2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (the son of destruction) is revealed.
Sermons
An Evil and Presumptuous OneT. Scott, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:3
Apostasy and AntichristT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:3
Christ and AntichristE. Irving, Bp. Alexander.2 Thessalonians 2:3
Judas a Type of the PapacyCanon Stowell.2 Thessalonians 2:3
Signs of the Second AdventCapel Molyneux, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Development of AntichristT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Falling AwayProf. Jowett.2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Man of SinD. Thomas, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Man of SinW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 2:3
AntichristR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The Rise of the Apostasy and the Revelation of the Man of Sin Must Precede the Second AdventT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8
The Man of SinB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12


This fact would assure them that a period of time of at least indefinite extent would intervene before the day of the Lord. "Let no man deceive you by any means."

I. THE COMING OF THE APOSTASY. "Because the day will not set in unless there come the apostasy first."

1. The apostasy is so described because it was already familiar to their minds through his oral teaching. "Remember ye not, that, when I was with you, I was telling you of these things?"

2. It points to a signal defection from the Christian faith. We imagine that the primitive Churches were signally free from error or fault of any sort. The apostle himself notes the signs of beginning apostasy even in his own day.

(1) "The mystery of lawlessness doth already work."

(2) There were for himself "perils from false brethren."

(3) There were in the Church itself "enemies of the cross of Christ."

(4) Later still "many deceivers had entered into the world."

(5) The apostle foresaw that the evil "would increase unto more ungodliness."

(6) This apostasy was to precede the revelation of the man of sin, not to be regarded as identical with it. Yet the two movements were not to be regarded as independent of each other, except in the order or time of their development.

(7) The signs of the apostasy in Christendom are to be seen principally in the Papacy, but likewise in the kindred errors and corruptions of the Greek Church as well as in the delusions of Mohammedanism. The elements of the apostasy were, however, to be gathered up and concentrated at last in a single person as their final embodiment.

II. THE REVELATION OF THE MAN OF SIN. "And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above every one called God, or an object of worship." His characteristics are here distinctly described.

1. He does not represent a system of error, like Romanism, or the papal hierarchy, or a succession of Popes, but a single person. The man of sin has not yet appeared. Yet Romanism, or the papacy, comprehends much that is involved in the idea of this terrible person, who, however, goes beyond it in the appalling extent of his wickedness. The passage is not symbolic, but literal. It is a literal person who is described.

2. He is "the son of perdition."

(1) Not because he brings ruin to others, but

(2) because he is himself doomed to ruin - going literally to "his own place," like Judas, who may be regarded as a type of him.

3. His boundless and blasphemous assumptions.

(1) His opposition to every God, true and false.

(2) His self-elevation above every God, true and false. His action recalls the prophecy of Daniel: "The king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods" (Daniel 11:36). This prophecy refers to a polytheistic king. The apostle refers to the man of sin as repudiating all worship, as if he represented a higher divinity than anything worshipped on earth.

(a) The description does not apply to the pope or the papacy: (α) Because the pope, though the head of a system of idolatry, does not oppose God or exalt himself above him, but rather owns himself "a servant of servants of the most high God," and blesses the people, not in his own name, but in the Name of the Triune God. (β) Because, instead of exalting himself above God or objects of worship, he multiplies the objects of worship by the canonization of new saints, and submits, like the humblest of his followers, to the worship of the very saints he has made. (γ) Because the pope, though guilty of arrogating almost Divine powers to himself, does not supersede God so as to make himself God. The man of sin "sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Though votaries of the papacy have often given Divine titles to the popes, the Popes have never assumed to be God, but only vicars of Jesus Christ on earth. They have claimed to be viceroys of God. The temple of God cannot be the Vatican; nor the Christian Church, which is an ideal building; nor can Rome be regarded as the centre of the Christian Church. (δ) Because this prophetic sketch contains no allusion to strictly papal peculiarities, such as idolatry, either as to the Virgin Mary, saints, angels, or relics, the invention of purgatory, priestly absolution, bloody fanaticism, debased casuistry, lordship over the world of spirits.

(b) The description applies to the man of sin - the lawless one - for whom the Papacy prepares the way by a long course of apostasy from the truth. (α) This terrible person is to oppose God and all worship of every sort, and may therefore be regarded as an impersonation of infidel wickedness. (β) He is to sit down in the vacated "temple of God" and claim all the attributes of divinity. He sits down in God's place - for the temple is God's dwelling - in some actual temple, and appropriates it to his own use. Wherever the scene of this marvellous usurpation may be, it signifies the obliteration of all Christian interests and the triumph of atheistic malignity. When the Lord comes, "shall he find faith in the earth?" We see how Positivism in our own day has forsaken the worship of a personal God and betaken itself to the worship of concrete humanity. The man of sin will use the papacy as Anguste Comte travestied it in constructing forms of Positivist devotion, by turning it into some darker shape and. making it the tremendous instrument of the world's final ruin.

III. THE CHECK TO THE FULL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MAN OF SIN. "And now what restraineth ye know, in order that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of iniquity is already working only till he who now restraineth be taken out of the way." These words imply:

1. That the apostasy was already in being; for "the mystery of lawlessness is already working." The two, if not identical, are closely connected together.

(1) It antagonizes Christ, who is "the mystery of godliness" (1 Timothy 3:16). The mystery is a process, not a person, yet it works against the person of Christ.

(2) Many of the elements of the "apostasy" were in existence in the days of the apostles, at least in the germ state. The Epistle to the Colossians and the Second Epistle to Timothy point to an early development of Gnostic error which found its place in due time in the papal system (Colossians 2; 2 Timothy 3.). The self-deifying Tendency was manifested in the conduct of several of the Caesars.

2. The words imply that the working of the apostasy was still undefined and as yet unguessed at. It was still "a mystery," to be revealed in due time. Nothing is more remarkable than the gradual growth of error in the patristic age. False opinions held by pious Fathers in one age were held by errorists in the next age to the exclusion o! the truth.

3. The words imply that, as the apostasy would last through ages, the check would likewise exercise a continuous effect. The common opinion is that the Roman empire was the restraining power upon the development of the man of sin. It was certainly such upon the course of the apostasy, which was to prepare the way for the man of sin. It held the Papacy in check till it was itself swept away by barbarian violence. Because it has passed away, it does not follow that the man of sin must have been revealed at once; for other checks have been supplied, and are being still continuously supplied, in the polity of nations and in the face of Divine truth, to restrain the last terrible manifestation of his power.

IV. THE DOOM OF THE MAN OF SIN. "Whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy with the appearance of his coming."

1. This does not refer to the Word and Spirit of Christ working in the minds of men for the destruction of antichristian error and antitheistic wickedness, but to the actual personal advent of Jesus Christ.

2. The language implies the suddenness and the completeness of the overthrow of the man of sin, who thereby becomes "the son of perdition."

3. The picture presented may be identical with the Got and Magog conspiracy which is to follow the millennium. (Revelation 20:7, 8.) The Lord puts the question, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth?" (Luke 18:8). Thus the apostle assures the Thessalonians that the day of the Lord cannot have come, because all the events here pictured must happen before that great and terrible day. - T.C.







Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first
The most marked Features in this passage are —

I. A CARICATURE OF CHRIST; an exact counterpart and mockery of Christ in the man of sin. The latter has, like the former —

1. An apocalypse (ver. 8. cf. 6-8).

2. A solemn coming on the stage of human history (ver. 8).

3. An advent (ver. 9).

4. Power, signs, wonders (ver. 9).

5. Designation (ver. 4).

6. A definitely appointed season of His own (ver. 6).

II. A CARICATURE OF CHRISTIANITY. As some of the leading glories of Christ are studiously travestied in the "lawless one," and described in language which forces us to think of Christ; so several of the leading features of the Christian system are powerfully travestied by imitative anti-Christianity. This latter is —

1. A mystery (ver. 7), imitative of the mystery of godliness.

2. Has an energy, an inworking (ver. 7, 11, cf. Ephesians 2:2), imitative of the energy and inworking of the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:12; Hebrews 4:12), of God (Philippians 2:18; Galatians 2:8), of the indwelling Spirit (Colossians 1:29). He shall work in them by such an energy as that of the Holy Ghost, who witnesseth in us concerning God; not a mere apprehension, but an inworking of error, a regeneration into the faith of the lie

(E. Irving).

3. Has a faith — a solemn making of an act of faith — imitative of the faith of Christians (ver. 11).

4. The words eudokein, eudokia are used of God's good pleasure in His sinless Son, and of His goodwill toward men (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 12:18; Matthew 17:5; Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15), or the good will of Christians in holiness and acts of love (1 Thessalonians 2:8, etc.). The imitative good pleasure of anti-Christianity is in unrighteousness (ver. 12).

(Bp. Alexander.)

I. A CAUTION: "Let no man deceive you." A man may be deceived on this momentous subject.

1. All admit that Christ will come; but few invest it with sufficient importance. Paul thought so much about it that he made it the main subject of these Epistles, and the New Testament is full of it. Little is said about death but much about the Second Advent.

2. There were false teachers who preached that the event was at hand, and many were abandoning the ordinary duties of life, and were troubled and shaken in mind. False expectations were calculated to produce such results. What awful disturbance there would be in the mind of every unconverted man were it now infallibly announced that Christ would come tomorrow. But Paul was writing to the Church. How, then, could they be troubled who were encouraged to look for and hasten unto that event? It is one thing to live in quiet expectation of Christ, and another to feel that He will come tomorrow. We are forbidden to inquire into the day and hour. That is to keep the Church in a state of calm expectation. Think of the trouble many good people would be in were it known that Christ would come directly. Who would have any relish for work. And then there are many true believers whose evidence is not always clear; how it would trouble them. How agitated we should be about the condition of our friends. To prevent these evils, the hour is unrevealed.

II. THE EVENTS WHICH MUST TRANSPIRE BEFORE CHRIST COMES.

1. "The gospel must be first preached to all nations as a witness," as our Lord said. His object was the formation of a Church as His witness. This Church, like a pilgrim, has gone from place to place. Churches have been formed, and then after a while the candlestick has been removed, as in the case of those of Asia. The effect of this has been the gathering of a people, generation after generation, to "the general assembly of the first-born." This, too, is the work of every preacher. He does not convert congregations, but individuals. The net is cast and fish are gathered of every kind forming what we call Christendom. With this body our Lord will deal when He comes, and then the final severance will take place. But before then there will be a great moral separation, viz. —

2. "A great falling away." This will be of mere professors who, by withdrawing, will leave the whole body of believers sharply defined and intact (Revelation 13:8). This apostasy will not be of one or two, here and there; that began in Paul's time, and has been going on ever since; but one of a great and striking character. The cause of this will be the portentous development of the mystery of iniquity which began the work one thousand eight hundred years ago, ripening into all sorts of sin, Romanism, infidelity, religious indifference and worldliness, preparing the visible Church for the reception of a great pretender who is —

3. "The man of sin." Some have identified this character with the Pope in his official character but this can hardly be the case inasmuch as the Pope has never exalted himself above God, etc., (ver. 4), and has not been worshipped by the world (Revelation 13:8). One of the marks of the beast is that all shall worship him but the elect; but surely every non-Papist is not a true believer. Whether a given Pope may yet appear as the man of sin is another matter, but it is quite certain that one has not yet been "revealed" as such. This individual will —

(1)be a "man,"

(2)be qualified for his work by the energy of Satan —

(3)be revealed by tribulation which shall sift and purify the elect, at the same time inviting to himself all the ungodly.

III. THEN WILL COME THE END (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

(Capel Molyneux, M. A.)

is either that of which he had spoken to them while he was yet with them, or that, which in his own mind was inseparable from the coming of Christ which was to follow. Of what nature was this falling away? What vision of apostasy rose before him as he wrote this? Was it within or without? permanent or passing? persecution of the heathen, or the disorganization of the body of Christ itself? Was it the transition of the Church from its first love to a more secular and earthly state, or the letting loose of a spiritual world of evil, such as the apostle describes in Ephesians 6:12? So ideal a picture cannot properly be limited to any person or institution. That it is an inward, not an outward evil, that is depicted, is implied in the very name apostasy. It is not the evil of the heathen world, sunk in grossness and unconsciousness, but evil rebelling against good, conflicting with good in the spiritual world itself. And the conflict is of the same nature, though in a wider sphere, as the strife of good and evil in the heart of the individual. It is that same strife, not as represented in Romans 7, but at a later stage when evil is fast becoming good, and the remembrance of the past itself is carrying men away from the truth.

(Prof. Jowett.)

The apostle speaks in the eighth verse of the revelation of "that wicked," intimating the discovery, which should be made of his wickedness in order to his ruin: here he speaks of his rise, which should be occasioned by the general apostasy; and to intimate that all sorts of false doctrines and corruptions should centre in him.

I. THE NAMES OF THIS PERSON.

1. He is called "that man of sin," to denote his egregious wickedness; not only is he addicted to and practises wickedness himself, but he also promotes, countenances, and commands sin and wickedness in others.

2. And he is "the son of perdition," because he himself is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument of destroying many others both in soul and body.

II. THE PRESUMPTION OF THIS PERSON.

1. His towering ambition. He "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped." Thus he has not only opposed God's authority, and that of the civil magistrates, who are called "gods," but exalted himself above God and earthly governors, in demanding greater regard to his commands than to the commands of God or the magistrate.

2. His dreadful usurpation. "He as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God!" As God was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is in and with His Church now, so Antichrist is the usurper of God's authority in the Christian Church, and the claimer of Divine honours, for, among the moat blasphemous titles, this one has been given to him, "Another God on earth!"

(T. Scott, M. A.)

I. THE GENERAL APOSTASY WHICH MUST PRECEDE CHRIST'S COMING.

1. Apostasy is any defection from that lord to whom we owe fealty. In religious matters it is defection from our right and proper Lord. The devil was an apostate (Jude 1:6; John 8:44); our first parents (Romans 5:19); their posterity (Zephaniah 1:6; Isaiah 59:13).

2. The apostasy of the text was not civil, the falling away of many kingdoms from the Roman empire; but of the visible Church from its Lord. This is proved —(1) From the fact that the Thessalonians did not intermingle with State affairs.(2) From the use of the word in Christian doctrine (Luke 13:13).(3) Because it was expressly foretold (1 Timothy 4:1).(4) Because those who are most concerned to maintain the notion of civil apostasy are most notorious in this defection.

3. The proper Lord of the Christian Church is Christ (Romans 14:9; Ephesians 5:23).

4. Apostasy from Christ is determined by two things.(1) By undermining His authority. This is done when others usurp His place without His leave, e.g., superinduce a universal head of the Church which Christ never appointed.(2) By corrupting and destroying the interests of His kingdom, which is the case wherever there is a degeneration from the purity and simplicity of the gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3), such as when the faith of the gospel is turned into dead opinions and curious questions; and its worship corrupted into giving Divine honour to saints and angels and turned into a theatrical pomp of empty ceremonies; and its discipline transformed into temporal domination and carried on by sides and interests.

5. This apostasy is notable and discernible, not of a few or many in divers Churches. There have always been backsliders (1 John 2:18, 19; 1 John 4:3, 5); but the great apostasy is in some visible Church where these corruptions are generally received and defended. Who then are they —(1) Who usurp Christ's authority by setting up a universal head over all Christians?(2) Who revive the worship of a middle sort of powers between God and man (1 Timothy 4:1; Colossians 2:18), and invent so many lies to defend it, when Christians should keep themselves from idols (1 John 5:21), not contented with the only Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Corinthians 8:5)?(3) Who plead for indulgences and the supererogatory satisfaction of saints as profitable for the remission of sins?(4) Who keep believers from reading the Scriptures when expressly enjoined to do so (John 5:39; Psalm 1:2)?(5) Who deny one part of the Lord's Supper notwithstanding His institution to the contrary (1 Corinthians 11:25, 26)?

II. THE REVELATION OF ANTICHRIST as —

1. "The man of sin."(1) The Jews gave this name to Antiochus (1 Macc. 2:48, 62), and it is given to Antichrist because he is a man given up to sin eminently, and giveth excitements to sin. Now how much open sin is allowed in the Papacy their own stories tell Histories witness that the most abominable men have occupied the Papal chair; and no man can sin at so cheap a rate when, by dividing sins into mortal and venial, and these expiated by penance, faculties, licences, dispensations, indulgences until sin is distinguished out of conscience.(2) Because he is called "the man of sin" it does not follow that he is an individual. One is often put for a society and succession of men as kings (Daniel 7:8; Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 14:9); so the "man of God" is put for all faithful ministers (2 Timothy 3:17); "high priest" (Hebrews 9:25); "the king" (1 Peter 2:17). So one person represents that succession of men that head the revolt against Christ.

2. "The son of perdition." Wherein he is likened to Judas (John 17:12). The term may be explained passively as one condemned to everlasting destruction (2 Samuel 12:5; Ephesians 2:3), or actively as bringing destruction on himself and others (Revelation 9:11, cf. Hebrews 5:9). Note the parallel.(1) Judas was not a stranger, but a pretended friend and apostle (Acts 1:17). Turks and infidels are enemies to Christ, but Antichrist seeks to undermine Him under a pretence of friendship. There is no mystery in open enmity (ver. 7).(2) He sold Christ for a small matter; Antichrist makes a market of religion.(3) Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, and where is there apparently such friends of Christ as at Rome? They are ready to worship the Cross, and yet they are its enemies, because they mind earthly things.(4) Judas was a guide to those who came to take Christ, and the main work of Antichrist is to be a ringleader in persecuting for religion.(5) Judas was covetous, and England to its bitter cost knows the exactions of the Papacy.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

I. IT BEGINS IN A FALLING AWAY —

1. From the power and practice of godliness, though the profession be not changed.(1) Because this disposes to the entertainment of error. When a people that are carried with great zeal for a while, lose their affections to good, and return to a worldly life, then the bias of their hearts easily prevails against the light of their understandings. And so unsanctified men may the sooner be drawn to apostasy; they never felt the quickening virtue of faith, and were never wrought by it to the true love of God or an holy life.(2) Because if a lively Christianity had been kept up, Antichrist had never risen, and it is the way to keep him out still (Matthew 13). A sleepy religion and corruption of manners made way for corruption of doctrine, worship, and order (Song of Solomon 5:2).(3) Because there is such a compliance between the nature of Antichristianism and the temper of a carnal heart; for superstition and profaneness grow both upon the same root. To prevent this falling away from a lively godliness observe two things —(a) Coldness in duties, when the will and affections grow more remiss, and the worship of God, which keepeth up the remembrance of Him, is either omitted or performed in a careless and stupid manner (Jeremiah 2:32; Job 27:10; Isaiah 43:22). When you seldom think or speak of God and do not keep up a delightful communion with Him, there is a falling away.(b) Boldness in sinning. When men lose their tenderness and strictness, and the awe of God is lessened in their hearts, and they do not only sin freely in thought, but in act, have not that hatred of sin and watch fulness they had formerly, but more abandon themselves to a carnal life, they are falling off from God apace (2 Peter 2:20).Consider the cause of it —

(a)Want of faith in God (Hebrews 3:12).

(b)Want of love to God (Revelation 2:4, 5).

(c)Want of a due sense of the world to come (Hebrews 10:39).

(d)Love of the present world (2 Timothy 4:10; 6:10; 3:4).

2. From a true religion to a false, which may be done two ways.(1) Out of weakness of mind as those do who were never well grounded in the truth (Ephesians 4:14; 2 Peter 3:16). Therefore we need to be established; but the forsaking of a truth we were bred in usually comes from some falseness of heart. Some errors are so contrary to the new nature, that they discern them by the unction (1 John 2:20).(2) Out of vile affection, when they forsake the truth for the advantages of a fleshly, worldly life, some places to be gotten by it, etc., and as the whore of Babylon hath a golden cup, riches, and pre. ferments, wherewith it inviteth its proselytes. Now these are worse than the former, for they sell the birthright (Hebrews 12:16). O Christians! take heed to yourselves. Apostasy brought Antichrist into the Church. Let it not bring him back again into the land, or into your hearts.

II. The next step is THE MAN OF SIN. As the first apostasy of Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, so this great apostasy brought in a deluge of sin into the Church, and defiled the holy society which Christ had gathered out of the world. Idolatry is often called adultery or fornication; spiritual uncleanness disposeth to bodily, and bodily to spiritual. Usually a corrupt state of religion and corrupt manners go together; otherwise the dance and the fiddle would not suit. The world cannot lie quiet in a course of sin, if there be not some libertine, atheistical doctrine, and carnal worship to countenance it (Revelation 11:10).

III. The man of sin is also THE SON OF PERDITION.

1. Actively. False religions strangely efferate the mind (Jude 1:11; Hosea 5:2). Men think no cruelty nor dishonesty unlawful which serveth to promote the interests of their sect, and lose all charity to those that are not of their way.

2. Passively, shall be destroyed. Sometimes grievous judgments come in this world for the corruptions of religion; but in the world to come, dreadful is the end of apostates (2 Peter 2:20, 21).

(T. Manton, D. D.)

Mark —

I. THAT MORAL EVIL ON EARTH IS REPRESENTED IN HUMAN NATURE. Sin is connected with man in contradistinction to —

1. Abstract systems.

2. Super-earthly sinners.

II. THAT IT IS OFTEN FOUND USURPING THE PEROGATIVES of God, such as —

1. Proprietorship in human life.

2. The taking away of human life.

3. Dominion over conscience.

4. The absolving from sin.

5. Infallibility of character.

III. THAT IT IS SUBJECT TO RESTRAINT IN THIS WORLD, arising from —

1. Civil law.

2. Social intelligence.

3. The monition of conscience.

4. Physical inability.

IV. THAT IT IS ASSOCIATED, WITH THE MYSTERIOUS (ver. 7). Evil is mysterious on account of —

1. The darkness that enfolds its introduction.

2. The mask under which it works.

3. Its wonderful results.

V. THAT IT IS SATANIC IN ITS OPERATIONS (ver. 9). These operations are —

1. Sensuous.

2. Marvellous.

3. Deceptive.

4. Unrighteous.

5. Destructive.

VI. THAT IT IS DESTINED TO BE DESTROYED BY THE AGENCY OR CHRIST.

1. By His Word.

2. By His manifestation.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The term "son of perdition" occurs but once elsewhere, and that on our Lord's lips in reference to Judas. The parallel between His character and conduct and the Papacy — not any individual Pope, but the whole system — is most close. We conceive the Papacy to be here intended, because the features of type and prophecy here delineated fit no other subject.

I. JUDAS AND THE BISHOPS OF ROME ALIKE WERE MINISTERS — OFFICIAL MEN IN THE CHURCH. The antiquity of the Church of Rome, and the dignity, authority, and vast influence of its bishops is undisputed.

II. BOTH BETRAYED THE TRUST REPOSED IN THEM. How fearfully Judas did this we all know; and has not the Papacy? The trust committed to it was the "mystery of godliness," the maintenance of the gospel in its purity and simplicity, the care of Christ's flock, example not lordship. How was this trust fulfilled by successive bishops of Rome? They gradually began to seek for ascendancy, to accommodate the Scriptures to their own purpose, to vitiate the purity and simplicity of the gospel by tradition, ecclesiastical decisions, fables, and legends as of Divine authority, to set themselves more aloft, and to set the Saviour aside, usurping His preeminence by assuming the title of His vicars, as though He were not with His Church always.

III. BOTH BETRAYED HIM INTO THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES TO DEATH. Judas literally, the Papacy in the persons of His persecuted representatives. Judas betrayed Christ into the hands of the civil power, and has not the wretched policy of Rome ever been to screen its own cowardice and heartlessness behind the pretended power of civil authority, to whom her victims after sham trials have been handed over for death?

IV. BOTH BETRAYED THE LORD WITH A KISS. The Papacy makes a vain pretence of showing special homage to Christ. Witness its caricature of Christ's example when the Pope washes the feet of a few selected beggars, and the spurious honour given to Christ's dignity by the mediatorship of Mary and the Saints.

V. BOTH BETRAYED THE LORD FOR MONEY. The covetousness of Judas gives point to the apostolic injunction to ministers not to be lovers of filthy lucre; but history is witness that the Papacy from the first has been given to filthy lucre. The requirements and ordinances which Rome has substituted for the ordinances of the gospel have been so many channels for wealth to flow into her treasury. Almost as soon as the Papacy rose on the ruins of the Pagan Empire she imposed the impious tax known as Peter's pence. But this is not all. Merchandize is made of Christ. Rome professes that her priests, in the mass, transubstantiate the wafer into Christ, and the mass is offered for the sins of men, for money; so that the priests must be paid as Judas for offering up the Lord Incarnate. And then she sells indulgences, deliverances from penance, prayers, etc., making salvation a matter of money.

VI. BOTH BETRAY CHRIST AT THE INSTIGATION OF SATAN. We could not account for the structure of the Papacy except on this hypothesis.

1. If you trace back the policy of Satan to the beginning you find it to be threefold.(1) It was to blot out the idea of God. Hence we find no idolatry on the part of the ungodly before the flood.(2) Failing, then, to set aside religion altogether he corrupted it. No sooner was there knowledge of the true God than he introduced gods many; side by side with prophets, miracles, the Word of God, he set up soothsayers, magic, lying oracles and legends.(3) When Christianity was set up, and his pagan throne in Rome overthrown, he set up his Papal throne, and repeopled the deserted pantheon with idols for Christians to worship. So exactly has this come to pass that there is scarcely a pagan ceremony that has not its shadow in Popery, and its mission abroad is to paganize Christianity rather than to Christianize paganism.

2. Note the satanic characteristics of the Papacy.(1) There is no doubt that Satan has much to do with the lying wonders of heathenism, and the strange appearances of power with which Rome caricatures the miracles of Christ. Did not the Pope know that the winking picture which he sent crowns to adorn, and which he endorsed as a miracle, was a most barefaced imposture?(2) Satan fell by pride, and we need scarcely to be reminded of the awful arrogance of the Papacy. Look at the servile homage the Pope receives when men kiss his feet; and when on the day of his installation he is borne on the shoulders of bishops, and thrice adored; and when on the pontifical throne he is placed on the high altar where the Divine wafer rests, thus "sitting in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God and is worshipped."

VII. BOTH FULFIL SCRIPTURE AND ACCOMPLISH WHAT GOD IN HIS DETERMINATE COUNSEL AND FOREKNOWLEDGE DECLARED SHOULD BE DONE. How these and other instances in which the wrath of man praises God is a mystery; but the existence of such a system of despotism, delusion, superstition, and cruelty, would be an intolerable burden on any ether hypothesis. But when we see it all foretold in revelation, and that it shall at last serve to magnify Christ, and tend to the glorification of His Church, we bow submissive and tarry the Lord's time. VIII. BOTH ARE BRANDED "THE SON OF PERDITION," BECAUSE OF THEIR FEARFUL DOOM (ver. 8).

(Canon Stowell.)

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