« Prev Sermon VII. Even him whose coming is after the… Next »

SERMON VII.

Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.—2 Thes. II. 9, 10.

WE have considered the titles of Antichrist, his nature and properties, the time of his rise, and with it his ruin; now we are to consider the way and means how he doth acquire and keep up this power in the world.

The means are—(1.) Principal; (2.) Instrumental.

1. Principal: κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ Σατανᾶ,—after the working of Satan.

2. Instrumental, which are also two:—

[1.] Pretence of miracles: with all power, signs, and lying wonders.

[2.] Other cheats and impostures: with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; their general way of dealing being sophistical and fallacious. Let us a little explain these things.

1. The great agent in setting up this kingdom: ‘After the working of Satan.’ It may note the manner, as we render after, that is, in such a way as Satan deceived our first parents, ‘for he was a murderer and a liar from the beginning,’ John viii. 44;’ I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ,’ 2 Cor. xi. 3. So all this mystery of iniquity shall be carried on after this manner: by deceit, by the tricks of lying men, and the works of deceiving spirits. Bather it noteth Satan’s agency and influence, and after, or according to the working of Satan, is as much as by the working of Satan, noting not only his pattern, but his influence; so is κατὰ often rendered, and the energy of the devil, and influence upon all wickedness is spoken of elsewhere: Eph. ii. 2, ‘The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.’ The devil hath a great hand over wicked men in the world; his way of dealing with them is most efficacious and powerful, and certainly he is the first founder and main supporter of the antichristian state.

2. The instrumental means.

[1.] By pretence of miracles: ‘With all power, and signs, and lying wonders.’ These three words signify the same thing, and are often joined when true miracles are spoken of; as 2 Cor. xii. 12, ‘Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all places, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.’—δυνάμεις, σήματα, τέρατα. So Acts ii. 22, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, wonders, and signs;’ so Heb. ii. 4, ‘God also bearing them witness, both with signs and^ wonders, and with divers miracles;’ Rom. xv. 19, 4 Through mighty signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God,’ Powers they are called, because they issue from power divine and extraordinary; signs, from their use, because they serve to seal and signify the doctrine to which they are applied; wonders, from 67their effect, because they breed astonishment in the minds of the be holders: these were the true miracles. Now, Antichrist, to countenance his false doctrines and superstitions, would ape and imitate Christ, and pretendeth to powers, signs, and wonders: as Jannes and Jambres sought to imitate Moses, God permitting it in some degree; so Antichrist seeks to promote his kingdom the same way which Christ took to promote evangelical truth. But they are called powers, and signs, and lying wonders, i.e., lying powers, lying signs, and lying wonders, for it agreeth to all the words, though affixed only to one of them. But why lying wonders? Partly because the greatest number of them are mere fables, notorious impostures, and forgeries; partly because others are diabolical illusions, things beyond human, but not angelical power. If they are θαύματα,—wonders, they are not σημεῖα, as Chrysostom distinguished, fit signs to signify the truth of the doctrines; partly from the end and scope, for that must also be regarded. God cautioneth his people, that if they gave them a sign and wonder, though it came to pass, if it were to draw them to other gods, it was to be rejected, Deut. xiii. 1-3; the spirits must be tried whether they be of God, 1 John iv. 1; 1 Cor. xii. 3, ‘No man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed.’ If a wonder be wrought, or pretended to be wrought, to draw us off from Christ, or to promote things clearly for bidden by the word of God, it is a lying wonder, as all Antichrist’s are; for their end is to confirm the Pope’s dominion and false doctrine. The sum is this, then: that many things are pretended, not really done, impostures and forgeries, not miracles; other things, done by diabolical illusions, as there may be apparitions, visions, spectres, for Satan will bestir himself to keep up the credit of his ministers. Lastly, if we cannot otherwise disprove them, if they tend to false doctrine and worship, they are to be rejected, whatever extraordinary appearance there be in them.

[2.] The other expression concerning the means is general: ‘With all deceivableness of unrighteousness;’ which compriseth—

(1.) Their sophistical reasoning from antiquity, unity, infallibility, without coming to the intrinsic merits of the cause, but condemning the truth rather by prejudice.

(2.) Their practical acts and feats to beguile souls, by fawning or threatening, or preferment and persecutions; these are the arts by which Antichrist shall deceive men into unrighteousness, that is, to bring this corruption into the church, and acquire this power to himself.

Now I shall observe some points.

Doct. 1. The devil hath a great hand in setting up Antichrist’s kingdom, as he hath a great interest by it; his coming shall be by, or after the working of Satan. He is the raiser and supporter of that estate, and he is the great seducer, opposer, and adversary of the gospel. This will appear, if you consider, first, the properties of the devil—how the devil is set forth in scripture, and secondly, by what ways he promoteth his own kingdom.

First. 1. By ignorance; for the devils are called, Eph. vi. 12, ‘The rulers of the darkness of this world,’ and his kingdom is called ‘the kingdom of darkness.’ Col. i. 13. The prince-like authority and government 68which by God’s permission he exerciseth in the world, is over those who remain in a state of darkness and ignorance. Well, then, necessarily the devil must be a great friend to Popery, where ignorance not only reigneth, but is commended as the mother of devotion; it is into the ignorant part of the world and the church that the devil hath brought in errors in doctrine, formality and superstition in worship, and tyranny and usurpation in government.

2. The next thing ascribed to him is error; so it is said, John viii. 44, ‘He abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him: when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.’ He soon apostatised from God and his way, and ever since is an enemy of all truth and goodness; he turned from God, and is a deceiver of others. To our first parents he called the truth of God in question, and was the inventor and beginner of all errors that have since fallen out in the world. Well, then, where should his eminent power and residence be, but in that society of professed Christians where most errors and corruptions in doctrine and worship have been introduced, where they teach men to pray to and for the dead, to adore the bread and worship it with divine worship, and to worship images, and to pray to God in a language which they understand not, and maim the Lord’s Supper, and profess they can live perfectly without sin, and meritoriously and supererogate besides, and lay up a treasury of merits to redeem souls from purgatory? &c. There will be errors and mistakes in religion, while men are men; but where there is a wilful opposing of evident truths, and an obstinate refusing of all healing means, and men will abide in their errors rather than acknowledge that they have erred, surely they are governed by the influence of his counsels who abode not in the truth, and seeketh what he can to hinder the prevalency of it in the world.

3. That which is ascribed to Satan is idolatry. This was his first and great endeavour in the world, to bring man to worship other gods rather than the true, or the true God by an idol. So he prevailed among the heathen; they thought their images did represent their gods, and that their gods dwelt in them, as our souls do in our bodies; therefore the Psalmist saith, ‘all the gods of the nations are idols’ or devils, Ps. xcvi. 5, and the devil was the great master and contriver of this idolatry; therefore it is said, Ps. cvi. 37, ‘They sacrificed their sons and daughters unto devils.’ The service done to idols or images of man’s devising is not done to God, as men pretend who worship them, but to devils, who are the devisers, suggesters, and enticers of men unto all sorts of unlawful worship, and are in effect served and obeyed by a false religion: Deut. xxxii. 17, ‘They sacrificed unto devils, not unto God;’ 2 Cor. x. 20, ‘The things which the Gentiles sacrificed, they sacrificed unto devils, not unto God;’ 2 Chron. xi. 15, ‘And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made;’—they otherwise meant it: Jeroboam intended it to the true God Jehovah, but it was of the devil’s invention. Now if the devil can get such a party in the church as shall not only set up but be mad upon image-worship, who can more serve his turn among professing Christians than they who have consented to and continued in idolatrous worship? Surely then Satan is concerned to befriend their 69usurpations, and uphold their interests; for what will more conduce to the ruin of Christianity, or at least the decay of the power thereof?

4. That which is ascribed to Satan is bloody cruelty, or seeking the destruction of Christ’s most faithful servants; for he is called a ‘murderer from the beginning,’ John viii. 44; and Cain is said to be ‘of that wicked one, because he slew his brother; and wherefore slew he him? because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous,’ 1 John iii. 12. Enmity to the power of godliness came from Satan; and wherever it is encouraged, and notoriously practised, they are a party of men governed and influenced by Satan. Now, where shall we find this character but in Antichrist’s confederacy? In the prophecy of him, Rev. xiii. 15, he caused as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed; and again, Rev. xvii. 5, ‘The woman, whose name was Mystery, was drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus;’ and it hath been eminently fulfilled in the blood shed in Germany, France, and England, and other nations; and all this to extinguish the light of, and suppress the Reformation. The world is no stranger to their bloody persecutions. Oh, how many seeming Christians hath Satan employed in these works of cruelty! When once he had seduced the church to so many errors, and corrupted the doctrine and worship of Christ, he presently maketh the erroneous party his instruments of as cruel and bloody persecutions as were ever commenced by infidels and Mahometans; witness their murders upon so many thousands of the Waldenses and Albigenses, whom they not only spoiled, but slaughtered with all manner of hellish cruelty. Some of their own bishops complained they could not find lime and stone to build prisons for them, nor defray the charges of their food. The world was even amazed at their unheard-of cruelties, smoking and burning thousands of men, women, and children in caves, others at stakes, and many ways butchering them; proclaiming croisados, and preaching up the merit of paradise to such bloody cut-throats as had a mind to root them out, driving multitudes to perish in snowy mountains. What desolations they wrought in Bohemia, what horrible massacres in France, what fires they kindled in England, and of late, what cruelties they exercised in Ireland, Piedmont! &c. Histories will tell you, and will tell all generations to come, what principles Rome is acted by, and how insatiable their thirst is for the blood of upright righteous men. And after all this, tell me, who is he whose coming is after the working of Satan? and whether we have cause to be enamoured of blood, and fires, and inquisitions?

5. That which is ascribed to Satan is, that he is ‘the God of this world,’ 2 Cor. iv. 4; and again, ‘the prince of this world,’ John xii. 31. He playeth the god here; the riches, honours, and wealth of this world are the great instruments of his kingdom; and the men of this world, whose portion is in this life, are the proper subjects of his kingdom. Of the saints, Christ is their head; but of the wicked, ungodly, ambitious world, surely Satan is the head. There are two cities (as Austin distinguisheth them): Jerusalem is the city of God, and Babylon, that incorporation which belongeth to Satan. Now, then, where shall we find him whose coming is after the working of 70Satan, but with him who, with the loss of Christianity, exalteth himself, and affecteth an ambitious tyranny and domineering over the Christian world, both princes, pastors, and people; and to uphold the tyranny, careth not what havoc he maketh of the church; and the whole frame of their religion is calculated for secular honour, worldly pomp, and greatness?

Secondly, By the visible appearances of the devil, and where he is most conversant, as in his own kingdom. Before Christ’s kingdom was set up, the devil did often visibly appear; but since, he playeth least in sight; when God openly manifested his presence by appearing to the fathers in sundry ways and manners, as he did before he spake to us by his Son, Heb. i. 1, 2, so did Satan; visions, apparitions, and oracles, were more frequent; and where Christ’s spiritual kingdom prevaileth, the world heareth less of these things; but where it is obstructed, more. Now, two instances in Popery:—(1.) In their chiefs: how many conjurers and necromancers (who expressly consulted and contracted with the devil), from the year 600 to the year 1500, the chair of pestilence yielded, the histories tell us. (2.) In other duties, the devil had formerly, in the times of Popery, and still where it is allowed, incomparably more power among men to appear to them, and haunt their houses, and vex them, than now he hath; all that I say is, haunting of houses and apparitions were much more common.

Uses. 1. A detestation of Popery; whatever is of the devil should be hated by us, for we are Christ’s soldiers, listed in his warfare in baptism: Rom. vi. 13, ‘Yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God; but yield not your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin;’ Rom. xiii. 12, ‘Let us cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light.’ Now, after our military oath, should we revolt to them that join with the devil and his angels, to make war against Michael and his angels?

2. To be more careful to be completely armed, ‘For we fight not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places.’ Eph. vi. 11, 12; that is, not only with the one, but the other. The abettors of Popery are Satan’s auxiliary forces, whom he stirreth up and employeth. Now, the devils are of great cunning and strength, and by God’s permission exercise great authority in the world, and the matter about which we contend with them is the honour of God and Christ, and our eternal salvation. Therefore, since the subtlety, power, and strength of the enemy are so great, we had need to be the better prepared, and put on the whole armour of God. That bodily and human power that befriendeth the kingdom of Satan is formidable, and that can only reach the outward man; but devils and damned spirits are a more terrible and dangerous party, who secretly blind our minds and weaken our courage, and strangely and imperceptibly, by our own carnal affections, promote our eternal ruin.

3. It showeth us the folly of reconciling Babel and Sion—Rome, as it is, and the Reformed Churches: ‘For what concord hath Christ with Belial?’ 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16; ‘What agreement hath the temple of God 71with idols?’ You can never reconcile God and Satan, the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. I speak not of holy endeavours to adjust the controversies, and reclaim papists from their errors; that must be pursued, how fruitless soever the attempt be; but to hope for an agreement, as things now stand, is impossible.

4. Caution, that the devil prevail not against us; he once surprised Peter: Mat. xvi. 23, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan;’ he hath prevailed over them that usurp the highest chair in the Christian church. Let him not blind your eyes in whole or in part; though you be not drawn to antichristianism, do not live in a carnal, worldly course: ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,’ 1 John iii. 8. Every wicked act is Satan’s invention; he stirreth it up, is served by it, delights in it, his kingdom goeth forward by it: he gaineth by every wicked action. Show plainly that you are not of his party, nor ever mean to be. Give way to fleshly and worldly lusts, and you are very prone to entertain the grossest temptations; and by subtle evasions will wriggle and distort yourselves out of your duty, as the papists do.

I come now to the second means.

Doct. That Antichrist doth uphold his kingdom by a false show of signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. To evidence this—

I. We must inquire what is a miracle? Miracles are works extraordinary, exceeding the ability of second causes, and done to confirm the truth. Where we may observe:—

1. The general nature of them.

2. Their author.

3. Their use.

1. Their general nature and kinds: extraordinary works. Some are either besides nature, when the course of nature is changed, as the standing still of the sun in Joshua’s days, the going back of the shadow on Ahaz’s dial in Hezekiah’s time; above nature, as the opening of the eyes of a man born blind by Christ, John ix.; against nature, when the operation of it is obstructed, as when the three children remained untouched in the fiery furnace, Dan. iii.: the fire had not lost its property to burn, for those that cast them in were singed and scorched.

2. The author: they are works exceeding the ability of second causes, and therefore are always done by the power of God, either immediately or mediately, using some creature in the performing of them, as the apostles of Christ. Well, then, the primary efficient cause is God, and the manner of working is extraordinary and unusual, exceeding the power and force of any creature.

3. The end and use is to confirm some truth. When they are done for curiosity, ostentation, and delight, they are but juggling tricks, and have not God for their author; much less when they are pretended to confirm a false doctrine or evil end. But real miracles do oblige by way of sign, declaring God’s interest in or owning of the truth and testimony to which they are annexed. For God, being the ruler of the world, good, merciful, just, it is not to be supposed he will co-operate to a lie or cheat, or leave such a stumbling-block before his creatures.

72

II. That the miracles wrought by Christ and his apostles did sufficiently prove that they were teachers sent from God, for Christ often appealeth to his works: John v. 36, ‘For the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me;’ and John x. 38, ‘Though ye believe not me,’ that is, his personal verbal testimony, ‘believe the works,’ that is, his miracles, ‘that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.’ And when John sent his disciples to know whether he were the Messiah or no (not so much for his own confirmation as their satisfaction): Mat. xi. 4, ‘Go, show him what ye hear and see;’ and what was that?’ The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up,’ &c. So Nicodemus was convinced by these: John iii. 2, ‘We know that thou art a teacher come from God; for none can do the works that thou dost, except God were with him.’ To improve these scriptures, let us consider:—

1. The necessity of this attestation.

2. The sufficiency of it.

1. The necessity there was that Christ’s person and office should be thus attested. He had the law of Moses to repeal, which was well known to be God’s own law; a new law to promulgate, which is the law of faith, or the gospel; and before this could be received, it was needful for him to manifest his authority. Besides, he came to redeem and recover sinners to God from the devil, world, and flesh. And that he might be more readily and cheerfully entertained, it was necessary to be evidenced that he came not only by God’s permission, but commission. ‘For him hath the Father sealed,’ John vi. 27, that is, authorised by miracles. Look, as in the first institution of the Aaronical priesthood, fire came from heaven to consume the sacrifices, whereas afterwards the high priests were consecrated and admitted by the ordinary rites, without any such attestation; so there was a greater necessity then, when God brought forth his Son into the world, and did first set up the gospel state, than there was afterwards, when the course and order of it was settled, and received in the world.

2. The sufficiency of it. The miracles then wrought were numerous, evident, and undeniable, being done publicly in the sight of all, and therefore the clearest attestation to his doctrine, that flesh and blood could expect; such a stream of holy, necessary miracles, that were for the most part not acts of pomp, but of succour and relief, and such as could be done by no power less than divine; not like those ludicrous miracles they talk of in Popery, which look like a cheat rather than a sign from heaven. These miracles of Christ could no way be impeached; for either it must be by some truth of God, which the new revelation did contradict, and delivered by more certain means than those miracles were—but no such revelation was there; all fairly accorded with those former revelations of his mind given to the ancient church; and Christ and his apostles preached no other things than what suited with Moses and the prophets, Acts xxvi. 22—or else by some greater works which should contradict the testimony of these wonders, as Moses did the magicians of Egypt, Exod. vii. 18; but no 73such thing could be alleged, or was pretended, therefore these were sufficient.

2. After the faith of Christ was sufficiently confirmed, miracles ceased; and it was fit they should cease, for God doth nothing unnecessarily. The Christian doctrine is the same that it was, and is to be the same till the end of the world; we have a sure and authentic record of it, which is the holy scriptures. The truth of Christ’s office and doctrine is fully proved, and cometh transmitted to us by the consent of many successions of ages, in whose experience God hath blessed it to the converting, comforting, and saving of many a soul. Look, as the Jews, every time the law was brought forth, were not to expect the thunderings and lightnings, and the voice of the terrible trumpet, with which it was given at first on Mount Sinai (one solemn confirmation served for after ages); they knew it was a law given by the ministry of angels, and so entertained it with veneration and respect; so Christianity needed to be once solemnly confirmed (after ages have the use of the first miracles); for the apostle compareth these two things, the giving of the law and the gospel: Heb. ii. 2-4, ‘For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward: how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him?’ we must be contented with God’s owning it now only in the way of his Spirit and providence.

3. That upon the ceasing of miracles, or their growing to be unnecessary, we have the more cause to suspect them who will revive this pretence of a power to work miracles; especially after we are cautioned against these delusions, as here in the text against the lying wonders of Antichrist, and elsewhere: Mat. xxiv. 24, ‘For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect;’ and again, Rev. xiii. 13, ‘He doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven upon earth in the sight of men.’ But herein they triumph, when did they ever pretend to do so? Ans. This is not to be taken literally, for the whole chapter is mystical; none can be so ignorant that Antichrist shall arise as a beast out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns; therefore, to fetch fire from heaven is only an allusion to Elias, that he should pretend to work miracles, as did Elias, who brought fire from heaven, 1 Kings xviii. 24; and yet, in the letter, it was fulfilled in Pope Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., as one Paulus, who wrote his life, testifieth, who mentioneth divers wonders of fire wrought by him, and sundry times resembles him to Elias. The meaning is, he shall make his followers as confident of their errors as if they saw fire come from heaven to confirm them. But to return. We being thus cautioned and forewarned, miracles thus performed are deceitful. But you will say, though miracles are not necessary to confirm the faith, yet they are necessary to convince the falsehood of heresies. Ans. Heresies being a corruption of the faith once received, are to be confuted by arguments, not miracles; by evidence of doctrine, not wonders: partly lest the people be deceived by magical impostures, 74for it requireth some skill to distinguish true miracles from those that are deceitful, and done by the power of the devil; partly because verum est index sui et obliqui—faith stated and confirmed showeth what is error; so that to confute error by miracles is nothing but to confirm truth by miracles.

4. Whosoever teach false doctrine, not consonant to the truth of scriptures, or that faith of Christ which was confirmed by miracles, their wonders are lying wonders, and, how plausible soever they seem, are lying wonders, and not to be believed. Surely miracles must needs be false and pretended which are brought to confirm a doctrine contrary to that which is already confirmed by miracles; for God is faithful, and cannot deny himself, and therefore he cannot be the author of miracles whereby things contrary to each other may be confirmed. If the faith once be established by other miracles, we are to believe the latter miracles to be a mere imposture; for Christ is not yea, and nay, but ‘yea, and Amen,’ 1 Cor. i. 19, 20. The apparition of an angel is a great miracle, but ‘if an angel preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed,’ Gal. i. 8. It is a supposition of an impossible case, necessary to forewarn the people of God against the delusions of the devil, changing himself into an angel of light. Surely God will never contradict himself.

5. The miracles wrought by Antichrist and his adherents are mira, but not miracula, some wonderful things, but no true and proper miracles; else, as Austin saith, Figmenta mendacium hominum, portenta fallacium spirituum—either the fictions of lying men, or the illusions of deceiving spirits. Many times the matter of fact is not true; at other times the thing done is but some illusion of the senses by the devil, or something taken for a miracle which doth not exceed the power of nature. Either way it is an imposture; and, indeed, the miracles of the legends are so false, so ridiculous, so light and trivial, that they expose Christianity to contempt; or else, if there be any thing in it, it giveth suspicions of magical illusion and converse with the devil which, among their votaries and recluses, is no unusual thing.

6. There are seven points in Popery which they seek to confirm by miracles; and which, being senseless in themselves, do most scandalise Protestants.

[1.] Pilgrimages. They show the shrine, and also the chamber of the house of the blessed Virgin; how the Virgin at Loretto was transported out of Galilee into Dalmatia, and by angels in the air, to the remote parts of Italy, and settled there after some removes.

The story is ridiculous, and I am serious; yet this draweth an infinite company of pilgrims there, where new miracles are pretended to be wrought continually.

[2.] Prayers for the dead. Bellarmine allegeth, out of Gregory, the miraculous apparition of Paschal’s ghost, beseeching St Germanus to pray for him.

[3.] Purgatory^ All their miracles are framed especially for the establishing of this point, which is of such gain to them; as that a dead man’s skull spake to Mercarias praying, ‘When thou dost offer prayer for the dead, then do we feel a little consolation.’

75

[4.] The invocation of saints. Alypius, a grammarian, being forsaken of his physicians, St Tiola appeared to him by night, demanding what he ailed, or what he would have? He answered (to show a touch of his art) in Achilles’s speech to his mother Thetis, in Homer, &c. ‘Thou knowest; why should I tell thee that knowest all?’ Where upon she conveyed a round stone to him, with the touch of which he was presently healed.

[5.] The adoration of images, but especially of the cross, crucifix, and image of Christ. Malvenda saith, that at Meliapore, in the East Indies, where St Thomas was killed by those barbarous people, digging, to lay a foundation, they found a square stone, in it a bloody cross, and an inscription implying the saint was slain in the very act of adoring and kissing the cross; hereupon on went the building, and the chapel being finished, in the beginning of the gospel, in sight of the whole multitude, the cross did sweat abundantly; the sweat wiped off, drops of blood appeared in the linen with which they wiped it, till at length it returned to its own colour.

[6.] The adoration of the host is made good by such a number of miracles as fill whole volumes. Bellarmine himself telleth us of a hungry mare, kept three days without meat, yet when provender was poured to her in the presence of the host, she, forgetting her meat, with bowed head and bended knees adored the sacrament.

[7.] The primacy of the Pope hath been the beginning and is the end of all popish legends. A bishop, being excommunicated by Pope Hildebrand, and inveighing against his pride, was smitten with a thunderclap. Baronius relates, that while Pope Eugenius the Third was celebrating the mass, a beam of the sun shone upon his head, in which were seen two doves, ascending and descending, which an Eastern legate seeing, submitted instantly to the primacy.

Use. Another note of Antichrist: these impostures are not only countenanced and encouraged in that church, but made a mark of it. The power of miracles: When Antichrist first appeared, ridiculous miracles of all sorts began to be cried up and established; yea, and to this day, these are pleaded, challenging us for the want of them. What they cannot prove by the oracles of God, they endeavour to prove by miracles of Satan.

« Prev Sermon VII. Even him whose coming is after the… Next »
Please login or register to save highlights and make annotations
Corrections disabled for this book
Proofing disabled for this book
Printer-friendly version





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |