« AnteriorContinuar »
are enduring, but to scatter the visions of hope and celestial privilege which devout but mistaken builders had erected to cheer the broken heart and delight the imagination as it looked reverently and trustfully beyond
Nay more, it almost wears the aspect of cruelty to shut heaven, as it were, on those who, amid the sorrows and conflicts of the Christian warfare, have been fondly expecting, at the hour of death, that its blessed gates would be held open by angel hands to receive them. This depressing feeling we had to contend with all along; and yet, О friend, is it not more profitable to have a right understanding of those solemn matters and to know where the "strong” and “ everlasting consolation" abounds, than to be the sport of illusions, however dazzling, and refreshed by streams of comfort that do not issue from the throne of God and of the Lamb ? The grand hope of the apostolic church was the recovery of being by a glorified resurrection at the Lord's return; and with the sainted Paul each lowly disciple may without a murmur wait God's time, when His promises are to be fulfilled; and in the meanwhile, as a beacon and beavenward attraction to the world drifting, drifting towards perdition, exclaim with a jubilant and thankful spirit, “ There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me (at death ? no !) at thAT DAY; and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE HIS APPEARING (2 Tim. iv. 8).
Finally, if through this feeble effort light has been shed on one of the most priceless records of the Sacred Volume, and if the Exposition, notwithstanding its muitold imperfections, may turn out a guide to any who eagerly desire to enjoy " the goodwill of Him that dwelt in the
“ bush,” and “the certain livpe" of a resurrection to "eternal life,” that alone will infinitely requite the author for what labour and anxiety attended its production.
"THE MAN OF SIN.” AVING on a former occasion offered, through the medium of your
certain person to the sad pre-eminence awaiting the individual destined to assume, and carry out to its clearly-revealed issue, the role of the “ Man of Sin,” I would now, with your permission, revert to the subject, by briefly recapitulating the evidence I then adduced in favour of my position, and adding some particulars bearing on the question.
So far from its being (as some would persuade us) an attempt to be wise above what is written, to entertain at all, as admitting of even the possibility of a satisfactory reply, the inquiry, who is the “ Man of Sin ?" it is evident, from due consideration of the various aids furnished by the Word of God, as guides to the ascertainment of that point, that it is the Divine will that the identification of the individual so destined should be within the easy reach of the unprejudiced, honest, and faithful student of the “ sure Word of prophecy.”
The individuality, personality, and now nearly-approaching revelation of the “ Man of Sin” being now much more generally than heretofore admitted by all who can properly be called students of that Word, I feel assured that an unprejudiced investigation of the evidence it supplies on the subject before us must lead to a more general reception thereof than has yet obtained.
Without further preface, then, I would refer in the first place to Rev. xvii. 8-11; the particulars of the description in which, as characteristic of the party intended, cannot, I conceive, by any possibility be fairly applied to any other individual that has ever existed, or can ever exist, than to him, to whom I feel assured, they all point, as agreeing, in all the particulars specified, with his most remarkable, world-wide, and well-known history-which is that of the late Napoleon I., Emperor of the French.
How, for example, could verses 10 and 11 be possibly applied to any other man who has ever lived? The angel, addressing John, states that the sixth form of Roman Government was then in actual existence : “ Five are fallen, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh he must continue but a short space.” Note here the minute correctness of the description given : “the other,'' not another; for the beast is represented as having but “ seven heads ;” and as six of the number had appeared, there remained, of course, but one to come.
The Emperorship having been the form then in existence, it necessarily constituted the sixth head. The five preceding ones had been as follows: Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, and Military Tribunes. The Emperorship ceased on the abdication of the then Emperor, A.D. 1806, when Napoleon I. became the acknowledged seventh head, but with a different title; and fulfilled, so far, the prediction that it should "continue a short space;" he having occupied that position for nearly nine years, viz., from A.D. 1806, till A.D. 1815, when he was politically annihilated, so to say, at Waterloo.
But in ver. 11 we have mention, for the first time, of an eighth head! How comes this, seeing the beast has but seven altogether ? Just in this way. The reappearance on earth of the seventh shall be, as it were, an eighth ; that is, a quasi eighth, as we say. And that this is the real solution of the apparent inconsistency in the case, is plainly declared in the place before us, as follows: “The beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven.”—EK TWV &nta, that is, one of the number; as if it were ELS EKTWV érta, one of the seven. How could Napoleon I. be more plainly designated ? He would necessarily be one of the seven, having himself been the seventh ; and to none of the previous six heads could possibly be applied, consistently with common sense, the language of the whole passage.
The phrase so much in use in works on prophecy, “the SeptimoOctave head," seems to admit and recognise the identity of the seventh and quasi eighth heads as different phases of the same individual. The past history, too, of Napoleon I., as that of one who was, in some measure, the terror of Europe, is such that it would be but natural that the world should “wonder" at seeing him again on earth, as we read in chap. xiii. ver. 3: “And I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.” How exactly does this correspond with the cas of Napoleon I. in his past history, and clearly predicted post-resurrection state !
And now we come to the testimony of chap. ix. 11, wherein, if I do not altogether mistake the meaning of the place, the very name Napoleon is given as that of the “ Man of Sin " in the statement, that in the Greek tongue he hath his name Apollyon (that is, the destroyer). The Greek term is Απολλύων, the present participle of the verb απολλυμι ; and in Greek being represented by y in English, the name is properly given as Apollyon in the Bible. But there is another form of the verb, which is απολεω, the English rendering of which makes the participle απολεων; that is, within one letter of the name Napoleon; and it has been suggested that the wanting letter N may be taken as representing the Greek word vai, which signifies verily, or truly,; so that prefixing it to the aronewv, we have the word Napoleon in full, and the meaning of it as follows : The true destroyer, or destroyer “ with a vengeance," as it were ; a title to which he will make good his right by carrying out the fearful role before him, under the direct control of Satan, whose agent he shall be.
As Josiah’s name was announced 300 years before his birth, and Cyrus's 150 years before his, then it should not be thought wonderful that even the name of one destined to play so extraordinary a part in the approaching fearful drama, should also be foretold, as well as his character, actings, and end. The name, too, when put in the dedicatory form, which it would probably assume in any memorial to be erected in his honour, as well as in the predicted inscription on the foreheads of his worshippers—Natokeovel-contains in its numeral letters the fatal number 666.
Again, in Jer. iv. 7, there is a passage wherein there is no difficulty in seeing that the " Man of Sin” is the subject; in which the name of Napoleon is necessarily implied as that of the destined occupant of that position. The words are : " The Lion is gone up from his thicket, and the destroyer, who is of the Gentiles, is on his way.” Now in the Greek of the Septuagint, lewy represents “Lion," of course ; and varog signifies thicket;
so that bere again we have the name Napoleon as that of the “ Man of Sin," and a repetition of the title of "destroyer accorded to him. And the bearing of the whole context in this instance is to the effect that the period spoken of is that of the winding up of the present Dispensation, and his connection therewith.
It is a curious coincidence, too, that while the Word of God predicts his resurrection from among the dead, in order to his assuming the role of "Man of Sin," a large proportion of the French peasantry are firmly persuaded that he has never died at all, but is hidden somewhere, till he shall suddenly appear at the head of two millions of men to subdue all the nations of Europe. They indignantly repudiate the suggestion even of the possibility of his having died. “He dead ? "they say. “Impossible. They who say so don't know him. He is incapable of it,” &c. Some incidents in his past life would suggest that he must have had a presentiment of his future destiny; as, for example, when he said, “I reserve for history a page of blood, such as its records do not yet contain." He once asked one of his courtiers what men thought of him, to which the reply was: “Some think you an angel, sire; some a demon, but all agree that you are more than a man.' A prefect once addressing him, said : “God created Buonaparte, and rested from His labours.”
And we have M. Froue's statement, to the effect that he actually desired to be addressed by the title of “ Votre providence !” Also that in the month of March, A.D. 1807, when he convoked the Jews at Paris, he was styled by them “ the Lord's anointed Cyrus, the living image of the Divinity ;” and that the ciphers of his name and that of Josephine were blended with the name of God, and inscribed on the Ark of the Covenant, surmounted with the Imperial Eagle.
On his reappearance on earth, he will enter into the predicted "seven years' covenant" with them, at the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week of years; and, after the lapse of three years and a half, in the middle of the week, break the covenant, openly assert his own godhead, and in that capacity claim universal homage, thus revealing himself as the “Man of Sin ;” and, during those final three years and a half of the week in question, acting the fearful part assigned him in the “sure word of prophecy.” It is a remarkable fact that there has been in existence for several years, and still continues, & sect established for the worship of Napoleon I. The number of its adherents is said to have greatly increased throughout all Europe. Their proceedings are conducted with the most profound secresy. Each member of the society possesses a picture representing him as reappearing, with a halo of glory around his head. A lady friend tells us that she has seen on the continent one of these pictures.
Ere long now shall he put forth his pretensions in all their blasphemous enormity, and then shall be seen, not a few here and a few there, as now to Romanism, but multitudes everywhere throughout the sphere of his then all but omnipotent power and influence, acknowledging his miracle-attested godhead, and preferring the worship of the "Man of Sin” to the only alternative within their reach-death. " All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Spiritualism, as it is called (which is just diabolism under another but less repulsive and more attractive name), is evidently paving the way for his manifestation ; so that when matters shall have so far progressed as to bring round the period of the open and undisguised assertion of his godhead, and the demand for universal recognition of his claim to divine honours and worship, the mere assertion of his divinity by the demons, Satan's agents, will suffice to secure the general admission of that claim, and the consequent worship of him by all not belonging to the class above excepted.
It is very foolish to deny, as so many do, the facts of Spiritualism, and affect to treat the whole thing as a delusion; which in this sense it certainly is not. Exaggerated as may be, and doubtless are, some of the accounts of it, as published, denied with truth the existence of the system cannot be, it having long since gone too far for that; so that such denial betrays inexcusable ignorance of what it is our duty to know, and the knowledge of which should keep us watchful, lest we become an easy prey, as we otherwise shall, to the devices of the enemy through its means. Just see the unmistakably plain and intelligible language of that peculiarly appropriate portion of the Word of God contained in 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12, on which is would be impossible to say anything making it plainer than it is, as it stands in the words of the apostle. I would merely remark, then, that for “a lie” in ver. 11, I would substitute “the lie,” the definite article tū preceding Yevõet in the original ; the reference being, of course, to the lying assumption of godhead on the part of the “ Man of Sin.”
We have now unmistakably in our midst the immediate precursors of the “perilous times of the last days," so solemnly enjoined on our faithful remembrance by the apostle in 1 Tim. v. 4-9; the departure from the faith there foretold being now a matter of almost every day occurrence in the numbers going over to Romanism. For my part, when I hear people express astonishment at such a state of things, I am equally astonished at their not expecting it, the Word of God being so plain and full on the subject. It must be so, and shall increase till it become fashionable; and then multitudes will go over, and with just the same facility, and in still greater numbers, to the worship of the " Man of Sin," in recognition of the miracles wrought in his presence and in his honour by the “ false prophet.”
May the Holy Spirit enable us to look into these things more seriously than we may have been in the habit of, that we may be thus prepared to resist the superhuman devices of the fearful character in question, so soon now to be revealed; and kept constantly observant of our Lord's caution, to “ watch” for His own coming as the only means of bringing to its fore-ordained end the awful state of things that shall have preceded it. If, then, this be our desire, let us act consistently therewith, in not merely ourselves firmly holding the great truth of that coming and kingdom, but in using every proper effort within our reach to bring others to the knowledge of what we have found to be the best commentary--the Word of God--furnishing satisfactory solutions of most of the alleged difficulties of Scripture, wliich can generally be traced as to their certain source, to non-recognition of these very truths, which are so interwoven with the warp and woof of the whole texture of the Bible at large as to render it comparatively unintelligible when they are omitted. Yes; I hesitate not to say, from my own experience, that correct scriptural views of the nature, sense, and relative period of establishment of the coming“ kingdom ” would be by far the best commentary on the Word of God that has ever seen the light, or can ever be provided. Faith-not interpretation-is the demand of revelation ; and when that is wanting, quasi-interpretations only tend to confuse and mislead, instead of throwing light on the Word.
Some may be ready to say with Peter, “ If I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee," and to reject with indignation the suggestion of the mere possibility of their going over to the worship of the “ Man of Sin,” his miracles notwithstanding. But let us profit by Peter's experience. Had he been less self-confident he had probably held his ground, but he boasted, and fell!“Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief,” had been his better policy.
“ Beware of Peter's words,
Nor confidently say.
J. CONYNGHAM McCAUSLAND.