Sermon 6 on 2 Thessalonians 2:82 Thessalonians 2 on the Description, Rise, Growth and Fall of Antichrist by Thomas Manton (1620-1677) (Volume 3)
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Sermon 6 on 2 Thessalonians 2:8
“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.
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-
[I.] 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. 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. 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.