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Sixth Sermon on 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2


by Thomas Manton


And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the
breath of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of his coming.-2 Thess.
2:8.

THESE words contain both the rise and ruin of Antichrist, his revelation and destruction.

1. As to his revelation, there are two things:--

[1.] The title given to Antichrist: o anomoV, the wicked.

[2.] His appearing in the world upon the taking away the impediment: shall be
revealed.

2. As to his ruin, three things are observable:--

[1.] The progress of his destruction, which is here considered as begun, or as
consummated.

(1.) A diminishing of antichristianism: whom the Lord shall consume.

(2.) The finishing thereof, in the word destroy.

[2.] The author, the Lord.

[3.] The means.

(1.) God's word, called his breath, or the Spirit of his mouth.

(2.) The brightness of his coming, namely, when he shall come to judge the world
in the glory of the Father.

First, Of the rising of Antichrist: 'And then shall that wicked be revealed.'

1. The title given to Antichrist, oo anomoV, that lawless one, or son of Belial.
It is the property of Antichrist to boast himself to be above all laws, and to
be judged by no power upon earth; for therein he resembleth Antiochus, of whom
it is said, 'He shall do according to his own will,' Dan. 11:36. Now if this be
one of his characters, it will not be hard to find him out; for who is that
infallible judge that taketh upon him to decide all controversies, and judgeth
all things, and is judged of no man? and whosoever doth but mutter against his
decrees and delusions, if a private person, he is to be destroyed with fire and
sword; if a prince, to be excommunicated, deposed, and his subjects freed from
all allegiance to him? Who is he that taketh upon him, with faculties, licenses,
and pardons, to dispense with the law of God, and to allow open and notorious
sins? Who is he that by his own writers is said to be Solutus omni lege humana,
freed from all human law (Hostiensis), Nec ullo jure humano ligari potest, that
hath a paramount authority to all laws, that be cannot be bound by them, whether
they concern parricide, the murder of princes; or perjury, the obligation of
oaths; or matrimony, the bond of conjugal relations? But one expressly saith,
that he is supra jus, contra jus, extra jus, above law, against law, and without
law; a plain description of the lawless one in, the text; and another, not
without some spice of blasphemy, Apud Deum et Papam sufficit pro ratione
voluntas, God and the Pope have their will for a law. Lastly, Who is he that
hath brought into the church the great impiety of worshipping of God by images,
and, the worship of the saints and angels, with a worship which is only due to
God? which is the great anomia, the lawlessness, which the pure Christian rule
condemneth and brandeth for such. If there be not such a power extant in the
Christian world, then I confess we are yet to seek for Antichrist; but if there
be, none so wilfully blind as they that cannot see wood for trees, and know not
where to fix this character.

2. His revelation: 'Then shall that wicked be revealed.' The word revealed
noteth two things:--

[1.] His appearance in the world.

[2.] God's discovery of him.

[1.] Then he shall be revealed beareth this sense, He shall be in the world, and
begin to lift up his head as soon as the Roman emperor and empire shall be
removed; this lawless one shall begin to discover himself and set up his
kingdom.

Now to understand this, consider this:--

(1.) The most learned interpreters, both ancient and modern, agree in this, that
the impediment was the Roman empire, as we showed before; and therefore as the
Roman empire and emperor were removed out of the way, Antichrist was to be
revealed, or the predictions of the scripture are false.

(2.) Things of great moment cannot be removed nor established in a minute. The
removing of the Roman empire was not all at once, nor the rising of the
pontificate, but by degrees the seat began to be made void. When Constantine
began to remove the imperial throne to Byzantium, though the majesty of the
empire continued still at Rome, yet this was a step to the removing of the
impediment, for by that means the popes grew in greatness; but as the emperor's
authority was lessened, so grew that of the popes, who still encroached to
themselves more and more power, and that to promote the apostasy and derogation
from the pure Christian religion. But as soon as he arose, he came not to the
height of his power, either ecclesiastical or temporal, nor shall he presently
decay.

(3.) To state the progress of antichristian tyranny is not for a sermon, it
filleth whole books; but thus in short. About the year 600, or in that century,
their ecclesiastical power began to be raised, when the majesty of the empire
was low and weak in Italy, and therefore then was Antichrist advanced a good
step. When John of Constantinople had usurped the title of universal bishop,
Gregory the Great saith, Rex superbiae prope adest-the king of pride is near; et
sacerdotum exercitus ei prceparatur-an army of priests is prepared to serve him
as their general; this he-(fidenter dico, I speak confidently) and within six
years or thereabouts Phocas conferred on Pope Boniface the same title, to
ingratiate himself with the people of that part of the empire, after the murder
of his lord and master. And then many superstitions were gotten into the church;
as, about the year 688, the Pope obtained of the emperor the Pantheon, or temple
of all-devils, and consecrated the same to the Virgin Mary, and all saints. The
temporal monarchy was long in hatching, but yet the beginning of this mystery
soon bewrayed itself. In the beginning of the seventh century, Constantine the
Pope would have his foot kissed, like another Diocletian, and in defence of
image-worship he openly resisted Philippicus, the Emperor of Greece, and
encouraged Justine and Anastasius, tyrants and murderers, who submitted
themselves to him with adoration. Rebellion and idolatry have been ever
continued since. In the year 720, or thereabouts, Gregory the Second and Third
continued the same idolatry and rebellion, and caused all Italy to withdraw
their obedience from the Emperor Leo, because he had commanded all images to be
broken and burnt, and for the same cause excommunicated him, and took to himself
the Coctian Alps as the gift of the Lombards. In the same century, 749, Zachary
encourageth and assisteth Pepin to depose his master Childeric, king of France,
and to take upon him that kingdom. Afterward Adrian took upon him to translate
the empire of the Greeks to the Latins; and ever since deposed emperors and made
broils in kingdoms.

[2.] God's discovery of him to the world; that is, when Antichrist was not only
extant, but impleaded as such; and this also was by degrees, God raising up in
every age witnesses against the tyranny and usurpations of Rome, as the place,
and the Pope, the person, as, considered in his succession, claiming the same
power. Five hundred years before Luther, Peter Bruis began, and Henry his
scholar succeeded him, and both of them succeeded by the Waldenses and
Albigenses; then Wicliffe, the Bohemians, who have all pleaded and proved that
the Pope was the very Antichrist; then Savonarola in Italy preached this boldly.

In the fifteenth century, about 1500, there were some remainder of the
Albigenses about the Alps, some few relics of the Hussites and Calixtines in
Bohemia, so few and so ignorant that they had neither learning nor ability to
oppose this potent tyranny. Then God raised up Luther, and many other worthies
to assault the idolatry, tyranny, and errors of the church of Rome; and it is
reported in history, that the angel on the top of the Tower St Angelo was beaten
down by a thunderbolt; and in the very day and in the church where Pope Leo the
Tenth at Rome had created thirty-one cardinals, a sudden tempest dashed the keys
out of the hands of the image of St Peter, showing God would begin to take away
their power.

Use. If God hath revealed Antichrist, let no man shut his eyes, but let him be
shunned, forsaken, and abhorred. When Christ was to come into the world, it was
a day of rumours; some sent to John Baptist, whether he were the Christ, others
cried up false Christs and impostors; but the people were alarmed with a general
expectation. So when Antichrist was to be revealed, it was a day of rumours;
just about the time there was a great expectation: some pitched it here, some
there, until the pit was discovered to the church, and the snare laid open. And
now to run wilfully into these errors, how damnable is it! If Papists cleave to
him, let not Protestants fall to him; to continue Papists is dangerous, for they
favour Antichrist, and serve Antichrist; but to turn Papists is more dangerous,
for this is a down-right revolt from Christ to Antichrist. And how God may in
mercy dispense with errors imbibed in our education we know not; but to turn our
back on the truth, wherein we have been educated and instructed, maketh it more
dangerous to our salvation.

Secondly, We now come to the more comfortable part, his ruin; where note:--

1. In the general, that the apostle, as soon as he had showed his rise, he
presently foretelleth his ruin, to support the hearts of the faithful, though he
hath yet more things to speak concerning his discovery, ver. 9. I cannot let
this pass without an observation.

Doct. That a spiritual eye can discern the ruin of wicked instruments, even in
their rise and reign: Job 5:3, 'I have seen the foolish taking root, and
presently I cursed his habitation.' By the foolish, is meant the wicked; by
their taking root, their seeking to fix and settle themselves in their worldly
prosperity; I presently; that is, without any great deliberation, which in this
matter needeth not, cursed their habitation, not as desiring, but as foreseeing
and foretelling. I pronounced them accursed, or to be in a cursed condition;
when carnal men seek to root and establish themselves upon earth, to a spiritual
eye, their best estate is miserable and detestable. When we see their rise, we
may foretell their fall.

REASONS.

1. Their faith occasions such a reflection, which is `the evidence of things not
seen,' Heb. 11:1. They look not at things as at present they seem to
shortsighted men, or as they relish to the flesh, but as they appear, and will
be judged of at last; their ruin is as present before them as their rise;
present time is quickly past. But now without faith this cannot be: 2 Peter 1:9,
'He that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off,' muwpaizon, but
are dazzled with present splendour, and so miscarry.

2. This faith is necessary:--(l.) Partly to prevent scandal at the prosperity of
an ungodly party who obey not the gospel, but corrupt and pervert it to their
worldly ends. David's steps were even gone when he saw the prosperity of the
wicked, till he went into the sanctuary and understood their end, Ps. 73:17;
that settled his heart, to consider what end these men were appointed unto. How
prosperous soever they seem to be for the present, yet the end must put the
difference; there they see the wicked in the height of their prosperity, as
ready to be cut down and withered. (2.) To prevent apostasy. They choose the
better part that choose the holiness and patience of' the saints: 2 Cor. 4:18,
`While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not
seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not
seen are eternal.' But things present carry away our hearts, because we have so
dim and doubtful a sight of things to come; whereas, if we did look upon them as
sure and near, they would fortify us against temptations: Prov. 3:31,32, `Envy
thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways;-for the froward is
abomination to the Lord, but his secret is with the righteous.'

II. More particularly the ruin of Antichrist is set forth:-1. Partly by the
manner of his fall. It is represented both as, begun and finished: he shall be
consumed, he shall be destroyed; the one noteth a lingering delay, the other an
utter perdition, that he shall be finally rooted out.

First, Consumed. to consume is to waste and melt away by little and little.
Doct. Antichrist is not presently to be destroyed, but to waste away by a
lingering consumption; as his rising was by little and little, so is his fall;
he loseth his authority in Christendom by degrees.

Now the reasons may be these:--

1. God hath a ministry and use for him and the abettors of his kingdom, as he
hath a use for the devil himself, therefore permitteth him some limited power;
but yet he holdeth him in the chains of his. invincible providence. So hath he a
use for the devil's eldest son, for Antichrist, and antichristian adversaries,
which, if their power were wholly gone, could not be performed; as--

[1.] To scourge his people for their sins, as their contempt of the gospel, and
wantonness under the several privileges which they enjoy by it. God will not
want a rod to scourge his disobedient children; as, Isa. 10:5, he calleth the
Assyrian `the rod of his anger,' the instrument that he maketh use of to punish
those with whom he is angry. And again, the `staff of his indignation,'-the
staff is a heavier and sorer instrument of correction than a rod. What the
Assyrian was to the Jews, that Antichrist is to professing Christians. God useth
him till he have sufficiently chastised his children, and then he will cast this
rod into the fire. Heathens and Turks are at a distance from us: our miseries
will come from antichristianism, who are nearer at hand to execute the Lord's
vengeance when we grow wanton.

[2.] To try his people, for he expects a tried obedience; what Christianity we
will accept and choose-that calculated for this world, or that which is
calculated for the next. Antichristianism, in all the branches of it, is a sort
of religion suited to worldly interests: 1 John 4:5, 'They are of the world;
therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them;' but true
Christianity is for the kingdom of heaven: 1 Cor. 2:12, `Now we have received,
not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God.' Therefore God will
try who are the formal and pretended Christians, that serve their own bellies,
and the sincere Christians, who look to an unseen world, and are willing to
hazard their own interests out of their fidelity to Christ; therefore, when the
saints under the altar groaned: Rev. 6:10, 'How long, Lord, holy and true, dost
thou not avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 'the answer given
was, ver. 11, `that they should rest for a season until their fellow-servants,
and also their brethren that should be killed, as they were, should be
fulfilled.' In every age God will have his witnesses, who by their faith and
patience, and not loving their lives to the death, should promote the Lamb's
kingdom before they receive their crown; and therefore, though Antichrist be
consumed more and more, yet he hath so many abettors of his kingdom left as may
try the faith and patience of the saints.

[3] To cure our divisions. Nazianzen called the enemies kkoinoi diallaktai, the
common reconcilers. The dog is let loose to make the sheep flock together. We
are hardened in our strifes against each other till a common danger unite us. It
is noted that when there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle
and Lot's cattle, the Canaanite and Perizzite were yet in the land, Gen. 13:7.
God will unite those in common sufferings whose stubborn humours will not suffer
them to meet upon other terms.

[4.] To keep up a remembrance of his mercies: Ps. 59:11, 'Slay them not, lest my
people forget; scatter them by thy power, and bring them down, O Lord, our
shield.' God maketh us sensible of the care he hath over us, not by the utter
destruction of the enemies of his people, but by lingering judgments on them,
which affect us more than if they were cut off suddenly.

2. Many other reasons may be given, because it serveth the beauty and harmony of
his providence to cut them off in their time, and by such means as he hath
appointed, and in such a way as shall most conduce unto his glory. But I pass
them by; we must tarry his leisure, and not question his truth and care over us,
and be content that our faith and patience be exercised. If God should bring a
sudden destruction upon a power and tyranny so supported by the combined
interests of the world, we were not able to bear it. Thorns serve for a fence to
a garden of roses. God would not destroy the Canaanites at once, lest the beasts
of the field should increase upon them, Deut. 7:22; nor all abettors of
antichristianism, lest his people should lie open to such evils as they cannot
bear.

[1.] Observe this consumption, how it is accomplished. If we find Antichrist
risen, discovered, and consumed, why should we be in doubt any longer? The pomp
and height was much about 1500 years after Christ; what a consumption hath
happened since, by the reviving religion and learning, the Christian world
should with thankfulness take notice of, by the falling of Germany, England,
France, and Hungary in a great part, together with Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and
other countries; and by what means hath this been but by the Spirit of his
mouth? It is profitable to know Antichrist by his rise and description; but it
is comfortable to know him by his discovery and consumption, and God's blessing
such unlikely means at the beginning to such a wonderful effect. When Luther
first appeared, the bishop of Strasburg told him, lllttAbi in coelum, mi frater,
et dic, miserere nostri (Depart to heaven, my brother, and then say you pity
us). But God hath done great things for us too: when he first turned the
captivity of his churches, we were like unto those that dream.

[2] Caution. Antichrist is consumed, but he is not yet dead. What strength he
may recover before his last destruction, God knoweth. Popery after it was cast
out, hath re-entered Bohemia and Austria, and the emperor's hereditary
countries; and what havoc hath been made of the evangelical churches, the book
of Caraffa, the bishop and legate of the Pope, called Germania sacra restaurata
(The German Sacrifices Restored), showeth, wherein many notable things
concerning their artifices to replant Popery are set down. As to England, some
hope his consumption is not desperate, and many fear that Popery may recover
again, unless God in mercy prevent it. We know not what is in the womb of
providence, or how far the prerogative of free grace may interpose in our
behalf-whether England shall be made a theatre of mercy once more, or the seat
of idolatry, and superstition, and blood. But though we do not know what God
hath determined, yet we may soon know what England hath deserved. And that is
enough to quicken us to watchfulness and prayer, and expectation, and serious
preparation for the day of evil; and by these things, if it cometh to pass, it
will do us no harm.

(1.) When God hath laid in great store of comforts against sufferings, usually
there is a time of expense to lay them out again. Christ warned his hearers to
make use of the light, because of the darkness coming upon them, John 12:35, 36.
You never knew the gospel powerfully preached, but trials came: Heb. 10:32-34,
`For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your
goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an enduring
substance.' Castles are first victualled, then besieged: the ministry is
consolatory mostly.

(2.) When men can neither bear our vices nor their proper remedies Ezek. 24:13,
'In thy filthiness is lewdness; because I have purged thee, and thou wast not
purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have
caused my fury to rest upon thee;' Hosea 7:1, 'When. I would have healed Israel,
then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria, for
they commit falsehood,' &c.

(3.) When there are great differences amongst God's own people, the end is
bitter; we warp in the sunshine, will not know the way of peace. Eusebius says,
before Diocletian's persecution, jiloneikiaiV anejlegonto -the church was torn
with intestine broils, pastors against pastors, and people against people. Ease
begets pride and wantonness, and that maketh way for contention.

(4.) When profaneness increaseth, and men do not walk becoming the gospel, God
taketh the gospel from them. The apostasy from the power and purity of religion
first made way for Antichrist, and is most likely to let him in again.

(5.) When a people are prepared for such impressions, there is a party formed,
partly by opinions that symbolise with Popery, partly by doting on the pomp and
outside of religion, and neglecting the life and power of it; and partly when
indifferent and atheistical conceits do dispose their minds no more to one
religion than another usually then is a nation fitted for such a change.

Now what shall we do?

1. Watch and pray. A people well awaked will not change their religion. The
envious man sowed tares while the servants slept, Mat. 13:25. Be instant with
God in prayer, as all good Christians should be, when the church is in danger;
as David, Ps. 59:13, 'Consume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be,
that they may know that God rules in Jacob unto the ends of the earth, Selah.'

The consumption is at hand: Luke 21:36, `Watch ye, therefore, and pray always,
that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to
pass.'

2. Reform and repent: Rev. 2:5, `Repent, or I will remove thy candlestick out of
his place.' Our disorders must be bewailed and redressed. There are two
stumbling-blocks-the idolatry of the Romish synagogue, and the evil manners of
the Reformed Churches.

3. Be fortified and established:--

[1.] By knowledge. If we have not idion sthrugmou, a stedfastness of our own, we
shall fall, 2 Peter 3:17; in a time of long peace, arms hang up a-rusting; and
so we are not prepared to resist temptations.

[2.] By grace: 'It is good the heart should be established by grace,' Heb. 13:9.
The new nature will caution men against many popish errors: 1 John 2:20, 'Ye
have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things: A child of God hath
something in his bosom that will not permit him to hearken to Popery; the very
life in us is opposite to this dead show and mummery of trashy devotions.
Now I come to the author, with the means of consuming: `The Lord shall consume
him with the spirit of his mouth.' The Lord, that is the Lord Christ. But what
is meant by the spirit of his mouth, or the breath of his mouth, as some render
it? Two things may be meant hereby-either his providential word, or his gospel,
accompanied by his Spirit.

1. His providential word; that is, when Christ saith, Let it be done, it shall
be done: Isa. 11:4, 'He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and
with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.' Those that are called
wicked, they are also called the earth, because they are earthly-minded, and
have their portion here, and possess much on earth, and have great power, by the
advantage of which they oppress his people. Now, to execute judgment upon them,
Christ needeth no more than the rod of his mouth, that powerful word whereby he
created all things: Ps. 33:6, 'By the words of the Lord were the heavens made,
and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth;' upholdeth all things: Heb.
1:3, 'Upholding all things by the word of his power; 'and brings all things to
nothing again: John 18:6, 'As soon as he had said to them, I am he, they went
backward and fell to the ground;'-one word of his powerful providence is enough.

Or, Secondly--

2. It is meant of the efficacy of his gospel, as it is accompanied by his
Spirit, called 'The sword of the Spirit,' Eph. 6:17. And it is said to be 'quick
and powerful,' Heb. 4:12; and Rev. 2:16, 'Repent, or I will come against thee
quickly, and smite thee with the sword of my mouth.' By this word he shall
confound the falsehood and cunning practices which are carried on under this
mystery of iniquity, and give it such a deadly and incurable wound, that it
shall languish before it be utterly destroyed.

Doct. That Antichrist's destruction is by the preaching of the gospel, and the
victorious evidence of truth. It must needs be so, for his kingdom and tyranny
is upheld by darkness, which is dispelled by the light of the truth; and,
therefore, the Papists, as all other heretics, are lucifugae scripturarum
Dei-[those who] cannot endure the scriptures, deny them to the people, and seek
to make them contemptible by all the means they can. Again, his kingdom is
carried on by falsehood; and his cheats, and impostures, and wickedness, and
usurpation, and false interpretations and delusions are discovered by the truth
and simplicity of the gospel, and so is consumed yet more and more. Lastly,
Popery is a dead form of religion, and there is not only truth in the word of
God, but life; we are not only enlightened, but quickened by it, and converted
to God, and made partakers of his Spirit; and these will go against their own
experience and inclination, if they should sit down with such empty, beggarly
rudiments.

But here ariseth a question, Shall Antichrist be consumed no other way but by
the spirit of his mouth? We read in the prophecy of wars, by which the
antichristian state is brought to nought. I answer-The pure and powerful
preaching of the gospel is the principal means whereby the Spirit of the Lord
consumeth Antichrist in the hearts of men; but this is not exclusive of other
means which God, in the ways of his providence, may use to weaken his worldly
interest. But we must distinguish between the means God may use and we must use.
Simply to put down a religion by force of arms is not our way; it is not lawful
certainly to invade other nations upon the pure and sole title of religion; but
if they invade us on that account, no doubt a prince and people so invaded may
defend themselves. But when a war is commenced on other occasions, it is the
most cheerful cause to engage in. When we war against the abettors of
Antichrist, we war against an enemy whom God will consume. Constantine warred
against Licinius, his colleague, not because an infidel, but because he
persecuted the Christians, contrary to their capitulations. Lewis XII caused it
to be disputed in a synod at Tours, Num liceret Papae; absque causa principi
bellum inferre? (Whether it is allowed for the Pope to begin a war without
cause?) when it was answered, Non licet (It is not allowed); a second question,
Num tali principi sua defensione fas sit eum invadere? (Whether the principle of
self-defence allows one to invade another?) Their answers were Licet (It is
allowed) which he undertook, and caused money to be stamped with this
inscription-Perdam Babylonem (I shall destroy Babylon).

Use 1. We learn hence not to be discouraged in our greatest extremities, when
all temporal hopes seem to fail, and we have nothing left us but the word of our
testimony. Let us not distrust our spiritual weapons, for they are mighty
through God to bring down all the strong-holds of sin and Antichrist, 2 Cor.
10:4, 5. Oh, encourage yourselves in the Lord; you have the merit of his
humiliation, and the power of his exaltation. Merit, what cannot the blood of
Christ do to fetch off men from their inveterate prejudices and superstitions? 1
Peter 1:18, 'We are redeemed by the blood of Christ from our vain conversation.'

So, for the power of his exaltation, there is his Spirit. The success of his
Spirit on the pouring out of the first sermon, Acts 2:41, fetched in 3000 souls
that had soaked their hands in the blood of their Saviour, and were in no very
devout posture at that time. His word, that is, 'The rod of his strength,' Ps.
110:2, which hath a mighty power to convince, transform, and convert souls: Rom.
1:16, 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God
unto salvation.' Then there is the power of providence; all judgment is put into
Christ's hands for the advancement of his own kingdom, John 5:22. If all be in
Christ's hands, why should you distrust your cause, or the success of it?

2. If you would defend yourselves, and wound the enemy, be much acquainted with
'the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit,' Eph. 6:17; thereby you may
ward off every blow of a temptation. Surely then we should be much acquainted
with. this word, that it may dwell in us richly, that we may have it ready; this
is enough to make wise the simple for all necessary duties and defence.

3. Pray heartily that the word of God may have a free course, 2 Thes. 3:1, and
that God would send forth labourers into his harvest, Mat. 9:38.

Secondly, The final destruction of Antichrist: and destroy him by the brightness
of his coming. This coming is most likely to be the coming of Christ, so often
mentioned: 2 Thes. 1:7,8, 'When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven,
with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those that know not
God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ;' 2 Thes. 2:1-3, 'Now
we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our
gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor be
troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the
day of Christ is at hand.' Others conceive some notable manifestation of his
presence and power in his church; but this would engage us in many dark
prophecies, which I shall not meddle withal (intending only a doctrinal
discovery of Antichrist), as how long before his coming, by what means. Sure I
am, that at his coming, 'The beast and false prophet shall be slain, and cast
into the lake of fire,' Rev. 19:20; but for other things, I have not light
enough certainly to define that the utter ruin of Antichrist is not to be
expected till the second coming of Christ.

Use. Be not discouraged though Antichrist yet remain after all the endeavours
against him.

It is enough that antichristianism shall be finished and finally destroyed; and
for the time refer it to God. If it be not till the day of judgment, or Christ's
final conquest over all his adversaries, you must be contented to tarry for
that, as well as for other things.

 

Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas