Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fee more largely exposed and refuted by (2) Bochart among the foreign, and by Dr. Henry Moore among our Englith writers.

9. Dr. Hammond is every where full of Simon Magus and the Gnoftics, fo that it is the less to be wondered that he thonld introduce them upon this occasion, and apply this whole prophecy to them, wlierein he is more confiftent than Grotius, who applies part to Simon Magus, and part to Caligula. The apoftasy, (3) according to him, was a great departure or defection from the faith to the heresy of the Gooftics. The man of sin and the wicked one was Simon Magus, that wicked impostor, together with his followers, the Gnoftics. What hindered their thowing themselves and making open profeffion of their hoftility against the orthodox Christians, was the apostles not having yet given over preaching to the Jews, and turned to the Gentiles. This fame magician opposed himself against Christ, fotting himself up for the chief or first Gud, superior to all other Gods ; and accordingly was publickly worshipped by the Samaritans and others, and had a statue erected to him at Rome by the emperor Claudius. Hinn Christ destroyed in an extraordinary manner by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter; and all the apoftatizing Gnostics who adhered to him, were involved in the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, with whom they had joined against the Christians. But the principal objection to this exposition is the same as to that of Grotius, that the apostle is here made to foretel things after the events. Simon Magus was already revealed, (Acts VIII. 9, 10.) and had bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one : To whom they all gave heed from the least to the

greatej!, saying, This man is the great power of God.

Dr. Hammond himself contends, that Simon came to Rome and was there honored as God, at the beginning of the reign of Claudius; but this Epistle was written in the latter part of the fame reign, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

(2) Bocharti Examen Libelli de Part 2. Book 2. Chap. 20. Antichristo. Op. Tom. 2. Col. 1044 (3) See Hammond's Paraphrase -1051. More's Mystery of Iniquity and Annotations.

64

even the Doctor in () another place confeffeth it. The apoftles too had already turned from the Jews to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas had declared to the Jews at Antioch in Pilidai, (Aets XIII. 16.) It wus neccffary that the word of God Mould first have been spoken to you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge your/ilves umworthy of everlasting life, lo, če turn to the Gentiles: but this transaction was before this Epistle was written, and indeed before ever Paul went to Thessalonica. As part of the facts here predicted as future were already past, so the other part are manifestly false, or of uncertain credit at best. The statue erected to Simon Magus at Rome, and his public defeat there by the preaching and miracles of St. Peter in the presence of the emperor, are no better than fables. Even papists doubt the truth of these things, and well may others deny it. Simon Magus might perhaps have many followers; but it doth not appear that many of the Christians apoftatized to him. Simon Magus might perhaps be worthipped by the Samaritans; but it doth not appear that he was ever worshipped in the temple of God at Jerusalem, or in any house of God belonging to the Christians. He died by all accounts fome years before the destruction of Jerufalem; and it doth not appear that any of the Gnostics were involved in the destruction of the unbelieving Jews. They were so far from being all involved in the fame destruction as Dr. Hammond afferts, that that fect florished most after the defiruction of Jerusalem, and the second century after Chrisi is fometimes distinguished by the title of Seculum Gnosticum or the age of the Gnoitics. Besides when it is said Ilhom the Lord Jhall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, it is evident that the fame person who was to be consumed with the spirit of his moutlı

, was also to be destroyed with the brightness of his coming: but according to this exposition, Simon Magus was consumed by the spirit of his mouth, that is by the prayer and preaching of St. Peter; and the unbelieving Jews and Gnostics were destroyed together by the bright

(4) See his Pref, to the ift Epift. to the Thessalonians,

ness

1

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ness of his coming, that is by the destruction of Jerufalem. They who desire to see a farther refutation of this exposition, may find it in (5) Le Clerc among the foreign, and in Whitby among our English commentafors.

3. Le Clerc, whose comment on the New Testament is a translation and supplement of Hammond's, hath not demolished his hypothesis without erecting (6) another of his own, which he esteemis much more probable than the conjecture both of Grotius and Hammond. He fupposeth that the apostasy was tlie great revolt of the Jews from the Romans. The man of sin was the rebellious Jews, and especially their famious leader Simon, not Magus, but the son of Gioras. They trampled upon all authority divine and human. They seised and profaned the temple of God. What hindered was what reftrained the Jews from breaking into open rebellion, which was partly the reverence of the Jewith magistrates, and partly the fear of the Roman armies. The mystery of iniquity was the spirit of rebellion then working under the mask of liberty. The feditious Jews were also the wicked one; and they had among them false prophets and impostors, who pretended to show great signs and wonders. But to this hypothesis it may be replied, that the apostasy is plainly a defection from the true religion, and it is used in no other fenfe by the apostle. It was not likely that lie should entertain his new Gentile converts with discourses about the Jewish state and government, wherewith they had little concern or connexion. It was also

(5) Clericus in locum. Whitby's contrà sese eâ fuperiores existimarint.. Pref. to the ad Epift. to the Thessalo. Scelerati illi Zelotæ et Idumæi, qui tem

plum Jerofolymitanum invaferant, &c. (0) Nihil vetat in medium suspi. -Toxale xovest quod coercebat Judæos, ciunem proferre, quæ haud paulo veri- ne in apertam rebellionem erumperent ; fimilior videtur, et Grotiana et Ham- hoc eft, partim reverentia procerum mondiana conjectura. Atosaobv ergo Judææ gentis,-partim metus exercifufpicor Paulum vocare defe&tionem tuum Romanorum, &c. Musegroy avoillam magnam Judæorum, qua im- pras, quod fieri incipiebat hoc temperii Romani jugum excutere frustra pore, erat in eo fitum, ut specie liberconaturi funt.-sequitur hominem pec- tatis, &c.-Verè quidem nofter avonoy cati esse rebelles Judæos, et prælertim vocari animadvertit scelestos homines, eximium eorum ducem Simonem, non qui antea designati fuerunt voce ó artiMagum, fed Gioræ filium.-Seditiofi Eilev@; fed intelligendi feditiofi Judæi auctoritatem omnem legiti- Judæi, &c.-Fuere et alii impostores, mam, cuin exterorum, tum popula- quoruin non uno loco meminit Joserium, tantum abest ut coluerint, ut phus, &c. Cleric. in locum.

scarce

nians.

scarce worthy of the spirit of prophecy to say, that the destruction of Jerusalemn should not happen, unless there was first a rebellion of the Jews. No good reaton is asligned, why Simon the son of Gioras should be reputed the man of sin, rather than other factious leaders, John and Eleazar. No proof is alleged, that he was ever worshipped in the teinple of God as God. He was not exalted above every God or emperor; for he was vanquished and made the emperor's prisoner. His coming was not “with all signs and lying wonders ;” for hie never pretended to any such power. He was not destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem; but was preserved alive, and (7) was afterwards led in triumph at Rome, and then was dragged through the streets with a rope about his neck, and was severely fcourged, and at lait put to death in the common prison. Besides it is not very consistent in this learned critic, by the coming of Christ in ver. 8 to understand the destruction of Jerusalem, and in his note upon ver. 1 to say that. (8) the coming of Christ both in the first Epistle to the Theffalonians, and in this, is the coming of Christ to judge the quick and dead.

4. Dr. Whithy's (9) scheme is somewhat perplexed and confused, as if he was not satisfied himself with his own explication. The apostasy is the revolt of the “ Jews from the Roman empire, or from the faith.” If the former, it is the fame mistaken notion as Le Clerc's. If the latter, it is true that many were to apoftatize from the faith, before the destruction of Jerusalem, according to the prediction of our Saviour: but it doth not appear that their number was so very great, as to deserve to be called by way of eminence and distinction the apostasy. The man of fin is the Jewish nation “ with their high-priest and fanhedrim.” But the Jewish nation with their high-priest and fanhedrim could not be said to apofiatize from the faith which they never received: and those Christian Jews, who did apoftatize, were never united under any one head or leader, famous

(7) Josephus de Bell. Jud. Lib. 7. tus Chrifti, ad judicandum de vivis et Cap. 5. sect. 6. Edit. Hudsor.. mortuis. Cleric ibid. (8) σαράσια

Christi et in 1 Ep. ad (9) See Whitby's Paraphrafe and Thessalonicenses, et in hac eft adven- Commentary, Vol. II. H

Or

66

or infamous enough to merit the title of the man of fin. The Jewish nation too with their high-priest and fanbedrim were already revealed; and most of the instances which this author allegeth, of their oppofing the Chriftian religion, and exalting themselves above all laws divine and human, were prior to the date of this Epistle. He was himfelfaware of this objection, and endevors to prevent it by faying, " that these are the descriptions of o the mun of sin, by which the Thetlalonians might then “ know him, and they run all in the present tense,

1howing what he already did.” But it is the known and usual ftile of prophecy to speak of things future as present, intimating that though future they are as sure and certain as if they were even now present. He who now letteth is the Roman emperor Claudius, and " he will lett until he be taken out of the way, that is, “ he will hinder the Jews from breaking out into an

open rebellion in his time, they being so signally and “ particularly obliged by him." But how utterly improbable is it, that the apostle should talk and write of Jewillı politics to Gentile converts ! If Claudius withheld the Jews from revolting from the Roman government, did he withhold them also from apoftatizing from the Christian faith? or what was it that withheld them? and what then becomes of that interpretation? “When “ Claudius thall be taken out of the way, as he was by “ poison, then they shall be revealed, either by actual

apostaly from the Roman government, or by the great " apoftatự of the believers of that nation. But the apoftafy of believers was not near so great nor univerfal as the apostasy from the Roman government. Here too is the fame ambiguity and uncertainty as before. The prophecy plainly intends one fort of apoftafy, and this learned commentator propofeth two, and inclines fometimes to the one, and fometimes to the other; as may beti fuit his hypothesis. He is guilty too of the fame incontistency as Le Clerc, in interpreting the coming of Christ in the former Epistle, and in this Epistle, ånd in the firti verse of this very chapter, of his coming to judge the world ; and yet in verse the cighth, of his coming to destroy Jerusalem. But if the destruction of Jerufalem only was meant, what need had the Theffalo

nians

3

« AnteriorContinuar »