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temporal interest from that of the church, and its worldly prosperity or aggrandizement would not have been their great or only aim. But uniting all interests into one, and concentrating all objects in the exaltation of the hierarchy, he who regarded not the God of his fathers, regarded not either the desire of women. In whatever sense the expression be understood, its clear and direct meaning seems evidently to be the discouragement, and even, in many cases, positive prohibition of matrimony, which is so remarkable a feature of the Romish church, which is ingrained in its institutions, and has been so highly influential on its history and fate. The accordance is here as close between these words and the description, given by the apostle, of the apostasy of the latter times, as between the character of the king who did according to his will, and exalted himself, and magnified himself above every god, and spoke marvellous things against the God of gods—and that man of sin who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called god, or that is worshipped, &c. After the apostle had declared, (1 Tim. iii. 1,) This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work ; a bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife, &c. ;-he looks forward prophetically to the times of which the Spirit spoke expressly, when some would depart from the faith,—forbidding to marry. Not to regard the desire of women, or of wives, (as the original word is very frequently translated,) obviously appears to be an analogous expression, or one of similar significancy. “By the desire of women, the desire of marriage seems to be meant; and where on earth,” to quote the just and forcible expressions of an able commentator, “ has any power or government permanently and avowedly stigmatized marriage as dishonourable, and almost idolized celibacy and virginity, except that of Rome, even from the conver
sion of the emperors to Christianity to this day ; and except those who have retained some measure of her anti-christianity ? The prohibition of marriage to priests, secular and regular, has always been attended with discouraging the marriage of women, and the encouragement of vows of virginity. Convents of nuns have regularly, and almost necessarily, attended those of monks and friars; and in both senses, the apostle's prediction, of a “power forbidding to marry,” as well as of Daniel's, of a power not regarding the desire of women, has been literally fulfilled."* The neglect of the pure and genuine worship of God, and the discouragement of marriage, are appropriately combined with magnifying himself above all—for the promotion of which object they are represented as designed, and which in fact they did effect.
The king who did according to his will, was not an atheist, or one who abjured the forms of religion ; for although he did not regard the God of his fathers, in his estate he honoured the god of forces, and a god whom his fathers knew not, and a strange god, whom he would acknowledge and increase with glory. He was to be a worshipper of many gods or divinities, (a god of forces, or gods-protectors, being in the plural number,) but he was to cause them to rule over many, and to divide the land for gain. The gods whose worship he would promote or enforce, were to be made subservient to his aggrandizement or gain, for it was his character and aim to exalt himself above all.
The term “ a god of forces,” used in our version, scarcely conveys any definite meaning. The Septuagint, Vulgate, Geneva, and other versions, such as that of Arius Montanus, the most literal of all, retain the original word Mahuzzim. It is also marked on the margin of the English Bible, and there translated
gods-protectors. Mahoz, in the singular number, signifies strength, a fortress, a strong tower, or a rock. The use of it in the plural number here denotes, that, instead of the pure worship of God, there would be a plurality of objects of adoration, honoured and trusted in as divine protectors. The psalmist, in addressing the Divine Being, repeatedly uses the very term, but limits it to the worship of God alone. The Lord is the strength (mahoz) of my life, Ps. xxvii. 1. The Lord is the saving strength (literally the mahoz of salvation of his anointed, Ps. xxviii. 8. Bow down thine ear to me ; deliver me speedily; be thou my strong rock— be thou to me for a rock of strength (a rock of mahoz)—for an house of defence to save me, Ps. xxi. 2. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me, for thou art my protector (mahoz), ib. ver. 5. The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength (their mahoz) in the time of trouble, and the Lord shall help and deliver them, Ps. xxxvii. 39. In each of these instances, Mahoz is translated in the Septuagint and Vulgate, or Greek* and Latint translations, by a word which literally signifies a defender or protector. Mahuzzim, which is simply the plural of Mahoz, thus expressly signifies defenders or protectors. " And how think you now," asks Mede emphatically, after citing these passages, are not saints and angels worshipped as Mahuzzims ? True Christians have but one Mahoz,—but apostate Christians have their many Mahuzzims. "I
" It is a thing not to be passed by,” says Mede, 6 without admiration, that the Fathers and others, even at the beginning of saint-worship, by I know not what fatal instinct, used to call saints and their
relics, towers, walls, bulwarks, fortresses, i. e. Mahuzzim, in the prime and original signification;"* of which he and Sir Isaac Newton adduce abundant prooft By entering on their labours, a few instances may be selected.
Basil, bishop of Cæsarea, who flourished in the latter part of the fourth century, concludes his oration on the martyr Mamas with a prayer that God would preserve the church thus fortified with the GREAT TOWERS of the martyrs. And in his oration on the forty martyrs he thus speaks, “ These are they who, having taken possession of our country, like certain towers, afford us safety from our enemies.— ye common keepers of mankind, the best companions of our cares, and coadjutors of our prayers, most powerful ambassadors to God,” &c.-" The body of St. Paul,” according to Chrysostome, (Hom. 32.) “ fortifies the city of Rome more strongly than any tower, or than ten thousand ramparts-as likewise does the body of St. Peter.” Are not these, as Mede asks, strong Mahuzzim ?--Other cities and countries besides Rome and Italy, were not destitute, in the estimation of Chrysostome, of similar divine protectors, in the dead bodies of martyred saints. In this homily (70) upon the Egyptian martyrs, he avers—The bodies of these saints FORTIFY our city more strongly than an impregnable wall of adamant, and as certain high ROCKS hanging on every side, not only repel the assaults of those enemies which are seen with the eye, but also overthrow and defeat the ambassadors of invisible fiends, and all the stratagems of the devil. Here too are Mahuzzim. “ If you dread the swords and wars of Italy,” says Gregory, (lib. 7, ep. 23) “ you should attentively consider how great is the PROTECTION of blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles in this city; wherein, without a great number of people, without the aid of soldiers, we have been for so many years, in the midst of swords, safely preserved by God's providence from all hurt.”
* The fourteenth chap. of Sir Isaac Newton's Observations on Daniel, which occupies 28 pages, is devoted to the illustration of this fact.
+ Ibid. p. 673.
Incredible as it may seem, the bodies of saints were actually confided in, and, so to speak, used as fortresses, and held as influential, as more substantial bulwarks. Even in the days of Constantine, and by his order, (on the authority of Gennadius) James, bishop of Nisibis, renowned for holiness, was buried within the walls of that city, a frontier town of the empire, for the protection or guardianship (custodiam) of the city (Gen. de vir. illust. cap. 6.)— The Antiochians petitioned Leo I. (A. D. 460) for the keeping of the body of holy Simeon, in these terms". Because our city has no wall, therefore we brought hither this holy body, that it might be to us A WALL and a FORTRESS—(teryos na 'OXTPOMA—which in Hebrew would be rendered Mahoz). Hilary, who was himself soon after ranked among the saints, asserts that “ neither the guards of saints, nor the bulwarks of angels, are wanting to those who are willing to stand.”
The historian here naturally adopts the language of the ecclesiastic; and the testimony of Gibbon may, in this instance, be associated with that of churchman, to shew how a disbeliever and perverter of the truth may unite with them in illustrating the scriptures, and in fixing a prophetic brand on a corrupt church, which marks a great falling away from the faith.
- The primitive Christians were possessed with an unconquerable repugnance to the use and abuse of images. The first introduction of a symbolic worship, was in the veneration of the cross and of relics. The saints and martyrs, whose intercession was im