Of the pride and ambition of Antichrist, advancing himself above
all that is called God, etc.
(1) But Antichrist
is not only an enemy to Christ, but also (as our enemies
confess), emulus Christi, that is, such an adversary as is
opposed unto Christ in emulation of like honor, as the word Antichrist
doth also signify. It remaineth therefore that we should speak
of the pride and ambition of Antichrist, whereby he seeks to match
Christ our Savior, advancing himself as the Apostle speaketh, Above
all that is called God, or that is worshipped, insomuch that he
sitteth in the temple of God, as God, shewing himself that he is
God,or as the Papists themselves translate it, as though
he were God. Where (for avoiding of error) we are to understand
the pride of Antichrist to be described as a characteristic which
accompanies a wretched man, a man of sin, a son of perdition.
And the greatest pride that can be associated with any man or creature,
be it the devil himself (whose Satanical pride Antichrist
was to imitate and not to exceed) is this: to seek to be as God.
However, when it is said that Antichrist advances himself above
all that is called God, or that is worshipped, it is not meant
that he shall seek to advance himself above all that is called God,
or that is worshipped, it is not meant that he shall seek to advance
himself, above God or the deity himself. For since God is infinite
in goodness, excellence and power, there cannot be conceived one
better, superior or greater. And therefore we cannot imagine how
Antichrist should advance himself above God. And it is evident that
the height of Antichrist’s pride here spoken of is noted in the
words, Insomuch as he shall sit in the
temple of God, as God. We are to understand by the phrase,
all that is called God, all those to whom the name of God
is communicated – not His essence, for that cannot be communicated
to any that is not god. Now the name of God is communicated to Angels
in heaven, Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7; Psalm 97:7; Hebrews 1:6, and
to princes and magistrates on earth, Exodus 22:28; Psalm 82:1
& 6. And whereas it is said he shall advance himself above
all that is worshipped, we are to understand by the Greek
word σέβασμα not God Himself, but anything that is worshipped as God, or wherein
God is worshipped. Thus it is used in Wisdom 15:17 (images),
and Acts 17:23 where altars among the heathen are
called σεβάσματα. Such [gods which are objects of worship are found]
in the church of Rome: Saints, images, the cross, relics of Saints,
the eucharist, etc.
By ‘temple of
God’ is meant the Church
The meaning of the Apostle
is this, that Antichrist being a wicked and wretched man, shall
advance himself above all that is called God, as Angels and Kings,
or that which is worshipped, as Saints, images and altars, the cross
and eucharist itself, insomuch that he shall sit in the temple of
God, that is he shall rule and reign in the church of God, challenging
a sovereign, universal and divine authority over all those that
profess the name of Christ, as if he were a God upon the earth,
shewing himself whether by words or by deeds that he is god, or
as though he were God, which is the same thing.
The like things were foretold
of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is thought to have been a type
of Antichrist, Daniel 11:36ff….
That which hinders
the Antichrist is the Roman Empire, not the Holy Spirit
(2) I will now apply II Thess.
2:4 to the Pope. First, the Pope advances himself above all that
is called God, it is plain, because he lifts himself up not only
over Kings and Emperors on earth, but also above the Angels in heaven.
Of his lifting himself up above Kings and Emperors is how the testimony
of II Thess. 2:4 before explained is to be understood. For the Apostle
speaks of such an advancement whereby Antichrist must first be revealed,
because he was to be hindered for a time by the Roman Empire. Let
us then consider how he advances himself above Kings and Emperors,
who are called Gods. The Pope, if you will believe his followers,
is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
by whom Princes reign,
and from whom the right of Kings depends.For you must know that as they full solemnly dispute
the Empire or temporal rule, as well as the priesthood or ecclesiastical
domination is translated unto the successors of Peter, that the right of rule & direct domination of the
Empire and kingdom belongs to the Pope,
although he commits the exercise thereof to Emperors and Kings;
and that Emperors, Kings and all Princes receive their right of
governing their kingdoms from the Pope.
By him they are confirmed. By him they are deposed. To him Emperors
and Kings are but vassals bound to swear allegiance and fidelity. He far surpasses the Emperor as the Sun excels
the Moon….as the creator is superior to the creature.
Therefore, when Kings and Emperors come into the presence of his
holiness, after having performed obeisance to him from three different
positions, they must fall down before him and kiss his foot…[Dr.
Downame then gives historical examples of the Emperors doing obeisance
to the Pope: i.e., the humiliation of Henry by Gregory 7th;
Alexander 3rd placing his foot on the neck of Emperor
Frederick Barbarossa, who had come for the Pope’s pardon; Celestine
3rd kicking the diadem off the head of Henry 6th
, whom he had just crowned Emperor, etc.]
(4) And thus hath the Pope lifted
up himself above all that is called God upon earth, that is to say,
Kings and Emperors. Let us now consider whether he exalteth himself
above those which are called Gods in the heavens, that is to say,
First, it is avowed by himself
and his authoritative writers “that the power of the Pope is
greater than all other created power.”
That unto him is given all power above all powers, as well of heaven
as of the earth.
That to the vicar of the creator, the Pope, every creature is subject. And more particularly, that
he hath Christ’s vicarship, not only concerning things in heaven,
earth and hell, but also above the Angels, both good and bad. “That the Pope hath rule
over the Angels and Devils.”That he hath power to command the
Not only does he challenge
greater honor and reverence to be done to himself then is due to
the angels (for he admits to being adored, men falling down before
him, which the angels refuse because they are our fellow servants),
but also the Pope taketh upon himself to command the holy Angels
at his pleasure to remove souls departed out of Purgatory into heaven.
Clement 6th , in his bull concerning those which
should come to celebrate the Jubilee, he commandeth the Angels of
heaven that if any of them should die in that journey, to bring
their souls, having been wholly freed from Purgatory, into the glory
(5) It remaineth that I should
shew how the Pope advances himself above the things wherein God
is worshipped, or which are worshipped as God in the church of Rome,
as are the Saints, the cross, the altar and their God of bread.
As for the Saints, they are subject to the Pope for canonization,
awaiting the courtesy and free disposition of the Pope whether to
be deified, or in their terminology ‘canonized,’ or to be deposed.
For such is the authority (if you will believe him) in canonizing
of Saints, that he can canonize whom he will; yea, of a damned person
cast into hell he can make a Saint of heaven. Contrarily, he can
‘unsaint’ those which before were canonized.
The cross which they say is
to be worshipped with divine worship, is notwithstanding made an
ensign of the Pope’s authority, and is borne before him as the mace
before the magistrate, or the sword before the Prince. When their
procession is completed the cross is laid under the Pope’s feet.
And that he may be known even
literally to sit in the material temple as if he were a God, it
is to be noted that his seat in St. Peter’s is above the altar.
But their chief God worshipped
is their God of bread, which because they imagine it to be Christ
Himself, it is worshipped among them as their maker and redeemer,
notwithstanding in the Pope’s processions and journeys it is made
subject to his holiness. For example, Pope Gregory 7th
did cast the Host into the fire when it refused to answer his demands….The
Pope rides upon a magnificent steed under a stately canopy, or is
carried upon noble men’s shoulders in a chair of gold, while the
Host, their Christ, is carried upon a simple nag in comparison.
[Dr. Downame then cites examples of the Pope’s pride, whereby he
seeks to equal Christ and God being called God upon earth, Our
Lord God the Pope, both allowing to be called as such and publishing
works in which he is called by these names.]
These examples are more than
sufficient to prove that the Pope taketh upon him as if he were
a God, although in word he does not actually affirm any such thing
of himself. But so shameless is this Antichrist that he affirms
the like things to himself. As namely that those things he does
are done by a divine power….
(7) But as I said, the name Antichrist
signifieth such a one as seeketh to match Christ. Let us therefore
consider how this agrees to the Pope. For if the Pope does seek
to match himself with Christ, then by this argument alone, if there
were no other, he may certainly be convicted to be Antichrist. Using
Christ as our model, let us consider the Pope’s nature and offices.
As touching his nature, if you will believe their blasphemies, the
Pope “as well as Christ is god, a being of the second intention
compounded of god and man.And
as Christ is greater than man in respect of the one nature [as God],
and in regard of the other [as man] less than God, so they say of
the Pope, “He is, as it were, a god upon earth, greater than
a man, and less than god, having the fullness of power.”That
he is a man, I shall not need to prove, howbeit some of his followers
don’t know what to make of him. They say he is the wonderment of
the world, “neither God nor man, but a neuter between both.”
That he would be supposed
and acknowledged as a God it appeareth also by the divine properties
which are attributed to the Pope. His Holiness (that is to say)
the Pope, (for his holiness is himself) is the god of revenge, true without error, yea, without possibility of error,
for he cannot err, whose will must stand for reason as if it
were the rule of justice. And therefore it were no better
than sacrilege to call in question any of his doings.
As for his power, whether
you understand by it authority or might, he would seem to be infinite
in respect to both, for infinite power is given unto him. And if
Christ was given all power in heaven and earth, then the Pope, who
is his vicar, hath the same power, yea, to doubt of his power is
sacrilege. “Sin excepted, the Pope may do all things as it were
which God may do.”He
can change the nature of things, yea, of nothing he can make something,
and of injustice righteousness, for he hath the fullness of power.
(8) In respect of the Pope’s office,
he is the foundation, the head, the husband, the Lord of the universal
church, and, in anointing, Christ. Therefore, he is to be called,
The Lord’s Christ.Now
if it be objected that Christ alone is the head of the Catholic
[universal] Church, the Papists respond, “that Christ and the
Pope are one and the same head in the Church, and do make one and
the same consistory: for it were a monstrous thing that the Church
should have two heads.”
But to address the issue of
the Pope’s offices, as Prophet he is the universal of ecumenical
Bishop, and Pastor of Pastors, the Ordinary or Bishop of the whole
world, who hath the supreme authority of interpreting the scriptures,
who is the supreme judge in controversies of religion, having a
divine and infallible judgment, who is above general councils, whose
judgment is to be preferred before the judgment of the whole world,
insomuch that if the whole world should determine against the Pope,
we must stand in his sentence. He is of greater authority than all
the Saints, and in this respect is of greater perfection than the
whole body of the Church.
(9) The Pope seeks to match Christ:
1 In making new articles
of faith, and to propound doctrines not contained in the Scriptures
as necessary unto salvation. 2 In making five more Sacraments than Christ appointed
(some he prefers above baptism) and those two ordained of Christ
he hath so altered and changed as that the one is scarcely the same,
the other not at all the same. And whereas Christ ordained the Sacrament
of His body and blood in two kinds, [bread and wine], they not withstanding
his institution will have it administered to the people in one kind
only [bread]. 3 In making their own devices, decretals and
traditions of equal authority with the word of God. Innocent
3rd commanded that the words of the Mass should be
held equal to the words of the Gospel. Agatho the Pope decreed
that all the constitutions of the Apostolic See are to be received
as authorized by the divine voice of Peter himself…..As touching
traditions (whereby is meant all points of popery, which they themselves
confess are not contained in the written word) the holy Council
of Trent hath ordained that they are to be received and honored
as the written word of God….And lastly, lest he should seem inferior
to Christ our Prophet in any capacity, the Pope confirms his doctrine
by miracles as they call them.
(10) And thus the Pope matches
himself with Christ our Prophet. Let us now consider how he advances
himself above Christ. This he manifestly does when he prefers his
authority and the authority of his church above the Scriptures….Sylvester
Prierias, master of the Pope’s palace, says, That indulgences
are warranted unto us, not by the authority of the Scripture, but
by the authority of the Church and the Pope of Rome, which is greater.
The particulars which prove the Pope advances himself above the
Scriptures are these: 1
Because he hath, as they say, authority to add other books to the
Canonical Scriptures that are not in the Canon. Those which are
in the Canon have their canonical authority from him…..In the same
place, Sylvester Prierias also says, Whosoever rests not
in the doctrine of the Roman church and Bishop of Rome as the infallible
rule of God, from which the sacred Scripture draws strength and
authority, he is an Heretic…. 2
They teach that the Scriptures are to be understood according to
the interpretation of the Pope and Church of Rome; and that sense
which the Pope assigns to the Scriptures must be taken for the undoubted
word of God…And if the sense which they give be diverse according
to the variety of their practice and diversity of the times, we
must acknowledge that the Scripture is to follow the church and
not the church to follow the Scriptures.…..
(11) Thirdly, the Pope assumes authority
greater than that of the Scriptures when he takes upon himself the
right to dispense with the word and law of God. For whosoever takes
upon him to dispense with the law of another challenges greater
authority than the others. It is even a rule amongst Papists that
the inferior may not dispense with the commandment of the superior.
That the Pope doth dispense with the laws of God it is evident.
For scarcely is there any sin forbidden in the Scripture with which
he doth not at some time dispense; nay, whereof he will not, if
it be for his advantage make a meritorious work.
How the Popes
promote incest and other sins
Incest is a horrible sin,
forbidden by the law of God and by the law of nature. And yet there
is no incest which he hath not authority to dispense with, the lone
exception being between parent and child. For, as the Papists say,
the Pope may dispense against the law of nature. The Pope gave dispensation
so Henry 8th could lawfully marry his sister-in-law.
He did the same for Philip, the late king of Spain, to marry
his own niece. Pope Martin 5th gave dispensation
that a certain brother could marry his sister. Clement 7th
licensed Petrus Alvaradus, the Spaniard, for a sum of money, to
marry two sisters at once.
Disobedience to parents, perjury,
that is, the breaking of lawful oaths, rebellion against lawful
princes and murdering of a sacred prince are all condemned by the
law of God as heinous offenses. But if children shall cast off their
parents to enter into a Sodomite cloister; if the Pope shall absolve
the subjects from their oaths and forbid them to obey their Princes;
if he shall excommunicate a lawful Prince, or suborn a wicked traitor
to murder his sovereign: then disobedience to parents, perjury and
rebellion in subjects, murdering of sacred Princes, is not only
warranted, but is considered meritorious. The highest authorities
of the Roman Church agree that though he may not universally abrogate
the law of God, he may in particular instances where the reason
of the law fails, so he may dispense with all the precepts of
the old and new testament…….Thus, in effect, according to Romanist
theology, we are bound to keep every commandment of God, unless
the Pope interpose his authority betwixt God and us, and exempt
us from the obedience thereof!
The Pope commands
(12) And lastly, as the Pope may dispense with all the laws
of God, he may also take away some and abrogate others. “The
Pope may take away from the law of God in part, but not in whole.”Thus, out of the Decalogue he taketh
away from the second commandment because with it his Idolatry cannot
stand. So to complete the ten laws, he divides the last commandment
into two, against all reason and authority of antiquity. But that
commandment concerning images and other matters, the Pope also abrogates
by his countermands.
· God forbids
us either to worship of serve any but Himself, Matt. 4:10; 1
Samuel 7:3; Exod. 20:3. But the Pope commands us to worship
Angels and Saints; yea, and the relics of Saints.
· God forbids
the making and worshipping of images, but the Pope commands the
· God condemns
brothels, but the Pope allows them; yea, one of them even built
a famous brothel.
· God condemns
concupiscence as a sin, but to the Pope it is no sin and allows
· God commands
all the faithful to drink of the cup in the Lord’s supper, but the
Pope forbids it.
· God commands
every soul be subject to the higher powers, but the Pope exempts
his clergy from the secular yoke.
· God commands
all to marry, who have not the gift of continency, but the Pope
forbids all his clergy to marry, though they be never so incontinent.
hypocrisy in the Church of Rome
Besides, it is evident that the Pope’s laws in the
church of Rome are held in greater esteem than the laws of God,
the obedience of them being more strictly urged, and the disobedience
thereof more severely punished. As for example:
is safer to be a mere Atheist and worshipper of no God then not
to be a worshipper of their God of bread, though otherwise a good
is better for a priest to be a Sodomite then to marry.
is better to be a drunkard and whoremonger then to eat flesh in
is better with the begging friars to set forth a new gospel (which
they call the gospel of the Holy Ghost and the eternal gospel, wherein
they taught that Christ is not God, and that His gospel is not the
true gospel…) then for the learned man, William St. Amore, to
write against them and their gospel, for the Pope degraded and deposed
him of all dignities when he would not allow the heretics to be
so disgraced. William was sent into exile while the heretics found
favor with the Pope.
is better for private men to read any books of ribaldry or any villainy
whatsoever then to read any part of the Scriptures in their own
(13) To his prophetic office let
us add his priesthood. For the Pope is Pontifex Optimus Maximus
(an epithet which the Heathen give their chief God, Jupiter).
He is that great priest according to the order of Melchizedek, whose
foot must be reverently kissed by his Cardinals. He is the Prince
of Priests and head of the Christian religion. He is that Priest
of Priests who remits both fault and punishment both to the quick
and the dead, whereas Christ remits only to the living. Neither
does this indulgent father grant pardons for past sins only, but
for offences to come.
(14) But I hasten to his kingly
office. For he is authoritatively called by numerous doctors of
the church, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Lion of the
Tribe of Judah, to whom all power is given I heaven and in earth;
yea, and under the earth. This power is symbolized in his triple
crown, for he hath a triple Empire – in heaven, earth and purgatory,
though Christ rules only in heaven and earth……Now this Empire or
Monarchy is twofold, for he hath the two swords, civil and ecclesiastical, as is stoutly proved out of
the gospel, say the Papists, where one of Christ’s disciples saith,
Behold, two swords.Pope Nicholas
saith, Christ hath given to the Pope, through blessed Peter, the
key to eternal life and rule over both the earthly and heavenly
Respecting his civil authority,
he claims rule over all Kings, which is evident in his title, King
of Kings, for all secular power has been given the Pope, even
in temporal matters….And as touching the Roman Empire, the government
thereof belongeth to the Pope, as God’s vicar on earth, and by whom
(15) As touching his ecclesiastical
authority which , as some say, is the foundation of the Church,
he is superior and greater than all others in the universal church,
proved by 7 arguments:
· Because he is
the Pastor of the universal Church.
· Because he is
the head of the universal Church.
· Because he is
that prelate which hath authority over the whole Church.
· Because he is
the Prince of the universal Church.
· Because he hath
supreme power in the Church.
· Because he alone
hath the fullness of power in the Church.
· Because he is
Christ’s vicar-general in the whole universal Church.
….He is the head, the root,
the Monarch, the fountain of ecclesiastical power having the same
consistory with God, as well as judgment seat with Christ….
(16) There remaineth a third part
of his kingdom, that of Purgatory. The Pope’s power in Purgatory
has proved problematic for him. For the question has been raised,
whether the Pope may empty all purgatory wholly and at once.
The Archbishop of Florence, Antonius, has, in attempting
answer this dilemma, has created a three-fold distinction between
his absolute power, whereby the Pope may empty Purgatory, and his
orderly execution thereof, whereby he cannot and ought not.
Truly, it so obvious that the Pope is not pleased to let any
escape the pains of Purgatory unless he be well pleased by the sale
of indulgences and pardons. I must confess it was a cheap year of
souls when Pope Leo 10th sent Torelius about
with his pardons, offering for the payment of ten shillings to set
at liberty the soul of anyone which they should name in Purgatory…..
And thus it appeareth evident
that the Pope is Antichrist, not only because he is an adversary
opposed to Christ, as was proved in the former chapter, but also
because he is emulus, as it were a counterfeit Christ, who,
seeking to match our Savior Christ, advances himself above all that
is called God, or that is worshipped, insomuch that he sitteth in
the temple of God as god, shewing and demeaning himself as though
he is a God upon the earth.
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