Goodwin - BX9315 G6 v2

of ti1e R E V E L A T I 0 N. 37 r. They were as eminent in the Roman Empire in thofe firft Ages, as in any ~ other afcerwards. ~ Anjiv.I. 2. Though the Empire had luch Plagues in afrer-times alfo, yet thefe were all Anfw. 2. the Plagues which it had wbiHl Heathemfh, and fo were proper Pumlhmems _of their Gcntiliftn, and contempt of the Melfage of the Whtte Horft, and fo mtended by God ; and therefore brought in here as fuch. Neither did thefe at all ruin the Empire (which ftood unbroken) but limply punifh'd it for its Idolatry. But fuch Plagues as fell out after thefe, had othe~ dfecrs. accompanying them, even the Ruin of the Impertal Government, by d1v1dmg 1t, leffenmg tt, and the like ; which thefe did not. But, 3· and more efpeciall~, the Holy Ghofl: tl~th mention thefe Plagues Anfw.g. here (although the like werem other Ages) as Pumfhments attendmg upon the Gofpel : Becaufe this was the very Oblervation and Objection that the Heathens of thofe Times made ; That fince the Chrif!:ian Religion began in the Empire, Wars, Pef!:ilence, and Famine raged more than ever they did in former Times; and fo laid it upon the Chrif!:ians as the Caule, in that they contemning the Gods, provoked them to fend thefe Plagues. This we find to be theJDain Complaint and Calumny which the Chrif!:ian Writers of thofe Times writ Apologies to wipe off; a~ appears inTertullim;, Cyprian, Arnobius, &c. whole Apologies I purpofely read, and found thefe Judgments to be moll: frequently taken notice of by the Heathens themfelves, and this Calumny by the forementioned Authors anfwered. Yea, Cyprian in his Apology C1ys, That to wipe off this Calumny, WM the foie Motive and Occafton that put him 11pon writing. 1 held my peace ( fays he) till they laid all thefe Plagues upon 11s, M th• cattfl of all. Now how properly therefore did the Lord Chrif!: fingle out thofe eminent Plagues following the Gofpel, and prefent them under thefe Seals, as the mof!: notable ·occurrent Pu– nifbments of thofe Times rather than any other? And how fitly are they called Seals, feeing they were fo hidden, that the Heathens were utterly mifraken in the Caufes of them? For they being Punifhments of their Perfecuting the Saints, they turned the matter clean contrary, and imputed it to the Anger of the Gods for the Chrif!:ians contemning their Heathenifb Religion. But though they were hidden, fealed Plagues (in refpecr of the caufes of them) to the Heathens ; yet the four Beaf!:s did then inf!:rucr :fohn, (who perfonates the Church) and fo the Church in him, concerning the true caufe of them : And therefore every Seal hath aVoice of one or other of the Beaf!:s, faying, Come 11p and fee. For the Officers or Minillers of Churches inf!:rucred them, how that all thcfe Plagues were from the Gofpcl, and the contempt of it, and their perfecuting the Profelfors of it. This you may read in the Apologies of Tertullian, Arnobi11s, and C;prian, (whole Apology I will inf!:ance in for all the reil) ; who, as he lived under the Fourth Seal, in the rage of thefe four Plagues, fo he fpeaks in the very Language of the Fourth Seal. He writes againfl: one Demetrianus, who had long b1rked at Chrif!:ian Profeflion. And (lays he) I forbore till he laid to our charge, that all tbele Miferies on the Empire we Chriftians were the cau[e of: Cum dieM plurimos conqueri q11od Bel/a crebriiu Jitrgant, q11od lues, & j:11nes ftviant, 11/tra tacere non oportet: When I hear you fay that many complain of us as the Caufes why thole Wars fo often arife, and why the Peftilence and Famine rage fo; I can be no longer filent, but muf!: needs give you an Ani\ver; and he plainly declares, from the Lord of Hofts, that their Idolatries and Perfecucions of the Chrif!:ians,were the caufe; and that thefe Punifhment£, non eveniebant caji<, came not by chance, but were the Vengeance of God, who bath f.11d, that Vengw;ce is his, and that he will judg the Caufe of his People. And he withal tells them, that if ther repent not through thefe Plagues, Hell would then follow. Manet pojlmodltln (f.1ys he) career .etermu, j11gis jlamma, & ptena perpet~~a : There remains, after all this, an eternal Prifon, a continual Flame, and an everlaf!:ing Punifhment. He fpeaks in the very Language of this fourth Seal, not knowmg 1t, nor referring to it, for he lived under it. Thus doth TertttUian allo in his Apology, wherein he attributes the caufe of their Famine, and other Plagues, unto their perfecuting the Chrif!:ians. And this is the Myf!:ery of