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the interpretations that are given, their individual acts have been supposed to proceed from one and the same source.
The mystery of the papal Antichrist is shown forth in the sacerdotal character of the Pope, and the ecclesiastical system which he is supposed to represent in his own person, wherein he exhibits as the head a mimicry of the priestly office of Christ in the heavens, claiming infallibility in the exercise of those functions and powers which belong exclusively to Christ himself, and which it is a lie to assert He delegated to the Pope and his successors.
The sin consists in the usurpation and misappropriation of the legitimate authority of the Church, and concentrating it solely in his own person, and exalting such usurped power and authority almost to the throne of God, to the perversion of the souls of men, and to the annihilation of their individual liberty, and consequently, as far as the acts of others can, their responsibility. This is the enormous wickedness in the
perpetration of which has entailed upon its successive representatives the guilt of destroying such a hecatomb of souls, and is the chief cause of drawing down upon her head such terrible proofs of the divine vengeance. It is not the natural blood with which her hands are embrued, fear
ful as are the records of her crimes in this respect; but the murder of immortal souls--the destruction of that spiritual life, which, from age to age, she has ruthlessly sacrificed and immolated at the shrine of priestly arrogance and power. .
We conclude, therefore, that the essence of the papalapostasy consists in the usurpation of Christ's priestly authority and office, continuing in point of duration the whole period of Christ's abiding in the most holy place, in the heavens, whither He is gone as our great High Priest-even into the immediate presence of the Father; and, as we judge, His coming out from thence will be the signal for Satan to invent that new form of evil to be manifested in the person of the infidel Antichrist; and which, when perfected, shall present to the astonished world a diabolical likeness of Him, who, with His risen and glorified saints, shall then dwell in the clouds of heaven, though in the immediate vicinity of this earth. It will, therefore, be evident that there is this broad distinction between the Antichristian principle of evil, which has been found to exist in the papacy, when compared with that which shall hereafter be developed in the person of the eighth head of the beast—that whilst the former has its representation in a succession of persons from the fact of its having been embodied in a system, and extending over such a long period of time, the latter, by reason of its short duration, is headed up in one and the same person, though manifested in two different aspects. That there are two separate mysteries of iniquity, under the same significant designation of Antichrist, is evident from the fact, that the only apostle who speaks distinctly of the Antichrist, by this term, expressly declares
Antichrists to be in existence even in his day: whereas, the last Antichrist, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, is invariably spoken of, not as two or more persons, but as one, though he appears in at wofold aspect. It must be manifest how forcibly this truth corroborates the conclusion already advanced, viz., that the same person who fulfilled the actions of the seventh head must be brought up out of the bottomless pit to fulfil those of the eighth. A sufficient reason is furnished wherefore the antichristian confederacy in the papacy should be for such a long period, and that in the infidel so short—as well as why the former should resolve itself into an organized system, and the latter, on the contrary, finds its complete fulfilment in a single person--in a simple recognition of the fact, that, in point of time, the counterfeit in both cases runs parallel with the original ;
for Christ has been acting in His character as priest ever since His ascension into heaven: and the reason why the infidel Antichrist continues only “ a short time,” is obviously because Christ's own appearance in the heavens, until the final subjugation of His enemies, is for a short time also. During Christ's absence from the earth, as a Priest in heaven, the great Executive in the Church is the Holy Ghost, whose active power is necessarily displayed in a succession of persons ; consequently the counterfeit also must likewise be manifested in a succession of persons. The difference in point of duration, assigned to the manifestation of these two Antichrists, will also easily account for the prophecy referring to the one as literal years, and to the other as literal days; and, we think, supplies a sufficient reason why these two supposed antagonistic systems should not any longer be regarded as opposed the one to the other ; but as each containing an important truth — the one having reference to the papal, and the other to the infidel period.
We must therefore expect to find this triple mystery of iniquity will present, in the personal Antichrist, an exact counterpart of those actions of the Lord Jesus Christ, of which His residence in the heavens will become the earnest and pledge; and, accordingly, we find all the prophecies concerning this infidel blasphemer coincide with and confirm this supposition. As our object is not now to vindicate or illustrate former interpretations, but attempt to base upon them the still future development of the prophecies*, we shall only slightly touch, by way of illustration, two or three of the more prominent which relate to this final exhibition of evil in the infidel Antichrist, wherein we find those resemblances to Christ most distinctly alluded to. It will considerably assist us, in a true comprehension of the counterfeit, if we contemplate, first, the original from which the imitation is copied; and, with this object in view, we suggest that Christ's appearance in the heavens is the earnest of His manifestation on this earth in three distinct characters : a fourth would resolve itself into one of the three:
Firstly: As a mighty man of war, according as it is written - The Lord is a man of war."
Secondly: As the acknowledged Priest-king over the whole earth, then subjugated to His sway, by His prowess as a Conqueror :-“ And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name One;" and
* See Note attached to this number.