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<183>

SYNOPSIS PROPHETICA,
OR,

THE SECOND PART
OF
THE ENQUIRY INTO
The Mystery of Iniquity:
CONTAINING
A Compendious Prospect into those
PROPHECIES of the Holy Scripture,
wherein The Reign of Antichrist, or The noto
rious Lapse or Degeneracy of the Church

in all those Points comprised in The Idea
of Antichristianism
, is prefigured or foretold.

Theognis.

Ἄνθρωποὶ τὰ μάταια νομίζομην, εἰδότες οὐδέν. Θεοὶ δὲ κατὰ σφέτερον πάντα τελοῦσι νόον..

Daniel 4.

This matter is by the decree of the Watchers, and the demand by the word of the Holy ones.

LONDON, Printed by James Flesher, for William Morden Book-seller in Cambridge, MDCLXIV.

<185>

The Preface to the Reader.

READER,

[1]I Am not ignorant under what manifold Prejudice this Performance I present thee with may lie; it being a Treatise wholy spent upon the Interpretation of Prophecies, and chiefly of Daniel and the Apocalyps. For it is over-true that some men look upon such Attempts as very vain and frivolous, having concluded with themselves aforehand that all Prophecies are inextricable Ænigms and Riddles, utterly uncapable of any certain Solution. Others, whose Exception were more material if it were true, have a conceit, that the searching into Prophecies, especially those of the Apocalyps and of Daniel, tends to nothing else but Faction and Confusion, to the trouble and dissettlement of the affairs of Christendome, and to the hazard of the subversion of States and Kingdoms, and the ruine and destruction of the Church of Christ. And haply there may be others, who, though they neither deem the obscurity of these Prophecies invincible, nor the search into them dangerous, nay rather of good use and great consequence, yet are so well satisfied already concerning these things by those worthily-magnified Elucubrations of Mr Joseph Mede, that they may in all likelihood judge any new Essays herein needless and superfluous. With these three grand Prejudices I phansy my self incumbred in regard of the Nature of the Subject I write of: besides what particular Exceptions men may be prone to make against any parts of the Performance it self. But I do not despair of more then fully quitting my self of them all.

[2]2. For as touching the first, I think there is no man that has the fear of God before his eyes but he would be ashamed to stand to any such Assertion, it verging so near upon Prophaneness and Impiety, nay upon open Blasphemie against the Spirit of God, as if he dictated such things to the holy Prophets as are not sense, nor ever to be understood by any reader of them. Can there be any thing more Scoptical against Divine Inspiration then this, or more undermining the very foundations of Christian Religion? But we need not labour very solicitously in confuting an Errour so universally condemned by all parties that are any thing serious in their Religion. For the obscurest Books of Prophecy, I mean those of the Apocalyps and Daniel, are commented <186> upon by Papists, Protestants and Neuters, whereby they have all set to their hands that the Visions are intelligible. But whatsoever Obscurity there may be in them, I think my present pains ought to be the more acceptable, in that I have contributed so much to a clear and certain way of interpreting them, laying down such assured Grounds and Rudiments, as if a man carefully observe, and find History applicable within the compass of these Laws, he can no more fail of the right meaning of a Prophecy, then he will of the rendring the true sense of a Latine or Greek Author, keeping to the Rules of Grammar and the known Interpretations of Dictionaries.

Which Laws I having kept to my self so strictly and carefully, I dare appeal to all the world, if I have not demonstratively made out the sense of such Visions as I have undertaken to expound. And for my own part I must freely profess, that I found it no such hard thing to understand those Prophecies I have interpreted; and am certainly persuaded, that neither any such greatness of Parts nor Exuberancy of Learning, as Integrity of heart and Unprejudicedness of mind, is requisite to the understanding of these things. For if that Spirit of life be once revived in a man, he will, by virtue of his Regeneration or new Birth, not onely see with his eyes, but feel with his hands the truth of these Mysteries.[3] None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand; namely, as many as apply themselves to the search of such things, who will also in the mean time be so prudent as not to prejudge what they never had yet opportunity carefully to examine.

[4]3. Now touching the second Surmise, That the search into these Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalyps tends to nothing but tumult and sedition in Christendom; it is very rashly and unskilfully spoken. I do not deny but that, as it is said of Philosophy, that a more superficial smattering therein may hazard a mans plunge into Atheism before he be aware; so a slighter inspection into these Prophecies may incline some to a Fanatical unsettledness and a dream of a Fifth Monarchy sutable to the carnal Conceitedness of their own temerarious phancy: But as a more full draught of Philosophical knowledge will again wash away that Atheistical foulness out of the Soul; so I doubt not but a more through search into the meaning of these Divine Predictions will make a man of a more sober mind, and root out of his spirit all those vain pretences to Innovation and Schism. <187> And therefore the pains that I have spent in a more full and through scrutiny into the meaning of these Prophetick Visions may, I hope, at least deserve mens Pardon, if not challenge their Approbation as their due Reward; sith what tends so much to peace and soberness can not unrightfully seem to challenge the reward of a due Approbation from men.

I say then, if by a more careless search there has been framed such meanings of those Prophecies as bear any danger or inconvenience with them, there was the greater necessity that some or other upon a more diligent perusal should dive into the true and genuine sense of them; that that Divine truth which was revealed for the good of the Church, might not by any mistake tend to her detriment and ruine. As certainly such a conceit of the manner of introducing a Fifth Monarchy as some have imagined and entertain'd, might cause much trouble and mischief in the affairs of Christendome. The Foundation of which Errour with the evil Sequels thereof the Seventh Consectary of my Joint-Exposition does quite take away; to say nothing of other Passages.[5] We know likewise by wofull experience what wild Applications Enthusiasts make of the Ten-horned Beast and the Whore of Babylon, phansying in their mad mistaken zeal every legitimate Magistrate that Beast, and every well-ordered Church that Whore; as that famous Romantick Knight in his inflamed courage and distempered phancy encountred the next Wind-mill he met for a Giant, and innocent Flocks of sheep for so many Armies of men.

[6]4. But he that will but take notice of what I have so plainly proved, That the middle Synchronalls must needs cease together, as also that our Reformation in England was an eminent Speciminal Completion of the Resurrection of the Witnesses, he cannot fail of being rid of this phrensy for ever, and of finding himself sufficiently fortified against all those extravagant Sects that bear themselves so stiff in these times, and more particularly against the high-flown conceitedness of Quakers and Familists, who can so easily part with all our Religion that referres to the Personal Offices of Christ under the pretence of knowing no man after the Flesh. For if the Protestant Reformation, as in other parts so here in England especially, be the Resurrection of the Witnesses, as most certainly it is; it is as certain and assured that Familism and Quakerism are mere Enthusiastick Freaks, in that they reject or despise all those things that are so fully, <188> declaredly and universally attested by this cloud of Witnesses, or rather by these Witnesses ascending up into Heaven in a cloud. The Completion of which Prophecy I conceive fell out most fully and orderly in our English Reformation, where the Ecclesiastick Witness mounted the highest among the Reformed Churches into this Prophetick Heaven. Which may serve for a just Reproof also to those of the Presbyterian Party that either have or do envy him that Residence.

And again for the Quakers and Familists, that are such Gigantick self-sufficient Religionists, and scorn and contemn that part of the Testimony of these Witnesses, which is Remission of sins in the Bloud of Christ, and the being justified and acquitted by the merits of his Passion; how silly and ignorantly proud they are in this point, appears in that the Witnesses deliverance from the bondage of that Roman Pharaoh is plainly attributed to their passage through this Red Sea. And we know that the first Protestant Reformers began with the point of Justification in this very sense: wherein the Mystical Ægyptians were overthrown horse and man. Which I doubt not but that Epinikion, Revel. 15. alludes to, as[7] I have proved more particularly in its proper place.

[8]5. Wherefore it is apparent of what great force this ought to be to reconcile the minds of all the Sectaries to the Church; the Confession of her Faith, as also her Institutes, being the same with those of these Witnesses who were by special Providence called up to Heaven, and by the fulfilling of that Divine Prediction approved for the Witnesses of God and of the Truth: And likewise of what great usefulness it is for the peace and settlement of all Protestant States and Kingdoms, they being so well assured from hence, that it were to strive against the stream, nay to fight against God and the determinations of Providence, to superinduce upon a People such Antichristian Opinions or Practices as have been witnessed against by these approved Witnesses of God. For[9] there is neither wisedom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.

For in such cases as this, God, who can seize the hearts of men at his own pleasure and illuminate their eyes, may so enlighten the people as to make them see more then their professed Prophets, whose sight may be blinded because the reward of unrighteousness is found in their hand, that is to say, because carnal Interest has laid wast their judg <189> ment. For then the case would be much like that of Balaam's riding the Asse, whom he cudgels on this side and on that side, to keep him in the path that leads most directly to his own self-ended design: But the Beast being more affraid of the drawn sword of the Angel then of the furious blows of the Prophet, runs him out of the way, and crushes his leg against the wall. For no humane force can drive any mortal Creature against the power and terrour of God.

Wherefore it is of great consequence for them in Authority not to be ignorant of the meaning of Prophecies, that they may be sure not to fall into this θεομαχία, nor to stear their Affairs against the Current of Divine Providence: Which Ignorance our Saviour seems to exprobrate to the Jews,[10] Ye Hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the Sky and of the Earth, but how is it that ye do not discern this time? So far is the finding of the true sense of the Prophecies from causing tumults and disquietnesses in States or Kingdoms; whenas on the contrary the right understanding of them tends so much every way to their firm settlement and peace.

[11]6. And now touching the third Allegation, wherein I find little propension in my self to be over-loquacious, yet I shall not altogether neglect it, but briefly answer, First, That if I had only made a Collection of the most sound and unexceptionable Interpretations of such Prophecies as concerned my Idea of Antichristianism, this had been no impertinent performance, but necessary for the proving what I had avowed, namely, That my Idea was a Description of such an Antichristianism or Antichrist as is prefigured or foretold in the Holy Scriptures. Which bare Collection of Interpretations would notwithstanding have had their peculiar usefulness distinct from that of Mr. Mede, whose enterprise was to interpret the whole Apocalyps in order. But in this Collection the Reader would be put to the trouble of perusing only such Prophecies as are for the making good the present point we are upon, and which is of so vast concernment. Which usefull Compendiousness is a thing very considerable with those that abound not with over-much leisure, and yet would gladly be satisfied in so weighty a Controversy.

Again, I have produced and explain'd several Prophecies that Mr. Mede never meddled with. Besides that I have made use of none of his Expositions which I have not either rectified or corroborated or <190> some way or other improved, as he has done, with very good success, in several Interpretations of others. To say nothing of our full and perpetual Confutation of Hugo Grotius in all his Expositions wherein he would undermine and elude the orthodox Protestant sense of the Prophecies we make use of in this Treatise.

And lastly, Though I am very loath to have any difference with so excellent an Interpreter as Mr. Mede, yet I must ingenuously confess that I cannot but dissent from him in several things which I deem not a little material.

[12]7. As first, for example, in his Exposition of the Beast that was, and is not. For of this Beast he saith it might be said in S. John's time, Et jam olim eam fuisse, necdum tamen natam esse. With this short account would Mr. Mede turn off that Description of him. But I must confess it seems to me impossible that those words should be used with any truth, if restrained or tied to the time when the Vision was exhibited, as if it spoke of his existing or not existing then, and not only of the order of succession of Existence and Non-existence. For the Beast that was to be again under the last Head, was in actual being in S. John's time. Wherefore how harsh must it be to say of it while it is in being, that it was? But how plain a contradiction to say it is not, while it is, or that it is not yet born, when it has continued so many ages, and does and is to continue uninterruptedly so many after? Apply this to any particular person still alive and in health and to live many years, will it not grate against common sense to say of him, he was, and is not, while he is alive and in being? Besides that necdum tamen natam esse does not at all specifie his succession under the eighth King more then the seventh; that being left out in this Interpretation which is the most plainly and most materially signified in the Prophecy, namely, That the Beast was to cease to be for a time: Which Intervall of Non-existence immediately was to precede the succession of the Beast under the last Head.

[13]8. The oversight whereof seems to me to put Mr. Mede to the plunge also in his Exposition of the eight Kings, where he glosses upon Unus est, & alius nondum venit, after this manner: Unus Regum seu Dynastarum ordo, putà Cæsarum, adhuc superest; sed is quoque sub Cæsaribus Christianis ità mutaturus, ut quasi alius, sed brevis admodum ævi, dynastes videretur; reverâ tamen non alius. Where quasi alius and <191> reverâ tamen non alius I must ingenuously confess seem to me to fall short off, or rather to be quite contrary to, the scope of the Text; this Seventh King being called ὁ ἄλλος on purpose to indicate his extreme difference from all that went before him, that he did toto genere differre, as being purely Christian, and that the Eighth and six first have a greater cognation one with another then he with any of them: which is according to truth. Nor can the shortness of his Reign (for was not that of the Decemviri and Dictatours far shorter?) nor his being still Cæsar make him not an express and distinct King from the rest. For upon this account the Beast that was, and is not, will want a proper and distinct Head, at least till the Pope perk't up into the Cæsareate; which will be for some hundreds of years. For the Head of the Empire till Hildebrand's time, or at least Pope Constantine and the two succeeding Gregories; were the Cæsars.

[14]9. And lastly, Therefore the said oversight put Mr. Mede to the puzzle how to make but seven Kings of eight, and upon committing this Paralogism, There are but seven Heads of the Beast, therefore there must be but seven Kings. Whereas if he had considered, according to the plain Indication of the Prophecy, that there was a time when the Beast was for a while to cease to be, (which was the Intervall when pure Christianity was the Religion of the Empire) and that the seven Heads of the Beast were Heads of Blasphemie or Idolatry; he might have easily discerned, not onely that there might be eight Kings, though but seven Heads of the Beast, but also that it was necessary it should be so. For when the Beast was not in being, his Head was gone also. But the Empire never yet ceased to be, no not in the Intervall of the Beast's not being, nor could it be then without a Sovereignty. Wherefore there is a necessity that there should be eight Kings, though but seven Heads of the Beast. For the Beast in his Non-existence could neither want nor have an Head.

[15]10. This is true, as I have fully, and it may be over-fully, demonstrated in the ensuing Discourse. But if it had not been also mainly usefull as well as true, I should not have made it my business so carefully and copiously to have evinced it. Nor take I any pleasure in having different opinions from others, much less in divulging them, were it not for a common good: as this certainly is, it tending so naturally to the peace and safety of all the Secular Powers of the Empire, and to the vindicating of this holy Book of Visions it self from that <192> contempt or hatred that some bear to it, as seeming a Countenancer or Exciter of Fanatical persons to tumultuate against their lawfull Sovereigns; whenas on the contrary, (as I have elsewhere intimated) there is not any Book more faithfull and more friendly to the Prerogative of Secular Princes then this Volume of Prophecies; the Prediction of the Perdition of this fourth Beast being rather a mercifull Promise then a Commination: Which is this, That as it ceased to be for a time, so after a certain Period of time it should cease to be for ever. Now the temporary ceasing of the Beast to be, was onely the Empire's entertaining and maintaining the pure and Apostolick Christianity as yet uncontaminate with any Pagan-like Idolatries. Wherefore the ceasing of it to be for ever, is nothing else but the being cleansed for ever from all Idolatry and Antichristianism. Which can be no ill news to the Emperour and Secular Kings or Princes of the Empire; they being quit of Idolatry (which makes the Empire a Beast) and of the imposturous Tyranny and Usurpations of the Pope of Rome over them at once.

But for that Hierarchical Power of the Pope and his Clergie, (and truly it will analogically touch such a Presbytery as hath not learn'd the lesson of due Subjection to the Secular Sovereignty in things indifferent) that Papal Hierarchy, I say, which (as[16] King James of ever-blessed memory has smartly and justly taxed them) sub larvata simulatione curæ spiritualis animarum, regna exhaurit, orbémque Christianum cæde & sanguine miscet, to this Power I must confess the Visions of the Apocalyps are somewhat more severe, as it is most fit they should be. For this Power (except so much therein as agrees with the Primitive Ages of the Church) comprising in it nothing but a masse of Frauds and Impostures, of Superstitions and Idolatries and bloudy and Antichristian Cruelties; the Visions of the Apocalyps were not the Visions of God if they predicted not ill to so ungodly and Diabolical a Polity. And yet, if I might profess freely my opinion, were but that heap of wicked stuff cast out and abolished, and all her false Merchandizes every-where interdicted, as they are here in England, such a purification as this would undoubtedly fulfill the prediction of the burning of the Whore of Babylon with fire, according to the primary sense or scope of these Visions, and the Church and whatsoever is comely and usefull be saved from any farther or severer Castigations; provided they did not Antichristianize <193> in what is left, and place all their Religion merely in an outward, though unexceptionable, Form, neglecting the indispensable Laws of the Life of God and of honest and laudable Morality. So little reason have any to be affraid of the right sense of the Apocalyps in those Visions, unless they have a favour for the Kingdom of sin and dominion of the Devil in the World.

[17]11. Again, I must confess also that I cannot but dissent from Mr. Mede in his expounding the three days and an half wherein the Witnesses lay slain, three years and an half, and not three times and an half; which is a mistake of no small consequence. As also in his placing of six of the Vials within the sixth Trumpet, whenas I have shewn reason, I think, sufficient, why they should be all ranged within the seventh. Upon which supposition the pouring out of the first will follow the ascension of the Witnesses into Heaven in a cloud, with a very close and natural coherence, and such as is intimated in the very Text. For it is said that[18] they ascended up into Heaven in a cloud, and their Enemies beheld them: and you may be sure with a very envious eye, and with much wrath and bitter exulceration of spirit; accordingly as it is said, Ver. 18. And the Nations were angry. This is presently upon the blast of the seventh Trumpet. And the first Vial answerably thereto is said to be ἕλκος κακὸν καὶ πονηρὸν,[19] an evil and wicked Ulcer or Sore. Which does very significantly indigitate that rancour and exulceration of spirit that fell on them that had the Mark of the Beast, upon their seeing the exaltation of the Witnesses, and hearing the Triumphal Song of those mystical Israelites that had escaped the Tyranny of the Roman Pharaoh, by betaking themselves to the safeguard of the Red Sea, in such a sense as I have above intimated.

These are considerable Examples of differences betwixt Mr. Mede's Interpretations and mine. From which several others must necessarily flow, as depending thereon; beside others that depend not on these, which were to little purpose to note particularly. But they all put together will not amount to any such summe as will at all impair that rich stock of honour and esteem which will be for ever due to so excellent a Writer; whose Modesty, Judgment and usefull Industry will, I doubt not, be admired and applauded to all posteritis. For there is no reason at all that those σφάλματα which I mention here should derogate any thing from either that singular ability Mr. Mede had of interpreting Prophecies, or from <194> the credit of other performances of his in this kind where he had more maturely considered things, and therefore according to the accuracy of his Judgment had perfected his Interpretations beyond all just exception. But these that I differ from him in, he does ingenuously confess to be but certain Specimina which he had communicated to his private friends, nor did look upon them himself as throughly concocted and completed.

[20]12. These are the main prejudices that seemed to encumber our Design; which; I think, I have clearly removed. As for particular Exceptions, they are of less moment: such as might be made against the Prolixity and Inadequateness of my Alphabet of Iconisms; my Confutation of Grotius onely, and that with some sharpness in some places; and, lastly, my uncharitable Liberty in applying those Prophecies of the Apocalyps and other Scriptures, which by the ancient Fathers and more modern Writers, even of the Romanists themselves, are understood of the famous Antichrist, unto the Papacy and Church of Rome. To which I shall briefly answer and in order.

To the first, That that Alphabet of Prophetick Iconisms is neither prolix nor inadequate to the whole design I had in mine eye when I compiled it, though it be much too long for the use of the present Treatise. But we are to remember that I had occasion to write of other Visions in my Mystery of Godliness, which are pretermitted here as not appertaining to our present Scope. But the use of this Alphabet is extendible also to that former Writing, as likewise to a future design in my last part of the Mystery of Iniquity, where I shall have occasion to range very far into the Prophecies of the Apocalyps, besides other Divine Predictions, even upon this very account, more fully and accurately to examine whether those Comminations that threaten destruction to the Fourth Beast and the Whore (or by whatsoever other Figures those Powers are indigitated) do primarily signify any bloudy or boisterous destruction, (such as the keen Fifth-Monarchy-men or any other Enthusiasts are overforward to imagine;) or whether the Mystery of God may not rather be accomplished in such an orderly Reformation as was made by the Sovereign Power of England in King Edward and Queen Elizabeth's time. Which can be no affrightfull news to any that have any Knowledge of God or Love of the Truth. For assuredly that was an eminent Example of Christ's Re-visiting the World in the behalf of the faithfull, and of his coming again to Judgement, in thus judging the Whore and rescuing this part of his Kingdom here in this Island out of the hands of that Man <195> of Sin; though few have taken due notice hereof, or had a right notion of this so marvellous Event.

13. And therefore it is a wonder to me that there are so many that talk so loud of the Spirit of Elias, and pretend to be in that Dispensation,[21] and yet know neither his Spirit nor their own, nor what times they are in, nor doe that office which is proper for Elias to doe, which is to testify that the Lord is come; and as the holy Baptist pointed at Christ at his First coming, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, so to indigitate his Second coming, saying, Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, even that mighty Angel, whose face is as the Sun, with a Rainbow over his head, crying with a loud voice as when a Lion roareth, and discharging his seven thunders upon the Earth. The Series of which undoubtedly commenced upon the Protestant Reformation: For then began the[22] Judgment to sit, and the dominion of the little Horn to be taken away, to consume and to destroy it to the end. What Monsters of Enthusiasts therefore are they that kick against the sentence and authority of those holy Benchers or Heavenly Witnesses of God, (whom he raised up to judge the Deceiver and to settle Truth upon Earth) dividing themselves from that Church that is the real and genuine Spouse of Christ, so approved by these very Witnesses which God raised from the dead? What a goodly Specimen do those high-flown Boasters give of their Elias-like Spirit, who though they imitate something of the Wind, Earthquake and Fire, that appeared before that great Prophet, yet are utterly unacquainted with that still and small voice in which alone the Lord was heard to speak? This Rending and Tearing, this Faction and Siding is the fruit of the Flesh, and not of the Spirit: Nor was Elias zealous about any thing but the indispensable Laws of God. Nor is his office to divide, but to cement and make up the Breaches of the Church of Christ, to reconcile the People to their Governours and their Governours to the People, according as it is written,[23] Behold, I will send you Elijah the Prophet, and he shall turn the heart of the Fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their Fathers; lest I come and smite the Earth with a curse.

Wherefore whatsoever Dispensation drives not on an healing and uniting design in the true Church of Christ, is not the Spirit of that expected Elias, which some dream of, but a second game of Antichrist, contrived, abetted and promoted by his cunning <196> Incendiaries, upon whom that ἕλκος κακὸν καὶ πονηρὸν doth stick, and will be raging at least till the Fifth Vial. But this is more then I meant to speak in this place.

[24]14. Now concerning Grotius and my confuting him onely, and sometimes something smartly: As for the former, it is not wholy true; for I have also confuted Ribera, the best of the Roman Expositours upon the Seventeenth of the Revelation; nor have I declined any Interpreter that I could find to speak any thing considerable which is not already confuted in my confutation of these.

And for my Smartness against Grotius, I believe I shall appear so to none but such as make an Idol of him, which they will doe most that least understand or have read least of his Expositions of Daniel and the Apocalyps touching the Controversy in hand. For I dare pronounce to all the World, that there was never any thing more weak and groundless, as I have made it abundantly clear in the ensuing Discourse. And I think it is not at all unseemly to resist him with some kind of Zeal, who had grown up to that boldness in his contrived Interpretations, as to trample under feet the Sacred Titles of Christ under which he is peculiarly prophesied of in the Divine Oracles, and that in those very Prophecies themselves, and to cast them as unholy to a Pagan Nation, the People of Rome;[25] merely to cover the shame of that Body of men, who are so hideously lapsed and apostatized from the Truth; and being fast to one party and loose to another, to drive the sincere Protestant into a net under a colourable show of Reconciliation, and to expose again the innocent Lambs of Christ's flock to the merciless teeth of that devouring Wolf of Rome.

And yet as smartly as I have dealt with him, I have onely expressed my admiration that a Person otherwise so Learned should fall into such unparallel'd Weaknesses and Extravagancies in interpreting these Prophecies of Scripture, nor have given the least intimation that gifts had blinded the eyes of the wise, or that he had followed the way of Balaam the son of Bosor who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but that he had been tempted in that way, and how far he accepts the condition one may in some sort observe in the Epistle of Du-vair to him and his answer thereunto; and what other transactions there might be, God and his own Conscience best know. But in the interim it cannot be unknown to any that will search into the truth, but that some very great Biass must have been clapp'd upon so good a Judgment as Grotius his, to make him capable of running so extremely much out of the way.

<197>

[26] 15. I have elsewhere imputed it to the excess of Candour and Humanity in him, and the love of Peace and Unity; and I spoke as I thought, and am loath to unthink it again, and may sooner tire my self and my Reader, then satisfy either, by searching into the hidden principles of another mans actions, and therefore I shall dismiss that for ever.

It will be more to the purpose to vindicate my self from the imputation of the want of Charity, then to accuse him of the excess thereof or of any other Passion. For it is alledged in the last place, that I have taken to my self a very uncharitable kind of liberty, to apply those Prophecies to so great a share of Christendom as the Roman Church, that have been by ancient Interpreters, and are by the Romanists themselves, understood of Antichrist. To which I freely and ingenuously answer, and as in the presence of him before whom all mens hearts lie open, that I take no more pleasure in the finding of those Antichristian Tokens upon the Church of Rome, then I should in discovering so many Plaguespots upon my dearest Friends or Relations; so that I am not conscious to my self of the least touch of Uncharitableness in this matter.

But if the Laws of Charity be so strictly to be observed, (as certainly they are) let us take that method which is approved by the voice of all men, and has passed into a Proverb, of Charitie's beginning at home, and be as tender of the Protestant Churches in such things as they maintain with truth, as the Papists are of their own party, even in their obtruded Falsities and Deceits. It may therefore more rightfully be imputed to my fidelity to the true Church of Christ then Uncharitableness to the Church of Rome, that I again bring into play, with all due advantages, this common Assertion of the Protestants touching the Great Antichrist. Which appearing to me so solid and unexceptionable a truth, I should be conscious to my self of the highest degree of Uncharitableness to the precious memory of the first Reformers, those Witnesses whom Divine Providence so miraculously raised from the dead, if I did not what in me lies for the maintaining their Credit in so grand a Point; wherein they cannot seem to fail, but with infinite dishonour to themselves and an irreparable prejudice to the Protestant Cause. For as there is no Doctrine wherein the Romanists and we differ more true, so there is none any thing near so potent for the bearing off all their assaults against us as this of their Church being that City of Babylon which the People of God are expressly commanded to come out of, <198> lest they partake of her sins and of her plagues.[27] Which that wise Prince, King James of ever-glorious memory, knew full well, and accordingly kept entire those Primitive Sentiments of the Protestant Reformation, or rather adorned them and improved them by his Royal Pen; as also did those singularly. Devout and Learned Prelates, Bishop Andrews and Bishop Jewell, and several other Pious and Learned Bishops of our Church. Nor will I omit how explicit our Church herself is touching this point in her Homily of the Peril of Idolatry, as also in that against Rebellion. Which illustrious witnesses to so concerning a Truth it were both uncivil and unjust to either suspect or accuse of Uncharitableness.

And for my own part I cannot but farther adde, (having such an apprehension of things as I have, and so great encouragement from those Heroical Examples in whose footsteps I insist for the main in my Prophetick Interpretations) that I should think my self not onely Unfaithfull to the true Church of Christ and to the Interest of his Kingdom, which Charity will never betray, but Uncharitable also even to the Church of Rome herself, if I should not use this liberty of prophesying against her which I have, or rather of interpreting Prophecies for her just Reproof and Amendment. Stultorum incurata pudor malus ulcera celat. That saying is true as well of him that conceals the sore of his friend, when the disclosing thereof tends to the healing of it, as of him that conceals his own sore. And her own professed Nurslings either cannot or dare not use these Scripture Reproofs to her, they being either blinded with her Lustre, or terrifi'd by her Cruelty. Whence it must be some good Samaritan Stranger that must work her cure.

But if it be Uncharitableness to speak some few hard words against her, though never so true, what Barbarity would it be to expose her to the greatest hardships of Fortune that humane Affairs are obnoxious to? as, suppose, to betray her to the successfull Rage and Ravin of the overflowing Turk? would that be such a piece of indearing Kindness and Charity? And yet surely those doe so to her that sow pillows under her Elbow, that sooth her up, and call her my Sister and my Mother, and say there are no considerable miscarriages in her; whenas she stands guilty of all those sins that are reckoned up, Revel. 9. 20, 21. Προσκύνουσις δαιμονίαν καὶ εἰδώλων, φόνοι, φαρμακοῦαι, περνείαι, κλέμματα, multifarious Idolatries, bloudy Persecutions, Con <199> juring or Enchanting, defiled Cœlibate, and pious Frauds or wicked Policies, with Impenitency added to them all. For these sins have the Locusts and Euphratean Horsemen, the Turks and Saracens, laid wast the Eastern Church; and yet it is Uncharitable to admonish the Latine Church thereof, which is much more guilty of these high miscarriages; yea and that in such a time as the Mahometan Forces have fallen so grievously upon the disspirited Empire, and have made all fly before them. To give a stop to whose fury for the future, I am confident nothing can be more effectual then the Reformation of the Roman Church according to the Word of God and the first Primitive Ages, or, to speak more compendiously, according to the platform of our excellent English Reformers. For this would put a new life and spirit into Christendom, and make her grow young and strong again, and able to repulse the Turkish forces for ever with Victory. And truely the whole summe of what may seem either so affrightfull or distastfull in my old, Orthodox Protestant way of interpreting the ensuing Prophecies to either the Church of Rome her self or any of her hidden friends or well-willers, is but to reduce the whole Western Church to that unexceptionable Purity and Beauty that our Royal and Reverend Reformers, through the special assistence of God, did reduce this of ours.

But if this be of such excellent purpose, must it not be to very great purpose to make the Church of Rome sensible that she wants this Reformation? And is there any thing that can convince her more of that want then that her enormous miscarriages are so plainly depainted (as most certainly they are) in those Visions we have explained in this Treatise; nay are very stingingly and satyrically set out by the Spirit of God on purpose to awake the Christian World out of this deep Sopour or Lethargie? For it must be some such rousing Rebuke that can wean or reclaim that Church from so inveterate errours rooted in Custom and founded in a sweet bewitching Interest not to be parted withall upon any easy terms. Which power of the Light of the true meaning of these Prophecies that obnoxious Church does plainly acknowledge herself sensible of, in her hiding herself as well as she can from the convictive perstringency of them, and in getting men to palliate her deformities with all possible art, and to shelter off the searching gleams and piercing Lustre of these veracious Visions by their false and adulterate Glosses: Which is the greatest Uncharitableness and Disser vice {sic} that <200> can possibly be done unto her, thus to lull her asleep, to be surprised by the irresistible wrath of God, and to expose her to the fury of his Jealousy. Wherefore had she not better cease to take Sanctuary in such forced and incredible misinterpretations of Scripture and letting go those false shifts, reform herself according to that Platform which has so manifest approbation from the Divine Oracles, in a sense not onely credible but true?

[28]16. For it is demonstratively true by the second Consectary of my Joint-Exposition, That the Church was not grown Antichristian till about 400 years after Christ; As also from the proportion of the Outward Court to the Inward, that it was Symmetral till about that time. Which approvable Ages of the Church were the Pattern of our English Reformation. Besides that, as I have already intimated, the said Reformation is an eminent Speciminal completion of the Prophecy of the Resurrection of the Witnesses: So that the Rectitute thereof is ratified as well from those Visions that prefigure the Recovery of the Church, as from those that signify her primævall Purity.

Nor can those Perstrictions of the less perfect condition of things, which I elsewhere have noted touching the Reformed Churches, be rightly conceived to concern our English Church; both because it had disappeared in a manner when I penned that Treatise, as also because of her special immunity from those Imputations, as may appear from my Vindication of her at the end of this present Discourse. And as for the whole Protestant Reformation, I must freely and ingenuously confess, I had something a lesser value for it then it does deserve, being born down by the authority of our best Interpreters into a belief that we were not yet past the Sixth Trumpet, much less had advanced any thing in the Seventh. According to which supposition some things have passed my Pen in the Mystery of Godliness, which I here take the opportunity of recalling; judging it, with Aristotle,[29] βέλτιον ἐιναὶ καὶ δεῖν ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ τὰ οικεῖα ἄλλως τε καὶ φιλοσόφους ὄντας. Which duty is more indispensable in Theologie. Though here I must confess I do not so much τὰ οἰκεῖα ἀναιρεῖν as τὰ ἀλλότρια, the mistake being not originally mine, but others. Which yet I the more easily swallowed down by reason of my Computing the Woman's abode in the Wilderness, and the mournfull condition of the Witnesses, by Days, and not by Semi-Times, as the Three days and Half did indigitate. By the former of which Computes the Woman could not be come out of the Wilderness nor the Witnesses be rose from the dead till about this time. But <201> reckoning by Semi-times, the Protestant Reformation will very easily and naturally be a Speciminall Completion of the Prophecy of their Resurrection, it plainly happening in the last Half-Day or Semi-Time, according to prediction: Nor does the Prophecy require any greater accuracy of Compute then so.

Which I confess is a great ease to my mind in the Apprehension of things. For examining the Frame of our Church, and finding it such as I have represented it in the two last Chapters of this Book, it was so near to what (according to my best Judgment) I could desire, and had hinted at in some passages of my Mystery of Godliness, that methought it fared so with me in this matter, as it did once with a musing companion of mine and myself in a short Journey we took together, when we asked the way to a certain Town we were to go to, even then when we had already unawares got into the midst of it. The Reddition is very easy and obvious.

But nothing then puzzled me but my compute by Days, as I said, instead of Semi-times, which hindred me from rightly applying so illustrious an Event to the Prediction. But correcting that errour, as also a false surmize that μετὰ implies the full expiration of the time to which it is prefixed, the Application of the Prophecy proved very easy to me, nor do I at all doubt but that it is a Prediction of the Protestant Reformation in Christendom in general. Of which notwithstanding this of the Church of England seems the most noble Specimen, and the Resurrection of the Witnesses and their Ascension more high, more full, more orderly, and more answerable to the Vision, here, then any where else that I know.

[30]17. And as if Providence had a more special eye to this Church and to the Platform of the Reformation thereof then to any other, as it indeed seems to me to exceed all the rest in several main Respects, (as in her moderation in the Cinq-Points, her perfect freeness from all manner of superstitious and imposturous Opinions and Usages, her declaredness concerning things indifferent, and apert profession of them to be such, and her Loyal Obsequiousness to the Sovereign Power, with others of the like nature, which at least joyntly considered make her condition peculiar;) so she seems to me also to have a more full and peculiar privilege in her being witnessed to from above then any of the rest have. For beside her Resurrection in the East Reformation, which fell within the last Semi-time, and is common to her with the rest, <202> she has had of late, after she was suppressed and in a manner extinct for so many years together, another most glorious and unexpected Resuscitation to life, our Zerobabel and Jesuah, that is to say, that Regal and Episcopal Power of England, which were the first Founders and Establishers, and are now the present Restorers and Upholders of so well a constituted Church, being so happily and providentially restored again to the Nation: What is this but another Resurrection from the dead to the slain Witnesses, and a second Testimonie from Heaven to the Sacredness and Inviolableness of our English Reformation, and that beyond all cavil and exception, it falling out not within the last Semi-Time at large, as the former did, but just at the expiration thereof, or, if you will, of the 1260 Days?

For taking a fit Epocha for the matter in hand, which concerns the purely Christian and Antichristian Periods of the Church, and I think there can be none more fit then that year wherein so many were converted to the faith at Antioch, insomuch that the Church was then first called Christian, which was the fourtieth year from the Nativity of Christ if we adde to these fourty years 360, the time of the Churche's continuing Symmetral, and 1260, the time of the mournfull Prophecy of the Witnesses, or of their Political Death; the very last year of the whole summe is the year 1660: Which therefore must be the last year of the Witnesses sad and calamitous condition. And, lo! to the admiration of the whole world, in the very self-same year is the restoring of our English Protestant Regal and Episcopal Power; our Moses and Aaron do not onely stand upon their feet, but ascend into Heaven in a cloud, the whole world looking up and wondring at them. Can there be a more fit fulfilling of the Prophecy of the Resurrection of the Witnesses then this? or a more ample Testimonie to the Excellency of our English Reformation, such as I have decyphered at the end of this Book, then this completion of the Prophecy? or, lastly, a more urgent obligation from Divine Providence upon these so miraculously revived Witnesses for the perfecting of Faith and Holiness? Whom God seems on purpose, after his paternal chastisements, to have restored in such a point of time as may for ever re-mind them of the end of their restitution, namely, That they may never fail with all faithfulness and diligence to witness to the Truth, and to support, propagate and emprove that saving Light of the Gospel which was[31] first let into this Island by their Pious and Reverend Predecessors, the first renowned Authors <203> of so blessed a Reformation, and keep it intemerate and incorrupt from all Papal impurities, and adorn it with all sanctity of life and sobriety of conversation.

[32]18. Wherefore there is no reason at all for any Protestant Party to look upon the Apocalyps, if rightly understood, as such an affrightfull Mormo or Megæra; and less for the English Church then any, there being such illustrious Testimonies therein of her peculiar worth and precellency. And as for the Roman Church herself, though she be, I must confess, most sharply and satyrically reproved in some Visions there [Ch. 17 & 18.] and seems most dreadfully to be menaced; yet I am well assured that none of those Comminations are meant in the harshest sense, unless she will by her own obstinacy make them so; but onely of a destruction of what is evil in her, and of the Reformation of her from what is really and properly Antichristian. But she is indeed there charged most plainly and apertly, in the judgment of any one that is not wilfully blind, with the highest Instances of Antichristianism, to the end that she might Reform and repent, and undergo no Destruction but what is her real Perfection; As certainly it would be to be reduced to the Purity of the Primitive times, or to take a Pattern from our Church which is already so conformable thereto. Which free Advertisement to this so deeply apostatized Church of Rome I think is the greatest act of Charity that any member of Christ can doe for her.

But for us Protestants to reconcile to her, before she be reconciled to the Primitive Church in those Symmetrall Ages thereof, would be to rend our selves from Christ and his Church, or at least to daub with untempered morter. Associate your selves, O ye people, and ye shall[33] be broken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird your selves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. So little good can there come of that Union that is founded in that which is so evil. For, to make the Church of Christ seem all of one piece by the Protestants conforming to the Church of Rome, were indeed to make all Christendom one entire Field of Ægyptian Reeds for the fire of God's Jealousy to consume.

Such Counsells, I say, were not onely unskilfull and perillous, but downright Treachery and Treason against the Empire of Christ and against the Princes of the Provinces thereof. For it were the betraying of any Protestant Prince to the displeasure of God and wrath of the Lamb, to persuade him to come again under the Laws and Religion of that Man <204> of Sin; and so to betray that trust Christ has committed to him, by thus perfidiously surrendring part of his regained Empire into the hands of his declared enemie. For I say the Reformed parts of Christendom are the Empire of Christ and the real Fifth Monarchy, (to the shame and reproach of those blind Enthusiasts that would tumultuously and rebelliously erect it where it already is) not to be empaired by Revolts to Antichrist, but to be propagated, improved and enlarged by the ruine and destruction of his Kingdom. Accordingly as Daniel[34] has foretold touching the little Horn with the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things, (which I have demonstrated against Grotius to be meant of the Papacy)[35] That this Judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end. So that according to the design of God the Papacy is to decay and consume after the rising of the Witnesses, and that the Seventh Trumpet has once begun to sound. For in it the[36] Mystery of God is to be finished, and the Seven Vials to be poured on the Two-horned Beast or the False-Prophet. Which Seventh Trumpet has begun to sound already, and we are under the first Thunder thereof comprising the Seven Vials, which are the Seven last Plagues, and we are under the effusion of the Third of them. And therefore to sound a retreat to Rome under the Conduct of Grotius or of any one else, were to bid battel against Heaven, and to harden our faces against the dreadfull Flashes and direfull Thunder-claps of the Almighty; against whom there is neither Force nor Counsel, neither can any man disannull his Judgment.[37] For who has an arm like God? or who can thunder with a voice like him?[38] There are many devices in a mans heart: nevertheless the Counsel of the Lord that shall stand.

[1] The main Prejudices against this present Discourse.

[2] That the Divine Prophecies are not invincibly obscure, and that it smells of Blasphemie and Prophaneness to pronounce them so.

[3] Dan. 12. 10.

[4] That the greater danger there is from false & unskilful Interpretations of them, the greater value there ought to be upon their labour that search out such as are exact and true.

[5] Book 2. Ch. 5. Sect. 5.

[6] An Instance of such an Interpretation in the Vision of the Resurrection of the two Witnesses, with the use thereof against the Quakers & Familists.

[7] * See Book 1. Ch. 4. Sect. 5. Book 2. Ch. 11. Sect. 2.

[8] And for the settling this Church and Nation in peace, as also for the establishment of other Protestant States and Kingdoms.

[9] Pro. 21. 30.

[10] Luke 12.

[11] That the laudableness of Mr. Mede's performance in interpreting Prophecies is no bar to the usefulness of this present Treatise.

[12] The Author's dissent from Mr. Mede in his Exposition of the Beast that was, and is not.

[13] As also of the seventh King.

[14] The unaccountableness of there being but seven Heads, though eight Kings, in Mr. Mede's way.

[15] The great serviceableness of the Authour's Interpretation of the Perdition of the Beast and of the burning of the Whore, for the peace and security of Christendom.

[16] * Præfat. Monitor. ad Cæsar. &c.

[17] His difference from Mr. Mede's way in expounding the three days and an half of the death of the Witnesses, and in the placing of the Vials, &c.

[18] Apoc. 11. 12.

[19] Apoc. 16. 2.

[20] The reason of the Prolixness of his Alphabet of Prophetick Iconisms.

[21] A Description of the right Spirit or Dispensation of Elias, for the better discovering all false Pretenders thereto. Apoc. 10. 3.

[22] Dan. 7. 26.

[23] Mal. 4. 5.

[24] That he has not confuted Grotius onely in this Treatise: with an Apologie for doing of it sometimes something sharply.

[25] See Grotius his Annot. in Dan. 2. 34, 45. and chap. 7. 13.

[26] The vindication of himself from the imputation of Uncharitableness, for applying certain Visions usually understood of Antichrist to the Church of Rome.

[27] Apoc. 18. 4.

[28] How well the Protestant Reformation is attested to out of the Apocalyps; especially that of our English Church. And what were the main hinderances to the Authour from the applying so illustrious an Event to the Prediction.

[29] Ethic. Nicom. lib. 1. cap. 4.

[30] A peculiar Attestation to the Church of England in the Completion of the Prophecy of the Resurrection of the Witnesses above the rest of the Reformed Churches.

[31] Namely, since Popery.

[32] That the Reformed part of Christendom is the real Fifth Monarchy; and how perillous a Project that of Grotius is, to reconcile the Protestant Churches to the Church of Rome before she be reconciled to the ancient Apostolick Church of the Primitive Ages.

[33] Esay 8. 9.

[34] Dan. 7. 8.

[35] Dan. 7. 26.

[36] Apoc. 10. 7.

[37] Job 40. 9.

[38] Pro. 19. 21.

Cite as: Henry More, A Modest Enquiry into the Mystery of Iniquity (1664), pp. 183-204, http://www.cambridge-platonism.divinity.cam.ac.uk/view/texts/diplomatic/More1664-excerpt002, accessed 2020-10-21.