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sure they have missed the mark, hardened the heart of the enemy, stumbled the weak, and shamed them that love them.
SIGNS OF ANTICHRIST'S DESTRUCTION.
Forbearance is no payment: God's patience is not a sign that he forgetteth to take vengeance, but rather that he waiteth till his own are come out of her, and until her iniquity is filled up; for then he will execute the judgment written, and will remember the Babylonians and all their ways.
Must antichrist be destroyed? Then this should make us glad when we see the signs of his fall presenting themselves to our view. Indeed, the signs of his fall, or those that forerun it, are terrible and amazing to behold. But what of that, since the wrinkles that are in their faces threaten not us but them? A man is angry and will punish; yea, whets his sword and makes his rod; and he speaks not a word, but blood, blood is in it.
Indeed this should make them that are concerned in that anger afraid. But what terror is there in all this to those for the pleading of whose cause he is so angry with the other? Nothing whereat the innocent should be afraid.
Cold blasts in November are not received with such gentleness as are colder in March and April; for that these last cold ones are but the farewell notes of a piercing winter; they also bring with them the signs and tokens of a comfortable summer. Why, the church is now at the rising of the year; let then the blasts at present or to come be what they will, antichrist is surely drawing towards his downfall. And though the devil, knowing what is to be done to him and to his kingdom, shall so blind his disciples and fright the godly, and do something like it upon the church of Christ, yet we should look through
these paper windows, and espy in all this that fear, yea,
HOPE OF ANTICHRIST'S DESTRUCTION.
Is antichrist to be destroyed? then let us live in the expectation of it; and let this be one of our songs in the house of our pilgrimage. God bids his people, while in Babylon, to let Jerusalem come into their mind; and writes to them that were then in her, to acquaint them that he remembered them still, and would assuredly deliver them from that place and state. And wherefore doth he thus, but to beget an expectation in them of their salvation and deliverance? The Lord is so pleased with the faith and expectation of his people as to this, that they seldom are herein concerned as they should, but he steps in with them and warms their hearts. The reason is, because the faith of God's people as to the downfall of Babylon, stands upon so sure a foundation as doth the salvation of their souls; and that next to that, God is as much delighted in what he has purposed to do against Babylon, as in any thing else in the earth: and therefore, if you consider it well, the great and glorious promises that are to be fulfilled on earth, are to be fulfilled when antichrist is dead and buried. These dainties are too good even for his children to have, so long as this dog is by, lest he should snatch at the crumbs thereof; wherefore they are reserved until he is gone. Jer. 19:31, 32.
EFFECTS OF ANTICHRIST'S DESTRUCTION.
It shall be done unto antichrist as he hath done to the church of God. As he hath made women childless, so shall he be made childless; as he has made Zion sit upon
the ground, so now must this wicked one come down to sit in the dust; yea, as he has made many churches desola-. tions, so now shall he be also made a desolation. Wherefore, whoso will find his body, must look for it in the side of the pit's mouth; and whoso will find his friends and companions, must look for them there likewise.
Now then Babylon is gone down, when all these things shall be fulfilled. And what remains now but to talk of her as folk use to do of them that are dead; for the day will come, that the church of God shall have no more of antichrist, Babylon, or the mother of harlots, than only the remembrance of her; that there was such an enemy of God in the world; that there was such a superstitions, idolatrous, bloody people in the world. Wherefore, the people that shall be born, that shall live to serve God in these happy days, shall see antichrist only in its ruins; they shall, like the sparrows, the little robins, and the wren, sit and sing, and chirp one to another, while their eyes behold this dead hawk. Here, shall they say, did once the lion dwell; and there once a dragon inhabited: here did they live that were the murderers of the saints; and there another that did use to set his throat against the heavens: but now in the places where these ravenous creatures lay, grows grass, with reeds and rushes; now their habitation is cursed; nettles grow, and so do thorns and brambles, where their palaces were wont to be.
A day is coming when antichrist shall be unknown; not seen nor felt by the church of God. There are men to be born who shall not know antichrist, but as they read in the word that such a thing has been. These shall talk of her as Israel's children's children were to talk of Pharaoh-of his cruelty, of his tasks, of his pride, of the Red sea, and how he was drowned there. They shall talk of them as of those that have been long dead; as of those who, for their horrible wickedness, are laid in the pit's mouth.
This will be some of that sweet chat that the saints shall at their spare hours have, in time to come.
There will be a strange alteration when antichrist is dead; and that both in the church and in the world. The church and the members of it then shall wear the name of their God in their foreheads; that is, they shall be bold in the profession of their King and God, yea, it shall be their glory to be godly, and carnal men shall praise them for it; the praise of the whole earth shall the church of God be in those days. Now the world shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked; yea, they shall cleave to and countenance the people of God, being persuaded, as Laban was of Jacob, that the Lord will bless them for his people's sake.
Now will be broken up those prophecies and promises that to this day lie as under lock and key, and that cannot be opened until they be fulfilled. Now the church of God shall read with great plainness the depths of providence, and the turnings and windings of all God's dark and intricate dispensations, through which she hath waded in the cloudy and dark day: now, I say, they shall see there was a harmony in them, and that, if one of them had been wanting, the work and way of her deliverance could not have been so full of the wisdom and justice and goodness of God. Wherefore now will that song be sung with clearer notes than ever: "" Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest."
WARNING AGAINST A RETURN TO ANTICHRIST.
Must antichrist be destroyed? Then what mean they who were to appearance once come out, but now are going thither again.
If it cost Lot's wife dear for but looking back, shall it not cost them much dearer that are going back, that are gone back again; and that after the angel had flown through the midst of heaven, preaching the gospel to those that dwell on the earth?
They that received the mark of the beast at first, before this angel came forth, are, when compared with these, excusable. Wherefore they are not threatened with the smoking wrath that these are.
You dread that which is like to become of them that will be so mad as to run into a house when fire is put to the gunpowder barrel in order to its blowing up. Why, thus do they, let their pretended cause be what it will, that are returning again to Babylon. Are her plagues pleasant or easy to be borne? Or dost thou think that God is at play with thee, and that he threateneth but in jest? Her plagues are death and mourning and famine and fire; are these things to be overlooked? And they that, as before hinted, shall receive the mark of the beast in their forehead or in their hand, and shall worship him, they shall drink the wine of the wrath of God. And will this be a
FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO THE HOLY CITY."
My fourth word is to the lady of kingdoms, the wellfavored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts and the abominations of the earth.
I suppose I have nothing here that will either please your wanton eye, or go down with your voluptuous palate. Here is bread indeed, as also milk and meat; but here is neither paint to adorn thy wrinkled face, nor crutch to uphold or undershore thy shaking, tottering, staggering kingdom of Rome; but rather a certain presage of thy sudden and fearful final downfall, and of the exaltation of that holy matron whose chastity thou dost abhor, because by it she reproveth and condemneth thy lewd and stubborn life.