Mahometanism in its Relation to Prophecy
|It has been suggested that this work be split into multiple pages.
If you'd like to help, please review the style guidelines and help pages.
From the earliest dawn of human history we find mankind striving, though for the most part in vain, to lift up the curtain that hangs before the future, to obtain some glimpse of what is to come.
There was nothing unnatural in this; the past had fled away, and with it that feeling which its actual presence had inspired. The present no sooner arrived than it was gone, it did nothing but swell the recollection of what had previously passed away. No doubt the past must ever occupy a large portion of humnn thought; a human faculty has been created to exercise itself upon it the memory : and as we dwell upon it we feel in turn joy or sorrow, remorse or satisfaction, hope or fear. It contains, as Revelation assures us, the catalogue of those acts, which, whether good or bad, are to decide our future and everlasting destiny. The past then in its own nature must exert a stronger influence over the human mind, and excite deeper feelings, than the present ever can. For the past is nothing else but the whole collection of numberless instants, that once were present for a moment, and then for ever ceased: though, awful mystery! their consequences are eternal and for ever present! But if the past naturally and necessarily exercises so large an influence on the feelings of men, what must be the intensity of interest that belongs in every thoughtful mind to the consideration of the future ?
The future contains within its fathomless and boundless bosom our own destiny, our own lot for good or evil, for weal or woe: it contains the sum and the result of more than all that lies buried in the past; it contains those brief instants still reserved for each of us, that will soon be present, and then become the apanage of the past ; but it contains far more, it contains the moral and physical results of all these little present instants, and of the use which we shall make of them. It contains the solution of the great mystery of human creation, of the relation of man to his Maker, of time to eternity, of ^vliat changes and passes away to what shall never more change, but shall endure in God and with God for ever and ever, world uithout end ! O wonderful and overwhelming thought ! O who will grant us rightly to estimate the great thought of the future ? It is evident that for the human mind to dwell upon the future is not only a necessary result of the order of God, strictly according to the nature of things, but the highest duty and interest of man, strictly reasonable, inasmuch as it relates to what in its own nature is far more important, than anything that is present, or even the whole assemblage of what is recorded in the history of the past.
And yet this great and all-absorbing future is an impenetrable mystery, which no human mind can fathom. We are irresistibly drawn to the thought of it, but we cannot see to the end of it; we wander and wonder upon its dreary shore, as we may on that of the ocean, but our eye is soon perplexed and dazzled, our mind reels and falters, and we turn away from an impossible task, not to be accomplished by the most powerful understanding, or the deepest calculations of human reason. And yet, as we turn away, an unseen force drives us once more to the same margin.
This unseen force, what is it, but God? and He, who urges us, provides what is to satisfy the feeling He Himself has called forth within us. The limited mind of the creature cannot know what is in the future ; but God, in whom all that is, lives, and moves, and has its being, God knows what is in the future, because He knows, and must know, all things. Man may guess some of the things that are in the future, because, reasoning from what has passed, he may calculate upon certain results springing from certain causes ; but he can never do more than guess, because he never can tell how the causes he calculates from may themselves be changed. But if man can guess, and if sometimes the result will bear out the accuracy of the guess, God, who knows all the secret springs and bearings of all that He has created, God must know all the results of the working of His own work, witk even a much greater certainty than the watchmaker knows what will be the practical result of his own mechanical contrivances. And this must be so, no matter what be the mechanism (if I may use such a word) employed by the Almighty Creator. In a word, if a part of this mechanism be what is termed free will, that is, a power vested by its Maker in the creature of acting according to or against His own Divine will, which power, He assures us, was granted to the creature for a moral purpose, namely, for rendering it fit or unfit to be hereafter ussoriuti'd with Himself; if such a power , as this were part of the mechanism employed by the Almighty Creator in the construction of the rational creature, that would no more hinder the Creator from certainly foreknowing the consequences and results of His own mechanism, than any mechanism invented by a human artificer could baffle the accuracy of the inventor's calculations.
God, then, knows all things, whether past or future ; man is ignorant of the future, but he feels himself urged on to the consideration of it. What is he to do ? From the earliest moments of human history God Himself has given us an answer to the question, in revealing to men from time to time the secrets of the future. Sometimes these revelations, or prophecies (as we call them), have come direct from God, sometimes through the instrumen- tality of inspired men, that is, of men speaking as the mouthpieces of God Himself. No sooner had Adam and Eve transgressed the probationary commandment of God in Eden, than the Almighty revealed to them the greatest of all events that lay buried in the future, the coming of a Redeemer who should atone for their fault ; while very soon after we find the Almighty making known other portions of the future through the instrumentality of such men as Enoch and Noah, till it pleased His Divine goodness to raise up a succession of prophets, by whose ministry He announced to mankind all the principal events in human history, even until the very end of the world, that is, until the consummation of the probationary condition of men ; for it is from prophecy, and from prophecy alone, that we know that the present state of the human race will one day cease, and be replaced with another which is to be far better for all those who shall be made fit for it, while the misery of all the rest will be equally perfect in its kind, and, like the happiness of the redeemed, everlasting.
To satisfy, then, the cravings of mankind to dive into the future, God has given prophecy, and, like every other Divine gift, we ought to receive it with thankfulness and humility. It is no part of our present object to discuss the question of true as distinguished from apo- cryphal prophecy, or even that of the general test of true prophecies ; we assume throughout the truth of the prophecies recorded in the l>il)le, and accepted by all Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant. We say, then, that God having given such a gift as prophecy, it is clear that He intended us to make use of it, and to profit by it ; else we may surely infer the gift would not have been bestowed. Under this conviction, we find that good men in all ages of the Church, both before and after the coming of our Saviour, have made prophecy the subject of their studies, while they endeavoured by means of its light to read the purposes of God in what was passed and accomplished, as well as to enter into those same Divine purposes in what still remained as yet unfulfilled. (See 1 Peter i. 1012.)
The history of the heathen world reveals a similar feeling amongst all nations; the oracles of their false divinities were indeed a poor counterfeit of the prophecies of the true God ; still they did homage to a great principle, and bore witness to the fact how eagerly men dive into the future, while they proved the necessity of true prophecies. Amongst the heathen there remained also a large store of the ancient true prophecies along with that portion of other Divine truths, which they still retained, obscured and corrupted as they were by their own vain reasonings and erroneous traditions.
But amongst the people of God, whether under the Mosaic or the Christian dispensations, the most eminent lights of the Church have ever turned their minds to the consideration of prophecy, and in proportion to the magnitude of the events in the sphere of which they were placed, have they striven to examine the relations between such events and prophecy. And assuredly they were right in doing so. No doubt they were often mistaken in their application of particular prophecies to particular events ; and yet their labours contributed to the sum of general interpretation, which (it must be acknowledged) is singularly uniform in its conclusions, if due allowance be made for natural divergencies upon particular details. Thus, 'to give an example, it is quite remarkable what a unity there is amongst commentators upon the Little Horn describe d by Daniel as growing out of the Grecian beast! Even Protestants agree with Catholics in the Misinterpretation of this portion of prophecy. And so with other portions also, as we shall have occasion to see hereafter. And though, at the moment, in the application of particular prophecies to particular events, great mistakes may very naturally be made, still it will be found that there was much that was valuable connected with the labours, even of those who blundered in some of their conclusions, inasmuch as they laid down principles of interpretation, which others afterwards found to be of the greatest value, not only in ascertaining truth, but in rectifying their blunders. And as an instance of what I mean, I should say that the most powerful arguments to disprove the Protestant theory that the pope was the fulfilment of prophecy as relating to Antichrist, have come to me from the very writings of Protestant commentators, which undertook to establish the soundness of this very theory.
So also students of prophecy may have erred in supposing that the events of their own day had any place at all in prophecy, at least any distinct and definite place, and yet that ought not discourage others from considering other events in their possible relation to prophecy. The only conclusion, that it seems to me may be fairly drawn from any such past failures of interpretation, is, not that we should not endeavour to find out any such relation between what is going on in the world and prophecy; but that, in our labours to attain this, we should act with great caution and humility, and abstain from all dogmatizing assurance, simply stating our opinion, and the reasons on which it is grounded : leaving it to God and to the future to do the rest : moreover bearing in mind the words of the Apostle Peter, "That no prophecy of Scripture is made by private interpretation/' (2 Peter i. 20.)
These few observations we felt we owed to our readers as preliminary to our entering on the very interesting question, as to the possible relation that may exist between the Divine prophecies of the Holy Scripture and the great events that are now taking place all over the earth, and that seem likely to usher in others of still greater magnitude.
But in all our observations on this most interesting subject, we here declare that we submit all that we have written to the infallible authority of our Holy Mother, the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to whom alone belongs the true interpretation of Divine Scripture.
CHAPTER I. ON THE USE AND ADVANTAGE OF DIVINE PROPHECY
OF all the evidences of the truth of revealed religion, there is perhaps not one that holds so important a rank not even miracles being excepted as prophecy. That this is so, reason alone must convince us. Who but God can possibly know what is still future ? A man well acquainted with history, versed in the experience of the past, or who has studied the hidden depths of human nature, may assuredly form conjectures, more or less probable, of what is likely to happen in the times immediately bordering on his own; for, independently of what is called the Philosophy of History, which may assist him in some slight degree to unravel the mysteries of the future, there is no event of great magnitude which must not have been prepared at least by a series of smaller events, the chain of which he already finds commenced, so that its coming (to use the beautiful expression of our wise poet) " casts its shadow before it"
In this sense the politician, the philosopher, the poet, may be said to prophesy. In this sense, aided, too, no doubt, by the superior craft and experience of evil spirits, as the holy fathers of the Catholic Church abundantly prove, the heathen oracles foretold, and foretold correctly, many events.
But who does not see the infinite difference between such predictions as these, whether natural or preter-natural, and the prophecies of our Sacred Scriptures ? prophecies which, made many thousand years ago, foretell the events which are to take place even to the consummation of the world ? prophecies, which foretell what the free will of unborn millions in the remotest ages was foreseen by the mind of God as certain to accomplish ? prophecies, in fine, which not only lay bare the future, but reveal the great and glorious purposes of the Almighty, which He intended to bring to perfection out of a series of acts having no individual reference the one to the other, nor, indeed, ordained as though by a fate inconsistent with the freedom of the human will; but which, foreseen by Him as the certain result of that very free will of which He was the Author and Creator, were made subservient by Him to that unity of gracious purpose which could never appear so glorious as when triumphing over a chaos that must have baffled the highest created intelligence, nor so beneficent as when turning the abuses of man's freedom at once to the benefit of the creature so abusing it, and to the greatest glory of the Creator so offended and so dishonoured by it ?
Truly, when we contemplate the wonderful prophecies of our Sacred Scriptures, we may well exclaim, in the devout and humble language of St. Paul, " O ! the depth of the riches of the wisdom and the knowledge of God ! how incomprehensible are His judge- ments, and His ways past finding out ! " (Romans xi. 33.)
But if we may say of these Divine prophecies that they perhaps constitute the strongest evidence of the truth of that revelation of which they form a part, and in which they hold so conspicuous a place, it is no less true that their fulfilment, manifested by the event, is their only certain and satisfactory expositor. This truth is beautifully expressed by the prince of the apostles, the glorious St. Peter : "We have also a more sure word of prophecy, to which ye do well to give heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place, until the day shine forth " (2 Peter i. 1921) ,- that is, until the event manifest its fulfilment ; while we learn, from the same words, that the great object of prophecy, separate from that still higher one of serving as an evidence of revelation, is " to shine as a light in a dark place ; " or, in other words, to enable the Christian to read the designs of God on the dark face of events.
Amongst all the various events foretold by the prophecies of God, there are two which appear to hold a place conspicuous amongst all the rest, and to which the others hold a subordinate relation : the first of these is the coming of the Messiah, that is, the Christ ; the second is the coming of the Antichrist. Of these two great events we may say, that as, on the one hand, Almighty God has made every human event subservient to His great and glorious designs, manifested and accomplished in the incarnation of his Son, that is, in the coming of Christ; so, on the other, man's great enemy, Satan, has endeavoured to render the same subservient to that grand scheme which he devised to counteract the work of God, namely, the coming of Antichrist. Hence the whole history of the human race may be compared to a sublime epic, in which the contending powers are, in the invisible world, Almighty God with His blessed angels against Satan and the rebel angels ; in the visible world, Christ and Antichrist; whilst the opposite camps are the city of God (that is, the Holy Catholic Church) on the one hand, and the city of the devil (that is, fallen human nature warring against God) on the other. And as Almighty God, the Supreme Disposer of human events, turns all to the glory of His cause, that is, the good of His Holy Church, consisting as it does of redeemed and regenerate men purchased by the blood of Christ, so that the whole chain of Divine acts is, as it were, riveted to that single Divine purpose, namely, the coming of Christ, and the establishment of His spiritual kingdom; so the devil, in all his contradictory plans and schemes, would at least make the wickedness of all of them subservient to the single diabolical purpose meditated in the coming of Antichrist, and the establishment of his iniquitous kingdom.
It would seem that the blessed apostle St. John viewed Antichrist in this light, when in his first epistle he thus wrote : "Little children, this is the last hour : and like as ye have heard that Antichrist is to come, even so now (I tell you) there are already many Antichrists." (1 John ii. 18.) That is, besides the general evil and malice meditated by Satan in the acts to which he tempted and directed all his agents and instruments, from the foundation of the world, he had an especial reference to the coming of Antichrist, as the full development of all his designs : so that, as all the holy personages who went before Christ, were so many types of Christ ; so, in like manner, all the servants of Satan who were to precede Antichrist, were so many types of him, and might therefore be termed, not inappropriately, so many Antichrists, as the apostle said : " There are already many Antichrists."
It is the object of the present treatise to endeavour, humbly treading in the footsteps of the earliest fathers and doctors of the Holy Catholic Church, to unfold the prophecies of God, which relate to this masterpiece of Satanic malice and craft, manifested in the coming of Antichrist.
CHAPTER II. PROPHECIES OP THE OLD TESTAMENT CONCERNING ANTICHRIST.
WE read, in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel, the following words (verses 1 to 14) :
"1. In the first year of Balthassar, king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream ; and the vision of his head was upon his bed : and writing the dream, he comprehended it in few words ; and relating the sum of it, in short he said :
" 2. I saw in my vision by night, and behold the four winds of heaven strove upon the great sea:
"3. And four great beasts, different one from another, came up out of the sea.
" 4. The first was like a lioness, and had the wings of an eagle : I beheld till her wings were plucked off, and she was lifted up from the earth, and stood upon her feet as a man, and the heart of a man was given unto her.
"5. And behold another beast like a bear stood up on one side, and there were three rows in the mouth thereof, and in the teeth thereof; and thus they said to it, Arise, devour much flesh.
" 6. After this, I beheld, and lo ! another like a leopard, and it had upon it four wings as of a fowl, and the beast had four heads, and power was given unto it.
" 7. After this, I beheld in the vision of the night, and lo ! a fourth beast, terrible and wonderful, and exceeding strong ; it had great iron teeth, eating and breaking in pieces, and treading down the rest with its feet : and it was unlike to the other beasts, which I had seen before it, and it had ten horns.
"8. I considered the horns, and behold another little horn sprung out of the midst of them ; and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof : and behold eyes, like the eyes of a man, were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things.
" 9. I beheld, till thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days sat : his garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like unto clean wool; his throne like flames of fire ; the wheels of it like a burning fire.
" 10. A swift stream of fire issued forth from before him : thousands of thousands ministered to him ; and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before him : the judgement sat, and the books were opened.
"11. I beheld, because of the great words, which that horn spake : and I saw that the beast was slain, and the body thereof was destroyed, and given to the fire to be burnt.
" 12. And that the power of the other beasts was taken away ; and that times of life were appointed them for a time and a time.
"13. I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo ! one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of Days; and they presented him before Him.
" 14. And He gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom : and all peoples, tribes, and tongues, shall serve him; his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away : and his kingdom that shall not be destroyed."
In these sublime and mysterious words, does the Prophet Daniel lay open to us the whole mystery of God, containing the prediction of all the principal events from his own time even unto the end of the world. All commentators agree that the four beasts signified the four great monarchies or empires, which were destined to arise on the earth, successively holding dominion over all nations. In fact this interpretation was revealed to Daniel along with the vision itself, as we find stated in the same chapter, from the 16th to the 28th verse. That great father and doctor of the Church, St. Jerome, commenting (Hieronymi Comment, in Daniel, e. vii. torn. v. p. 584, ed. Basiliensis) upon this vision, thus interprets it : " I understand by the four winds of heaven, four angelical powers, to whose guardianship the principal kingdoms of the world are committed, as we read in the book of Deuteronomy : e When the Most High divided the nations asunder, when he separated the children of Adam, He constituted the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the angels of God ; but the Lord's portion is His people, yea, Jacob is the boundary of His heritage? By the sea is signified the world, or the secular state of mankind, tossed to and fro with the billows of human passions ; as our Lord interprets the same figure in His parable of the net cast into the sea. Hence the dragon is called the king of all that moves in the waters, and, according to David, his heads are bruised in the sea. (PsaL Ixxiii.) And we read in the Prophet Amos (Amos ix.) : c Though he go down to the depth of the sea, there will I command the dragon, and he shall devour him? But as for the four beasts that arose from the sea, and were different one from the other, if we listen to the angel's interpretation, we may know the meaning of the vision. These four great beasts, says he, are four kingdoms, that shall arise from the earth. But the four winds of heaven, that strove on the great sea, are termed winds of heaven, because each angel striveth with God for the kingdom that is committed to his guardianship. And we must remark, that by the term beasts is signified the brute force and cruelty of the several kingdoms. But in the vision, the first was like a lioness, and it had the wings of an eagle : this was the kingdom of Babylon, and it was symbolized by a lioness, rather than a lion, on account of its savage cruelties, as well as its luxury and beastly lust." We may here remark, to interrupt for a moment the commentary of St. Jerome, that our own illustrious traveller Layard has discovered in his laborious investigations of the ruins of the old Assyrian power at Nineveh, and in the territory of the great Babylonian empire, numerous remnants of vast colossal statues of winged lionesses, some of which are now deposited in our own British Museum. These figures probably symbolized the Assyrian power, and in that case it was very natural that in the vision that empire should be so represented to the prophet. And it is evident that those statues must have had a symbolical meaning, which was well understood by the people amongst whom they were erected. The lioness would signify a mighty people, emerging from the desert of barbarism, and the wings that aided it in its flight would signify the arts and appliances of civilization, which enabled it to soar above the low and grovelling pursuits of savage life, while the nature and character of the lioness would express the moral and physical qualities of that people. But let us listen to St. Jerome : " ' And it had the wings of an eagle/ By this I understand the pride of that most powerful kingdom, for Esaias the Prophet, speaking of the prince of pride, saith, f I will place my throne above the stars of heaven, and I will be like unto the Most High.' (Isaias xli.) And in another place it is said of him : ' Yea, though thou be lifted up on high like an eagle, yet will I drag thee down from thence. Moreover, as the lion amongst beasts, so the eagle hath a sort of royalty amongst birds. And as the eagle is said to live to a great age, so it may be said that the Assyrian monarchy subsisted for many centuries. But when the prophet tells us that its wings were plucked off, whether from the lioness or the eagle, that refers to the other kingdoms which that empire ruled over, and by which it soared over the rest of the world. And when it is said that it was taken from the earth, the words evidently refer to the destruction of the Chaldean empire ; and what follows ' That it stood on its feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it :' if we apply it to Nabuchodonosor, it is evident that at one period he was deprived of his royal state, and was afterwards restored to it, so that he learnt he was a man, and not a savage beast ; and he took back the heart which he had lost in his dreadful humiliation. But if we interpret it in general of the Chaldean kingdom, it would mean, that when Balthassar was slain, and the Chaldean dominion was overthrown by the Medes and Persians, the men of Babylon learnt that they were frail, and liable to fall like other men. We must also remark the order observed by the prophet in this vision, and we shall find that it exactly coincides with that which we have already seen in the great metallic statue in the dream of Nabuchodonosor. What in DaniePs vision is described as a lioness with eagles' wings, is there called the head of gold ;" [and both the one and the other signify the Babylonian or Assyrian monarchy.]
" But the Prophet continues, 'and behold a second beast like unto a bear. This relates to the power, of which it is said in Nabuchodonosor's dream of the statue; he and his breast and his arms were of silver. The Medo-Persian empire is compared to a bear, on account of the strength and fierceness of that power." And here we may interrupt for a moment the commentary of St. Jerome, to observe, that there also may be some allusion on the part of the prophet to the geographical position of the two empires in question. The Assyrian monarchy was in a more southern latitude, nearer the tropics, and so it is compared to a lioness, for such animals abound within its territory ; while Persia, situated much further to the north, and diversified with great mountains, abounded with bears ; and so it is not unaptly symbolized by that very animal. But to return to St. Jerome : " Moreover the habits of the Persians were hardy and frugal, like what we read of the Lacedaemonians, and as we may see detailed at length by Xenophon in his ' History of the Education of the elder Cyrus / and when it is said ' that it stood up on one side,' the Hebrews thus interpret it, that the Medo-Persians never did anything to persecute Israel. Hence by Zachariah the Prophet they are called ' white horses' But ' there were three rows in the mouth and in the teeth thereof.' This has been interpreted of the three principalities into which the Medo-Persian empire was subdivided, as we read in the TTC/HKOTTI) of Baltasar and Darius, that there were three princes, each of whom presided over one hundred and twenty satrapies. But others have made it refer to three kings, who reigned after Cyrus over the Persian empire, but without telling us which they refer to. But as we find from history, that after Cyrus, who reigned for thirty years, there followed Cambyses and his brothers the Magi, and then Darius, under whom the restoration of the Temple of Jerusalem was commenced; and then the fifth king, Xerxes, the son of Darius; Artabanus, the sixth; the seventh, Artaxerxes, surnamed Longimanus, or long-handed; Xerxes, the eighth; Sogdianus, the ninth; the tenth, Darius, surnamed Nofloc ; the eleventh, Artaxerxes, who was called MvY}ft(uv, that is, 'the Rememberer ;' the twelfth, another Artaxerxes, who was surnamed Ochus ; the thirteenth, Arses, the son of Ochus ; the fourteenth, Darius, son of Arsamus, who was conquered by Alexander, king of Macedon. How then can it be true to say there were but three kings of the Persians, unless indeed there were three who were specially conspicuous for their cruelty, which I do not find from history to have been the case. The 'three rows' then in the mouth of the Persian beast, and in the teeth thereof, must signify three kingdoms those of the Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians, which were fused into one kingdom. And whereas the prophet continues, ' And thus they said unto it : Arise, devour much flesh ; ' that may refer to the period of Assuerus, whom the Septuagint names Artaxerxes, when Aman exhorted him in one day to slay all the Jews. We must observe the prophet does not say, that the beast devoured much flesh, but that they said unto it, ' Arise and devour much flesh ;' signifying that the thing would be planned, but not executed." And here we may add to the exposition of St. Jerome, that these words may also refer to the unsuccessful expeditions of Darius, and subsequently of Xerxes, against Greece, when the wonderful bravery of the Greeks overthrew the almost countless hosts of the Persians in the memorable battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Artemisium, and Salamis. But St. Jerome continues : " ( After this I beheld, and lo ! another beast, like unto a leopard/ The third kingdom, of which it is said, in the corresponding vision of Nabuchodonosor's statue, ' his belly and his thighs of brass? This kingdom is that of the Macedonian Greeks, and it is compared to a leopard, one of the swiftest of beasts, and o/ojuTjrficrJ : to signify its headlong course of conquest. And it had four wings ; signifying the wonderful rapidity with which Alexander the Great won victory after victory, from the Illyrian and Adriatic Sea even to the Indian Ocean and the Ganges ; so that in six years he subdued a large portion of Europe and the whole of Asia. That it had four heads, is to be understood of the subdivision of Alexander's empire, immediately after his death, between his four principal generals, viz. : Ptolemy, Seleucus, Philip, and Antigonus." St. Jerome then proceeds in his commentary to the fourtli beast. " ' After this* saith the Prophet, ' I beheld in the vision of the ?///////, and lo ! a fourth beast, terrible and wonderful, and exceeding strong ; it had great iron teeth and it had ten horns : I considered the horns, and behold another little horn sprung out of the midst of them : and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: (UK! behold eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things' This fourth beast signifieth the Roman empire, which now governs the whole world; and it corresponds with that part of Nabuchodonosor's statue, of which it is said, ' its legs were of iron, but the feet part of iron and part of potter's clay : ' in this place it is only the iron that is referred to, the Prophet witnessing 'that it had great iron teeth/ And here I wonder not a little, that whereas the Prophet had compared the three former empires to beasts, the habits of which we are acquainted with, such as the lioness, the bear, and the leopard, he compares the Roman empire to no known animal, but simply terms it a beast exceeding strong and terrible. What can be the meaning of this ? possibly to excite a still greater fear of the power and fierceness of the fourth empire, by giving it no definite name; as if to insinuate, that whatever there was of such fierceness and strength in all other beasts, we might expect to find all this combined and united in the Roman empire. But what Daniel passes over in silence, the Hebrew interpreters think is supplied by David in the Psalms, where he saith, f the wild boar from the forest hath devoured her/ which is read thus in another version, ' all the wild beasts of the field have devoured her/ which would refer to the fact that the Roman empire was an agglomeration of all nations and kingdoms, seeing that the Roman beast either devoured them all, or reduced them to tribute and subjection: in reference to which Daniel here says of this beast, that it devoured all things, and trampled them under its feet " St. Jerome here refers to the interpretation which Porphyrius had given of this prophecy, and especially of the horns, in which he understood the little horn to signify Antiochus Epiphanes. But St. Jerome rejects this as utterly untenable, the fourth beast referring to the Roman empire, and not to the kingdoms into which Alexander's empire was subdivided ; and, after declaring this, he winds up with these remarkable words : " Let us therefore say, what hath been handed down to us by all ecclesiastical writers : that in the latter days of the world, when the Roman empire shall have been destroyed, ten kings shall arise, who shall parcel out the Roman territory between themselves: after which an eleventh king shall arise, small iu his beginnings, who shall subdue three of those other kings." And here St. Jerome adds (what he could only have learnt from the same remarkable tradition, which he tells us prevailed in the early Church), that the three kings referred to, were " those of Egypt, Africa, and Ethiopia, or the interior of Asia." How remarkably this has been fulfilled we shall show more at large in a subsequent chapter. " ' And behold/ says the Prophet, ' there were as it were the eyes of a man in that horn to show that he was not the devil or an evil spirit as some have thought, but a man, in whom Satan would dwell with his whole force; ' and he had a mouth speaking great things:' for he is the same, as the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition [spoken of by St. Paul in his second Epistle to the Thessaloniaus], who sitteth in the Temple of God, making himself as it were God." Thus far have we quoted the words of the great St. Jerome, we shall have to refer to them again later, as well as to the prophecy of Daniel, to which they relate.
The same great revelation had already been made to King Nabuchodonosor, as we find in the second chapter of the same prophecy (Dan. ii. 31 45), under the figure of a vast statue, composed of four different materials, answering to the four beasts in Daniel's vision, as we have already had occasion to see pointed out to us by St. Jerome in his commentary on that vision. The only difference between the two visions consists in this, that the second contains a fuller development of future events than the first; the groundwork of both being evidently the same. In the sequel we shall observe that still fuller developments of the mighty events, connected with these four empires, and subsequent to them, are revealed to the Prophet.
We have already seen, from the quotations given from St. Jerome, what was his interpretation of the four beasts, and in this interpretation we may safely affirm that all other commentators agree with him. For if any have ventured to dissent from the general explanation, they are really too insignificant to be seriously dealt with. We may therefore lay it down, as the tradition of the Church, that the four beasts, and the four metals of Nabuchodonosor's statue, undoubtedly signify,
1st. The Assyrian-Babylonian empire ;
2nd. The Medo-Persian empire ;
3rd. The Macedonian-Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great ;
4th. The Roman empire, which these prophecies clearly indicate as the most powerful of them all.
But, besides these four empires, the Prophet speaks of a fifth, which he clearly intimates should be different from all the rest, which should be the kingdom set up by Almighty God Himself; and that its first establishment should take place before the expiration of the period allotted to the four empires, which we have just named. This is revealed to us in the forty-fourth verse of the second chapter of Daniel in these words : " But, in the days of those king- doms, the God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed"
What kingdom is this, but that spiritual one of Jesus Christ, His Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church ? that kingdom, of which He declared "my kingdom is not of this world' of which He laid the first foundations on that blessed day when, just before His glorious Ascension into Heaven, He thus addressed His apostles, giving them the mighty commission to found it : " All power is given to me in Heaven and on Earth, going therefore TEACH YE all nations : baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; TEACHING them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you : and behold I am with you, ALL DAYS even to the CONSUMMATION of the WORLD." This was the kingdom which Daniel had declared, so many hundred years before, the God of Heaven would set up, which Jesus Christ the God of Heaven actually did set up, and which He set up " in the days of those kingdoms/' that is, while the Roman empire, ruling as it did over the territory of all the other monarchies, still swayed the destinies of the earth, and of which Daniel declared "that it should never be destroyed;" while Jesus Christ, its founder, affirmed that He Himself would abide with it "for ever, even to the end of the world."
The Prophet having described the foundation of this fifth kingdom, which was God's own kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, of which in the same chapter it is said " a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands " (Dan. ii. 34), as well to signify that no human force would be used for its foundation, as to denote the supernatural birth of its Founder Jesus Christ, he goes on to describe the foundation of another kingdom, the distinctive characteristic of which would be, that it would make war with the saints of God, that is, according to the language of Scripture, the people of God, in other words, with the fifth kingdom, or the Catholic Church.
Having described the fourth great monarchy, or the Roman empire, under the figure of a beast " terrible and wonderful (Dan. vii. 7, 8), and exceeding strong, having great iron teeth, with which it devoured and brake in pieces, treading down the rest with its feet' the Prophet adds, " that it was unlike the other beasts, and that it had ten horns." Now what can this mean, except that the Roman empire was not to be supplanted, like the other great monarchies, by another universal monarchy, but that when the period of its dissolution should arrive, it should be subdivided into ten kingdoms ? In the sixth verse of this same chapter (Dan. vii.), the third monarchy, or the Greek empire of Alexander, had already been described as having four heads ; and in the eighth chapter (Dan. viii. 8), the same Macedonian Greek empire is described as a he-goat with a notable horn and four lesser horns ; and the four heads in the first vision and the four horns in the latter, symbolized the subdivision of Alexander's empire after his death amongst his four generals, who founded four distinct kingdoms out of it; so here, in the seventh and eighth verses of the seventh chapter, we find the Roman empire dissolved into ten kingdoms, which the Prophet foresaw under the symbolical figure of ten horns. What ensues thereupon ? Listen to the Prophet : "I considered the horns, and behold, another little horn sprung out of the midst of them: and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: and behold eyes, like the eyes of a man, were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things." And a little further on, in the eleventh verse, he continues: " I beheld, because of the voice of the great words which that horn spake ; " and again, in the twenty -first verse : " I beheld, and lo! that horn made war against the saints, and prevailed over them ; " and again, in the twenty-fourth verse : " And another horn shall rise up after the other ten horns, and he shall be mightier than the former, and he shall bring down three kings, and he shall speak words against the High One, and shall crush the saints of the Most High; and he shall think himself able to change times and laws, and the saints shall be delivered into his hand, until a time, and times (in the dual number, meaning, therefore, two times), and half a time ; after which," concludes the Prophet, " judgment shall sit, that his power may be taken away, and be broken in pieces, and perish even to the end."
Now, who is this little horn, of which such great and terrible things are here foretold ? The holy fathers of the Church, with one consent, declare that it is that great opponent of God and of His Church which, in the language of the New Testament prophecies, is denominated Antichrist ; and in this interpretation all later commentators, whether Catholic or Protestant, agree. The only question agitated between them is, " IVho is this Antichrist ? "
It is true that Mr. Faber, the rector of Long Newton, has laboured, in a work entitled " The Sacred Calendar of Prophecy," to establish a distinction between Antichrist and the Man of Sin; but, speaking generally of Protestant commentators since the first period of their separa- tion from the Catholic Church, it is true that they agree with ourselves in regarding the Little Horn of Daniel, the Man *of Sin of St. Paul, the Antichrist of St. John, and the False Prophet of the Apocalypse, as the same personage. It is with such who agree in holding this view that we are specially concerned in this treatise, although indirectly we have to do with others also, as will be seen in the sequel.
It is not the place, as yet, to answer the question, " Who is the Antichrist ? " we shall do this in another chapter: here we confine ourselves to the consideration of some of the characteristics of Antichrist, as they are foretold in this prophecy of Daniel, reserving it for our interpretation of other prophecies, both in Daniel and elsewhere, fully to develop who the great Antichrist really is.
In the prophecy before us, this, at least, seems quite clear, that Antichrist was not to appear in the world until after the dissolution of the Roman empire, and its consequent subdivision into ten kingdoms ; that he was to rise up amongst these, and to subdue three of them ; that he was to speak great things against God and against His saints ; in other words, against God, as the revealer and founder of the Christian Church, which was, as we have already seen, the kingdom of the saints, or the fifth monarchy, which the Prophet told us God would found " in the days of those kingdoms " (Dan. ii. 44) ; that is, during the period allotted for the duration of the four monarchies; in other words, before the dissolution of the Roman empire : that is, Christ was to found His kingdom before the dissolution of the Roman empire, Antichrist was to found his after its dissolution. Finally, this prophecy contains a prediction of the period for which this kingdom of Antichrist was to last, namely, for the mystical period of a time, times, and half a time, that is, for one year, for two years (the word times, both in the Hebrew and Greek versions, being in the dual number), and for half a year; that is altogether, for three years and a half. What is meant by this symbolical period of three years and a half, we shall discuss later. In fine, in these two prophecies of Daniel, contained in the second and seventh chapters, we have the prediction of Christ's kingdom, and of Anti-christ's kingdom ; that the former was to be founded, as we have just observed, before the dissolution of the Roman empire, the latter shortly after that dissolution ; that the former was to last for ever, and that the latter was to last for the symbolical period of three years and a half.
Now let us proceed to the eighth chapter of Daniel. In this chapter the Prophet relates a vision which he had concerning two of the four great monarchies, the four monarchies which formed the subject of the vision related in the last chapter. It may perhaps here be asked, of what use could it be to show the Prophet so many visions concerning the same thing ? The reason is obvious; the Prophet does, or rather the Holy Spirit deals with the Prophet, as a skilful artist treats any subject, of which he would convey to persons at a distance an accurate idea : he presents his subject to them in different points of view, first giving them a general view of it, and then in successive sketches afterwards he displays all its different details. By and by we shall see the exceeding value and force of these different details, *in establishing the date as well as the locality of Antichrist. Thus in the seventh chapter we have the vision of the four great monarchies, of the establish- ment of the Catholi c Church, related still more emphatically in the second chapter, forty-fourth verse, and of the kingdom of Antichrist in opposition to it ; whilst in the eighth chapter, we have the vision of two out of those four monarchies, together with the establishment of Antichrist's kingdom as coming out of the second of these two monarchies, namely, out of the Grecian beast, though, as the Prophet says (viii. 23), not until " after their reign"
Let us now consider this prophecy contained in the eighth chapter. The Prophet teUs us that this vision was revealed to him in the castle of Susa, in the third year of King Balthassar's reign. " And I lifted up my eyes," says Daniel, " and saw : and behold a ram stood before the water, having two high horns, and one higher than the other, and growing up." (Dan. viii. 3.) The interpretation of this verse is given by the angel Gabriel in the twentieth verse of this same chapter, in these words : " The ram, which thou sawest with the horns, is the king of the Medes and Persians." In other words, the ram is the Persian monarchy, and the two horns are the two great nations coalescing together in the formation of that empire, viz., the Medes and Persians, and the horn, which was the higher of the two, is evidently the Persians, who took the lead in regard to the Medes in forming the empire. In the fifth verse, the Prophet describes the vision of another beast, which he saw under the form of a he-goat : " And behold a he-goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and he touched not the ground, and the he-goat had a notable horn between his eyes." The Prophet then describes the violent combat, which took place between the he-goat and the ram : in the seventh verse he declares that the he-goat overcame and destroyed the ram, but in the eighth verse he describes the breaking of the notable horn already mentioned, in the place of which four other horns arose. Now before we proceed further, let us look at the twenty-first verse of the same chapter (Dan. viii. 21), and we shall find all these figures interpreted by the angel Gabriel. The he-goat is declared to be the Greek or Macedonian monarchy j the notable horn, which came up between the eyes of the he-goat, is the first king or founder of this monarchy, that is, Alexander the Great, the rapidity of whose conquests is aptly figured by the expression of the Prophet, that the he-goat " touched not the ground ; " and we are then informed by the same angelic interpreter, that immediately upon his death, his empire should be subdivided into four portions or kingdoms, of which his four principal generals became the four first kings respectively : all which, history informs us, was literally accomplished upon the death of Alexander, when the mighty dominions of this extraordinary conqueror were subdivided amongst his four generals ; Antipater taking possession of Macedonia ; Lysimachus of Thrace and the Hellespont ; Ptolemy of Egypt and its dependencies ; and Seleucus of Syria, including Babylon, part of Arabia, Persia, and the other Asiatic provinces of the old Medo-Persian empire.
Having described this, the Prophet at once proceeds to the subject of Antichrist; for so St. Jerome assures us that the tradition of primitive interpreters understood the Prophet's words. (Hunc locum plerique nostrorum ad Antichristum referunt. Hieronymi in Dan. c. viii. torn. v. p. 589.) "And out of one of them came forth a little horn, and it became great against the south, and against the east, and against the strong ; and it was magnified even unto the strength of heaven, and it threw down of the strength, and of the stars, and trod upon them : and it was magnified even unto the prince of the strength ; and it took away from him the continual sacrifice, and cast down the place of his sanctuary, and strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins : and truth shall be cast down on the ground, and he shall do and shall prosper." In the thirteenth verse, which follows, Daniel hears a saint, who was present in the heavenly vision, asking another saint, how long should be the vision unto the end of the desolation, and of the dominion of the little horn, concerning which such terrible things are here predicted ? To which question the following answer is returned : " Unto evening and morning two thousand three hundred days ; and the sanctuary shall be cleansed." This prophecy is, perhaps, one of the most important in the whole book, as it gives us the clue for calculating the period when Antichrist shall perish, and the sanctuary of God, that is, the Holy Land and Jerusalem, if we understand it literally, shall be freed from his pollutions, and if we take it mystically, when the Holy Catholic Church shall be delivered from the defiling contact of his impious conflict. By the term two thousand three hundred days, we understand symbolical or prophetic days, that is, according to the interpretation given to the word day, in the prophecy of the seventy weeks of days. (Dan. ix. 24) . Days, which signify and symbolize years. That in the prophecy of the seventy weeks a day symbolized a year, no one, who compares the event with the prediction, will for a moment deny. Seventy weeks would amount to four hundred and ninety days, and it was precisely at the close of four hundred and ninety years from the time specified to the Prophet, that our Lord's advent took place ; the conclusion, therefore, of all Christian interpreters has been that the term week in that prophecy must signify a period of seven prophetic days, each day symbolizing a year. And if in one prophecy the event has proved the necessity of this interpretation, there is every reason from analogy to conclude that the same method of interpre- tation is to be observed in regard to the meaning of other prophetic periods also. And what tends still further to corroborate this are the words of God Himself to Moses, recorded in the Book of Numbers (Numb. xiv. 34) ; " according to the number of the forty days, wherein you viewed the land : a year shall be counted for a fifty.' And again we read in the Book of Ezekiel the Prophet (Ezek. iv. 5, 6) : "And I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished this, thou shalt sleep again upon thy right side, and thou shalt take upon thee the iniquity of the house of Juda forty days: a day for it year, yea, a day for a year I have appointed to thee. 93 It is true that the term day has not always, in all cases, been so interpreted by Christian interpreters, many having taken it in a literal sense; but it always appeared to me that the argument in favour of the symbolical and conventional nu -ailing of the term is far stronger than any argument on the other side. In this view, the majority of Protestant commentators agree, and the ablest treatises on prophecy from Cutholie authors take the same view also. The ruble Father Bartholomew Holtzhauser, of Bingen, so interprets the 1260 Apocalyptic days. The learned Church historian, the Abbe Rohrbacher udopts the same view, as may be seen in the tenth volume of his " Ecclesiastical History," where he treats at length the prophecy of Daniel in reference to Mahomet and the Mahometan apostacy. The same view is also maintained in a learned work, published at Paris in 1844, and dedicated to the late Pope Gregory XVI., entitled, "La Fin des Temps." The same is upheld in another most admirable treatise, entitled, " Preuves Incontestables de la Verite de Eglise Catholique deduites de 1' Apocalypse." In the prophecy, therefore, which we are now considering, " Unto evening and morning, two thousand three hundred days, and the sanctuary shall be cleansed," we nderstand that from the date symbolized by the word evening, to that symbolized by the word morning, a period of two thousand three hundred years was to elapse ; at the end of which the event signified by the cleansing of the sanctuary will take place.
And here we must observe a very important remark made by the great St. Jerome ; he tells us that in some versions of the Book of Daniel, the words are not written " two thousand three hundred," but "two thousand two hundred days." " Quidam pro duobus millibus trecentis, duo millia ducentos legunt." (Hieron. in Dan. torn. v. p. 589.) And this we apprehend to be the truer reading, because it seems to us to agree better with the prophecy of the 1260 days, of which, if we are correct in dating it from the year of our Lord 622, the conclusion would be somewhere about the year 1882, or earlier, if the years be not natural years, but prophetic periods of 360 days each, which we arc inclined to believe that they are. But now the question naturally presents
- f, from what period are we to date the commencement of the two thousand two hundred days, or two thousand three hundred days, whichever be the corrector reading? In answer
to this, I have no hesitation in replying, that I should date it from the period when Alexander the Great began to reign, that is, from the moment when the he-goat commenced his struggle with the ram : because it is out of the precincts of Alexander's empire that the little horn is said to spring ; and consequently, when the vision describes the period of the desolation occasioned by the little horn, and the taking away of the daily sacrifice, concluding with the glorious event of the cleansing of the sanctuary, it not unnaturally dates back from the very commencement of Alexander's reign, that being the commencement of the symbolical he- goat, for out of the geographical limits of his empire it was, that this little horn was destined to rise. It may, however, perhaps be objected here, that the period assigned would seem to belong to the dominion of the little horn, and the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and that, if so, the period of desolation assigned to the little horn, in the eighth chapter of Daniel, is very much longer than that assigned in the preceding chapter (Dan. viii. 25) to the dominion of the same little horn, when described as issuing out of the Roman beast, into which the kingdoms of Alexander's he-goat were ultimately destined to be absorbed by conquest, before this little horn emerged from them. But this difficulty is cleared up, by a reference to the twelfth chapter of Daniel, which contains a still fuller revelation of the events foretold in the eighth chapter : if we look there, we shall find it is again predicated of the dominion of Antichrist, that it shall be for a time, and times (in the dual number), and half a time. (Dan. xii. 7.) So that it is clear, that in this place, where the Prophet is speaking of a period of 2300 days, he does but include the period of three times and a half, or 1260 days, dating back from a period antecedent to the commencement of these 1260 days, and onwards, perhaps to a period subsequent to the conclusion of the same 1260 days, probably to that glorious period, of which it is said : " Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh unto a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." (Dan. xii. 12.) For these words of the angel would seem fitly to refer to the glorious event, which was revealed to the Prophet as the closing act of the 2300 days " And the sanctuary shall be cleansed."
We have thus laid before our readers those portions of Daniel's prophecy, which, according to St. Jerome, relate more especially to the coming of Antichrist under the symbol of the little horn. We have shown that the period of his coming would seem, by comparing these visions of Daniel together, to be one immediately following the destruction of the Roman empire, and its subdivision into the ten kingdoms foretold by the Prophet ; we have shown that the prophecy relating to the he-goat, or the Macedonian-Greek empire, proves the itirnlity of the little horn, or Antichrist, to be within the geographical limits of what constituted Alexander's empire ; that the expression of tlu> Prophet, that this little horn was to grow up within these limits after the time (Dan. viii. 23, "After tlu'ir reign") allotted for the duration of the four monarchies into which Alexander's empire was to be subdivided (for how else can we interpret the expression " after their reign ?"), warrants us in looking for the coming of Antichrist after these four portions of Alexander's empire should have ceased to be independent kingdoms, that is, after they should have been absorbed into the Roman empire, which is DanieFs fourth beast : whilst the other prophecy, that a little horn (of which Daniel predicates precisely the same things, as he had predicated of the little horn growing out of the Macedonian he-goat) should arise out of the ten horns or kingdoms of the subverted and subdivided Roman empire, fixes the period of his coming as clearly as the preceding prophecy of the he-goat had fixed his locality.
And here we are met by an objection, which Protestant commentators are not slow to advance. They deny the identity of the little horn of the Macedonian he-goat, with that of the Roman beast. They agree with us in all we have advanced about the period of the appearance of the little horn of the Macedonian he-goat, as they agree with us also in their personal application of that prophecy : but they do not agree with us in admitting the identity of this little horn, with the little horn, which the Prophet describes as issuing out of the subdivided Roman empire.
In maintaining this theory, in opposition to our's, which asserts the identity of the two little horns, Protestants seem to forget that the Roman beast must represent the whole Roman empire, and not alone the western half of it : that the empire of the Macedonian hef/odt had already become a portion of the Roman c//t/>ire, and consequently, in looking for the ten horns into which the Roman empire to be subdivided, that we must look for them not only in the western half, but in the rn portion also of this same Roman em: and consequently, that when the Prophet ks of the little horn that rose up amongst the ten other horns of the Roman empire, it is altogether arbitrary and unreasonable to say that we are to look for this little horn only within the precincts of the western empire, and that he is not to be expected within the pre- cinct> of the eastern half of the Roman beast. If so, then how comes it, that the Prophet in describing, what Protestants gratuitously as- sume to be the western little horn, makes no mention whatever of that other little horn, which they themselves cannot deny was destined to arise in the east out of the precincts of the Macedonian he-goat? How comes it, I say, that the Prophet tells us of only one, instead of two little horns, issuing out of the Roman beast, if the Protestant theory be correct that there really were two such horns ? Assuredly no satisfactory answer can be given to this question on the Protestant theory, whereas on our theory the answer is simple and obvious,
40 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
because there was but one such little horn, and therefore but one is described as issuing out of the Roman beast. The prophecy of the eighth chapter had already prepared us to expect and to conclude this, for when the angel explained to Daniel the time of the coming of the little horn which he had seen issuing out of the Macedonian he-goat, he expressly assured him that it would be after the reign of the four kingdoms of the Macedonian he-goat, that is, after they ceased to be independent kingdoms, and after they had been absorbed within the limits of the Roman beast. All Protestants, as far as I know, admit that the little horn of the Macedonian he-goat did, in point of fact, not appear until after the breaking up of the Roman empire : I therefore conclude, peremp- torily, that the little horn described by the Prophet as issuing out of the Roman beast is the little horn of the Macedonian he-goat, consequently that the Roman little horn is to be looked for within the precincts of the Eastern, not the Western Roman empire, that is, in other words, within the geographical limits of the domains of the Macedonian he- goat.
PROOFS CHIEFLY DERIVED FROM THE PROPHECIES OF ST. PAUL I ) ST. JOHN THAT THIS GREAT ANTICHRIST WAS MAHOMET ; A1TO THAT THE MAHOMETAN EMPIRE WITH ITS RELIGIOUS SYSTEM WAS THE KINGDOM OF ANTICHRIST.
THE question that must now occupy our atten- tion is whether Antichrist, of whom we have already been considering the remarkable pre- dictions -iven by the Prophet Daniel, be come or not? and secondly, whether any political and religious system has arisen in the world, resulting from the work of any celebrated personage, recorded in history, that bears a sufficient resemblance either to what the pro- phecies of Daniel, or others of the New Testa- ment, to which we are now about to turn our attention, have described, so that we should be justified in coming to the conclusion that such a personage was the predicted Antichrist, and such a polity the Antichristian empire?
In regard to the first question it is un- doubtedly the opinion of many Catholic authors that Antichrist has not yet appeared; but all the authors, who take this view, hold that Antichrist is to reign only for the brief period
42 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
of three literal years and a half, and that his empire and dominion are not to outlive their founder, but to perish with him after that exceedingly short duration. Other Catholic authors however take another view, affirming that Antichrist is already come, and that the duration of his dominion was not to be for the literal period of three years and a half, or of 1260 natural and literal days, but for a prophetic period so called, which would in reality amount to 1260 years. The only difference between such years and natural years being, that they are years of 360 not 365 days each, such dif- ference resulting from the precise terms in which the prophecies relating to them are couched.
We at once inform our readers that this latter view is the one which we adopt, and which appears to us most consonant to Holy Scripture, to the earliest traditions of the Church, and to common sense.
By-and-bye we shall unfold the scriptural and traditional arguments which go to establish this theory, but it seems to us eminently agreeable to common sense also, and to all sound analogy. For on the face of it, is it likely that all the wonderful and awful descriptions of Antichrist, as given in Scripture, could be fulfilled in the short period of three literal years and a half?
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 43
that every evil personage recorded in history is a sort of Antichrist, or type of the great Antichrist, we have scriptural authority for affirming ; but if the real Antichrist is to last for only three years and a half, many of his types would be infinitely worse than the great antitype himself. For instance Arius, whose heresy desolated the Church for centuries, must have done much more mischief to the Church and to the souls of men, than any such ephe- ! Antielirist ever could do: and what shall we say of the three centuries of Pagan-Roman persecution of the early Church on this theory ? Assuredly no persecutor for three literal years and a half could ever rival the accumulated amount of the ten great persecutions enacted all over the earth by the Pagan-Roman em- perors. Or what ought we to think of the still greater mischief perpetrated by Mahometanism during the last twelve centuries on such a theory as this ? It is evident that if Antichrist be not yet come, and if his continuance is only to be for three literal years and a half, instead of being the principal incarnation of evil, to which prophecy points, he would be vastly inferior in this respect to what were merely types and shadows of what he was to be. It is therefore obvious to us, that either some enduring form of evil, already recorded in history, must be the
44 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
predicted Antichrist, or if not, that at least it must be some system still future, which will at any rate endure as long as its predecessors and its types, and which can in no case be realized by an ephemeral Antichrist enduring only for three years and a half.
We shall proceed to show why we believe that this great Antichrist is not future, but that he belongs to the region of the past and to the domains of fulfilled prophecy.
It is well known to our readers, whether they be Catholic or Protestant, that almost all Pro- testant commentators on prophecy so far at least coincide with our view, as to admit the symbolical nature of the prophetic period of three years and a half or 1260 days, and that Antichrist is already come.
We need scarcely say that they do not agree with us as to whom prophecy points as the predicted Antichrist. Mr. Mede, a writer cer- tainly of no mean repute whether for learning or ability, has left on record what were his views on this question. The learned Bishop Newton has done the same, and his treatise on the prophecies is certainly a work of great ability and research. That great philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician, Sir Isaac New- ton, has done the same also, and however erroneous his conclusions, as Catholics must
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 45
necessarily affirm them to be, they are at any rate the homage of a great mind and of a bril- liant genius to the Divinity of the Scripture prophecies. And to say nothing of other minor authors, or of the continental Protestants from Luther downwards, in our own time the subject has certainly been ably handled, although on wron^r premises and false principles, by modern \vriier>, IK li a> 1 orster, Faber, and Elliott. All thesr \\riter.s havi- laboured to show, ac- og to their respective theories, that the eiihrr the Antichrist, or the Man of Sin, or the False Prophet of the Apocalypse, or that he was all three of these figurative eharaeters combined. They have laboured to show that the Catholic Church of Christ fell at a very early period into a fatal apostacy from her primitive faith, that she defiled the reve- lation of God with a demonolatrous worship of saints and angels, an idolatrous worship of images and the Eucharist, and with a general practice, that fully warranted both them and their forefathers in quitting her communion, and in denouncing her to mankind as the Babylon of prophecy doomed to destruction, and as the most impious foe both of God and man.
On the other hand, Catholic writers, ever >inee the outbreak of the Protestant Revolu-
46 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
tion of the sixteenth century, have striven to show, and they have done it successfully, that the Protestant theory of Antichrist was con- trary not only to the whole teaching of the Catholic Church in all ages, and the tradition both of East and West, but utterly at variance with the statements of prophecy itself, and that if true, it would do more than annihilate the claims of Catholicity, it would overthrow those of Christianity itself; for what becomes of that religion, as a fact of any practical importance to mankind, if you entirely sepa- rate it from the Church, if you make it a mere theory, that has never been properly carried out or realized upon earth ? Of course, in saying this, Catholics are far from denying or overlooking the fearful abuses that have, alas ! ever existed in the Christian Church. Our Lord and Master prepared us for these. He tells us, that these abuses and scandals must of necessity arise even within His own king- dom, the Church, and that they will never be entirely rooted out until His second coming to judge the living and the dead. But Catho- lics, while they admit this, and deplore it, are surely right in saying that the Protestant theory goes much further. It passes beyond the corruption of individual members and in- dividual pastors, and affirms that the whole
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 47
body of the Church has been corrupted, that her doctrine has been perverted, her practice (as approved by her oecumenical councils) has become idolatrous, that from having once been the Church of the living God, authorized by Him "to teach all nations," she has become for many ages the very synagogue of Satan, a sink of corruption, and nothing less than "the irivat Babylonian Harlot," "the mother of all the abominations of the earth." (Apocalypse xvii. 5.) If this be true, they must show not only how such a result is consistent with the ronmii MM, iriven by Christ to this same Church "to teach all nations," but how it agrees with His glorious promise " that the gates of hell should never prevail against His Church," and that He would remain with the visible teach- ing Church " always even unto the end of the world." (Matt, xxviii. 20.)
The commission given by our Lord to His visible Church, and the promises with which He consecrated and confirmed that commission, are utterly inconsistent with the Protestant theory of prophetic interpretation. It cannot be denied even by those who hold this theory, that the visible Catholic Church of the present day is the Church which Christ's apostles founded, and which is the offspring of our Lord's command to them to teach all nations ;
48 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
how then could Christ command the nations to submit to a teaching, which after three or four centuries was to become idolatrous and blasphemous ? and yet assuredly He places no limit to the commission He gave, but on the contrary promised to be with it " always, even to the end of the world/' In a word Christ declares " the gates of hell shall never prevail against His Church : " the Protestant theory asserts, that the gates of hell have prevailed against it : for if idolatrous teaching be not a gate of hell, we know not what can deserve to be so called. Now all this has been trium- phantly shown over and over again by Catholic writers.
Whoever wrote with greater power on this subject, than the great and pious Cardinal Bellarmine ? and if the Protestant student of prophecy would turn to the voluminous com- mentaries of that able interpreter of Scripture Cornelius a Lapide, or to those of the learned Salmeron, who has literally exhausted the sub- ject, they would see how very weak are the grounds for their own interpretation, how con- tradictory it is to the whole tenor of Scrip- ture, how it is founded on mere assumptions, on gross misrepresentations of historical facts, or on a still grosser misunderstanding of Ca- tholic usages and doctrines, or on an illogical
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 49
confusion between the character of the Church as a body, and the crimes of some of her pastors or individual members.
But it was not merely at the period of the great falling away from the Catholic Church, that Catholic authors refuted the theories of their adversaries. As time rolled on, the sub- was continually taken up on both sides, and often treated in a new point of view as to
nc of its details.
\\ e may here mention some others of the principal writers, who have handled this por- tion of Scriptural interpretation on the Catho- lic side of the question : and by referring to their pages, the reader will be better able to form an estimate of this immensely important subject.
The great Bossuet wrote a treatise on the Apocalypse, which, like all he wrote, is full of ability and of edifying matter. The venerable Father Holtzhauser, of Bingen, on the Rhine, did the .same, and a most interesting and valu- able treatise it is. There was also an exposi- tion of the Apocalypse published by an Eng- lish Catholic bishop, Dr. Walmesley, under the assumed name of Pastorini : and just before the close of the last century, an English lady, who had embraced the Catholic faith, pub- lished a most able and learned disquisition on E
50 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
the same mysterious book, under the title of ' ' Preuves Incontestables de la Verite de PEglise Catholique et Apostolique deduites de 1' Apoca- lypse." There is, too, a very valuable and interesting disquisition on Daniel's prophecy relating to the little horn in the tenth volume of the Abbe Rohrbacher's " History of the Catholic Church," in which he proves with great ability that Mahomet is that little horn and the Antichrist of prophecy. There have been also several minor treatises on the Apoca- lypse. Still, however, it may be advisable for others to continue digging in the same inex- haustible mine, and it may be, that as time flows on, and events develop themselves, the true meaning of prophecy, and its connection with what is passing around us, may possibly receive some elucidation.
But now it is time we should reply to the question, Is Antichrist still to come, or is he already come? I answer, he is come : and if the further question be put, Who then is he ? I answer, without any doubt or misgiving what- ever, Mahomet is he : Mahomet is the great Antichrist foretold in the Sacred Scriptures : and this is what I shall endeavour to prove in the following disquisition.
St. John the Evangelist, he to whom our Lord made his special Revelation of what was to
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 51
come to pass even to the end of the world, tells us, in his first Epistle and the second chapter
- 'iid the eighteenth verse, " Little children, it is
the last hour," that is to say, the last period of the world, or the last dispensation of God to men, " and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are many Antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last hour." . . . . " They uent out from us; but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us ; but that they may be made manifest that they are not all of us." And again, in the twenty- second verse he continues, " This is Antichrist, who denieth the Father and the Son." St. John here gives us an unmistakeable clue to discover the great Antichrist. He tells us that the very basis of his teaching will be " to deny the Father and the Son." He says, and he says most truly, that even when he wrote his Mpistle, there u ere already many Antichrists, and that they were heretics, who had left the Apostolic Communion : "They went out from US." Hence it is evident that any spirit that opposeth the authority of the one Catholic Church founded by the Apostles at the com- mand of Christ, who said to them, " Go ye and teach all nations," is a spirit of Antichrist, whether such heretics were forerunners of the
52 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
great Antichrist, or whether they have arisen since, and have trodden in his footsteps. All such spirits have a natural sympathy for one another, and they all are linked together by one common design : the spirit which actuates them is a spirit that " denieth the Father and the Son" It will not be difficult to explain, why it was quite reasonable for Antichrist, on his false principles, or rather for Satan who inspired him, to deny f( the Father and the Son :" and why this denial of " the Father and the Son" should be the highest act of human impiety. For assuming the truth of Divine Revelation, and of the statement it makes to us of the Fall of Man, and that man having sinned, and so fallen from God, could never by any act of his own recover the favour of that God, but that God provided a way for recover- ing His grace by the incarnation of His own Son, God like Himself, who by His meritorious obedience, and by His patient endurance of sufferings, and even of a cruel death upon the cross, obtained for mankind, what otherwise man could never have merited for himself, a restoration to God's favour, and the power of " working out his own salvation with fear and trembling;" I say, assuming the truth of all this, which all Christians do assume, is it not clear that the denial of the Persons of " the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 53
Father and the Son" in God denies the whole scheme of human redemption and salvation, undermining thereby the whole system which Christ came on earth to teach, and consequently doing the utmost to undo what was done by Christ, in a word, doing that which all common sense and analogy would lead one to expect that Antichrist, when he was fully revealed, would do? But this is not all; we shall here- after have occasion to show, from prophecy, what other things this great Antichrist was to do, and how completely all these predictions have been fulfilled in Mahomet, and his re- ligion and empire. But St. John tells us that \eu in his day " there were many Antichrists," and it is remarkable how all the heresies that sprung up in the early Church tended to that great denial " of the Father and Son" which received its fullest development in the very words of the Mahometan creed, " God is one. God is eternal. He hath neither begotten, nor is begotten." Chapter 112 of the Koran, being the first of the last three Revelations, which " the False Prophet" impiously pre- tended that God had revealed to him at Mecca. These words emphatically deny the whole doctrine of Christ, the whole scheme of human redemption, and the Personal distinction and existence " of the Father and the Son" in the
54 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Godhead. " God hath neither begotten nor is begotten/' says Mahomet : " This is ANTI- CHRIST, that denieth the FATHER and the SON," says the inspired Evangelist and Apostle St. John, he that leaned on the bosom of Christ at His last supper, and drew in from the Sacred Heart of his Lord and Master the stream of Grace and Truth. Is it then too much to say that in this special feature, attributed by St. John to Antichrist, Mahomet literally fulfils the predictions of Holy Writ ?
The truth of this will become more and more apparent as we trace the links between the early heretics, of whom St. John said, " Already there are many Antichrists," and the great arch-heresy promulgated by Mahomet in his Koran, in which, summing up and carrying out all the denials contained in previous here- sies, he affirmed " that God hath neither be- gotten nor is begotten" that is, that there is neither " the Father nor the Son" in the God- head.
In the very days of St. John the Evangelist, there were heretics, who, separating themselves from the Apostolic communion, and resisting the authoritative teaching of the Church, af- firmed that Christ was not come in the flesh \ that He only assumed a phantom of human nature, no real body. The effect of this heresy
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 55
was to deny and overthrow the reality of the atonement : and when Mahomet came, one of his principal heresies was to deny that Christ had died upon a cross, or had redeemed man- kind by his death. By this heresy Mahomet adopted those of the Gnostics, of Cerinthus, of the Marcionites, the Ebionites, and the earliest recorded in Church history. As these curlier forms and varieties of the same great fundamental heresy died out, they were repro- duced in still more definite shape by the cele- hratcd heroiarch Arius ; he, like his predeces- sors, overthrew the doctrine of redemption thnmdi Christ, by denying the Divinity of our Lord : for though he allowed a sort of Godhead in ChriM. he denied the eternal Sonship, and the equality of the Son with the Father. Nestorius, too, while agreeing with the Catho- lic doctrine of the blessed Trinity, overthrew the Divinity of Jesus, by denying the hypos- tatic or personal union between Christ and God the Son ; he affirmed that there were two Persotis, absolutely distinct in Christ, so that God the Son was not Christ, nor Jesus God the Son : so that, according to him, the all-holy Mary was not the Mother of God, but of a mere man, and consequently he virtually over- threw the doctrine of the atonement ; for how could one mere man atone for sins of millions
56 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
of men ? and yet Nestorius was not aware of the consequences of his own heresy. Then followed Eutyches, who in another way came to the same impious conclusion of the virtual denial of the atonement ; for he denied the distinction of natures in Christ. Running into the opposite extreme against the heresy of Nestorius, who affirmed not only the distinc- tion of natures, but of Persons, in Christ, he (Eutyches) denied that Christ had at once the nature of God and the nature of man, and he affirmed that the manhood of Christ was alto- gether confounded with the nature of God the Son, so that he was not truly man, as well as truly God : and by this heresy he overthrew all the reality of Christ's merits and sufferings, for the Divinity can neither merit nor suffer, although the creature cannot have infinite merit (such as the Redeemer of all men must have) unless hypostatically united, as the Church teaches us the humanity of Christ was, with the Divinity. Then the Manicheans, uniting in themselves all previous heresies, car- ried on the tradition of impious denial, till at last, when the Roman empire had been re- moved, and the world was once more plunged in barbarian anarchy, Mahomet came forth from his obscurity, to usher in a new religion, and to found a new empire. His religion was
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 57
to supersede Christianity, and his empire was to be universal, so he said, and so he promised his deluded followers. He admitted that Christ i Prophet, but he denied that He was God, and he spurned at the doctrine of the atone- ment, and he proclaimed himself to be the last and the greatest of the Prophets, consequently greater than Christ : and as Christ had founded a religion and a spiritual empire, to embrace one day within its sacred bounds the whole t of the world, so did this "Father and Son dnnjiiiti" Antichrist found a carnal and sensual religion, connecting it with a brutal- izing and carnal empire; and as Christ had connected the establishment of His empire with that of every virtue, especially with the Divine gift of continence and virginity, so did this beastly Antichrist associate his empire with the reign of promiscuous concubinage, and of every sensual gratification. What he adopted and retained of revealed Divine Truth was but the mask and the cloak for his impious blasphemies, to deceive the unwary, and if pos- sible to lead captive even the elect. And how many millions and hundreds of millions of men has he not led captive from the first dawning of his career up to this very hour, in which we see England and France ranging themselves in battle array to uphold his old, now worn out, cursed
58 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
dominion ! How many fair provinces of holy Church has he not trampled down ! how many millions of Christians has he not slain during more than twelve centuries ! how has he not desolated the richest and most beauteous pro- vinces of the earth, diffusing barrenness and desolation over lands flowing with milk and honey, stopping the current of civilization, and realizing to the letter all the hideous descrip- tions of Antichrist and Antichristian dominion contained in the infallible prophecies of God's Word!
It is a remarkable fact connected with the spiritual affinity, of which we have been speak- ing, between Mahomet and the early heretics, that Mahomet was actually assisted by Nes- torians and Jews in compiling the first outlines of his religious system. This fact is attested by all historians, and it is another fulfilment of the conditions of that spiritual genealogy of Antichrist indicated in the passages of St. John's Epistle, which we have already cited.
But if we turn from the words of St. John to the writings of St. Paul, who also predicted many things concerning the great Antichrist, as all commentators unite in affirming, we shall find all that he foretold no less lite- rally and strikingly fulfilled in the person of Mahomet.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 59
St. Paul, in his second Epistle to the Thessa- lonians, and in the second chapter, writes as follows : " And we beseech you, Brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus, and of our gathering together unto him ; that you be not easily moved from your mind, nor be frighted, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for unless there come a revolt first, and the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of JVnliti<>n, who opposeth and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things ? and now you know what with- holdeth that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh : only that he, who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way; and then that \virked one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish : because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.
60 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Therefore, God shall send them the operation of error, to believe a lie/'
If we examine these very remarkable words of the Apostle, we shall see that his object was to instruct his Thessalonian disciples that the day of our Lord's second coming was not so near at hand, as some, who had misinterpreted our Lord's words (St. Luke xxii. 32), " Amen I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled," had supposed.
He tells them, therefore, that many things are to happen in the world before that day arrives : that it will not come " until there has been a revolt first." Now this word, which our English Catholic version thus renders, is in the original Greek termed " 17 airoaraaia" and in the Anglican version it is translated a falling away, which comes nearer the expression of the Latin Vulgate, which words it " dis- cessio," than either the original Greek or the English Catholic version, although the latter professes to follow the Vulgate. But the Eng- lish word "apostasy" would certainly come nearer to the Greek than any other, and we must not forget it was in the Greek that the Apostle wrote. The Apostle then foretells, that before the day of the Lord, that is the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall arrive, there will be "the apostasy" that is, " a
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 61
i/rcat apostasy :" and this apostasy is coupled with the revelation of " the Man of Sin" evi- (1 ntly showing that the two are identified together, and that the apostasy will be his work ; in other words, that there was to be a religious system instituted by the Man of Sin for the purpose of superseding Christianity, and of inducing all men to apostatize from it. Further, the Apostle tells the Thessalonians that the Man of Sin, and the great apostasy lie was to usher in, would not be manifested " until that, which now holdeth" or restraineth their appearance, "be taken way " or removed: and then, he concludes, " shall that wicked one be reveated."
At the same time St. Paul declares that "the mystery of iniquity already worketh," which agrees with the statement of the Evan- gelist St. John, " already are there many Anti- chri>ts." It is evident, therefore, that what St. Paul calls " the Apostasy" which he iden- tifies with " the Man of Sin," and what St. John calls "Antichrist" was to be ushered in by the heresies that prevailed in the earliest periods, the connection of which with Maho- metanism we have already shown. But St. Paul's prediction to the Thessalonians gives us many other marks by which this Man of Sin was to be known. Now the first of these is
62 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
the period of his appearance. This is distinctly noted by the Apostle. " That which now holdeth and restraineth shall be removed, and then shall that wicked one be revealed."
Now what was it that withheld, and that was to be removed ? so as to make way for Antichrist ?
The early fathers with one consent declare that St. Paul referred to the Roman empire : as long as this empire lasted, the coming of Antichrist was to be delayed, but when once this was gone, then " was that wicked one to be revealed." "Who holds," says Tertullian, " but the Roman empire ? the division of which into ten kingdoms will bring on Antichrist: and then, according to the Apostle, that wicked one shall be revealed." (Tertullian de Resur- rect. Carnis, cap. 24.) And that great doctor and most learned ancient Father St. Jerome, commenting on these same words of the Apostle, " only he who now holdeth doth hold, until he be taken out of the way' 3 writes thus : " The Apostle by this expression, He who now holdeth, signifieth the Roman empire. He says it in obscure terms, for if he had spoken openly, he would by his imprudence have excited the rage of the persecutors against the Christians, and against the Church, which was then in its very infancy." (Hieronymi, in Jeremiam, cap. 25.)
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 63
And again the same holy doctor, on another occasion explaining the same passage, says: "Only th; t the Roman empire, which at pre- sent hohleth all nations beneath its sway, be taken away, and then shall Antichrist come." (Hieronymi, Epist. cli. ad Algas. qu. xi.) The illustrious Patriarch of Constantinople, St. John Chrysnsiume, commenting on the same text, speaks thus : " It may be asked, what is the meaning of St. Paul, when he says, you know what ir'itltlioldeth him from being revealed; and why does the Apostle speak so obscurely? It is hrcaiiM' he has in view the Roman empire : and on that account, with good reason, he speaks in obscure and enigmatical terms, for fear of in Hating the Romans. The Apostle then on this account says: only that he, who now holdeth, doth hold, until he be taken out of the way ; that is, when the Roman empire shall have been removed from the face of the earth, then shall Antichrist come/' (Chrysost. Homelia iv. /// Pdu/i Itjiist. ad Thessalonicenses ii.) A still earlier lather of the Church, the great Lactan- tius, speaking of the latter period of the world, says : " At that time desolation will overspread the whole earth, destroying everything : the cause of which desolation will be that the Roman empire (I shudder to say it, but I must needs say it, because it is to be) will be taken
64 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
away from the earth, and the empire will return into Asia, the East will domineer again, and the West will be subdued." (Lactantii, lib. vii. c. 15.) These expressions of Lactantius are most remarkable, and their fulfilment is equally remarkable : for they have been fulfilled to the very letter. The Roman empire was no sooner overthrown, than it was subdivided into a number of comparatively small states, where- upon Mahomet arose in the Asiatic provinces of the old Roman empire, and founded upon its ruins another mighty empire, which was for ages the terror of the West, and the scourge of Christendom. The holy patriarch of Jerusalem St. Cyril also thus writes: " The devil will raise up a famous man, who will seize upon the domains of the Roman empire. That man Antichrist will appear, as soon as the Roman empire shall have come to its conclusion. " (Cyrilli, Cateches, 15.) And we may well say these words of St. Cyril are still more remark- able, and still more literally fulfilled, when we remember that the very diocese of Jerusalem, over which this great father of the Church was at that time presiding, was destined to become a province of the Mahometan empire, and Jerusalem itself was to be captured by the Caliph Omar, within a few years after the destruction of the Roman empire, and no very
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 65
long period after the saint had uttered these remarkable words : but about all this we shall have to say more by and by. Vie might add other citations from the holy fathers to the same purpose, but we have already given enough ; we will therefore conclude this part of our subject witli the following remarkable passage from St. Jerome (Hieron. in Daniel, cap. vii. : " Krjro dicamus, quod omnes Scrip- thri's Ecclesiastici tradiderunt : in consumma- tione inn nd i, quando regnum destruendum est Romanorum, decem futures Reges, qui orbem ' Romanum inter so dividant; et undecimum surreeturum esse Regem Parvulum, qui tres s de <!ecem Regibus superaturus sit : id Kiryptiorum Regem, et Africae, et ^Ethi- opia- : si cut in consequentibus manifestius di- eeiuu>i. From this passage of the great St. Jerome, we learn that the tradition was universal in the Church of his day, that im- mediately after the breaking up of the Roman empire it would be parcelled out into ten kingdoms, by which number might be in- tended either the literal number into which the Roman territory would be subdivided, or as other fathers often explain the Scripture numerals, it might mean simply to express f/ir wJiole number of states into which the pos- ons of the old Roman empire would be
66 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
subdivided. But whether the Holy Ghost intended this number to be taken literally or in a more general sense, St. Jerome declares that the tradition of the whole Church handed down that amongst them a king would arise, who was to subdue three of the others, and he adds that these three were, according to the same tradition, those of Egypt, of Africa (or the northern provinces of that continent for so the Romans termed that portion), and of Ethiopia (that is Babylon and Asia). How remarkably all this has been fulfilled by the conquests of Mahometanism we shall hereafter see more fully.
It is clear, therefore, that according to the unanimous teaching of the Primitive Church St. PauFs expressions to the Thessalonians indicated that Antichrist (as St. John calls him), or the Man of Sin, as St. Paul here terms him, would not be revealed until the Roman empire was removed, but that very shortly after that event was consummated, and its ancient territory subdivided into ten king- doms (as the Prophet Daniel had foretold), this Man of Sin would be revealed.
Accordingly we find the Roman empire was no sooner broken up and subdivided, than a most extraordinary person arose in Arabia of the name of Mahomet, a person of obscure
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 67
origin and of but little consideration in the beginning, and this person pretended that he was sent by God as the last and the greatest of His prophets, and that his mission was to overthrow the Christian religion, to found another religion on its ruins, and also to found a universal empire, to which he was to subdue the whole human race, forcing them, under pain of temporal death and everlasting con- demnation, to embrace his new religion and submit to his dominion. Within an astonish- ingly short period after the first promulgation of this new religion and the foundation of the temporal sovereignty connected with it, we find that either Mahomet or his immediate successors had subdued the greater part of the East and of Africa, had established his infamous apostacy in the fairest dioceses of the Eastern and African Churches, and had filled all Chris- tendom with terror. St. Jerome had written the different passages we have cited between the years 331 and 422 of the Christian era; in 170 the lloman empire was extinguished by the deposition of its last Western emperor, who bore the ominous name of Romulus Augustu- lus ; out of the political chaos there had arisen a number of new states, amongst which the emperor of Constantinople for a long while held a sort of primatial dignity; and in 612
68 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Mahomet commenced the publication of his Koran. That this was the revelation of the Man of Sin foretold by St. Paul we shall now proceed to show : we have already shown how the fundamental doctrine of the Koran fulfilled St. John the Evangelist's prediction of the fun- damental teaching of the great Antichrist, it remains for us to show how the conduct of Mahomet agreed with St. Paul's prophetic description of the Man of Sin, as given in his second epistle to the Thessalonians.
The Roman empire had been broken up, the whole Christian Church was looking forwards (as the testimonies we have already cited from the holy fathers sufficiently prove) with terror and anxiety to the predicted appearance of the Man of Sin, when in the year 609 a fearful sign was sent by the Almighty to warn Chris- tendom, and especially Eastern Christendom, of the visitation that impended. The powers of darkness were let loose ; and as Satan had furiously raged against Christ in His passion and death, so now he directed his fury against the image of Christ crucified, and against the true cross, which the holy Empress St. Helena had discovered and deposited in a costly shrine at Jerusalem. In the year 609, as the bishops and clergy in divers cities of the province of (rulatia were making solemn processions, prc-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 69
ceded by the holy cross, all at once a great prodigy was beheld. The crosses reeled to and fro, and no human force could keep them steady; an evil feeling seized upon men, and all felt conscious that a new power of wicked- ness was coming upon the earth. The account of this awful sign is given at length in the his- tory of St. Theodore Siceotes, one of the most illustrious saints of the Greek Church. (50- rnnn Annalcs, torn. viii. pp. 203 205.) At that time the most blessed Saint Thomas was patriarch of Constantinople. The intelligence which the bishops forwarded to him of the prodigy, which had been witnessed by vast numbers in so many places, greatly alarmed the holy father. In his distress, he wrote to the man of God, St. Theodore Siceotes, bidding him come to Constantinople, that he might consult him. The patriarch then asked him, as the king of Babylon had formerly asked Daniel the Prophet to interpret his dream, what this sign meant. The man of God seemed unwilling to answer the question ; but on the patriarch conjuring him for the love of God to do so, St. Theodore bursting into a flood of tears, thus addressed him : " Most holy father, it seemed to me that I ought not too much to grieve you, for it is not well that you should know the meaning of these things ;
70 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
but since it is commanded byyou that I should explain the mystery, be it known unto you that this movement of the crosses foretokens unto us great and numberless calamities. Myriads of Christians will shortly abandon our most holy religion ; on all sides the barbarians will attack the territory of the faithful ; there will be such bloodshed as hath not been seen before, with great destruction and seditions all over the earth. The churches will be abandoned, and the ruin of God's worship and of the empire approacheth. Know, more- over, that the coming of THE ADVERSARY is at hand." No sooner did the holy patriarch hear these words, than he melted into tears, and falling on his knees, he besought the man of God to intercede with the Lord, that He would take him out of this world before these horrible calamities came upon the Church. The saint replied, that rather he would pray to God to preserve his holiness for the good of his flock, and of so many churches over which he presided. Shortly after this, the Per- sians, having declared war upon the empire, ravaged it in many of its richest provinces, took the city of Jerusalem, and carried away from the famous church of the holy sepulchre the true cross, which had been enshrined there by the blessed Empress St. Helena. This
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 71
deplorable event took place in the year 615 ; and two years before this it was that Mahomet first published his famous Koran, thus fulfil- ling, as we shall soon see, the prediction of the blessed St. Theodore Siceotes. (See at length, The Life of St. Theodore Siceotes, by the Monk Eleusius ; also, Surius, April 22.)
Let us now examine how far the character of Mahomet agreed with St. Paul's description of the Man of Sin. The apostle calls him " the Son of Perdition." The elect are called in Scripture "the Children of God," " Sons of God," and " heirs of everlasting life." It is not wonderful, therefore, that the apostle should call Antichrist a " Son of Perdition " a "Man of Sin." Such a name rightly be- longs to him, for he is the child of the devil ; he springs from the source of perdition, and his ways are those of sin and wickedness. As Christ is termed by all the Prophets "the Just " and " the Righteous " above all others, so Antichrist would naturally be the very type of sin and injustice, and his teaching would open wide the gates of perdition. Now what heretic has ever arisen in the world, of whom this was so true, as it was of Mahomet ? Other heretics retained at least the outward profession of Christianity, the belief and use of the sacraments ordained by Christ. Many
72 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
heretics, and we may say all the earlier here- tics, who lived before the coming of Mahomet, retained the daily sacrifice of the holy Eucha- rist ; and though there could be no hope of salvation for the miserable heresiarchs them- selves, still many of their followers might be invincibly ignorant (to use the phrase of Catho- lic theology) of their state of heresy or schism, and so by God's mercy, and the merits of Christ applied to them by the sacraments of baptism or of penance in articulo mortis, they might be saved. But Mahomet abolished Christianity root and branch ; he took away the daily sacrifice, which the Prophet Daniel expressly foretold that Antichrist would do, and instead thereof he established vain repe- titions of unmeaning prayers, in which there was no love expressed for God, nor any hope in the merits of a Redeemer. He utterly denied the passion of Christ, which he con- sidered a disgraceful doctrine, and he abolished all the seven sacraments of grace, which our Lord had instituted as so many fountains, whereby he might apply and communicate to mankind the fruits of His passion and death. Could Antichrist establish a more appropriate work than this ? or one which more com- pletely could undo the work of Christ ? Was not, then, the work of Mahomet precisely
what all analogy would have led us for the work of Antichrist ? In other it' Mahomet be not Antichrist, be not Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, it is not possible that any heretic can ever arise who would more literally fulfil the predictions of (iod's word concerning that awful personage than has been done by Mahomet. The more we look into the Mahometan system, the more clearly does this fact manifest itself. The doctrine of Christ had taught men all justice, to abstain from even the thought of evil, to live a holy, pure life. "Be ye perfect/' said our Lord, " as your Heavenly Father is pert But what was the doctrine of
In the fortieth year of his age, he shut him- self up in the caverns of Mount Hera, not far from the city of Mecca ; there he remained for >i\ entire months, from time to time he made his wife, his children, and his servants visit him, and he entertained them with strange accounts of nocturnal visions and apparitions, with which he declared that he was favoured. At length, on the twenty-third night of the month of Ramadan, he beheld, as he assured his wife, the following vision. A voice called him by his name, a bright light from heaven illumined the whole country, and the Alcoran, the last
74 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Revelation of God to men, descended from heaven, complete in all its parts. It was borne, said he, on the hands of the Archangel Gabriel, and such was the splendour and brilliancy of the messenger, that it was more than the eyes of Mahomet could bear, so he besought him in future to appear in human form. This Gabriel promised that he would do, having saluted Mahomet as "the Prophet of God." After which he commanded him to read through the Koran, which he had no sooner done, than Gabriel carried it back to heaven, promising to bring it back again, as it should be needed, chapter by chapter.
Now, can we imagine any description that more perfectly agrees with the words of St. Paul in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians, where, describing the revelation of the Man of Sin, he says : " Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders?" Who was it that per- sonated the Angel Gabriel, but Satan himself, of whom the same St. Paul declares, that he is wont "to transform himself into an angel of light ?" Then Mahomet came "in all power " with the power of the sword and of armies. Christ came meek and lowly, and when one of His disciples drew the sword, He rebuked him and said, " Put back thy sword into the scab- bard, for all they that take the sword shall
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 75
perish })y the sword :" and having said this He healed the wound of His mortal enemy. Christ came to minister unto the meanest of His fol- lowers, saxinir, ' My kingdom is not of this world :" He had indeed a kingdom, but it was not a kingdom of flesh and blood, but of holi- ness, of peace, and of love. But the kingdom of Mahomet was one of earthly power (in all power) : it was a kingdom of luxury and sen- suality, in uhich it was permitted to men to indulge to the full in all the sins of the flesh, and in which he promised t'.ie same sensual enjoyments even in the life to come. Then the Man of Sin was to come, "in signs, and I n't n< j in, niters" And could there be <: renter signs, than what God had given to His Church of the near coming of this Son of Per- dition? Could there be a more striking sign, than the miraculous shaking of the crosses, uhich St. Theodore Siceotes explained to St. Thomas, the Patriarch of Constantinople, "as the sign of the immediate coming of the adver- sary >" Could there be a greater sign of the revelation of this Man of Sin, than the miracu- lous shaking of the cross ? The cross of Christ trembled at the coming of Mahomet, and well might it seem to tremble, for Mahomet was its bitterest foe. The cross had redeemed the world, and the Koran of Mahomet was to undo the redemption of the cross. For three hours
76 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
our Lord Jesus had hung in mortal agony on the cross, giving birth to the children of His adoption, and purchasing the souls of His elect ; setting them, moreover, an example of cruci- fixion to the world, and of a renunciation of all our corrupt passions and lusts; but Ma- homet came to level the cross,* and to preach sensuality, to set up the power of this world, and to procure the ruin of countless millions of human souls, for whom the Lord Jesus had shed His precious blood. Well might the cross tremble ! well might such a sign usher in the coming of Christ's arch-enemy, of Anti- christ, and well might the revelation of the Alcoran synchronize with the capture of Jeru- salem, and the carrying away of the true cross into the land of the infidel Persians, that very people who were destined to become one of the first conquests of the Mahometan apostacy ! Oh ! these indeed were signs, such as amply verified the prediction of the blessed Apostle St. Paul. Nor were these the only signs :* St. Paul had given another, the removal
- Amongst other signs, that marked the coming in of the
Mahometan empire, we may mention what the Byzantine historian Cedrenus relates as having occurred at the death of the False Prophet : the apparition in the heavens, during thirty days, of a vast comet in the shape of a sword, which was interpreted as a sign of the scourge that impended over Christendom. "MfTo C ye rbv 5a.va.Tov TOV StrjXarov
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 77
and destruction of the Roman empire, and all the fathers of the Church, with one con- senting voice, had proclaimed that this would be the siyn of Anticlirist's coming. The Roman empire fell, and the empire of Mahomet was revealed. The kingdom of Christ waxed weak, torn by the internal strife of heresy and seliism, and the cross was seen to shake and to tremble. It only remained for the "Son of Perdition" to inaugurate his accursed "apos- tacy" by the "tying wonders" foretold by St. Paul. And here we see unfolded to us these very lyinir wonders, in all the force of their " seductive iniquity." Was it not a wonder, when Satan appeared in the garb of Gabriel to the impious Mahomet?* when he ushered in to his vision the blasphemous and impious Koran? when he shook the rocks of Mount Hera, and terrified even the heart of Mahomet himself, accustomed, as he said he was, to such nocturnal visions? Was this event, pregnant \\ith the spiritual and temporal destruction of countless millions of men, not to be called as
Movgov/icr ityai'i) Kara utotjufipiav dffTijp o ioflrtfff Trponrjvuwv TIJV TUIV 'Ajod/3wv twiKparfiav' tptive ->. ///itpac rpta'covra, tftaret'vwv dirb fieffrmpplas w upKToi'. iir ft i'r^of/r/'/r." Gewgii Cedreni Historiarum . torn. i. p. 745.
Vbb Rohrbacher's tenth volume of Ecclesiastical >ry.
78 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
St. Paul foretold of it, a " wonder," and " a lying wonder" seeing that it was invented by Satan to usher in the most false and lying system of impiety that had ever been palmed upon the credulity of fallen man ? Yes, Ma- homet came "in lying wonders" and he deceived mankind more than any impostor or deceiver that had ever preceded him. . It has been sometimes urged by commentators, who did not admit that Mahomet was the Antichrist of prophecy, that whereas it was foretold in God's Word that Antichrist should perform great wonders, by which he was to deceive mankind, Mahomet did not pretend to the gift of mira- cles. It is true that Mahomet did not pretend to the gift of miracles, if by miracles be under- stood the power of healing diseases, of raising the dead to life, or such other miracles as have always been wrought in the Church of God : and Mahomet was right in not pretending to such a gift, inasmuch as he had none such, and, had he pretended to it, his imposture would quickly have been found out : but he did lay claim to wonderful and supernatural commu- nications with God, and these were assuredly to be called " lying wonders/' as St. Paul had termed them. They were surely wonders in every sense of the term, and they were " lying"
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 79
wonders, because they were false, vile impos- tures, and diabolical deceits.
On one memorable occasion* in the year 621, A.D., Mahomet pretended that the Angel (labriel brought him a miraculous beast, called Kl-Borac, on which he mounted and ascended to the seventh heaven, \vhere he conversed face to lace \\ii\\ God, and was proclaimed greater than all the prophets and all the angels of ( I od ! When he entered the first heaven Adam came and made obeisance to him, and recom- mendrd himself to his prayers! God's Word tells us that all the ancient fathers of the Old Testament had been delivered from the prison, in which they were detained, by the preaching of Messiah in person (1 Peter iii. 19), who, as the Church teaches us, applied to their souls the merits of his precious death, and then transported them to Paradise, "leading cap- tivity captive," as David had foretold in the Psalms. But all this is denied by the impious Mahomet, who, on the contrary, pretends that Adam came and recommended himself to his prayers ! as if the prayers of Mahomet would prove more efficacious than the merits of the God-Man ! In one of these heavens he tells us he saw Issa or Jesus, but he does not say
- See Vie de Mahomet, Koran, Kasimirski.
80 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
in which. Now is it possible to conceive blas- phemous falsehood beyond all this ? At least, unless we believe the word of Mahomet, arid embrace Islamism, we must come to this con- clusion. I will not dwell upon the other lying wonders which Mahomet relates of this journey to the seventh heaven; the miraculous cock, which was several thousand miles high, and which crowed so loud as to be heard by the whole universe; or the colossal angel he met in the third heaven, whose height was equal to one hundred and forty thousand years of the swiftest travelling ! or the other ridiculous fables he recounts of this prodigious journey; but I will only add, in conclusion, that, when he reached the seventh heaven, Gabriel was not allowed to accompany him further, but Mahomet, holier than the highest angel, climbed the tree Sedra, and so ascended through a boundless ocean of light to the very throne of God Himself, on the steps of which he beheld these words : <( la Allah ilia Allah, va Mohammed rasoul Allah ;" the meaning of which is, " There is no God, but God, and Mahomet is His Prophet." He was no sooner admitted to the presence of the Most High, than God, placing one hand on his breast, and the other on his shoulder, revealed to him all Truth, and declared to him that he was the most perfect of all creatures, and that
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 81
he should be honoured and raised above all other men, and that he should be the Re- deemer of all those that believed in him, that he should know all languages, and that the spoils of all he conquered in war should belong to him alone. He then ordered him to pre- scribe fifty prayers a day to his followers, but on the remonstrance of Mahomet He reduced the number to five ! After which Mahomet ret u rued to the earth, and recounted to his deluded disciples the Satanic vision, with which Lucifer hud deceived his proud and presump- tuous mind. Could blasphemy, falsehood, and folly go beyond this?
This was the man, who was destined to be the chief opponent of Jesus Christ, of whom the Apostle St. Paul most properly foretold, " who opposeth and is lifted up above all that is called God and worshipped." That he opposed Christ, no one who has read history would venture to deny, for the records of twelve cen- turies are at hand to prove that no one ever opposed with such awful success the extension of Christ's kingdom : and if we wanted a clue to the interpretation of the other statement of the Apostle, " that he should be lifted up above all that is called God and worshipped," surely the miraculous journey of Mahomet, we have just been describing, furnishes it for us. Ma-
82 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
hornet proclaims himself as having been pro- nounced by God Himself as the " most perfect of all creatures." What was this but to lift himself (for it was not really God who lifted him to this blasphemous height) above all "that is called God and worshipped?" If he proclaimed himself the highest of all creatures, he was of course higher than Christ, who was a creature at the same time as God. He was higher than Mary, the all-pure Mother of God. In other words, "he lifted himself above all that is called God and worshipped." Jesus is called God because He is at once God and Man, and as such He is rightly worshipped : but Mahomet proclaimed himself greater than Jesus, he therefore (( lifted himself above all that is called God and worshipped." Again, in Scripture, princes and kings are sometimes called Gods; thus we read in Deuteronomy, " Thou shalt not curse the Gods, nor speak evil of the rulers of my people." So that, when the Apostle tells us that the Man of Sin would exalt himself above all that is called God, he meant that he would exalt himself above angels and archangels, above prophets and saints, above the all-holy Mother of God, and even above Jesus, the eternal Son of God, who is God blessed for evermore. Now all this Mahomet literally did, and by so doing he
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 83
exalted himself both directly and indirectly " above all that is called God and worshipped." But Mahomet was not only a religious im- postor, " a False Prophet/' he aimed at other ends besides the religious veneration of his fellow-men : he aimed at dominion over them, at nothing short of universal empire; for he said that he was sent by God to subdue all other kings and potentates, and to subject them to himself: in this sense, therefore, also he equally exalted himself above all that is called God and worshipped; for in Scripture the term worship is applied not only to the honour which is due to God, but also to that which is due to kings and princes : hence we MI how literally and completely Mahomet ful- filled the Apostle's prediction of the Man of Sin, that he would " lift himself above ALL " (whether in Heaven or on earth) "that is called God and worshipped."
But this is not all that St. Paul foretold, he continues : " So that he sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself as if he were God." By this I understand that the Man of Sin would endeavour to usurp for himself, in the Tcmpk of God, that is in the public worship paid by mankind to the Supreme Being, whether in material temples or in the temple of con- science, that place, in which He alone had a
84 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
right to sit, who, as the Word of God declared, sat down "at the right hand of God the Father," in virtue of His eternal Sonship, that eternal generation from the Father, which it was the special province of Mahomet utterly to deny in his famous dogma "that God neither be- getteth nor is begotten."
Yes, we may indeed truly say, that when Mahomet asserted himself to be " the highest of all creatures, 33 and the Redeemer of mankind, he not only robbed our Lord Jesus Christ of his glory, of whom St. Paul had said " that He thought it not robbery to be equal with God : " for He indeed was truly equal with God : but he took that place in the mystical, as well as the real, Temple of God, which belonged to Christ and to Christ alone.
In another, and a still more literal sense, did Mahomet also fulfil this prophecy, when Jeru- salem was taken by his general the Caliph Omar, and when on the site of Solomon's Temple, which, above all others, is pre-emi- nently styled in Scripture "the Temple of God," he impiously pretended to restore that sacred edifice, and did in fact defile that most holy spot by erecting thereon one of his prin- cipal mosques : thus placing, as Daniel the Prophet and our blessed Lord had foretold, "the abomination of desolation in the Holy
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 85
Place/' and on that sacred ground proclaiming himself the highest and holiest of all crea- tures, the greatest of the prophets, and, as he reported of himself in his nocturnal journey to the seventh heaven, "the Saviour of all who should believe in him." And it is a remarkable fact connected with the taking of Jerusalem by tin Caliph Omar, that Saint Sophronius, who was patriarch of that city at the time, expressly declared that he saw in that event the fulfil- ment of the prophecy of Daniel concerning the ,nii nut t mi of Desolation in the Holy Place" (Dunn I \\. 31.)
Cedrenus, the learned Byzantine annalist, attests this fact as follows : " Ou/wapoe ccc TTJV aytav TTO\IV
K'n/17/XoU IvSvfJLCUTlV f)fJL(t>lt(TfJLlvO
iv rt SaravticTjv EvSeticvv/ievoc, rov Naov TWV 'lovSaiwv, ov ^IicoSojurjcre
' oti]<yat r^c avrov
Tourov (Saiv Sw^ovioc f^?* tTT* aAijflefac TOVTO tGTiv TO jSSlXuy/ua rf/c f/ojft(t)<Ta>c fffrwg Iv TOTT^ fiyiy." (Cedrenus, Hist. Comp. torn. i. p. 746.) And in a subsequent chapter the same author mentions a remarkable fact, " that when Omar commenced his famous mosque on the site of Solomon's Temple, the building, in spite of all his efforts, continually fell down, and on the Caliph inquiring of the Jews the reason of this
86 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
prodigy, the latter informed him it was because of the cross which the Christians had erected upon their church on the Mount of Olives, whereupon Omar ordered that cross, and many others also, to be demolished." (Cedrenus, Hist. Comp. torn. i. p. 754.)
What was this, but " to sit in the temple of God, showing himself, as if he were God, 33 as if he were that, which none but Christ, who is " God of God and very God of very God 3 ' is and can be ? In fine, if Mahomet has not fulfilled the Apostle's prediction, both in the spirit and the letter, we know not how it could be fulfilled.
But we now come to a further description of the Man of Sin in this remarkable prophecy of St. Paul (2 Thess. xi. 9, 10), "whose coming is .... in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish : because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. There- fore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe a lie." If ever a system was based on the seduction of iniquity, it surely was that of Mahomet. Look at the morality which he practised, which he taught his disciples to practise, and it will not be difficult to under- stand what the Apostle means by " seduction of iniquity," when addressed to the corrupt nature of fallen man. The very paradise he promised
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 87
to his deluded followers, is a place of debauchery, a sink of " iniquity." Whole troops of beautiful houris are provided to gratify the everlasting and insatiable lust of the Mahometan elect, and that there may be no stint, no progeny ever follows this unbridled concubinage : it is an everlasting enjoyment of the basest pleasures, without the end or the sanction of marriage : pleasures which, as mankind now tastes them, are essentially allied with the debasements of nal -in, and which the pure religion of Jesus had restricted to the single use of mar- riage, while it taught men to forego them alto- gether, if they would seek perfectly to please their Heavenly Creator, by imitating here on earth the purity and the innocence of angels. Jesus Christ had restored woman to her ori- ginal rank in the scale of God's creation; Mahomet degraded her again into the mere instrument of passion, and the slave of man. Our Lord had made marriage the holiest and the happiest union of man and wife, to be for ever consecrated to each other, with no thought of another to inspire jealousy or divide their love, and this union He pronounced indissoluble, except by death. Mahomet restored polygamy, and consecrated divorce. Thus, instead of de- veloping the holy tendencies of Christianity, he threw men back, and as he impiously pre-
88 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
tended, by the authority of God Himself, into all the degradations of human corruption, such as even enlightened pagans viewed with shame and disgust. What has been the result of this legislation of the false Prophet ? Let the his- tory of Mahometanism answer the question : in order to enable a comparatively few privileged men to enjoy the possession of whole troops of women, hundreds and thousands of men are annually condemned to mutilation, and so sen- tenced to a debased and compulsory celibacy. Thus fulfilling another prophecy of the same St. Paul in his epistle to his disciple St. Timothy (1 Tim. iv. 14) : " Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faith- ful, and by them that have known the truth." How remarkably is this fulfilled by the eunuchs of Mahometanism, whom this impious system has effectually forbidden to marry, although it has thrown open to them every other brutal and degrading licence. What a contrast be- tween this diabolical celibacy, and the angelical celibacy of the monastic state in the Catholic
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 89
Church ! The former is that of Mahomet, what the devil has long practised in hell : the latter is the life of the angels of God, of whom Jesus said, " That they neither marry, nor are given in marriage ;" that life which He, the Lamb of God, led, when He trod this earth in pain and sorrow for three-and-thirty years, seeking and saving that which was lost ; that life, which in every age of Christianity, thousands and tens of thousands of His followers have led in imi- tation of Him, and of whom, when translated to a happier life, the beloved disciple witnesses that he heard them singing such a heavenly song as no one else could learn, for, said the evangelist, " these were virgins, who were never defiled with women, and they follow the Lamb whithersoever Hegoeth." (Apocalypse xiv. 4.) And as with the contrast between Mahometan and Christian celibacy, so also between Chris- tian self-denial, and the impious and truly Manidieaii abstinence of the false Prophet, to which the Apostle St. Paul here alludes. In the old law, Moses had commanded for mystical and temporary reasons abstinence from certain meats, but this uncleanness was washed away in the all-atoning blood of Christ; Mahomet renewed what had now lost all rational signifi- cation, and to the restrictions of Judaism, he added blasphemies of his own : he abolished
90 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
the daily sacrifice of the new law : that sacrifice which our Lord Jesus Christ, as Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech, had instituted in the form of bread and wine ; the sacrifice which the Prophet Malachi had foretold would everywhere be offered amongst the Gentiles. And that he might as it were stamp that Divine oblation of the Christian altar with the seal of his malediction, he pretended that God had told him, that wine was an abomination, in- vented by Satan (Alcoran v. 92) ; such were the abstinences imposed by Mahomet on the meats and creatures of God, which, as the Apostle said, " God had created to be received with thanksgiving:" how different from the abstinences of the Christian Church, which, on the contrary, proclaim, that every creature of God is good, and that when for a season, or on given days, we abstain from any of them, we do so, not because they are evil, but for morti- fication and penance, that we may subdue the flesh to the spirit, that we may learn to use the gifts of God with moderation and sobriety, for the purpose ordained by Him, and not to gra- tify our mere animal appetite, or a spirit of luxury.
But if we turn from the doctrine of Mahomet to his own conduct and practice, we shall find that his example was on a par with his teach-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 91
ing. Not content with fifteen wives, and a whole host of concubines and female slaves, at the age of fifty-four, he fell in love with Aicha, a beautiful girl of only nine years of age, who was just married to his own adopted son, Zaid. The unfortunate man was forced to repudiate his wile to gratify the insatiable passions of the Prophet, who immediately took possession of her, and married her : and when some of his followers murmured at his brutality, how did he answer them? He makes the angel Gabriel descend from heaven with a fresh chapter of the Koran, prepared on purpose, in which the incest and adultery of the Prophet is vindicated by a blasphemy, and the God of heaven is made to say, that He gives a special privilege to the Prophet to marry any woman upon earth, no matter what previous ties she may have con- tracted, provided she be ready to yield to his solicitations.* It was surely not too much for St. Paul to have foretold of this Man of Sin, that he would come " in all seduction of iniquity," nor can Mahomet be charged with having done too little to fulfil, even to the extremest point of the letter, the inspired pre- diction of the Apostle !
But if such was his unbridled career of lust
- See Alcoran, chap, xxxiii. p. 341. Paris edit. 1844.
92 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
and passion, his cruelty was, if possible, greater still. For this, too, the lying revelations of the Koran gave him the amplest scope. If any one doubted his divine mission, the fifth chapter of this blasphemous book (Alcoran v. 37) tells us how Mahomet was to deal with him : " Behold, what is to be the recompense of those who oppose God and His Apostle" (that is Mahomet] , " you shall put them to death, or you shall crucify them, you shall cut off their hands and their feet alternately : they shall be banished from their country ; they shall be loaded with ignominy in this life, and they shall receive a cruel chastisement in the life to come." With such an authority in his hands, is it wonderful that this false Prophet should have committed the cruelties which history records, or that his followers in every age should have been as conspicuous for their horrible disregard of human life and human suffering, as they have been for their unbridled lust and unnatural crimes ?
But we will not pursue this odious subject further : enough has been said to convince our readers, and we ought rather to apologise for recounting to Christian ears the unspeakable wickedness of him whom the Apostle rightly forenamed " the Man of Sin."
We have thus far examined the prophetic
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 93
statements of the Apostle Paul concerning the general characteristics of the Man of Sin, and we have found that the apostolic prediction is fully borne out by the history and character of Mahomet : but there is another fact foretold by the Apostle, which we have not yet con- sidered, but which greatly increases the evi- dence that Mahomet is the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition. The Apostle tells us that he would not only come, as we have already shown, 'in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish," but he adds, " therefore God shall send tin ,11 the operation of error to believe a lie : that all may be judged, who have not believed the truth ) but have consented to ini- gvity."
How remarkably was this prophecy fulfilled in the early history of Mahometanism. We have already seen, that both from the expres- sion of St. Paul, " the mystery of iniquity already worketh," and that of St. John, " al- ready are there many Antichrists," a prepa- ration for the revelation of the Man of Sin was going on from the very beginning of the Church; and St. John had shown that this preparation was wrought by the early heretics and separatists, for, speaking of these Anti- christs, he says : " They went out from us ; but they were not of us; for if they had been
94 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
of us, they would no doubt have remained with us : " that is, they left the apostolic com- munion of Christ's holy Catholic Church, and they did so because they would not submit to its authority: "They were not of us;" that is, they would not listen to our teaching. And so it was ; the ground was gradually pre- pared all over the provinces of the East for the advent of him who was destined to set up a new religion in the place of Jesus Christ's religion, that of His Apostolic Church ; and this ground was prepared by the gradual and successive undermining of the Catholic faith in those countries by the erroneous teaching of the various heretics. So when Mahomet arose, the men who were the first to aid him in the compilation of his impostures were Jews and Nestorians, that is, those " who had not believed the truth" of Jesus, and those "who had consented to iniquity; 3 ' in other words, those who had refused to embrace the doc- trine of the Messiah, and those who had perverted it. And those who flocked to his standard, and embraced his soul-destroying doctrines, were, as he himself assures us, the Christians, both clergy and laity, of the Asi- atic provinces, in which he first exercised his diabolical apostleship. If the reader will con- sult the fifth chapter of the Koran and the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 95
eighty-fifth verse, he will find Mahomet witnessing to this fact; and an awful fact it was.
We thus see not only that Mahomet was the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Great Antichrist, but likewise that he was the founder of a great false religious system ; and hence, in the Apocalypse of St. John he is termed, on this latter account, " the False Prophet." Under this name he is mentioned expressly in tin sixteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, and the thirteenth verse. Could any name be more appropriate for Mahomet ? He affirmed of himself that he was pre-eminently above all others the Prophet of God. Now, unless he really was what he pretended to be, he was of course pre-eminently what the Apocalypse terms him, " the FALSE PROPHET." And this appel- lation well accords with what we have already seen in Daniel concerning the little horn, that it had " a mouth speaking great things" and " eyes like unto a man." Now what descrip- tion could better portray the great pretender to the title of God's greatest Prophet ? The mouth speaking great things aptly sym- bolizes the false and blasphemous doctrines uttered by the mouth of Mahomet ; while " the eyes as it were of a man" are the most appro- priate designation of the pretended Seer or
96 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Prophet* and well express those evil eyes of Mahomet with which he beheld the false visions of Satan, those nocturnal apparitions of which he speaks so much, and on which he blasphemously grounded his pretensions.
But there is one more Scriptural prediction concerning this great Antichrist which may well wind up and conclude our prophetic proofs that Mahomet is the great Antichrist. It is given in the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, and in the eighteenth verse : " Here is wisdom. He that hath understand- ing let him count the number of the beast : for it is the number of a man ; and the number of him is six hundred and sixty-six" Every student of prophecy is aware of the many and various interpretations that have been given to this mysterious number. How Protestants have laboured to make it agree with their anti-Catholic and anti-papal theories. How at one time they have made it spell Aaravoe, at another AouSojSetfcoc, at another PwjuiuO, and the rest. But if it can be shown, with at least equal force, that it furnishes the letters which spell the name of Mahomet, as that name was written by cotemporary Greek au- thors, having already shown that the other
- See Histoire Universelle de 1'Eglise Catholique, par
Rohrbacher, vol. x. p. 2.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 97
prophecies relating to Antichrist have been so literally and so perfectly fulfilled in that very Mahomet, I should submit that Mahomet must have a better claim to the mysterious number 666 than any of his rivals, even admitting which I do not admit that their names may with equal accuracy be extracted from the sum of Greek letters expressing it.
The following explanation of the mystic number was sent me the other day by my learned friend the Abbe Vandrival, one of the most profound students of Oriental literature in France.
I give it in his own words.
M ~ 40 A = 1
Y = 400 B = 2
H = 8 A = 4
A = 1 A = 1
M = 40 A = 30
M = 40 A = 30
E = 5 H = 8
A = 4
B = 2
N = 50
In other words, MYHAMMEA B'N AB- AAAA'H spells the number 666; that is, Mahomet the Son of Abdallah.
My learned friend appends to his exposition of the number 666 these remarkable words : "Les 1260 jours, 42 mois, ou 3| ans, sont H
98 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
bien pres de finir ; I'lslamisme se meurt ; FAntechrist va etre mis a mort, alors nous aurons un beau regne pour la religion, mais apres une secousse bien forte encore. Voila ce que nous pensons id"
Other Catholic commentators, taking the Byzantine-Greek mode of spelling the name of Mahomet, in preference to the Arabic, as given by my learned friend the Abbe Vandrival, de- rive the number 666 from the name written thus, Mao/zf-ne, which I confess I myself should be inclined to adopt, that being the way in which his name has been popularly written amongst the Greeks.*
The sum in this case is as follows :
= 666 f This result is surely a remarkable fact; but
- See Salmeron, Praeludia in Apocalypsin, torn. xvi.
t Mr. Forster, in his work " M ahometanism Vnveikd," states " The name of Mahomet, as written in the idiom of
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 99
another Catholic commentator gives another interpretation, which is also equally remarkable in its way, and may perhaps be equally correct, for it is not uncommon for a text of Scripture to have a double meaning. This writer says : " Ainsi puisque le nombre de la Bete est le nombre d'un homme, cela signifie d'un individu qui a commence a se faire connaitre au monde, soit par lui-meme, soit par [les consequences de] ses actions a telle ou telle date; et si cette epoque se date a 1'annee ou les Mahome- tans completerent la conquete de toute la terre ijlorieuse done parle Daniel (c'est k dire la terre Sainte) ; tout cela fut accompli et acheve en 666, et il est certain que ce fut cette conquete qui porta leur puissance au plus haut point." * In other words, it was that conquest which completed the character of Mahomet as the predicted Man of Sin ; for he was not only to exhibit in his own person all that St. Paul, and the other prophets of God, had predicated of
the Apocalypse by the Byzantine historians, accurately re- turns the prophetic number 666. This mystical number (understood, it has been shown, of Mahometanism by the Oxford monk Roger Bacon) was first applied to Mahomet personally by Fevardentius ; and I am obliged to subscribe the judgment of a venerable authority still living, that his interpretation is preferable to all succeeding conjectures." (Mafionietanism Unveiled, p. 238.)
- Preuves de 1'Eglise Catholique, p. 243.
100 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
him, but he was to accomplish by means of the forces, which he himself set in motion, the conquest of Jerusalem, and the subsequent subjection of the whole of Palestine. Some may object to this interpretation, inasmuch as it extends the fulfilment of prophecies, that seem to belong personally to himself, to the consequences of his policy subsequent to his death. But this objection has no real weight, for if it had, it would equally overthrow the application of the prophecies that belong to Christ Himself. How often in Scripture is it said of Messiah, that He shall subdue all na- tions to His spiritual rule : and yet during His lifetime He never so subdued them, although He has done so since by the preachers of His Word : and therefore we rightly say that Christ has done it, and that the event has completed the prophetic history of Christ. Now then, if Mahomet be Antichrist, and Antichrist be a diabolical counterpart of the Christ, the con- quest of the Holy Land by the disciples and successors of Mahomet may rightly be looked upon as the act of Mahomet himself, and con- sequently as filling up the prophetic description of Antichrist. For assuredly every man is re- sponsible for the consequences of his own acts, whether they be good or bad, and in proportion as they result more directly from his own con- triving and designing.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 101
We have thus endeavoured to show the ful- filment of the prophecies relating to Antichrist in the history of Mahomet, and the foundation of his Antichristian empire ; it now remains for us to unfold, in the next chapter, how the his- tory of that empire from its first foundation until the present time has literally fulfilled, what was predicted in Holy Writ concerning the kingdom and empire of Antichrist.
102 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
THE HISTORY OF THE MAHOMETAN EMPIRE IS THE LITERAL FULFILMENT OF THE PROPHECIES OF HOLY WRIT, RELATING TO THE KINGDOM AND DOMINION OF ANTICHRIST.
BEFORE we exhibit to our readers the history of the Mahometan empire, as the fulfilment of the prophecies relating to the empire of Anti- christ, it is necessary that we consider, for a few moments, the history of the Catholic Church, that is, of the kingdom and empire of Christ. For it is impossible to form a right view of the Antichristian empire, unless we set before our readers the parallel history of the Christian empire of the Church, inasmuch as it is in the mutual conflict between these two powers, that one of the main evidences is developed of the fulfilment of Divine prophecy.
If we turn to the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, we find the following words :
" And a great sign appeared in heaven : a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
Now, what is meant by this symbol ? In its first and limited application, I should refer it
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 103
to the blessed Virgin Mary, the all-pure Mother of God, for she might well be com- pared to a woman "clothed with the sun" seeing that she was "full of the grace of God" as the angel Gabriel had declared of her, " Hail full of grace/' (Luke i. 28), "the Lord is with thee ;" that is, she was filled with God, and might well, therefore, be compared to a woman clothed with the sun, for the sun was an emblem of God ; and the moon was said to be u nd IT the feet of Mary, because the moon symbolized the variable and empty things of tins life, which our blessed Lady trod under IKT feet : while the crown of twelve stars, that encircled her head, signified, on the one hand, the twelve patriarchs of the people of Israel, and the twelve tribes into which that people was subdivided, and, on the other, the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, who were the chosen patriarchs of the Christian Church, that is, of the children of Mary, for, in the strictest sense of the term, Mary, as the Mother of Christ, is also the mother of all those who are born again in Christ, and who were all committed to her maternal keeping by Christ upon the cross in the person of John the beloved disciple. And when, in the fifth verse, the Prophet tells us, that " She brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod, and her
AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Son was taken up to God, and to His throne ;" it is evident that Christ our Lord, the only Son of Mary, is most distinctly referred to; but in a more extended and general sense, there can be no doubt that the Catholic Church of Christ is " the woman clothed with the sun," and so all interpreters, both ancient and modern, have with one accord interpreted this symbol. Now, applying it to the Church, she appears " in heaven/' that is, in the region of God, in the region of His grace and mercy unto men, for no one but God designed this marvellous and admirable creation of His bounty and wisdom. She is " clothed with the sun/ 3 that is, with that " Sun of Righteousness" that was to rise upon the earth "with healing in His wings," as Isaias the Prophet had foretold.
Her being " clothed with the sun" denoted her infallible authority, and her unerring truth, for how can there be any darkness of error in the teaching of her who is " clothed with the sun ?" This symbolical description of the Church well accords with the words of Christ when He first instituted her. " Go ye and teach all nations, and lo ! / am with you always, even unto the end of the world." What Christ then promised, St. John, in the Apocalypse, beholds accomplished in the mystic symbol of the Divine vision; and that there
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTIOHM^T. 105
might be no mistake concerning the referred to as "the woman clothed sun" it is presently added, " and on her head (there was) a crown of twelve stars : " that is, of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, they whom lie sent to gather His Church out of all nations. Hence the true Church of Christ has always been termed the Catholic and Apostolic Church, that is, the Church of all nations (which is the signification of the title Catholic), and the Church founded by the twelve Apostles, which is the reason why we call her Apostolical. "And being with child, she cried, travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered." The Church's child is every child of Adam, baptized in the sacred laver of regeneration, and she might well be described as travailing with pain, when the birth of her first children cost her so many cruel persecutions, as she endured during the three first centuries of her exist- ence. The Prophet continues, "And there was seen another sign in heaven : and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns : and on his heads seven diadems : and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth : and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered ; that when she should be de- livered, he might devour her Son: and she
106 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod : and her Son was taken up to God, and to His throne." Now, who was represented by this " other sign in heaven ?" " The great red dragon ?" If we take it in its first and direct application, it would evidently refer to Satan, and the ninth verse of this same chapter, puts this out of all doubt ; but if we take it in a more extended sense, it would refer to Satan as working by and through mankind ; in other words, it would signify the whole mass of fallen men, ruled over and directed by the devil. Taking it in this sense, I should understand the seven-headed and ten-horned dragon to symbolize the whole mass of mankind, ruled over by the enemy of God; and the seven heads of this dragon would signify the seven great kingdoms'* or associations of fallen men, which from the time of Noah until the end of the world were to carry out the devil's purposes in opposition to God, and to His true religion. Viewed in this light, the seven heads of the dragon would signify: 1. The Egyptian monarchy; 2. The Assyrian ; 3. The Chaldean or Babylonian ; 4. The Medo-Persian; 5. The Grecian; 6. The Koman ; 7. The Antichristian empire of Ma-
- It is in this sense that the Douay commentators under-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 107
hornet. While the ten horns would signify the ten kingdoms, into which the Roman em- pire, or sixth head of the dragon, was to be sub- divided. While Mahometanism, or the dragon's seventh head, was destined eventually to absorb three of these ten horns or kingdoms, as we have already intimated, and shall still further explain in the course of this work.
But although I feel no doubt that this is the most accurate interpretation of the Apocalyptic vision, it may also be referred in a somewhat more limited sense to that power which I be- lieve to have been the dragon's sixth head, namely, to the Roman empire : now the Roman empire was emphatically the instrument of the devil in persecuting the Church, that is, "the woman clothed with the sun/' on her first appearance in the world.
Applying it, then, to the Roman empire, by the seven heads crowned with diadems I should understand either the seven principal emperors who exhibited the greatest fury in persecuting the Primitive Church, which I consider the most probable interpretation, or what some other commentators have taken it to mean, the seven forms of government that successively prevailed in the Roman state, being as follows : 1. The Kings; 2. Consuls; 3. Dictators; 4. Decemvirs ; 5. Military tribunes ; 6. Emperors ;
108 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
7. The senate, which co-existed with all the other heads, but, as sharing the sovereignty with them all, may well be counted for one of the mystic heads of the Roman dragon. Others have interpreted the seventh head of the Roman beast to mean the kingdom of Italy, established by Odoacer, king of the Heruli, after the deposition of R/omulus Augustulus, the last emperor, in 476 A.D. But I confess I think this less likely than the other interpretation ; for, whatever may be true of the different forms of government under which the Roman beast has subsisted, it is evident that in St, John's vision that beast is contemplated chiefly in its connection with the Church, as Satan's first instrument in persecuting her. Now Rome never persecuted the Church under any of her seven forms of government except the imperial; why, therefore, should her seven heads, in that sense of them, be introduced in connection with the persecutions of the early Church, when it is clear neither the kings, nor the consuls, nor the dictators, nor the decemvirs, nor the military tribunes ever persecuted the Church ? for all these forms of government were passed and gone when the Church's his- tory commenced. But it is quite clear that seven of the Roman emperors were conspicuous for their fury in persecuting the Church ; for
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 109
although, if we include Tiberius, under whom the crucifixion of our Lord Himself and the martyrdom of St. Stephen took place, there were eleven emperors who persecuted the Church, we may certainly conclude from his- tory that there were seven who were conspi- cuous above all the rest of the emperors for the terrible cruelty with which they waged this internal war; and these seven I should enumerate thus: 1. Nero; 2. Domitian ; 3. Trajan; 4. Hadrian; 5. Decius; 6. Aurelian; 7. Dioclesian : and it would seem that Diocle- siau was the worst of them all.
But there is another reason for interpreting in this passage the seven heads, exclusively of the emperors, and it is that they are ex- pressly said to be diademed heads, an appel- lation which belongs more properly to the emperors than to any of the other governing powers, if, at least, we except that of the kings. Also by the seven diademed heads I under- stand the whole body of the emperors perse- cuting the Church under the influence of the seven deadly sins, for we must observe that the dragon, who is described as having these seven diademed heads, is primarily Satan, and it is by these seven capital sins that he governs his impious kingdom over the bodies and souls of men. Then by the ten horns I understand
110 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
here not the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire was ultimately subdivided, but the ten general persecutions of the Primitive Church, which are well compared to ten horns, because they aptly represent those ten furious assaults which Satan gave to the Church, by urging against her the whole physical force of the Roman empire in those ten great persecu- tions. But be this as it may, commentators agree that the dragon in this vision symbol- izes both Satan, in his organization of mankind under seven great monarchies, and in a more special sense the pagan empire of Rome, com- bined and connected as it so closely was with the devil in the persecution of the Church of Christ. And when the text says that " his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth," I understand by that, first, in reference to Satan, that portion of the angels whom he dragged down from heaven to become his accomplices in warring against God along with himself upon the earth by trying to defeat the designs of God upon mankind ; and secondly, in reference to the persecuting action of the pagan Roman em- pire upon the bishops of the Catholic Church, who are elsewhere in the Apocalypse com- pared to stars : " The seven stars are the angels " or bishops " of the seven Churches."
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. Ill
(Apocalypse i. 20.) Now it might well be said that the dragon's tail cast a third part of these stars unto the earth, for full one-third of the primitive bishops were levelled in the grave by the sword of martyrdom, urged on by the devil, and unsheathed by the Roman emperors. The vision continues : " And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered ; that when she should be deli- vered, he might devour her son. And she brought forth a man-child, who was to rule all nations with an iron rod : and her Son was taken up to God and to His throne." *
- Cornelius a Lapide, in his commentary on the Apoca-
lypse, writing upon this verse, gives a summary of the dif- ferent interpretations suggested by various eminent Catholic interpreters. He himself holds that the proper and genuine sense of this passage is that the " Man-child " whom " the woman brought forth" represents the children whom the Church bore to Jesus Christ, and who witnessed their faith by suffering martyrdom: "Fortes et electi Dei rapientw per mortem, vel per martyrium in ccdum, ut Deo fruantur itaque evadant os et man us Draco nis." But then it is clear that the expression used of this man-child, that " he shall rule all nations with a rod of iron," is by no means appli- cable to the whole body of the martyrs in its direct sense, for in this it belongs exclusively to Christ, and only by participation can it be applied to the saints "participative tamen competit etiam aliis sanctis." And so St. Ambrose says : " The one man-child is He, whom the Blessed Virgin bore, and that which the Church bringeth forth, for Christ is one body, and as it were one person, with all His mem-
112 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
The dragon, standing before the woman about to be delivered of her son, appears to me to signify the efforts of Satan in endea- vouring to destroy the Primitive Church : and by the man-child of the woman, that was destined to rule all nations with an iron rod, I understand the Papacy, ruling over the Christian nations with the spiritual sceptre of St. Peter. And whereas this rod or staff is said to be of "iron," I understand by that term, that the chief seat of the sceptre was destined one day to be in Rome, which we may remember in Nabuchodonosor's statue was symbolized by the iron. Hence David, in the Psalms, foretells of Messiah that He would rule the Gentiles " with a rod of iron." (Psalm ii. 8, 9) "Ask of me and I will give thee the Gentiles for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy posses- sion. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter's vessel" By which last words of the Psalmist I see a reference to the fact foretold to Nabu-
bers, that is with the Faithful, as the Apostle saith in his first epistle to the Corinthians xii. 12, 27." " But," continues Cornelius a Lapide, " Alcazar (a very celebrated interpreter) in his method refers this passage to the Primitive Church : hence by the man-child he understands the Roman Church.
- Romano enim Ponlifici data est a Christo VIRGA FER-
RE A, qua regat omnes gentes Christianismo subditas.'"
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 113
chodonozor, where it was said that the feet of the great statue " were partly of iron and partly of potter's clay" (Dan. ii. 33, 34) : "Thus thou sawest, till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands : and it struck the statue on the feet thereof that were of iron and cluij, and broke them in pieces." And it was expressly revealed to Nabuchodonozor that this iron and clay signified the fourth empire, which was afterwards revealed to Da- niel as tlu> Roman empire, eventually to be subdivided into ten kingdoms. The Church's man-child is therefore evidently the sovereign pontiff, reigning from Rome over the Gentiles, and thus governing Messiah's spiritual king- dom. And whereas this man-child was said to be " taken up to God and to His throne," that may signify, that when the dragon stood before the woman to devour her child, he was taken up to the throne of God by martyr- dom, for almost all the early popes, during the irreat Roman persecutions, laid down their lives for the testimony of Jesus, and so were taken up to the throne of God. But we shall see later, when this man-child began to rule the nations with his iron rod, that is, with his Roman sceptre, how that event is represented by another symbol.
But we must observe here an important
114 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
distinction, and it is that which exists between the temporal and the spiritual power vested by Almighty God in the papacy, that is, in the Holy See.
The latter, that is the spiritual power, is essential to it, that which it possesses of Divine right, by the institution of Christ Himself; the former (that is the temporal power) is acci- dental and dependent upon circumstances; it has been given to the Holy See for very great and holy purposes, and to reward the great constancy and zeal of so many holy successors of St. Peter, but it is not essential to the papacy. The popes were not always sovereigns of Rome, but they have always been the chief bishops of the Catholic Church, and they alone, amongst all other bishops, have jurisdiction over the whole Church.
It is useless here for me to attempt to prove this as a fact from Church history ; it would lead me away from the subject which we are principally treating of here, and would swell this work far beyond the limits I wish to assign to it. But I would refer the reader, who would wish to investigate the truth of my assertion, to the very able treatises of my learned friend, Mr. Allies, " On the See of St. Peter as the Centre of Unity" and " On St. Peter, His Name and Office ;" and still more
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 115
to that masterly work just published by Arch- deacon Robert Wilberforce, "An Inquiry into the Principles of Church Authority." In the works of these two writers all controversy on the subject of the pope has been set at rest for ever.
The popes then, from the very infancy of the Church, have always been regarded as the centre of unity and the source of spiritual authority ; and inasmuch as St. Peter fixed the local residence of this authority at Rome, the capital of the Gentile world, it is true that Messiah's kingdom of the Church, gathered as it has been out of all nations, has always been ruled with the rod of iron, virgd ferred, as it is termed in the Vulgate, and we have shown what we conceive to be the meaning of this remarkable term, namely, that it signifies a Roman staff y or an authority emanating from, and holding its chief seat in Rome, which city, with its empire, were figured by the iron portion of Nabuchodonozor's metallic statue. But if we pursue our investigation of the Apocalyptic vision, we find the Prophet thus continuing: "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thou- sand two hundred and sixty days."
The flight of the woman into the wilderness
H6 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
I conceive to mean the Church's entrance into the world. For the world might well be termed a wilderness, when we consider what was its moral and physical condition before our Saviour's birth : and when the text adds, " where she had a place prepared by God/' it evidently refers again to the fact of the Church having one principal primatial see and source of spiritual authority, in other words the Holy See of Rome; for if Rome be not such, no other see at least has ever made such a claim ; and it is clear from the text that some such primatial seat of spiritual dominion there was to be somewhere. The text continues, "that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred and sixty days."
This expression is very significant, and it surely indicates that there would be a very remarkable period in the Church's history, a period during which the Church was to be fed, that is to be specially nourished and enriched ; and that this period was to last for the space of twelve hundred and sixty days ; that is for the very same space of time that was allotted by Daniel, as we have already seen, to the dominion of the little horn, that is of Anti- christ, which we have proved to be the religious system and empire of Mahomet. Now then we may begin to understand why God gave a
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 117
temporal dominion to the popes at Rome, in other words, why He ordained that the Church should be fed, in a place prepared for her, for twelve hundred and sixty days.
Mahometanism decreed the extirpation of the Church by fire and sword, and it was to meet this armed heresy that God gave a tem- poral dominion to His Church. And we shall see in the sequel how this temporal dominion of the popes was the only thing that saved Christendom from being overrun by the Ma- hometan armies: so that, humanly speaking, unless God had given temporal dominion to the popes, Christianity would have been rooted out, and Antichrist would have extended his empire not only over the three great provinces of the Macedonian he-goat, but over the universe itself.
The Prophet then goes on to describe the conflict between St. Michael and the good angels with the dragon, or Satan, and his evil angels ; and he describes this in order to explain the causes which in the invisible world prepare and bring about the results which we witness here below in this visible world ; that conflict of good and evil, which has continually been at work ever since the fall of our first forefather Adam. He carries us back in this description to the remote period when Lucifer and his
118 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
confederate angels first rebelled against God, and were east out of heaven : and he declares that the Almighty Creator effected this by the ministry of the Archangel St. Michael : of which we will just observe how completely this statement coincides with the teaching of the Catholic Church, that God usually acts through the ministry of angels and saints; while it is at variance with the Protestant theory, which completely ignores all such ministry and action on the part of blessed spirits. St. John then goes on to tell us, in the ninth verse, what was the result of Lucifer's ejection from heaven : " He was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him :" and the effect of this he tells by the character he gives of Satan, " who seduceth the whole earth."
In these few words the Prophet sums up the history of mankind from the time of Adam, the seduction of the whole earth. For it was, alas ! a total seduction; with the single exception of the Jewish people, all mankind had been seduced into idolatry and every sort of wicked- ness.
But in the tenth verse a new and brighter scene dawns upon the world : " And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying : Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ." This
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 119
refers to the coming of our blessed Redeemer, " now is come salvation." And " the kingdom of God" and " the power of His Christ" was first unfolded to mankind by the establishment of His Church, and the effect of that redemption, so proclaimed to mankind, is thus described by St. John : " For the accuser of our brethren is cast out, who accused them before our God day and ni^ht." The accusation of mankind, which had hitherto been so triumphantly pleaded by Satan, was now torn aside by our Lord Jesus Christ, who nailed it to His cross. And the first Christians showed the fruits of this redemption in their lives, for "they over- came him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death." It was through the merits of our Saviour's passion and death that they obtained forgiveness, as it was through the sacraments, " the word of the testimony," those mysterious forms instituted by Christ, that His precious merits were prin- cipally applied to their souls ; and out of the fulness of their gratitude, and the tender out- pourings of their love, they gave their lives for Jesus, who had redeemed them by the loss of His. How wonderfully and how sublimely was this exhibited by the Christians of the early Church.
120 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Millions and millions laid down their lives to suffer the most cruel deaths in testimony of their faith in Christ : and when the sword of the persecutor was sheathed, millions of other generous Christians renounced the pleasures of this life, and betook themselves to the deserts of Egypt, of Syria, and of Arabia, in order to consecrate themselves to the perpetual and ex- clusive service of Jesus, whom alone they loved, for "they loved not their lives unto death." Well might the Apostle add, in the twelfth verse, " Therefore rejoice, O ye heavens, and ye that dwell therein." For if the angels re- joice over the sinner that doeth penance, what shall not be the joy of these heavenly spirits over the just, who give their lives by martyrdom for the love of Christ, and who consecrate themselves to His love in the most holy monas- tic state, renouncing the world, and the plea- sures of the world.
But it was to be expected that this bright vision would soon be troubled ; while the pro- bationary state of man endures, the bright blue sky of God's serene heaven must often and often be clouded over, and storms and tempests must try the shrubs and trees even in God's sacred Eden, the Catholic Church, to prove whether they be truly and firmly rooted in Christ; and so no sooner does St. John be-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 121
hold the fruits of Divine grace, and the conse- quent joy of angels, but he hears the dismal cry of woe. " Woe to the earth, and to the sea." That is, " Woe to the earth," woe to that beautiful work of God's creation, this planet of ours, which the devil hates because it was to 1)0 the dwelling-place of that great mystery, the Incarnation of the Son of God. And " Woe t/n/o the sea" that is mankind, for, as we have already seen, St. Jerome, following the instruction of the angel, interprets " the sea" to signify mankind tossed about by the Minds of trial and temptation. And why is this woe uttered ? " Because the devil is come down" (Apoc. xii. 12), " having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time." For although to us poor mortals it may seem a long time that Satan has been trying and per- secuting the Church, it is but a short time in the estimation of God, when compared with eternity. And short in the estimation of Satan also, when he compares it with that miserable and never-ending future to which he looks for- ward. For short indeed is the space of two or three thousand years, when compared with countless millions of millions of ages, destined to usher in similar periods for all eternity, world without end.
The comparison is almost too fearful to con-
122 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
template : we none of us realize it as we ought ; if we did, assuredly we should be ready to endure the worst torments rather than to offend God, and so lose His grace, and our own salvation.
But the Prophet tells us, that the feeling which actuated the devil, when he thought of the comparative shortness of this time of trial, was to redouble his fury against God, and to contrive all sorts of mischief against God's work, the Catholic Church. He says, in the thirteenth verse, "And when the dragon saw he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman that brought forth the man-child."
This evidently refers to the persecutions of the Primitive Church, which we know continued more or less until the conversion of Constantine the Great. And even after his conversion, the Church has been continually persecuted ; but in the next verse, the Prophet tells us, that at a certain period God gave His Church a special protection against the fury of persecution. "And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time from the face of the serpent."
Now, what are these wings of a great eagle ? and when were they specially given unto the woman, that is, the Church ?
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 123
In order to answer the question what they are, the best way is to consider when it is that they are promised, and then to compare the history of the Church with the prediction. This will give us an infallible answer, for the history of the Church is God's own commen- tary upon His own prophecies.
Now, wo have already seen that the dominion of the little horn, that is, of Antichrist, was to last for a time, and times, and half a time : in other words, for the very same period as that during which the wings of the eagle are given to the Church. We have shown that the little horn was indisputably Mahomet. The question thru arises, was there, or was there not, coin- cident with the coming of Mahomet, any new privilege conferred upon the Church, as it were to meet the exigencies and difficulties of the times ? What is the answer of history to this question ?
Its answer is unmistakeable : there was.
And what was it? The answer is equally unmistakeable : the temporal sovereignty of the popes at Rome. So distinct, so unmistakeably clear is this answer of history to the question we have put, that Protestant authors have not hesitated to make it the basis of all their proofs that the pope was, what they erroneously talk of, the western little horn. They have shown,
124 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
and truly shown, that the establishment of the pope's sovereignty exactly coincided with the rise of Mahometanism, which, in their theory of prophetic interpretation, they term the eastern little horn. And hence they unani- mously vie with one another in drawing absurd parallels between these two little horns, which of course they are compelled to do, if there be two little horns, seeing that prophecy predi- cates the same things of each. But we have shown that there is but one little horn, namely, that one which Protestant commentators deno- minate the eastern little horn. Consequently, we affirm, that when Scripture declares that the wings of a great eagle were given to the Church, coincidently with the rise of the little horn, that prophecy was fulfilled in that new development of the Church's temporal state, which history informs us actually did take place, coincident with the coming of Mahomet, and the establishment of his apostacy and em- pire. Now, this new development was the establishment of the sovereignty of the popes in the Roman states : we therefore affirm, that the wings of the great eagle signify the tem- poral sovereignty of Rome.
The eagle, all men know, was the symbol of Roman sovereignty. The old Romans bore the eagle as their military standard, and no
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 125
one can deny that the Roman eagle is another phrase to express " the Roman power." And the flight of the Roman eagle is used even by profane writers to symbolize the conquests of the Roman armies. When, therefore, the Pro- phet tells us tli at the wings of a great eagle were given to the Church for the very period of the little horn's dominion, and history tells us that the temporal sovereignty of Rome was at that very time given to the popes, we are surely justified in appealing to this great fact as the fulfilment of the prophecy. And as this temporal sovereignty was given to the popes, as the Prophet assures us, " for a time, and times, and half a time," to guard Holy Church " from the face of the serpent," that is, from the great efforts which the devil was to make against her during that remarkable period, and which we find from history to have been chiefly wrought by the instrumentality of Mahomet, and his religious and political empire, so the same text prepares us to expect, what history records, that, in proportion to the growth and decline of Mahometanism, the temporal power of the popes would wax and wane along with it. So that, as in the thirteenth century the Papal power was at its greatest height, that was precisely the period when Mahometanism was most formidable. It is admitted by all
126 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
impartial historians, that but for the crusades Christendom must have fallen a victim to the victorious arms of Islamism. Now, who was it that summoned the princes of Christendom to these sacred wars ? The popes ; it was they who, either in person or by their delegates, preached the crusades, and called upon all Christians to take the cross. But we all know that the most effectual argument is example, and the popes, as sovereigns of the Roman states, gave that argument in arming their own people in defence of our holy religion. If they had not been sovereigns of Rome, they might have preached, but their call, humanly speaking, would not have been responded to.
As with the growth so with the decline of the temporal power of the popes, history proves its coincidence with that of Mahomet anism.
Never did that impious heresy receive a more deadly blow than the one infiicted upon it by the instrumentality of the great pope St. Pius the Fifth. Islamism has never reco- vered from the memorable victory of Lepanto. At the moment the battle was fought, and the victory won, that great pontiff was seen to lift up his eyes to heaven, as he sat by a window in the Vatican palace at Rome, and the tears flowed, and his blessed soul was absorbed in mystic ecstasy. He beheld the glorious Mother
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 127
of God at the right hand of her Divine Son, interceding with Him and through Him for the safety of Christendom and the success of the Christian arms ; and it was given him to understand that the prayer of Mary had pre- vailed. Turning to his attendants, he an- nounced to them a mighty victory over the infidels, worthy of the intercession of the Mo- tlu-r of God. The event justified the pope's assertion, and it was found, when the official intelligence arrived, that it was achieved at the very moment when God opened the eyes of the holy lather to see what was passing in that wonderful instant before the throne of His omnipotence. Yes, in that critical hour St. Michael and his angels were fighting with the dragon, and Mary, the immaculate queen of angels, was bruising his poisonous head.
From that hour the Crescent has rapidly waned ; but the wings of the eagle have also lowered their flight ; and we have lived to see the day when the temporal sovereignty of the popes has been all but extinguished.
Protestants thought it was actually gone, and they congratulated one another that their old foe the pope was now no more, and they appealed with as much confidence (as Catholics might have done to a miracle) to a fanatical commentary on prophecy, written in the reign
128 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
of Queen Anne by one Fleming, a Dutchman, a raving Calvinist, who came over to England from the fens of Holland with William the Third, and who backed up his master's hatred of the pope and Catholicism by fanciful cita- tions of Scripture. Fleming foretold that in 1848 the papacy would be extinguished. Never shall I forget the rapture of the ultra- Protestant party, when in that very year the pope was driven from Rome ; and for the moment it seemed as if the Dutchman had made a lucky guess. But two years sufficed to prove he was a false prophet, in spite of first appearances, and the eagle once more flapped its wings in the face of rampant de- mocracy and infidelity, as it had heretofore so often done in the very teeth of the Maho- metan dragon ; and that the event might be more marked and fixed in men's minds, Pro- vidence decreed that the pope should be re- stored to his temporal sovereignty by the armies of republican and democratic France. Thus, that the Word of God might be fulfilled, a republic overthrew a republic, lest the wings of the eagle should be severed from the mystic woman, who was to be guarded by them " for a time, and times, and half a time. 33
The question may here be put, if it be said " that the wings of the eagle are given to the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 129
woman for a time, and times, and half a time," does that expression of prophecy, understood as we understand it of the temporal sove- reignty of the popes, necessarily imply on this theory that this temporal sovereignty of the popes will cease at the end of the period de- signated as "a time, and times, and half a time?"
Our answer to this question is emphatically that we repudiate any such inference ; and, on the contrary, it is our firmest conviction that the 1260 days, or a time, times, and half a time are ended, the papal power will assume ii still greater development all over the earth. It is not the place here to state our reasons for this conviction, but it is right that we should anticipate a question that would natu- rally occur to the reader, while we just glance at the answer, which further on we shall give more at length.
The Prophet tells us, in the fifteenth verse, " And the serpent cast out of his mouth after the woman, water as it were a river, that he might cause her to be carried away by the river."
And in the sixteenth verse he continues: " And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river, which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
130 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
In these two verses, it seems to me that we have a recapitulation, or a more enlarged de- scription, of what was stated in the thirteenth verse ; and that the Prophet refers to the per- secutions raised against the Church by the pagan Roman emperors, which might well be compared to a river, for by their means tor- rents of Christian blood were shed all over the earth; and such was the impetuosity of their fury, that had it not been for the miraculous help of God the Christian faith must have been rooted out from the world. But when the Prophet adds, " and the earth helped the woman, and swallowed up the river," it seems that he refers to the conversion of Constantine, which by placing Christianity on the throne of the Csesars effectually swallowed up the river that had hitherto so violently assailed the Church, and it might truly be said " that the earth helped the woman ; " for from this mo- ment the riches of the earth were poured into the Church's lap. Now did the glowing pro- phecies of the Old Testament begin to receive their accomplishment ; the gold of Ophir, the precious stones of the East, and the frankin- cense of Arabia, were combined in the offering of the converted earth to its Lord and Saviour ; stately churches now began to be erected all over Christendom, so magnificent that they
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 131
rivalled even the Temple of Solomon, and far surpassed the most splendid temples of Pagan- ism. The learned Abbe Fleury, in his " Church History," has given us such a description of the glories of the Church under the Chris- tian Roman emperors, that the reader is quite lost in wonder and admiration. But it was not only in material riches and splendour that the Church shone after Constantine's conver- sion, .she developed her spiritual principles and her inherent sanctity with equal brilliancy. The holy counsels of Jesus Christ were now eagerly embraced, we may say, without ex- aggeration, by countless millions of fervent Christian virgins and youths, whose hearts glowed so brightly with the love of Jesus, that they counted all things else but as dross in comparison of His service, and the continual contemplation of His blessed life and His adorable perfections. When we read the lives of St. Anthony and the other holy fathers of the deserts, we are filled with devotion, and the coldest hearts are kindled with the love of Jesus. Oh ! how great was the fervour, the humility, the devotion, and the mortification of these great servants of God ! Well might the devout author of the " Imitation of Christ" exclaim, when he compared the Christian fer- vour of his own times with that of these golden
132 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
days of the Church's first love : " Look upon the lively example of the holy fathers, in whom shone real perfection and the religious life, and thou wilt see how little it is and almost nothing that we do ! Alas ! what is our life, if it be compared with theirs ! Saints and friends of Christ, they served our Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, labour and wea- riness, in watchings and fastings, in prayers and holy meditations, in frequent persecutions and reproaches. Oh ! what a strict and self- renouncing life the holy fathers of the desert led ! what long and grievous temptations did they bear ! how often were they harassed by the enemy ! what frequent and fervent prayers did they offer up to God ! what rigorous absti- nence did they practise ! what great zeal and fervour had they for spiritual progress ! what a valiant conflict did they wage to subdue their imperfections ! what purity and straightfor- wardness of purpose did they keep towards God ! By day they laboured, and a great part of the night they spent in prayer ; and even while they laboured they ceased not to pray in spirit. They spent all their time pro- fitably ; the hours seemed too short to spend with God ; and even their needful refection of the body was forgotten in the great sweetness
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 133
of their contemplations." (Imitation of Christ, b. i. 18.)
AVhat a picture is here given us of the first
fruits of Christ's grace in converting the barren
t of this earth into a garden of spiritual
But here below these bright intervals of
Divine sunshine are few and transient : and K)
tin Prophet at once prepares us for Satan >
lie natural issue of his diabolical
j and wrath; hence he adds: "And the
on was angry against the woman ; and went
to make war with the rest of her seed, who 1
the commandments of God, and have tin
timony of Jesus Christ. And he stood upon
the sand of the sea/' (Apocalypse xii. 17, 18.)
We believe that these verses introduce us to the history of Mahometanism, that is, of the Jit tie horn of Daniel, and " the Antichrist" of the New Testament.
Satan, enraged at the failure of all his efforts to destroy the Church by the furious persecu- tions of the Roman emperors, still further in- furiated by seeing that river absorbed by the earth in the conversion of those very emperors, and the manifold fruits of sanctity all over the earth, meditates a fresh war upon the seed of the woman, that is, the Church's children;
134 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
and so St. John tells us, that this implacable enemy of God and man took his stand " upon the sand of the sea."
An able Catholic interpreter (Preuves Incon- testables de VEglise Catholique, chap. v. p. 297), explains this to mean Arabia, for that country might well be termed " the sand of the sea/' both from the vast tracts of sandy desert, of which it is mainly composed, and from the fact of its peninsular form being chiefly sur- rounded by the sea. But I should also inter- pret this expression, according to what we have already seen of St. Jerome's interpretation of the term " sea," to mean the most worthless portion of mankind, for if " the sea" signifies mankind, then the sand of the sea signifies all the scum and cast-off deposit, which the sea throws up upon the beach : and what would this be, but those reprobate outcasts of the Church, whom Mahomet seized upon as his instruments to propagate his mighty heresy? and as the grains of sand are infinite in number, so countless was the multitude of that light and faithless generation, which the hurricane of his impiety drove in clouds over the deserts of Asia and Africa, till the sun of Divine truth was darkened, and God's moon, the Church, was turned into blood, so that in those desolate regions she no longer reflected the rays of her
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 135
Divine Master, but waned beneath the fury of the Mahometan tempest, and the clouds of schism and heresy.
The thirteenth chapter at once discloses to us the prophetic history of the two great Ma- hometan beasts or empires.
"And I saw," says St. John, "a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy."
Now, who is this beast?* Some interpreters, observing no doubt that there are several points of resemblance between the description of this beast, and that of the great red dragon of the last chapter, which we have already proved to be mankind subdivided into seven monarchies, and, in a secondary sense, the pagan Roman empire, conclude that this beast, and the seven-headed dragon, are the same. But this is evidently a great mistake : there are indeed some points of resemblance in the two descriptions, but there are also differences, and these differences are fatal to their identity. For instance, the red dragon of the twelfth
- The learned Father Salmeron, in his interesting " Free-
ludiain Apocalypsin," explains this beast, of the thirteenth chapter, of Mahomet and his empire in a dissertation of con- siderable length. (Salmeron, Prcdudia in Apoc. torn. xvi. p. 365.)
136 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
chapter is said to have " seven heads, and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems :" whereas the beast that comes up out of the sea in the thirteenth chapter, is said to have " seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems."
How, then, can these two beasts be the same?
Again, the Prophet assigns a chronological difference to them also.
The red dragon, with its seven heads and ten horns, failing in its onslaught on the woman, the devil subsequently takes his stand " on the sand of the sea," as we have already seen. And the Prophet tells us that he saw the result of that, in the coming of a beast " out of the sea."
Now, the pagan Roman empire arose long before the date of St. John's vision. Its twelfth emperor, Domitian, was reigning at the time, and what St. John is here describing is evidently posterior not only to Domitian, but to the conversion of Constantine.
This beast, then, in the thirteenth chapter, cannot refer to the pagan Roman empire. What is it then ?
The learned Anglican, Bishop Newton, suggests another interpretation, which, with much ingenuity, he endeavours to establish.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 137
(Bishop Newton's Dissertations on the Prophe- cies, chap, xiii. p. 5:26.)
Affirming the general identity of the red dragon, and the first beast of the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, whereby he vio- all ju-t rules of prophetic interpretation, lie concludes this beast to be papal Rome. But we have already shown what place papal Rome occupies in prophecy, and especially, in St. John's Apocalypse; we have shown that this place is a place of honour, not of dishonour ; the place of the chief instrument of God in His spiritual sway over the nations, not one of error or blasphemy. How, then, can this beast be papal Rome? Bishop Newton admits (and it would be impossible for him to deny it), that there is a wonderful resemblance, amounting to complete identity, between this beast and another prophetic personage; viz., the little horn of Daniel, or rather what he, on his erro- neous principles of interpretation, would term " the western little horn." Well, then, agree- ing on this point with Bishop Newton, so far as the identity between this beast and Daniel's " little horn" is concerned, and having already shown that there is but one little horn, although mentioned twice, and not two little horns (as Bishop Newton and other Protestant commen- tators have conveniently imagined), and having
138 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
already established and demonstrated what and where that little horn is, we say at once, with- out hesitation, that the first of the two beasts described in the thirteenth chapter of the Apo- calypse is unquestionably the same power as Daniel's little horn, that is, the Mahometan empire, as it was at first established by Maho- met and his immediate successors.
Let us examine the words of St. John, and compare them with what history records, and we shall find that the prophetic description, and the history of Mahometanism, agree together.
St. John tells us that this beast, which we affirm to represent the empire of Mahomet, had " seven heads." By these seven heads, we understand the seven thrones, which were erected in seven different countries, wherein the power and religion of Mahomet were established with the greatest authority.
These seven heads or thrones were :
1. That of the Caliphs, the immediate suc- cessors, and principal representatives of the false Prophet Mahomet, whose chief capital or seat of government was first placed at Medina, and then at Bagdad.
2. That of Persia, one of the principal Ma- hometan powers even to this day.
3. That of North Africa, or the empire of
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 139
Morocco, whose sovereign had the title of Mi- ramoulin;* the last who bore it being the cele- brated Muley-Ismael, who played a conspicuous part in the history of the seventeenth century.
4. That of Egypt, under the sway of the mites, who occupy a great position in Ma- hometan history.
5. That of Damascus, in Syria, under espe- cially those remarkable sovereigns, Noradin and Saladin, whose names figure so conspicu- ously in the history of the crusades, and even in our own contemporaneous English annals.
<>. The Mogul empire in Hindostan, of the riches and splendour of which the accurate de- scriptions of grave historians sound more like Oriental fiction than a sober reality, although the remains, which exist even at the present day, are satisfactory evidence that they were not exaggerated nor over-coloured.
7. The seventh throne of the beast was the Moorish kingdom of Granada, in Spain, which has undoubtedly left monuments behind it of its power and its magnificence that can never be surpassed.
These, then, were the seven heads or thrones of the beast ; these all existed and flourished
- This title was derived from the words Emir-al-Mous-
lemin, or Prince of the Worshippers of Unity. (See Ency- cloptdie, du xix. siecl. torn. xi. p. 434.)
140 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
simultaneously ; and in their respective territo- ries, as well as all around, they spread every- where the terror of the name of Mahomet, and everywhere combated the religion of the cross.
But St. John tells us not only that the beast had "seven heads," but it had also "ten horns," and these ten horns were crowned with " diadems."
By these ten diademed horns, I understand ten royal dynasties, which we actually find de- scribed in Mahometan history, as having con- tributed, in an especial manner, to uphold and extend the faith and dominion of the little horn over that portion of the earth which God gave into his hand. The learned author of the " Preuves Incontestables de PEglise Catholique deduites de V Apocalypse" (ch. vi. p. 210), has demonstrated these ten horns to represent the ten great dynasties as follow: 1. The Tha- herians; 2. The Soffarides; 3. The Samanides; 4. The Gaznevides; 5. The Bouides; 6. The Tholonides ; 7. The Seljucides ; 8. The Ajou- bites; 9. The Aglabites; 10. The Khouaras- mians." These are the principal dynasties that figure in Mahometan history during the period of what we will now call the Saracenic or first beast.
We shall not at present enter into the mi- nutiae of Mahometan history, as it developed
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 141
itself under these dynasties in the several kingdoms subject to the sway of the False Prophet. These details will come in their proper place in a future work, and we shall have occasion to glance at some of them in course of the present treatise; but here our object must rather be as briefly as possible to lay our interpretation of the prophecy be- fore our readers.
St. John continues (xiii. 2) : " And the
\\liich I saw was like to a leopard, and
his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his
mouth as the mouth of a lion ; and the dragon
gave liim liis own strength and great power."
Now in this remarkable description of the Saracenic beast, it seems to me that the Pro- phet has given us a symbolical clue to ascer- tain where his power would chiefly be esta- blished. He describes the beast as made up of a strange conglomeration of three other beasts ; he had the mouth of a lion, the body of a leopard, and the feet of a bear. Now it is impossible to read this description and not to remember Daniel's vision of the four beasts, which represented the four great monarchies. And if we turn to it, we shall find that the first Apocalyptic beast of St. John is com- pounded of the three first of the four beasts of Daniel.
142 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
The lion or lioness represented the Assyrian or Babylonian empire ; the bear, the Medo- Persian ; and the leopard, the Greek empire of Alexander the Great.
Now it is a fact, fully borne out by history, that it was precisely of the provinces formerly subject to these very empires that the Sara- cenic empire was composed ; and, what is more remarkable still, those provinces bore a rela- tion to the Mahometan empire completely analogous to the position assigned to each of these three beasts in the Saracenic beast.
Thus his mouth is said to be that of a lion. Now in every animal the expression of the will is manifested by its voice or mouth, so that in a symbolical beast the mouth would represent the seat of the voice that governed its move- ments, and that expressed its will ; in other words, it would represent its principal seat of government. Now what was this in the Sara- cenic empire? It was Bagdad, that is, the chief city of the Caliphs, situated in the pro- vince of Babylon, which was the capital of the old Assyrian empire symbolized in Daniel by the lion. In other words, its mouth was that of a lion, that is, its seat of government was in the chief province of the old Assyrian empire. Moreover, as this empire was not only a political but a religious power, and as its
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 143
founder pretended to be God's greatest pro- phet, or the utterer of God's revealed will, the term mouth is aptly used by the Prophet to designate this most striking characteristic of the Saracenic empire. And the Assyrian or Babylonian qualification here given to the mouth of the beast aptly describes the geo- graphical position not only of its seat of govern- ment, but also of the birthplace of Mahomet, its founder, which was in the province of Hejaz, of which the capital was Mecca, one of the most notable provinces of the old Babylonian empire. But the Prophet continues. He describes the body of the beast as being that of a leo- pard. What can this mean, but that the main body of the Saracenic empire consisted of the provinces that had formerly composed the em- pire of the Macedonian leopard ? Now history tells us what countries were subdued by Alex- ander the Great, and history informs us that it was precisely this very territory that formed the main body of the Saracenic empire. Alex- ander devoured the territory of Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia, Babylonia, Persia, Egypt, even to the Indus ; and it was precisely in the same territory that the Saracenic empire extended its dominion ; in other words, to use the sym- bolical language of St. John and of Daniel, this beast had the body of a leopard.
144 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
But St. John gives us one more character- istic : it had the feet of a bear. Now we have already seen, in our remarks on Daniel's pro- phecies, that the bear symbolized the Medo- Persian empire ; I therefore conclude that the territory of that empire had the same analo- gous relation to the Saracenic empire as the feet of a bear would hold to St. John's sym- bolical beast. Now in every animal the feet are the main instrument to effect its loco- motion ; and this is precisely the relation which the provinces of the Medo-Persian bear held to the Saracenic empire. Persia was, as we have already seen, the first kingdom to embrace Mahometanism, and it has been at all times from its Caucasian provinces that the chief strength of Mahometanism has issued forth. In other words, it had the feet of a bear. Besides all which, we may add what St. Jerome remarks of the four beasts of Daniel, that they represented the physical and moral characteristics of the peoples they sym- bolized. Hence, when it is said by St. John of the Saracenic beast that it had the head of a lion, the body of a leopard, and the feet of a bear, we are at once reminded of the loud and presumptuous language, the unfeeling cruelty, and the grasping ambition that have ever cha- racterised the Mahometan system, and that
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 145
were so remarkably conspicuous in Saracenic history.
The Apostle continues, " and the dragon
him liis own strength and great power." AY hat can he more characteristic of Mahome- tanism than this prophecy ? If ever there was an empire of which this was eminently true, it surely was the great Mahometan Saracenic empire. The dragon had given a portion of his strength and power to the other great em- j>iiv>, hut as they all possessed it in common, and none of them had it in any superior degree ovrr the rest, it could hardly be a character- istic distinction of any one of them in parti- cular. I 'lit here in the case of this Apocalyptic beast, it is given as a most special character- istic. that it was to be emphatically the seat of Satan's power. Now either Mahometanism came from the devil, or it did not ; if it did, then in that case it was a political and religious
m, endowed with vast power and terri- torial strength, raised up for the special pur- pose of warfare with Christianity and the true religion of God. That this was the special mission of Mahometanism is what it asserted of itself, and what has been fully borne out by its history from the beginning up to the pre- sent day. Assuming, then, the truth of Chris- tianity and the falsehood of Mahometanism, no L
146 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
one can deny that it literally fulfils this portion of the sacred text ; for no one can deny (ad- mitting this premise) either its power or its strength on the one hand, or that Satan, not God, was the object in whose behalf all that power and strength were wielded. Besides, no other empire was ever of its own nature so essentially antagonistic to Christ. The pagan- ism of the old heathen empires was antecedent to the coming of the Messiah ; and though it naturally came into collision with the progress of His kingdom, still we cannot say of it what we must say of Mahometanism, that it was devised and constituted for the main purpose of opposing the Church of God. The force of this argument has appeared so cogent to learned Protestants, that Bishop Newlon, in his cele- brated treatise on the Prophecies, uses it as an overwhelming proof that this beast repre- sents papal Rome, the latter power being in his opinion that of the great Antichrist. We agree with him and with the holy fathers in interpreting this symbolical beast of Anti- christ ; but we differ from him altogether in his estimate as to who Antichrist was; and differing from him in this, and believing as we do that Antichrist is no other than Mahomet, we come to the conclusion that this first beast of the Apocalypse represents the Mahometan
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 147
Saracenic empire, and not what Bishop Newton erroneously interpreted it, papal Rome.
The Prophet continues, " And I saw one of his heads, as it were slain to death : and his death's wound was healed."
Bishop Newton and other Protestant com- mentators see in this text, following up their erroneous hypothesis concerning this beast, the <1( struction of the imperial power of old Rome in the person of its last western emperor, Romulus Augustulus. But that destruction was not the destruction of a form of govern- ment merely, but of the Roman empire itself. It was the destruction of the Roman beast, as a single empire, and not alone of one of the heads of that empire. That this was so his- tory proves : from that time the Roman empire as such ceases, and the ten kingdoms, of which the Byzantine Greek empire was of course one, take its place. To say the contrary is to deny history. No man in his senses would call European history subsequent to that date " Roman history," but it is equally true that no man in his senses either could or does term European history before that date by any other name than that of Roman history. And why ? because before that date Europe and the Ro- man empire were synonymous, whereas after it Europe was subdivided into independent king-
148 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
doms or polities. It is from that date that English, French, German, Spanish, and the other national histories, of what is called modern Europe, commence.
The destruction of imperial Rome was there- fore not the destruction of any head of any beast, but the destruction of the imperial beast itself; and consequently cannot (on that ground alone) be represented, as Bishop Newton thinks, by the deadly wound of one of the heads of the Apocalyptic beast in question : not to add that the falsehood of this conclusion has already been proved by anticipation, when we showed that this beast could not represent the Roman empire at all.
What then is the head referred to? We have already demonstrated the beast to signify the Mahometan Saracenic empire; we, there- fore, without hesitation, express our conviction that his head, thus wounded to death, sym- bolized the extinction of the dynasty of the caliphs, which took place under Motassem, the fifty-sixth successor of Mahomet. So that, as we shall presently see, St. John describes a second beast coming up out of the earth, which evidently is but a development of the consequences resulting from the healing of the deadly wound inflicted on the principal head of the first beast.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 149
Now the throne of the caliphs was extin- guished by the Tartar Turks, led on by the great grandson of the famous Zingis Khan : and at the time when these Tartar hordes over- threw the caliph they professed paganism, and not Mahometanism. Those who would wish for fuller details of this portion of Mahometan history, if they have not time to refer to the larger histories, should by all means read the admirable lectures "on the Turks/' published lately by that eminent writer, Father Newman, the superior of the Oratorians in England.
It appears from contemporary history that those, who witnessed the extinction of the caliphate by their Tartar conquerors, fully cal- culated on the utter destruction of Maho- metanism. They saw the principal head of the Mahometan beast wounded to death, and they saw the Mahometan empire in its prin- cipal head, the caliphate, overthrown ; but what was their wonder, what the horror in all Christian lands, when they saw that the deadly wound was healed, and that though the prin- cipal head of the Mahometan power had been destroyed, the natural effect of that event did not ensue !
But what does this healing refer to ? I will say no more of Bishop Newton's theories, but I answer at once, it signified the conversion of
150 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
the Tartars and Turks to Mahometanism, and the consequent establishment of the power of the Turkish sultans on the ruins of the caliphate. From the moment the Turkish sultans assumed the Mahometan turban, they constituted them- selves the heads of the Mahometan religion, and were accepted as such by all true Maho- metans. And when the Prophet continues, " All the earth was in admiration of the beast/' he does but express in prophetic language what history records, that the Mahometan power became still more formidable in the eyes of all men; for the term, which in our version is here rendered by the word " admiration," would be more correctly translated by another, viz., " amazement :" that being rather the meaning of the Greek term, used by the Apostle, " iQavnaaQr\" And so it is rendered in the Anglican version, " all the world wondered after the beast."
And well might it wonder, for the Maho- metan empire was dead, and was alive again ! And well might the consequence be what St. John describes as ensuing thereon, " And they adored the dragon, which gave power to the beast : saying who is like unto the beast, and who shall be able to fight with him ? "
Stricken with terror, the nations of Chris- tendom fell before the beast one after the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 151
other, the victims of his rapacious ambition : and though for a season his rapid progress was checked by the crusades, it was but a mo- mentary pause in that fearful career of con- quest; for while to these holy expeditions, replete as they are with poetic and chivalrous interest, we may trace the ultimate safety and independence of Latin Christendom, they sig- nally failed in their immediate object, and the ill success that attended them, did but force the whole world to cry out, as the Prophet foretold it would do, "Who is like unto the !)rast, and who shall be able to fight against him?" Nor were the terrors of Christendom groundless, for as St. John goes on, borrowing almost the very words of Daniel in his previous description of the little horn, " There was given unto him " (Apocalypse, xiii. 5) " a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to do " (that is to carry on his career) " two and forty months" That is, the whole duration of Mahometan blasphemy shall be for the space of forty-two months; we have already seen in another pro- phecy that it was to last for the prophetic space of 1260 days, and if you reduce these forty-two months to days, according to the duration of Mahometan months, it also makes the exact number of 1260 days, or, as we have
152 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
already shown, taking a day for a year, 1260 years. But St. John goes on : " And he opened his mouth unto blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His Name, and His Tabernacle, and them that dwell in Heaven." This de- scription exactly agrees with what we have already seen in a former chapter was foretold by Daniel of the little horn : and it perfectly agrees with the religious character of Maho- metanism. If Christianity be the religion of God, and God be what Christianity reveals Him to be, One God in Three Persons, then does Mahometanism emphatically " open its mouth in blasphemies against God, to blas- pheme His Name" viz., that of the adorable Trinity. And if the sacred humanity of J esus be, what Christianity reveals it to us, the very Tabernacle of the Godhead, then did Mahomet blaspheme "the Tabernacle of God:" and if the Christian Church be indeed, what the Gospel declares it to be, the Kingdom of Heaven, then did Mahomet blaspheme also them that dwelt in heaven, for assuredly he blasphemed against the Church, and against the Church's children, that is against them " that dwell " in the mystic " heaven"
Verse 7. " And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. And power was given him over every
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 153
tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all that dwell upon the earth adored him/ whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, which was slain from the be- ginning of the world/' This portion of St. John's prophecy, agreeing as it does in the most remarkable manner, and even in its very phraseology with Daniel's prediction of the little horn, foretells what portion of mankind would be the chief objects of Mahometan ag- gression, and of Mahometan subjugation. He was to make war upon the saints, as his prin- cipal object, that is, upon the Christians, for in Scripture, and especially in the Apostolic Epistles, the term " saints" is frequently applied to the Christians, that is, to the members of God's true Church, and with reason, for all the members of the Church are made saints or holy in baptism; and though, unhappily, too many fall from their baptismal inuocency, yet they all possess, in the sacrament of penance, and the other means of grace, the means of reco- vering their sanctity, so that they may well be termed by the Apostle " saints," not only from the sanctification that has been bestowed upon them through the grace of the sacraments, but also because they are indeed " saints" in com- parison and in relation to the world without ; that world, of which Scripture tells us " that it
154 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
lieth in wickedness/' Now, it was emphatically upon "the saints/' namely, the children of God's Church, that Mahometanism made war, and it was given unto him, the Apostle tells us, to overcome them, although the subsequent verse tells us, that this power was to be limited, and that the conquests of the beast were to be confined to those whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb. In other words, Mahometanism was to make war with Christianity, was to gain great victories over the Christians, but was only to conquer the reprobate Christians whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb, and those that dwelt on the earthy namely, the heathen nations, as contradistinguished from those that dwell in heaven, whom we have already shown to symbolize the children of the Church. Now, if St. John had written the history, instead of the prophecy, of Maho- metanism, it is impossible that he could more accurately have described the characteristic features of its aggressions, or of its conquests. But the Apostle suddenly halts in his de- scription of Mahometan impiety and success, and he cries out, in the well-known words of his beloved Lord and Master, "If any man have an ear, let him hear." In such words as these did Jesus Christ usher in whatever He
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 155
would most urgently commit to the considera- tion of His disciples, and in these same words does His favourite disciple call our attention to the future destruction (for it was then future, although it be passed now) of the Mahometan Saracenic empire. Verse 10. "He that shall lead into captivity shall go into captivity : he that shall kill by the sword, shall be killed by the sword/' And so it was, the heathen Turks bore down with resistless force and countless multitudes upon the empire of Mahomet, led his hosts into captivity, and slaughtered them by the sword. St. John then adds, " Here is the patience and the faith of the saints;" as much as to say, that the events that are to ensue upon these victories of the Turkish hordes will give ample scope to the Christian nations to exercise the virtues of patience and faith. The next verse (llth) ushers into our vir\v the second Mahometan beast in these words : " And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns, like unto a lamb, and he spake as a dragon/'
Let me here pause for a moment to reply to an objection that the reader may possibly sug- gest. Why, he may ask, do you call this second beast a Mahometan beast at all ? Is not this a gratuitous assumption ? I answer, certainly not ; I have already shown my grounds for be-
156 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
lieving that the first beast signified the Maho- metan Saracenic empire, and if I am right in that supposition, it necessarily follows that the second beast must symbolize the Mahometan empire, that succeeded the Saracenic, from the very terms employed by St. John in the next verse (12) : " And he executed all the power of the former beast in his sight, and he caused the earth, and them that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose wound unto death was healed." Is it possible that the Prophet could use lan- guage more forcible to describe that which Turkish history records the Turkish power to have done. If the destruction of the Saracenic empire threatened death to the Mahometan system upheld by it, assuredly that deadly wound was healed by the establishment of the Mahometan Turkish empire. But let us exa- mine a little more closely some of the predi- cated characteristics of this second beast. It came up out of the earth. The first beast had arisen from the sea, that is, symbolically from "the sea," as the symbol of mankind tossed about by the winds of corrupt nature, and the revolutionary upheavings of the restless multitude, which is the interpretation St. Jerome gives to this prophetic image : and lite- rally from the sea, inasmuch as it sprung from the pestilent shores of the great Asiatic Ocean,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 157
the arid sands of Arabia. But this beast springs from the earth, that is, literally from the great continent, of which Europe, Asia, and Africa are but conventional and nominal divi- sions, constituting, as they do, that one only portion of habitable earth which, in the days of the Evangelist, was known to exist, and which was called by the great civilized nation, that ruled mankind in his day, the " Orbis terra- rum" or, as the Apostle emphatically phrases it, "the earth;" and it sprang mystically from < arth y inasmuch as it represented all that evil and enmity to God of which this fallen and mi regenerate earth has ever been the mother; that earth, of which God declared to our first parent Adam, after his fall, "Cursed is the earth in thy work."* True religion is from above, descending from the Father of Lights, I) ut it is from the earth that all false religion springs. From the earth came paganism ; and when God by His only Son had once more en- lightened mankind, and brought many nations to the belief of His Divine truth, Satan raised up in the person of Mahomet, and by his agency, a new system of error to combat God's truth ; a system compounded of fragments of revelation, so as to deceive the unwary, and of the grossest impiety, so as to lead men to per-
- Genesis iii. 17.
158 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
dition. Such a system might truly be said to spring from " the earth;" it was, as St. Paul elsewhere expresses it, " of the earth, earthy" And the Turkish empire, rising on the ruins of the former Mahometan empire, that of the Saracens, and fulfilling all the designs of its predecessor, accurately fulfilled the prediction of St. John in its mystic meaning ; it sprang from the earth, 110 wholesome well of living waters, but a bitter and death-distributing fountain, destined for many centuries to over- flow and destroy some of the fairest provinces of God's Holy Church.
And this beast " had two horns, like unto the horns of a lamb. 93 It is impossible to read this description of the second beast, and not to remember the pastoral origin of the Ottoman Turks, springing, as they did, from the steppes of Scythian Tartary, with their vast flocks of sheep, and all the habits of a nomad pastoral people. Let the reader turn to Father New- man's lectures on " The Turks/' and he will see how appropriate a symbol of the Ottomans was " the horns of a lamb." Now, observe this beast " had two horns, like unto the horns of a lamb." The strength of every beast, as St. Jerome has observed, lies in its horns, and in its other weapons of defence; and the strength of the Ottoman Turks, in their origin, lay in
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 159
the multitude of their flocks and herds : what apter symbol of a pastoral people could be de- \ iM-d than the two horns of a ram ? If sports- men hang up in their halls the horns and skins of the animals they have slain in the chase, well might the horns of a ram symbolize the 11 and the character of a shepherd people, like the Ottomans, dwelling in tents, adminis- tering summary justice in the gate of a move- able camp, of which the Sublime Porte" of modern Turkey hands on the memory and the tradition. But there is something else that these two horns of the ram remind us of; can we forget another Caucasian people and empire, which Daniel had seen under a similar image ? The second of Daniel's four beasts was beheld by the Hebrew Prophet under the symbolical image of a ram with two horns : for the Medes and Persians, like their successors, the Ottoman Turks, were a pastoral people, and the angel declared to Daniel, that those two ram's horns signiiied t hose two nations. Is there not, then, a strong analogy between the two horns of the Medo-Persian beast of Daniel, and the Turks and Tartars of the second Apocalyptic beast of the blessed Apostle John ? Can we forget the achievements of the Turkish tribes from the days of Othman, on the one hand, and of the Tartars, from those of Tiinour and Zingis Khan,
160 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
on the other? The former overflowing with their irresistible hordes the west of Asia, the north of Africa, and the fairest European pro- vinces of the Greek empire : the latter carrying their triumphant sword along with the Koran of Mahomet, across the Himalayas into the very heart of the Indies. Truly this second beast had two horns, and these horns were like the horns of a ram, for the flocks and herds of Tartary gave them their heraldic device, and symbolized the profession and the habits of their ancestors.
But this beast " spake as a dragon" (Apoc. xiii. 2.) His language, his doctrine, came from below, from the great dragon of the abyss; the same dragon that in the twelfth chapter of this same Apocalypse we have already seen arming the Roman empire against "the woman and her seed ; " and when the Roman empire became Christian, and so the very " earth " helped the woman, he, this implaca- ble dragon, conjured up Mahomet and his first empire out of the sea ; so now does he speak through the voracious throat of the two- homed Turco-Tartar beast uttering his dragon cries, terrible to be heard, and bearing the message of death to myriads of the human race.
St. John continues his description : " And
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 161
he executed all the power of the former beast in his sight ; " that is, whatever had been done by the Saracens is now repeated over again by the Turks and Tartars. " And he caused the earth, and them that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed;" that is, he caused the children of perdition, symbolized by " the earth, and them that dwell therein" to adore, that is, to venerate and accept the religious in of the first beast, that is, the religion and political system of Mahomet, whereby tin- deadly wound occasioned by the destruc- tion of the Saracenic empire, that is, of the first Apocalyptic beast, was healed. In Scrip- ture the term wpomntvu*, or to adore or wor- ship, is not exclusively confined, as it is by our modern English, to the expression of Di- vine worship, but it signifies that homage and reverence \\hich men are wont to give to any form or semblance of authority, whether true or false. Hence, in the passage before us, it need not mean any Divine worship paid to Mahomet, or still less to the Sultans who re- presented him, for all such Divine worship is expressly disclaimed by Mahometans, and therefore not to be charged upon them, but it signifies the allegiance, spiritual and temporal, which they pay to the false system of that
162 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
great impostor, and to the polity established by him. In this sense, obviously the sense implied by the Apostle, did the second beast force all the children of perdition to adore the former beast, and in this sense his deadly wound was healed.
But let us follow the description of St. John : "And he wrought great wonders, so that he made also fire to come down from heaven unto the earth in the sight of men" From these words it appears that this beast was to astonish mankind by his wonderful achievements, and amongst the rest by one which the Prophet describes as " making fire to come down from heaven unto the earth in the sight of men" Now, bearing in mind that the language of prophecy in general, and especially of the Apo- calypse, is conveyed to us under hieroglyphical symbols, we must not suppose that this second Mahometan power was literally to bring down fire from heaven, any more than that it was to be a literal beast with two literal horns ; but though the language of prophecy is veiled under symbols, it never is used at random, and never fails to carry along with it some very real, definite, and appropriate meaning. We say, then, without hesitation, that the figure here used by St. John is a most appro- priate one to express a most remarkable cha-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 163
racteristic of Turkish warfare, one which at the time constituted a striking difference be- tween the Turkish armies and those against whom they directed tlicir victorious force. We refer to the use of firearms, which were first employed on an extensive scale and with apal- IHIL; success by the Turks. When we reflect upon this remarkable fact, and the effect pro- dneed upon the minds of men by the heavy guns and enormous cannon used by the Otto- man Turks with such deadly effect, we can hardly CODCeive a more appropriate symbol than the one used by the Apostle, "that the beast wrought great wonders, so that he m<nle also fire to come down from heaven unto the earth in the //'///// ttf men." How terribly these words were realized by the Turks, history accurately records. It was chiefly by means of his artillery that Amurath the Second sub- dued so large a portion of the Greek empire, after invading and laying waste the Pelopon- nesus. And when a few years later his son Mahomet besieged Constantinople, he employed guns of such a calibre, that the description of them, were it not vouched for in the most authentic statements of contemporary history, would sound quite fabulous. One of these guns was of such monstrous size, that it re- quired seventy yoke of oxen, and no fewer
164 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
than two thousand men to draw it. There were two more great cannon, each of which discharged huge stone balls of the weight of two hundred pounds. Several discharged balls of half a talent, or fifty pounds 3 weight ; while there was one, which was the largest of all, and which actually discharged stone balls of the weight of three hundred pounds, and the report of this cannon is said to have been so loud as to shake all the country round to the distance of forty furlongs ! When we reflect upon such facts as these, and bear in mind how very little there was as yet on the side of the Christian armies to withstand such mighty machines, we shall at once see how graphic and appropriate is the symbolical language of St. John, that this beast " wrought great won- ders, so that he made even fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men "
In the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth verses, St. John continues to de- scribe the mighty achievements of this Turkish beast, and he describes them in the same figu- rative but appropriate language. Thus, in the fourteenth verse, it is said " that he seduced them that dwell on the earth ; " that is, that he perverted to the Mahometan faith all those whose " names were not written in the Book
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 165
of Life of the Lamb " . . . " saying to them that dwell on the earth, that tJiey should make the image of the beast that had the wound of the. sword (UK! lived ;" that is, that all they who were seduced into the Mahometan apostacy by the great achievements of the Tartar Turks should constitute that mighty Turkish empire that was so lively an image of the Saracenic Mahometan empire, that empire which these very Turks had heretofore destroyed, while their own conversion to the creed of Mahomet had healed his deadly wound. And \vhen the Prophet says, in the fifteenth verse, "And it was given to him to give life to the image of ///< beast, and that the image of the beast should speak," he well describes what terrible life and force these Turkish hordes imparted to MahometaniMn, while the speaking of theiincn/c aptly denotes the impious preaching of Maho- metan blasphemy which the Turkish power, as the image of the Saracenic empire, diffused amongst so large a portion of mankind. And when he says, " And he caused that whosoever will not adore the image of the beast should be ft/aifi," he well describes the bloody and im- placable fury with which the Turks persecuted to death all who refused to accept the religion and polity of Mahomet ; so that, as the follow-
166 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
ing verse declares,, " He maketh all, both little and great, rich and poor, freemen and bond- men, to have a mark in their right hand or on their forehead ; and that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." All these expressions aptly symbolize the conduct and policy of the Turkish power. The giving a mark to the right hand and to the forehead signified the giving political power to the right hand to wield, and of authority to the mind for governing others ; while the right of buying and selling symbolized the commoner rights of citizenship and the subordinate political privileges of ordinary subjects, which we know from history were inexorably denied by Ma,- hometanism to any but its own votaries, Chris- tians and all other religionists being reduced to the most abject slavery. Many authors have shown that this prophecy has had even a still more literal fulfilment, and explain it of the Mahometan turban, while they appeal to decrees of the Sultans actually forbidding the right of commerce to any but Mahometans. For my own part, however, I prefer the other more general interpretation, inasmuch as it agrees better with the general symbolical cha- racter of St. John's prophecy.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 167
The concluding verse of this chapter is most remarkable, and it seems evidently designed by St. John to give us an unmistakeable clue for deciphering the name, and so for determining who and what are the two beasts described, and so closely identified together in this same chapter.
"Here is wisdom," says St. John (v. 18),
" lie that hath understanding let him count the
nninlHT of the beast. For it is the number of
a man, and the number of him is six hundred
v and six."
As though he would say, "Here is some- thing to exercise the ingenuity of the wise, something whereon he, who is learned in the Scriptures, and has studied the sacred and mysterious symbols contained therein, may vise himself in deciphering ; here is a clue to enable him to discover the name that is to distinguish the beast, or rather the two beasts, which are here described as iden- tical in their interests and their objects; and the clue is to be found by deciphering the number that spells the name of a man, who shall be inseparably connected with the empires and the system represented by these two beasts. And the number that contains his name is the number six hundred and sixty-six."
168 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
I have already had occasion, in a foregoing chapter of this work, to give my interpretation of this remarkable prophecy, and I have shown that it relates to the name of Mahomet, and that it has been already so explained, as Father Salmeron assures us, in his " Prceludia in Apo- calypsin" by various Byzantine Greek authors, such as Cedrenus, Zonaras, and Euthymius : and as this learned author, Father Salmeron himself, adopts the same interpretation of the beasts of this thirteenth chapter of the Apoca- lypse, as referring to Mahomet, and the empires that sprang from him, it is clear this inter- pretation of the mystic numerals, 666, must be also that which he himself adopts, although he mentions, as I myself have already done, other interpretations also. The Oxford friar, Father Roger Bacon, has also adopted this same interpretation ; and the learned Anglican, Mr. Forster, affirms that, in his opinion, this interpretation has higher claims to being the correct one than any other advanced by other commentators.
It must be borne in mind that the Apostle expressly tell us that "it is the number of a man/' consequently it seems clear that we must seek for the solution of the mystic num- ber in the name of a man, rather than of a nation or of a system; hence, although the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 169
following solution was given by so great an authority as the blessed St. Irenseus :
I confess it is to me far from satisfactory, be- cause the word Aar^voc is not the name of any m nn recorded in history, but the general name of a nation : now the Apostle says " it is the number of a MAN/' not of a nation." How thru can it be rightly interpreted of the Latin nation ? Protestants very naturally have caught at this interpretation coming from so great a saint, who had seen those who had seen St. John : they are ready enough to make much of the fathers, when they seem to say anything that favours their own theories ; but we all know in what utter contempt they hold their testimony on general subjects. On the other hand, I am at a loss to understand how Protestant authors can possibly deduce Pw^uO from 666. In Greek numerals that word would give us a
170 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
sum, amounting to 969, which is unluckily too large to serve the purpose sought by these eager enemies of the papacy : and if they would get it from Hebrew numerals, the reader must recollect we have nothing to do with any but Greek numerals.
But it is an historical fact that, since the destruction of the Roman empire, two vast empires have arisen on the broad platform of the old empire of the Macedonian he-goat, that these empires have done exactly what all prophecy declared that they would do, that they have literally fulfilled the descriptions of Daniel and St. John : and it is no less a fact, that both these empires have been identified with Ma- homet. Now then let the reader weigh in con- nection with this remarkable fact this equally remarkable solution of the mystic number 666.
= 666 In other words, 666 in Greek numerals gives
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 171
us the name of the MAN, Moa'jucrte, that is Mahomet, the impious blasphemer, who pro- claimed, that he was sent by God, as his last and greatest prophet, and that his mission was to overthrow the Church of Christ, and to put in its plaer his own diabolical sect.
\Ve have thus far endeavoured to show the agreement between the prophecy contained in tin- thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, in relation to the two beasts, and the history of those two great empires, that have successively upheld the religion of Mahomet. It remains lor us to consider the objections that may be made to this interpretation, and to refute them.
\Ye have already seen what is the interpreta- tion of Protestant authors, such as the learned ill-hop Newton, in reference to the first beast, and that which he gives of the second beast is in keeping with the former. As he believes the first beast to be papal Rome in its secular aspect, consisting of the various kingdoms, into which the western empire was subdivided, so he maintains that the second beast represents papal Rome in its ecclesiastical aspect, con- sisting of the clergy, regular and secular, whom he supposes to be represented by the two horns of a lamb, that grew out of the head of that beast. But such interpreters never reflect what is involved in their inter-
172 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
pretations; in their anxiety to justify their own guilty separation from the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, they hesitate not to adopt an interpretation of prophecy, which, if it were really true, would overthrow Christi- anity itself. For what becomes of Christianity, if the Apostolic See, and all the Churches in communion with it, could possibly constitute the Antichristian power predicted by the Apostle? Bishop Newton would include the Greek, and other Oriental communions, in the same anathema with those of the west, for, like the Latin Church, the Eastern upholds the same sacraments, the same adoration of Christ in the Eucharist, the same invocation and veneration of the blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, the same devotion to images and relics, and the same sacrifice of the Mass ; where, then, does Bishop Newton look for his Christianity, and his witnesses of Divine truth ? Either he must confess that Christ's truth was totally rooted out from the earth, or he must look for it amongst a number of discordant sects, founded at various epochs by persons who separated from the Catholic Church in which they had been baptized, and who agreed in nothing but their common hatred of their Mother Church. This alternative he adopts, but, by so doing, he
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 173
utterly destroys the visible continuity of the Christian Church, her unity, and her univer- sality ; and after slandering the faith of Chris- tendom, and utterly misrepresenting its tenets, he pins his own faith upon a few obscure men, without mission from Christ or his Apostles, who disagreed with each other in doctrine, and held no communion with one another. And yet all the while, as a consistent member and bishop of the Anglican Church, this same Bishop Newton must have held that he derived his own mission and orders from Antichrist, and that such mission and orders were neces- sary for the valid administration of the Sacra- ments of Christ ! Could absurdity go further ? Catholics, however, who believe the Word of Christ, that the gates of hell shall never prevail against His visible Church, and that as our Divine Master has commissioned His Church to teach all nations, He must have guaranteed Her from the possibility of teaching error, Catholics, we say, can never regard with any other feelings, than those of pity and horror, such blasphemous interpretations of Divine prophecy.
On the other hand, the interpretation, which we have advanced, is consistent with what his- tory records, with the fact that a great religious
174 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
and political system arose upon earth, the main object of which was to uproot the Gospel, and that this religious and political system was upheld by two vast and most powerful empires, which occupied the very territory, that all pro- phecy foretold would be held by Antichrist, and which certainly fulfilled to the letter, as we have shown, all that prophecy said that these powers would do. We, therefore, wind up what we have to say upon this thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse with this conclusion, either the Saracenic and Turkish empires have fulfilled this prophecy, or it has never been fulfilled. Either this is the fulfilment, and it now belongs to the domains of past history, or we must look forward to some future and still more accurate fulfilment. But this alternative is singularly unlikely, for the very preface of the Apocalypse leads us to look for a speedy, although a gradual accomplishment of the pro- phecy; and when we reflect that it is now more than eighteen centuries since the Apostle wrote his revelation, and that at least these great facts of history singularly accord with the prophetic statements, we confess that we at least cannot doubt that they are its fulfil- ment, and that it is quite vain to expect or wait for any other. In our next chapter we
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 175
shall examine the prophecies of Daniel, which we believe relate also to these same Mahometan powers, and these we shall regard with all the more interest, because they seem to conduct us to the end and destruction of this impious system.
176 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
PROPHECIES OF DANIEL RELATING TO MAHOMETANISM AND THE FUTURE DESTRUCTION OF THE TURKISH EMPIRE.
LET us now turn our attention to the sublime prophecies contained in the eleventh chapter of the Prophet Daniel, ushered in as they are by the magnificent and terrible description of the angelic vision seen by this same holy Daniel on the banks of the river Tigris. But before we come to the substance of this re- markable prophecy, let us pause for a moment to observe one or two expressions of the in- spired writer, which undoubtedly throw a great light on the controversy which has unhappily lasted so long between Catholics and Pro- testants.
Now in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first verses of the tenth chapter, we find that the glorious angel, who had appeared to Daniel on the banks of the Tigris, speaks of a conflict he had with the prince of the Per- sians, and that he also mentions the coming of the prince of the Greeks, after which he adds these remarkable words : " But I will tell thee what is set down in the scripture of truth:
and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince : " that is, none is my helper but the Archangel Michael, who is " your prince" that is the prince y or guardian anyel, of the Jewish people or Church of God. Now it is impossible for even the most superficial reader, not to remark in all these words of Daniel, how completely he uses in regard to angels all those same expressions, which, when employed by Catholic writers in reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, are at once charged with an idolatrous tendency by our Protestant opponents. It is not here the place to enter into the question, how far it is proper to apply to the saints expressions which Scripture applies to angels; but this we will say, as angels are after all creatures, not one whit less so than the saints, if it be improper to attribute to the latter (as Protestants affirm) any interference or active agency in human affairs because they are creatures, and such an attribute would i to interfere with the prerogative of the one Almighty Creator, it is quite clear that it would be equally inconsistent to do so in the case of the angels, they also being, like the saints, mere creatures. But, on the other hand, from these passages, and a large number of others in sacred Scripture, it is quite clear
178 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
that such an active agency and interference in human affairs is attributed to the angels : how then can any man be justified in accusing the Church of idolatry for attributing a similar power and a similar office to our Blessed Lady and the saints? Now even admitting, for the sake of argument, that because such power is attributed in Scripture to the angels, it does not therefore follow that we have any right to attribute similar powers to the saints, still it would equally remain an absurdity to term it idolatrous in us to do so : it might be gra- tuitous, it might be unauthorised, but how could it be idolatrous ?
On the other hand, when we see this mighty power attributed by Scripture to the angels, when we find one of the greatest angels appear- ing to Daniel on the banks of the Tigris, and distinctly telling him that he has been helped in his endeavours to aid the Jewish people by another angel, namely, the Angel Michael, either we must conclude that such phraseology is perfectly consistent with the supremacy of the one true God, or that the Bible itself teaches idolatry ; but, as we suppose no Pro- testant would dare to accept the latter alter- native, are we not justified in affirming that the Catholic practice of invoking the prayers and the assistance of God's saints is strictly in
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 179
analogy with the whole teaching of the Old Testament in reference to angels ? Believing, as the Gospel teaches us, that the saints of God, when translated to paradise, are made "like unto the angels" (Luke xx. 36), how could the Catholic Church but conclude that she must believe them to be invested with the attributes of angels, and therefore with a similar power of mediation and active inter-
- rc in the affairs of men?
I know that the force of this argument has been endeavoured to be eluded by affirming that whenever such power is attributed in Scripture to angels, it is Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, elsewhere termed in Scripture "the Angel of Great Counsel/' that is intended, and not angels in the strict sense of the term. But, then, this interpre- tation is entirely gratuitous, contrary to the plain meaning of Holy Writ, and only adopted for the confessed and obvious purpose of meet- ing a difficulty. Such an interpretation is repugnant to the known interpretation of the synagogue of old, as may be seen at length in the learned writings of Rabbi Brack,* while it contradicts that of the Primitive Church; and in the present passage we have just quoted
- L'Harmonie entre 1'Eglise et la Synagogue. 12 yols.
8vo. Paris, 1844.
180 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
from Daniel (x. 21), it would involve its up- holder in the most ridiculous and illogical con- tradictions. If the angel that appeared on the banks of the Tigris was Christ, who was Michael ? and if Michael was Christ, what will the Protestant objector say to the mighty assumptions of power claimed by the other angel ? at least they could not both be Christ, and one of them, at all events, must prove fatal to the Protestant objection.
But to return from this digression to the prophecy. It is the opinion of the learned Protestant interpreter of prophecy, the great Sir Isaac Newton, that the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Daniel are a kind of commentary on his eighth chapter ; and in this opinion many very learned Catholic interpreters concur with him. A work of great ability, published at Paris in 1840, and dedicated to Pope Gre- gory XVI., entitled, "La Fin des Temps," coincides with this view ; and although we must confess that it is impossible to read the eleventh chapter of Daniel and not to see that the interpretation of it is involved in many difficulties and great obscurity, still there are parts of it which most evidently supply a com- mentary on the prophecy of the Little Horn, as given in the eighth chapter.
In discussing the bearings of this eleventh
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 181
chapter of Daniel upon Mahometan history, we shall not enter into any historical disquisi- tion concerning that part of it which all com- mentators, whether Catholic or Protestant, admit as referring to the immediate successors of Alexander the Great, especially to Anti- ochus Epiplmnes, such a disquisition being foreign to our purpose ; but we shall at once I on to that which they all equally agree rs to Antichrist.
The thirty-fifth verse of the eleventh chapter appears to wind up that portion of the prophecy which more properly belongs to Alexander's immediate successors, the Syrian kings on the one hand, and the Egyptian kings on the other. And it intimates a transition to another sub- ject, to the history of another great monarch, who was destined to arise and to reign upon the suine platform or stage.
The transition is ushered in by these remark- able words: "And some of the learned shall fall, that they may be tried, and may be chosen, and made white, even to the appointed time, because yet there shall be another time." These words are understood by commentators to refer to the persecution of the servants of God amongst the Jewish people, that took place under the tyrannical government of Antiochus Epiphanes ; and when the text tells us that
182 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
" some of the learned shall fall" it refers to the martyrdom of the Maccabees, and that gradual trial and preparation of the Jewish Church that preceded and ushered in the ad- vent of the Messiah, who appeared " at the appointed time" And when it goes on to add, "for yet there shall be another time" it indicates, that as there was to be a time of redemption and grace, when the Messiah should redeem His people, so there should also be afterwards " another time" or a time of malediction and judgment, wherein Antichrist should come to establish his false system and empire in opposition to the kingdom of Christ.
And so the next verse (verse thirty-sixth) in- troduces us at once to that terrible personage whom the blessed St. Jerome, in his inter- pretation, without hesitation pronounces to be Antichrist. We have already demonstrated who Antichrist is, that he is no other than Mahomet, and we have also demonstrated when he was to appear on earth, and if we examine the description in the prophecy now before us, we shall see how wonderfully it agrees with what history records concerning Mahomet.
" And the king shall do according to his will;" that is, a king shall arise who shall do all things according to his own strong and
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 183
impious will. The will of God he shall trans- gress by setting up a new religion, which he shall falsely pretend to be the revelation of God Himself; " and he shall be lifted up." What could be greater than the exaltation, both temporal and spiritual, to which Mahomet lifted himself? " He shall magnify himself against every god" This he did, whether we refer the expression "every god" to the hea- then gods, against whose worship he declared war, or whether we refer it to the temporal ruin-sot' all other nations, against whom Maho- met declared that he was sent to make war, and to subdue them to his faith and to his temporal dominion. (C And he shall speak great ////'////* (tf/tiit^t the God of gods" Now surely, when we reflect on the blasphemies which Ma- homet vomited forth against our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the God of gods, we must at once admit that these words also were most literally and wonderfully fulfilled in him. "And he shall prosper till the wrath be accom- plished ; " that is, the reign of Mahomet shall continue until the anger of God against His people, that is, the Jews, shall be accom- plished, and until the anger of God against His people, composed of the converted Gentiles, shall have been appeased. But when this happy day arrives, then shall Mahomet's pros-
184 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
perity cease, and his name shall be utterly rooted out.
In the thirty-seventh verse, the Prophet con- tinues his description of Antichrist : " And he shall make no account of the God of his fathers." This was fulfilled when Mahomet renounced the worship of the true God, the ever adorable Trinity in Unity, who was the God of his fore- fathers (however little He was known or wor- shipped by them) as He is the God of all the earth, the only true God, blessed for evermore. " And he shall follow the lust of women" Our version, in this rendering of the sacred text, follows the Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate ; and it is not possible (admitting this to be the accurate rendering of the original) to look for a more accurate description of Mahomet or Mahometanism. But the Anglican version following the Hebrew text renders it thus : " Neither shall he regard the God of his fa- thers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any God." And Bishop Newton, with his usual hatred of Catholicity, and his dexterous inge- nuity in turning the words of Scripture against the Church of God, interpreting, as we do also, this portion of Daniel's prophecy as relating to Antichrist, applies it to what he considers to be that Antichrist, namely, the assumed cor- ruptions of the Greek and Latin Churches ;
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 185
and so he applies these words to the doctrine of celibacy, and to that blessed and angelical chastity which is the brightest gem in the character of God's saints, and which entitles them, as the blessed St. John declares, " to fallow the Ldinh ir hither soever He goeth, for these urc r//y////.s'." (Apocalypse xiv. 4.)
And yet Bishop Newton is forced to admit that there is evidently some fault in the He- brew text, and he owns his preference of the Septuagint, although with an inconsistency quite remarkable he substitutes a reading of ln< own instead of both. But if even the Hebrew reading, as followed by the Angliean. Bible were correct, it appears to me that it would only still more go to express the insa- tiable lust of Mahomet and his followers; for when it says that he shall make no account of the desire of women, we are forcibly reminded of a common expression in our own language, which describes an extreme propensity to any evil habit, or complete success in any under- taking by a similar phrase. When we say that a man " makes nothing " of drinking so many bottles of wine, we do not mean to say that he is a total abstainer from such a liquor, but quite the contrary. So when the Hebrew text says "that he shall not regard the desire of women," it means that Mahomet would treat
186 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
women as if they were brute beasts, and not as rational creatures, almost denying their future existence, and representing them as the mere slaves of man, and the instruments of his basest passions ; while we are also carried on to the contemplation of the unnatural lusts which it is notorious are more freely indulged in by Mahometans than by any other religionists.
But there is every reason to believe that the reading given in the Vulgate, agreeing as it does with the Septuagint, a version, which our Lord Himself sanctioned, is a more accurate rendering of the Divine original : and admitting this, no one can for a moment doubt how lite- rally Mahomet and his blasphemous system have fulfilled the words of the sacred text.
"And he shall not regard any gods:" we have already shown in what sense it is true, that Mahomet " made no account of the God of his fathers" that is, of the true God, we now come to another feature of his system, which, in one sense, may be said to be a good feature, namely, his enmity to the polytheism of ido- laters. " He shall not regard any God"* No
- In reference to this feature of Mahometanisra it is
remarkable, what I find referred to by the learned Jesuit Father Salmeron, in his commentary on St. Paul's second Epistle to the Thessalonians, torn. xvi. p. 391, that St. Cyril, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, discoursing concerning Anti- christ, uses these words : " Idola scilicet odio habiturus est
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 187
one can open the Koran, or its remarkable commentary, the history of Mahometanism, and not at once recognise the graphic portrait of his religious system, which the sacred text here gives us. There never was a system, true or false, that proclaimed a more deadly war than ^lahomctanismhas ever proclaimed against the false gods of the heathen, or against any representations, whether of sacred or profane subjects. Mahometanism is essentially icono- clastic, and it has done great things in rooting out the gross polytheism of Pagan nations, and yet we cannot say that the words of the text, accurately as they portray this feature of Anti- christ, convey any commendation upon him for his hypocritical zeal in this matter. In fact, what commendation is due to him who substi- tutes one system of imposture for another ?
Antichristus, ut IPSE in templo Dei sedeat." And the blessed St. Ephrsem, the Syrian, in his sermon on Anti- christ, says of him, " quod aspernabitur Idola." While we find that St. Irenaeus declared, that whereas St. Paul fore- told of the Man of Sin, " that he would sit in the Temple of God" that temple would be in the literal Jerusalem, " Sedebit in Templo Dei, scilicet ffierosolymitano." (Irencei, lib. 5.) And St. Hippolytus the Martyr, in his book De Consummatione Mundi, declares, " Antichristum Hieroso- lyinis suscitafurum templum lapideum." How wonderfully was this fulfilled, when the mosque of Omar, the greatest of Mahometan mosques, was erected on the very site of Solo- mon's temple in this very Jerusalem !
188 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
The zeal of the Mahometan against heathen gods and idols, was nothing but a change of tactics on the part of the Evil Spirit. Satan had seen his dominion over mankind notably impaired by the successful preaching of the Gospel ; idolatry had been rooted out of vast continents, and the knowledge of the one true God had been everywhere diffused; as the Psalmist had foretold, " the sound' 3 of the Apostles " had gone forth into all lands," and the result had been, what our blessed Saviour described, "I beheld Satan," said our Lord, " like lightning falling from heaven," that is, from his usurped dominion in the mystic heaven. Under such circumstances, it was quite natural that Satan, in his last and greatest effort to regain that usurpation, should have recourse to some new expedient, suited to the exigencies of the moment. Idolatry was every- where discredited, and so in ushering into ex- istence the Alcoran of the False Prophet, and his attempt to supplant the faith of Christ by the creed of Antichrist, he simulated a won- derful zeal for the unity of the Godhead, and an inextinguishable hatred for the superstitions of polytheism. But alas ! the zeal and the hatred were alike hypocritical ; it was an angel of darkness in the garb of an Angel of Light, from whose inspirations they sprang : Satan
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 189
would fain rob Jesus Christ of the glory of having subjugated idolatry, and under pretence of zeal for the unity of God, he denied the ever blessed and adorable Trinity, in whose name Christ had commanded all men to be baptized, and on the throne of the everlasting Godhead lie raised himself: for it is Satan, not the true Triune God of revelation, that Ifahometanism adores. It is Satan simulating the true God, " similis ero Altissimo" as the Prophet had foretold of him. Heretofore he had substituted idols in place of the true God, now he substitutes himself: how naturally, then, does this fact bring us to the concluding words of the thirty-seventh verse, " For he shall rise up against all things" The Alcoran sub- verted every existing system, whether true or 1'aUe. It subverted truth, to make way for falsehood ; it subverted all pre-existing false- hoods to make way for a new, a greater, and a more destructive falsehood, than any that had ever heretofore deceived the children of men.
And now the Prophet goes on to describe the character of this falsehood, and so he rouses the attention of the reader by the emphatic use of the word " But." " But,", says Daniel, " he shall worship the god Maozim in his place ; and a god whom his fathers knew not, shall he worship with gold, and silver, and precious
190 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
stones, and things of great price. And he shall do this to fortify Maozim with a strange god, whom he hath acknowledged, and he shall in- crease glory, and shall give them power over many, and shall divide the land gratis."
In these words, we have the prediction of the characteristic features of Mahometanism, the very name of its Liturgic symbols, and of its palmy prosperity and possession of the fairest provinces of the earth.
" He shall worship the god Maozim" What is Maozim? St. Jerome informs us that " Maozim," or " Mahuzzim," as Bishop New- ton writes it after the Hebrew, signifies <( strongholds," "forces" Now, the god of Mahomet was emphatically a god of forces, of strongholds, of physical force : his implement, both for extending his spiritual and temporal dominion, was one and the same instrument, the sword. Not the sword of the Spirit, but that sword of which Jesus Christ had declared, " Put up again the sword into its place, for all that take the sword shall perish by the sword.* Now, Mahomet's god was the god of the sword, even the god Maozim, or, as the Hebrews read it, the god Mahuzzim.
And who is so blind, as not to see further in this remarkable word, whether the " Maozim "
- Matthew xxvi. 52.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 191
of the Septuagint, or the " Mahuzzim " of the Hebrew, a still more remarkable and wonderful coincidence betwmi it and the name of the False Prophet ? Write it Mahomet, Mohammed, or Muhammed, it cannot fail to remind us of Maozim and Mahuzzim. And if we would pursue such coincidences a little further, we may find an equally striking one between the Maozim and Mahuzzim of the Prophet, and the Mt/cz^'rtn* of the Mahometan mosques.
This coincidence had often struck the writer of this treatise, but he was glad to find that it is recognised and enforced by the learned author of a very remarkable French work on Prophecy, " La Fin des Temps" to which the reader has been already referred ; in page xiii of his Pre- face it is emphatically alluded to, as also in the body of that learned work. And if the reader will procure that work, he will see how ably the writer treats it.
Bishop Newton, as usual, endeavours to turn the word to his own purpose, which, we need not say, is one hostile to Catholicity. Accord- ing to him, Mahuzzim signifying forces or fortifications, and Antichrist signifying the pope, as in the Greek and Latin Churches
- The Muezzim amongst the Mahometans are criers, who
ascend the minarets of their mosques to call the people to pray to the God of Mahomet.
192 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
saints and angels are sometimes mystically saluted, as the spiritual forces that encamp around the children of God, or as the forti- fications and bulwarks of the city of God (in our humble judgment, a very appropriate as well as a very poetical phrase in their regard) , the " worship of the God Maozim " signifies the worship of God joined with that of media- torial saints and angels.
But, unfortunately for Bishop Newton's in- terpretation, while it is obviously neither a literal nor a direct one, it militates quite as much against Scripture, as it does against Catholicism.
Does not Scripture inform us that God " has given His angels charge over us to keep us in all our ways?" (Psalm xc. 11.) Do we not read in the thirty-third Psalm, at the eighth verse, the following words, " The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him ; and shall deliver them " ? And not to multiply quotations, is not the Bible from beginning to end literally filled with statements of a similar nature concerning these blessed spirits ; statements that assuredly give full warrant to the Catholic Church to salute them, as she does, as the guardians and protectors of men, under the overruling Providence and Sovereignty of God? And if
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 193
Scripture justifies such expressions in reference to the angels, it also justifies them equally in reference to the blessed saints reigning with Christ in glory. Is it not our Lord Himself, who tells the faithful soul of His servant, as he welcomes it to the joys of Paradise, " Well done, thfjic good and faithful servant, became thou hast been faithful in a little, thou shall have power ten rifles' 9 ? (Luke xix. 17.) Then let Bishop Newton write as he pleases about the blasphemy of the Church in accepting the declaration of her Divine Master, and in re- cognising the blessed angels and saints as the patrons and guardians of men, as the protectors ami rulers of cities and provinces, his heretical interpretations are silenced by the Gospel of Christ, and in spite of his sneers, England will still be, what she was, the dowry of Mary, the kingdom of St. George ; and France, and Spain, ami Italy, and Russia, and Greece will con- tinue to recognise their patron saints and their guardian angels, when the heresy of Luther and Newton shall be forgotten, and their de- scendants shall have returned to the faith of their forefathers, the Catholic faith !
He then who was predicted by Daniel to "worship the God Maozim in his place" is Mahomet, not the pope; and "Maozim" re- o
194 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
presents the evil forces of Mahometanism, not the invisible bulwarks of the city of God.
And when the Prophet tells us that this God, is a God " whom his fathers knew not" he refers to that, which we have already pointed out, that the god of Mahomet is not the true God, but a god invented by his own imagi- nation, inspired as it was by Satan. The true God had already revealed Himself to man, as One God in Three Persons, a Trinity of Per- sons in the Unity of one nature and substance. This revelation of God Mahomet impiously denied, and he substituted for it a creation of his own. The god therefore of Mahomet is not the God of Revelation, but a false god, and when we examine in the Alcoran the character of this god, as He reveals himself in that impious book both in his commands and in what he permits, it is clear that this god is no other than Satan himself, as I have already said in reference to one of the preceding verse s of this same chapter.
But the Prophet continues, "And he shall worship him with gold and silver, and precio us stones, and things of great price." In these words the Prophet emphatically predicts two of the most remarkable features of Maho- metanism : the first is the personal unity of the God it worships, " he shall worship Him ;" and
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 195
the second is the magnificence of the places in which it worships him. All travellers concur in their description of the wonderful splendour of the Mahometan temples or mosques. It is scarcely possible to conceive anything to sur- pass them in grandeur or richness of decoration. They are resplendent with gold and silver, with the most costly marbles and alabaster, with all sorts of precious stones and woods of great price. The Alliambra in its ruins fills the Christian traveller with wonder and admiration, while the mosques of Cairo and Mecca, along with innumerable others, realise all the grandest descriptions of the Arabian Nights. In the single city of Cairo there are no fewer than seven hundred mosques, and some of them of vast dimensions. Well might the Prophet add, " And he shall do this to fortify Maozim with a strange God, whom he hath acknowledged." For it' anything could fascinate the imagination of a people, he at least has made use of it for that purpose.
And when, in the thirty-ninth verse of this same eleventh chapter, Daniel winds up his prophecy of Mahomet by saying, "he shall divide the land gratis," he tells us, what his- tory bears him out in witnessing, that the land, namely the Holy Land, the land flowing with milk and honey, and those other fair lands, o2
196 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
that next to Palestine emphatically merited the appellation of THE LAND, for they were the fairest and most fertile provinces of the earth, were to become his prey : and so contemp- tuously would he treat them, that he would divide them gratis, as if they were worth nothing, to his rapacious followers.
And worth nothing have all these noble lands become beneath the blighting influence and the desolating sway of Mahometanism. Read what all travellers tell you of all the lands beneath the sceptre of Mahometanism, of their de- plorable degradation, and then judge what the gratuitous division of them by Antichrist has wrought !
Think what Greece, what Asia Minor, what Palestine and Egypt, what Persia and Armenia were in old times, under the benignant in- fluences of the old Greek and Roman civili- zation on the one hand, and of Christianity on the other ; think of the glorious and splendid cities, of the cultivation that made that vast portion of the earth one garden, of the in- fluence of the Church, that studded it over with churches and monasteries, and with a progeny of innumerable saints in all ranks of men, and you will be better able to estimate the work of physical and moral destruction achieved by the Man of Sin, and what was
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 197
meant by the Prophet, when he foretold the division of this land amongst his barbarian satellites !
But it is enough ; the devil himself could do nothing worse ; and it is time that God should interpose to bring such a desolation to an end. And so the Prophet now turns to a brighter theme, and a more cheering prospect.
" And at the time prefixed" says the Holy Ghost by the mouth of Daniel, " the King of the South shall fight against him" Now who is the King of the South ? The south is a rela- tive term ; what is south of one place may be north of another ; when, therefore, the Prophet talks of the King of the South, he may refer to a kin^ who should reign over lands to the south of that land where the Prophet saw his vision, or he may mean to the south of the country which he immediately afterwards characterizes as " the north" over which would reign " the King of the North" or to the south of the land over which Antichrist himself should reign.
Now we must observe that Daniel ushers in this consoling prophecy by saying " at the time prefixed" that is, the time prefixed for Anti- christ's destruction, in other words, towards the latter end of the 1260 years, which were pre- fixed for the continuance of his dominion. At that time the " King of the South shall fight
198 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
against him ; " that is, a king who shall rule over what is to the south of that other terri- tory which is characterized in the same pro- phecy as the dominion of the King of the North.
Now it is a fact, whatever be the relations between Mahometanism and this prophecy, that we are not far off from the conclusion of the twelve hundred and sixtieth year of Mahometan history. And it is equally a fact, that not- withstanding the disgraceful jealousies of the Christian powers, a kingdom has been created in the south of Europe, the very existence of which is a triumph over Mahometanism the kingdom of Greece. In Africa, still further south, the French nation have wrested another large territory from the Mahometan dominion, the vast province of Algeria, and no one can doubt that the same noble power threatens the existence of the empire of Morocco.
What then Daniel foresaw the nineteenth century has accomplished. The King of the South has fought against Mahomet. But it is not in the south alone that Mahomet is to suffer, " The King of the North shall come against him like a tempest, with chariots, and horsemen, and a great navy, and he shall enter into the countries, and shall destroy, and shall pass through. And he shall enter into the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 199
f/lorious land, and many shall fall, and these only shall be saved out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the principality of the children of Ammon. And he shall Jay his hand upon the lands, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the treasures of yolil, and of allrt-r, and all the precious things of Egypt ; and he shall pass through Lybia and Ethiojt'm. And /i'/ifif/s out of the East and out of the North shall trouble him : and he shall come with a great multitude to destroy and slay And he shall fix his tabernacle Apadno the seas, upon a glorious and holy mountain : and he shall come even to the summit thereof, and no man shall aid him."
In these remarkable words does the Prophet foretell the utter destruction of Mahometanism, and we here find that this great work is to be achieved by a potentate whom Daniel desig- nates as " the King of the North/'
It is evident that this prophecy has not yet been accomplished, it still remains to be fulfilled. Its accomplishment may have com- menced, but we may not live to see its comple- tion. One great northern potentate, the Rus- sian Emperor, has already been at war with the representative of the False Prophet. When Russia conquered the Crimea and other pro- vinces bordering on the Black Sea, the inroads
200 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
of the King of the North evidently com- menced. The prophecy tells us where they will end, not until the King of the North is master of the whole Turkish empire, with all its feudal dependencies enumerated in the text. The King of the North will make himself master of all that Turkey reigns over, "save only Edom, and Moab y and the principality of the children of Amman" That portion of the Turkish empire, for some reason decreed by God, will escape the grasp of the Northern Eagle. But Palestine, and Egypt, and Lybia, and Ethiopia will witness the passage of his victorious troops. His course, however, will not be one of uninterrupted victory ; " tidings out of the East and out of the North " are to trouble him ; his armies may sustain a tem- porary check from Asiatic tribes on the one hand, or the more northern portion of his dominions may receive a shock from the suc- cessful aggression of hostile powers, jealous of his increasing empire. But the Prophet warns us that the fate of Mahometanism is sealed ; " the King of the North " " shall come with a great multitude to destroy and slay many. And he shall fix his tabernacle Apadno between the seas, upon a glorious and holy mountain : and he shall come even to the summit thereof, and no man shall help him" Such, if it may be
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 201
permitted to express an intimate conviction of the meaning of prophecy, is the wonderful destiny of this great northern potentate. I hazard no predictions of my own ; I fix no dates, but no man can arrest the onward course of time, or gainsay the decrees of the Almighty.
The Kin of the North, when the hour marked from all eternity has arrived, will fix his taber- nacle, Apadno, that is, his royal palace (for such is the force of the Hebrew term), between the seas, upon a glorious and holy mountain, that is, as an Anglican writer, Forster, has clearly demonstrated,* at Constantinople. It is true, that that learned and interesting writer takes a totally different view from myself upon the prophecies in question ; but that the glorious and holy mountain between the seas signifies Constantinople, he entertains no doubt what- ever. Nor do I ; and sooner or later I believe the King of the North will reign in that im- perial city, and rescue the ancient churches of Oriental Christendom from the dominion of Antichrist. But it is clear from the language of the Prophet that this great achievement will be the result of the immense exertions of the King of the North, single-handed, and un- aided by other powers ; for the Scripture con-
- Mahometanism Unveiled, vol. i. 297. London, 1829.
202 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
eludes the prediction of it with these significant words, " And no man shall aid him." That is, he shall achieve it in spite of the opposition he may encounter from all other powers.
It is not for us to discuss the diplomatic questions connected with the present struggle, which France and England have entered into in order to uphold the Turkish empire in its integrity, a purpose, which they declare to be essential to the balance of power in Europe. We have nothing to do with such questions, when attempting to interpret the predictions of prophecy. This attempt we lay before our readers, not because it exhibits what English politicians might desire, but because we consci- entiously believe it to be the only one consistent with the prophetic statement itself. And much as others may deprecate the ascendancy of Russia over the Turkish provinces referred to in the prophecy, and deeply as we feel the duty that loyalty to our sovereign imposes upon us, we at least can descry no necessarily evil con- sequences for the future of our own beloved country from such a result. Why should England decline, because Russia eventually subdued Turkey, any more than that destruc- tion should have ensued to Russia, or to Austria, from the Anglo-British conquest of Hindostan ? We believe that there never was
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 203
a more absurd chimera than the diplomatic nonsense we so often hear about the balance of power : but be this as it may, and although some may shudder at the thought, it seems most clearly foretold in this prophecy, that the Turkish empire is to be devoured by the Great Northern Eagle.
204 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
PROPHECIES RELATING TO EVENTS CONTEMPORANEOUS WITH, AND SUBSEQUENT TO, THE BREAKING UP OP THE TURKISH EMPIRE.
WE now come to the twelfth chapter of Daniel, and of this we must say, that in all this sub- lime book, there is nothing more sublime.
In the eleventh chapter, the Prophet con- cludes his predictions, which relate to the four great Gentile monarchies. In this chapter, he brings us to the glorious period of the Church of God; to the period of the restoration of Israel. This event he ushers in with these words : " But at that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people; and a time shall come, such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time."
" And at that time shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the Book." All interpreters agree that this pro- phecy refers to the future conversion of the Jewish people, while it also fixes the period of this blessed event. It shows to us, that after the destruction of the Mahometan empire has been accomplished by the successful inroads of
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 205
the King of the South, followed up by the still more overwhelming aggressions of the King of the North, then Michael the archangel shall interpose for the conversion of the Jewish people. Here, again, we cannot fail to remark what power is attributed in Scripture to the angels of God, and how thoroughly such state- ments of Holy Writ justify the belief and practice of the Catholic Church in reference to these blessed spirits. It seems probable, from many passages in Scripture, that the Jews will have been brought back to Palestine by Anti- christ previous to his destruction, and previous to their own conversion, and this also appears to be handed down by the tradition of the Church. Now, as we believe that we have demonstrated Antichrist to be Mahomet, and the Mahometan empire to be the kingdom of Antichrist, we should naturally expect that the restoration of the Jews to Palestine in their unconverted state will be the work of some Turkish Sultan. Now, what is more probable, humanly speaking, than that the present Sultan in his struggle with that great northern poten- tate, the Russian Emperor, should have recourse to the Jews for a loan? The Jews are the great money-lenders of the earth : it is they who make bondsmen of all the Christian kings and emperors, and if they advance a loan to
206 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
the Sultan suitable to his present emergency, they will assuredly demand some solid guarantee in return. It is a remarkable fact, that while I am writing, the rumour has gone forth that a great Jewish capitalist has offered a loan, for any amount required, to the Sultan, on con- dition of a mortgage on Palestine, and it is also currently reported that the Jews are col- lecting vast sums for the work of rebuilding the Temple of Jerusalem. Be all this as it may, the declaration of Daniel is unmistake- able, that the Archangel Michael will stand up for the conversion of the Jewish people at the very time when the Turkish empire shall fall before the victorious arms of the King of the North. And when the Prophet adds the words quoted above, (f And a time shall come such as never was from the time that nations began even until that time:" he may refer either to the dreadful conflict that is to usher in the destruc- tion of Mahometanism, or he may refer to the unprecedented peace and prosperity that are to ensue after it. We trust these words refer rather to the latter : but of this we may feel sure, that the peace and prosperity of the glo- rious period will be preceded by calamities of the most terrible kind, for prophecy is most explicit upon this head. Our Saviour distinctly tells us, that before the conversion of the Jews,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 207
there will be a period so dreadful, that " unless it were shortened, no flesh should be saved" but He presently adds, that " For the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened" (Matt. xxiv. 22.) Now it will be well to exa- mine a little, what Scripture tells us about tliis terrible conflict. It seems to hold a con- spicuous place in all the predictions of the prophets. We read of it in Daniel, in the Psalms of David, in Isaiah, in Ezckiel, in Michcus, in Osce, in Joel, in Amos and Zacha- rias, in Sophonias and Malachias, in the Epistles of St. Paul, and the Apocalypse of St. John. We will not dwell at length upon these terrible ictions, but we will briefly state our opinion concerning the principal ones that refer to this miirhty conflict that is to precede the conversion and restoration of Israel.
It seems to me, that the destruction of the metallic statue seen in the vision of Nabucho- dunozor (Dan. ii.), which takes place, when struck on its feet by the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, exactly corre- sponds with the destruction of the great Baby- lon of the Apocalypse. (Apoc. xviii. 21.) We there read these remarkable words : " And a mighty angel took up a stone, as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, With such violence as this shall Babylon, that great
208 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
city, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. 33 How perfectly does this description correspond with that of the Prophet Daniel. (Dan. ii. 34, 35.)
" Thus thou sawest, till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands : and it struck the statue upon the feet thereof, that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of a summer's thrashing-floor, and they were carried away by the wind : and there was no place found for them" And then pre- sently the Prophet adds : " But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth 33
Now I believe the Babylon of the Apoca- lypse, and Nabuchodonozor's metallic statue in Daniel, represent the same thing. And what is that ? They represent, as I think, the whole secular organization of mankind from the very beginning of nations, until the period when the Catholic Church is to assume her grandest development, and to take possession of that universal dominion which is promised to her.
The destruction of Daniel's metallic statue is succeeded by the establishment of the king- dom of the stone cut out of the mountain without hands ; and the destruction of the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 209
Apocalyptic Babylon is succeeded by the chanting of hymns both in heaven and on earth, saying : " Alleluia : for tJie Lord our God the Almighty hath reiyned. Let us be (/lad and rejoice, and give glory unto Him : for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His Bride huth prepared Herself."
What is figured in Daniel by the stone cut out without hands becoming a great mountain, and filling the whole earth, is figured in the Apocalypse by the proclamation of the reign of the Almighty, by the marriage of the Lamb, and the adornment of His Bride.
The kingdom of the stone cut out without hands signifies the Church of Christ and her kingdom. The Bride of the Lamb is undoubt- edly the Church of Christ, and the adornment of this Bride signifies the glory and prosperity of the Catholic Church that is to ensue on the breaking up of the present secular organiza- tion of the earth, that is, on the destruction of Babylon. And as the metallic statue of Da- niel figured the great empires that were suc- cessively to preside over the secular organiza- tion of the earth, so did Babylon (Apocalypse xvii. 9 12), seated on seven mountains, repre- sent the same secular organization of mankind enthroned on its seven principal seats. When St. John saw his vision, the angel told him p
210 AX INQUIRY INTO THE
that five of these heads or mountains were already fallen ; and these five that had passed awav were the five first great monarchies : 1. The Egyptian; 2. The Ninivite, or Assy- rian; 3. The Babylonian, or the Chaldean ; 4. The Medo-Persian ; 5. The Grecian; and " one" said the angel, " now is ; " and this was the Roman empire that ruled mankind when St. John wrote the Apocalypse ; and then the angel added, " and the other," viz., the seventh mountain or head, "is not yet come" And this seventh was to be the king- dom of Antichrist, viz., that of Mahomet, which was to arise, as we have already shown, when the Roman empire was removed. Of this kingdom, said the angel, "when he is come he must remain a short time," that is, a short time in comparison with eternity, or with the whole duration of the seven empires of the mystic Babylon. But besides theso seven empires ten kings are also mentioned, and these correspond to the ten toes of the feet of Daniel's metallic statue, and they re- present the ten kingdoms into which the Roman empire (which is Daniel's fourth em- pire, and St. John's sixth empire) was to be subdivided ; while we know from Daniel that three of these kingdoms were to be incor- porated into the empire of Mahomet, that is,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 211
of the Little Horn, or of Antichrist, which is the same as the seventh empire of St. John. " But the beast which was, and is not " (Apoc. xvii. 2), that is, the beast which in one part of the Apocalyptic vision was beheld in all its rampant vitality, but which now " is not," that is, now is destroyed, being utterly ruined by the overthrow of the mystic Babylon, " is the cif/h/h, and is of the seven" By these mys- terious words, it seems to me that the Apostle, or rather the angel who speaks to him, means that the beast, taken in its totality, and com- pounded of these seven several empires, did itself constitute one great whole, which he calls ( the fit/lit h" because it represented the sum total of humanity, viewed in its one single aspect; whereas, when viewed in detail, it con- el of seven distinct empires, under whose governing control mankind was successively divided. " This beast," says the angel, " goeth Into destruction," that is, the secular organiza- tion of mankind shall one day be superseded by a better organization, viz., by the great dominion of the Catholic Church. Now what do we understand by this ? Do we mean to say that in the glorious period of the Church's reign there will be no more earthly rulers, no more kings and emperors ? Far from it, we believe the very reverse, but in those blessed
212 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
days kings and emperors will rule, not accord- ing to the principles of Babylon, but according to those of the City of God. We firmly believe that they will then hold their crowns in very deed from the successor of St. Peter, the vicar of Christ Jesus, and that what in the middle ages was done by a few pious kings, will then be done by all the kings of the earth. We believe that when the Jews shall have been restored to their own land, and converted to the faith of Him whom they crucified, they will turn to the vicar of Christ Jesus to receive them into that Church, and to reign over them. All kings and nations will then do homage to the Apostolic See, and the pope, father of the Gentile nations, as well as of the converted Jews, will rule over the earth, and gather the peoples of the earth into one happy sheepfold. Then will the nations beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning- hooks ; then will the weapons of war and the implements of defence be burnt with fire, for our Lord will then put an end to all war. (Psalm xlv. 911.) "Be still, and see that I am God ; I will be exalted amongst the nations, yea I will be exalted over all the earth"
But what is to usher in this glorious pacifi- cation, this wonderful prosperity of the human race, this perfection of civilization, this uni-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 213
versal diffusion of true religion and vital godli- ness? We answer, without hesitation, the con- version of the Jewish people. And this is what Daniel foretells in the chapter we are now con- sidering, the twelfth chapter. And what Daniel foretells is foretold by all the prophets, and by Jesus Christ, the King of Prophets. " Jerusa- li-ut" says our Lord, "shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, UNTIL the times of the Gentiles he fnl filled: 3 And "at that time," says the angel to Daniel, " shall thy people be saved, every one that shall be found written in the Book," that is, in the Book of God's Predesti- nation. r lh is corresponds with what St. Paul assures us of in his Epistle to the Church of Home (Rom. xi. 25, 26) : " For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, that blindness in part hath happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in : and so a/I Israel shall be saved, as it is written, There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and he shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" And as St. Paul a little before had said (Rom. xi. 15), "For if the loss of them," that is, the apostasy of the Jews from Christ, " be the reconciliation of the world," that is, the occasion of the preaching of the faith to the Gentiles, " what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" that is, what shall
214 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
their future conversion to Christ be, but the occasion of the spiritual resurrection of the whole earth ?
Can anything be more consoling than these prophecies of sacred Scripture ? What a happy prospect they hold out before us ! If these grand events are to be preceded by woes and tribulations, we know from the same prophecies that these will be of short duration, whereas the glorious period of the Church, during which St. John tells us that Satan will be bound in chains, is to last for the space of a thousand years. (Apoc. xx. 2.)
Now, whether this period is to continue for a thousand literal years, or not, we cannot tell. But there is every reason to believe that it will be a very long period ; and some persons have thought that it might last even for three hun- dred and sixty thousand years. But this is a question into which we abstain from entering ; we content ourselves with the belief that its duration will be worthy of the goodness of God, and a fitting compensation to the Catholic Church, even here upon earth, for all her pre- vious trials, sorrows, and persecutions.
Some persons have thought that the second advent of our blessed Redeemer would precede this binding of Satan, and this glorious period of the Church's earthly triumph. And most
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 215
able are the treatises that have been written upon this great question : there is one in par- ticular, from the pen of my learned and excel- lent friend, tho very Reverend Dr. Pagani, provincial of the Order of Charity in this king- dom, which, by his kindness, I have been per- mitted to see in manuscript, and I cannot but here express my earnest desire to see it in print -with as little delay as possible. There are, however, other commentators, who hold that our Lord's second advent will follow, not pre- cede, the binding of Satan, and that it will not take place till after the final apostasy of man- kind, foretold by St. John as ensuing upon the future loosing of Satan at the end of the glo- rious period.
Be this as it may, it seems clear, from the twentieth chapter of the Apocalypse, no less than from the twelfth chapter of Daniel, that there will be a resurrection of many of the nits of God, just before the commencement of the glorious period : and St. John calls this " the first resurrection" This event does not appear at all improbable, when we reflect that already many saints of the old law have arisen with their bodies, as we read in the twenty- seventh chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, and the fifty-second verse, "And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had
216 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
slept arose, and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection, came out of the holy city, and appeared unto many. 33 And it is the universal belief of the Catholic Church, that this privi- lege was also granted to our Blessed Lady, who, as St. John Damascene assures us, rose from the dead on the third day after her de- cease. It does not, therefore, appear in any degree improbable, that as St. John seems to tell us in his Apocalypse, the martyrs and prin- cipal saints will rise with their glorified bodies at the commencement of the glorious period of the Church. And this certainly agrees with the statement we have just quoted from Daniel : " And many of those, that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, some unto life everlasting, and otJiers unto reproach"
It may be, that some such miracle as this may be made use of by Almighty God for the conversion of the Jews ; and, I confess, I think this is highly probable.
There are, however, other interpretations that are given by orthodox men to this predic- tion of Holy Writ. They say it may refer to the solemn canonization of saints, when their sacred bodies are exhumed from the tombs, and placed upon the altars of the Living God. This honouring of their sacred relics is un- doubtedly a sort of anticipated resurrection,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 217
still I confess that I prefer the other interpre- tation, which seems to me more in accordance with the obvious meaning of Scripture. Be- sides, the canonization of saints has always been going on in the Church, and the placing of their sacred relics on the altars has been in use even since the very days of St. Poly carp, as we may learn from the epistle of the Church of Smyrna, which recounts the martyrdom of that holy bishop. How, then, could the canoniza- tion of saints be the distinguishing mark of the commencement of the thousand years' triumph of the Church of God ? But take the first re- surrection in the obvious sense of the term, and you have an event at once worthy of God, and of the magnificent epoch it is destined to inaugurate.
In the fourth verse, we read these remarkable words: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the Book, even to the appointed time : many shall pass over, and knowledge shall be manifold." From these words we may surely gather, that until near upon the time of their accomplishment, these prophecies would remain hidden and sealed up, that is, uninter- preted or misinterpreted; but that towards " the appointed time " a new and lively interest would be called forth in their regard ; and the Prophet gives us a sign of when that period
218 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
should arrive by telling us, that at that time " many shall pass over, and knowledge shall be manifold."
Now, could we have a more striking predic- tion of what so remarkably characterizes the century we are living in ? If there be one feature more than another that distinguishes it from all its predecessors, it surely is that most wonderful increase of communication be- tween the most distant parts of the earth, and the most distant nations. The application of steam to locomotion has, as it were, annihilated distance, and the whole human race seems bent on passing from one country to another ; while the other fact is no less remarkably fulfilled, " and knowledge shall be manifold."
Was there ever an age in which human knowledge was so diversified, and so generally diffused ? It would be useless to enlarge upon such a fact as this ; it is an unmistakeable ful- filment of the Prophet's words, and no one would call it in question; its existence is the boast of the nineteenth century.
But if this be so, what else can we conclude but that we are close upon the wonderful period announced by the Prophet, and that, if our days are spared a little longer, we may very probably witness the tremendous conflict of all the secular powers, so often predicted by the
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 219
prophets, as well as the commencement of the blessed period that is to ensue afterwards ? In the sixth verse (Dan. xii. 6), Daniel himself n-ks the question, " How long shall it be to the end of these wonders ?"
The seventh verse answers it in these words " And I heard the man, that was clothed in linen, that stood upon the waters of the river, when lie had lifted up his right hand, and his left hand to heaven, and had sworn by Him, that livcth forever, that it should be unto A
TIME, AND TIMES, AND HALF A TIME. And when
tin scattering of the band of the holy people
- hnll he accomplished, all these things shall be
Daniel continues :
"And I heard and understood not; but I said, O my Lord, what shall be after these things? And he said: Go Daniel, because the words are shut up, and sealed until the time appointed. Many shall be chosen, and made white, and shall be tried as fire : and the wicked shall deal wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the learned shall understand :" that is, they who are enlightened by true learning, by the light of the Holy Ghost, and the teaching of the Catholic Church. " And from the time when the continual sacri- fice shall be taken away, and the abomination
220 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
unto desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days."
" BLESSED is he that waiteth, and cometh unto a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." (Daniel xii. 712.)
In these verses we have the same period predicted, that we have already remarked in other prophecies both of Daniel and of St. John : ' ' A time, and times, and half a time." And then a little after we have another state- ment, that from the time of the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and the setting up of the abomination of desolation, there should be a period of " a thousand two hundred and ninety days." While the prophecy winds up with pronouncing a blessing upon the man, that waiteth to the third period of "a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days."
The first of these periods, " a time, times, and half a time," we have already seen else- where reduced to a corresponding period of twelve hundred and sixty days ; and we have already shown how we understand that period ; that period we have explained to signify twelve hundred and sixty years, during which the Mahometan empire is to continue. But here we find also a second period named, somewhat longer, "twelve hundred and ninety days." That this period includes the former one of
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 221
1260 days is certain, because the Prophet refers it to the same date, and the same events, for its commencement, viz., the taking away of the daily sacrifice, and the setting up of the abomi- nation of desolation. It is evident, therefore, that as it commences from the same date as the other period of 1260 days, it must extend to thirty days beyond the conclusion of that same period.
Now if we are asked to explain this apparent discrepancy in the two periods, the only reason we can assign, why in this passage it would sec in as if the dominion of Antichrist were to last for thirty days, that is for thirty years longer than the other period, so often men- tioned, of 1260 years, is this: when Daniel ks of the dominion of the little horn, called in the eleventh chapter " the king that worships the God Maozim," he is speaking of the tem- poral empire of Mahomet, of that empire which was to arise upon the platform of the Mace- donian he- goat's territory, and when he assigns to that dominion the duration of 1260 pro- phetic days, he is assigning that duration to the temporal dominion of Mahomet : now we have already seen, from this same prophecy of Daniel, that this empire is to be destroyed by the King of the North. When, therefore, in this twelfth chapter we find Daniel assigning
222 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
to Antichrist a still longer duration, viz., twelve hundred and ninety prophetic days, it is evident that he must refer to something else belonging to Antichrist, other than his temporal dominion, the duration of which we have already seen was limited to twelve hundred and sixty days : now what can this be ? I confess it seems clear to me that this must be Antichrist's religion, or what St. Paul calls " the revelation " of the Man of Sin. It is evident, that if the Maho- metan empire were destroyed to-morrow, great as the shock would be to the religious system of Mahomet, it would not be utterly extin- guished by it. When the Empress Catherine conquered the Crimea, she abolished a Maho- metan government, but she did not entirely root out Mahometanism, and to this hour the Tartar population of the Crimea remains Mahometan in its faith, and so no doubt will it be for some time after the empire of the Sultan shall have been absorbed within the dominions of the King of the North. The power of the little horn, the temporal kingdom of Antichrist, will have been broken, but his religion will still remain, still professed by its more obstinate adherents : it is then the reli- (jious system of Antichrist that we believe the Prophet refers to, when, in this text of his twelfth chapter, he assigns to that deso-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 223
lating influence a duration of 1290 days. In other words, we anticipate, from this prophecy, that thirty years are to elapse, subsequent to the breaking up of the Turkish empire, before the religion of Mahomet will be completely extinguished : and this brings us back to St. Paul's words to the Thessaloniaus concerning the Man of Sin : " Whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy uith the brightness of His coming" (2 Thess. ii. 8) : from which we gather that the religious system of Mahomet will be rooted out by the preaching of the Gospel, which will ensue on the destruction of his empire, while the last remains of its influence in the East will not be obliterated even until the second Advent of our Lord Himself, "the brightness of whose coming " will dissipate all the clouds of error. But it is also clear, from the words of the angel to Daniel, that many things con- iing these great prophecies are to remain sealed up until the time of their perfect fulfil- ment, and when that time comes, every diffi- culty connected with the interpretation of Divine prophecy will be fully cleared up and .unravelled. One thing, however, seems un- mistakeably foretold, and it is that those, who live to see the arrival of the thirteen hundredth and thirty-fifth day or year, will see a day of
224 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
surpassing blessedness. "BLESSED is he that waiteth and cometh unto a thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." (Dan. xii. 12.) This text brings us to a period of seventy- five days or years beyond the expiration of the 1260 days. Now dating the commencement of the latter (the 1260 days) from the com- mencement of Mahomet's empire, which is dated from his famous flight called the Hegira, which is the Mahometan era, and which is commonly placed by chronologists about the year 622 after Christ, the conclusion of the 1260 years would be somewhere about the year 1882. But then it appears to me probable that these 1260 years are prophetic periods of 360, not 365 days each (for 1260 days are the sum of three prophetic periods and a half, consisting of 360 days each), consequently, if we deduct five days from each of the 1260 years, it would shorten the whole period by a sum of 6300 days, which would be equal to seventeen years of 360 days each, and 180 days besides, or exactly half a year of the same length : in other words, it would shorten the whole period of 1260 natural years by a period of seventeen years and a half of prophetic years ; or if you divide the sum of 6300 days by 365 days (one natural year) it would amount to about seven- teen natural years and ninety-five days.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 225
So that, dating the 1260 years from the year of our Lord 622, and deducting seventeen years and ninety- five days, it would bring the con- clusion of the 1260 years to somewhere about the year of our Lord 1865, minus ninety-five days.
Assuming, therefore, the correctness of this calculation, we may expect that the Mahometan empire will be utterly overthrown about the year of our Lord 1865.
But to this period it also seems from the prophecy we have been examining, that we must add on a period of thirty years, of 360 days (arh, which would be equivalent to about twenty-nine natural years and 220 days. This would bring us to somewhere about the year 1894: after which we must still look forwards to the conclusion of another period of forty-five years, of 360 days each, which would be equivalent to about forty-four na- tural years and 140 days. Adding, therefore, forty-four years to 1894, it brings us to some- where about the year of our Lord 1938, which seems, therefore, to be fixed by the Prophet Daniel as the date of the commence- ment of the BLESSED PERIOD. Now, it is a very remarkable fact, that this calculation, which fixes the termination of the periods given by Daniel in his twelfth chapter at about the Q
226 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
year of our Lord 1938, exactly coincides with the conclusion of the period of 2300 days, assigned in the eighth chapter of the same prophecy, and the fourteenth verse, for the duration of the vision recorded in that chapter as closing with what the Prophet there terms "the cleansing of the sanctuary:" for dating the commencement of that period from the triumph of the Macedonian he-goat over the Medo-Persian ram, which was accomplished when Alexander the Great conquered Darius in the famous battle of Arbela, which Blair, in his accurate chronology, fixes at the year 331 before Christ ; I say, dating from this year the whole period of the 2300 prophetic years, and deducting from the same number five days for every year, we find that it would conclude exactly at the same date after Christ as that which we have just above assigned for the conclusion of the other periods given in the thirteenth chapter of Daniel, viz., about the year of our Lord 1938: thus making the "blessed period" and "the cleansing of the sanctuary" coincide.
But we must here observe that we do not attach too much importance to this calcu- lation, as the period would be earlier, if we date the commencement of the 1260 years from the birth of Mahomet, while it would be very
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 227
much later, if we date its commencement from the taking of Jerusalem by the Caliph Omar, which took place in the year of our Lord 637.
And assuredly when we look at the present state of mankind, and reflect how very far it is from what the glowing predictions of Holy Writ would lead us to anticipate of its con- dition in the blessed period, we may well fear that the further period would be more probable than one less distant. But be this as it may, it would seem as if the destruction of the Mahometan empire, as distinguished from the rc/if/ious system upheld by it, would not be drhiyed beyond the year of our Lord 1865.
In the meanwhile, looking to the various statements of Divine prophecy, we apprehend that a time is coming, nay even already com- menced, of unprecedented trouble and disaster. These calamitous times, while they witness the destruction of the mystic Babylon, will also witness, if we may refer to the same sources, a terrible persecution of the Catholic Church, a persecution which will purify and prepare her for her great millennial triumph.
Let us glance at some of the symbolical .predictions of the Apocalypse, which are com- monly referred by Catholic interpreters to this last great persecution of the Church. We find a very vivid and striking one in the eleventh Q2
228 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
chapter of the Apocalypse. In the second verse of that chapter, it is stated that the Holy City, or Jerusalem, shall be trodden down by the Gentiles for two-and-forty months ; and if we reduce that period to days, we find that it amounts to a sum of 1260 days. This entirely coincides with the statement we have already seen made by Daniel, that the abomination of desolation should be set up for the same period of 1260 days. But St. John tells us, in the third verse of this same eleventh chapter : " And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." Now, whoever be the two witnesses, it is clear that they are " to prophesy " for the same period, that is, for 1260 days, and they are to prophesy " clad in sackcloth," that is, clad in the gar- ments of humiliation and penitence, weeping for the sorrows and sufferings of the Church of God.
It may here be objected that our Blessed Lord, in foretelling the destruction of Jeru- salem by the Romans, which was accomplished by Titus a very few years afterwards, expressly declared that " Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, till the times of the nations be fulfilled;" from which it would seem that our Lord dates the treading down of the Holy City
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 229
from a much earlier period than St. John in the Apocalypse, and assigns to it a much longer duration. This is indeed true, but there is no contradiction involved in the apparent discre- pancy. Our Lord is foretelling the whole his- tory of Jerusalem from his own time until the end of "the times of the Gentiles" whereas St. John is predicting a still further desecra- tion of the Holy City, which was to take place very much later, in fact, several centuries after- wards, and which, from the identity of its duration with that assigned by Daniel and else- whciv by St. John himself to the anti-Chris- tian desolation, viz., the prophetical l^fiodays, we may confidently conclude to be that most fearful desecration of Jerusalem that took place in the year 636, when the Caliph Omar made himself master of Jerusalem, and erected his famous Mahometan mosque on the site of Solomon's Temple. Dating from this period, St. John tells us that the Holy City shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, that is, by the infidels, the enemies of God, for forty-two months, that is, for 1260 days or years.
Now it is a remarkable fact, as the learned author of a work we have more than once had occasion to refer to (La Fin des Temps, p. 117) has proved at length, the descendants of Israel who embraced the Christian faith were never
230 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
entirely driven out from Jerusalem until the time of Omar. When Titus destroyed Jeru- salem, many still lingered in its sacred pre- cincts, and, converted to Christianity, were governed by their patriarchs, who for a long period were all of them of Jewish extraction. Under the Emperor Adrian, after the destruc- tion of six hundred thousand Jews, in conse- quence of the revolt effected amongst his coun- trymen by the impostor Barchochebaz, a new city was built at Jerusalem, to which the name of ^Elia was given by the Romans. But this city became a most flourishing Christian city, and its patriarchs were famous in the annals of the Church, many of them having been canon- ized, witness St. Cyril, St. Sophronius, and others. But when the Caliph Omar took Jeru- salem, and built his mosque on the site of Solo- mon's Temple, the patriarch St. Sophronius, as we have already seen, declared that this fact was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel con- cerning the placing of the abomination of deso- lation in the holy place. Now our Blessed Lord had expressly declared that when his disciples (that is, the Christians) should see " the abomination of desolation " there placed, "they were to flee to the mountains" (Matt. xxiv. 15, 16.) This advice of our Lord they followed; for, immediately after that event,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 231
and the declaration of the holy patriarch St. Sophronius, the great mass of the orthodox Catholic Christians of Jerusalem left the city, and betook themselves to the mountains of Lebanon, where they have dwelt ever since even to the present day. These Christians are to this hour Catholic and orthodox, and their patriarch is the true Catholic patriarch of Jeru- salem. They are known commonly by the name of Maronites, and they are conspicuous for their piety, their simplicity, their virtue, and their faith. They have always remained firmly united to the see of St. Peter, and the liained author of "La Fin des Temps" con- tends with great force and ability that these holy Christians are the descendants of the first Jewish converts to the faith of Christ. From the time that the Mahometans got possession of Jerusalem very few orthodox Christians have remained in that city, and it is only on suffer- ance that the Catholics are able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the holy places, which for the most part are in the hands of heretics and schismatics.
AVe may therefore confidently date the tread- ing down of the Holy City, of which St. John speaks in this eleventh chapter of his Apoca- lypse, from the period of its capture by the Caliph Omar in 636, and from the establish-
232 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
ment of the Mahometan religion within its sacred precincts. But St. John tells us, that from that time the two witnesses of Jesus Christ should prophesy in sackcloth, and that they should so continue for 1260 prophetic^ days.
Now who are these two witnesses ? That great commentator on Holy Scripture, and great light of the society of Jesus, Cornelius & Lapide, in his " Commentary on the Apoca- lypse" (chap. xi. 3), answers the question thus : " Some understand by these two witnesses not any two persons in particular, but two classes of witnesses. Hence Pannonius affirms that these two witnesses are the whole body of doc- tors and preachers in the Church who expound and preach the two Testaments, that is to say, the Old and New Testaments ; while Arias Montanus thinks that these two witnesses re- present the law and the prophets." A little further on he tells us that another commen- tator, Alcazar, understood by these witnesses " the great wisdom and the great sanctity of the Primitive Church," and that the Apostle alluded to Enoch and Elias, concerning whom it is an ancient and venerable tradition that they will appear on earth and suffer martyrdom in the final persecution of the anti-Christian power. He also informs us that some have
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 233
taken them " to mean Christ and St. John the Baptist ; " and " St. Antoninus thought they were the Pope Sylverius and Mennas of Con- stantinople ; " while others, he adds, took them to mean " Saint Dominic and Saint Francis ; " and the Abbot Joachim held them to be the priests and the monks of the Catholic Church ; while the glorious St. Teresa thought that they represented the Jesuit and Dominican orders ; and Protestant authors have inter- preted them to mean the two Testaments of Holy Scripture, or the sects of the mediaeval period, who protested against the Catholic Church, such as the Waldenses and Albi- genses, the Hussites and Lollards, and the
It is manifest from all this that there is a very great variety of opinion amongst commen- tators whether they belong to the Catholic Church, or whether they be separated from her communion.
For my own part, whilst I have no doubt that Elias will come again, and restore all things, as our Lord Himself asserted ; and while I think there is a very general tradition in the Church affirming the same of Enoch ; and while I believe that St. John in this place alludes to Elias and Enoch, and probably in- cludes them, I also am convinced that he means
234 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
much more. I believe with Abbot Joachim that he intends by the two witnesses "the priests and monks of the Catholic Church," or, in other words, " the clergy regular and the clergy secular."
Whatever ground there may be for inter- preting the 1260 days to signify 1260 years, there would be the same ground for interpret- ing the two witnesses to be not two literal per- sonages, but the whole body of the Catholic clergy, who may be accurately termed "the witnesses of God and of His truth," and His two witnesses, because it is an historical fact, that ever since the time of Mahomet up to the present day they have been divided into two general classes, the regulars and the seculars ; the former representing the contemplative state, the latter the active ; the former symbolized by Elias, who has ever been regarded as the type and pattern of the monastic state ; while Enoch, who was a patriarch and a prophet, that is, a preacher of truth, might not inaptly represent the general body of the pastors whom we com- monly call the secular clergy. Now, although there is solid ground for believing that Enoch and Elias will appear on earth "before the great and terrible day of the Lord," it does not by any means seem clear that they are intended in this passage of the Apocalypse;
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 235
and, in fact, we have already seen what a va- riety of interpretations have been suggested by different Catholic commentators : and if we are right in our opinion that the 1260 days signify 1260 years, it is quite clear that Enoch and Elias have not been on earth for that period, up to the present time at least. But we think, on examining the context, that it becomes still more obvious that the Apostle means the whole body of the clergy : he says, " these are the two olive trees, and the two candh sticks, that stand before the Lord of the earth." Now we confess we hardly see how such words as these are applicable to Enoch and Elias, whereas to the clergy they are per- fectly so. The clergy may well be said " to stand before the Lord of the earth," because they stand at His altar and minister unto Him, standing before Him as " dispensers of His mysteries," and priests of the new covenant. They may well be compared to olive trees, because they dispense the chrism of salvation, and because it is with the oil of the olive that they are consecrated to the service of God's altar ; and they may no less properly be called " the two candlesticks," because they dispense the light of truth to mankind by their preach- ing and their example. And we have already seen why they should be called the two olive
236 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
trees and the two candlesticks. Moreover, when in the next verse it says, " And if any one will hurt them, fire shall come out of their mouths and shall devour their enemies," that may refer to the power of anathema which is vested in the clergy, and to the power of in- flicting excommunication and other spiritual censures. And when in the next verse the Prophet continues, " These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy, and they have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues as often as they will," this may refer to the power which our Lord vested in the clergy, and which he called the " power of binding/' or of " retaining sin ; " the power of interdict, which history records to have been often exercised by the popes and other great bishops over whole provinces and kingdoms; a power very properly symbolized by such ex- pressions as " shutting heaven" " turning the waters into blood" and " striking the earth with plagues/' to say nothing of the miraculous powers which have been vested in many holy bishops and priests, who literally did what the text describes.
But in the seventh verse we come to what we regard as the prophecy of a tremendous perse- cution, which these witnesses, that is, the whole
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 237
body of the clergy, both regular and secular, are to endure towards the conclusion of the 1260 years. "And when they shall have finished their testimony," that is, when they shall have come to the conclusion of that wit- ness for Divine truth, which was to be exercised during the 1260 years, and which during that period was with varied success to uphold the Catholic faith in the West, the East being ground down under the feet of Antichrist : then, says t lit; Apostle, " the beast that ascendeth out of the abyss, shall make war upon them, and shall overcome them, and kill them." Now this prophecy, we believe, is not yet ful- filled, although we believe that its fulfilment is near at hand. That a tremendous persecution of the Catholic Church is coming may well be rat hered from all that has happened in the world since the middle of the last century. The sup- pression of the holy society of Jesus, which, in an evil hour, was wrung from Pope Cle- ment XIV. by the secular power, followed up as it was by a violent persecution of the Church, especially in France, by the suppression of mo- nasteries and convents, the desecration of innu- merable churches and chapels, the confiscation of ecclesiastical property, the abolition of tithe, and the inundation of impiety, which spread desolation from one end of Christendom to the
238 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
other ; and though we have lived to see a par- tial revival of Catholicity in some countries, yet the encroachments of the secular power upon the Church's domain have continually gone on increasing, and if in any country any king or emperor has relaxed the usurpations of the state for a single instant, that has only been the signal for fresh violence on the part of the disciples of error. I say, when we look back upon all that has taken place during the last eighty or hundred years, and when we recollect that during that same period the sovereign pon- tiff has been thrice driven from Rome, and the Roman people in a great degree perverted from the simplicity and fervour of former times, we must surely apprehend that all this will issue in some most fearful persecution of the Catholic Church. Now, this is precisely what I gather from this chapter of the Apocalypse, and when it says " that the beast shall make war upon them, and overcome them, and kill them," I think it means, that the secular power, influ- enced by the devil, will use all its endeavours to crush the spiritual power of the clergy, that is, of the Church's pastors, and that, for a short time, " it will overcome them/' that is, it will destroy their influence over the majority of men, and that "it will kill them ;" it will even put very many of them to death, perhaps even
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 239
the greater part of them. Nor is it visionary to apprehend such a catastrophe. Look at the principles of socialism, that are at work in France, and in other countries; look at Mor- monism, that is every day becoming more for- midable in America, and even in Europe ; look at the general spread of atheism and infidelity ; look at the horrible war that has broken out, one-half of Christendom aiming at the destruc- tion of the othrr half for the express purpose of upholding tin* Mahometan empire, which is, in fact, Mahometanism. And who shall say when this overwhelming persecution may not break out ?
The Prophet continues, " And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." By these words we understand that this persecution will extend all over the mystic Babylon, that is, through every country in the world, in the streets and highways of human civilization. Wherever these are, there will be seen slaughtered priests and monks, who will lay down their lives for the testimony of Jesus; and in a figurative sense, the different bodies of the clergy will be as it were annihilated or reduced to a very low ebb. Some have thought, from one expression in this text, that the "great tity" must mean
240 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Jerusalem, and not, as I interpret it, the whole world, because it says " where also their Lord was crucified," but I do not think this is the meaning, because the preceding words qualify the expression, "the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." The term " spiritu- ally" evidently qualifies all that follows in the sentence, not only the words " Sodom and Egypt," but also the concluding words, " where also their Lord was crucified." I think, there- fore, that it means, wherever spiritually our Lord has been crucified, that is, wherever men have crucified Him afresh by mortal sin after baptism, in other words, all over the world.
That the two witnesses will not be totally rooted out, and utterly annihilated, I gather from the next verse : " And they of the tribes, and peoples, and tongues, and nations, shall see their bodies for three days and a half; and they shall not suffer their bodies to be laid in sepulchres." From these words, it is clear the Church will still be visible, and still oecumenical, composed of all nations, tongues, tribes, and peoples. From the same text, I gather that the duration of this persecution will be for three days and a half, that is, for three years and a half: and this persecution will be the finishing stroke of Satan, his last effort before the com-
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 241
mencement of that glorious reaction which ushers in the millennial triumph of the Catholic Church.
This blessed reaction is predicted in the eleventh verse : " And after three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into them," that is, into the two witnesses, over whose destruction the preceding verse had told us "that they that dwell upon the earth" that is, all the impious disciples of this world, and its false doctrines, were to rejoice and congratulate each other, because the two prophets, who tor- mented them by the painful truths of God's revelation, were now slain : " and they stood" once more " upon their feet, and great fear fell upon them that saw them."
In the thirteenth verse, a great earthquake is described ; by this I understand a great war, and the result is declared to be the falling of a tenth part of the great city, by which may be meant the total destruction of one of the ten kingdoms, of those ten kingdoms, into which the great Roman empire we have already seen was to be subdivided. It is not for us to con- jecture what kingdom is specially referred to ; the event will show this to those who are alive at the time ; but we may probably conjecture that it will be that kingdom, which more than the others shall have been conspicuous in per- R
242 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
securing the Catholic Church; and when it says that in that earthquake ' ' names of men seven thousand were slain/' we must not under- stand that number to be literal, but to symbo- lize a countless multitude, who will perish in the great catastrophe. I ought here to say, that the tenth part of the city may also refer not to any one of the ten kingdoms in particular, but to a tenth part of the whole city, taken as a whole, that is, to a tithing of civilized men, wherever they are settled under a secular government, and, if so, I should apply it to the governing powers everywhere ; in this view of it, the fall of a tenth part of the city would symbolize the destruction of all existing thrones and governments all over the world ; and this interpretation I prefer, because it agrees better with Daniel's prophecy, when he interpreted Nabuchodonozor's dream, and described the total destruction of the metallic statue, and also because it coincides with St. John's own description of the total destruction of the mystic Babylon, in the eighteenth chapter of this same Apocalypse. Now, no one can read that description, and think for a moment that it refers to any one single city, because it de- scribes all mankind as involved in the ruin that comes upon Babylon, and all equally bewailing and lamenting over it.
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 243
Our readers are well aware that Protestant commentators are accustomed to interpret this Apocalyptic Babylon to signify Rome, and the Catholic Church ruled over by the pope of Rome. But to any one who reads atten- tively St. John's words, the absurdity of such an interpretation must be manifest. In the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, the angel speaking of Babylon, whose utter destruction he is proclaiming, uses this remarkable expres- sion : " because all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication : and the kin. ITS of the earth," that is, all the kings of the earth, " have committed fornication with her : and the merchants of the earth have been made rich," that is, all the merchants of the earth, " by the power of her delicacies." Now let the reader dwell upon these words, and he will at once see the absurdity of applying them to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has never yet brought all nations within her pale : and as for the kings of the earth, very few of them have ever yet admitted her authority, or embraced her doctrine. At the moment that I am now writing, there are in Europe alone a majority of nations and kings who do not profess the Catholic faith. England, Hol- land, Wirtemberg, Prussia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Russia, are all of them either
244 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
Protestant or else in schism, all separated from the Catholic Church : and when we look to the other continents the proportion is still less in her favour. While I am quite at a loss to understand what the Catholic Church can have to do with " the merchants of the earth ;" or how "the power of her delicacies" can have possibly enriched them. No, if the Catholic Church were exterminated from the face of the earth to-morrow, I think the last people, who would mourn over her destruction, would be the kings and the merchants. Neither of these two classes of men have ever been very famous for obeying her laws, or following her maxims : I should be more inclined to expect that they would rejoice over it, and say, as we read in the eleventh chapter, "let us rejoice, for her prophets tormented us, who dwell upon the earth."
But supposing some very horrible and general war, some terrible revolution, were to involve the whole civilized world, and we were to see enacted, on a still greater scale, what we wit- nessed in miniature in 1848, and that we saw every throne overturned, the landmarks that at present divide the nations swept away, socialism and Mormonism and infidelity taking the place of religion and social order, and trampling all government and property under their feet, why
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 245
we should then witness precisely what this pro- phecy leads us to expect : we should see all the kings of the earth " weeping and bewailing themselves " (Apoc. xviii. 9) over their great Babylon, overwhelmed as she then would be in the general conflagration: we should see the merchants " weeping and mourning over her " (ver. 11), for their commerce would be at an end: we should see the shipmasters (ver. 17) bewailing the end of their trade and their gains. Cities and villages, palaces and cot- tages, parks and gardens, would all perish in the general conflagration. Anarchy would sweep away every vestige of order, and instead of the boasted civilization of the nineteenth century, all things would be reduced to primi- tive chaos.
Now horrible as it may seem, no one can read the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse, and not perceive that some such catastrophe is foretold, if at least he believe in the Divine inspiration of that book: and, on the other hand, if he looks around and accurately scans the various elements that are at work in modern society, he will not regard such an issue, awful though it be, as in any degree impossible : on the contrary, unless the destructive influences that are at work are removed, it is clearly inevitable.
246 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
That these destructive influences will one day be removed, we have the consoling assur- ance of the same prophecy, but not until they have done their work, and absolutely anni- hilated the whole fabric of the hollow and deceitful civilization of mankind, as it exists at present. It is this great consummation, which the Prophet refers to, when he says (ver. 20), "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath judged your judgment upon her." And well might the heaven and its angelic inhabitants, well might the apostles and prophets rejoice over the destruction of this accursed Babylon, for (ver. 24) " in her was found the blood of the prophets and the saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Now these last words clearly and incontestably prove what, and where, this mystic Babylon is. It is the city of the devil, the " mundus tenebrarum " of which St. Augustine speaks, *nankind, in a word, organ- ized, ruled over, and civilized upon the prin- ciples of the devil, not of God : that great mass of humanity, into which, like three measures of meal, Holy Church was to cast the Gospel leaven, till the whole should be leavened. Now what is the process that takes place in the leavening of bread ? it is a fermenting process, which makes the whole mass heave and rise,
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 247
and the noxious gases bubble up and explode, after which it is baked in the oven, and be- comes good bread, fit for the food of man. So has it been, and so will it be with humanity, under the influence of the Gospel leaven. This leaven was given to the Church by Jesus Christ, her Divine Founder. The Church cast it at once into the corrupted mass of humanity : and as our Lord speaks in His parable of three " measures of meal/' so I conceive there were to be three great fermentations of mankind before it should be perfectly leavened with the Divine doctrine. The first of these fermen- tations was the great strife between the Gospel and paganism during the three first centuries, working that dreadful persecution that crowiu-d all the primitive martyrs, issuing in the con- version of Constantino, and the subjugation of the pagan element; for though paganism has not yet been rooted out from the earth, yet since Constantino's conversion, it has never been able to afflict the Church with any general and universal persecution, as it did before that epoch, and although it has ever existed, it has been only in the heart of the most distant and least influential portions of the human race: such as in India and China, or amongst the degraded nations of Africa, America, and the islands of the ocean. The conversion, there-
248 AN INQUIRY INTO THE
fore, of Constantine indicated the completion of the first fermentation of humanity, namely, the fermentation of the pagan element. This was, it seems to me, the leavening of the first " measure of meal," spoken of by our Lord.
The second fermentation dates from Con- stantine to Luther, and this may be called the fermentation of the heretical element : which is the same as the Antichristian element : the element of the " False Christs " foretold by our Saviour. Amongst these the culminating and crowning personage is the False Prophet Ma- homet. This fermentation came to its utmost height in the time of Luther, and issued in the severance of the northern nations from the Catholic Church, as it had previously severed the east from her dominion by the heresies that ensued upon Constantino's conversion, crowned as they were by the great apostasy of the Man of Sin, Mahomet. This fermentation, while it severed the chaff from the good grain, led to all those glorious definitions of Divine truth, by which the Church has guarded the deposit of revelation from the days of the Council of Nice down to those of the Council of Trent : and this was, as I think, the leavening of the second " measure of meal " spoken of by our Lord.
The third fermentation dates from Luther to
PROPHECIES CONCERNING ANTICHRIST. 249
the final destruction of Babylon. And this may be called the fermentation of the infidel or ra- tionalistic element, which was generated by the Protestant principle of bringing all things to the bar of private judgment and individual interpre- tation of Scripture, as separated from tradition. The effect of this fermentation has been unfolded by the history of the last three centuries, and it will be still more unfolded. It has produced a countless host of discordant sects, issuing in complete rationalism and infidelity, the result of which has been not only to paralyse faith, but even to destroy all healthy action in the body politic. It is to this that we may trace up all the anarchical and revolutionary out- breaks, that for the last century and a half have, with ever-increasing force, shaken and disorganized the whole framework of the civilized world. It is this fermentation, which we believe is to issue in the utter destruction of Babylon, that is, of the present social organization of mankind, and the subsequent establishment of the Church empire, that is, of the kingdom of the stone, cut out of the mountain without hands.
The first effect of this rationalistic fermentation manifested itself in the sixteenth century, when learned men, abandoning the Divine philosophy of the Catholic Church, such as the angelical Doctor St. Thomas Aquinas had fashioned it, embraced the Epicurean and other false systems of heathen antiquity. Along with this new development of heathen philosophy, there arose a simultaneous desire to revive the expression of the heathen mind in art and architecture, and in literature. The result of this was more and more to sever men's minds from the influence of Catholicism and the Gospel, and so to make them an easier prey to the arguments of rationalism and infidelity, while it tended immensely to the development of immorality and impurity in its worst forms. All this came to a culminating point in the great French Revolution, which, on a smaller scale, has been enacted in almost every other country ; and although good men from time to time have been raised up by God to stem the torrent, or, if possible, to infuse a Christian element into it, it has been continually spreading its noxious influence, till at length we behold the universe involved in it, and all men, who look seriously at what is going on, are persuaded that humanity is hurrying on to the most tremendous cataclysm that history has ever witnessed.
This cataclysm is what we understand by the destruction of the mystic Babylon of the Apocalypse, and it will issue in the final triumph of the Catholic Church over all her foes, in the total conversion of the earth, and the final leavening of the third " measure of meal," as our Lord and Master intimated in His Divine parable.
Veni Domine Jesu, et noli tardare.
WE have thus far endeavoured to investigate the prophecies of Holy Scripture, which relate to that dreadful incarnation of evil, that the same Sacred Book designates under the name of Antichrist, or of those other symbolical descriptions and personages, which, by the common consent of Christian interpreters, are referred to Antichrist. We have examined, first, what prophecy in general would lead us to expect concerning this being ; when he was to appear ; where he was to fix the principal seat of his dominion; what was to be the period or the duration of that dominion ; and what were to be the characteristics of it. We then inquired whether any personage had arisen in past history answering to these prophetic marks and descriptions, and we found that there was a personage, who, in our opinion at least, exactly fulfilled them all, and that this personage was the great Arabian impostor, Mahomet : while the religious system he fabricated, in alliance with the mighty political empire he also founded along with it, had exercised in relation to Christianity all that prophecy foretold would be perpetrated by Antichrist in opposition to the kingdom of Christ ; and so we have passed on to conjecture from the same prophecies of Holy Writ, what is the future destiny, and when the probable end of this great delusion.
At the moment that I am now writing, it is affirmed by several authors, that the followers of the false Prophet, Mahomet, amount to not less than two hundred millions of the human race. And it is probable, that at many other periods of Mahometan history, their number has been greater still. Now, let the reader weigh well the moral importance of such a fact as this, let him count up the successive generations of so many hundred millions of the human race, who, during the long lapse of twelve centuries, have been swept away to everlasting perdition in the flames of hell by the operation of the lying revelations of Mahomet let him estimate all the persecutions of Christians, all the murders of the followers of Jesus, all the desecrations and destructions of churches and monasteries, all the desolating wars, all the hideous cruelties, and all the other unnatural crimes committed by the disciples of Mahomet during the same period, and let him remember that all this sprung from the very system itself, and was enjoined by it. And then let him say, what more he could possibly expect from any ideal Antichrist of his own theory.
Jesus Christ was the son of Isaac, that is, of the legitimate son of Abraham.
Mahomet was the son of Ishmael, that is, of the illegitimate son of Abraham ; and the latter, that is, Mahomet, has assuredly held to the former, that is, to Jesus Christ, precisely that relation which all analogy would have led us to expect between Christ and Antichrist. The first, the Saviour of mankind ; the latter, their destroyer. The first, the legitimate King of all the earth; the latter, the usurper of that dominion, the arch-rebel, who would fain have robbed Christ of His glory as a Prophet, of His empire as a King, and of His everlasting Priesthood, by the denial of His atonement, and the abolition of the daily sacrifice of the altar.
If Mahomet be not Antichrist, may humanity be spared the revelation of something worse, of something still more horrible ! But if the imagination of my reader would be satisfied with something less horrible than Mahomet, let me, at least, congratulate humanity that it has already seen the worst phase of evil, while I leave it to the contradictor to adjust the balance between the statements of prophecy, and the phantoms of his own brain.
But while, on the other hand, we may feel convinced who and what is the great Anti-christ so often foretold in Divine Scripture, let us never forget those remarkable words with which St. John ushers him into our consideration : " Little children, there are many Anti-christs." The inspired Apostle tells us who these Antichrists were, they were seducing spirits, that had gone forth from the apostolic communion. And so, though Mahomet be the great and crowning Antichrist, all heresies are Antichrist, and Mahomet is the Antichrist above all others, because his heresy is the greatest and the worst that has ever desolated the Church.
We have shown the absurdity of those interpreters who would refer to the pope and the religion of the pope, that is, to the Catholic religion, the Divine prophecies relating to Antichrist, but we have also shown that all such interpreters of prophecy are themselves emis- saries and disciples of Antichrist. What re- mains but that all who adhere to Catholicity in these perilous times should look well to themselves, and earnestly pray for grace to live worthy of their holy vocation, so that they be found fit to partake of that great triumph which the Word of God assures us is in store for that blessed and holy Church of which they have the privilege to be the children and the upholders.
Exurgat Deus y et dissipentur omnes inimiciejus ! Amen.
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|