness have done to the church of God, be ever repaired by them nor their works. But the judgments of God are a great deep; and therefore who can tell, since the enemy of God would not be convinced by the power of truth, and the virtuous lives of some, but that God might leave them to be snared, hardened and emboldened to run upon their unavoidable destruction, by the lies and lightness of others. They begin to vaunt it already, and to say, Where is the word of the Lord, as to this, let it come now. But when Agag said, ‘surely the bitterness of death is past,’ then was the time for him to be hewn in pieces (1 Sam 15:32, 33). I shall not therefore meddle with the times and seasons which the Father hath put in his own power; no, though they as to Antichrist’s ruin are revealed; because by the Holy Ghost there is a challenge made, notwithstanding the time is set, and by the word related to the man of wisdom, to find it out if he can (Rev 13:18). If Samson’s riddle was so puzzling, what shall we think of this? and though the angel hath intimated, that this sealed matter shall be opened towards the time of the end (Dan 12:9); yet ‘tis evident, some have either been so hasty, or presumed too much upon their own abilities: for I am sure they have missed the mark, hardened the heart of the enemy, stumbled the weak, and shamed them that loved them. But since the most high hath irreversibly determined her downfall also, let us see if we can have better success in discoursing upon the signs, than others have had who have meddled with the timing thereof.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 58–59). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) First Sign First Sign First then. The downfall and ruin of Antichrist draws near, when the church and people of God are driven from all those hiding-places that God has prepared for them in the wilderness. The church of God, when the dragon did his worst, had an hiding-place prepared her of God, that she might not utterly be devoured by him; and so shall have till the time of his end shall come. Of this you read in the 12th of the Revelation, a place worthy to be noted for this. But now, when the time of the ruin of Antichrist draws on, then is the church deprived of her shelter, and laid open, as one would think, to be utterly swallowed up forever, having no more place in the wilderness, that is, among the nations, to hide herself from the face of the serpent. But how comes this to be a SIGN of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist? why thus. The time of this beast’s war with the church of God, and the time that the church shall have an hiding-place in the wilderness, are both of a length, the one continuing forty-two months, the other a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Now since the war that this beast makes with the woman and her seed, and the woman’s hiding-place in the wilderness from his face, are, for length of time, the same; what hindereth but that when the woman and her seed can find no more shelter in the nations, the time that the beast hath allotted him to make war against her, should be finished also? when we therefore shall see that plots and conspiracies, that designs for utter ruin, are laid against God’s church all the world over; and that none of the kings, princes, or mighty states of the world, will open their doors, or give them a city for refuge; then is the ruin of Antichrist at hand: for Haman’s plot, though the most universal that ever yet was hatching, (being laid in an hundred twenty-seven provinces,) did but presage the deliverance and exaltation of the Jews, and the hanging of Haman and his sons: yea, and I take it, that the very day that this great enemy had set for the utter overthrow of the church, God made the day in which their deliverance began, and that from whence it was completed; and I take that to be a type of this. There is but one thing that I can think of that can give matter of a shew of doubt about this thing; and that is, though the time of this war against the saints, and that of the woman’s shelter in the wilderness as to length, be one and the same; yet whether they did commence together, and begin to take their rise, as men do that begin to run a race? a word therefore to this. I suppose they did commence much together; for else with whom should this beast make war, and how should the church escape? Or, if the beast began his war before the woman began to have a hiding-place, why was she not swallowed up, since in the wilderness was her only place of shelter? Again, what needed the woman to have a place of shelter in the wilderness, when there was no war made against her? And yet this must be, if her thousand two hundred and threescore days, began before the beast’s forty-two months: but they ended both together; for the beast could not kill the witnesses before they had finished their testimony; which testimony of theirs lasted this full time that the beast had granted him to make war with them, to wit, one thousand two hundred and threescore days (Rev 11:3): therefore their times went out together, as will be made appear, if you consider also that the witnesses were slain, by virtue, not of the old, but of a new war levied against them; and that, as it should seem, at the very time when her hiding-place was taken from her; for then indeed, for a little season, will the church of God be overcome, as I shall shew by and by. Wherefore, let God’s people consider and remember that when God’s church is absolutely forlorn, and has no hiding-place any longer in the world, the kingdom of Antichrist will quickly begin to tumble. Nor is this the alone place from whence we may gather these conclusions. The time of Pharaoh’s tyranny, of his life, and of the deliverance of the children of Israel, came out much together; as any will discern that shall consider the history of them (Gen 15:13). David, when Saul did sorely prosecute him, fled last into the wilderness to Achish the king of Gath, a Philistine, for shelter; and he gave him Ziklag for his refuge (1 Sam 27:5, 6). And that place so continued to David, ‘till just about the time in which Saul must die; and then behold, David’s Ziklag is burnt with fire, and himself stript naked of harbor! (1 Sam 30:1). But what matter! The time of Saul’s life, as well as of David’s Ziklag, was now upon expiring; for within three or four days after, David became the king of Israel (1 Sam 31:1–6). And thus also it was with the Babel-beast: His time expired, when the captivity of Israel was upon the finishing: then was the time of his land come, and ‘in that’ very ‘night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain’ (Dan 5:25–30). Thus therefore it will happen to the church in the latter days: her place of shelter in the wilderness; her Ziklag will be taken from her, about the time that the war that the beast has to make upon the woman and her seed shall be finished. But now the church is not therefore immediately delivered, when her Ziklag is taken from her; for after that, the beast levieth a new war, to the overcoming and killing of the church: I say therefore, that this is a sign, not of the downfall of Antichrist, but of the approach thereof: for the church’s bondage shall continue but three days, and a little after this [shall be her deliverance]. Much like to this was that of David; for after he had lost his Ziklag, for two or three days he had sore distress: but lo, then came the kingdom to him. Indeed, sense and reason saith, it is a fearful thing for the church of God to be exposed to the rage of her enemy all over the world at once; and that all nations should shut up their gates, let down their portcullises, bolt up their doors, and set open their flood-gates to destroy them: but so will be the dispensation of God, to the end deliverance may be the sweeter, and the enemies fall the more headlong, and the arm of God the more manifest, both for the one, and against the other. And in this will that scripture be fulfilled: ‘And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation—and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book’ (Dan 12:1). Let us gather up what has been said again; namely, that it is a sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist, when God’s church can find no more shelter in the wilderness; because when her Ziklag is burned, the time of the war that the beast is to make against her, is finished. Wherefore, when she hath given one desperate struggle more, and laid the church of God, or his witnesses, for dead, in the street of his great city, for three days and an half, then comes the kingdom, and the long, long-looked-for rest and glory. Wherefore it remains, that an angel should stand in the sun, and make proclamation to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, to gather themselves together to the supper of the great God: ‘That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them; and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great’ (Rev 19:18). This is to be after the forty-two months of the beast; and consequently, after the thousand two hundred and threescore days that the church was to be in sackcloth; yea, after the resurrection of the witnesses, as is evident by that which follows: ‘And the beast was taken, [that is, after the second year] and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone’ (verse 20).  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 59–60). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Second Sign Second Sign Secondly, Another sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist, is this: towards the end of her reign, the nations will be made to see her baseness, and to abhor her and her ways. They will, I say, be made to see these things, in order to her ruin: also, when they shall be made to see, her ruin will not be far off. For so long as the nations and their rulers shall continue in that dead sleep that she hath bewitched them into, by their drinking of the wine of her fornication; so long we have no ground to think that her ruin is at the door: but when God shall lay her before kings, and shall discover her nakedness to the nations, then be sure her destruction is at hand. Hence you read, that precedent to her downfall: An angel comes down from heaven, and enlightens the earth with his glory (Rev 10:1). [The earth;] that is, the kingdoms, countries, and nations where the woman sitteth, or they that border thereupon. [Enlightened;] to let them see the filthiness of the whore. [With his glory;] with the doctrine that he had commission to preach against her, for the discovering of her lewdness to the earth. This also was the way that God took with backsliding Israel of old, (and she was a type of our religious Babel) when he intended to bring her to judgment for her sins (Eze 16:37); and this is the way that God will take to destroy our religious Antichrist, when he comes to deliver his people out of her hand. For though the people that suffer at her hand, can do nothing against her, but lay, in prayers and tears against her before the God of heaven, and bear their witness against her before the gods of the earth; yet when kings shall come to be concerned, and they will count themselves concerned when they shall see how they have been deceived by her; then let her look to it. ‘Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of Hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock.’ And what follows? ‘And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee, shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?’ (Nahum 3:5–7). Wherefore, there wants nothing but that she be discovered to the nations and their kings; for did they but see her, though they lay yet in her bosom, they would rise up against her, that she must die: wherefore it is written again, I will ‘bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee’ (Eze 28:18). The chief of the wisdom of Antichrist this day is laid out, if perhaps by it she may cover her nakedness, and keep it from the eyes of kings and their people. But God has said it shall not avail: ‘Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man’ (Isa 47:3). But how will he make her naked? Verily, by kings. But how shall kings do it? Why, by virtue of the glory of the angel: yea, they ‘shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire’ (Rev 17:16). Let this, I pray, be considered, That Antichrist shall not down, but by the hand of kings. The preacher then kills her soul, and the king kills her body. And why should not the kings have it granted unto them, that she should fall by their hand? the kings are those that she has abused, that she has in the grossest manner abused, and has served herself of them: but the time of the end of Antichrist, mystery Babylon is coming, ‘and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him’ (Jer 27:7).12 Nor shall all the tricks, lies, and deceit under which formerly she used to shroud herself, be able to prove a balm to her any longer: No, ‘in vain shalt thou use many medicines’; for no cure shall be unto thee; ‘the nations have heard of thy shame’ (Jer 46:11, 12). Babylon has for a long time been ‘a lady of kingdoms,’ and ‘a golden cup in the Lord’s hand’: the nations also have largely drank of her cup, and the kings have committed fornication with her (Rev 18:3). But now the angel is come down, and hath enlightened the earth with his glory. Wherefore now it follows immediately, ‘Babylon is fallen! is fallen!’ That is, in the eyes and esteem of the nations, as well as otherwise. True, some of the kings will bewail her fall, and will cry, Alas! Alas! when they see that they cannot help her; for that they shall see, as is evident, because they stand afar off to lament her, ‘afar off for the fear of her torment.’ The kings therefore into whose hands God shall deliver her, and who shall execute his judgments upon her, shall be more mighty and powerful to bring her down, than shall be the whole world besides to uphold her. The Protestant Kings. And this observe further, That as the kings that shall hate her, shall hate her because in the light of the glory of the angel they are made able to see her filthiness; so the kings that shall bewail her, are such as in judgment are left in the dark, and that shall be bewitched by her to the end. This therefore will let us see something of the meaning of God, in that he has drawn off from her some of the kings already; to wit, that he might train them up by the light of the gospel, that they may be expert, like men of war, to scale her walls, when the king of kings shall give out the commandment to them so to do. There has been a great deal of talk in the countries about the ruin and destruction of Babylon; but could we see more of the kings engaged against her, we should hope groundedly that her fall was at the door. Well, blessed be God for what kings there are, and the Lord turn the hearts of many more to hate her. Some, as I said before, have adventured to foretell the time of her downfall; but give me the signs thereof. This therefore is a sign, a sign that her downfall approaches, when God shall lay her nakedness before the nations, and put it into the hearts of kings to abhor her. The signs of the times the Lord Jesus would have us mind; and because the Jews neglected them, though as to the time they hit pretty right, yet they missed of the thing that the time brought forth. 12 The reader must not misunderstand the words, ‘The king kills her body.’ Bunyan does not in the slightest degree concede to kings or nations a right to interfere with ‘the soul’ or religious principles or practices—these are to be slain, if false, by persecution of the preacher. Kings and nations will restore to the people the immense property and revenue of which they have been plundered, under the hollow knavish pretense of curing souls and forgiving sins. THUS will human laws kill the body of Antichrist. Every motive for professing to believe absurdities and contradictions will be at an end, when neither rule nor honor, nor pelf is to be gained by hypocrisy.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 60–62). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Third Sign Third Sign Thirdly, A third sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist, is this: ‘When Babylon is become the habitation of devils, &c.,’ then the downfall thereof is upon us. True, Babylon was always an habitation for devils; but not an habitation only for them; Israel once dwelt there, and our Antichrist was sometimes a place of residence for good men. The meaning then, is, When you shall see the church and people of God so forsake her that she is left in a manner to herself, and to her disciples, then she is to fall quickly. When you hear it proclaimed by them that are yet in her, of God’s people, ‘We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country’ (Jer 51:9): Then she will soon be hissed out of the world: for this is the way of the wisdom of God; namely, to bring his people out of a city or place, when he intends the ruin of that place. When God was about to destroy the old world, he put his Noah into an ark: when God was about to destroy Sodom, he sent his Lot away thence to Zoar: when Christ was about to destroy Jerusalem, he bid his disciples flee from the midst of that: and when there shall be by God a hissing for his people; and when they shall hear him, and obey, and gather to him, then you shall see what will become of this enemy of Christ: ‘I will hiss for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them’ (Zech 10:8–12). I say therefore, when Babylon shall become the habitation of devils, a hold for all foul spirits, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird, then Babylon is fallen. And thus the angel that lightened the earth with his glory, proclaimed, ‘Babylon the great is fallen! is fallen! and is become the habitation of devils, and a hold for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.’ Wherefore it must be, that by that her time is come that she should fall, God will have gleaned his people from the midst of her. And when God shall have gleaned his people from the midst of her, those that are left behind will appear more than ever to be what they are, to wit, devils, foul spirits, and hateful birds; wherefore, now will Antichrist appear in his own most proper colors. But to comment a little upon the words. Babylon ‘Mystery Babylon’ (Rev 17:5). The antichristian church. ‘Is fallen! Is fallen!’ In the eyes and faith of the godly, by her dropping into the dregs of degeneracy, and so is become the habitation of devils, &c., in order to her falling into utter and unavoidable destruction forever. ‘Is become.’ That is, through the labor of the fanners and winnowers that God hath sent to fan Babylon, and to fetch out his people, that she might be left to her chaff: ‘I will send [saith God to Babylon] fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land [of good men;] for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about’ (Jer 51:2). ‘An habitation of devils.’ Devils: not such by nature, but by practice. Incarnate devils. For when the time is come that Babylon must be destroyed, she shall be found to be an habitation for the most vile of the sons of men. For as devils have acted towards the world, so shall the sons of this sorceress, and this whore, act towards Christ and his members in the latter days. And, perhaps, the departing of Zion from the midst of her, will blow her up into this spirit of devilism. Let God’s people therefore, when Antichrist is towards her end, look for nothing from her, but what the devil, in times past, used to do; to wit, all sinful subtilty, malice, wrath, fraud, deceit, lying, murder, false accusings, and implacable madness of spirit to do them mischief. (But Lord God! think I, what will become of good men! and where will they be safe in such days? Only I comfort myself, by saying to myself again, this a sign that the ruin of Antichrist is at the door.) But this I say, he must needs be a tuneable man, that shall be able in those days to sing this song to himself at all seasons: for this is to drive reason backward, and to set the cart before the horse. For what will the good man’s reason say, when it seeth all Babylonians are become devils, but that the church of God will certainly be torn in pieces? But behold! the text and the Holy Ghost runs counter. ‘Babylon is fallen! is fallen! and [or, for it] is become the habitation of devils.’ These words for certain are the words of an holy angel; for it could not have entered into the heart of mere man to have conceived them. ‘An habitation.’ To be an habitation (for devils) is to be their house, their dwelling-place, their place of privilege, their place of rest and abode, or thither whither they have right to go. And thus will Babylon be; that is, an house, an habitation, a dwelling-place, and a place of rest, only for devilish-minded men; thither may such men come; for such her doors stand open, and there may such inhabit. When therefore you see good men come out thence, and all sorts of wicked men flock in thither, then know that Babylon is near her end. ‘And a hold for every foul spirit.’ Understand by spirit, either those that are devils by nature, or such as are such otherwise. But I think that the angel chiefly intends all manner of unclean and filthy spirits; and so the church and members of Babylon, their only place of safety: Or if you understand it of the uncleanness of the spirits and minds of men, then the meaning is, that they are called foul spirits, in allusion to those of devils which go by the same name (Mark 9:25). But however, or which way soever taken, it seems Babylon is their hold; that is, their place of defense: For by an hold, we often understand a place of strength, a castle, a fort, a tower; so that these devils, these foul-spirited men, these Babylonians, will not only find house-room and harbor in Babel, but shelter, defense and protection, when she is near her ruin: yea, they will find her an upholder to them, and a countenancer of them, in all their foul and devilish pranks; yea, such an hold shall she be to such foul spirits in such foul acts, that it shall not be possible that they should be driven from her, or from them: For an hold is often taken in the scriptures for a place that is impregnable, and must be so taken here. This intimates then, that some faint opposition by the kings and nations will be made against these inhabiters, foul spirits, but to little purpose, until the time of her land shall come (Jer 27:7); for in their hold they still will be secured and defended from what reason, law and scripture can or would do unto them. Thus then we see how Babel, towards her end, will be filled, and with what, to wit, with devils and foul spirits; yea, and that she will not only be an habitation, but a place of defense for such. ‘And a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.’ Those that before are called devils, and foul spirits, are also here called ‘birds, unclean and hateful beasts.’ By the term [Birds,] he may allude to that of the prophet Isaiah, where these unclean birds are mentioned (34:11–17) And by cage, he may allude to the prophet Jeremiah, from whom, as I think, the Holy Ghost takes those words; but then we must put men in the place of birds, and the Babylonian kingdom for the cage (Jer 5:27). ‘Every unclean bird.’ As was said before, a hold for every foul spirit. These unclean birds therefore are not all of one feather, or kind, but of all and every kind; and it intimates, that the worst act of all professions, shall be, as in a cage, in Babylon, a little before her downfall. But I say, if they will not be all of one feather, yet in their temper they will somewhat agree, being either in shape, monstrous; of appetite, ravenous; or, of inclination, lovers of the night. For of all these sorts were the forbidden, or unclean birds among the Jews. Now since these unclean birds are not all of one feather, or kind, it intimates that the basest of all sorts, sects, professions and degrees, shall take shelter in Babylon towards her end; and that they shall there, in their temper, unanimously agree to show themselves monstrous, to devour and eat up the poor and needy, and to blow out the light of the gospel. ‘A cage.’ Not to imprison them in, but for them to sit and sing in, to confer their notes in, to make melodious music in; I mean, melodious to their own thinking; for the ass thinks that he sings full favouredly, and the owl endeavors to lift up her voice above all the birds of the wood: But it will be a prediction of her fall, and that her ruin is at the door. Of these birds Zephaniah speaks, when he prophecies of the downfall of Nineveh, saying, ‘The cormorant and the bittern [shall] lodge in the uppermost lintels of it, their voice shall sing in the windows; [when] desolation shall be in the thresholds’ (Zeph 2:14). An unseasonable time to sing in; for when death is coming in at the door, mourning should be in the chambers. But this is the judgment of God, That she should be a cage for every unclean bird to sing in, even then when her destruction and desolation cometh upon her. To sing, as in a cage, doth also denote security, and that the heart is far from fear; for she saith, ‘I shall see no sorrow, in that hour in which her judgment comes.’ But is this a sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist? And must those that shall live to see those days, rejoice when these things begin to come to pass? Are not these things rather a sign that the utter overthrow of the church of God is at the door? Indeed, to sense it is, and reason will be apt to say so: But hark what the Holy Ghost saith! ‘She is fallen! is fallen now!’ When therefore we shall see men like devils; yea, every foul spirit, and hateful bird, flock to, and take shelter in Babylon; let us not be frighted or dejected, but pluck up our hearts, and say, This is one of the signs that the downfall of Babylon is near. Wherefore it follows, after that the prophet had told us that these birds should dwell in the land of the people of God’s curse (Isa 34). That ‘the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; [for that they are there] and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose: It shall blossom, [saith he] abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God.’ And to support the weak from those fears that in those days will be pulling of them down, he adds, ‘Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away’ (Isa 35). What say ye now, ye sons of God! Will you learn to make a judgment of things according to the mystery of the wisdom of God, or will ye longer conclude according to sense and reason: ‘He turneth the shadow of death into the morning’ (Amos 5:8). And commands oft-times, that the fairest day should succeed the foulest night. Wherefore, when we see these devils, foul spirits, and unclean birds in Babylon; yea, when we see good men leave her, and the vilest run in to her, then let us sing the angels’ song, and say, ‘Babylon the great is fallen! is fallen! and is become the habitation of devils, and a hold for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.’  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 62–64). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Fourth Sign Fourth Sign Fourthly, another sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist, is, ‘The Slaying of the Witnesses’: For the witnesses are to be slain before the fall of Antichrist; and that by the hand of the beast, who shall manage the members of Antichrist, having qualified them before that work, with those qualifications of which you read in the sign foregoing. For what can better fit a generation for such a work, than to be themselves all turned devils, and also succorers of all foul spirits. Wherefore, they must be the wickedest of men that shall do this: the very scum of the nations, and the very vilest of people. Nor is this a new notion: God threatened to give his sanctuary ‘into the hands of strangers for a prey, and to the wicked of the earth for a spoil’ (Eze 7:21); To robbers, burglars, and they should defile it (verse 22). Again, saith God of his people, ‘I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses’ (verse 24). For the truth is, this work is too bad for men either of reason or conscience to be found in the practice of. The hangman is usually none of the best: The witnesses are also to be slain; but not a man, but a beast must slay them; ‘a den of thieves, a hold of foul spirits,’ must do it. That the witnesses must be slain before the fall of Babylon, has been hinted already. Also, that their death is a forerunner of the ruin of Antichrist, has before been touched upon; but in this place I shall a little enlarge. And therefore I proceed: ‘And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people, and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put into graves.’ ‘And after three days and an half, the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, Come up hither: And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them’ (Rev 11:7–12). Thus you see their death is before their deliverance. Also their death is to be by the hand of the beast; to wit by the men that have and hold his mark, and that of his image, and that are of the number of his name. You see also that their death is not only a forerunner of their deliverance, but a sign that their deliverance is at the door; since the one is but three days and an half before the other. And if a short comment upon this text will give a little light to the reader, I shall not count my labor lost. And when they shall have finished their testimony, when, or about the time they have done their work of witness-bearing for God in the world: When they have made or are making an end of giving their testimony for Christ, and against the witchcrafts, idolatries, sorceries, fornications, thefts, murders, and wickedness of Antichrist: Then and not till then. ‘The beast that ascended out of the bottomless pit.’ The beast: The power that carrieth and beareth up Antichrist, the mother of harlots: The beast upon which the woman sitteth, and by the heads and horns of which she is protected and defended; he is said to ascend out of the bottomless pit; for that he manifesteth by his doings, that he was born there, and came to [do] the work of the king thereof. ‘Shall make war against them.’ We read that he made war against them all the time of their prophesying in sackcloth, while they were bearing their testimony against his doing; and that his commission was, That he should have leave to make war so long (Rev 12:6). But here we read again, that when they had finished their testimony, and so consequently he had run out the time of his first commission for war, he makes war again. So that this war which now he raiseth against them, seems to be another, a new war, and such as is grounded upon other, to wit, new arguments, besides those upon which his first war stood. By his first war, he sought to beat down and overthrow their testimony (Rev 13:4). By this war he seeketh to overthrow themselves. The first war he made, was grounded upon a vain confidence of his ability to destroy their faith; but this last was grounded upon madness against them, because their testimony had prevailed against him: Wherefore, Torment, wherewith these witnesses by their testimony tormented him and his followers, was the cause of this last war. And this is insinuated when he saith, ‘They make merry for their victory over them, because these two prophets,’ (to wit, by their testimony,) ‘tormented them that dwelt on the earth’ (Rev 11:10). The beast therefore will make a war against the witnesses all the time of their prophesying in sackcloth, which will be a thousand two hundred and threescore days (Rev 12:6). In all which time they shall give him the foil, and overcome him by their faith and testimony; and be proclaimed more than conquerors over him, through the Christ that loved them. But now in this second war he overcomes them, ‘he overcomes them, and kills them.’ Jezebel for a long time made war against Elias the prophet, seeking to overthrow the worship of God which he maintained, and to establish the religion of Baal: But when she saw that by all she could do she got nothing, but that the prophet got the day of her worship, priests and worshippers (1 Kings 18:30–40), she breaks out into a rage, as one tormented almost to death, and raises a new war; not now against his religion, but his person, and desperately swears by all the gods that she had, That by tomorrow that time the life of the prophet should be as the life of one of her priests whom he had slain for an idolater (1 Kings 19:2). When the devil sees that he cannot do by argument, he will try if he can by blows. When Zedekiah, the son of Chenanah, saw that with argument he could not overcome Micaiah, he steps to him, and takes him a box of the ear (1 Kings 22:24). This new war, is a box of the ear which the beast will give the witnesses, because they overcame him by their faith and testimony, all the time that the first war lasted. Now how long this second war will last, and what strugglings the witnesses will make before he shall overcome them, I know not: This I know, that the text saith, ‘by this war he shall overcome them.’ ‘And shall overcome them.’ Saints are not said to be overcome, when they are imprisoned, banished, and killed for their faithful testimony: No, by these things they overcome. To overcome then, is to get the mastery, to subdue, to turn out of possession, to take and hold captive, to strip the subdued of power and privilege, as is sufficiently manifest both by scripture and reason: ‘For of whom a man is overcome, of the same he is brought in bondage’ (2 Peter 2:19). So then, when he is said to overcome them, it is meant, he shall get the mastery of them, they shall grow faint before him, have no heart or spirit to bear up in their profession against him: Against him, I say, as she did the thousand two hundred and threescore days’ war with him; for then they were overcomers, and did bear away the garland. Nor do I, for my part, wonder at this, when I consider that these witnesses are a succession of good men; and that when Israel came out of Egypt of old, the feeble and weak-handed did come behind (Deu 25:17–19). It will be the lot therefore of the church, in the latter end of the reign of the beast, to be feeble and weak in their profession, the valiant ones having gone before: These will come, when those that were able have bravely borne their testimony, or when they are upon finishing of that: In comparison of whom, they that come after will be but like eggs to the cocks of the game: wherefore they must needs be crushed, cowed, and overcome. And then will the beast boast himself, as did his type of old, and say, ‘My hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped’ (Isa 10:14). A sad time, and it is to happen to the people that are left, to the latter end of the witness-bearers; and that too when they shall have finished their testimony. Of this tyranny the cruelty of Amalek was a type; who, as was hinted before, smote the hindermost, the weak: But his judgment is, That ‘he shall perish forever.’ ‘And shall overcome them.’ There are two ways of overcoming; to wit, by power and policy: And perhaps by both these ways they may be overcome. However, overcome they shall be; for so saith the holy word of God; yea, the beast shall overcome them. Wherefore the church of God, at that day, will be under such a cloud as she never was since Christ’s day. Now how long they shall thus be held captive before they are brought to execution; whether the beast will ride in triumph while they are in his bonds; or whether he will suddenly kill them; that time, and observation, and experience, must make manifest: But kill them he shall, that’s most certain, for so says the Holy Ghost. ‘And shall overcome them, and kill them.’ In this method therefore God will suffer the beast to proceed with the church of God, after she has sufficiently borne her testimony for him in the world. He shall ‘war against them,’ but that is not all: He shall overcome them, but that is not all; he ‘shall overcome them, and kill them.’ ‘And kill them.’ Of their slaughter also I shall speak a word or two. But first I would note, as all know, that there is a difference to be put betwixt killing and overcoming: For though every one that is killed, is overcome: yet every one that is overcome, is not killed (Acts 21:32): men may be overcome, and yet live (Jer 12:11); but when they are killed, it is otherwise: There may be a cry heard from the mouth of them that are overcome, but not from the mouth of them that are killed (Exo 32:18; Acts 7:34): They that are overcome, may consult their own enlargement, and deliverance; but they that are killed, cannot do so. I do therefore distinguish between killed and overcome, because the text doth so: ‘He shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.’ ‘And kill them.’ From these words therefore I will take occasion to inquire, 1. How they are to be considered as to this slaughter. 2. What death they must die to accomplish this prophecy. FIRST, How they are to be considered? I answer: Not in a carnal or natural, but in a mystical sense. For, first, they are called witnesses. Secondly, They are put under the number of two: ‘My two witnesses’ (Rev 11:3). Both which are to be mystically taken. First, Because their testimony standeth not in their words only, but in their conversation; yea, in their suffering also: and that is a mystical witness-bearing. Secondly, They go under the number of two: Not because there were indeed two such men in the world, but because two are a sufficient number to bear witness (Num 35:30; Deu 17:6; 19:15); and God’s church, in the most furious heat and rage of Antichrist, has been at least of such a number of professing saints, to proclaim against the beast and his worship in the name of God. To think that there have been two such men in the world, is ridiculous; for these witnesses must continue to give their testimony for God against Antichrist, a thousand two hundred and threescore years. Nor can they scripturally bear this title, My two witnesses, but with respect to their prophesying so long. The witnesses therefore are nothing else but a successive church, or the congregation of God abiding for him against Antichrist, by reason of a continual succession of men that is joined by the special blessing of God unto it. SECONDLY, What death they must die? I answer, Not a corporeal one, but that which is mystically such. And I choose to understand it thus, because this suiteth best with their state and condition, which is mystical. Besides, thus did they (when they did overcome,) slay their enemies, even with the fire or sword of their mouth: ‘If any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed’ (Rev 11:5). As therefore they went about to kill their enemies, so their enemies will kill them: But they sought to kill their enemies by their testimony, as to their antichristian spirit, and church-state; and their enemies will kill them, as to their Christian heat and fervency of mind; and also as to their Christian church-state. So that, (at least so I think,) there will be such ruins brought both upon the spirit of Christianity, and the true Christian church-state, before this Antichrist is destroyed, that there will for a time scarce be found a Christian spirit, or a true visible living church of Christ in the world: Nothing but the dead bodies of these will be to be seen of the nations; nor them neither, otherwise than as so many ruinous heaps. For the love that I bear to the church of Christ, I wish, as to this, I may prove a false prophet: But this looks so like the text, and also so like the dispensations of God with his church of old, that I cannot but think it will be so. For the text, I have spoken to that already; wherefore I will now present you with some things that look like parallel cases. First, When the church was coming out of Egypt, just before they were delivered from Pharaoh, they were in their own eyes, and in the eyes of their enemies, none other than dead: ‘It had been better [said they to Moses] for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness’ (Exo 14:12). The people said so, Moses feared, and Pharaoh concluded they were all dead men (Exo 12:33). Also Paul tells us, ‘that they were baptized [that is, buried] unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea.’ They were, for the time, to use the expression, a dead church both in the eyes of Pharaoh, in the eyes of Moses, and also in their own. And ‘tis to be taken notice of: As the witnesses in the text were slain but a little before the ruin of Antichrist began; so this church was baptized in the sea but a little before great Pharaoh was drowned there. Secondly, In the time of Elias, which time also was typical of this, what church was there to be seen in Israel? None but what was under ground, buried in dens, and in caves of the earth: Yea, the prophet could see none, and therefore he cried to God, and said, Lord, they have ‘digged down thine altars,’ and slain thy prophets, ‘and I am left alone, and they seek my life’ (1 Kings 19:14; Rom 11:3). What visible living church was now in the land, I mean, either with reference to a godly spirit for it, or the form and constitution of it? What was, was known to God, but dead to every man alive. Thirdly, What was the dry bones that we read of in the 37th of Ezekiel, but the church of God, and also a figure of what we are treating of? And why called dry bones, since the people were alive, with their substance, wives, and children; but to shew, that that church of God was now, as to their spirit and church-state, accounted as dead, not only by themselves, but by the king of Babylon, and the nations round about? Babylon then was the valley, and the grave; and the church of God were the bones: Bones without flesh, sinews, or skin; bones exceeding dry; yea so dry and dead were they, that the prophet himself could not tell whether ever they should live again (Eze 37:1–3). Now this, as I said, was a state that was not to end with the church of Israel, but to be acted over once again by the beast with the church of the new testament: Yea, it is an easy matter to make their witnesses in this their death, and the church of Israel in this their grave, in many things to symbolize. Fourthly, Take another instance, or rather comparison, into which the church of God compared herself, when under the king of Babylon’s tyranny: And that is, she counted herself as the dung that the beast lets fall to the ground from behind him. And doth this look like a visible church-state? Or has it the smell or savor of such a thing? Nebuchadnezzar (said she) ‘hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out’ (Jer 51:34). Pray, what would you think of a man, of whom one should tell you, That he was eaten up of a dragon; made to fill the belly of a dragon; and cast out as the dung of a dragon? Would you think that such an one did all this while retain the shape, form, or similitude of a man? Why, thus the church said she was, and thus the church shall be again: For she is once more to be overcome, to be overcome and killed; and that by the beast, the dragon’s whelp, of which the king of Babylon was a type. And therefore I conclude the premises; that is, That the beast will kill the church that shall be in the latter days, as to her Christian spiritedness, and her church-state. And I could further add, That if we hold they die corporeally, we must conclude, that their natural body being slain, shall lie three years and an half in the street; yea, that their resurrection shall be corporeal, &c. But why we should think thus, as yet I can see no reason, since the persons are such mystically; the beast mystically so; the street in which they be, mystically such; and the days of their unburied state, to be taken mystically likewise. But we will pass this, and descend to other things. Fifthly, I will yet add another thing. When Israel was coming out of Babylon; yea, while they were building of the temple of God, which was a figure of our church-state now under the Gospel; they were not only troubled, hindered and molested in their work, but were made for a time to cease, and let the work lie still. ‘Now [says the text] when the copy of king Artaxerxes’ letter [which he sent to forbid the Jews in their work] was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe, and their companions, they went up in haste to Jerusalem unto the Jews, and made them to cease by force and power. Then ceased the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem. So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia’ (Ezra 4:23, 24). And I pray, since their temple-worship was a type of a new testament church-state and worship, what doth their causing of that work to cease signify to us, but that we must have a time also to cease as they? And since their temple-work was caused to cease before the house was finished, what face could there be at present thereupon, but that, to look to, it was like some deformed, battered, broken building, or as such an one that was begun by foolish builders? Yea, and since the Jews left off to build God’s house at the command of the heathens, what did that bespeak, but that they had lost their spirit, were quashed, and so as to their temple-work, killed, as it were, to all intents and purposes? And thus it will be, a little before the church of God shall be set free from the beast, and all his angels: For these things were writ for our admonition, to show us what shall be done hereafter; yea, and whether we believe or disbelieve hereabout, time will bring it to pass. I do not question but many good men have writ more largely of this matter: but as I have not seen their books, so I walk not by their rules. If I mistake, the mistakes are only mine; and if I shall merit shame, I alone must bear it. Some may think they have said enough, when they assert, that for the witnesses to be killed, is, To be dead in law. But I answer, That is not to be overcome. They are here said to be overcome; and that is more than to be dead in law: For a man may be dead in law, and yet not be overcome; and if so, then far enough off from being killed. So then, for as much as they are said to be overcome and killed, it must be more than to be dead in law. Besides, the text supposeth that they had yielded up, as dying men do, their souls, their spirit of life into the hands of God: For it saith concerning them, That at their resurrection, the spirit of life from God entered again into them: Into them, antecedent thereunto. ‘and after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet’ (Rev 11:11). thus it was concerning the dry bones, of which mention was made before: ‘Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live’ (Eze 37:9). And thus much concerning their killing. Now, as I said, since in death, the body doth not only lie dead, but the spirit of life departs therefrom; it is to shew, that not only their bodies, their church-state, shall die, but that spirit of life that acted those bodies, shall be taken up to God. There shall, for a time, be no living visible church of Christ in the world: A church, but no living church, as to church-state: A church in ruins, but not a church in order: Even as there was once a Christ, but no living Christ in the grave; yet the gates of hell shall not prevail to an utter overthrow thereof, no more than they prevailed to an utter overthrow of Christ; but as one did, so shall the other, revive, and rise again, to the utter confusion and destruction of their enemies: Yea, and as Christ, after his resurrection, was, as to this body, more glorious than he was before; so the witnesses, after their resurrection, shall be more spiritual, heavenly, and exact in all their ways, than they were before they were killed. Resurrections are always attended with new additions of glory; and so shall the church of God, as to her church-state, be in the latter days. But yet the beast shall not altogether have his will, (if that at all was his will) that these witnesses, in this second war, should be conquered to a compliance with Antichrist in his foolish and vain religion: For it is not with dead men to comply; but as they are dead to their own church-state, so they are to his. When the Jews had killed Christ, it was beyond all the art of hell to cause that his body should see corruption; so when the beast has killed the witnesses, he shall not be able to corrupt them with any of his vices. Hence you find, that not the witnesses, but the dwellers upon the earth were them that danced after the devil’s pipe, when he had fulfilled their murder. Nor doth this murder, as to the fulfilling of it in those nations where the woman sitteth, seem to be a great way off, if all be true that from foreign parts some have said: For what a withdrawing of God and of his Spirit is there already in some of the churches of God! The word worketh not that sound repentance which it was wont to do: Preachers preach for little, but to spend themselves, as men that are wounded do when with groans they let out their life. Where (say some) is the spirit and life of communion? And where that practical holiness that formerly used to be seen in the houses, lives and conversations of professors? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint already; and how long will it be before churches die of the wound that the beast has given them, time must make appear: But die I perceive they must; for if the wound already given will not kill, repeated blows shall. By all that I have said, I do not deny but that many of the people of God may die corporeally, by the hand of the beast, in this second war that shall be made by him against the witnesses. But should as many more die, that will not prove that that death will be that that by the killing of the witnesses is intended. Something I would bestow upon the reader, for him to carry with him as a memorandum, while he reads this account of things: As, First, This victory of the beast, is not to be until the witnesses have finished their testimony; and so by all that he shall do, he shall not hinder the revelation of any of the truths that they either were to bring to light, or to confirm by their witness-bearing. Witnesses are not always bound to speak: There is a time ‘to keep silence’ (Eccl 3:7), and ‘thou shalt be dumb’ (Eze 3:26). But how shall we know when this time is come? 1. When a sufficient testimony has been given for Christ, and against Antichrist, before the God of heaven; for he must be the judge. 2. When her enemies forbear to plead against her by argument, and rather betake themselves to blows (Matt 10:19). 3. When the spirit of testimony-bearing is taken from the church; for that is not essential to Christianity, but is given and taken away as there is occasion. 4. When testimony-bearing becomes a vain or needless repetition, when they have heard sufficiently of things before (John 9:27). Secondly, This victory of the beast shall not invalidate or weaken their testimony; no, not in the eyes of the world; for they will still remember, and have a reverence for it: This is intimated by this, That ‘they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations—(that are neither the witnesses, nor they that in the next verse are called the inhabiters, or they that dwell upon the earth,)—shall not suffer their dead bodies to be (buried, or be) put in graves’ (Rev 11:9). Thirdly, This shall not lengthen the reign and tranquility of the antichristian kingdom; nor frustrate, drive back (or cause to tarry) the glorious freedom and liberty of the saints. But some may say, This will be a SAD day. So it will, and gloomy; but it will be but short, and ‘the righteous shall have dominion over them next morning.’ ‘Twill last but three days and an half; nor shall it come, but for the sins of churches and saints, and to hasten the downfall of the kingdom of the beast, and for the sweetening to the church her future mercies. Christ Jesus, our Lord, in answer to the question of his disciples, about the destruction of Jerusalem, presented them with a relation of many sad things; but when he was come even to the hearts of men, and had told them ‘that they should fail for fear’: He said, ‘when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh’ (Luke 21:25–28). ‘Tis as ordinary as for the light to shine, for God to make black and dismal dispensations, to usher in bright and pleasing [ones]; yea, and the more frightful that is which goes before, the more comforting is that which follows after. Instances in abundance might be given as to this, but at present let this suffice that is here upon the paper before us; namely, the state of the witnesses, with their glorious resurrection.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 64–69). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Fifth Sign Fifth Sign Fifthly, Another sign of the approach of the ruin of Antichrist, will be this: The great joy that will be in her, and among her disciples, when they shall see that the witnesses are slain, and lie dead upon the spot: ‘And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell on the earth’ (Rev 11:10). Babylon has been always a merry city, and her disciples merry men; but the poor church of Christ has been solitary, and as a wife forsaken; her tears upon her cheeks bear her witness, and so doth her sackcloth-weed. Hence our Babylon, under the name of Nineveh, is called, ‘the rejoicing city’ (Zeph 2:15). Only her joy is distinguished from that which is the joy of God’s people, by these two things. First, Either she rejoiceth in outward and carnal glory, or else in the ruin of the church of God. This last, to wit, the supposed ruin of the church of God, is that which will be now the cause of her glorying. And this is the joy that God complaineth of, and for the which he said that he would punish Babylon: ‘Chaldea shall be a spoil: All that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the Lord. Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage,’ &c. (Jer 50:10, 11). The joy therefore of Babylon, Antichrist; the joy that she shall conceive in her heart upon the slaughter of the witnesses, is a sure sign of her unavoidable ruin and destruction. These two prophets tormented her; they were to Babylon as Mordecai was to Haman, a continual plague and eye-sore: As also was David to the wretched Saul: But now they are overcome, now they are killed; now she rejoiceth, and maketh merry. And this her joy was of old prefigured by them that in her spirit have gone before her: As, First, When the Philistines had, as they thought, forever overcome Samson, that Nazarite of God, how joyful were they of the victory! ‘Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, [saw him in chains] They praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us’ (Judg 16:23, 24). Poor Samson! While thou hadst thy locks, thy liberty, and thine eyes, thou didst shake the pillar that did bear up their kingdom! But now they have conquered thee, how great is their joy! How great is their joy, and how near their downfall! This therefore is a joy that is like that we have under consideration, to wit, the joy of them that dwell upon the earth; for that the witnesses that did bear up the name of God in the world, were overcome and killed. Secondly, Like to this, is that which you read of in the first book of Samuel, concerning the men that had burnt David’s Ziklag. Ziklag was poor David’s place of safety; nor had he any else but that under the whole heaven: But the children of the east came upon it, and took it; set it on fire, and carried thence all David’s substance, with his wives and his children. (Very ill done to a man in affliction; to a man that went always in fear of his life, because of the rage of his master Saul.) But how were they that had got the victory? Oh! joyful, and glad, and merry at heart at the thoughts of the richness of the booty? ‘Behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines (from Ziklag) and out of the land of Judah’ (1 Sam 30:16). Here again you find a joy and merriment like these that we have under consideration, and that upon such like accounts. Nothing pleases the wicked more, than to see the godly go down the wind; for their words, and lives, and actions are a plague and a torment to them: As ‘tis said of these two prophets, ‘They tormented them that dwelt on the earth.’ Thirdly, While the church of God lay dead in Babylon, and as bones exceeding dry; what a trampling upon them was there by Belshazzar a little before his death! He called for his golden and silver vessels that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple of God that was at Jerusalem, (those holy vessels once dedicated to the worship and service of God) that his princes, his wives and his concubines might drink therein. An high affront to heaven: ‘They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone’ (Dan 5:4). And all to shew what a conquest, as he thought, he had got over the God of heaven, and over his people that dwelt in Jerusalem, and over his ordinances and vessels used in his worship and service: Yea, this he did with such joy that was not usual, as is intimated by his doing of it before ‘a thousand of his lords,’ and that till he had drank himself drunken. But all this while, as was hinted before, the church of God, as it were, lay dead at his feet; or as the phrase is, ‘as bones exceeding dry.’ This too will be the joy of the beast and his followers in the latter days; they will make war with the witnesses; they shall overcome them, and kill them; and when that is done, they shall rejoice over them, and make merry. But as Belshazzar soon after this, saw the handwriting that made his knees knock together; and as he lived not to see the light of another day; so ‘twill be with the beast and his followers; the next news that we hear upon this mirth and jollity, is, the tenth part of his kingdom falls, and so on till the whole is ruined. Thirdly, Moab also, in the day that Israel was taken captive by their enemies, could not forbear but skip for joy, so glad was he in his heart thereat. But what saith the jealous Lord? ‘Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the Lord: Moab also shall-be in derision: For was not Israel (saith God) a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy’ (Jer 48:26, 27). Of all things, God cannot away with this: For when the wicked would rejoice that they have been suffered to make havoc of the church of God, they deny the wisdom and power by which they were permitted to do this, and offer sacrifice to their own net and drag (Hab 1:16); which provoketh the holiness of Israel: ‘Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood.’ But what follows? Why, burning and consuming of soul and body of them that do such a thing (Isa 10:15–18). And this text I the rather bring, because ‘tis to be the portion of Antichrist. And therefore let this be a caution to the men that wonder after the beast, to caution them to repentance, for he will assuredly go into perdition. What! shall the witnesses of God be killed! Shall the beast stand glorying over them while they are dead, with his feet in their neck? and shall none be angry at it? Let them that love themselves look to themselves: God will be concerned, and will assuredly for this quickly put a period to the kingdom and reign of Antichrist (Jer 50:13). And although this glorying mistress of iniquity, this Antichrist and Babylon, may say that her power is the hammer of the whole earth; yet God will cut him in sunder, and break him in pieces with his bout- hammers,13 with the kings14 of the earth, that he will use to do this work withal; that is, when this last sign is fulfilled: I call it the last sign; I find none that doth intervene betwixt the slaying of the witnesses, and the beginnings of the ruin of Antichrist but this. But a little to comment upon their joy, as the Holy Ghost doth set it forth. The cause of their joy we have touched already; which was, for that they had slain their tormentors. For, as was shewed you, the witnesses had been their tormentors: But when they shall overcome them, and kill them, they rejoice, make merry, and send gifts one to another. This repeating, and repeating with aggravation, doth manifest, and at that day their joy will be exceeding great: ‘They shall rejoice, and make merry,’ &c. They shall rejoice over them, over their slain, their enemies, their tormenting enemies. This joy therefore, is a joy that flows from victory, from victory after a war that has lasted a thousand two hundred and threescore years. They shall rejoice, as they do that have a most potent, vexatious, and tormenting enemy lying dead at their foot, and as those that ride in triumph over them. They shall therefore rejoice as conquerors used to do, who make the slaughters of their spoiled enemies the trophy of their joy. For the devil, that great deceiver of mankind, will so flush up and bewitch the men that wonder after the beast, with the victory that they shall get over the faithful witnesses for God and his Son, that they will think (‘twill never be day) that the victory is so complete, so universal, so thorough, that the conquest must be lasting. And from sense and reason they will have ground to think so; for who now is left in the world any more to make head against them? but here comes in that which will utterly spoil this joy; these conquered, killed, dead men must come to life again, and then what’s become of their joy? ‘And great fear fell upon them which saw them’ (Rev 11:11). Wherefore, this joy must fade and vanish: But, I say, the followers of the beast will be far from thinking so; for they will ‘rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts one to another,’ concluding that these tormentors shall never torment them more. But Jacob’s blessing upon his son Gad, shall be fulfilled upon these witnesses: ‘Gad [saith he] a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last’ (Gen 49:19). So then these conquerors must not always rejoice, though they will suppose they shall, and also make merry too. ‘And make merry.’ To make merry, is more than to rejoice. To rejoice, doth shew the present act of the soul; but to make merry, is to use the means as will keep this joy alive, and on foot. Joy is one thing, and the continuance of it is another (1 Sam 25:36). Joy may be begotten by a conceit, a thought; but it cannot be maintained so; because deliberation will come in and spoil it (Esth 5:4), if sufficient means is not used to continue it: wherefore he adds, They rejoiced over them, ‘And made merry.’ And there are five things that are usually made use of to keep up wicked joy. 1. There is the merriment of music (Luke 15:25, 32). 2. The merriment of feasting (Judg 19:6, 9). 3. The merriment of laughter (Eccl 10:19). 4. The merriment of fleshly solace (Jer 31:4). 5. Revenge upon a supposed enemy (2 Sam 13:28). So then, by these five things we see what is the way that sinful joy is maintained in the hearts of wicked men; and also by what means the limbs and brats of Antichrist will keep up that joy that at first will be conceived in their hearts at the thought that now they have killed their tormentors. They shall have music. They shall have feasting. They shall have laughter. They shall have fleshly solace. And they shall have their fill, for the time, of revenge. Thus therefore shall they rejoice over them, and make merry, all the time of that little, short everlasting that they are to live in the world. ‘And make merry.’ To make merry, to make wicked mirth, there must be a continual fraternity, or brotherhood in iniquity, maintained among them, and that where none may come to interrupt; and that they will be capable of doing any where then, for that their tormentors will be dead. Wickedness shall walk with open face in those days; for then there will be none alive for God and his ways; wherefore, the beast and his train may do what they will: now will be the time for men to live carelessly and wantonly, and to make their wantonness their joy, (after the manner of the Zidonians) for there will be none to put them to shame. ‘And shall send gifts one to another.’ This is another token of their gladness, and also a means to buoy them up still. And it will be a sign that they have joined hand in hand to do this wickedness, not dreaming of the punishment that must follow. This sending of gifts to each other, and that after they have slain these two prophets, doth also declare that they will be far from repentance, for the commission of so great an offence. Nay, it signifies further, that they were resolved, and determined to quench all manner of convictions one in another, that might arise in their hearts for the sin which they had committed: for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise, and perverts the judgment of the righteous; how much more then will it stifle and choke appearances of such upon the spirits of wicked men! I question not at all but many have been, by the favours and gifts of wicked men, drawn down into the belly of hell. Now what these gifts will be, either as to kind or quantity, that I can say nothing to: but probably, whatever they will be, there will be but little of their own cost in them. Victors and conquerors do used to visit their friends with their spoils won in battle, with the spoil of the enemies of their God (Ezra 10:7). And this was David’s way, after he had recovered the loss that he had sustained at the burning of his Ziklag; he sent to his friends of what he had taken from his enemies, as token of victory: ‘David sent of the spoil (says the text) unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoils of the enemies of the Lord’ (1 Sam 30:26); And why may not those we have now under consideration, do so to their god, and their friends also? Spoiling is like to be one of the last of the mischiefs that Antichrist shall do to the church of God in this world: And methinks, since the beast will have power to overcome, and to kill, he should also have power to take away (Dan 11:33): ‘Hast thou killed, and also taken possession?’ said the prophet to wicked Ahab. However, whatever their gifts may be, and at whose cost soever bought, ‘tis a sign their hearts will be open, they shall send gifts one to another: their merry days will then be come, and their enemies will then be dead at their feet; wherefore, now they will have nothing to do but to rejoice over them, and to make merry, and to send gifts one to another. Thus as to sense and reason, all shall be hush, all shall be quiet and still: the followers of the Lamb shall be down; the followers of the Beast be up, cry peace and safety, and shall be as secure as an hard heart, false peace, and a deceitful devil can make them. But behold! While they thus ‘sing in the windows,’ death is straddling over the threshold! (Zeph 2:14). While they are crying peace and safety, sudden destruction cometh: By that they have well settled themselves at their table with Adonijah (1 Kings 1), they shall hear it proclaimed with sound of trumpet, the witnesses are risen again. Now the Christians’ pipes will go again, and surely the earth will be rent with the sound of their shouts and acclamations, while they cry with joyful sound, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Rev 11:15). But woe to the wicked, it shall be ill with them; for the Lord Jesus will now begin to shew his jealousy, and to make known his indignation towards those that have thus cruelly slain his prophets, digged down his altars, and made such havoc of the afflicted church of God (Isa 66:14). Now will he whet his glittering sword, and his hand shall take hold on vengeance, that he may render a recompense to his enemies, and repay them that hate him (Deu 32:41). But this he will not do immediately by himself, but by such instruments as have been spoken of before: of which more particularly to treat, shall be that I shall next take in hand. 13 This is a very expressive term, but better understood by Bunyan the brazier than by many of his readers. It is well known to those who live near a coppersmith’s, when three or four athletic men are keeping up, bout and bout, incessant blows upon a rivet, until their object is accomplished.—Ed. 14 Protestant kings.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 69–72). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of the Instruments That God Will Use to Bring AntiChrist to His Ruin Of the Instruments That God Will Use to Bring AntiChrist to His Ruin Although I have hinted at this before, yet it may be convenient briefly to touch it again. Antichrist, as I have told you, consisteth of soul and body, and must be destroyed by such instruments as may most properly be applied to each. Further, As to the soul, spirit or life of Antichrist, and its destruction, of that we have also spoken already: It remains then that now we discourse of the ruin of his body and flesh. I then take it, That the destruction of her flesh shall come by the sword, as managed in the hands of kings, who are God’s ministers for the punishment of evil deeds, and the praise of them that do well (Rom 13). Not that the church, even as a church, shall be quite exempt and have therein no hand at all; for she, even as such, shall with her faith and prayers help forward that destruction. The church therefore, as a church, must use such weapons as are proper to her as such; and the magistrate, as a magistrate, must use such weapons as are proper to him as such. When the church of Israel were prisoners in Babylon, they did not fight their way through their foes, and the countries to Jerusalem; but waited in their captivated state with patience, until the kings of the Medes and Persians came to deliver them. Nor is it to be sleighted, but to be thought on seriously, that before there was an Israelite captive in Babylon, their deliverer Cyrus was prophesied of: which Cyrus did afterwards come and take Babylon, and deliver the captives, as it was foretold he should. He saith unto Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid’ (Isa 44:28). And again, ‘Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations before him, &c. I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of Hosts’ (Isa 45:1, 13). And this accordingly he did, to wit, when the time was come; as may be seen in those holy records where these things are made mention of. Indeed, as I said, the church is not excluded (2 Chron 36:2); she may, and ought, with her faith and prayer, and holy life, to second this work of kings (Ezra 1:2, 3). Wherefore, when God speaks of bringing down the lofty city and of laying it low in the dust by the church, he saith, they shall do it by their feet, and with their steps: ‘The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy’ (Isa 26:6). By feet and steps, I understand the good lives of the children of God: but now, when kings come to deal with her, as kings, they serve her as Samuel served Agag, as a judge, ‘cut her in pieces with their swords’: or as you have it elsewhere, ‘They make her desolate and naked; they eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.’ The sword will be put into their hands for this very purpose. Thus therefore must their deliverance be begun. It is also to be considered, That after these first kings of the Medes and Persians had broken the yoke of the king of Babylon from off the neck of the captive church, and had given her license to go to her place to build her temple and city, and to sacrifice there according to the law of their God, (as both in Ezra and Nehemiah we read;) and when their work was hindered by under-officers, or they endeavored so to do, they pleaded the license that they received to build and sacrifice by the decree of the first kings, and so finished their deliverance: They went not on in headstrong manner, as if they regarded neither king nor Caesar: ‘But Zerubbabel, and Joshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them,’ that sought to hinder their work, ‘Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us’ (Ezra 4:3). And as they said, so also they did: ‘The elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia’ (Ezra 6:14). Yea, they did not only accept of the kindness of kings, but did acknowledge that kindness with thanksgiving, as a gift of the God of heaven: for the kings had commanded and given leave to the Jews to go to Jerusalem, to build their temple, and to do sacrifice there, according to the counsel of the priests that were at Jerusalem, and according to the law of God that they had in their hand (Ezra 7:13, 14). For Artaxerxes sent Ezra the priest to inquire after the condition that Jerusalem and Judah was in, according to, or by the law of God that was in his hand (verse 14). And he had license also further to do with the king’s silver and gold, which he gave of the service of the house of the Lord, ‘according to the will, word or law of HIS God.’ ‘And thou, Ezra, [says the king] after the wisdom of thy God, [that is, after his word] that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, [that is, worship, and walk by the rule of his testament,] and the law of the king, [that is, shall refuse to give Ezra such things as by the king was appointed for Ezra’s help in the furthering of the worship of God, according to the law of his God,] let judgment be executed speedily upon him whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment’ (Ezra 7:25, 26). This was therefore a wonderful gracious license that the king now gave to Ezra: he imposed nothing upon him or the Jews in matters of religion and worship, but left him and them wholly to the law, will, and word of God, only he laid check upon wicked and ungodly people: that if they did things contrary to the laws of Ezra’s God, or did sleight the king’s law, as aforesaid, that then such penalties and pains should be inflicted upon them. To the same purpose was the decree of Cyrus, and that of Darius, to put it in execution. Also the penalty enacted against such offenders, was full as sharp and severe: ‘Also I have made a decree [said the king,] that whosoever shall alter this word, let timber be pulled down from his house, and being set up, let him be hanged thereon; and let his house be made a dunghill for this.—And the God that hath caused his name to dwell there destroy all kings and people, that shall put to their hand to alter and to destroy this house of God which is at Jerusalem. I Darius have made a decree; let it be done with speed’ (Ezra 6:11, 12). Indeed, sometimes a stop was put to this work by the kings, and the Jews were made to cease by force and power, (Ezra 4:23, 24) the which the good people did bear with patience (Ezra 4:11–21): also they waited to see their God go before them among the kings, who at length took away Artaxerxes, who for a time had put a stop to the work, and brought in another, who gave leave that with speed it should be set on foot again (Ezra 5). The Jews did also in these vacancies, or times in the which hindrances were put, carry it very tenderly and lovingly to those kings that at present they were under, submitting of their bodies and their goods to their will, and meekly endured the trial and affliction, serving them with all faithfulness, watching to save their lives from the hands of bloody men. Also when the king’s laws, and the law of their God, did at any time come in competition, they would indeed adhere to, and do the law of their God; yet with that tenderness to the king, his crown and dignity, that they could at all times appeal to the righteous God about it (Dan 6:22). Nor did they lose by so doing; yea, they prospered; for by this means Mordecai was made a great man, and a savior of his people (Esth 2:21–23) By this means also was Daniel made a great man, and helpful to his brethren (Dan 5:29). Kings, I say, must be the men that must down with Antichrist, and they shall down with her in God’s time. God hath begun to draw the hearts of some of them from her already, and he will set them, in time, against her round about. If therefore they do not that work so fast as we would have them, let us exercise patience and hope in God: ‘tis a wonder that they go so fast as they do, since the concerns of whole kingdoms lie upon their shoulders, and that there are so many Sanballats and Tobias’s to flatter with them and misinform them concerning the people that are delivered but in part. See what an ugly account was given of Jerusalem by the enemies of the Jews, even then when they were in the hands of their deliverers: ‘Be it known unto the king, that the Jews which came up from thee to us, are come unto Jerusalem, building the rebellious and bad city, and have set up the walls thereof, and joined the foundations.—Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage the revenue of the kings’ (Ezra 4:12, 13). Oh! what a be it known, be it known, is here! But were not these gentlemen more afraid of losing their own places and preferments, than of the king’s losing of his toll and custom? But the whole was a lie, though it hindered the work for a time, and the patience of the people, and their loyalty to the king, did conquer and overcome all. I speak the more to this, because, (as I have said) I believe that by magistrates and powers we shall be delivered and kept from Antichrist; and because God has already begun to do it by such, by which also she shall be destroyed: and I have a few things to present to good men, to be conversant in, in such a day as this. Let the king have verily a place in your hearts, and with heart and mouth give God thanks for him; he is a better savior of us than we may be aware of, and may have delivered us from more deaths than we can tell how to think. We are bidden to ‘give thanks to God for all men, and in the first place, for kings, and all that are in authority’ (1 Tim 2:1, 2). Be not angry with them, no, not in thy thought; but consider, if they go not on in the work of reformation so fast as thou wouldest they should, the fault may be thine; know that thou also hast thy cold and chill frames of heart, and sittest still when thou shouldest be up and doing. Pray for kings to the God of heaven, who has the hearts of kings in his hand: and do it ‘without wrath, and doubting’; without wrath, because thy self is not perfect; and without doubting, because God governeth them, and has promised to bring down Antichrist by them. Pray for the long life of the king. Pray that God would always give wisdom and judgment to the king. Pray that God would discover all plots and conspiracies against his person and government. Pray also that God would make him able to drive away all evil and evil men from his presence; and that he may be a greater countenancer than ever, of them that are holy and good, and wait and believe, that God that has begun his quarrel with Babylon, Antichrist, the mother of Antichrist, the whore; would in his own time, and in his own way, bring her down by the means which he has appointed. I do confess myself one of the old-fashion professors, that covet ‘to fear God, and honor the king.’ I also am for blessing of them that curse me, for doing good to them that hate me, and for praying for them that despitefully use me, and persecute me. And have had more peace in the practice of these things, than all the world are aware of. I only drop this, because I would shew my brethren that I also am one of them; and to set them right that have wrong thoughts of me, as to so weighty matters as these.15 Now these kings whose hearts God shall set to destroy Antichrist, shall do it without those inward reluctancies that will accompany inferior men: they shall be stript of all pity and compassion. Hence they are compared to the mighty waves of the sea (Jer 51:42), which saith, when the wrecked and dying mariners cry out for mercy for themselves, and for their children, I am a sea; ‘I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins’ (Isa 23:4, 5): I have therefore no pity for these, or any of them. Therefore they must be swallowed up of this sea, and sink like a stone in the midst of these mighty waters. And thus much for the means by which God will destroy the body and flesh of Antichrist. 15 This Christian temper of Bunyan certainly saved him from much suffering while under persecution. It probably saved his invaluable life. But how deeply it increases the guilt of his persecutors, to send such a man to a damp wretched prison, for more than twelve years, because he dared not join in the worship established by law; and after all this, to hear his prayers and good wishes to his persecutors, ought to have cut them to the quick.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 72–74). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Of the Causes of the Ruin of AntiChrist Of the Causes of the Ruin of AntiChrist Although the causes of the ruin of Antichrist be to some conspicuous enough, yet to some they may be otherwise; yea, and will to all kings and people whose eyes shall be held, that they may not see the judgment, in the reasonableness and equitableness thereof; and these shall wail when they see ‘the smoke of her—torment’; and these shall cry, Alas! Alas! (Rev 18:10). Wherefore, for further edification, as I have treated of the man of sin already; so will I now, of the causes of his downfall. And,  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, p. 74). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) First Cause First Cause First, He must down, for that he hath usurped, and taken the name and attributes of God upon himself: He hath said, ‘I am God’: He hath set in the temple of God, ‘shewing himself that he is God’; yea, and that in contempt and scorn of any other, ‘exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped’ (2 Thess 2); yea, hath cried down all gods but himself. Wherefore it must needs be, that he be brought to judgment, that the truth of his saying may be proved. And for this cause he is threatened, under the name of the prince of Tyrus: ‘Because thine heart is lifted up (saith the Lord) and thou hast said, I am a god,—therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am god? but thou shalt be a man, and no god, in the hand of him that slayeth thee’ (Eze 28:2, 7–9). If God will not give his name or glory to another, be sure he will not be under another; but this to have, and thus to do, Antichrist has attempted. But how? In that he has been so bold as to prescribe and impose a worship besides, and without reverence of that which God has prescribed and imposed: For to do this, is, to make one’s self a God. ‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them’: For he that thus doth, is an idolater; and he that these things doth impose, is one that shews himself a God. But this doth Antichrist do: And ‘tis worth the noting, That God forbids not only images, but the likeness of anything; books, altars, fancies, imaginations, or anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, to bow down to, or to make them a means to worship or come to God by, if he has not commanded nor tolerated them in his holy word. Thus saith the Lord: And, I am the Lord, is the stamp, the seal, and sign of all true rules of worship; and therefore it is so often repeated both in Moses, and in the prophets, where God commandeth worship to be performed, and imposeth the means and methods of it. Now this, Thus saith the Lord, Antichrist has rejected; and I am the Lord, he hath assumed to himself: and therefore without the law, the word and commandment, hath framed and imposed a worship, exalting himself in the temple of God, although he is but the man of sin, above all that is called God, or that is worshiped. Nor is he in this his so foul a fact, without them that adore, worship his image, and wonder after him; yea, he hath got by this means almost the whole world to himself, who say, ‘Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’ (Rev 13:4). And that they might shew their resolvedness to stand by him, they receive his mark in their forehead, or in their hand; His mark; that is, they either openly or seriously become his disciples, and worship him according to the rules, methods, and ways that he hath prescribed. Wherefore, these with him, are also to drink of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God: ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb’ (Rev 14:9, 10). But, I say, for that Antichrist hath thus taken the place of God, prescribed and imposed a worship as a God, got the world to worship and wonder after him as after a God. Therefore shall he die the death of the uncircumcised, both in the soul, spirit, body, or flesh of Antichrist; therefore will God enlighten, and gather, and set the kings and nations against him, that both he and his may be buried, and have their dolesome withdrawing-rooms from the world in the sides of the pit’s mouth.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 74–75). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Second Cause Second Cause Secondly, Antichrist must be destroyed, because he hath set himself against the Son of God; against the Father, and against the Son. He had a spite against the Son betimes, even then when he came forth but in little bits, when he attempted to deny that he was come in the flesh (1 John 4:1–4). But seeing he could make no earnings of that, he hath changed his methods, and seeks to run him out and down by other means and ways: because therefore he hath set himself against the Son of God, the king, therefore he must die. That he hath set himself against the Son of God, is also evident; for he hath his name from thence: He is therefore called Antichrist. That he hath set himself against him, is yet further evident; for that he hath endeavored to take from him his headship over, and his offices for and in the church, which is his body. He hath plainly endeavored to be head, for that he hath striven to take his wife from him, and to cause that she should be called HIS: Yea, he hath endeavored by all inventions to prostrate her to his lusts, to deflower her, and to maker her an adulteress. He has been worse than Pharaoh, who took Abraham’s wife (Gen 12); and worse than Abimelech, who lusted after Isaac’s (Gen 26): Yea, worse than Phalti, who run away with David’s (1 Sam 25:44); forasmuch as she is higher, beloved better, and cost more than did any of these. Would it not be counted an high affront, for a base inferior fellow, to call himself the head of the queen? Yet thus has Antichrist done, and worse; he has called himself the head of the universal church of God. And as he has attempted to be head in his stead, so to be king, priest, and prophet. [1.] He has attempted to wrest his scepter and kingdom from him, in that he hath endeavored to thrust himself into his throne, which is the heart and conscience of his people. The heart and conscience is that which Christ claimeth for his own proper and peculiar seat: ‘My son, give me thy heart.’ ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’ (Eph 3:17). In this therefore the church is not to be for another man, so will he be for her; but this throne Antichrist has lusted for, attempted to take, and made war with Christ and his church, because they would not yield up to him this glorious throne of his, and therefore he must die. [2.] He hath intruded upon the priestly office of Christ, hath called himself high-priest; though the Lord hath said, ‘Because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children’ (Hosea 4:6). But he will make himself a priest; he hath invented sacrifices for the quick and the dead: he hath put, as he presumes, merit and worth into these sacrifices; he hath commanded that those that worship, should have faith in, and expect benefit by these sacrifices, although he offereth to his God nought else but the flesh of the hog, and of the mouse, with the broth of his abominable things (Isa 66:17). Many and sundry ways he hath set himself up to be high-priest, though God knows no high-priest but one, though the church ought to know no high-priest but one; yea, though no high-priest but one can approach God’s mercy-seat, to do for us the necessary and desired work. [3.] He hath intruded upon the prophetical office of Jesus Christ. What else means his pretenses to infallibility?16 And that too when he imposes unwritten verities, abominable traditions, blasphemous rites and ceremonies; and forbids or dispenseth with the holy commands of God: Yea, when he enforceth these his Omrian statutes, and doth impose the works of the house of Ahab (Micah 6:16), he doth all in the name of the Lord Christ, when himself hath set himself in his place, and in his room. This is mystery Babylon, the mystery of iniquity: This is Antichrist’s soul and body, and as such, must be destroyed. But, 16 Lord, what is man, to pretend to infallibility! His heart, be he pope or pagan, is ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.’ Pope Sixtus V in 1589 issued his infallible Bible; but the edition of Clement VIII, in 1592, differs much from that of 1589. Infallibles ought never to differ with each other; but how often it has happened.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 75–76). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Third Cause Third Cause Thirdly, Antichrist must be destroyed, because he hath blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, and so set himself above the Father, the Son, the Spirit; against ALL that is called God. The Holy Ghost is that Spirit of truth that Christ has promised to give unto his church, to help her in the understanding of his holy word, and to enable her to believe, and walk humbly and holily before God and man. The spirit of Antichrist is that spirit of error that hath puffed up the false church into a conceit of herself, and unscriptural worship; and that hath made this false church, which is his body, to ascribe all the horrible things and acts thereof, to the wisdom, guidance, directions or operations of the Holy Ghost: As, 1. In all her unscriptural councils, assemblies and convocations, they blasphemously father what they do upon the Holy Ghost, and make him the inventor and approver thereof. 2. She also blasphemeth the Holy Ghost, in accusing and condemning the holy scriptures of insufficiency, for that she saith, though it is a rule, yet but an imperfect one; one deficient, one that is not able to make the man of God perfect in all things, without the traditions, inventions, and blasphemous helps of antichristian wisdom. 3. She hath also blasphemed the Holy Ghost, in that she hath set up her own church-government, offices, officers and discipline: None of all which is the church of Christ directed to by the wisdom of the Spirit of God in his testament. 4. She hath also sinned against the Holy Ghost, in that she hath, as it were, turned the Holy Ghost out of doors, in concluding that he, without the works of the flesh, is not sufficient to govern the hearts of worshippers, in the service and worship of God. 5. She hath also thus sinned, in that she hath wrought many lying miracles in the face of the world, and imposed them upon her disciples for the confirming of her errors and blasphemous opinions, to the confronting of the true miracles wrought by the Holy Ghost; and also to the concluding, that there was an insufficiency in those that were true, to confirm the truth, without the addition of hers; which she has wrought by the power of Satan, and the spirit of delusion, only to confirm her lies. 6. She hath sinned against the Holy Ghost, in that she hath, with Jeroboam the son of Nebat, striven against the judgments wherewith God hath punished her; to call her back from her wicked way; and persisted therein, to the effectual proving of herself to be the lewd woman (2 Kings 13:4–7, 23, 24). 7. She hath sinned, by laboring to hide all her wickedness, by lies, dissimulations, and filthy equivocations of her priests, friars, Jesuits, &c. I say, her laboring to hide the wickedness that she hath committed against kings, countries, nations, kingdoms and people. She hath hid these things by the means or persons made mention of before; as by the tail; for they indeed are the tail of the beast, that cover his most filthy parts: The prophet that speaketh lies, he is the tail (Isa 9:15). But,  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, p. 76). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Fourth Cause Fourth Cause Fourthly, Antichrist must be destroyed, for the horrid outrage, and villainous murders that she hath committed upon the bodies of the saints. For there is none, as to these things, for cruelty, to be compared with the church of Antichrist, and her followers: For upon whom hath not her cruelty been shewed; have they never so little stood in her way, though never so innocently and honestly by so doing, stood to the truth and verity of God? Yea, the promoting of her own superstition, idolatry, and blasphemous rites and ceremonies, have been so pursued by her, that she has waded through a sea of innocent blood for the accomplishment thereof. The poor church of God is a sensible bleeding witness of this, and so has been for hundreds of years together; witness the chronicles of all nations where she hath had to do; yea, and the sackcloth and ashes, and tears, and widows, and fatherless children, and their cries, of all which the holy word of God is a sufficient confirmation; ‘And in her,’ when God shall come to make inquisition for blood, ‘will be found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’ (Rev 18:24). And yet has she such a whore’s forehead, such a blindness in her judgment, and such an hard and obdurate heart, that it is not possible she should ever repent. Murders have been so natural to her, and in them her hand has been so exercised, that it is now become a custom, a trade, a pastime to her, to be either in the act, or laying some foundation for murders: Witness those plots, designs conspiracies, and frequent attempts that are, one or other of them, continually on foot in the world for the commission of murders. Nay, the text last mentioned seems to import, that blood is so natural to her, that she sticketh not at any condition, sex, age, or degree, so she may imbrue her hands in blood. In her was found the blood of saints and prophets, and of all other carnal, natural, ignorant, graceless men that have been slain upon the earth. It is she that sets kings and kingdoms at variance: It is she that sets parents and children at variance, by her abuse of the word of our Lord and Christ. And besides, is it not easy, if we do but consider those bloody massacres that have been committed by her hand, both in France, Ireland, Piedmont, and in several places besides, without wronging of her, to conclude, that the blood of thousands, that have not known their right hand from their left in religion, hath been shed, to quench, if it might have been, her insatiate thirst after blood. Therefore, for these things shall she be judged, as women that shed blood are judged; because she is an adulteress, and blood is in her hands (Eze 23:45). She hath been as a beast of prey: Nay, worse; for they do but kill and tear for the hunger of themselves, and of their whelps: but she, to satisfy her wanton and beastly lusts. ‘They have cast lots for my people; [saith God] and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink’ (Joel 3:3): and therefore must Antichrist be destroyed. Forbearance is no payment, God’s patience is not a sign that he forgetteth to take vengeance; but rather, that he waiteth till his own are come out of her, and until her iniquity is filled up: For then he will execute the judgment written, and will remember, as has been said, the Babylonians, and all their ways.17 17 These bloody massacres, to which Bunyan here alludes, were attended with atrocities at which nature shudders. In France, under a Bourbon and a Guise, the murder of hundreds of thousands of pious men and women, with helpless infants, threw down every barrier to the spread of infidelity, and a frightful reaction took place at the Revolution. In Ireland, under a Stuart and a Bourbon, still more frightful atrocities were perpetrated, and which were severely punished by Cromwell and his Roundheads. Under a second Stuart, awful wholesale murders were again committed, and punished by William III; and the voice of the blood that was shed by Antichrist, and the voices of people enslaved by prejudice, and vindictive, ferocious enmity—these voices cry for vengeance, and desolate that unhappy country.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 76–77). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Fifth Cause Fifth Cause Fifthly, Antichrist must be destroyed, because she hath put out of order, and confounded the rule and government that God has set up in the world. I say, she has put it out of order, and confounded it in all places where she rules; so that it cannot accomplish the design of him that ordained it, To wit, To be a terror to evil works, and a praise to them that do well. Wherefore we read, That those horns or kings where Mystery Babylon sitteth, are upon the heads of that beast that carrieth her, which beast is her protector. Magistracy is God’s ordinance, appointed for the good of society, and for the peace and safety of those that are good. But this Antichrist has, where she rules, put all out of order; and no wonder, for she has bepuddled the word of God; no wonder, then, I say, if the foundations of the world be out of course. ‘Tis she that hath turned the sword of the magistrate against those that keep God’s law: ‘Tis she that has made it the ruin of the good and virtuous, and a protection to the vile and base. Wherefore, when the Holy Ghost tells us, that the time is coming in which God will count with the bloody-minded, for the murders that they have committed; he in a manner doth quite excuse the magistrate, saying, ‘Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not: The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots. The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword, and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcasses; and there is no end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses’ (Nahum 3:1–3). But what is the cause of all this slaying, and the reason of this abundance of corpses? Why, it is because of the insatiable thirst of the bloody city after blood: and, ‘Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts’ (verse 4). But doth this bloody city spill this blood by herself simply, as she is the adulterated whore? No, this church has found out a trick; that is to say, to quarrel with Christ in his members; and to persuade the powers where she rules to set ensnaring laws to catch them, and to execute the same upon them. Thus when the synagogue of Satan, of old, had taken Christ, and accused him, they made Pontius Pilate to condemn and hang him. But God has begun to shew to some of the kings this wickedness, and has prevailed with them to PROTEST against her. And in the mean time, for those that are yet in the bed of love with her, the Holy Ghost doth, in the text last mentioned, and in Revelation 18:24 much excuse them for the blood that they have shed, and for the injuries that they have done to his people; because they have not done it of their mere inclinations, nor in the prosecution of their office, but through the whoredoms and witchcrafts of this well-favored harlot, who hath with false doctrines, false promises, and causeless curses, prevailed on them to do it. And they have done it, rather of fear than favor. Some indeed have more doted upon her beauty, and have more thoroughly been devoted to her service: But they also had not that aptness to do so of themselves, but have been forced to it by the power of her enchantments: Therefore, I say, the main guilt shall be laid at her door, for that she in chief has deserved it. ‘Son of man [says God] take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel.’ Why? Because their mother, the church, was at that time adulterated, and become a lioness, had lain down with the heathen, and so brought forth young lions, that is, rulers: ‘And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men’ (Eze 19:1–3). It learnt, It learnt: But of who but of its dam, or of the lioness to whom she had put it to learn to do such things? Therefore they are to be lamented and pitied, rather than condemned, and their mother made to bear the blame. Wherefore it follows, ‘She was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them. And now she is planted in the wilderness, (in the provinces of Babylon,) in a dry and thirsty ground. And fire is gone out of a rod of her branches, which hath devoured her fruit, so that he hath no strong rod to be a scepter to rule. This is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation’ (Eze 19:12–14).  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 77–78). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Sixth Cause Sixth Cause Sixthly, Antichrist must be destroyed, because of her exceeding covetousness. Religion, such as it is, is the thing pretended to: But the great things of this world, are the things really intended by her in all her seeming self-denials and devotions. And for this covetousness also it is that this destruction is to fall upon her: ‘Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, (to his church) that he may set his nest on high’ (Hab 2:9); (for he could not do the one, before he had obtained the other:) for then indeed they began to be high, when they had so inveigled Constantine, that he bestowed upon them much riches and honor; and then it was cried by an angel, and the cry was heard in the city, Constantinople! ‘Woe! woe! woe! this day is venom poured into the church of God!’ (as both my Lord Cobham and Mr. Fox witness in the book of Acts and Monuments).18 Nor has any generation since the world began, been so insatiably greedy of gain, as these poor people have been: They have got kingdoms, they have got crowns, they have got,—What have they not got? They have got everything but grace and pardon. Did I say before, that religion is their pretense? Doth not the whole course of their way declare it to their face? Every one of them, from the least even to the greatest, is given to covetousness, from the prophet even to the priest, every one dealeth falsely (Jer 6:13; 8:10): Money, money, as the peddlar cries,19 broken or whole, is the sinews of their religion: And it is for that they set kingdoms, crowns, principalities, places, preferments, sacraments, pardons, prayers, indulgences, liberty; yea, and souls and bodies of men, women and children, to sale. Yea, it is for this that they have invented so many places, offices, names, titles, orders, vows, &c. It is to get money, to rob countries, that they may make their nests on high. And indeed they have done it, to the amazement of all the world. They are clambered up above kings and princes, and emperors:20 They wear the triple-crown: They have made kings bow at their feet, and emperors, stand barefoot at their gates: They have kicked the crowns of princes from their heads, and set them on again with their toes.21 Thus their covetousness has set them high, even above the suns, moons and stars of this world: but to what end? That they may be cast down to hell. 18 In the first examination of Lord Cobham (Fox, vi p. 732, edit. 1632) the gallant knight was asked by his bitter persecutor, what he meant by ‘the venom shed over the church’; his reply was, ‘Your possession and lordships.’ For then cried an angel in the air—’Wo! Wo! Wo! this day is venom shed into the church of God.—Rome is the very nest of Antichrist—prelates, priests and monks are the body; and these pild [bald, but query, pillaging] friars are the tail, which covereth his most filthy part.’ How peaceful and blessed will be the church when ALL her ministers can glory with Paul, in Acts 20:33, 34.—Ed. 19 The principal cry of the traveling peddlars was for broken or light money, to exchange for their wares: now obsolete.—Ed. 20 Such has been the tendency of the antichristian church in all ages; witness the cases of the Emperor Henry IV, Henry II of England, and many others. The spirit and precept of Christianity, on the contrary, is, while fearing God, to honour the king; and that we be subject to principalities and powers, Titus 3:1; see also Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1–7.—Ed. 21 See Fox’s Martyr, folio, vol. i., last leaf.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 78–79). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Seventh Cause Seventh Cause Seventhly, Antichrist must be destroyed, because he standeth in the way of the setting up of the kingdom of Christ in the world. Many princes were in Edom before there was a king in Israel; and Christ has suffered Antichrist to set up before him. And he standeth in his way, and has so overspread the world in all places, with that which is directly contrary to him, that he cannot set up his kingdom, until that which is Antichrist’s is tumbled down to the ground; even as a man whose ground is full of thorns, and briars, and weeds, cannot sow in expectation of a crop, until he hath removed them. And these seeds has Antichrist sown where the kingdom of Christ should stand: ‘Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briars; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens forever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks, [this is to happen to the church of God,] Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest’ (Isa 32:13–15). And the antichristian synagogue be turned into a wilderness. When God came from Egypt with his people, to set up his kingdom in Canaan, he cast out the heathen before them in order thereunto; ‘Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it’ (Psa 80:8). Wherefore, Antichrist must be removed and destroyed for this: For Antichrist is in flat opposition to Christ, as Tibni was to Omri (1 Kings 16:21, 22): Wherefore Antichrist must die. The reason is, because Christ’s kingdom shall be peaceable, without molestation; and glorious, without the fumes and fogs of antichristian darkness: Because also, as the world hath seen the manner of the reign of Antichrist, and how tyrannical and outrageous a kingdom his is: so they shall see the reign of Christ, by his word and spirit in his people, how peaceable, how fruitful in blessedness and prosperity his kingdom is. And hence it is that God purposeth to bury Antichrist, before he sets ‘glory in the land of the living’ (Eze 26:20, 21). As also you read in the book of Revelations; for there you find the kingdom of Antichrist was destroyed before the new Jerusalem was set up. When men intend to build a new house, if in the place where the old one stood, they first pull down the old one, raze the foundation, and then they begin their new. Now God, as I said, will have his primitive church-state set up in this world, (even where Antichrist has set up his;) wherefore, in order to this, Antichrist must be pulled down, down stick and stone; and then they that live to see it, will behold the new Jerusalem come down from heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband. New wine is not put into old bottles, nor a new piece into an old garment; nor shall any of the old anti-scriptural ordinances, ceremonies, rites, or vessels of the man of sin, be made use of, or accounted anything worth, in this day of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. And thus I have shewed you something of Antichrist, of his ruin, and of the manner and signs of the approach thereof; together with the means and causes of his ruin. All which I leave to the judgment of the godly, and beg their instruction where they see me to be out; and shall conclude, after a short word of application. First, Must Antichrist be destroyed? Then this informs us, that a time is coming wherein there shall be no Antichrist to afflict God’s church any more. ‘Tis Antichrist, antichristians, and antichristianism, that is the cause of the troubles of Christians, for being Christians. And therefore ‘tis from the consideration of this that it is said, men ‘shall beat their swords into plough-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks,’ and that they ‘shall learn war no more’ (Isa 2:4): Yea it is from the consideration of this, that it is said the child shall play with venomous and destroying beasts, and that a little child shall lead the wolf, the leopard, and the young lion, and that the weaned child shall put his hand into the cockatrice’s den, and catch no hurt thereby (Isa 11:6–9). For as was said before, ‘tis through the instigation of this spirit of error, that the governors of the world have heretofore done hurt to Zion, and I say now again, all things shall turn to their right course, and occupy their places, as do the bodies in the higher orbs. Secondly, Is Antichrist to be destroyed, and must she have an end? Then this gives us to understand, that a day is coming when Antichrist shall be unknown, not seen, nor felt by the church of God. There are men to be born who shall not know Antichrist, but as they read in the word that such a thing has been. These shall talk of her, as Israel’s childrens’ children were to talk of Pharaoh, of his cruelty; of his tasks, of his pride, of the Red Sea, and how he was drowned there: They shall talk of them, as of those that have been long dead; as of those who for their horrible wickedness, are laid in the pit’s mouth. This will be some of that sweet chat that the saints shall, at their spare hours, have in time to come. When God has pulled this dragon out of the sea, this leviathan out of his river, and cast his dead carcass upon the open field, then shall those whose ancestors have been put into terrors by him, come flocking to see the monster; and shall rejoice for all the mercy. In that day, the church of God shall say, ‘O Lord I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me.—In that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people,’ &c. (Isa 12:1, 4). O how sweetly did David, and the church in his day, sing of the ruins of the Egyptians, and the deliverances of their fathers, which had been in times of old! (Psa 68). to wit, what God did in Egypt, what he did at the Red Sea; what he did to Sihon, to Og, and to the remnant of the giants: How he divided the waters of Jordan, and gave the land of Canaan in its fruitfulness among his people (Psa 105): How that though Pharaoh and his horsemen and chariots were terrible then, yet now there is nothing left but their souls, their feet, and the palms of their hands; nothing but that which can do no hurt; nothing but what may minister an occasion of joyful remembrance of them (Psa 106; 132). Thirdly, Is Antichrist to be destroyed? Then this calls aloud to God’s people to make haste to come out of her. ‘Ho, ho,’ says the prophet: He cries out as if the people were asleep: ‘Come forth, and flee from the land of the north’ (Zech 2:6). The people of God in the latter days will want a heart to come out of her, with that fear of her plagues as they should: Wherefore another says, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues’ (Rev 18:4). When Israel was carried into Babylon, ‘twas not that they should dwell there forever: Though they were bid to build them houses, and beget them children there. But when they had built, planted vineyards, and got wives and children there, ‘twas hard getting them from thence again: For now they were as it were naturalized to the country, and to the manners of it (Jer 29:4–7). But God will have them out, (but they must not think to carry thence their houses and vineyards on their backs,) or he will destroy them with those destructions wherewith he hath threatened to destroy Babylon itself. Flesh will hang behind, because it favoureth the things of the flesh, plenty of which there is in that country: But they that will live after the flesh must die. ‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,—and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty’ (2 Cor 6:17, 18). But why (some may say) must we come out? I answer, because God has temple-work to do, temple-worship to do, temple-sacrifices to offer, and none of these things can by any means be done, but at Jerusalem. But if you still object and say, ‘The Lord has raised us up prophets in Babylon,’ and we will not come out; you must not murmur if you feel what is to follow. And that such may know upon what bottom they stand, let them read the 29th chapter of Jeremiah 15–19. Fourthly, Must Antichrist be destroyed? Then what mean they, who were to appearance once come out, but now are going thither again? If it cost Lot’s wife dear for but looking back, shall not it cost them much dearer, that are going back, that are gone back again? and that, AFTER the angel had fled through the midst of heaven, preaching the gospel to those that dwell on the earth? (Rev 14:6–10). They that received the mark of the beast at first, before this angel came forth, are when compared with these, excusable (Rev 13:16, 17): Wherefore, they are not threatened with that smoking wrath, as are these which are here under consideration. You dread, that which is like to become of them that will be so mad to run into an house, when fire is putting to the gunpowder barrel, in order to its blowing up: Why thus do they, let their pretended cause be what it will, that are returning again to Babel. Are her plagues pleasant or easy to be borne? Or dost thou think that God is at play with thee, and that he threateneth but in jest? Her plagues are death, and mourning, and famine, and fire (Rev 18:8); are these things to be overlooked? And they that, as before is hinted, shall receive the mark of the beast in their forehead, or in their hand, and shall worship him, they, ‘the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God’ (Rev 14:10): And will this be a delightsome draught? Remember how ill God took it, that his people of old, in their hearts, though but in their hearts, went back again into Egypt. You may say, but I have friends, relations, and concerns in Babylon. And, I answer, so had Lot in Sodom (Gen 19:14–16); but for all that, he must either quickly come out, or run the hazard of being burned there with them. But methinks, a people that belong to God, should be willing to leave all to follow him: Besides, his presence is promised at Jerusalem, there also will he accept thy offerings. Fifthly, Is Antichrist to be destroyed? Then let them that love God, his Son, and his Zion, cry to God, that it may be hastened in its time. One of the songs of Zion is, that Babylon shall be destroyed. The cries of the souls of them that were slain for the witness of Jesus is, that Babylon may be counted with, and that their blood may be revenged upon her. The promise is, that Babylon shall be destroyed: And do we hold our tongues? The church of God will not flourish as it should, until Babylon is destroyed: The world will never be in its right wits, until Babylon is destroyed: The kingdom of Christ will never be set up, in and by his church, as it ought, and shall, until Antichrist is destroyed: There will never be peace upon earth till Antichrist is destroyed: And God has promised that there shall be peace and truth, and glory, when Babylon is destroyed: And do we hold our peace? Besides, your innocency in suffering; your honesty towards God, in your testimony for his truth; the substantial ground which you have for the bottom of your faith, as to things controverted betwixt Antichrist and you, will never be manifested as it will then; and so consequently, you never so brought out to the light, and your enemies never so put to shame as then. ‘Then shame shall cover her that said unto thee, Where is the Lord thy God?’ Wherefore, as I said, cry unto the Lord, keep not silence, give him no rest, let him not alone, until he has delivered his miserable people out of the mouth of this lion, and from the paw of this bear. Sixthly, Is Antichrist to be destroyed? Then let us live in the expectation of it; and let this be one of our songs in the house of our pilgrimage. God bids his people, while in Babylon, to let Jerusalem come into their mind (Jer 51:50), and writes to them that then were in her, to acquaint them that he remembered them still, and would assuredly deliver them from that place and state. And wherefore doth he thus, but to beget an expectation in them of their salvation and deliverance? (Jer 29:13, 14). The Lord is so pleased with the faith and expectation of his people, as to this, that they seldom are herein concerned as they should, but he steps in with them, and warms their hearts. The reason is, because the faith of God’s people, as to the downfall of Babylon, stands upon as sure a foundation as doth the salvation of their souls; and that next to that, God is as much delighted in what he has purposed to do against Babylon, as in anything else in the earth: And therefore, if you consider it well, the great and glorious promises that are to be fulfilled on earth, are to be fulfilled when Antichrist is dead and buried: These bits are too good even for his children to have, so long as this dog is by, lest he should snatch at the crumbs thereof; wherefore they are reserved until he is gone: For thus saith the Lord, ‘That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word towards you, in causing you to return to this place: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.’ This is in Jeremiah the 29th chapter, verses 10, 11 and in the 31st chapter he adds, ‘Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and of the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord’ (verse 12–14). Again, in the 32nd chapter, still speaking of the same thing, he saith, ‘Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul’ (verse 41). I conclude this with that which I find in the 33rd chapter: ‘And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble, for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it’ (verse 8, 9). Seventhly, Must Antichrist be destroyed? Then this should make us glad, when we see the signs of his fall presenting themselves to our view. Indeed, the signs of his fall, or those that forerun it, are terrible, and amazing to behold. But what of that, since the wrinkles that are in their faces threaten not us but them? A man is angry, and will punish; yea, and whets his sword, makes his rod, and he speaks not a word, but blood, blood, is in it. Indeed, this should make them that are concerned in this anger, be afraid; (but the judgment is, they are fast asleep,) but what is in all this of terror to them, for the pleading whose cause he is so angry with the other? Nothing whereat the innocent should be afraid. Cold blasts in November are not received with that gentleness as are colder in March and April; for that these last cold ones are but the farewell notes of a piercing winter; they also bring with them the signs and tokens of a comfortable summer. Why, the church is now at the rising of the year; let then the blasts at present, or to come, be what they will, Antichrist is assuredly drawing towards his downfall: And though the devil, knowing what is to be done to him, and to his kingdom, shall so blind his disciples, and fright the godly, do something like it upon the church of Christ; yet we should look through these paper-winkers,22 and espy in all this, that fear, yea, certain terrible judgments are following of him at the heels, by which not only the soul, spirit, and life of Antichrist, but the body thereof; yea, body, and soul, and head, are quickly to go down thither; from whence they, as such, shall not arise again. Amen. 22 ‘Paper-winkers,’ in every edition, except the first, which was from the author’s manuscript, has been altered to ‘paper-windows.’ Bunyan’s allusion is to the winkers, called by many ‘blinkers,’ put by the side of a horse’s eyes, to keep him under the complete control of his driver—and by ‘paper-winkers’ the flimsy attempt of Antichrist to hoodwink mankind by printed legends, miracles, and absurd assumptions—it is one of the almost innumerable sparks of wit, which render all the writings of Bunyan so entertaining and strikingly instructive.—Ed.  Bunyan, J. (2006). Antichrist and his Ruin (Vol. 2, pp. 79–82). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain) Related The Potter and the Clay The Potter and the Clay Jer. 18:1–6 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, be wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that be made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter, so be made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? faith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand so are ye in mine bandy O house of Israel. AT sundry times, and in divers manners, God was pleased to speak to our fathers by the prophets, before he spoke to us in these last days by his Son. To Elijah, he revealed himself by a small still voice. To Jacob, by a dream. To Moses, he spake face to face. Sometimes he was pleased to fend a favourite prophet on some especial errand; and whilst he was thus employed, vouchsafed to give him a particular message, which he was ordered to deliver without reserve to all the inhabitants of the land. A very instructive instance of this kind we have recorded in the passage now read to you. The first verse informs us that it was a word, or message, which came immediately from the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah. At what time, or how the prophet was employed when it came, we are not told. Perhaps, whilst he was praying for those who would not pray for themselves: Perhaps, near the morning, when he was slumbering or musing on his bed. For the word came to him, saying, "Arise." And what must he do when risen? He must "go down to the potter’s house" (the prophet knew where to find it) "and there (says the great Jehovah) I will cause thee to hear my words." Jeremiah does not confer with flesh and blood, he does not object that it was dark or cold, or desire that he might have his message given him there, but without the least hesitation is immediately obedient to the heavenly vision. "Then (says he) I went down to the potter’s house, and behold he wrought a work upon the wheels." Just as he was entering into the house or workshop, the potter, it seems, had a vessel upon his wheel. And was there any thing so extraordinary in this, that it should be ushered in with the word Behold? What a dreaming visionary, or superstitious enthusiast, would this Jeremiah be accounted, even by many who read his prophecies with seeming respect, was he alive now? But this was not the first time Jeremiah had heard from heaven in this manner. He therefore willingly obeyed; and had you or I accompanied him to the potter’s house, I believe we should have seen him silently, but intensely waiting upon his great and all-wife Commander, to know wherefore he sent him thither. Methinks I see him all attention. He takes notice, that "the vessel was of clay;" but as he held it in his hand, and turned round the wheel, in order to work it into some particular form, "it was marred in the hands of the potter," and consequently unfit for the use he before intended to put it to. And what becomes of this marred vessel? Being thus marred, I suppose, the potter, without the least imputation of injustice, might have thrown it aside, and taken up another piece of clay in its room. But he did not. "He made it again another vessel." And does the potter call a council of his domestics, to enquire of them what kind of vessel they would advise him to make of it? No, in no wise "He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." "Then," adds Jeremiah, whilst he was in the way of duty—then—whilst he was mentally crying, Lord what wouldst thou have me to do? "Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? faith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the hands of the potter (marred, and unfit for the first designed purpose) so are ye in O house of Israel." At length, then, Jeremiah hath his sermon given to him: short, but popular. It was to be delivered to the whole house of Israel, princes, priests, and people: short, but pungent, even sharper than a two-edged sword. What! says the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth, must I be denied the privilege of a common potter? May I not do what I will with my own? "Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hands, so are ye in mine hands, O house of Israel. I made and formed you into a people, and blessed you above any other nation under heaven: but, O Israel, thou by thy backslidings hast destroyed thyself. As the potter therefore might justly have thrown aside his marred clay, so may I justly unchurch and unpeople you. But what if I should come over the mountains of your guilt, heal your backslidings, revive my work in the midst of the years, and cause your latter end greatly to increase? Behold, as the clay is in the hands of the potter, lying at his disposal, either to be destroyed or formed into another vessel, so are ye in my hands, O house of Israel: I may either reject, and thereby ruin you, or I may revisit and revive you according to my own sovereign good will and pleasure, and who shall say unto me, what dost thou?" This seems to be the genuine interpretation, and primary intention of this beautiful part of holy writ. But waving all further enquiries about its primary design or meaning, I shall now proceed to shew, that what the glorious Jehovah here says of the house of Israel in general, is applicable to every individual of mankind in particular. And as I presume this may be done, without either wire-drawing scripture on the one hand, or wresting it from its original meaning on the other, not to detain you any longer, I shall, from the passage thus explained and paraphrased, deduce, and endeavour to enlarge on these two general heads. First, I shall undertake to prove, that every man naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, is in the sight of the all-seeing, heart-searching God, only as a "piece of marred clay." Secondly, That being thus marred, he must necessarily be renewed: and under this head, we shall likewise point out by whose agency this mighty change is to be brought about. These particulars being discussed, way will naturally be made for a short word of application. First, To prove that every man naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, is in the sight of an all-seeing, heart searching God, only as a piece of marred clay. Be pleased to observe, that we say every man naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam, or every man since the fall: for if we consider man as he first came out of the hands of his Maker, he was far from being in such melancholy circumstances, No: he was originally made upright; or as Moses, that sacred penman, declares, "God made him after his own image." Surely never was so much expressed in so sew words; which hath often made me wonder how that great critic Longinus, who so justly admires the dignity and grandeur of Moses’s account of the creation, and "God said, Let there be light, and there was light;" I say I have often wondered why he did not read a little further, and bestow as just an encomium upon this short, but withal inexpressibly august and comprehensive description of the formation of man, "so God created man in his own image." Struck with a deep sense of such amazing goodness, and that he might impress yet a deeper sense of it upon our minds too, he immediately adds, "in the image of God made he him." A council of the most adorable Trinity was called on this important occasion: God did not say, Let there be a man, and there was a man, but God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." This is the account which the lively oracles of God do give us of man in his first estate: but it is very remarkable, that the transition from the account of his creation to that of his misery, is very quick, and why? For a very good reason, because he soon fell from his primeval dignity; and by that fall, the divine image is so defaced, that he is now to be valued only as antiquarians value an ancient medal, merely for the sake of the image and superscription once stamped upon it; or of a second divine impress, which, through grace, it may yet receive. Let us take a more particular survey of him, and see whether these things are so or not: and first, as to his understanding. As man was created originally "after God in knowledge," as well as righteousness and true holiness, we may rationally infer, that his understanding, in respect to things natural, as well as divine, was of a prodigious extent: for he was made but a little lower than the angels, and consequently being like them, excellent in his understanding, he knew much of God, of himself, and all about him; and in this as well as every other respect, was, as Mr. Collier expresses it in one of his essays, a perfect major: but this is far from being our case now. For in respect to natural things, our understandings are evidently darkened. It is but little that we can know, and even that little knowledge which we can acquire, is with much weariness of the flesh, and we are doomed to gain it as we do our daily bread, I mean by the sweat of our brows. Men of low and narrow minds soon commence wise in their own conceits: and having acquired a little smattering of the learned languages, and made some small proficiency in the dry sciences, are easily tempted to look upon themselves as a head taller than their fellow mortals, and accordingly too, too often put forth great swelling words of vanity. But persons of a more exalted, and extensive reach of thought, dare not boast. No: they know that the greatest scholars are in the dark, in respect to many even of the minutest things in life: and after all their painful researches into the Arcanæ Naturæ, they find such an immense void, such an unmeasurable expense yet to be travelled over, that they are obliged at last to conclude, almost with respect to every thing, "that they know nothing yet as they ought to know." This consideration, no doubt, led Socrates, when he was asked by one of his scholars, why the oracle pronounced him the wisest man on earth, to give him this judicious answer, "Perhaps it is, because I am most sensible of my own ignorance." Would to God, that all who call themselves christians, had learnt so much as this heathen! We should then no longer hear so many learned men, falsely so called, betray their ignorance by boasting of the extent of their shallow understanding, nor by prosessing themselves so wife, prove themselves such arrant pedantic fools. If we view our understandings in respect to spiritual things, we shall find that they are not only darkened, but become darkness itself, even "darkness that may be felt" by all who are not past feeling. And how should it be otherwise, since the infallible word of God assures us, that they are alienated from the light and life of God, and thereby naturally as incapable to judge of divine and spiritual things, comparatively speaking, as a man born blind is incapacitated to distinguish the various colours of the rainbow. "The natural man, (says an inspired apostle) discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God;" so far from it, "they are foolishness unto him;" and why? Because they are only to be "spiritually discerned." Hence it was, that Nicodemus, who was blessed with an outward and divine revelation, who was a ruler of the Jews, nay a master of Israel, when our Lord told him, "he must be born again;" appeared to be quite grappled. "How (says he) can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? how can these things be?" Were three more absurd questions ever proposed by the most ignorant man alive? or can there be a clearer proof of the blindness of man’s understanding, in respect to divine, as well as natural things? Is not man then a piece of marred clay? This will appear yet more evident, if we consider the perverse bent of his will. Being made in the very image of God; undoubtedly before the fall, man had no other will but his Maker’s. God’s will, and Adam’s, were then like unisons in music. There was not the least disunion, or discord between them. But now he hath a will, as directly contrary to the will of God, as light is contrary to darkness, or heaven to hell. We all bring into the world with us a carnal mind, which is not only an enemy to God, but "enmity itself, and which is therefore not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can it be." A great many shew much zeal in talking against the man of sin, and loudly (and indeed very justly) exclaim against the Pope for sitting in the temple, I mean the church of Christ, and "exalting himself above all that is called God." But say not within thyself, who shall go to Rome, to pull down this spiritual antichrist? as though there was no antichrist but what is without us. For know, O man, whoever thou art, an infinitely more dangerous antichrist, because less discerned, even self-will, sits daily in the temple of thy heart, exalting itself above all that is called God, and obliging all its votaries to say of Christ himself, that Prince of peace, "we will not have this man to reign over us." God’s people, whose spiritual senses are exercised about spiritual things, and whose eyes are opened to see the abominations that are in their hearts, frequently feel this to their sorrow. Whether they will or not, this enmity from time to time bubbles up, and in spight of all their watchfulness and care, when they are under the pressure of some sharp affliction, a long desertion, or tedious night of temptation, they often find something within rising in rebellion against the all-wise disposals of divine Providence, and saying unto God their heavenly Father, "what dost thou?" This makes them to cry (and no wonder, since it constrained one of the greatest saints and apostles first to introduce the expression) "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" The spiritual and renewed soul groans thus, being burdened; but as for the natural and unawakened man, it is not so with him; self-will, as well as every other evil, either in a more latent or discernable manner, reigns in his unrenewed soul, and proves him, even to a demonstration to others, whether he knows, or will confess it himself or not, that in respect to the disorders of his will, as well as his understanding, man is only a piece of marred clay. A transient view of fallen man’s affections will yet more firmly corroborate this melancholy truth. These, at his being first placed in the paradise of God, were always kept within proper bounds, fixed upon their proper objects, and, like so many gentle rivers, sweetly, spontaneously and habitually glided into their ocean, God. But now the scene is changed. For we are now naturally full of vile affections, which like a mighty and impetuous torrent carry all before them. We love what we should hate, and hate what we should love; we fear what we should hope for, and hope for what we should fear; nay, to such an ungovernable height do our affections sometimes rise, that though our judgments are convinced to the contrary, yet we will gratify our passions though it be at the expence of our present and eternal welfare. We feel a war of our affections, warring against the law of our minds, and bringing us into captivity to the law of sin and death. So that video mcliora proboque, deteriora sequor, I approve of better things but follow worse, it too, too often the practice of us all. I am sensible, that many are offended, when mankind are compared to beasts and devils. And they might have some shadow of reason for being so, if we asserted in a physical sense, that they were really beasts and really devils. For then, as I once heard a very learned prelate, who was objecting against this comparison, observe, "a man being a beast would be incapable, and being a devil, would be under an impossibility of being saved." But when we make use of such shocking comparisons, as he was pleased to term them, we would be understood only in a moral sense; and in so doing, we assert no more than some of the most holy men of God have said of themselves, and others, in the lively oracles many ages ago. Holy David, the man after God’s own heart, speaking of himself, says, "so foolish was I, and as a beast before thee." And holy Job, speaking of man in general, says, that "he is born as a wild ass’s colt," or take away the expletive, which as some think ought to be done, and then he positively asserts, that man is a wild ass’s colt. And what says our Lord, "Ye are of your father the devil;" and "the whole world is said to lie in him, the wicked one, who now rules in the children of disobedience," that is, in all unrenewed souls. Our stupidity, proneness to fix our affections on the things of the earth, and our eagerness to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, evidence us to be earthly and brutal; and our mental passions, anger, hatred, malice, envy, and such like, prove with equal strength, that we are also devilish. Both together conspire to evince, that in respect to his affections, as well as his understanding and will, man deservedly may be termed a piece of marred clay. The present blindness of natural conscience makes this appear in a yet more glaring light; in the soul of the first man Adam, conscience was no doubt the candle of the Lord, and enabled him rightly and instantaneously to discern between good and evil, right and wrong. And, blessed be God! some remains of this are yet left; but alas, how dimly does it burn, and how easily and quickly is it covered, or put out and extinguished. I need not send you to the heathen world, to learn the truth of this; you all know it by experience. Was there no other evidence, your own conscience are instead of a thousand witnesses, that man, as to his natural conscience, as well as understanding, will and affections, is much marred clay. Nor does that great and boasted Diana, I mean unassisted unenlightened reason, less demonstrate the justness of such an assertion. Far be it from me to decry or exclaim against human reason. Christ himself is called the "Logos, the Reason;" and I believe it would not require much learning, or take up much time to prove, that so far and no farther than as we act agreeably to the laws of Christ Jesus, are we any way conformable to the laws of right reason. His service is therefore called "a reasonable service." And however his servants and followers may now be looked upon as fools and madmen; yet these will come a time, when those who despise and set themselves to oppose divine revelation, will find, that what they now call reason is only reason depraved, and as utterly incapable, of itself, to guide us into the way of peace, or shew the way of salvation, as the men of Sodom were to find Lot’s door after they were struck with blindness by the angels, who came to lead him out of the city. The horrid and dreadful mistakes, which the most refined reasoners in the heathen world ran into, both as to the object, as well as manner of divine worship, have sufficiently demonstrated the weakness and depravity of human reason: nor do our modern boasters afford us any better proofs of the greatness of its strength, since the best improvement they generally make of it, is only to reason themselves into downright wilful infidelity, and thereby reason themselves out of eternal salvation. Need we now any further witness, that man, fallen man, is altogether a piece of marred clay? But this is not all, we have yet more evidence to call; for do the blindness of our understandings, the perverseness of our will, the rebellion of our affections, the corruption of our consciences, the depravity of our reason prove this charge; and does not the present disordered frame and constitution of our bodies confirm the same also? Doubtless in this respect, man, in the most literal sense of the word, is a piece of marred clay. For God originally made him of the "dust of the earth." So that notwithstanding our boasting of our high pedigrees, and different descent, we were all originally upon a level, and a little red earth was the common substratum out of which we were all formed. Clay indeed it was, but clay wonderfully modified, even by the immediate hands of the Creator of heaven and earth. One therefore hath observed, that it is said "God built the man;" he did not form him rashly or hastily, but built and finished him according to the plan before laid down in his own eternal mind. And though, as the great God is without body, parts, or passions, we cannot suppose when it is said "God made man after his own image," that it has any reference to his body, yet I cannot help thinking (with Doctor South) that as the eternal Logos was hereafter to appear, God manifest in the flesh, infinite wisdom was undoubtedly exerted in forming a casket into which so invaluable a pearl was in the fulness of time to be deposited. Some of the ancients are said to have asserted, that man at the first, had what we call a glory shining round him; but without attempting to be wise above what is written, we may venture to affirm, that he had a glorious body, which knowing no sin, knew neither sickness nor pain. But now on this, as well as other accounts, he may justly be called Ichabod; for its primitive strength and glory are sadly departed from it, and like the ruins of some ancient and stately fabric, only so much left as to give us some faint idea of what it was when it first appeared in its original and perfect beauty. The apostle Paul, therefore, who knew how to call things by their proper names, as well as any man living, does not scruple to term the human body, though in its original constitution fearfully and wonderfully made, a "vile body;" vile indeed! since it is subject to such vile diseases, put to such vile, yea very vile uses, and at length is to come to so vile an end. "For dust we are, and to dust we must return." This among other considerations, we may well suppose, caused the blessed Jesus to weep at the grave of Lazarus. He wept, not only because his friend Lazarus was dead, but he wept to see human nature, through man’s own default, thus laid in ruins, by being subject unto such a dissolution, made like unto the beasts that perish. Let us here pause a while, and with our sympathizing Lord, see if we cannot shed a few silent tears at least, upon the same sorrowful occasion. Who, who is there amongst us, that upon such a melancholy review of man’s present, real, and most deplorable depravity both in body and soul, can refrain from weeping over such a piece of marred clay? Who, who can help adopting holy David’s lamentation over Saul and Jonathan? "How are the mighty fallen! How are they slain in their high places!" Originally it was not so. No, "God made man after his own image: in the image of God made he man." Never was there so much expressed in so few words. He was created after God in righteousness and true holiness. This is the account, which the sacred volume gives us of this interesting point. This, this is that blessed book, that book of books, from whence, together with an appeal to the experience of our own hearts, and the testimonies of all past ages, we have thought proper to fetch our proofs. For, after all, we must be obliged to divine revelation, to know what we were, what we are, and what we are to be. In these, as in a true glass, we may see our real and proper likeness. And from these only can we trace the source and fountain of all those innumerable evils, which like a deluge have overflowed the natural and moral world. If any should object against the authenticity of this revelation, and consequently against the doctrine this day drawn from thence, they do in my opinion thereby very much confirm it. For unless a man was very much disordered indeed, as to his understanding, will, affections, natural conscience, and his power of reasoning, he could never possibly deny such a revelation, which is founded on a multiplicity of infallible external evidences, hath so many internal evidences of a divine stamp in every page, is so suited to the common exigencies of all mankind, so agreeable to the experience of all men, and which hath been so wonderfully handed and preserved to us, hath been so instrumental to the convicting, converting, and comforting so many millions of souls, and hath stood the test of the most severe scrutinies, and exact criticisms of the most subtle and refined, as well as of the most malicious and persecuting enemies, that ever lived, even from the beginning of time to this very day. Persons of such a turn of mind, I think, are rather to be prayed for, than disputed with, if so be this perverse wickedness of their hearts may be forgiven them: "They are in the very gall of bitterness, and must have "their consciences seared as it were with a red-hot iron," and must have their eyes "blinded by the God of this world," otherwise they could not but see, and feel, and assent to the truth of this doctrine, of man’s being universally depraved; which not only in one or two, but in one or two thousands, in every page, I could almost say, is written, in such legible characters, that he that runs may read. Indeed, revelation itself is founded upon the doctrine of the fall. Had we kept our original integrity, the law of God would have yet been written in our hearts, and thereby the want of a divine revelation, at least such as ours, would have been superseded; but being fallen, instead of rising in rebellion against God, we ought to be filled with unspeakable thankfulness to our all bountiful Creator, who by a few lines in his own books hath discovered more to us, than all the philosophers and most learned men in the world could, or would, have discovered, though they had studied to all eternity. I am well aware, that some who pretend to own the validity of divine revelation, the notwithstanding enemies to the doctrine that hath this day been delivered; and would fain elude the force of the proofs generally urged in defence of it, by saying, they only bespeak the corruption of particular persons, or have reference only to the heathen world: but such persons err, not knowing their own hearts, or the power of Jesus Christ: for by nature there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, Greek or Barbarian, bond or free. We are altogether equally become abominable in God’s sight, all equally fallen short of the glory of God, and consequently all alike so many pieces of marred clay. How God came to suffer man to fall? how long man stood before he fell? and how the corruption contracted by the fall, is propagated to every individual of his species? are questions of such an abstruse and critical nature, that should I undertake to answer them, would be only gratifying a sinful curiosity, and tempting you, as Satan tempted our first parents, to eat forbidden fruit. It will much better answer the design of this present discourse, which is practical, to pass on II. To the next thing proposed, and point out to you the absolute necessity there is of this fallen nature’s being renewed. This I have had all along in my eye, and on account of this, have purposely been so explicit on the first general head: for has Archimedes once said, "Give me a place where I may fix my foot, and I will move the world;" so without the least imputation of arrogance, with which, perhaps, he was justly chargeable, we may venture to say, grant the foregoing doctrine to be true, and then deny the necessity of man’s being renewed who can. I suppose, I may take it for granted, that all of you amongst whom I am now preaching the kingdom of God, hope after death to go to a place which we call Heaven. And my heart’s desire and prayer to God for you is, that you all may have mansions prepared for you there. But give me leave to tell you, was you now to see these heavens opened, and the angel (to use the words of the seraphic Hervey) cloathed with all his heavenly drapery, with one foot upon the earth, and another upon the sea; nay, were you to see and hear the angel of the everlasting covenant, Jesus Christ himself, proclaiming "time shall be no more," and giving you all an invitation immediately to come to heaven; heaven would be no heaven to you, nay it would be a hell to your souls, unless you were first prepared for a proper enjoyment of it here on earth. "For what communion hath light with darkness?" Or what fellowship could unrenewed sons of Belial possibly keep up with the pure and immaculate Jesus? The generality of people form strange ideas of heaven. And because the scriptures, in condescension to the weakness of our capacities, describe it by images taken from earthly delights and human grandeur, therefore they are apt to carry their thoughts no higher, and at the best only form to themselves a kind of Mahometan paradise. But permit me to tell you, and God grant it may sink deep into your hearts! Heaven is rather a state than a place; and consequently, unless you are previously disposed by a suitable stats of mind, you could not be happy even in heaven itself. For what is grace but glory militant? What is glory but grace triumphant? This consideration made a pious author say, that "holiness, happiness, and heaven, were only three different words for one and the self-same thing." And this made the great Preston, when he was about to die, turn to his friends, saying, "I am changing my place, but not my company." He had conversed with God and good men on earth; he was going to keep up the same, and infinitely more refined communion with God, his holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, in heaven. To make us meet to be blissful partakers of such heavenly company, this "marred clay," I mean, these depraved natures of ours, must necessarily undergo an universal moral change: our understandings must be enlightened; our wills, reason, and consciences, must be renewed; our affections must be drawn toward, and fixed upon things above; and because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, this corruptible must put on incorruption, this mortal must put on immortality. And thus old things must literally pass away, and behold all things, even the body as well as the faculties of the soul, must become new. This moral change is what some call, repentance, some, conversion, some, regeneration; choose what name you please, I only pray God, that we all may have the thing. The scriptures call it holiness, sanctification, the new creature, and our Lord calls it a "New birth, or being born again, or born from above." These are not barely figurative expressions, or the slights of eastern language, nor do they barely denote a relative change of state conferred on all those who are admitted into Christ’s church by baptism; but they denote a real, moral change of heart and life, a real participation of the divine life in the soul of man. Some indeed content themselves with a figurative interpretation; but unless they are made to experience the power and efficacy thereof, by a solid living experience in their own souls, all their learning, all their laboured criticisms, will not exempt them from a real damnation. Christ hath said it, and Christ will stand, "Unless a man," learned or unlearned, high or low, though he be a master of Israel as Nicodemus was, unless he "be born again, he cannot see, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." If it be enquired, who is to be the potter? and by whoso agency this marred clay is to be formed into another vessel? Or in other words, if it be asked, how this great and mighty change is to be effected? I answer, not by the mere dint and force of moral suasion. This is good in its place. And I am so far from thinking, that christian preachers should not make use of rational arguments and motives in their sermons, that I cannot think they are fit to preach at all, who either cannot, or will not use them. We have the example of the great God himself for such a practice; "Come (says he) and let us reason together." And St. Paul, that prince of preachers, "reasoned of temperance, and righteousness, and a judgment to come." And it is remarkable, "that whilst he was reasoning of these things, Felix trembled." Nor are the most persuasive strains of holy rhetoric less needful for a scribe ready instructed to the kingdom of God. The scriptures both of the Old and New Testament, every where abound with them. And when can they be more properly employed, and brought forth, than when we are acting as ambassadors of heaven, and beseeching poor sinners, as in Christ’s stead, to be reconciled unto God. All this we readily grant. But at the same time, I would as soon go to yonder church-yard, and attempt to raise the dead carcases, with a "come forth," as to preach to dead souls, did I not hope for some superior power to make the word effectual to the designed end. I should only be like a founding brass for any saving purposes, or as a tinkling cymbal. Neither is this change to be wrought by the power of our own free-will. This is an idol every where set up, but we dare not fall down and worship it. "No man (says Christ) can come to me, unless the Father draw him." Our own free-will, if improved, may restrain us from the commission of many evils, and put us in the way of conversion; but, after exerting our utmost efforts (and we are bound in duty to exert them) we shall find the words of our own church article to be true, that "man since the fall hath no power to turn to God." No, we might as soon attempt to stop the ebbing and flowing of the tide, and calm the most tempestuous sea, as to imagine that we can subdue, or bring under proper regulations, our own unruly wills and affections by any strength inherent in ourselves. And therefore, that I may keep you no longer in suspence, I inform you, that this heavenly potter, this blessed agent, is the Almighty Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, the third person in the most adorable Trinity, coessential with the Father and the Son. This is that Spirit, which at the beginning of time moved on the face of the waters, when nature lay in one universal chaos. This was the Spirit that over shadowed the Holy Virgin, before that holy thing was born of her: and this same Spirit must come, and move upon the chaos of our souls, before we can properly be called the sons of God. This is what John the baptist calls "being baptized with the Holy Ghost," without which, his and all other baptisms, whether infant or adult, avail nothing. This is that fire, which our Lord came to send into our earthly hearts, and which I pray the Lord of all lords to kindle in every unrenewed one this day. As for the extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, such as working of miracles, or speaking with divers kinds of tongues, they are long since ceased. But as for this miracle of miracles, turning the soul to God by the more ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, this abides yet, and will abide till time itself shall be no more. For it is he that sanctifieth us, and all the elect people of God. On this account, true believers are said to be "born from above, to be born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Their second, as well as their first creation, is truly and purely divine. It is, therefore, called "a creation;" but put ye on (says the apostle) the new man which is created—And how? Even as the first man was, "after God in righteousness and true holiness." These, these are the precious truths, which a scoffing world would fain rally or ridicule us out of. To produce this glorious change, this new creation, the glorious Jesus left his Father’s bosom. For this he led a persecuted life; for this he died an ignominious and accursed death; for this he rose again; and for this he now sitteth at the right hand of his Father. All the precepts of his gospel, all his ordinances, all his providences, whether of an afflictive or prosperous nature, all divine revelation from the beginning to the end, all center in these two points, to shew us how we are fallen, and to begin, carry on, and compleat a glorious and blessed change in our souls. This is an end worthy of the coming of so divine a personage. To deliver a multitude of souls of every nation, language and tongue, from so many moral evils, and to reinstate them in an incomparably more excellent condition than that from whence they are fallen, is an end worthy the shedding of such precious blood. What system of religion is there now, or was there ever exhibited to the world, any way to be compared to this? Can the deistical scheme pretend in any degree to come up to it? Is it not noble, rational, and truly divine? And why then will not all that hitherto are strangers to this blessed restoration of their fallen natures, (for my heart is too full to abstain any longer from an application) why will you any longer dispute or stand out against it? Why will you not rather bring your clay to this heavenly Potter, and say from your inmost souls, "Turn us, O good Lord, and so shall we be turned?" This, you may and can do: and if you go thus far, who knows but that this very day, yea this very hour, the heavenly Potter may take you in hand, and make you vessels of honour sit for the Redeemer’s use? Others that were once as far from the kingdom of God as you are, have been partakers of this blessedness. What a wretched creature was Mary Magdalene? And yet out of her Jesus Christ cast seven devils. Nay, he appeared to her first, after he rose from the dead, and she became as it were an apostle to the very apostles. What a covetous creature was Zaccheus? He was a griping cheating publican; and yet, perhaps, in one quarter of an hour’s time, his heart is enlarged, and he made quite willing to give half of his goods to feed the poor. And to mention no more, what a cruel person was Paul. He was a persecutor, a blasphemer, injurious; one that breathed out threatnings against the disciples of the Lord, and made havoc of the church of Christ. And yet what a wonderful turn did he meet with, as he was journeying to Damascus? from a persecutor, he became a preacher; was afterwards made a spiritual father to thousands, and now probably sits nearest the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. And why all this? That he might be made an example to them that should hereafter believe. O then believe, repent; I beseech you, believe the gospel. Indeed, it is glad tidings, even tidings of great joy. You will then no longer have any thing to say against the doctrine of Original Sin; or charge the Almighty foolishly, for suffering our first parents to be prevailed on to eat such four grapes, and permitting thereby their children’s teeth to be set on edge. You will then no longer cry out against the doctrine of the New Birth, as enthusiasm, or brand the assertors of such blessed truths with the opprobrious names of fools and madmen. Having felt, you will then believe; having believed, you will therefore speak; and instead of being vessels of wrath, and growing harder and harder in hell fire, like vessels in a potter’s oven, you will be made vessels of honour, and be presented at the great day by Jesus, to his heavenly Father, and be translated to live with him as monuments of rich, free, distinguishing and sovereign grace, for ever and ever. You, that have in some degree experienced the quickening influence (for I must not conclude without dropping a word or two to God’s children) you know how to pity, and therefore, I beseech you also to pray for those, to whose circumstances this discourse is peculiarly adapted. But will you be content in praying for them? Will you not see reason to pray for yourselves also? Yes, doubtless, for yourselves also. For you, and you only know, how much there is yet lacking in your faith, and how far you are from being partakers in that degree, which you desire to be, of the whole mind that was in Christ Jesus. You know what a body of sin and death you carry about with you, and that you must necessarily expect many turns of God’s providence and grace, before you will be wholly delivered from it. But thanks be to God, we are in safe hands. He that has been the author, will also be the finisher of our faith. Yet a little while, and we like him shall say "It is finished;" we shall bow down our heads and give up the ghost. Till then, (for to thee, O Lord, will we now direct our prayer) help us, O Almighty Father, in patience to possess our souls. Behold, we are the clay, and thou art the Potter. Let not the thing formed say to him that formed it, whatever the dispensations of thy future Will concerning us may be, Why dost thou deal with us thus? Behold, we put ourselves as blanks in thine hands, deal with us as seemeth good in thy fight, only let every cross, every affliction, every temptation, be overruled to the stamping thy blessed image in more lively characters on our hearts; that so passing from glory to glory, by the powerful operations of thy blessed Spirit, we may be made thereby more and more meet for, and at last be translated to a full, perfect, endless, and uninterrupted enjoyment of glory hereafter, with thee O Father, thee O Son, and thee O blessed Spirit; to whom, three persons but one God, be ascribed, as is most due, all honour, power, might, majesty and dominion, now and to all eternity. Amen and Amen. Whitefield, G. (1772). The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield (Vol. 5). London: Edward and Charles Dilly. (Public Domain) Psalm 9 Psalm 9 “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, They shall fall and perish at Your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. Have mercy on me, O Lord! Consider my trouble from those who hate me, You who lift me up from the gates of death, That I may tell of all Your praise In the gates of the daughter of Zion. I will rejoice in Your salvation. The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught. The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Meditation. Selah The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O Lord, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight. Put them in fear, O Lord, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah” (Psalm 9:1–20, NKJV) THIS psalm expresses, in a series of natural and striking alternations, gratitude for past deliverances, trust in God’s power and disposition to repeat them, and direct and earnest prayer for such repetition. We have first the acknowledgment of former mercies, ver. 2–7 (1–6); then the expression of trust for the future, ver. 8–13 (7–12); then the petition founded on it, ver. 14, 15 (13, 14). The same succession of ideas is repeated: recollection of the past, ver. 16, 17 (15, 16); anticipation of the future, ver. 18, 19 (17, 18); prayer for present and immediate help, ver. 20, 21 (19, 20). This parallelism of the parts makes the structure of the psalm remarkably like that of the seventh. The composition was intentionally so framed as to be a vehicle of pious feeling to the church at any period of strife and persecution. The form is that of the Old Testament; but the substance and the spirit are common to both dispensations. 1. To the Chief Musician, Al-muth-labben. This enigmatical title has been variously explained. Some understand it as descriptive of the subject, and make labben an anagram of Nabal, the name of one of David’s enemies, and, at the same time, an appellative denoting fool, in which sense it is frequently applied to the wicked; see, for example, Ps. 14:1. The whole would then mean on the death of the fool, i.e. the sinner. Such enigmatical changes are supposed to occur in Jer. 25:26, 51:1, 41; Zech. 9:1. Others, by a change of pointing in the Hebrew, for al-muth read alamoth, a musical term occurring in the title of Ps. 46, or a cognate form almuth, and explain labben to mean for Ben, or the (children of) Ben, one of the Levitical singers mentioned in 1 Chron. 15:18. Neither of these explanations seem so natural as a third, which supposes muth-labben to be the title, or the first words, or a prominent expression of some other poem, in the style, or to the air of which, this psalm was composed. After the manner, or to the air, of (the song or poem) Death to the son, or the death of the son. Compare 2 Sam. 1:18, where David’s elegy on Saul appears to be called Kesheth or the Bow, because that word is a prominent expression in the composition. As it cannot be supposed that the expression was originally without meaning, the obscurity, in this and many similar cases, is rather a proof of antiquity than of the opposite. 2 (1). I will thank Jehovah, praise him for his benefits, with all my heart, sincerely, cordially, and with a just appreciation of the greatness of his favors. I will recount all thy wonders, the wonderful things done by thee, with special reference to those attested by his own experience. The change from the third to the second person is entirely natural, as if the Psalmist’s warmth of feeling would not suffer him to speak any longer merely of God, as one absent, but compelled him to turn to him, as the immediate object of address. There is no need, therefore, of supplying thee in the first clause, and construing Jehovah as a vocative. 3 (2). I will joy and triumph in thee, not merely in thy presence, or because of thee, i.e. because of what thou hast done, but in communion with thee, and because of my personal interest in thee. The form of the verbs, both here and in the last clause of the preceding verse, expresses strong desire and fixed determination; see above, on Ps. 2:3. I will praise, or celebrate in song; see above, on Ps. 7:18 (17). Thy name, thy manifested excellence; see above, on Ps. 5:12 (11). (Thou) Highest, or Most High! see above, on Ps. 7:18 (17). Here again there is special reference to the proofs of God’s supremacy afforded by his recent dealings with the Psalmist and his enemies. 4 (3). In the turning of my enemies back, i.e. from their assault on me, which is equivalent to saying, in their retreat, their defeat, their disappointment. This may either be connected with what goes before, and understood as a statement of the reason or occasion of the praise there promised: “I will celebrate thy name when (or because) my enemies turn back;” or it may begin a new sentence, and ascribe their defeat to the agency of God himself: “When my enemies turn back (it is because) they are to stumble, and perish from thy presence, from before thee, or at thy presence, i.e. as soon as thou appearest.” The Hebrew preposition has both a causative and local meaning. The form of the verbs does not necessarily imply that the deliverance acknowledged was still future, but only that it might occur again, and that in any such case, whether past or yet to come, Jehovah was and would be the true author of the victory achieved. The act of stumbling implies that of falling as its natural consequence, and is often used in Scripture as a figure for complete and ruinous failure. 5 (4). This was not a matter of precarious expectation, but of certain experience. For thou hast made, done, executed, wrought out, and thereby maintained, my cause and my right. This phrase is always used elsewhere in a favorable sense, and never in the vague one of simply doing justice, whether to the innocent or guilty. See Deut. 10:18; 1 Kings 8:45, 49; Ps. 140:12; and compare Isa. 10:2. And this defense was not merely that of an advocate, but that of a judge, or rather of a sovereign in the exercise of those judicial functions which belong to royalty. See Prov. 20:8. Thou hast sat, and sittest, on a throne, the throne of universal sovereignty, judging right, i.e. rightly, or a judge of righteousness, a righteous judge. See above, on Ps. 7:12 (11). In this august character the Psalmist had already seen Jehovah, and he therefore gives it as a reason for expecting him to act in accordance with it now. 6 (5). The forensic terms of the preceding verse are now explained as denoting the destruction of God’s enemies. Thou hast rebuked nations, not merely individuals, but nations. God’s chastisements are often called rebukes, because in them he speaks by act as clearly as he could by word. Thou hast destroyed a wicked (one), i.e. many a wicked enemy, in former times, in other cases, and that not with a partial ruin, but with complete extermination even of their memory. Their name, that by which men are distinguished and remembered, thou hast blotted out, erased, effaced, obliterated, to perpetuity and eternity, an idiomatic combination, coincident in sense, though not in form, with the English phrase, for ever and ever. This verse does not refer exclusively to any one manifestation of God’s power and wrath, but to the general course of his dealings with his enemies, and especially to their invariable issue, the destruction of the adverse party. 7 (6). The enemy, or as to the enemy, a nominative absolute placed at the beginning of the sentence for the sake of emphasis—finished, completed, are (his) ruins, desolations, for ever, i.e. he is ruined or made desolate for ever. The construction of the first word as a vocative—O enemy, ended are (thy) desolations for ever, i.e. the desolations caused by thee—affords a good sense, but is neither so agreeable to usage nor to the context as the one first given. Still less so are the other versions which have been given of this difficult clause. E.g. The enemies are completely desolate for ever;—the enemies are consumed, (there are) ruins (or desolations) for ever, &c. The address is still to Jehovah, as in the preceding verse. And (their) cities, viz. those of the enemy, hast thou destroyed. According to the second construction above given, this would mean, thou (O enemy) hast destroyed cities, but art now destroyed thyself. The same reasons as before require us to prefer Jehovah as the object of address. Gone, perish, is their very memory. The idiomatic form of the original in this clause cannot be retained in a translation. The nearest approach to it would be, gone is their memory, themselves. This may either mean their memory, viz. (that of) themselves, i.e. their own; or, perished is their memory (and) themselves (with it). There seems to be an obvious allusion to the threatenings against Amalek in the books of Moses (Exod. 17:14; Num. 24:20; Deut. 25:19), which received their literal fulfilment in the conquests of Saul and David (1 Sam. 15:3, 7, 27:8, 9, 30:1, 17; 2 Sam. 8:12; 1 Chron. 4:43). But this is evidently here presented merely as a sample of other conquests over the surrounding nations (2 Sam. 8:11–14), and even these as only samples of the wonders wrought by God for his own people, and celebrated in ver. 2 (1) above. 8 (7). And Jehovah to eternity, for ever, will sit, as he sits now, upon the throne and judgment-seat. He has set up for judgment, for the purpose of acting as a judge, his throne. It is not as an absolute or arbitrary ruler, but as a just judge, that Jehovah reigns. This recognition of God’s judicial character and office as perpetual is intended to prepare the way for an appeal to his righteous intervention in the present case. 9 (8). And he, himself, with emphasis upon the pronoun, is to judge the world, the fruitful and cultivated earth, as the Hebrew word properly denotes, here put for its inhabitants, in justice, or righteousness, i.e. in the exercise of this divine perfection. He will judge, a different Hebrew verb, to which we have no equivalent, he will judge nations, peoples, races, not mere individuals, in equities, in equity, the plural form denoting fulness or completeness, as in Ps. 1:1. As the preceding verse describes Jehovah’s kingship as judicial, so the verse before us represents him in the actual exercise of his judicial functions. 10 (9). And (so) will Jehovah be a high place, out of reach of danger, hence a refuge, for the oppressed, literally the bruised or broken in pieces, a high place, refuge, in times of distress, literally at times in distress, i.e. at times (when men are) in distress. God’s judicial sovereignty is exercised so as to relieve the sufferer and deliver those in danger. 11 (10). And in thee will trust, as now so in all times to come, the knowers of thy name, those who know the former exhibitions of thy greatness and thy goodness, all which are included in the name of God. See ver. 3 (2), and Ps. 8:2 (1), 7:18 (17), ver. 12 (11). For thou hast not forsaken thy seekers, or (those) seeking thee, O Lord, Jehovah, i.e. seeking thy favor in general, and thy protection against their enemies in particular. The certain knowledge of this fact is laid as the foundation of the confidence expressed in the first clause. 12 (11). Sing, make music, give praise by song or music, to Jehovah, as the God of Israel, inhabiting Zion, i.e. the sanctuary there established. Or the words may mean sitting, as a king, enthroned, (in) Zion, which agrees well with the use of the same verbs in ver. 5, 8 (4, 7) above, although the other version is favoured by the obvious allusion to the symbolical import of the sanctuary under the Mosaic law, as teaching the great doctrine of God’s dwelling among men. See above, on Ps. 3:5 (4), 5:8 (7). Zion is here represented as the centre of a circle reaching far beyond the house of Israel, and indeed co-extensive with the earth. Tell, declare, make known, in, among, the nations, his exploits, his noble deeds, the wonders mentioned in ver. 2 (1). We have here, in his inspired formula of worship, a clear proof that the ancient church believed and understood the great truth, that the law was to go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, Isa. 2:3, Mic. 4:2. 13 (12). For seeking blood, or as an inquisitor of blood, he has remembered, he remembers, it, i.e. the blood; he has not forgotten the cry of the distressed. God is here revealed in the character which he assumes in Gen. 9:5, where the same verb and noun are used in the first clause of the verse before us. The word translated blood is in the plural form. See above, on Ps. 5:7 (6). Hence the literal translation of the next word is, he has remembered them, i.e. the bloods or murders. The cry meant is the cry of suffering and complaint, with particular reference to Gen. 4:10. According to another reading of the last clause, the cry is that of the meek or humble, not of the distressed. But the common text affords a better sense, and really includes the other, as the innocence of the sufferers is implied, though not expressed. The general import of the verse is that God’s judgments, though deferred, are not abandoned, that he does not forget even what he seems to disregard, and that sooner or later he will certainly appear as an avenger. Murder is here put as the highest crime against the person, for all others, and indeed for wickedness in general. 14 (13). Have mercy upon me, or be gracious to me, O Jehovah, see my suffering from my haters, raising me from the gates of death. The view previously taken of God’s faithfulness and justice is now made the ground of an importunate petition for deliverance from present dangers and distress. My haters, those who hate me. From my haters may be taken as a pregnant construction, meaning, see my suffering (and free me) from my enemies. Thus in 2 Sam. 18:19, “Jehovah hath judged him from the hand of his enemies,” means “hath done him justice (and so freed him) from the power of his enemies.” See a similar expression in Ps. 22:22 (21) below. It seems more natural and obvious, however, in the case before us, to give from a causal meaning. “See my distress (arising) from, or caused by, those who hate me.” Raising me does not denote an accompanying act, as if he had said, see my distress, and at the same time lift me up, &c. It is rather descriptive of a certain divine character or habit, and agrees with the pronoun of the second person understood. “Thou that liftest me up,” that art accustomed so to do, that has done so in other cases, with an implied prayer, do so now. The gates of death may have reference to the image of a subterranean dungeon, from which no prisoner can free himself; or it may be simply a poetical expression for the entrance to the grave or the state of the dead. Compare Isa. 38:10, and Mat. 16:18. 15 (14). That I may recount all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion, may joy in thy salvation. This is one important end for which he asks to be delivered, namely, that God may have the praise of his deliverance. There is a trace, in the Hebrew text, of an original plural form, praises, which might then denote praiseworthy deeds, actions worthy to be celebrated. But the singular form occurs with all in Ps. 106:2 below. The gates here mentioned are contrasted with those of the preceding verse. The God who saves him from the gates of death shall be praised for this deliverance in the gates of the daughter of Zion. This last expression is supposed by some to be a personification of the people inhabiting Zion or Jerusalem, who are then put for Israel at large, as the church or chosen people. Others regard the genitive construction as equivalent to a simple apposition, as in river of Euphrates, or in our familiar phrase, the city of Jerusalem. The personification is then that of the city itself, considered as an ideal virgin, and on that account called daughter, by a usage similar to that of the corresponding word in French. In either case, there is an obvious reference to the ancient church, as the scene or the witness of the Psalmist’s praises. The verb in the last clause may be made to depend upon the particle at the beginning of the verse, (that) I may exult: or it may be still more emphatically construed as an independent proposition, I will exult in thy salvation. The form of the verb is the same as in Ps. 2:3 above. The second verb itself occurs in ver. 11 of that psalm, and as in that case, may either denote an inward emotion or the outward expression of it, I will shout. In thy salvation, i.e. in the possession or experience of it, and in acknowledgment of having thus experienced or possessed it. 16 (15). Sunk are nations in a pit they made; in a net which they hid, taken is their foot. This may be either a confident anticipation of the future as if already past, or a further reference to previous deliverance, as a ground of hope for others yet to come. Nations, whole nations, when opposed to God. Compare Ps. 2:1. The accessory idea of Gentiles, heathen, would be necessarily suggested at the same time to a Hebrew reader. Most versions have the definite forms, the pit, the net; but the indefinite form of the original is equally intelligible in English, and therefore preferable as a more exact translation. The ellipsis of the relative, a pit (which) they made, is common to the Hebrew idiom and our own. The figures are borrowed from ancient modes of hunting. See above, on Ps. 7:16 (15). Their foot, their own foot, not that of the victim whose destruction they intended. 17 (16). Known is Jehovah, or has made himself known. Justice has he done, or judgment has he executed. In the work of his (own) hands ensnared is a wicked (man). Higgaion, meditation. Selah, pause. God has revealed himself as present and attentive, notwithstanding his apparent oblivion and inaction, by doing justice on his enemies, or rather by making them do justice on themselves, converting their devices against others into means of self-destruction. In view of this most striking attestation of God’s providential government, the reader is summoned to reflect, and enabled so to do by a significant and solemn pause. The sense of meditation or reflection is clear from Ps. 19:15 (14), and Lam. 3:62. See below, on Ps. 92:4 (3). The addition of Higgaion to Selah here confirms the explanation already given of the latter word. See above, on Ps. 3:3 (2). With this understanding of the terms, we may well say, to ourselves or others, in view of every signal providential retribution, especially where sin is conspicuously made its own avenger, Higgaion Selah! 18 (17). The wicked shall turn back even to hell, to death, or to the grave, all nations forgetful of God. The enemies of God and of his people shall be not only thwarted and repulsed, but driven to destruction; and that not merely individuals, but nations. For the meaning of Sheol see above, on Ps. 6:6 (5). The figure of turning back, retreating, failing, is the same as in ver. 4 (3) above. The idea expressed is not that of being turned directly into hell, but that of turning back, first to one’s original position, and then beyond it, to the grave or hell. In the last clause there is an allusion to the implied charge of forgetfulness on God’s part in ver. 13 (12) above. He had not forgotten the “poor innocents,” as they feared, and as their enemies believed; but these very enemies had forgotten him, and must now abide the consequences of their own forgetfulness. The future forms of this verse may have reference to the same things mentioned in the verse preceding as already past. It seems more natural, however, to explain them as a confident anticipation of results precisely similar to those which had already been produced by the same causes. As Jehovah had already caused the heathen to become their own destroyers, so he might be expected to renew the same judicial process in another case. 19 (18). For not for ever shall the poor be forgotten, (and) the hope of the humble perish to eternity. However long God may appear to be forgetful of his suffering people, even this seeming oblivion is to have an end. Still another allusion to the charge or imputation of forgetfulness implied in ver. 13 (12) above. The difference between the readings humble and afflicted (ענוים and עניים) is not essential, as the context shews that the humble meant are humble sufferers. 20 (19). Arise, Jehovah! Let not man, frail man, be strong. Let nations, or the heathen, be judged, and as a necessary consequence condemned, before thy face, in thy presence, at thy bar. Here again, as in ver. 13, 14 (12, 13), the expression of strong confidence is made the occasion of an earnest prayer. So far is an implicit trust from leading men to cast off fear and restrain prayer before God. On the exhortation to arise, as from a state of previous inaction, see above, Ps. 3:7 (6). For the full sense of the word translated man, see above, on Ps. 8:5 (4). Let him not be strong, i.e. let him not so appear, or so esteem himself. Let him have no occasion, by indulgence or prolonged impunity, to cherish this delusion, or to practice this imposture. The absurdity of making man the stronger party in this strife with God is so preposterous, that God is summoned to arise for the purpose of exploding it. To be judged, in the case of the wicked, is of course to be condemned. To be judged in God’s presence, or at his tribunal, is of course to be condemned without appeal. 21 (20). Set, place, or join, O Jehovah, fear to them. Let nations know, or then shall nations know, (that) man, not God, (are) they. Selah. God is entreated so to frighten them, that they may become conscious of their own insignificance and weakness. The word translated fear is elsewhere used to signify a razor. Hence some would render the first clause, apply the razor to them, i.e. shave them, in allusion to the oriental feeling with respect to the beard. But this seems far-fetched, and the masoretic reading yields a better sense. The precise import of the first phrase seems to be, set fear as a guard over them (Ps. 141:3), or join it to them as a constant companion. The word translated man is still the same as in the foregoing verse, and was therefore intended to suggest the idea of human frailty, as contrasted with divine omnipotence. Alexander, J. A. (1864). The Psalms Translated and Explained (pp. 40–46). Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot; James Thin. (Public Domain) A Practical View of the Prevailing - Chapter 3 Chapter III Chief Defects of the Religious system of the Bulk of Professed Christians, in what Regards our lord jesus christ, and the Holy Spirit—With a Dissertation, concerning the use of the Passions in Religion sect. i Inadequate Conceptions concerning our Savior and the Holy Spirit Leading Doctrines concerning Christ and the Holy Spirit, as stated in Scripture THAT “God so loved the world, as of his tender mercy to give his only Son Jesus Christ for our redemption:” That our blessed Lord willingly left the glory of the Father, and was made man: That “he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:” That “he was wounded for our transgressions; that he was wounded for our iniquities:” That “the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all:” That at length “he humbled himself even to the death of the Cross, for us miserable sinners; to the end that all who with hearty repentance and true faith should come to him, might not perish, but have everlasting life:” That he “is now at the right hand of God, making intercession” for his people: That “being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we may come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need:” That our heavenly Father “will surely give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him:” That “the Spirit of God must dwell in us;” and that “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his:” That by this divine influence “we are to be renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created us,” and “to be filled with the fruits of righteousness, to the praise of the glory of his grace;”—that “being thus made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,” we shall sleep in the Lord; and that when the last trumpet shall sound, this corruption shall put on incorruption—and that being at length perfected after his likeness, we shall be admitted into his heavenly kingdom. These are the leading doctrines concerning our Savior, and the Holy Spirit, which are taught in the Holy Scriptures, and held by the Church of England. The truth of them, agreeably to our general plan, will be taken for granted. Few of those, who have been used to join in the established form of worship, can have been, it is hoped, so inattentive, as to be ignorant of these grand truths, which are to be found everywhere dispersed throughout our excellent Liturgy. Would to God it could be presumed, with equal confidence, that all who assent to them in terms, discern in the understanding their force and excellency, and feel their power in the affections, and their transforming influence in the heart. What lively emotions are they calculated to excite in us, of deep self-abasement, and abhorrence of our sins; together with humble hope, and firm faith, and heavenly joy, and ardent love, and active unceasing gratitude! Popular Notions But here, it is to be feared, will be found a grand defect in the religion of the bulk of professed Christians; a defect like the palsy at the heart, which, while in its first attack, it changes but little the exterior appearance of the body, extinguishes the internal principle of heat and motion, and soon extends its benumbing influence to the remotest fibers of the frame. This defect is closely connected with that which was the chief subject of the last chapter: “they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Had we duly felt the burthen of our sins, accompanied with a deep conviction that the weight of them must finally sink us into perdition, our hearts would have danced at the sound of the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”* But in those who have scarcely felt their sins as any encumbrance, it would be mere affectation to pretend to very exalted conceptions of the value and acceptableness of the proffered deliverance. This pretense accordingly, is seldom now kept up; and the most superficial observer, comparing the sentiments and views of the bulk of the Christian world, with the articles still retained in their creed, and with the strong language of Scripture, must be struck with the amazing disproportion. To pass over the throng from whose minds Religion is altogether excluded by the business or the vanities of life, how is it with the more decent and moral? To what criterion shall we appeal? Are their hearts really filled with these things, and warmed by the love which they are adapted to inspire? Then surely their minds are apt to stray to them almost unseasonably; or at least to hasten back to them with eagerness, when escaped from the estrangement imposed by the necessary cares and business of life. He was a masterly describer of human nature, who thus portrayed the characters of an undissembled affection; “Unstaid and fickle in all other things, Save in the constant image of the object, That is beloved.” Shakspeare “And how,” it may be perhaps replied, “do you know, but that the minds of these people are thus occupied? Can you look into the bosoms of men?” Let us appeal to a test to which we resorted in a former instance. “Out of the abundance of the heart,” it has been pronounced, “the mouth speaketh.” Take these persons then in some well selected hour, and lead the conversation to the subject of Religion. The utmost which can be effected is, to bring them to talk of things in the gross. They appear lost in generalities; there is nothing precise and determinate, nothing which implies a mind used to the contemplation of its object. In vain you strive to bring them to speak on that topic, which one might expect to be ever uppermost in the hearts of redeemed sinners. They elude all your endeavors; and if you make mention of it yourself, it is received with no very cordial welcome at least, if not with unequivocal disgust; it is at the best a forced and formal discussion. The excellence of our Savior’s moral precepts, the kindness and simplicity, the self-denial and unblemished purity of his life, his patience and meekness in the hour of death, cannot indeed be spoken of but with admiration, when spoken of at all, as they have often extorted unwilling praise from the most willing and malignant infidels. But are not these mentioned as qualities in the abstract, rather than as the perfections and lineaments of our patron and benefactor and friend, “who loved us, and gave himself for us;” of Him “who died for our offences, and rose again for our justification;” “who is even now at the right hand of God, making intercession for us?” Who would think that the kindness and humanity, and self-denial, and patience in suffering, which we so drily commend, had been exerted towards ourselves, in acts of more than finite benevolence, of which we were to derive the benefit; in condescensions and labors submitted to for our sakes; in pain and ignominy endured for our deliverance? But these grand truths are not suffered to vanish altogether from our remembrance. Thanks to the compilers of our Liturgy, more than to too many of the occupiers of our pulpits, they are forced upon our notice in their just bearings and connections, as often as we attend the Service of the church. Yet is it too much to affirm, that, though there entertained with decorum, as what belong to the day and place, and occupation, they are yet too generally heard of with little interest; like the legendary tales of some venerable historian, or like other transactions of great antiquity, if not of doubtful credit; which, though important to our ancestors, relate to times and circumstances so different from our own, that we cannot be expected to take any great concern in them? We hear them therefore with apparent indifference; we repeat them almost as it were by rote, assuming by turns the language of the deepest humiliation and of the warmest thankfulness, with a calm unaltered composure; and when the service of the day is ended, they are dismissed altogether from our thoughts, till on the return of another Sunday, a fresh attendance on public worship gives occasion for the renewed expressions of our periodical humility and gratitude. In noticing such lukewarmness as this, surely the writer were to be pardoned, if he were to be betrayed into some warmth of condemnation. The Unitarian and Socinian indeed, who deny, or explain away the peculiar doctrines of the Gospel, may be allowed to feel these grand truths, and to talk of them with little emotion. But in those who profess a sincere belief in them, this coldness is insupportable. The greatest possible services of man to man must appear contemptible, when compared with “the unspeakable mercies of Christ:” mercies so dearly bought, so freely bestowed—a deliverance from eternal misery—the gift of a “crown of glory that fadeth not away.” Yet, what judgment should we form of such conduct, as is here censured, in the case of any one, who had received some signal services from a fellow creature? True love is an ardent and an active principle; a cold, a dormant, a phlegmatic gratitude, are contradictions in terms. When these generous affections really exist in us in vigor, are we not ever fond of dwelling on the value, and enumerating the merits, of our benefactor? How are we moved when any thing is asserted to his disparagement! How do we delight to tell of his kindness! With what pious care do we preserve any memorial of him, which we may happen to possess! How gladly do we seize any opportunity of rendering to him, or to those who are dear to him, any little good offices, which though in themselves of small intrinsic worth, may testify the sincerity of our thankfulness! The very mention of his name will cheer the heart, and light up the countenance!—And if he be now no more, and if he had made it his dying request, that, in a way of his own appointment, we would occasionally meet to keep the memory of his person, and of his services, in lively exercise; how should we resent the idea of failing in the performance of so sacred an obligation! Such are the genuine characters, such the natural workings, of a lively gratitude. And can we believe, without doing violence to the most established principles of human nature, that where the effects are so different, the internal principle is in truth the same? If the love of Christ be thus languid in the bulk of nominal Christians, their joy and trust in him cannot be expected to be very vigorous. Here again we find reason to remark, that there is nothing distinct, nothing specific, nothing which implies a mind acquainted with the nature of the Christian’s privileges, and familiarized with their use; habitually Solacing itself with the hopes held out by the Gospel, and animated by the sense of its high endowments, and its glorious reversion. Holy Spirit’s Operations The doctrine of the sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit, appears to have met with still worse treatment. It would be to convey a very inadequate idea of the scantiness of the conceptions on this head, of the bulk of the Christian world, to affirm merely, that they are too little conscious of the inefficacy of their own unassisted endeavors after holiness of heart and life, and that they are not daily employed in humbly and diligently using the appointed means for the reception and cultivation of the divine assistance. We should hardly go beyond the truth in asserting, that for the most part their notions on this subject are so confused and faint, that they can scarcely be said in any fair sense to believe the doctrine at all. Language of one who abjects against the religious affections towards our Savior The writer of these sheets is by no means unapprised of the objections which he may expect from those whose opinions he has been so freely condemning. He is prepared to hear it urged, “that often, where there have been the strongest pretenses to the religious affections, there has been little or nothing of the reality of them; and that, even omitting the instances, which however have been but too frequent, of studied hypocrisy, those affections which have assumed to themselves the name of religious, have been merely the flights of a lively imagination, or the working of a heated brain; in particular, that this love of our Savior, which has been so warmly recommended, is no better than a vain fervor, which dwells only in the disordered mind of the enthusiast: that Religion is of a more steady nature; of a more sober and manly quality; and that she rejects with scorn, the support of a mere feeling, so volatile and indeterminate, so trivial and useless, as that with which we would associate her; a feeling varying in different men, and even in the same man at different times, according to the accidental flow of the animal spirits; a feeling, of which it may perhaps be said, we are from our very nature, hardly susceptible towards an invisible Being.” And against the Operations of the Holy Spirit “As to the Operations of the Holy Spirit,” it may probably be further urged, “it is perhaps scarcely worthwhile to spend much time in inquiring into the theory, when, in practice at least, it is manifest, that there is no sure criterion whereby any one can ascertain the reality of them, even in his own case, much less in that of another. All we know is, that pretenders to these extraordinary assistances, have never been wanting to abuse the credulity of the vulgar, and to try the patience of the wise. From the canting hypocrites and wild fanatics of the last century, to their less dangerous, chiefly because less successful, descendants of the present day, we hear the same unwarranted claims, the same idle tales, the same low cant; and we may discern not seldom the same mean artifices and mercenary ends. The doctrine, to say the best of it, can only serve to favor the indolence of man; while professing to furnish him with a compendious method of becoming wise and good, it supersedes the necessity of his own personal labors. Quitting therefore all such slothful and chimerical speculations, it is true wisdom to attach ourselves to what is more solid and practical; to the work, which you will not deny to be sufficiently difficult to find us of itself full employment, the work of rectifying the disorders of the passions, and of implanting and cultivating the virtues of the moral character.”—“It is the service of the understanding which God requires of us, which you would degrade into a mere matter of bodily temperament, and imaginary impulses. You are contending for that, which, not only is altogether unworthy of our Divine Master, but which, with considerate men, has ever brought his religion into suspicion and disrepute, and, under a show of honoring him, serves only to injure and discredit his cause.” Our Objector, warming as he proceeds, will perhaps assume a more impatient tone. “Have not these doctrines,” he may exclaim, “been ever perverted to purposes the most disgraceful to the Religion of Jesus? If you want an instance, look to the standard of the Inquisition, and behold the pious Dominicans torturing their miserable victims for the love of Christ.* Or would you rather see the effects of your principles on a larger scale, and by wholesale, if the phrase may be pardoned; cast your eyes across the Atlantic, and let your zeal be edified by the holy activity of Cortez and Pizarro, and their apostles of the western hemisphere. To what else have been owing the extensive ravages of national persecutions, and religious wars and crusades; whereby rapacity, and pride, and cruelty sheltering themselves under the mask of this specious principle, have so often afflicted the world? The Prince of Peace has been made to assume the port of a ferocious conqueror, and, forgetting the message of good-will to men, has issued forth, like a second Scourge of the Earth,† to plague and desolate the human species.” Reply to the above Allegations That the sacred name of Religion has been too often prostituted to the most detestable purposes; that furious bigots and bloody persecutors, and self-interested hypocrites of all qualities and dimensions, from the rapacious leader of an army to the canting oracle of a congregation, have falsely called themselves Christians, are melancholy and humiliating truths, which (as none so deeply lament them) none will more readily admit than they, who best understand the nature of Christianity, and are most concerned for her honor. We are ready to acknowledge also without dispute, that the religious affections, and the doctrine of divine assistance, have at all times been more or less disgraced by the false pretenses and extravagant conduct of wild fanatics and brain-sick enthusiasts. All this, however, is only as it happens in other instances, wherein the depravity of man perverts the bounty of God. Why is it here only to be made an argument that there is danger of abuse? So is there also in the case of every operative principle, whether in the natural or moral world. Take for an instance the powers and properties of matter. These were doubtless designed by Providence for our comfort and well-being; yet they are often misapplied to trifling purposes, and still more frequently turned into so many agents of misery and death. On this fact indeed is founded the well-known maxim, not more trite than just, that “the best things when corrupted become the worst;” a maxim which is peculiarly just in the instance of Religion. For in this case it is not merely, as in some others, that a great power, when mischievously applied, must be hurtful in proportion to its strength; but that the very principle, on which in general we depend for restraining and retarding the progress of evil, not only ceases to interpose any kindly check, but is powerfully active in the opposite direction. But will you therefore discard Religion altogether? It is upon this very ground, that the Infidels of a neighboring country have lately made war against Christianity; with what effects the world has not now to learn. But suppose Religion were discarded, then Liberty remains to plague the world; a power, which though, when well employed, the dispenser of light and happiness, has been often proved, eminently proved, in the instance of a neighboring country, to be capable, when abused, of becoming infinitely mischievous. Well, then, extinguish Liberty. Then what more abused by false pretenders, than Patriotism? Well, extinguish Patriotism. But then the wicked career to which we have adverted, must have been checked but for Courage. Blot out Courage—and so might you proceed to extinguish one by one, Reason, and Speech, and Memory, and all the discriminating prerogatives of man. But perhaps more than enough has been already urged in reply to an objection, which is built on ground so indefensible, as that which would equally warrant our condemning any physical or moral faculty altogether, on account of its being occasionally abused. As to the position of our Opponent, that there is no way whereby the validity of any pretensions to the religious affections may be ascertained; it must partly be admitted. Doubtless we are not able always to read the hearts of men, and to discover their real characters; and hence it is, that we in some measure lie open to the false and hypocritical pretenses which are brought forward against us so triumphantly. But then these pretenses no more prove all similar claims to be founded in falsehood and hypocrisy, than there having been many false and interested pretenders to wisdom and honesty, would prove that there can be no such thing as a wise or an honest man. We do not argue thus but where our reason is under a corrupt bias. Why should we be so much surprised and scandalized, when these impostors are detected in the church of Christ? It is no more than our blessed Master himself taught us to expect; and when the old difficulty is stated, “Didst thou not sow good seed in thy field, whence then hath it tares?” his own answer furnishes the best solution—“an enemy hath done this.”—Hypocrisy is indeed detestable, and enthusiasm sufficiently mischievous to justify our guarding against its approaches with jealous care. Yet it may not be improper to take this occasion for observing that we are now and then apt to draw too unfavorable conclusions from unpleasant appearances, which may perhaps be chiefly or altogether owing to gross or confused conceptions, or to a disgusting formality of demeanor, or to indeterminate, low, or improperly familiar expressions. The mode and language, in which a vulgar man will express himself on the subject of Religion, will probably be vulgar, and it is difficult for people of literature and refinement not to be unreasonably shocked by such vulgarities. But we should at least endeavor to correct the rash judgments which we may be disposed to form on these occasions, and should learn to recognize and to prize a sound texture and just configuration, though disguised beneath a homely or uncouth drapery. It was an Apostle who declared that he had come to the learned and accomplished Grecians, “not with excellency of speech, or the wisdom of words.” From these he had studiously abstained, lest he should have seemed to owe his success rather to the graces of oratory, than to the efficacy of his doctrines, and to the divine power with which they were accompanied. Even in our own times, when the extraordinary operations and miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit having ceased, the necessity of study and preparation, and of attention to manner as well as matter, in order to qualify men to become teachers of religion, are no longer superseded, it is no more than an act of justice explicitly to remark, that a body of Christians, which from the peculiarly offensive grossnesses of language in use among them, had, not without reason, excited suspicions of the very worst nature, have since reclaimed their character, (b) and have perhaps excelled all mankind in solid and unequivocal proofs of the love of Christ, and of the most ardent, and active, and patient zeal in his service. It is a zeal tempered with prudence, softened with meekness, soberly aiming at great ends by the gradual operation of well-adapted means, supported by a courage which no danger can intimidate, and a quiet constancy which no hardships can exhaust. sect. ii On the Admission of the Passions into Religion THE objection of our Opponent, that by insisting on the obligation of making our blessed Savior the object of our affections, we are degrading our religious services, and are substituting a set of mere feelings in place of the worship of the understanding, is an objection which deserves our most serious consideration. If it be just, it is decisive; for ours must be unquestionably “a reasonable service.”* The Objector must mean, either, that these affections are unreasonable in themselves, or that they are misplaced in Religion. He can scarcely, however, intend that the affections are in their own nature unreasonable. To suppose him to maintain this position, were to suppose him ignorant of what every school-boy knows of the mechanism of the human mind. We shall therefore take it for granted, that this cannot be his meaning, and proceed to examine the latter part of the alternative. Here also it may either be intended, that the affections are misplaced in Religion generally, or that our blessed Savior is not the proper object of them. This notion of the affections being out of place in Religion, is indeed an opinion which appears to be generally prevalent. The affections are regarded as the strong holds of enthusiasm. It is therefore judged most expedient to act, as prudent generals are used to do, when they raze the fortress, or spike the cannon, which are likely to fall into the hands of an enemy. Mankind are apt to be the dupes of misapplied terms; and the progress of the persuasion now in question, has been considerably aided by an abuse of language not sufficiently checked in its first advances, whereby that species of Religion which is opposite to the warm and affectionate kind, has been suffered almost without disturbance, to usurp to itself the epithet of rational. But let not this claim be too hastily admitted. Let the position in question be thoroughly and impartially discussed, and it will appear, if I mistake not, to be a gross and pernicious error. If amputation be indeed indispensable, we must submit to it; but we may surely expect to be heard with patience, or rather with favor and indulgence, while we proceed to show, that there is no need to have recourse to so desperate a remedy. The discussion will necessarily draw us into length. But our prolixity will not be greater than may well be claimed by the importance of the subject, especially as it scarcely seems to have hitherto sufficiently engaged the attention of writers on the subject of Religion. It cannot methinks but afford a considerable presumption against the doctrine which we are about to combat, that it proposes to exclude at once from the service of Religion so grand a part of the composition of man; that in this our noblest employment it condemns as worse than useless, all the most active principles of our nature. One cannot but suppose, that like the organs of the body, so the elementary qualities and original passions of the mind were all given us for valuable purposes by our all-wise Creator. It is indeed one of the sad evidences of our fallen condition, that they are now perpetually rebelling against the powers of reason and conscience, to which they should be subject. But even if Revelation had been silent, natural reason might have in some degree presumed, that it would be the effect of a Religion which should come from God, completely to repair the consequences of our superinduced depravity. The schemes of mere human wisdom had indeed tacitly confessed, that this was a task beyond their strength. Of the two most celebrated systems of philosophy, the one expressly confirmed the usurpation of the passions; while the other, despairing of being able to regulate them, saw nothing left but their extinction. The former acted like a weak government, which gives independence to a rebellious province, which it cannot reduce. The latter formed its boasted scheme merely upon the plan of that barbarous policy, which composes the troubles of a turbulent land by the extermination of its inhabitants. This is the calm, not of order, but of inaction; it is not tranquility, but the stillness of death; Trucidare falso nomine imperium, & ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant.—Tacit. Christianity, we might hope, would not be driven to any such wretched expedients: nor in fact does she condescend to them. They only thus undervalue her strength, who mistake her character, and are ignorant of her powers. It is her peculiar glory, and her special office, to bring all the faculties of our nature into their just subordination and dependence; that so the whole man, complete in all his functions, may be restored to the true ends of his being, and be devoted, entire and harmonious, to the service and glory of God. “My son, give me thine heart”—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart:”—Such are the direct and comprehensive claims which are made on us in the holy Scriptures. We can scarcely indeed look into any part of the sacred volume without meeting abundant proofs that it is the religion of the Affections which God particularly requires. Love, Zeal, Gratitude, Joy, Hope, Trust, are each of them specified; and are not allowed to us as weaknesses, but enjoined on us as our bounden duty, and commended to us as our acceptable worship. Where passages are so numerous, there would be no end of particular citations. Let it be sufficient, therefore, to refer the reader to the word of God. There let him observe, too, that as the lively exercise of the passions towards their legitimate object is always spoken of with praise, so a cold, hard, unfeeling heart is represented as highly criminal. Lukewarmness is stated to be the object of God’s disgust and aversion; zeal and love, of his favor and delight; and the taking away of the heart of stone and the implanting of a warmer and more tender nature in its stead, are specifically promised as the effects of his returning favor, and the work of his renewing grace. It is the prayer of an inspired teacher, in behalf of those for whom he was most interested, “that their love,” already acknowledged to be great, “might abound yet more and more:”* Those modes of worship are prescribed, which are best calculated to excite the dormant affections, and to maintain them in lively exercise; and the aids of music and singing are expressly superadded to increase their effect. If we look to the most eminent of the Scripture Characters, we shall find them warm, zealous, and affectionate. When engaged in their favorite work of celebrating the goodness of their Supreme Benefactor, their souls appear to burn within them, their hearts kindle into rapture; the powers of language are inadequate to the expression of their transports; and they call on all nature to swell the chorus, and to unite with them in hallelujahs of gratitude, and joy, and praise. The man after God’s own heart most of all abounds in these glowing effusions; and his compositions appear to have been given us in order to set the tone, as it were, to all succeeding generations. Accordingly, to quote the words of a late excellent prelate,† who was himself warmed with the same heavenly flame, “in the language of this divine book, the praises of the church have been offered up to the Throne of Grace from age to age.” When God was pleased to check the future Apostle of the Gentiles in his wild career, and to make him a monument of transforming grace; was the force of his affections diminished, or was it not that their direction only was changed? He brought his affections entire and unabated into the service of his blessed Master. His zeal now burned even with an increase of brightness; and no intenseness, no continuance, of sufferings could allay its ardor, or damp the fervors of his triumphant exultations. Finally—The worship and service of the glorified spirits in Heaven, is not represented to us as a cold intellectual investigation, but as the worship and service of gratitude and love. And surely it will not be disputed, that it should be even here the humble endeavor of those who are promised while on earth “to be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” to bring their hearts into a capacity for joining in those everlasting praises. True Test and Measure of the religious Affections But it may not be unadvisable for the writer here to guard against a mistaken supposition from which the mind of our Objector by no means appears exempt; that the force of the religious affections is to be chiefly estimated by the degree of mere animal fervor, by ardors and transports, and raptures, of which, from constitutional temperament, a person may be easily susceptible; or into which daily experience must convince us, that people of strong imaginations and of warm passions may work themselves without much difficulty, where their hearts are by no means truly or deeply interested. Every tolerable actor can attest the truth of this remark. These high degrees of the passions bad men may experience, good men may want. They may be affected; they may be genuine; but whether genuine or affected, they form not the true standard by which the real nature or strength of the religious affections is to be determined. To ascertain these points, we must examine whether they appear to be grounded in knowledge, to have their root in strong and just conceptions of the great and manifold excellencies of their object, or to be ignorant, unmeaning, or vague; whether they are natural and easy, or constrained and forced; wakeful, and apt to fix on their great objects, and delighting in the exercises of prayer, and praise, and religious contemplation, which may be called their proper nutriment; or voluntarily omitting suitable occasions of receiving it, looking forward to such opportunities with little expectation, looking back on them with little complacency, and being disappointed of them with little regret; we must observe whether these religious affections are merely occasional visitants, or the abiding inmates of the soul: whether they have got the mastery over the vicious passions and propensities, with which, in their origin, and nature, and tendency, they are at open variance; or whether, if the victory be not yet complete, the war is at least constant, and the breach irreconcilable: whether they moderate and regulate all the inferior appetites and desires which are culpable only in their excess, thus striving to reign in the bosom with a settled undisputed predominance: And we must examine whether, above all, they manifest themselves by prompting to the active discharge of the duties of life, the personal, the domestic, the professional, the social, and civil duties. Here the wideness of their range and the universality of their influence, will generally serve to distinguish them from those partial efforts of diligence and self-denial, to which mankind are prompted by subordinate motives. All proofs other than this deduced from conduct, are in some degree ambiguous. This, this only, whether we argue from Reason or from Scripture, is a sure, infallible criterion. From the daily incidents of conjugal and domestic life, we learn, that a heat of affection occasionally vehement, but superficial and transitory, may consist too well with a course of conduct, exhibiting incontestable proofs of neglect and unkindness. But the passion, which alone the holy Scriptures dignify with the name of Love, is a deep, not a superficial feeling; a fixed and permanent, not an occasional emotion. It proves the validity of its title, by actions corresponding with its nature, by practical endeavors to gratify the wishes, and to promote the interests, of the object of affection. “If a man love me, he will keep my sayings.” “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” This therefore is the best standard by which to try the quality, or, the quality being ascertained, to estimate the strength of the religious affections. Without suffering ourselves to derive too much complacency from transient fervors of devotion, we should carefully and frequently prove ourselves by this less doubtful test; impartially examining our daily conduct; and often comparing our actual, with our possible services; the fair amount of our exertions, with our natural or acquired means and opportunities of usefulness. After this large explanation, the prolixity of which will, we trust, be pardoned on account of the importance of the subject, and the danger of mistakes both on the right hand and on the left, we are perfectly ready to concede to the objector, that the religious affections must be expected to be more or less lively in different men, and in the same man at different times, in proportion to natural tempers, ages, situations, and habits of life. But, to found an objection on this ground, would be as unreasonable, as it would be altogether to deny the obligation of the precepts, which command us to relieve the necessities of the indigent, because the infinitely varying circumstances of mankind must render it impossible to specify beforehand the sum which each individual ought on the whole to allot to this purpose, or to fix, in every particular instance, on any determinate measure and mode of contribution. To the one case no less than to the other, we may apply the maxim of an eminent writer, “An honest heart is the best casuist.” He who everywhere but in Religion is warm and animated, there only phlegmatic and cold, can hardly expect, especially if this coldness be not the subject of unfeigned humiliation and sorrow, that his plea on the ground of natural temper should be admitted; any more than that of a person who should urge his poverty as a justification of his not relieving the wants of the necessitous, at the very time of his lanching out into expense without restraint, on occasions in which he was really prompted by his inclinations. In both cases, “it is the willing mind which is required.” Where that is found, every “man will be judged according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not.”* The Affections not merely allowable in Religion, but highly necessary After the decisive proofs already adduced from the word of God, of the unreasonableness of the objection to admitting the passions into religion, all further arguments may appear superfluous to any one who is disposed to bow to scriptural authority. Yet the point is of so much importance, and, it is to be feared, so little regarded, that it may not be amiss to continue the discussion. The best conclusions of reason will be shown to fall in with what clearly appears to be the authoritative language of revelation; and to call in the aid of the affections to the service of religion, will prove to be, not only what sober Reason may permit as in some sort allowable, but what she clearly and strongly dictates to our deliberate judgments as indispensably requisite for us, in the circumstances wherein we are placed. We have every one of us a work to accomplish, wherein our eternal interests are at stake; a work to which we are naturally indisposed. We live in a world abounding with objects which distract our attention and divert our endeavors; and a deadly enemy is ever at hand to seduce and beguile us. If we persevere indeed, success is certain; but our efforts must know no remission. There is a call on us for vigorous and continual resolution, self-denial, and activity. Now, man is not a being of mere intellect. Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor, is a complaint which, alas! we all of us might daily utter. The slightest solicitation of appetite is often able to draw us to act in opposition to our clearest judgment, our highest interests, and most resolute determinations. Sickness, poverty, disgrace, and even eternal misery itself, sometimes in vain solicit our notice; they are all excluded from our view, and thrust as it were beyond the sphere of vision, by some poor unsubstantial transient object, so minute and contemptible as almost to escape the notice of the eye of reason. These observations are more strikingly confirmed in our religious concerns than in any other; because in them the interests at stake are of transcendent importance: but they hold equally in every instance, according to its measure, wherein there is a call for laborious, painful, and continued exertions, from which we are likely to be deterred by obstacles, or seduced by the solicitations of pleasure. What, then, is to be done in the case of any such arduous and necessary undertaking? The answer is obvious—You should endeavor not only to convince the understanding, but also to affect the heart; and for this end, you must secure the reinforcement of the passions. This is indeed the course which would be naturally followed by every man of common understanding, who should know that some one, for whom he was deeply interested, a child, for instance, or a brother, were about to enter on a long, difficult, perilous, and critical adventure, wherein success was to be honor and affluence; defeat was to be contempt and ruin. And still more, if the parent were convinced that his child possessed faculties which, strenuously and unremittingly exerted, would prove equal to all the exigencies of the enterprise; but knew him also to be volatile and inconstant; and had reason to doubt his resolution and his vigilance; how would the friendly monitor’s endeavor be redoubled, so to possess his pupil’s mind with the worth and dignity of the undertaking, that there should be no opening for the entrance of any inferior consideration!—“Weigh well (he would say) the value of the object for which you are about to contend, and contemplate and study its various excellencies, till your whole soul be on fire for its acquisition. Consider too, that if you fail, misery and infamy are united in the alternative which awaits you. Let not the mistaken notion of its being a safe and easy service, for a moment beguile you into the discontinuance or remission of your efforts. Be aware of your imminent danger, and at the same time know your true security. It is a service of labor and peril; but one wherein the powers which you possess, strenuously and perseveringly exerted, cannot but crown you with victory. Accustom yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences of failure; then fix your eye on the glorious prize which is before you; and when your strength begins to fail, and your spirits are well nigh exhausted, let the animating view rekindle your resolution, and call forth in renewed vigor the fainting energies of your soul.” It was the remark of an unerring observer, “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” And it is indisputably true, that in religion we have to argue and plead with men for principles of action, the wisdom and expediency of which are universally acknowledged in matters of worldly concern. So it is in the instance before us. The case which has been just described is an exact, but a faint representation of our condition in this life. Frail and “infirm of purpose,” we have a business to execute of supreme and indispensable necessity. Solicitations to neglect it everywhere abound: the difficulties and dangers are numerous and urgent; and the night of death cometh, how soon we know not, “when no man can work.” All this is granted. It seems to be a state of things wherein one should look out with solicitude for some powerful stimulants. Mere knowledge is confessedly too weak. The affections alone remain to supply the deficiency. They precisely meet the occasion, and suit the purposes intended. Yet when we propose to fit ourselves for our great undertaking, by calling them in to our help, we are to be told that we are acting contrary to reason. Is this reasonable, to strip us first of our armor of proof, and then to send us to the sharpest of encounters? To summon us to the severest labors, but first to rob us of the precious cordials which should brace our sinews and recruit our strength? Let these pretended advocates for reason at length then confess their folly, and do justice to the superior wisdom as well as goodness of our heavenly Instructor, who, better understanding our true condition, and knowing our frowardness and inadvertency, has most reasonably as well as kindly pointed out and enjoined on us the use of those aids which may counteract our infirmities; who, commanding the effect, has commanded also the means whereby it may be accomplished. Christ the just object of our warm affections And now, if the use of the affections in religion, in general, be at length shown to be conformable to reason, it will not require many words to prove that our blessed Savior is the proper object of them. We know that love, gratitude, joy, hope, trust, have all their appropriate objects. Now it must be at once conceded, that if these appropriate objects be not exhibited, it is perfectly unreasonable to expect that the correspondent passions should be excited. If we ask for love, in the case of an object which has no excellence or desirableness; for gratitude, where no obligation has been conferred; for joy, where there is no just cause of self-congratulation; for hope, where nothing is expected; for trust, where there exists no ground of reliance; then, indeed, we must kiss the rod, and patiently submit to correction. This would be indeed Egyptian bondage, to demand the effects without the means of producing them. Is the case then so? Are we ready to adopt the language of the avowed enemies of our adorable Savior; and again to say of him “in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” that “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him?”* Is it no obligation, that he who “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” should yet for our sakes “make himself of no reputation, and take upon him the form of a servant, and be made in the likeness of men; and humble himself, and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross?”† Is it no cause of “joy, that to us is born a Savior,”‡ by whom we may “be delivered from the power of darkness; and be made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light?”§ Can there be a “hope comparable to that of our calling”||—“which is Christ in us, the hope of glory.”¶ Can there be a trust to be preferred to the reliance on “Christ Jesus; who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever?”** Surely, if our Opponent be not dead to every generous emotion, he cannot look his own objection in the face, without a blush of shame and indignation. The Affections denied to be possible towards an invisible Being But forced at last to retreat from his favorite position, and compelled to acknowledge that the religious affections towards our blessed Savior are not unreasonable; the Objector still maintains the combat, suggesting that by the very constitution of our nature, we are not susceptible of them towards an invisible Being; with regard to whom, it is added, we are shut out from all those means of communication and intercourse, which knit and cement the union between man and man. The above Position discussed, and answered We mean not to deny that there is something in this objection. It might even seem to plead the authority of Scripture in its favor—“Mine eye affecteth mine heart;”* and still more—“He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love “God whom he hath not seen?”† It was indeed no new remark in Horace’s days, Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures, Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus. We receive impressions more readily from visible objects, we feel them more strongly, we retain them more durably. But though it must be granted that this circumstance makes it a more difficult task to preserve the affections in question in a healthful and vigorous state; is it thereby rendered impossible? This were indeed a most precipitate conclusion; and anyone who should be disposed to admit the truth of it, might be at least induced to hesitate, when he should reflect that the argument applies equally against the possibility of the love of God, a duty of which the most cursory reader of Scripture, if he admit its divine authority, cannot but acknowledge the indispensable obligation. But we need only look back to the Scripture proofs which have been already adduced, to be convinced that the religious affections are therein inculcated on us as a matter of high and serious obligation. Hence we may be assured that the impossibility stated by our Opponent does not exist. Let us scrutinize this matter, however, a little more minutely, and we shall be compelled to acknowledge, that the objection vanishes when we fairly and accurately investigate the circumstances of the case. With this view, let us look a little into the nature of the affections of the human mind, and endeavor to ascertain whence it is that they derive their nutriment, and are found from experience to increase in strength. The state of man is such, that his feelings are not the obedient servants of his reason, prompt at once to follow its dictates, as to their direction and their measure. Excellence is the just object of love: good in expectancy, of hope; evil to be apprehended, of fear; the misfortunes and sufferings of our fellow-creatures, constitute the just objects of pity. Each of these passions, it might be thought, would be excited, in proportion to what our reason should inform us were the magnitude and consequent claims of its corresponding object. But this is by no means the case. Take first for a proof the instance of pity. We read of slaughtered thousands with less emotion than we hear the particulars of a shocking accident which has happened in the next street; the distresses of a novel, which at the same time we know to be fictitious, affect us more than the dry narrative of a battle. We become so much interested by these incidents of the imagination, that we cannot speedily banish them from our thoughts, nor recover the tone of our minds; and often, we scarcely bring ourselves to lay down our book at the call of real misfortune, of which perhaps we go to the relief, on a principal of duty, but with little sense of interest, or emotion of tenderness. It were easy to show that it is much the same in the case of the other affections. Whatever be the cause of this disproportion, which, as metaphysics fall not within our province, we shall not stop to examine, the fact is undeniable. There appears naturally to be a certain strangeness between the passion and its object, which familiarity and the power of habit must gradually overcome. You must contrive to bring them into close contact; they must be jointed and glued together by the particularities of little incidents. Thus in the production of heat in the physical world, the flint and the steel produce not the effect without collision; the rudest Barbarian will tell us the necessity of attrition, and the chemist of mixture. Now, an object, it is admitted, is brought into closer contact with its corresponding passion by being seen and conversed with. This we grant is one way; but does it follow that there is no other? To assert this, would be something like maintaining, in contradiction to universal experience, that objects of vision alone are capable of attracting our regard. But nothing can be more unfounded than such a supposition. It might seem too near an approach to the ludicrous to suggest as an example to the contrary, the metaphysician’s attachment to his unsubstantial speculations, or the zeal displayed in the pursuit, Extra flammantia mœnia mundi of abstract sciences, where there is no idea of bringing them “within the visible diurnal sphere;” to the vulgarity of practical application. The instance of novel reading proves that we may be extremely affected by what we know to be merely ideal incidents and beings. By much thinking or talking of anyone; by using our minds to dwell on his excellencies; by placing him in imaginary situations which interest and affect us; we find ourselves becoming insensibly more and more attached to him: whereas it is the surest expedient for extinguishing an attachment which already exists, to engage in such occupations or society, as may cause our casual thoughts and more fixed meditations to be diverted from the object of it. Ask a mother who has been long separated from her child, especially if he has been in circumstances of honor, or of danger, to draw her attention to him, and to keep it in wakefulness and exercise, and she will tell you, that so far from becoming less dear, he appears to have grown more the object of her affections. She seems to herself to love him even better than the child who has been living under her roof, and has been daily in her view. How does she rejoice in his good fortune, and weep over his distresses! With what impatience does she anticipate the time of his return! We find therefore that sight and personal intercourse do not seem necessary to the production or increase of attachment, where the means of close contact have been afforded; but on the other hand, if an object has been prevented from coming into close contact, sight and personal intercourse are not sufficient to give it the power of exciting the affections in proportion to its real magnitude. Suppose the case of a person whom we have often seen, and may have occasionally conversed with, and of whom we have been told in the general, that he possesses extraordinary merits. We assent to the assertion. But if we have no knowledge of particulars, no close acquaintance with him, nothing in short which brings his merits home to us, they interest us less than a far inferior degree of the very same qualities in one of our common associates. A parent has several children, all constantly under his eye, and equally dear to him. Yet if any one of them be taken ill, it is brought into so much closer contact than before, that it seems to absorb and engross the parent’s whole affection. Thus then, though it will not be denied that an object by being visible may thereby excite its corresponding affection with more facility; yet this is manifestly far from being the prime consideration. And so far are we from being the slaves of the sense of vision, that a familiar acquaintance with the intrinsic excellencies of an object, aided, it must be admitted, by the power of habit, will render us almost insensible to the impressions which its outward form conveys, and able entirely to lose the consciousness of an unsightly exterior. We may be permitted to remark, that the foregoing going observations furnish an explanation, less discreditable than that which has been sometimes given, of an undoubted phenomenon in the human mind, that the greatest public misfortunes, however the understanding may lecture, are apt really to affect our feelings less than the most trivial disaster which happens to ourselves. An eminent writer (a) scarcely overstated the point when he observed, “that it would occasion a man of humanity more real disturbance to know that he was the next morning to lose his little finger, than to hear that the great empire of China had been suddenly swallowed up by an earthquake. The thoughts of the former would keep him awake all night; in the latter case, after making many melancholy reflections on the precariousness of human life, and the vanity of all the labors of man which could be thus annihilated in a moment; after a little speculation too perhaps on the causes of the disaster, and its effects in the political and commercial world; he would pursue his business or his a pleasure with the same ease and tranquility as if no such accident had happened; and snore at night with the most profound serenity over the ruin of a hundred millions of his fellow-creatures. Selfishness is not the cause of this, for the most unfeeling brute on earth would surely think nothing of the loss of a finger, if he could thereby prevent so dreadful a calamity.” This doctrine of contact which has been opened above, affords a satisfactory solution; and, from all that has been said, the circumstances, by which the affections of the mind towards any particular object are generated and strengthened, may be easily collected. The chief of these appear to be, whatever tends to give a distinct and lively impression of the object, by setting before us its minute parts, and by often drawing towards it the thoughts and affections, so as to invest it by degrees with a confirmed ascendency; whatever tends to excite and to keep in exercise, a lively interest in its behalf; in other words, full knowledge, distinct and frequent mental entertainment, and pathetic contemplations. Supposing these means to have been used in any given degree, it may be expected that they be will more or less efficacious, in proportion as the intrinsic qualities of the object afford greater or less scope for their operation, and more or fewer materials with which to work. Can it then be conceived, that they will be of no avail when steadily practiced in the case of our Redeemer! If the principles of love and gratitude and joy, and hope, and trust, are not utterly extinct within us, they cannot but be called forth by the various corresponding objects which that blessed contemplation would gradually bring forth to our view. Well might the language of the apostle be addressed to Christians, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”* Special grounds for the religious Affections towards our Savior But in the present instance fresh considerations pour in, still more to invalidate the plea of its being impossible to love an invisible being. Our blessed Savior, if we may be permitted so to say, is not removed far from us; and the various relations in which we stand towards him, seem purposely made known to us, in order to furnish so many different bonds of connection with him, so many consequent occasions of continual intercourse. He exhibits not himself to us “dark with excessive brightness,” but is let down as it were to the possibilities of human converse. We may not think that he is incapable of entering into our little concerns, and of sympathizing with them; for we are graciously assured that he is not one “who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, having been in all points tempted like as we are.”* The figures under which he is represented, are such as convey ideas of the utmost tenderness. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”†—“They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them, shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.”‡ “I will not leave you orphans” (a) was one of his last consolatory declarations.§ The children of Christ are here separated indeed from the personal view of him; but not from his paternal affection and paternal care. Meanwhile let them quicken their regards by the animating anticipation of that blessed day, when he “who is gone to prepare a place for them, will come again to receive them unto himself.” Then shall they be admitted to his more immediate presence: “Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as I am known.”|| Surely more than enough has been now said to prove that this particular case, from its very nature, furnishes the most abundant and powerful considerations and means for exciting the feelings; and it might be contended, without fear of refutation, that by the diligent and habitual use of those considerations and means, we might with confident expectation of success engage in the work of raising our affections towards our blessed Savior to a state of due force and activity. But, blessed be God, we have a still better reliance; for the grand circumstance of all yet remains behind, which the writer has been led to defer, from his wish to contend with his opponents on their own ground. This circumstance is, that here, no less than in other particulars, the Christian’s hope is founded, not on the speculations or the strength of man, but on the declaration of Him who cannot lie, on the power of Omnipotence. Unreasonable conduct of our Objectors in the present instance We learn from the Scriptures that it is one main part of the operations of the Holy Spirit, to implant those heavenly principles in the human mind, and to cherish their growth. We are encouraged to believe, that in answer to our prayers, this aid from above will give efficacy to our earnest endeavors, if used in humble dependence on divine grace. We may therefore with confidence take the means which have been suggested. But let us, in our turn be permitted to ask our opponents, have they humbly and perseveringly applied for this divine strength? or disclaiming that assistance, perhaps as tempting them to indolence, have they been so much the more strenuous and unwearied in the use of their own unaided endeavors; or rather have they not been equally negligent of both? Renouncing the one, they have wholly omitted the other. But this is far from being all. They even reverse all the methods which we have recommended as being calculated to increase regard; and exactly follow that course which would be pursued by any one who should wish to reduce an excessive affection. Yet thus leaving untried all the means, which, whether from Reason or Scripture, we maintain to be necessary to the production of the end, nay using such as are of a directly opposite nature, these men presume to talk to us of impossibilities! We may rather contend that they furnish a fresh proof of the soundness of our reasonings. We lay it down as a fundamental position, that speculative knowledge alone, mere superficial cursory considerations, will be of no avail, that nothing is to be done without the diligent continued use of the appointed method. They themselves afford an instance of the truth of our assertions: and while they supply no argument against the efficacy of the mode prescribed, they acknowledge at least that they are wholly ignorant of any other. Appeal to fact in proof of our former positions But let us now turn our eyes to Christians of a higher order, to those who have actually proved the truth of our reasonings; who have not only assumed the name, but who have possessed the substance, and felt the power, of Christianity; who, though often foiled by their remaining corruptions, and shamed and cast down under a sense of their many imperfections, have known in their better seasons, what it was to experience its firm hope, its dignified joy, its unshaken trust, its more than human consolations. In their hearts, love also towards their Redeemer has glowed; a love not superficial and unmeaning, but constant and rational, resulting from a strong impression of the worth of its object, and heightened by an abiding sense of great, unmerited and continually accumulating obligations; ever manifesting itself in acts of diligent obedience, or of patient suffering. Such was the religion of the holy Martyrs of the sixteenth century, the illustrious ornaments of the English church. They realized the theory which we have now been faintly tracing. Look to their writings, and you will find that their thoughts and affections had been much exercised in habitual views of the blessed Jesus. Thus they used the required means. What were the effects? Persecution and distress, degradation and contempt in vain assailed them—all these evils served but to bring their affections into closer contact with their object; and not only did their love feel no diminution or abatement, but it rose to all the exigencies of the occasion, and burned with an increase of ardor; even when brought forth at last to a cruel and ignominious death, they repined not at their fate; but rather rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. The writer might refer to still more recent times, to prove the reality of this divine principle. But lest his authorities should be disputed, let us go to the Apostles of our Lord; and while on a cursory perusal of their writings, we must acknowledge that they commend and even prescribe to us the love of Christ as one of the chief of the Christian graces; so on a more attentive inspection of those writings, we shall discover abundant proofs, that they were themselves bright examples of their own precept; that our blessed Savior was really the object of their warmest affection, and what he had done and suffered for them, the continual subject of their grateful remembrance. sect. iii Inadequate Conceptions concerning the Holy Spirit’s Operations THE disposition so prevalent in the bulk of nominal Christians, to form a religious system for themselves, instead of taking it from the word of God, is strikingly observable in their scarcely admitting, except in the most vague and general sense, the doctrine of the influence of the Holy Spirit. If we look into the Scriptures for information on this particular, we learn a very different lesson. We are in them distinctly taught, that “of ourselves we can do nothing;” that “we are by nature children of wrath,” and under the power of the evil spirit, our understandings being naturally dark, and our hearts averse from spiritual things; and we are directed to pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit to enlighten our understandings, to dissipate our prejudices, to purify our corrupt minds, and to renew us after the image of our heavenly Father. It is this influence which is represented as originally awakening us from slumber, as enlightening us in darkness, as “quickening us when dead,”* as “delivering us from the power of the devil,” as drawing us to God, as “translating us into the kingdom of his dear Son,”† as “creating us anew in Christ Jesus,”‡ as “dwelling in us, and walking in us;”* so that “putting off the old man with his deeds,” we are to consider ourselves as “having put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him;”† and as those who are to be “an habitation of God through the Spirit.”‡ It is by this Divine assistance only that we can grow in Grace, and improve in all Holiness. So expressly, particularly, and repeatedly, does the word of God inculcate these lessons, that one would think there was scarcely room for any difference of opinion among those who admit its authority. Sometimes (a) the whole of a Christian’s repentance and faith, and consequent holiness, are ascribed generally to the Divine influence; sometimes these are spoken of separately, and ascribed to the same Almighty power. Sometimes different particular graces of the Christian character, those which respect our duties and tempers towards our fellow-creatures, no less than those which have reference to the Supreme Being, are particularly traced to this source. Sometimes they are all referred collectively to this common root, being comprehended under the compendious denomination of “the Fruits of the Spirit.” In exact correspondence with these representations, this aid from above is promised in other parts of Scripture for the production of those effects; and the withholding or withdrawing of it is occasionally threatened as a punishment for the sins of men, and as one of the most fatal consequences of the Divine displeasure. The Liturgy of the Church of England strictly agrees with the representation, which has been here given of the instructions of the word of God. sect. iv Mistaken Conceptions entertained by nominal Christians of the Terms of Acceptance with God IF it be true then, that, in contradiction to the plainest dictates of Scripture, and to the ritual of our established Church, the sanctifying operations of the Holy Spirit (the first fruits of our reconciliation to God, the purchase of our Redeemer’s death, and his best gift to his true disciples,) are too generally undervalued and slighted; if it be also true, that our thoughts of the blessed Savior are confused and faint, our affections towards him languid and lukewarm; little proportioned to what they, who at such a price have been rescued from ruin, and endowed with a title to eternal glory, might be justly expected to feel towards the author of that deliverance; little proportioned to what has been felt by others, ransomed from the same ruin, and partakers of the same inheritance: if this, let it be repeated, be indeed so, let us not shut our eyes against the perception of our real state; but rather endeavor to trace the evil to its source. We are loudly called on to examine well our foundations. If anything be there unsound and hollow, the superstructure could not be safe, though its exterior were less suspicious. Let the question then be asked, and let the answer be returned with all the consideration and solemnity which a question so important may justly demand, whether, in the grand concern of all, the means of a sinner’s acceptance with God, there be not reason to apprehend, that the nominal Christians whom we have been addressing, too generally entertain very superficial and confused, if not highly dangerous notions? Is there not cause to fear, that with little more than an indistinct and nominal reference to Him who “bore our sins in his own body on the tree,” they really rest their eternal hopes on a vague, general persuasion of the unqualified mercy of the Supreme Being; or that, still more erroneously, they rely in the main, on their own negative or positive merits? “They can look upon their lives with an impartial eye, and congratulate themselves on their inoffensiveness in society; on their having been exempt, at least, from any gross vice, or if sometimes accidentally betrayed into it, on its never having been indulged habitually; or, if not even so,” (for there are but few who can say this, if the term vice be explained according to the strict requisitions of the Scriptures) “yet on the balance being in their favor, or on the whole not much against them, when their good and bad actions are fairly weighed, and due allowance is made for human frailty.” These considerations are sufficient for the most part to compose their apprehensions; these are the cordials which they find most at hand in the moments of serious thought, or of occasional dejection; and sometimes perhaps in seasons of less than ordinary self-complacency, they call in also to their aid the general persuasion of the unbounded mercy and pity of God. Yet persons of this description by no means disclaim a Savior, or avowedly relinquish their title to a share in the benefits of his death. They close their petitions with the name of Christ; but if not chiefly from the effect of habit, or out of decent conformity to the established faith, yet surely with something of the same ambiguity of principle, which influenced the expiring philosopher, when he ordered the customary mark of homage to be paid to the god of medicine. Others go farther than this; for there are many shades of difference between those who flatly renounce, and those who cordially embrace the doctrine of Redemption by Christ. This class has a sort of general, indeterminate, and ill understood dependence on our blessed Savior. But their hopes, so far as they can be distinctly made out, appear ultimately to rest on the persuasion that they are now, through Christ, become members of a new dispensation, wherein they will be tried by a more lenient rule than that to which they must have been otherwise subject. “God will not now be extreme to mark what is done amiss; but will dispense with the rigorous exactions of his law, too strict indeed for such frail creatures as we are, to hope that we can fulfil it. Christianity has moderated the requisitions of Divine Justice; and all that is now required of us, is thankfully to trust to the merits of Christ for the pardon of our sins, and the acceptance of our sincere though imperfect obedience. The frailties and infirmities to which our nature is liable, or to which our situation in life exposes us, will not be severely judged; and as it is practice that really determines the character, we may rest satisfied, that if, on the whole, our lives be tolerably good, we shall escape with little or no punishment, and through Jesus Christ our Lord, shall be finally partakers of heavenly felicity.” Prevailing fundamental misconception of the scheme and essential principle of the Gospel We cannot dive into the human heart, and therefore should always speak with caution and diffidence, when, from external appearances or declarations we are affirming the existence of any internal principles and feelings; especially as we are liable to be misled by the ambiguities of language, or by the inaccuracy with which others may express themselves. But it is sometimes not difficult to anyone who is accustomed, if the phrase may be allowed, to the anatomy of the human mind, to discern, that generally speaking, the persons who use the above language, rely not so much on the merits of Christ, and on the agency of Divine Grace, as on their own power of fulfilling the moderated requisitions of Divine Justice. He will hence therefore discover in them a disposition, rather to extenuate the malignity of their disease, than to magnify the excellence of the proffered remedy. He will find them apt to palliate in themselves what they cannot fully justify to enhance the merit of what they believe to be their good qualities and commendable actions, to set, as it were in an account, the good against the bad; and if the result be not very unfavorable, they conceive that they shall be entitled to claim the benefits of our Savior’s sufferings as a thing of course. They have little idea, so little, that it might almost be affirmed that they have no idea at all, of the importance or difficulty of the duty of what the Scripture calls “submitting ourselves to the righteousness of God;” or of our proneness rather to justify ourselves in his sight, than, in the language of imploring penitents, to acknowledge ourselves guilty and helpless sinners. They have never summoned themselves to this entire and unqualified renunciation of their own merits, and their own strength; and therefore they remain strangers to the natural loftiness of the human heart, which such a call would have awakened into action, and roused to resistance. All these their several errors naturally result from the mistaken conception entertained of the fundamental principles of christianity. They consider not that Christianity is a scheme for “justifying the ungodly,”* by Christ’s dying for them, “when yet sinners”† (a): a scheme for reconciling us to God—“when enemies:” and for making the fruits of holiness the effects,‡ not the cause, of our being justified and reconciled: that in short, it opens freely the door of mercy, to the greatest and worst of penitent sinners; who obeying the blessed impulse of the grace of God, whereby they had been awakened from the sleep of death, and moved to seek for pardon, may enter in, and, through the regenerating influence of the Holy Spirit, be enabled to bring forth the fruits of Righteousness. But they rather conceive of Christianity as opening the door of mercy, that those, who on the ground of their own merits could not have hoped to justify themselves before God, may yet be admitted for Christ’s sake, on condition of their having previously satisfied the moderated requisitions of Divine Justice. In speaking to others also of the Gospel scheme, they are apt to talk too much of terms and performances on our part, on which we become entitled to an interest in the sufferings of Christ; instead of stating the benefits of Christ’s satisfaction as extended to us freely, “without money and without price.” Some practical consequences of the fundamental error above pointed out The practical consequences of these errors are such as might be expected. They tend to prevent that sense which we ought to entertain of our own natural misery and helplessness; and that deep feeling of gratitude for the merits and intercession of Christ, to which we are wholly indebted for our reconciliation to God, and for the will and the power, from first to last, to work out our own salvation. They consider it too much in the light of a contract between two parties, wherein each, independently of the other, has his own distinct condition to perform; man—to do his duty; God—to justify and accept for Christ’s sake: If they fail not in the discharge of their condition, assuredly the condition on God’s part will be faithfully fulfilled. Accordingly, we find in fact, that they who represent the Gospel scheme in the manner above described, give evidence of the subject with which their hearts are most filled, by their proneness to run into merely moral disquisitions, either not mentioning at all, or at least but cursorily touching on, the sufferings and love of their Redeemer; and are little apt to kindle at their Savior’s name, or, like the apostles, to be betrayed by their fervor into what may be almost an untimely descant on the riches of his unutterable mercy. In addressing others also whom they conceive to be living, in habits of sin, and under the wrath of God, they rather advise them to amend their ways as a preparation for their coming to Christ, than exhort them to throw themselves with deep prostration of soul at the foot of the cross, there to obtain pardon, and find grace to help in time of need. The great importance of the subject in question will justify the writer in having been thus particular. It has arisen from a wish that on a matter of such magnitude, it should be impossible to mistake his meaning. But after all that has been said, let it also be remembered, that, except so far as the instruction of others is concerned, the point of importance is the internal disposition of the mind; and it is to be hoped, that a dependence for pardon and holiness may be placed where it ought to be, notwithstanding the vague manner in which men express themselves. Let us also hope, that He who searches the heart, sees the right dispositions in many who use the mistaken and dangerous language to which we have objected. If the preceding statement of the error so generally prevalent concerning the nature of the Gospel offer be in any considerable degree just, it will then explain that languor in the affections towards our blessed Savior, together with that inadequate impression of the necessity and value of the assistance of the Divine Spirit, which so generally prevail. According to the soundest principles of reasoning, it may be also adduced as an additional proof of the correctness of our present statement, that it so exactly falls in with those phænomena, and so naturally accounts for them. For even admitting that the persons above mentioned, particularly the last class, do at the bottom rely on the atonement of Christ; yet, on their scheme, it must necessarily happen, that the object to which they are most accustomed to look, with which their thoughts are chiefly conversant, and from which they most habitually derive complacency, is rather their own qualified merit and services, though confessed to be inadequate, than the sufferings and atoning death of a crucified Savior. The affections towards our blessed Lord therefore (according to the theory of the passions formerly laid down) cannot be expected to flourish, because they receive not that which was shown to be necessary to their nutriment and growth. If we would love him as affectionately, and rejoice in him as triumphantly, as the first Christians did; we must learn like them to repose our entire trust in him, and to adopt the language of the apostle, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”*—“Who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”† Condemnation of those who abuse the doctrine of free Grace Doubtless there have been too many, who, to their eternal ruin, have abused the doctrine of Salvation by Grace; and have vainly trusted in Christ for pardon and acceptance, when by their vicious lives they have plainly proved the groundlessness of their pretensions. The tree is to be known by its fruits: and there is too much reason to fear that there is no principle of faith, when it does not decidedly evince itself by the fruits of holiness. Dreadful indeed will be the doom, above that of all others, of those loose professors of Christianity, to whom at the last day our blessed Savior will address those words, “I never knew you; depart from me, all ye that work iniquity.” But the danger of error on this side ought not to render us insensible to the opposite error: an error against which in these days it seems particularly necessary to guard. It is far from the intention of the writer of this Work to enter into the niceties of controversy. But surely without danger of being thought to violate this design, he may be permitted to contend, that they who in the main believe the doctrines of the Church of England, are bound to allow, that our dependence on our blessed Savior, as alone the meritorious cause of our acceptance with God, and as the means of all its blessed fruits and glorious consequences, must be not merely formal and nominal, but real and substantial; not vague, qualified, and partial, but direct, cordial, and entire. Believing in Christ, what it really implies “Repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ,” was the sum of the apostolical instructions. It is not an occasional invocation of the name of Christ, or a transient recognition of his authority, that fills up the measure of the terms, believing in Jesus. This we shall find no such easy task: and, if we trust that we do believe, we should all perhaps do well to cry out in the words of an imploring suppliant, (he supplicated not in vain) “Lord, help thou our unbelief.” We must be deeply conscious of our guilt and misery, heartily repenting of our sins, and firmly resolving to forsake them: and thus penitently “fleeing for refuge to the hope set before us,” we must found altogether on the merit of the crucified Redeemer our hopes of escape from their deserved punishment, and of deliverance from their enslaving power. This must be our first, our last, our only plea. We are to surrender ourselves up to him to “be washed in his blood,”* to be sanctified by his Spirit, resolving to receive him for our Lord and Master, to learn in his School, to obey all his commandments. Answer to the Objection, that we insist on metaphysical niceties It may perhaps be not unnecessary, after having treated so largely on this important topic, to add a few words in order to obviate a charge which may be urged against us, that we are insisting on nice and abstruse distinctions in what is a matter of general concern: and this too in a system which on its original promulgation was declared to be peculiarly intended for the simple and poor. It will be abundantly evident, however, on a little reflection, and experience fully proves the position, that what has been required is not the perception of a subtle distinction, but a state and condition of heart. To the former, the poor and the ignorant must be indeed confessed unequal; but they are far less indisposed than the great and the learned, to bow down to that “preaching of the cross, which is to them that perish foolishness, but unto them that are saved the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” The poor are not liable to be puffed up by the intoxicating fumes of ambition and worldly grandeur. They are less likely to be kept from entering into the straight and narrow way, and, when they have entered, to be drawn back again, or to be retarded in their progress, by the cares or pleasures of life. They may express themselves ill: but their views may be simple, and their hearts humble, penitent, and sincere. It is, as in other cases; the vulgar are the subjects of phænomena, the learned explain them: the former know nothing of the theory of vision or of sentiment; but this ignorance hinders them not from seeing and thinking; and though unable to discourse elaborately on the passions, they can feel warmly for their children, their friends, their country. The atonement and grace of Christ farther pressed as the subject of our habitual regard After this digression, if that be indeed a digression which, by removing a formidable objection, renders the truth of the positions we wish to establish more clear and less questionable, we may now resume the thread of our argument. Still entreating therefore the attention of those, who have not been used to think much of the necessity of this undivided, and, if it may be so termed, unadulterated reliance, for which we have been contending: we would still more particularly address ourselves to others who are disposed to believe that though, in some obscure and vague sense, the death of Christ as the satisfaction for our sins, and for the purchase of our future happiness, and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, are to be admitted as fundamental articles of our creed, yet that these are doctrines so much above us, that they are not objects suited to our capacities; and that turning our eyes therefore from these difficult speculations, we should fix them on the practical and moral precepts of the Gospel. “These it most concerns us to know; these therefore let us study. Such is the frailty of our nature, such the strength and number of our temptations to evil, that, in reducing the Gospel morality to practice, we shall find full employment: and by attending to these moral precepts, rather than to those high mysterious doctrines which you are pressing on us, we shall best prepare to appear before God on that tremendous day, when ‘He shall judge every man according to his works.’ ” “Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!” It will at once destroy this flimsy web, to reply in the words of our blessed Savior, and of his beloved Disciple—“This is the work of God, that ye believe “in him whom he hath sent.”* “This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.”† In truth, if we consider but for a moment the opinions of men who argue thus, we must be conscious of their absurdity. Let the modern Unitarians reduce the Gospel to a mere system of ethics, but surely it is in the highest degree unreasonable to admit into our scheme all the grand peculiarities of Christianity, and having admitted, to neglect and think no more of them! “Wherefore” (might the Socinian say) “Wherefore all this costly and complicated machinery? It is like the Tychonic astronomy, encumbered and self-convicted by its own complicated relations and useless perplexities. It is so little like the simplicity of nature, it is so unworthy of the divine hand, that it even offends against those rules of propriety which we require to be observed in the imperfect compositions of the human intellect.” (a) Well may the Socinian assume this lofty tone, with those whom we are now addressing. If these be indeed the doctrines of Revelation, common sense suggests to us that from their nature and their magnitude, they deserve our most serious regard. It is the very theology of Epicurus to allow the existence of these “heavenly things,” but to deny their connection with human concerns, and their influence on human actions. Besides the unreasonableness of this conduct, we might strongly urge also in this connection the profaneness of thus treating as matters of subordinate consideration those parts of the system of Christianity, which are so strongly impressed on our reverence by the dignity of the person to whom they relate. This very argument is indeed repeatedly and pointedly pressed by the sacred writers.* Nor is the profane irreverence of this conduct more striking than its ingratitude. When from reading that our Savior was “the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, upholding all things by the word of his power,” we go on to consider the purpose for which he came on earth, and all that he did and suffered for us; surely, if we have a spark of ingenuousness left within us, we shall condemn ourselves as guilty of the blackest ingratitude, in rarely noticing, or coldly turning away, on whatever shallow pretenses, from the contemplation of these miracles of mercy. For those baser minds, however, on which fear alone can operate, that motive is superadded; and we are plainly forewarned, both directly and indirectly, by the example of the Jewish nation, that God will not hold them guiltless who are thus unmindful of his most signal acts of condescension and kindness. But as this is a question of pure Revelation, reasonings from probability may not be deemed decisive. To Revelation therefore we must appeal; and without entering into a labored discussion of the subject, which might be to trespass on the reader’s patience, I would refer him to the sacred Writings themselves for complete satisfaction. We would earnestly recommend it to him to weigh with the utmost seriousness those passages of Scripture wherein the peculiar doctrines of Christianity are expressly mentioned; and farther, to attend, with due regard, to the illustration and confirmation, which the conclusions resulting from those passages incidentally receive from other parts of the word of God. They who maintain the opinion which we are combating, will thereby become convinced that theirs is indeed an unscriptural Religion; and will learn, instead of turning off their eyes from the grand peculiarities of Christianity, to keep these ever in view, as the pregnant principles whence all the rest must derive their origin, and receive their best support.* Conclusion Let us then each for himself solemnly ask ourselves, whether we, have fled for refuge to the appointed hope? And whether we are habitually looking to it, as to the only source of consolation? “Other foundation can no man lay:” there is no other ground for dependence, no other plea for pardon; but here there is hope, even to the uttermost. Let us labor then to affect our hearts with a deep conviction of our need of a Redeemer, and of the value of his offered mediation. Let us fall down humbly before the throne of God, imploring pity and pardon in the name of the Son of his love. Let us beseech him to give us a true spirit of repentance, and of hearty undivided faith in the Lord Jesus. Let us not be satisfied till the cordiality of our belief be confirmed to us by that character with which we are furnished by an inspired writer, “that to as many as believe, Christ is precious;” and let us strive to increase daily in love towards our blessed Savior; and pray earnestly, that “we may be filled with Joy and Peace in believing, that we may abound in Hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Let us diligently put in practice the directions already given for cherishing and cultivating the principle of the Love of Christ. With this view let us labor assiduously to increase in knowledge, that our affection to the Lord who bought us, may be deeply rooted and rational. By frequent meditation on the incidents of our Savior’s life, and still more on the astonishing circumstances of his death; by often calling to mind the state from which he proposes to rescue us, and the glories of his heavenly kingdom; by continual intercourse with him of prayer and praise, of dependence and confidence in dangers, of hope and joy in our brighter hours, let us endeavor to keep him constantly present to our minds, and to render all our conceptions of him more distinct, lively, and intelligent. The title of Christian is a reproach to us, if we estrange ourselves from him after whom we are denominated. The name of Jesus is not to be to us like the Allah of the Mahometans, a talisman or an amulet, to be worn on the arm, merely as an external badge and symbol of our profession, and to preserve us from evil by some mysterious and unintelligible potency; but it is to be engraven deeply on the heart, there written by the finger of God himself in everlasting characters. It is our sure and undoubted title to present peace and future glory. The assurance which this title conveys of a bright reversion, will lighten the burdens, and alleviate the sorrows of life; and in some happier moments, it will impart to us somewhat of that fullness of joy which is at God’s right hand, enabling us to join even here in the heavenly Hosannah: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”*—“Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”† * Matt. 11:28. * This was the motto on their banner. † Title of Attila a king of the Huns, whose desolating ravages are well known. b Vide the Testimony of West India merchants to the Moravians, in the Report of the Privy Council on the Slave Trade. * Rom 2:1. * Philipp. 1:9. † Dr. Horne. * 2 Cor. 8:12. * Isaiah 53:2 † Phil. 2:6, 7, 8. ‡ Luke 2:10, 11. § Col. 1:12, 13. || Ephes. 1:18. ¶ Col. 1:27. ** Heb. 13:8. * Lam. 3:51. † John 4:20. a Dr. Adam Smith, in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. * 1 Pet. 1:8. * Heb. 4:15. † Isaiah 40:11. ‡ Ib. 49:10. a The word comfortless is rendered in the margin, Orphans. § John 14:18. || 1 Cor. 13:12. * Eph. 2:1. † Col. 1:13. ‡ Ephes. 2:10. * 2 Cor. 6:16. † Col. 3:9, 10. ‡ Ephes. 2:22. a Vide Dr. Doddridge’s eight Sermons on Regeneration, a most valuable compilation; and M’Laurin’s Essay on Divine Grace. * Rom. 4:5. † Ibid. 5:6–8. a The Writer trusts he cannot be misunderstood to mean that any, continuing sinners and ungodly, can, by believing, be accepted, or finally saved. The following chapter, particularly the latter part of it, (Sect. 6.) would abundantly vindicate him from any such misconstruction. Meanwhile he will only remark, that true faith (in which repentance is considered as involved) is in Scripture regarded as the radical principle of holiness. If the root exists, the proper fruits will be brought forth. An attention to this consideration would have easily explained and reconciled those passages of St. Paul’s and St. James’s Epistles, which have furnished so much matter of argument and criticism. St. James, it may be observed, all along speaks not of a man, who has faith, but who says that he hath faith. He contrasts pretended, imperfect, dead faith, with real, complete, living faith. This surely must appear decisively clear to those who observe that the conclusion which he deduces from his whole reasoning in verses 23 & 26, respects faith—Abraham believed God, &c. Faith without works, &c. It is his great object to assert and establish the right kind of faith, and only to deny the utility or value of that which falsely usurps the name.—Vide James 2:14, &c. &c. ‡ Vide Ch. 4. sect. 6. * Gal. 6:14. † 1 Cor. 1:30. * Rev. 1:5. * John, 6:29. † 1 John, 3:23. a Nec Deus intersit, &c. * Vide Heb. 2:1, &c. * Any one who wishes to investigate this subject, will do well to study attentively M‘Laurin’s Essay on Prejudices against the Gospel.—It may not be amiss here to direct the reader’s attention to a few leading arguments, many of them those of the work just recommended. Let him maturely estimate the force of those terms, whereby the Apostle in the following passages designates and characterizes the whole of the Christian system. “We preach Christ crucified.”—“We determined to know nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” The value of this argument will be acknowledged by all who consider, that a system is never designated by an immaterial or an inferior part of it, but by that which constitutes its prime consideration and essential distinction. The conclusion suggested by this remark is confirmed by the Lord’s Supper being the rite by which our Savior himself commanded his Disciples to keep him in remembrance; and indeed a similar lesson is taught by the Sacrament of Baptism, which shadows out our souls being washed and purified by the blood of Christ. Observe next the frequency with which our Savior’s death and sufferings are introduced, and how often they are urged as practical motives. “The minds of the Apostles seem full of this subject. Every thing puts them in mind of it, they did not allow themselves to have it long out of their view, nor did any other branch of spiritual instruction make them lose sight of it.” Consider next that part of the Epistle to the Romans, wherein St. Paul speaks of some who went about to establish their own righteousness, and had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. May not this charge be in some degree urged, and even more strongly than in the case of the Jews, against those who satisfy themselves with vague, general, occasional thoughts of our Savior’s mediation; and the source of whose habitual complacency, as we explained above, is rather their being tolerably well satisfied with their own characters and conduct? Yet St. Paul declares concerning those of whom he speaks, as concerning persons whose sad situation could not be too much lamented, that he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart, adding still more emphatical expressions of deep and bitter regret. Let the Epistle to the Galatians be also carefully examined and considered; and let it be fairly asked, what was the particular in which the Judaizing Christians were defective, and the want of which is spoken of in such strong terms as these; that it frustrates the grace of God, and must debar from all the benefits of the death of Jesus? The Judaizing converts were not immoral. They seem to have admitted the chief tenets concerning our Savior. But they appear to have been disposed to trust not wholly, be it observed also, but only in part, for their acceptance with God, to the Mosaic institutions, instead of reposing entirely on the merits of Christ. Here let it be remembered, that when a compliance with these institutions was not regarded as conveying this inference, the Apostle showed by his own conduct, that he did not deem it criminal; whence, no less than from the words of the Epistle, it is clear that the offence of the Judaizing Christians whom he condemned, was what we have stated; that their crime did not consist in their obstinately continuing to adhere to a dispensation the ceremonial of which Christianity had abrogated, nor yet that it arose out of the sacrifices of the Levitical law, being from their very nature without efficacy for the blotting out of sin.—Vide Hebrews, 10:4, &c.—It was not that the foundation on which they built was of a sandy nature, but that they built on any other foundation than that which God had laid in the Gospel; it was not that they fixed their confidence on a false or a defective object, but that they did not direct it exclusively to the only true object of Hope held forth to us by the Gospel. * Rev. 5:12. † Ib. 13.  Wilberforce, W. (1830). A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians. (pp. 40–89). London: T. Cadell. (Public domain) Esau Esau And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. Genesis 27:34. Trinity College Chapel, 24th Sunday after Trinity, 1861. It is to be feared that even those who are most ready to confess that all Holy Scripture was written for our learning, do yet practically derive very little instruction from large portions of the Old Testament History. There are certain broad features indeed which we can scarcely mistake. When the flagrant sinner is struck down by divine vengeance in the midst of his crimes, or when blessings are showered on the faithful servant of God, the lesson is too plain to escape us. The history of David or of Ahab cannot be misread. But there are other parts of Holy Scripture which appear to us very perplexing and unintelligible, which we are disposed perhaps to give up in despair. We cannot understand for instance why in certain cases grave sins are dealt with so lightly, or slight offences visited with so heavy a punishment. We feel that our measure of right and wrong would have been very different; that we should have established another law of retribution. There are many reasons for this. It arises in part no doubt because we are judging of past ages by the conventional standard of good and evil in our own, and are therefore unwilling to view some of the more current and respectable sins in their true light. But it is still more due to the circumstance, that the point which decides the true character of the action frequently does not lie on the surface of the narrative, and that it requires more pains perhaps than we are disposed to give, in order to appreciate its moral significance. And yet it is just those lessons requiring the most study to master which are the most valuable, when once learnt. For they not only give us the broad features of God’s dealings with His creatures. They bring out the finer lines in the portraiture of good and evil. They develope the faint shadows of the picture. They discriminate between the real and the seeming. And thus they bring home to us our true position in the sight of God. They pluck off the mask, which we have worn to ourselves as well as to others. They penetrate the inmost depths of our spirit. And thus ‘the word of God is’ indeed ‘quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,’ a very ‘discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ And it happens very frequently in such cases—where the lesson conveyed does not appear at once on the face of the narrative, and where consequently there is a danger of our passing it over in a careless reading—that our attention is arrested by some casual but pointed allusion to it in the writings of an Apostle or Evangelist, or in the words of our Blessed Lord Himself. And thus the light of the New Testament is shed upon the Old. The narrative assumes a new aspect. We at length recognise its importance. We are led to study it afresh, and each time we read it we are more fully impressed with the depth of the lesson it conveys. The instances of Balaam and of Esau both illustrate the truth of what I have been saying. They are in many respects parallel. The difficulty is much the same in either case. We are at a loss to account for the extreme severity, as we are disposed to regard it, with which the offender is treated in the sacred narrative. Both alike are referred to in the New Testament. ‘The way of Balaam the son of Bosor’ is a by-word for disobedience and ungodliness. The ‘profane’ Esau, ‘who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright’, is the very picture and type of the hopelessly and irrevocably fallen. Yet this is certainly not the estimate we should have formed by ourselves. Our first impression of Balaam is of one, who—if he fell short of the highest perfection, if his duty to God was not all in all to him—yet at all events cannot be said to have gone very far wrong. We read of his consulting God in all he does. We find him acting as God commands him to act. We marvel at his subsequent history, and we are perplexed at the language which Scripture holds regarding him. So again with Esau. We have a sort of feeling that he too, like Balaam, is somewhat hardly dealt with. We are not sure that we should have given the preference to his brother Jacob—nay, we more than suspect that we should have reversed the judgment: that, instead of depriving him of the blessing, we should even have restored him the birthright. We have a lurking regard for his rough, impetuous, simple character, for his undesigning and generous spirit. The treachery which is practised upon him, and the success which attends his brother’s plots, enlist our sympathies in his favour. It is only when we have examined the narratives more closely, giving them more thought and trying to divest ourselves of our prejudices, that we see their history in its true light. Then at length we acknowledge the justice of God’s rebuke of Balaam; and we cease to marvel at his fall, because we can now see that, when he acted aright, he acted from fear and not from love. Then at length we discover the superiority of Jacob; and we wonder no more that Esau was deprived of the blessing and rejected as a profane person: for we see that Jacob—though amidst many imperfections, despite many grievous sins—did place his reliance on God; did look to Him, as the Giver of all good things; did live for more than the passing moment. In short Jacob was spiritually minded; while Esau—with much in him to like, and something to admire—was careless and indifferent to all higher things, influenced only by passing impulses and momentary impressions, without foresight, without reflection, the type of that hopeless class of men, whose maxim is, ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die’. To this latter narrative, the history of Esau, I will ask your attention for a few moments this morning. I know of no sadder story. I can imagine none. If the character of Esau had been less attractive, his fall would have excited less pity. If his prospects had not been so brilliant, his fate would have been less terrible. But it is the combination of these two circumstances in the narrative—the ruin of a character which we are disposed to admire, and the unspeakable value of the birthright and the blessing which he recklessly threw away—that gives the interest to the story, and rivets our attention to the lesson which it contains. The destruction of so many bright hopes, the dissipation of so many glorious visions, the hopeless and irrevocable ruin of one so simple and honest and open-hearted—what can be more touching than this? And hence it is that we seem to hear ringing sharply above the most piercing shrieks of pain, and the loudest wailings of grief, that one exceeding bitter cry, uttered in the agony of despair, ‘Bless me, even me also, O my father.’ And perhaps it may be that the narrative comes home with peculiar force to ourselves, that we are conscious of some crisis in our own lives, or recall some incident in the career of others whom we have known and loved, which reminds us only too painfully of the fate of Esau, and gives point to the lesson. Is it so with any of us? May it not be so in some degree or other with most or all of us? Or is it a mere form that we bewail our manifold sins and wickednesses; that we confess the remembrance of them to be grievous unto us, the burden intolerable? Have we not each our special temptation, our besetting sin? And it may be that at one time or other this has culminated in some act, more heinous than we had supposed possible—some breach of the law of love, or of truth, or of purity, according to our special temptation—one act which has seemed to shut us out from the presence of God, and to leave us to darkness and despair. And then at length we have learnt in our bitter anguish to measure the exceeding great value of that heavenly birthright, which as sons of God we have inherited only to spurn and to set at naught, and—in remorse, if not in penitence—have striven by the importunity of our cries to arrest the blessing, ere it has passed away from us for ever. I need scarcely dwell on the character of Esau, as it is painted in the sacred narrative. Making allowance for the rude habits of the patriarchal age, he is not essentially different in character from a very large number among ourselves. He has just the same virtues, and just the same faults. He is the father’s favourite son. He is born to great hopes. He has brilliant prospects before him. His career is in his own hands. His lot may well be envied by others. But all is thrown away upon him. He is reckless of his opportunities. He is insensible to his blessings. He loses everything by one desperate act of folly. He finds out too late the value of what he has lost. He would give anything to recover it, when recovering it is hopeless. And yet his character is far from utterly vicious. Of such a man we might say, that he is no one’s enemy but his own. If his bad passions are strong, his impulses for good are strong also. If he is reckless and undisciplined, he is simple and honest and open-hearted. He is in short not so very much worse—perhaps not at all worse—than a great number, who are admired and loved among ourselves, and whose manifest faults are forgiven for the sake of many rough virtues and generous affections. Nor do I think that the guilt of Esau will seem so much deeper in comparison with that which we may incur, when we consider the nature of the privilege which he despised, of the blessing which he threw away. True it is that the promise which pertained to Esau—the promise given to Abraham and renewed to Isaac—was something more than the possession of lands and flocks and houses; that his birthright implied more than mere rank or wealth or earthly power. He knew that by virtue of his birthright he was destined to be the father of the chosen seed; that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed; that from his race as concerning the flesh Christ was to come, the Redeemer of the whole world. This he knew, or might have known. This inheritance he bartered for a morsel of meat. For this he is condemned and branded as a profane person. It was no common offence then of which Esau was guilty. It was perhaps as great an offence as in his position he could have committed. Yet it is not greater than that which we shall commit, if like him we despise our birthright. For have we not an inheritance more precious still—we who are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ—a name more glorious than his, for it is a name better than of sons and of daughters? If he might have been the father of Messiah’s race, how much greater is our privilege, to whom is accorded a far more intimate, because a spiritual, relationship? ‘Whosoever shall do the will of My Father Which is in heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother.’ Are we tempted for some worldly consideration, for some momentary advantage, for wealth or popularity or fame or ease or pleasure, to barter away this brilliant inheritance? Is not the price we give as ruinous, the exchange we get as worthless, as it was with Esau? There are two circumstances however in the story of Esau, which it may be well to dwell on more at length: for from these we may derive the most valuable lesson. Yet at first sight they only perplex us. They seem not only to palliate the guilt, but almost to obliterate the offence. They lead us to look upon him as the victim rather than the culprit, as sinned against rather than sinning. The first of these is the circumstance that he is surprised into selling his birthright. It is a momentary, unpremeditated act; he falls into a snare laid for him; we feel disposed therefore not to judge him too harshly: we cannot regard his offence as very heinous. In the second place, though the loss of the birthright was certainly his own act, whatever excuse we may make for it, yet he was deprived of the blessing by no fault of his. By no reasonable foresight could he have prevented it. He made some efforts at least to obtain that blessing. He did not throw it away. He was robbed of it. Surely this can not be laid to his charge. Of this at least he is innocent. In considering the first of these points, let us ask ourselves what is meant by being surprised into such and such a sinful act—what leads to it, what state of mind it supposes, how it comes about? In a certain sense indeed Esau is surprised into selling his birthright. He returns from the field hungry and faint. He asks for food. His brother will not give it him except at the price of his birthright. He yields. ‘Behold,’ he says, ‘I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?’ But is this yielding an isolated act? Does it not show a defective character? Does it not betoken a certain spiritual depravity, a low, worldly view of his position? He ‘despised his birthright,’ We are told, and therefore he is branded as ‘a profane person.’ For indeed surprise would be utterly powerless, unless the character were previously undermined. And so it is no excuse for a sinful act; it is scarcely in any degree a palliation. It is rather a revelation of secret depravity in a man, hidden successfully from his neighbours, ignored by, but not unknown to, himself. After the flagrant deed is committed, others may be at a loss to account for it. It is unexplained to them by anything in his previous career. But to himself it is clear enough. To him it is not an isolated act, but one link in a long chain of evil. He has been aware all along that he was sinking into sin. He has thrust away the troublesome thought, but he has been aware of it. He has taken no measure, it may be, of the growth of his guilt. It has ripened into grievous sin unnoticed. In no other sense can it have been a surprise to him. For all the while the seed was there, and had taken root, and the noxious plant was growing; and he knew it, and he hid it from others, and he would not confess it perhaps even to himself. Is it an act of sensuality into which he has been betrayed? One act perhaps, which has poisoned the fountains of his spiritual life, which has bound his outward existence with heavy chains which he cannot shake off. The temptation took him unawares, we say. He was startled into sin. But is this the whole account of the matter? Is it natural, is it reasonable, that this should be so? Who shall dare to trace the secret history of that man’s soul, to lay open the hidden springs of his guilt? Who shall venture to say what forbidden thoughts he has admitted, perhaps welcomed, how recklessly he has lingered on the border line of good and evil, how longingly he has hovered about the accursed thing, before he dared to touch it? Or again, is it a palpable breach of truth or honesty? He has committed some act of fraud or treachery, which has destroyed his good name for ever. How came this to pass? Were there no antecedents in his career which led naturally to that result? Had he not contracted a habit, for instance, of saying less or more than he meant, of expressing an enthusiasm or an interest which he did not feel, of paring down the truth to fit it into some conventional mould, of suppressing a little here or exaggerating a little there? Or if he fell, not from moral cowardice or from the desire to please, but from greed of gain, were there not here also insidious influences at work? There are many cases, where the question of right is doubtful. These he has decided in his own favour. There are others, where, if he investigated, he might find that he was defrauding his neighbour. These he will not enquire into. He will not be dishonest knowingly, but he will take no pains to find whether he is so or not. These are the beginnings of his guilt. By these a fraudulent habit is created. By degrees he goes on from bad to worse. He avails himself of his superior cunning; he defrauds his neighbour in little things where he is sure of escaping observation. By this time he has ceased to respect honesty as a thing to be prized in itself. To him it is so much capital to trade upon—and for this purpose the semblance is as good as the reality. Hitherto he has preserved his reputation before the world. But at length he is surprised, as we say, into some flagrant act of dishonesty. Society lays him under a ban. His character is irrecoverably lost. And so it was with Esau. It was not that one act of selling his birthright which constituted his guilt. That was but the revelation of his true character, the summing up, as it were, of his depravity. But fearful as is the lesson which this incident suggests, it is not half so fearful as that which we derive from his subsequent fate. He bartered away his birthright, but how was it with the blessing? It was by no act of his own that he lost this. There is nothing in the narrative which leads us to such a supposition. There was no unholy traffic here, no profane contempt here. He did not drive the blessing away. It went in spite of him. The key to this difficulty is found in the allusion in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The loss of the blessing is there represented as the inevitable consequence of the sale of his birthright. ‘Ye know that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected.’ His fate up to a certain point was in his own hands. After that it was placed beyond his reach. So it was with Esau, and so it is always with the downward course of guilt. We may wade for a time amidst the shallows of sin, feeling our footing and heedless of danger. A single step more places us at the mercy of the waves, and we are swept away into the ocean of ruin. When we read of God’s hardening the sinner’s heart, we are perhaps startled at the phrase, yet there is no doubt that it represents a fearful moral truth. The sinner after a time ceases to be his own master. He has coiled a chain about him, which binds him hand and foot. He is dragged helplessly down. There is no more terrible passage in classical literature than that in which the Roman poet describes the guilty man trembling in his secret soul, as he sees himself falling, falling headlong, unheeded and unsuspected by those nearest to him. With a true moral insight he regards this state as the just retribution of offended heaven—the heaviest punishment which can be inflicted on the most heinous guilt. Such indeed it is. Translating it into the language of Scripture we should say, that God has hardened such a man’s heart. Surely we need not call to our aid the terrors of an unseen world—however true those terrors may be—to deter us from the path of guilt. The thought that our hearts also may be hardened, that we too may shut ourselves out from the presence of God, should be sufficient to check us in our downward career. And even supposing this deadness should not pervade our whole spiritual being, may not the yielding to our special temptation, the indulgence in our favourite sin, stiffen and paralyse some limb or other of our moral frame? Do we not every now and then see an instance of this? We are brought in contact with some one, who, thoroughly conscientious in most things, keenly sensitive on many points of duty, is yet hardened in some one point of his moral constitution, seems dead to some moral virtue. Yet such cases are exceptional. It is the tendency of this paralysis to spread. It seizes on one limb first, but presently it extends to all. The moral frame, like the bodily, is compacted and knit together in a marvellous way. There is a wonderful sympathy between limb and limb. ‘Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.’ In what I have said, I have been speaking the language of warning, and not the language of despair. Despair is no word of the Christian’s vocabulary. So long as there is any heavenward aspiration, any loathing of sin, any yearning after better things, however slight, however feeble, there is still hope. Cherish these higher feelings. Quench not the Spirit, though it flicker faintly and lowly. From these few sparks a bright flame may be kindled, which shall cheer your heart, and throw a light upon your path, and guide you home to your heavenly rest. Lightfoot, J. B. (1890). Cambridge Sermons. London; New York: MacMillan and Co. (Public Domain) Deuteronomy 23:9 When Thou Goest Deuteronomy 23:9 When thou goest out with the host against thine enemies, keep thee then from all wickedness. To entitle this time to this text, or to shew it pertinent to the present occasion, will ask no long preface. “When thou goest forth,” &c. This “when” is now. There be enemies, and we have an host; it is going forth. Christ’s own application which is the best may be well applied here, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.”* This our host so going forth, our heart’s desire and prayer unto God is, that they may happily go, and thrice happily come again, with joy and triumph to her sacred Majesty, honor to themselves, and general contentment to the whole land. So shall they go, and so come, if we can procure the Lord of Hosts to go forth with, and to take charge of our hosts. “It is He That giveth victory to kings,”* saith David;* it is He That is Triumphator Israel, saith Samuel. Victory and triumph never fail if He fail not. Now then that God may not fail them, but go in and out before them and bring them back with victory and triumph, and that we all desire and pray for may so come to pass, Moses doth here out of his own experience bestow an advice upon us. And Moses could skill what belonged to war, as one that forty years together was never out of camp. Which advice is, that among our military points we would reckon the abatement of sin for one; that now this time of our going forth we would go forth against sin too, and keep us from it as we would keep us from our enemy. If we could be but persuaded to reform our former custom of sin, it would certainly do the journey good. That therefore with other courses, some remembrance, some regard be had of this; that at this time sin do not so overflow among us, be not so very fruitful as before time it hath. And this is an use of Divinity in war. And as this an use of Divinity in war, so have we withal an use of war in Divinity. For Moses telling us, that “when our forces go forth against the enemy,”—that we then, at that time, are in any wise “to keep us from wickedness;” by sorting these thus together doth plainly intimate that when the time of war is, then is a fit time, a very good opportunity, to draw from sin and to return to God. These former years, this time of the fast, and this day, the first day of it, both ministered an occasion to call for an abstinence from sin; this day, and this time, being set out by the Church’s appointment to that end. Now besides that ordinary of other years, God this year hath sent us another, the time of war; and that a very seasonable time too, wherein to repent and retire from sin. As if He should say, If you would forsake sin now you may do it; for “behold, now is an acceptable time,”* and a fit season. This time to concur with that time, and both to cooperate to the amendment of our lives. And what shall I say? O that one of them, the former or the latter, or both might prevail so much with us, that as the forepart this day is fulfilled in our ears, so the latter part might be fulfilled in our lives; that it might not be singly regarded that is thus doubly commended; that the fast at hand might keep us, or the war at hand might keep us, or both might keep us, that we might be kept from sin. That either Joel’s trump proclaiming a fast, or Amos’ trump proclaiming war, might serve to sound this retreat, might serve to awake us from that now more than sleep, even almost that lethargy of sin which the security of our so long peace hath cast us in. This is the sum. These the double use, 1. of war in divinity; that our going forth might procure the giving over sin. 2 Of Divinity in war; that our giving over sin might procure good speed to our going forth, even an honorable and happy return. The parts are two; for the verse parteth itself by “when” and “then.” These two; 1. the going forth of the host; 2. the keeping from sin. To express them in the terms of the present business; 1. the former, the commission authorizing to go. 2. The latter, the instruction directing so to go that we may prosper and prevail. In which latter will come to be considered these three points; 1. The conjunction and coherence of these two. 2. The consequence. 3. The contents of the latter, how to keep us from sin. “When thou goest forth,” &c. In the first is the commission, which is ever the corner-stone of all proceedings. If we take the verse entire, both parts together, it riseth thus; If they which go to war must keep themselves from sin, then is war no sin but lawful, and without sin to be undertaken. Or, if we take the first part by itself, in saying “when thou goest” he implieth a time will come when they may go forth. For vain were the supposal, and far unworthy the wisdom of God’s Spirit to say “when,” if never any such time would come; if there were no time for war of God’s allowance. We cannot better pattern it than by the Gospel of this day, “when ye fast, be not like hypocrites”*—by all Divines resolved thus. Fast ye may sometimes; and then fasting, look you fall not into hypocrisy. And as in that, so in this: go ye may sometimes; only when ye go see ye “refrain from sin,” and then go and spare not. Out of which match of these two, fast and war, we may rise higher. It is no less usual with the Prophets to say sanctificate prælium, as Joel 3. than to say, sanctificate jejunium, “sanctify a war,”* as well as “a fast.”* And in another, consecrate manus vestras hodie Domino, “consecrate your hands this day unto the Lord.”* Which sheweth war is not so secular a matter, but that it hath both his lawfulness and his holiness; and that the very hands may be sacred or hallowed by fighting some battles. And therefore,* in the Calendar of Saints we have nominated, not Abel, Enoch, and Noah alone, men of peace and devotion, who spent their time in prayer and service of God; but Gideon, Jephtha, Samson, worthies and men of war “who,”* saith the Apostle, “through faith were valiant in battle, and through faith put to flight the armies of aliens.” War therefore hath his time and commission from God. Secondly, I add that this kind of war, not only defensive war, but offensive too, hath his “when.” And that, out of this very text; which is, if we mark well, not when they come forth against thee, but “when thou goest forth against them,” παρεμβάλλειν, say the Seventy, “to invade or annoy them.” Both these have their time; the former to maintain our right, the latter to avenge our wrong. By both these ways doth God send His people forth; both have warrant. Before Moses,* Abraham’s war to rescue Lot his ally was defensive and lawful; Jacob’s war, to win from the Amorite “by his sword and bow,”* offensive and lawful too. Under Moses, the war against Amalek who came out against them,* and the war against Midian, against whom they “went forth to wreak themselves for the sin of Peor,”* both lawful. After Moses, King David, in the battle of Ephes-dammim,* keeping the enemy from their gates; in the battle of Gath,* seeking the enemy at his own gates, and giving him battle in his own territory. And this as good law, so Egredere, et compelle eos intrare, “Go forth, and compel them to come in,”* is good Gospel too. So that war, and this kind of war, hath his commission. Thirdly, and to strengthen the hands of our men of war yet farther. As war, and to go forth to war, against our enemies, any enemies, whether foreign foes or rebellious subjects; so of all enemies against the latter, against them to go forth, hath ever been counted most just and lawful. Many commissions are upon record in the law, of journeys in this kind. Against the tribe of Reuben,* for erecting them an altar beside that of Moses; and that have these of ours done too. Against the tribe of Benjamin, for a barbarous, and brutish outrage committed at Gibeah, and that have these too, and not one,* but many. Against Sheba, for blowing a trumpet and crying, “No part have we in David, no inheritance in the son of Jesse;”* and so far hath their madness proceeded. And the Gospel is not behind neither. Against them that send word, nolumus hunc regnare super nos, producite et occidite,* saith our Saviour Christ Himself. In effect these say as much as nolumus, and as much may be said and done to them. Nay, if once he say “no part in David;”* if he were Absalom, or Adonijah, of the blood royal, he “hath spoken that word against his own life:”* much more if but such a one as Sheba the son of Bichri. And yet even he was nothing so deep as this. For neither had King David vouchsafed him any favor any time before, neither offered him peace, or to receive him to grace after he had lift up his heel against him. But here, here have been divers princely favors vouchsafed, and most unkindly rejected; means of clemency many times most graciously offered, and most ungraciously refused; yea, faith falsified and expectation deluded; contempt upon contempt heaped up, that the measure is full. These then are the enemies “against,” and this the time “when.” When not only we may but must, and that not with God’s leave only, but with His liking and full commission, “go forth” in this cause. So that war is lawful; and this kind, “to go forth;” and against these enemies most just and most lawful. At this time against these enemies it is a war sanctified; they shall “consecrate their hands,” they shall præliari prælia Domini, that fight against them. So much for the commission. The commission being had, we are not to depart but stay and take our instructions also with us; which is the latter part, of “keeping from wickedness.” Joshua had his commission from God to go up against Ai;* yet for leaving out this latter, and not looking to Achan better, had not so good speed. This therefore must accompany and keep time with the former, as a “then” to that “when.” 1. Wherein first, of the joining these two, 1. that they must go together, 2. and of the reason why they must go together. 2. And after of the manner, how we may and must “keep ourselves from this wickedness.” The meeting of these two within the compass of one verse, 1. “Going forth with an army,” and 2. “forbearing of sin,” is worth the staying on. Leading an army pertaineth to military policy, forbearing of sin is flat divinity. For what hath the leading an army to do with forbearing of sin? Yet God hath thus sorted them as we see. Therefore policy of war whereto the former, and Divinity whereto the latter belongeth, are not such strangers one to the other, as that the one must avoid while the other is in place. But that, as loving neighbors and good friends here they meet together, they stand together, they keep time, consequence, and correspondence, the one with the other. God Himself, in Whose imperial style so oft proclaimed in the Prophets they both meet, “the Lord of Hosts,” “the Holy One of Israel;”*—God, I say, Himself in the great chapter of war, the twentieth of this book, assigneth an employment to the Priests as well as the officers of the camp, even to do that which ere-while was assayed, to animate the companies in the Lord, and the power of His might; letting them see the right of their cause, and how ready God is to receive the right under the banner and power of His protection. And from God Himself no doubt was that happy and blessed combination which in most wars of happy success we find, of a captain and a Prophet sorted together:* Joshua, with Moses a Prophet; Baruk,* with Deborah a Prophetess; Ezekias, with Esay;* Jehoshaphat, with Jahaziel; Joash, with Elisha;* and one of these doing the other no manner of hurt but good.* Joshua lifting up his hand against Amalek, Moses lifting up his hand for Joshua.* The one leading against the enemy and annoying him, the other leading against sin and annoying it; against sin, what some reckon of it it skills not, but certainly the most dangerous enemy both of private persons and of public states. These two then, 1. “going forth with the host,” and 2. “departing from sin,” being thus linked by God, our suit is, Break not this link; God hath joined them that we should join them. And this is a needful suit. For it is one of the diseases under the sun: in war all our thoughts run upon the host, looking to the host only and nothing but the host, and letting sin run whither it will without any keeper. I know well, I both know and acknowledge that the army’s going forth is mainly to be regarded, it hath the first place in the verse, and it hath it not for nought. Joshua must choose out men first; victuals must be supplied.* And nemo militat stipendiis suis, pay must be thought of.* We must go forth with our host; they be the words of the text;* go—not sit still; and with an host, not a heap of naked or starved men. We must help, and not tempt God. To help God is a strange speech, yet said it may be seeing an Angel hath said it; “Curse ye Meroz,” saith the Angel of the Lord, “curse the inhabitants thereof.” Why? “Because they came not to help the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty.”* This must first be done. But when this is done all is not done, we are not at a full point, we are but in the midst of the sentence yet. As that part of the host is to be regarded, so this of sin’s restraint is not to be neglected. As that hath the first place, so must this have the second, and second the former, or we shall have but a broken sentence without it. There is not, there cannot be a more prejudicial conceit than to say in our hearts, If the first be well all is well, then sin on and spare not, it skills not greatly for the latter. Si putas in robore exercitus bella consistere, faciet te Dominus cadere coram inimicis tuis, saith the Prophet to Amaziah.* If this be our conceit, so the host be well all is well, God will teach you another lesson, saith he, which I list not english. A proof whereof we have before Gibeah. Where the whole power of Israel, 400,000 strong,* trusting in their going out so strong, fell before a few Benjamites, a small handful in comparison, and shewed plainly to all ages to come that it is but a part, it is not all, to “go forth with an host” though never so well appointed. Let us then, as advice leadeth us, make up our period with taking a course for restraint of sin. For what sin unrestrained can work the valley of Achor may teach us,* where the inhabitants of the poor town of Ai put to flight Joshua with all his forces, and all because this second point was not well looked to. Now this second point being within the compass of our profession, and yet having so necessary an use in war as the sentence is not perfect without it, may serve to answer the question, more usually than advisedly oft cast out, What good do these Churchmen? What use is there of them now at such times as this? Yes, there is an use of them, and that in war we see. The camp hath use of this place, and they that serve there of them that serve here. Which God shewed plainly in the first field that ever His people fought; and when He had shewed it, caused it to be recorded ad perpetuam rei memoriam—they be God’s own words—that the same course might be ever after holden in all.* Where it is thus written, and “if we believe not we shall not be established,”* that Joshua’s having the better or going to the worse depended not a little on the steadiness of Moses’ hands, and that Moses staying behind and striking never a stroke did his part toward the attaining of the victory not much less than Joshua that went forth and fought manfully. Prayer then is of use; and though we be, saith St. Paul, armed at all points from hand to foot, yet must we super omnia, “over all,” draw this, and arm even our very armor with “prayer and supplications.”* But what availeth prayer without keeping from sin? Therefore to that armor of St. Paul’s we must add St. Peter’s too, “to arm ourselves with this mind of ceasing from sin,”* that our prayers may be effectual. Therefore Moses himself joineth not to our going forth his exercise of keeping up our hands at prayer, but this rather “of keeping our feet from sin.”* The King of Moab, Balak, when he observed what prayer had wrought in the battle of Amalek, thought to take the very like course, and sent for Balaam into his camp, to match Prophet with Prophet, and to oppose prayer unto prayer. But when all his altars and rams would do no good, Balaam knowing well there is in sin a power to defeat any prayer, he cometh to the dangerous counsel of “causing Israel to sin with the daughters of Moab,” which was found too true. For it turned to their ruin, and all their prayers would then do no good. Here then is another use. For “the chariots and horses of Elisha,”* the “weapons of our warfare,”* as the Apostle termeth them, though not carnal, if God enable them to cast down such sinful thoughts and wicked desires as exalt themselves daily, and to captivate them to the obedience of Christ, have certainly their use to second the former; and we in our turns serviceable, as by crying unto God by prayer, and drawing Him to the host Who is our chiefest and best friend, so by crying also against sin and chasing it away, which is our chiefest and worst enemy. Since then these two have this mutual use either of other, let this be our petition and withal the conclusion of this part, that we single them not or lean to either alone, but suffer them as they stand together in the verse, so in our care and regard jointly to keep time and go together. So much for them. And now to enquire into the reason of this coupling. Why now? Why at this time in war, a giving over sin? For that indeed they be not barely joined, but so joined as one is made the antecedent, the other the consequent. One the time, and as it were the reason to infer the other. Truly Moses’ word כי will bear both, either quando or quia; “When thou goest then keep;” or “Because thou goest, therefore keep thyself from sin.” With the same word speaketh the virtuous lady to King David, quia præliaris prælia Domini, ideo non inveniatur in te iniquitas, “because thou fightest the Lord’s battles, therefore let there not any iniquity be found in thee all thy days.”* Sin certainly at all times is to be forborne. When it is war, and not only when it is war, but when it is peace too. “Take ye heed, lest at any time,” saith Christ, “your hearts be overlaid with surfeiting, with drink,”* &c. Not allowing us any time to be wicked in. But though at all times we be to refrain sin, yet not at all times alike, saith Moses here. For it is as if he should say, Be it at other times, sin may better be borne with, it is less perilous; but “when thou goest forth with an host, then”—then, with an high accent, with an emphasis, that is then especially; then above all other times, then, if ever, it importeth you to have least to do with it. Good Lord, how cross and opposite is man’s conceit to God’s, and how contrary our thoughts unto His! For even ad oppositum to this position of His, we see for the most part that even they that are the goers forth seem to persuade themselves that then they may do what they list; that at that time any sin is lawful, that war is rather a placard than an inhibition to sin. A thing so common that it made the heathen man hold that between militia and malitia there was as little difference in sense as in sound; and the Prophet David to call Saul’s companies in his days, torrentes Belial,* “the land-floods of wickedness.” Which being well considered, we may cease to murmur or to marvel, if our going forth have not been ever with such success as we wished. God Who should give the success commanding then a restraint, and man that should need it then taking most liberty. Verily if we will learn of God, if He shall teach us, sin is never so untimely as in the time of war, never so out of season as then; for that is the time of all times we should have least to do with it. To insist then a little upon this point, because it is the main point, and to shew the vigor of this consequent. 1. From the very nature of war first, which is an act of justice, and of justice corrective, whose office is to punish sin. Now then consider and judge even in reason, what a thing this is, how great, gross, and foul an incongruity it is to pour out ourselves into sin at the very time when we go forth to correct sin; to set forth to punish rebels, when we ourselves are in rebellion against God, His Word, and Spirit. Which, what is it but “to cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub?”* Sure our hearts must needs strike us in the midst of our sin, and tell us we are in a great and grievous prevarication, allowing that in ourselves that we go to condemn and to stone to death in others. Therefore, since to go to war is to go to punish sin, certainly the time of punishing sin is not a time to sin in. 2. Secondly, from war in respect of God I know not what we reckon of war; peace is His blessing we are sure, and a special favor it is from Him as the Prophets account it, for a land to spend more iron in scythes and plough-shares than in sword-blades or spear-heads.* And if peace be a blessing and a chief of His blessings, we may reduce from thence what war is. To make no otherwise of it than it is, “the rod of God’s wrath,” as Esay termeth it; His “iron flail,”* as Amos; “the hammer of the earth,”* as Jeremy, whereby He dasheth two nations together—one of them must in pieces,* both the worse for it. War is no matter of sport. Indeed I see Abner esteem of it as of a sport: “let the young men rise,” saith he to Joab, “and shew us some sport.”* But I see the same Abner before the end of the same chapter weary of his sport, and treating with Joab for an end of it; “How long shall the sword devour,”* saith he, “shall it not be bitterness in the end?” So it may be “sport” in the beginning; it will be “bitterness in the end,” if it hold long. War then being God’s rod, His fearful rod, and that so fearful that King David though a warrior too, when both were in his choice, preferred the plague before it and desired it of the twain; when God’s hand with this rod, this His fearful rod, is over us, to be so far from fear and all due regard as then not to shun sin any whit the more, but to fall to it as fast as ever; it cannot be but a high contempt, yea a kind of defiance and despite then to do it: “Do we provoke the Lord to anger, are we stronger than He?”* Then since war is God’s rod, choose some other time; under the rod sin not, then forbear it. Certainly that time is no time to sin. 3. The rather, for that sin it is and the not keeping from sin, but our keeping to it and with it, that hath made this rod and put it into His hand. For sure it is, that for the transgression of a people, God suffereth these “divisions of Reuben”* within; God stirreth up the spirit of Princes abroad to take peace from the earth, thereby to chasten men by paring the growth of their wealth with this His “hired razor;”* by wasting their strong men, the hand of the enemies eating them up; by making widows and fatherless children, by other like consequents of war. If then our sins common unto us with other nations, and that our unthankfulness peculiar to us alone have brought all this upon us; if this enemy have stirred up these enemies, if war be the sickness and sin the surfeit, should we not at least-wise now while the shivering fit of our sins is upon us, diet ourselves a little and keep some order? But1 “drink iniquity as water,” and distemper ourselves as though we were in perfect state of health?* Shall we make our disease desperate, and hasten our ruin by not containing from sin that hath cast us in it? Know we what time this is? Is this a time of sin? Certainly, we cannot devise a worse. In the time of war it is high time to “keep us from sin.” 4. But above all, which will touch us nearest, and therefore again and again must be told us over, that the safe and speedy coming again of them that now go forth, whose prosperity we are to seek with all our possible endeavors—that their good speed dependeth upon God’s going forth with them; and God’s going or staying dependeth very much upon this point. Most certain it is the event of war is most uncertain. When Benhadad went forth with an army that “the dust of Samaria was not enough to give every one in his camp a handful,” it was told him and he found it true, Ne glorietur accinctus, &c. “He that buckleth on his armor must not boast as he that puts it off.”* They that fight can hardly set down what name the place shall have that they fight in; it may be the valley of Achor, that is “sorrow,”* by reason of a foil, as that of Joshua; it may be the valley of Berachah, that is “blessing,” by means of a victory, as that of Jehoshaphat.* All is as God is, and as He will have it. Once, twice, and thrice, by David, by Solomon, by Jehoshaphat, we are told it that “it is neither sword nor bow,”* “it is neither chariot nor horse,”* “it is neither multitude nor valor of an host will serve;”* “but that the battle is God’s,” and He giveth the upper hand.* We need not be persuaded of this, we all are persuaded I hope, and we say with Moses, “If Thy Presence go not with us, carry us not hence.”* Then if we shall need God’s favor and help in prospering our journey, and to make that sure which is so uncertain, it will stand us in hand to make sure of Him in this, this needful time, and to keep Him sure if it may be. For if He keep with the host, and take their parts, Rebelles tui erunt quasi nihil, saith Esay; and “these smoking tails of firebrands”* shall quickly be quenched.* But if God either go not with them, or retire from them, if there were among them but naked or wounded men—what speak I of men? if but frogs or flies—they shall be sufficient to trouble them. Now then we are at the point. For if we will have hold of God, make Him sure, be certain of Him, we must break with sin needs. Sin and Satan are His enemies, and no fellowship nor communion, no concord, no agreement, no part,* no portion between them. If we will draw Him into league, we must profess ourselves enemies unto His enemies, that He may do the like to ours. At one and the same time enter as an outward war with wicked rebels, so an inward hostility with our wicked rebellious lusts. For that if we keep ourselves from the one, He will keep us from the other, and these being suppressed those shall not be able to stand. Thus doing, “the sword of the Lord shall be with the sword of Gideon:”* God shall be with us, Ithiel; and we shall prevail, Ucal.* For where Ithiel is, Ucal will not be away. But if we will needs hold on our league with hell, and continue our wonted intercourse with wickedness still, and go forth unto it when it beckons or calls, and be so far from keeping from it that we keep it as the apple of our eye, and cherish it between our breasts; if we retain the mark of it in our very foreheads, and the price of it in the skirts of our garment; for not keeping from it He will keep from us, and withdraw His help from us, and put us clean out of His protection. Therefore, without keeping from sin there is no keeping God, out of Whose keeping there is no safety. This advice being so full of behoof, so agreeable to reason and religion both, so every way for their and for our good, it remaineth we set ourselves to think of it and keep it. “Every one returning to his own heart, to know there,” as Solomon saith, “his own plague,”* even the sins wherewith he hath grieved God, and to make a covenant with himself, from henceforth more carefully to stand upon his guard, and not to go forth to sin or entertain it as a friend, but to repute it as an enemy and to keep him from it. First, for the term of keeping. “When thou goest forth against thy enemy,” go forth against sin. We should indeed go forth against sin, and practice those military impressions that are done in camp against the enemy; give it the assault, annoy it, pursue it, never leave it till we have driven it away. These we should do against it. But the Scripture “offereth more grace;”* and bids us, if we list not go forth against it, only not to go forth to it, but keep ourselves, that is, stand upon our defence, to keep good watch, that it surprise us not, that it “get not dominion over us:” do but this against sin,* and it shall suffice. But this must extend to all wickedness. Wherein yet we do humanum dicere propter infirmitatem nostram, “speak after the manner of men because of our infirmity;”* retching this all no further than human infirmity, than the frailty of our nature will bear, than this corruptible flesh wherewith we are compassed, and this corrupt world in the midst whereof we live, will suffer and give us leave. In the body, we put a difference between the soil which by insensible evacuations goeth from our bodies, keep we ourselves never so carefully, and that which is drawn forth by chafing or sweat, or otherwise gotten by touching such things wherewith we may be defiled. That cannot be refrained, this falleth within restraint. And even so, there is a soil of sin that of itself vapoureth from our nature, let the best do his best. I say not, we should keep ourselves from this, but from provoking it by suffering our minds to wander in it; by not keeping our ears from such company, and our eyes from such occasions, as will procure it, as the Prophet speaketh, “by putting the stumbling-block of iniquity before our faces.” From that by the help of God we may keep ourselves well enough.* From sins lighting upon our thoughts it is impossible, it cannot be; but from making there a nest or hatching ought, that we are willed to look to, and that by God’s grace we may. And the word that Moses useth here דבר רע is not without a dixit at least in corde; not without a saying within us, This or that I will do. It must be dictum, or condictum, ‘said to,’ and ‘said yea to,’ or else it is not דבר רע. The heart not resolving or saying content, but keeping itself from going forth to any act; though wickedness be not kept from us because of the temptation, yet we are kept from it because of the repulse; and with that will Moses be content at our hands as our estate now is. But with these provisos. We say generally, They that go forth keep from all; from all such both deeds and words as justly may be censured to be wickedly, either spoken or done. Words, I say, as well as deeds. For the word דבר bears both. And indeed, if in good words as in prayers there be force to help, I make no question but in wicked words, as blasphemies, irreligious sayings, jocis fulmine dignis, there is force also to do mischief. Therefore keep from all; all those especially, as very reason will lead us, which have been the ruin of armies in former times; a view whereof we may take when we will out of Liber bellorum Domini, “the Book of God’s battles.”* Wicked words first. Presumptuous terms of trust in our own strength; “I will go, I will pursue and overtake, I will divide the spoil”—Pharaoh’s words,* the cause of his perishing and all his host. To keep them from that. Rabshakeh’s blackmouthed blasphemy; “Let not Hezekiah cause you to trust in God over much”*—the eminent cause of the overthrow of the host of Ashur. To keep them from that. And if from words, from wicked works much rather. Achan’s sin, that is sacrilege; Anathema in medio tui, non poteris stare coram hostibus tuis, God’s own words to Joshua,*—the cause of the army’s miscarrying before Ai. To keep them from that wickedness. Such shameful abuses as was that at Gibeah;*—the expressed cause of the destruction of a whole tribe. To keep them from that. Profaning holy vessels or holy places with unholy usage;*—the ruin of Belshazzar, and with him of the whole Chaldean monarchy. To keep themselves from that. Corrupting our compassion, and “casting off pity quite,” and spilling blood like water;*—the sin of Edom, and the cause he took such a foil as he was never a people since. To keep them from that wickedness. From these and from the rest, you shall have a time to read them, I have not to speak them. Arming themselves with a mind to cease from sin, keeping their vessels holy; having pay wherewith they may be content, and being content with their pay; et neminem concutientes, saith St. John Baptist;* not being torrentes Belial, “land-floods of wickedness.”* Or if this will not be that private conformity will not keep them, at least that public authority do it; that kept they may be one way or other from it. If Achan will so far forget himself as “to sin in the execrable thing;” or Zimri to play the wretch,* and abuse himself in the camp; let Joshua find out Achan, and see him have his due; and Phinehas follow Zimri, and reward him for his desert. That the ravine of the one, and the villany of the other be removed as it is committed, and so kept from polluting and pulling down God’s wrath upon the whole host. For sure it is, “Phinehas’* standing up and executing judgment” hath the force of a prayer no less than Moses’ “standing in the gap” to make intercession,* and both alike forcible to turn away God’s anger and to remove evil from the midst of Israel. This advice is to take place as in them that go, as before hath been touched, so in us likewise that stay at home; that what the one build the other destroy not. Not by Moses’ exercise of prayer and incessant prayer,* or Jehoshaphat’s exercise of fasting and abstinence; both are out of the compass of the text; but that which is in it, by turning from sin to God, and that with a serious not shallow, and an inward not hollow repentance. Not confessing our sins to-day and committing them to-morrow; but every one saying, Dixi custodiam, “I have said, I will henceforth more narrowly look to my ways,”* at least while the sound of war is in our ears. Thinking with ourselves it is now war, it is now no time to offend God, and separate between Him and us in this needful time of His help and protection, by entering into that good and virtuous consideration of Uriah’s; “The Ark of the Lord and all Israel and Judah dwell in tents,* Joab and the servants of our sovereign abide in the open fields,” and shall we permit ourselves as much as we would in the time of peace, and not conform ourselves in abridging some part of our wonted liberty, and forbearing to enjoy the “pleasures of sin for a season?”* To conclude, if we shall, or when we shall be tempted to any of our former sins, to think upon God’s own counsel, even God’s own counsel from God’s own mouth, memento belli et ne feceris,* ‘to remember the camp and not to do it;’ to think upon them in the fields and their danger, and for their sakes and for their safeties to forbear it. Thus, if we shall endeavor ourselves and eschew our own wickedness, our hosts shall go forth in the strength of the Lord, and the Lord shall go with them and order their attempts to an happy issue. He that made our foreign enemies “like a wheel”* to go round about us, and not to come near us, shall make these “as stubble before the wind;” causing fear and faintness of heart to fall upon them as upon Midian; sending “an evil spirit”* of dissension among them,* as upon Abimelech and the men of Shechem; causing their own woods to devour them, as rebellious Absalom;* and their own waters to sweep them away, as it did Sisera; yea, “the stars of Heaven, in their course to fight against them,”* as under Deborah’s conduct He did. Many such things are with Him, many such He hath done and can do again, if to our going forth we join a going from sin. Even so Lord, so let it be. Those whom thou now carriest forth by Thy mercy, bring them back by Thy might in this place, the place of Thy holy habitation. That Deborah may praise Thee for the avenging of Israel,* and for the people that offer themselves so willingly;” for letting her ear hear,* and her eye see the fall of the wicked that rise up against her; that she may praise Thee, and say, “The Lord liveth,* and blessed be my strong help, and praised be the God of my salvation.” “Even the God that seeth I be avenged, and subdueth the people unto me. It is He that delivereth me from my cruel enemies, and setteth me up above all my adversaries.”* Great prosperity giveth He unto His hand-maid, “and sheweth still and continually His loving-kindness to His anointed.”* Praised be the Lord for evermore! To this God, “glorious in holiness, fearful in power, doing wonders,”* the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, &c. * Lu. 4:21. * Ps. 144:10. * 1 Sam. 15:29. * * Mat. 6:16. * Joel 3:9. * Joel 2:15. * Ex. 32:29. * Heb. 11:4, 7. * Heb. 11:32, 34. * Gen. 14:14. * Gen. 48:22. * Ex. 17:8. * Num. 31:2. * 1 Chron. 11:15. * 1 Chron. 20:6. * Lu. 14:23. * Jos. 22:12. * Jud. 20:1. * 2 Sam. 20:1. * Lu. 19:14, 27. * 1 Kings 2:23. * * * * * Exod. 17:8–13. * Jud. 4:9. * Isa. 37:6, 7. * 2 Chron. 20:14. * 2 Kings 13:14. * Ex. 17:9. * Jud. 20:10. * 1 Cor. 9:7. * Jud. 5:23. * 2 Chron. 25:8. * Jud. 20:17. * Josh. 7:5. * Ex. 17:14. * * Eph. 6:18. * 1 Pet. 4:1. * Num. 22:5. * 2 Kings 13:14. * 2 Cor. 10:4. * 1 Sam. 25:28. * Lu. 21:34. * * Mat. 12:24. * * Isa. 10:5. * Amos 1:3. * Jer. 50:23. * 2 Sam. 2:14. * 2 Sam. 2:26. * 1 Cor. 10:22. * * 1 shall we * * 1 Kings 20:11. * Jos. 7:26. * 2 Chron. 20:26. * Ps. 44:6. * Ps. 20:7. * Prov. 21:31. * 2 Chron. 20:15. * * Isa. 41:11. * Isa. 7:4. * 2 Cor. 6:15. * Jud. 7:20. * Prov. 30:1. * 1 Kings 8:38. * * Rom. 6:14. * Rom. 6:19. * Ezek. 14:3. * * Ex. 15:9. * Isa. 36:14. * Jos. 7:11, 12. * Jud. 19:22–30. * Dan. 5:2. * Amos. 1:11. * Lu. 3:14. * * * Ps. 106:30. * Ps. 106:23. * 2 Chron. 20:3. * Ps. 39:1. * 2 Sam. 11:11. * * * Ps. 83:13. * Num. 22:3. * Jud. 9:23. * 2 Sam. 18:9. * Jud. 5:20, 21. * Jud. 5:2. * Jud. 5:9. * Ps. 18:46. * Ps. 18:47, 48. * Ps. 18:50. *  Andrewes, L. (1841). Ninety-Six Sermons (Vol. 1, pp. 321–337). Oxford: John Henry Parker. (Public Domain) The Unity of Christ's Disciples The Unity of Christ’s Disciples John, 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. This chapter presents to our view, the Lord Jesus Christ praying to his divine Father, that not only his apostles, but that also all who should believe on him through their word, may be one. Were we to understand this merely of visible harmony, peace, and concord among his disciples, we should be at a great loss to see how this prayer of his was answered. After the first down-pouring of the Spirit there was indeed a most remarkable visible unity amongst the members of the church at Jerusalem; for it is said “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul,” Acts, 4:32. but in the course of a few years this unity was much marred by a number of Jewish converts, who were zealous for the peculiarities of Moses’ law, and strenuously urged it as a term of salvation upon the Gentile believers at Antioch, at which place, and at Jerusalem, it occasioned much disputation, Acts, 15 and notwithstanding the apostolic decrees which were delivered to the churches upon this point, ver. 24–30; ch. 16:4. yet we find in Paul’s epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, that this contest was in a great measure kept up to the subversion of some from the faith, and the marring of the unity and edification of many. In as far as this dispute affected the point of free justification by faith, the apostles reprobate it in the strongest terms; but when it respected only things indifferent, such as meats and drinks, he exhorts them to a mutual forbearance in love, Gal. 5:2–5; Rom. 14:1; 1 Cor. 1:8. In the church of Corinth there appear to be many other grounds of difference, for he charges them with envyings, contentions, strife, and divisions, 1 Cor. 1:11. and 3:3. and with a factious and party attachment to their respective leaders, glorying in them to the disparagement of others, ch. 3:4. The very gifts of the Spirit, which were conferred upon them for the edification of the body, were perverted into an occasion of envy, strife, and glorying over one another. Many other causes of discord took place in the apostolic age, and before the canon of revelation was completed. If we consult the most authentic records respecting the state of matters in the ages immediately succeeding, we shall find the causes of animosity more and more multiplied, together with a departure in many things from the purity and simplicity of the apostolic faith and order, and an addition of various inventions and traditions of men, which were stated as terms of communion, and made an occasion of dividing the disciples.—When the nations assumed a form of Christianity, and the man of sin was raised to his throne, he made use of the kings of the earth, who with (μιαγνωμη) one mind gave their strength and power to the beast to enforce a unity of opinion: but the unity thus produced was not that of the gospel, but a unity of subjection to the beast, and of opposition to the Lamb and his followers; and so we read that the effect of this union was their making war with the Lamb, and the called, chosen, and faithful that are with him, Rev. 17:13, 14.—When this diabolical union came to be broken in a great measure, and men obtained free access to the scriptures, it was far from producing that visible unity among the disciples which might have been expected. For though in protestant countries they all profess to agree that the scripture is the only rule of faith and practice, yet so different are their views and sentiments of this rule, that there never existed such a multiplicity of sects and opinions as at this very day, But what inference shall we deduce from this short sketch of church history? Is it that the disciples of Christ are not one, or that the prayer of Jesus in this particular was not heard? God forbid! for whether we consider the dignity of the petitioner’s person, his relation to the Father as his Son, his interest in his love, or his appointment to the office of mediator and advocate, we may rest fully assured that his prayer was heard and answered, and that all his people are one, whatever appearances there may be to the contrary. We are ready to fall into mistakes here, through not distinguishing betwixt visible and invisible unity, and by our making this oneness to consist of such things as are not essential to it. I shall, therefore, point out from the scripture I. Wherein the unity of Christians does consist. And II. Make some use of what may be said. I. This unity consists in the following things. 1. In their being all members of Christ’s one mystical body. This is one of the unities enumerated by the apostle, Eph. 4:4. “There is one body.” To the same purport are the following scriptures: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office; so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another,” Rom. 12:4, 5, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free,” 1 Cor. 12:12, 13. There are an innumerable company of spirits of just men made perfect in heaven, who have died in the faith from the foundation of the world, Heb. 12:23. and there are also a goodly number of believers still in this world; but the difference of place or states in heaven and on earth, does not affect their unity as the body of Christ; for the things in heaven, together with those on earth, are gathered together in one in Christ, the common head of the body, Eph. 1:10. On earth again there are various distinctions among them; some are Jews, others are Gentiles, and these are of all nations, conditions, and sexes; but with respect to the distinction of Jew and Gentile, Christ “hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition betwixt them; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, in order to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby,” Eph. 2:14–17. As for the other distinctions, the apostle reduces them all to this unity of the one body, where he tells us, “There is neither Jew, nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus, who is all and in all,” Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11. There are many visible societies of Christians upon the earth, but they are only representations of Christ’s catholic body, which at present is invisible to us; for Christ’s body is not many, but one. And though many of the children of God may not discern one another in this world, so as to feel themselves at liberty to join together in the communion of the same visible society, yet they are all one in Christ, to whom they are united as the head; they are members of his one body, and so members one of another. 2. This oneness consists in a unity of the Spirit. The apostle tells us there is not only one body, but also one Spirit, which as the soul animates that body, Eph. 4:4. Had the natural body different spirits, endued with different judgments, wills, and inclinations, it would create a strange unnatural schism in the body, and discord among its members; but as in the natural, so in the body of Christ, there is but one spirit, which animates, informs, and directs the whole, works effectually in the measure of every part, and gives a unity of design to all the members in their various functions. This one Spirit is the Holy Ghost, which Jesus when he ascended on high received of the Father; which dwells in him as the head of the body, and is communicated from him to all his members. So Jesus says, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified,” John, 7:38, 39. This Spirit belongs to the one body, and unites every member to it; “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit,” 1 Cor. 12:13. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” ch. 3:16. This Spirit is essential to every particular member of the body; for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” Rom. 8:9. and is the surest evidence of our union with Christ; “By this we know that he abideth in us and we in him, because he has given us of his Spirit,” 1 John, 4:13. Indeed this participation of the Spirit of Christ constitutes our very union with him; “for he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit,” 1 Cor. 6:17. It is this which constitutes our bodies his members, ver. 15. even as in the natural body every member by virtue of the animation of one soul, make but one vital system, one whole man. Thus we are constituted “members of Christ’s body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” Eph. 5:30. Now it is this union of the Spirit with Christ the head, and with one another as his members, that Jesus in a particular manner prays for in the text. This will appear evident if we consider that he prays for a union of the same kind with that which he hath with the Father; “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee—that they may be one, even as we are one.” This does not mean, as some have supposed, his union of nature with the Father, whereby he is one God with him; but his union with him by the Spirit, which was conferred upon the man Christ Jesus by the Father, as mediator and head of his body the church; for “it pleased the Father, in the economy of redemption, that in him all fulness should dwell,” as the head of influence, and the medium of communication to his body, which is his fullness, whilst he fills all in all, Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:19. In this capacity the Father gave him the Spirit without measure, John, 3:34. and it is out of this fullness of the Spirit dwelling in him that we all have received, and grace for grace, i. e. grace answerable to what is in him, John, 1:16. It was by this Spirit of the Father dwelling in him that he was qualified to execute his mediatorial offices: by it he was anointed to preach the gospel, Luke, 4:18.—by it he was qualified for government, Isa. 11:1–6.—and by the same Spirit he wrought miracles, Matt. 12:28. Now this Spirit dwelling in him and operating these works, he expresses by the Father’s being in him, and he in the Father, John, 10:38. and when he promises the same Spirit to his disciples, he tells them, that “in that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you,” John, 14:20. which is the very language whereby he expresses the oneness which he prays for in the text; and therefore it must be a unity arising from the same Spirit dwelling in the Father, in Him, and in them. This is put beyond all doubt by John, who uses the very same phraseology with respect to the indwelling of the Spirit: “Hereby we know that he abideth in us by the Spirit which he hath given us,” 1 John 3:24. “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us; because he has given us of his Spirit,” ch. 4:13. And this is still more evident from the end of this union, which is, saith Christ, “that the world may know and believe that thou hast sent me:” for it was by virtue of this Spirit that the disciples testified and made known to the world that the Father sent the Son, John, 4:14. The apostles “were witnesses of these things, and so was the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him,” Acts, 5:32. 3. Their unity consists in all having one faith. The apostle tells us, there is but one faith, Eph. 4:5. i. e. one doctrine of faith to be believed, which is emphatically styled the truth. There are, indeed, many different opinions in the world, but there is but one faith. Many think that the true faith of the gospel cannot be attained without great study, and being thoroughly acquainted with every point of a connected system of divinity; whereas the inspired writers repeatedly reduce the faith that saves to a single plain short proposition, such as that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” or that “God raised him from the dead,” and declare that all who believe this truth upon the divine testimony shall be saved, John, 20:31; Rom. 10:9. They who believe this must necessarily believe every thing that he hath revealed as soon as they know it; but faith does not depend upon the full knowledge of every truth. The first Christians are declared to have had true faith, when they knew only the first principles. In the rest they were to grow up. The testimony of God concerning the person and mission of his Son is the one faith with which salvation is connected. This is the faith once delivered to the saints, for which they must contend earnestly, Jude 3. the faith of the gospel, for which we must jointly strive, Phil. 1:27. with one spirit and mind. Now as all the children of God are partakers of the one Spirit of truth, and taught of the Lord from the least to the greatest, they must all necessarily be possessed of this one faith; they must all have like precious faith with the apostles in the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 1:1. They have therefore a unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, Eph. 4:13. and they count all things but loss and dung for the excellency of this knowledge, Phil. 3:8. They have, indeed, different measures of the knowledge of this truth, and different degrees of growth in the faith of it, and they are not altogether free from error in this world; but notwithstanding this, they are one in the faith that saves; they all know the truth, and that no lie is of it. They may, perhaps, have different speculations and controversies of words among themselves about what they esteem the faith, and this may greatly affect their visible unity, and lead them to look upon one another as heretics; but it will be found that these differences, ultimately are not about the faith itself, but about something which they have added to it, or some inference or deduction from it, which they hold of equal importance. The faith of the gospel is admitted on all hands, and dwells in each of their hearts, but in reasoning they may in many cases be led to different conclusions. These differences, however, it must be owned, arise from their not having attained the full perfection of this unity; and therefore Christ hath given gifts unto men for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of his body; till they all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that this is a unity into which they are to grow up till they come to the perfection of it, in opposition to their being in a state of children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine. They have still room to grow in the knowledge, and in the strength and stability of their faith. 4. They have a unity of hope. So the apostle says, “ye are called in one hope of your calling,” Eph. 4:4. i. e. they have one glorious inheritance in heaven which is set before them as the object of hope, and by a metonomy is called the hope laid up for them in heaven, Col. 1:5. It is called the hope of their calling, because God hath “called them unto his eternal glory, by Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter, 5:10. and so it is termed the prize of the high calling of God, which they have in their eye in pressing forward in the Christian race, Phil. 3:14. As soon as they are called and justified they rejoice in hope of this glory, Rom. 5:1–3. To this lively hope of the inheritance they are all begotten by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter, 1:3–6. This is the inheritance of children which they are all entitled to as joint heirs with Christ their elder brother and first born among them, who is risen from the dead to the possession of it, and who in this chapter prays that they may be with him where he is that they may behold his glory, verse 24. Of this hope the one Spirit is the earnest in their hearts, Eph. 1:13, 14. so that they are one in it. But this hope, as it is in their hearts, admits of growth; and therefore the apostle prays that they may abound in this hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, Rom. 15:13. and in his epistle to the Ephesians, ch. 1:17, 18, 19, 20. he prays for the same blessing to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They know not yet the full glory and extent of their inheritance; and they also need to be more and more established in the belief of that mighty power which raised Christ from the dead to the enjoyment of it, that their hope may be more strengthened respecting their own resurrection to it by the same power. 5. They have a unity of love to one another, from their love to him that begat, 1 John, 5:1. for the truth’s sake dwelling in them, 2 John, 1:2. and for the hope that is laid up for them in heaven, Col. 1:4, 5. This bond of union is called “the bond of perfectness,” Col. 3:14. It is love that properly emits with its object. Without it the most shining gifts, the most beneficial works, and even martyrdom will be of no avail, 1 Cor. 13:1–4. Christians cannot hate one another for the truth’s sake, like Cain, who was of that wicked one. They cannot commit this sin, because the seed of God remaineth in them, and they are born of God, 1 John, 3:9. They may have many differences and quarrels, but it is not for their adherence to the truth as such, but for something they apprehend contrary to it; for they love all that are of the truth in as far as they perceive it dwelling in them, and heartily wish grace, mercy, and peace, to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. But in this also there is room for growth and increase, 1 Thess. 3:12. 6. They have all one Lord, viz. Jesus Christ the Savior, Eph. 4:5. the only Sovereign and Head of his church, who purchased it by his own blood, Acts, 20:28. to whom all authority and power is given both in heaven and in earth, Matt. 28:18. and to whom, therefore, the church is bound to be subject in all things, even as the wife is to her own husband, Eph. 5:23, 24. This one Lord they confess to the glory of God the Father, as “the Lord their Righteousness,” their alone King, Lawgiver, and Judge, acknowledging no other Lord or Master in his kingdom, Matt. 23:8–12. esteeming all his laws of indispensable obligation—laws which they are bound to obey from the heart; and so studying to observe all things whatsoever he hath commanded, Matt. 28:20. 7. Their union consists in having all one God and Father, who is “above all,” as the Father of the whole family, Eph. 3:15. and even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in the economy of redemption, ver. 14. who is “through all,” by his Son as the medium of his grace; and “in them all,” by the inhabitation of his Spirit, ver. 16. according to the Savior’s prayer, “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us—I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me,” John, 17:21, 23. II. I come now to consider how this unity becomes visible in the world, and what belongs to it in that view. 1. This union becomes visible to us in the outward profession of the one faith and hope of the gospel. Though the children of God are all one in the particulars mentioned in the first head, and are all visible to the omniscient God, who searcheth the heart, and knoweth them that are his; yet to us, who can only judge by outward appearances, this unity is not visible till with the mouth men make a scriptural confession of the faith and hope that is in them. Accordingly we find that the apostles admitted none into the visible unity of Christ’s body, but such as made this profession. When they confessed with the mouth that Jesus was Lord and Christ, and gave his death and resurrection as the reason of the hope that was in them, both for acceptance and eternal life, then, and not till then, did they acknowledge them as members of Christ’s one body, Acts, 8:37; Rom. 10:9. This confession must be scriptural in its matter, and couched in such a form of sound words, as is expressive of the faith once delivered to the saints.—It must appear to be hearty, and the effect of a person’s own knowledge and inward conviction from the word of God, in opposition to an implicit assent to custom, traditions, or the authority of men. In short, it must appear to be the effect of divine teaching, in so far as we can judge the state of the mind from the expressions of the mouth. 2. Another thing which belongs to the visible unity of Christ’s disciples is the one baptism. The apostle tells us there is but one baptism, Eph. 4:5. This is not the baptism of the Spirit, as some affirm; for the apostle mentions the one Spirit before, ver. 4. and therefore cannot be supposed to repeat it again in this enumeration. It is distinguished from the Spirit in several places as the outward sign is from the thing signified. So the subjects of Christ’s kingdom are said to be born of water, as well as of the Spirit. John, 3:5. and to have the washing, laver, or bath of regeneration, as well as the renewing of the Holy Ghost, Tit. 3:5. Regeneration was an epithet applied to baptism in water by the first Christians, as is plain from Iræneus, Justin Martyr, and Clemens of Alexandria. Though it is essential to every member of Christ’s body to have the Holy Ghost in his enlightening, comforting, and sanctifying influences; yet that which the scripture calls baptism in the Holy Ghost, properly signifies those miraculous and extraordinary gifts of the Spirit which were given to the first Christians for the spread and confirmation of the Gospel; compare Acts, 1:4, 5. with ch. 2:33. and ch. 11:15–18. with ch. 10:44–47. and therefore, in this view, cannot be the one baptism which belongs to the whole body. But supposing the term baptism applied to the ordinary gift of the Spirit common to all believers, yet this is so far from superseding baptism in water as needless, that Peter considers it as the strongest argument for it; and that the refusal of it upon such a clear call would be no less than a withstanding God. Acts, 10:47; ch. 11:17. Those then who make light of water baptism from a presumption that they are baptized in the Spirit, would do well to consider what they are about. But the baptism in water must be the one baptism, because it is the only baptism which Christ hath instituted, and commanded to be administered to those who are made disciples in every nation of the world, Matt. 28:19. Antichrist hath indeed changed both this ordinance and its subjects, and hath invented many things falsely called baptism; but Christ has instituted only one baptism to be observed to the end of time; and that is the immersion of believers in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the one baptism which belongs to Christ’s one church, or spouse, which he loved; for the Apostle says, Ephes. 5:25, 26. he “gave himself for her, that he might sanctify her, i. e. cleanse her in the laver of water by the word.” Three things are mentioned here in sanctifying and cleansing the church.—1. Christ’s giving himself for her to sanctify and cleanse her by his blood; so he suffered without the gate that he might sanctify the people, Heb. 13:12. i. e. separate them from all others to himself, and also wash them from their sins.—2. The laver of water in baptism as the sign, pledge, and visible application of this; and so they are said to be baptized for the remission of sins, Acts, 2:38. 3. The word of the truth of the gospel, which reveals the truth and import of the two former, and by the Spirit brings the believer under the influence and enjoyment of them. Thus we are clean through the word which Christ hath spoken, John, 15:3. and sanctified through the truth, which is his word, ch. 17:17. Let none think that this is making too much of baptism; for our Lord places it in the very entry to his kingdom, John, 3:5. and joins it in the commission with believing and being saved, Mark, 16:16. and so in executing this commission, the apostles call upon men to be baptized for the remission of sin, Acts, 2:38. or that they may wash away their sins, ch. 22:16. and baptism is said to save us by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 3:21. Surely, such expressions place it in a very important point of view; and though it is fully granted that it is neither our faith nor baptism that properly saves; but that which we believe, or the thing signified in baptism, yet to separate what God hath so connected, is both daring and dangerous, and this after our Lord hath declared, that it is he that believeth and is baptized that shall be saved. But then it must here be carefully noticed, that this one baptism belongs only to the visible members of Christ’s body. For this I need produce but one argument which amounts to a demonstration, namely, that the administration of it is committed to men. Now as men cannot discern the members of Christ’s body, but by the confession of the one faith, it follows, that they cannot according to the scripture administer baptism to any of them but such as make this confession. It is plain then, that baptism belongs to the visible unity of Christ’s members. It also appears to be an essential article in that union; because of the authority of Christ who hath expressly appointed it as the one baptism of all his visible members; the first sign of their union with him in his death, burial, and resurrection, and whereby they visibly put him on, Gal. 3:27. and because the apostles admitted none into the visible unity of Christ’s body without it. Though men, therefore, should make an unexceptionable profession of the faith—though their conduct should in general correspond with that profession—and though we must unavoidably respect them in so far as we perceive their conformity to Christ; yet should they either make light of the one baptism which Christ hath appointed, or content themselves with that which Antichrist hath substituted in its place; however honest and sincere we may suppose them in this matter; and whatever allowances we may make for the prejudices of education and their mistaken views of some texts of scripture, we can have no visible church union, or fellowship, with them according to the New Testament. Let none say, that by this partition of baptism we break the Christian unity and separate the body of Christ; for this partition is not set up by us, but by the great head of the church; and for us to break it down would be to shew less regard to his authority, than complaisance to the ignorance and prejudices of men. The absurdity and impiety of such complaisance will appear the more striking if we extend it to other things; for by the same rule we ought to give up with every article of visible unity that any professor of the faith has not light to comply with. The Christian visible church unity is broken not by those who stand to the rule, but by those who depart from it, or come not up to it. We are grieved that the children of God should be divided about this ordinance wherein they ought to be one—we exhibit unto them the primitive institution both in our doctrine and practice; we earnestly invite them to visible unity and fellowship with us therein; and we pray to their Lord and ours, that he would dispel the mist of ignorance and prejudice from their hearts in this respect. But we dare not meet them any nearer, or step over the boundaries which Christ hath prescribed, in order to give them the right-hand of fellowship. 3. A third thing which belongs to the visible unity of the disciples, is their separation from the world in their religious fellowship. When God chose Israel of old for his peculiar people, he separated them from all the nations of the earth, and prohibited them under the severest penalties to have any intercommunity of worship with the Heathens; so that it was said of them, “the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations,” Num. 23:9. When the Lord delivered them out of the Babylonish captivity he called them again to this separation, Isa. 52:11. But this was only a type, or figure, of the New Testament separation. God doth not now separate any particular nation of the world from the rest as he did the nation of Israel; nor does he take all the nations of the world for his people; in which case there could be no visible separation, nor any peculiar people. But when he broke down the middle wall of partition betwixt Jews and Gentiles, and visited the nations to take out of them a people for his name, then he established another visible distinction betwixt the true Israel and the world; and so he calls the disciples to separate both from the Jewish church and heathenism, 2 Cor. 6:14–18. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temples of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” Agreeable to this call, we find the Apostles separating the disciples, Acts, 19:9. and exhorting them to go forth to Jesus without the camp, bearing his reproach, Heb. 13:13. The laws and ordinances which Christ hath enjoined his disciples suppose this separation, and are calculated to preserve it. Nor are they called to separate merely from professed Jews and Heathens, but also from the corrupt professors of Christianity. So we find the Lord calling his people to separate from the false church that bears the Christian name, even as he formerly called Israel out of heathen Babylon, Rev. 18:4. “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” It may be asked, Have not the Protestant nations obeyed this call in separating from the communion of the Romish church? I answer, No. That separation is not the visible separation of Christ’s people from the world pointed out in the New Testament, and exemplified in the days of the Apostles. Protestant nations are as really the world as Popish nations are, though their professed creed may in some particulars be more scriptural, and their political principles more tolerant. Any nation of this world professing to be the spouse, or church, of Christ, must be antichristian; because her establishment and form as a church must be derived from the civil power, in direct opposition to Christ’s kingdom which is not of this world. Because the greater part of such a church must appear visible infidels, which Christ hath expressly excluded from his church.—And because the very constitution of such a church visibly joins the children of God with the world in their religious fellowship, in direct opposition to Christ’s call to them to come out from among them and be separate.—Lastly, Because the peculiar love which Christ hath enjoined his disciples to one another, the mutual offices of this love, together with the order, laws, and ordinances which he hath instituted for them as his visible body, cannot be exercised or observed in such an unscriptural connection, which is formed in direct contradiction to every law of his kingdom. Though, therefore, the people of God should make a scriptural confession of the one faith—though they should be baptized according to our Lord’s institution; yet while they continue joined with the world in their religious fellowship, they can have no visible church unity with the body of Christ. 4. Another thing necessary to the visible union of the disciples, is, their being formed into visible church order. As scattered individuals among the nations, their unity cannot appear, nor can they in that situation represent the one body of Christ. Indeed their unity is never brought to a proper test till they are visibly joined together, as members one of another, having the same love, being of one accord, and of one mind, Phil. 1:27. and 2:2. In this view the union of a company of disciples who come together into one place to observe Christ’s institutions and the purposes of public worship, is compared to that union which subsists between the different members of the human body; which, though many in number, and variously disposed, constitute one whole man.—“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we being many, are one body, and every one members one of another,” Rom. 12:4, 5. The same subject is beautifully illustrated by this apostle, 1 Cor. 12 and the inference which he deduces from it is, “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care one for another; and whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or if one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” This visible union constitutes them “the body of Christ,” and each of them members in particular, ver. 27. The union of believers in a church state is but little accounted of by many in the present day, and the reciprocal duties and privileges connected with it, perhaps still less so. Yet the Psalmist, anticipating it by the Spirit of prophecy, could exclaim, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore,” Psalm, 133. A great part of the apostolic precepts are founded upon this state of union, and plainly imply it: nor can any proper view of their meaning be taken abstractedly from it. Such as the following: “Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment,” 1 Cor. 1:10. “Be perfect, (or perfectly joined together) be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you,” 2 Cor. 13:11. See also Phil. 1:27–30. and 2:15, 16.—Col. 3:12–14.—1 Thess. 5:11–15.—Heb. 3:12–14. and 10:23–25–1 Pet. 5:5. It is with a particular view to this state of things that Christ bestows gifts upon men for the work of the ministry, the perfecting (or bringing into joint) the saints, and edifying his body,” Eph. 4:11, 12. And when these gifts are exercised agreeably to his will, by “speaking the truth in love, they grow up into Christ, their head, in all things,” and thus, “the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, to the edifying of itself in love,” ver. 15, 16. Peculiar consolations are promised to disciples, thus walking together in love.—“He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him,” John, 14:21. “Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,” 2 Cor. 6:17, 18. Having thus shewn wherein all Christ’s disciples are one, and what is necessary to their visible unity, viz. The confession of the one faith—their partaking of the one baptism—their separation from the world in religious fellowship—their joining together as a visible body in church order—their joint observance of the ordinances and laws of Christ as a body their walking together in love among themselves, and standing fast in one spirit with one mind, jointly striving for the faith of the gospel—I come now to conclude the whole by a few observations and practical uses. And I remark, that when we compare the true invisible unity of Christ’s body with its visible appearance in this world, we shall find the former far excelling the latter. For, Visible unity is founded in the agreement of our sentiments about the rule of God’s word, and our outward conformity to that rule as we understand it. But real invisible unity is founded on our connection with Christ, and our conformity to him in the hidden man of the heart, whose praise is not of men, but of God. Hence it follows, on account of our inability to discover the real state of men, That we must, according to the rule of God’s word, join in visible unity with some who are not really united to Christ. Many are now united with the churches of the saints, and have a very fair appearance, who are not members of Christ’s true body, animated by his Spirit, or possessed of the faith, love, and hope of the gospel, and whom Christ will disown in that day when he makes up his jewels, and severs the goats from the sheep, and that notwithstanding all their knowledge, and gifts, and zeal about the externals of religion. Such may get access into visible churches, notwithstanding all their vigilance and care either in admission or discipline to prevent or rectify it. But they shall not enter within the gates of the Now Jerusalem; for no unclean thing can have access there, or elude the scrutiny of omniscience. The use we ought to make of this consideration, is to examine ourselves with respect to these things wherein the reality of our connection with Christ consists. Hence it also follows, on the other hand, That many cannot join in visible unity who yet may be really united to Christ. This arises either from their not being able to discern one another, or, if some of them should, from their not being of the same mind in the things which belong to their visible unity. All Christians have the one faith; but all are not alike clear and consistent in the confession of this faith so as to satisfy others. All of them are subject to the authority of Christ; but they do not all alike know their master’s will. All of them have his law of love written in their hearts; but from various causes they may be led to differ about such of his ordinances as depend upon positive institution. Visible unity, however, requires that they should be agreed in all these things wherein they are to walk together as a body, and keep the ordinances of Christ as his apostles delivered them to the churches. A society united together upon the professed principles of forbearing one another in the neglect of what they esteem the plain laws of Christ, is a monstrous absurdity; and is so far from being a visible unity of subjection to Christ, that it is a visible combination against him, or an agreement to dispense with his laws. The children of God may honestly differ in their judgments about some of Christ’s ordinances; but to unite upon the avowed principle of dispensing with them, is inconsistent with subjection to Christ, brotherly love, or the visible unity of saints. But though the children of God, cannot according to the scripture thus join together in visible union, but arc obliged to be separate upon the common principle of subjection to Christ; yet Christ by an invisible bond unites them all in himself. He hath indeed circumscribed the terms of our visible fellowship by the open rule of his word, and we are still farther circumscribed by the imperfection of our own knowledge; nay, we are even obliged by his express authority to cut off some whose spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord. But his omniscience discerns, and his generous heart contains all those for whom he laid down his life, however much they may differ and lose sight of one another in this world. And when he shall at last collect the whole redeemed company into one general assembly, and present them to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; then I make no doubt we shall be agreeably surprised, and happy to find many united to that blessed society with whom we could have no visible fellowship here. This consideration ought to make us beware of judging anything before the time, until the Lord come; “who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and then shall every man have praise of God,” 1 Cor. 4:5. This is, indeed, the time to judge of the objects of our visible fellowship, or those that are within, 1 Cor. 5:12. for a great part of our obedience to Christ depends on this judgment. But it is before the time to judge those that are without, or to determine their final state by present appearances. Their judgment belongs only to God who shall judge us all, and the time of this judgment is when the Lord comes. We cannot indeed help having a good or bad opinion of men according as they appear to us to approach to, or recede from, the rule of the scripture in their principles and practice, whether they are connected with us or not. This is a necessary consequence of our love to the truth itself. But we are not called to form any determinate judgment respecting such, as our visible union is not concerned in it. How unbecoming is it then to unchristianize all who are not connected with us in visible unity! and how much more so to have the strongest opposition to those who make the nearest approaches to the rule, unless they see with us in everything! We are ready to excuse ourselves here by alleging that such are the more inconsistent and inexcusable, and that they must be willfully resisting the light. Their inconsistency is allowed; but that they are resisting the light as it shines in their own minds, is what only God and their own consciences can certainly determine. Such a conduct as this arises from a party spirit; and we may know this spirit by the following marks—It leads us to think more of that particular wherein we differ from all other professors than we do of all the other things wherein Christ’s people are one.—It makes us run everything into this one, and to make it the sole test of visible Christianity, and so judge of men accordingly.—It makes us to see with pain, or disposes us to disparage every other part of Christianity as it appears in those who agree not in this; and on the other hand, it makes us put up with a very superficial form of Christianity in such as agree with us upon our favorite point. But what is worst of all—It tends to deceive us with respect to our own state, by leading us to plume ourselves upon what distinguishes us from others, and to be less attentive to real communion with, and conformity to Christ wherein others may far outstrip us. Visible unity may fluctuate and decrease, but invisible unity is still advancing, and will continue its progress till all the saints are gathered in and perfected. The antichristian apostacy has proved fatal to the visible union of Christ’s people in the world, by drawing a corrupted form of Christianity over whole nations, and connecting it with the political constitutions of the various kingdoms and states which were subject to the man of sin. And even since they have begun to cast off the yoke imposed on them by that monstrous power, they are still partially suffering from its baneful influence. But we are not left destitute of hope, that even in this world, a period will arrive, when the sanctuary shall be cleansed, and the watchmen of Zion see eye to eye—then will the worship, order, and discipline be restored to their primitive purity, and reduced to the standard of the New Testament, in a much greater degree than at present, though it does not appear that there will be any perfect state of the church on earth, Matt. 13:24–39. and 25:32. But I conclude with one observation more; which is this; Visible union will come to an end in this world; but invisible unity will continue for ever. The true church’s union with Christ is indissoluble. She shall at last be presented unto him as a bride adorned for her husband. Having loved her and given himself for her, that he might sanctify and cleanse her, he will then present it to himself a glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; and then shall the marriage be solemnized in endless felicity, when she shall be brought into the palace of the king, to behold his glory and to be for ever with him. Then, too, shall the children cf God be one among themselves. Now they see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now they know only in part; but then shall they know, even as also they are known. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” Rev. 3:12, 13.  M’Lean, A. (1823). On the Unity of Christ’s Disciples. In The Works of Mr. Archibald M’Lean (Vol. VI, pp. 84–110). 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