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Wesley's Notes on the Bible
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II

1. Our gathering together to him - In the clouds.

2. Be not shaken in mind - In judgment. Or terrified - As those easily are who are immoderately fond of knowing future things. Neither by any pretended Revelation from the Spirit, nor by pretense of any word spoken by me.

3. Unless the falling away - From the pure faith of the gospel, come first. This began even in the apostolic age. But the man of sin, the son of perdition - Eminently so called, is not come yet. However, in many respects, the Pope has an indisputable claim to those titles. He is, in an emphatical sense, the man of sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled, the son of perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers, destroyed innumerable souls, and will himself perish everlastingly. He it is that opposeth himself to the emperor, once his rightful sovereign; and that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped - Commanding angels, and putting kings under his feet, both of whom are called gods in scripture; claiming the highest power, the highest honour; suffering himself, not once only, to be styled God or vice-God. Indeed no less is implied in his ordinary title, "Most Holy Lord," or, "Most Holy Father." So that he sitteth - Enthroned. In the temple of God - Mentioned Rev. xi, 1. Declaring himself that he is God - Claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.

6. And now ye know - By what I told you when I was with you. That which restraineth - The power of the Roman emperors. When this is taken away, the wicked one will be revealed. In his time - His appointed season, and not before.

7. He will surely be revealed; for the mystery - The deep, secret power of iniquity, just opposite to the power of godliness, already worketh. It began with the love of honour, and the desire of power; and is completed in the entire subversion of the gospel of Christ. This mystery of iniquity is not wholly confined to the Romish church, but extends itself to others also. It seems to consist of,

1. Human inventions added to the written word.

2. Mere outside performances put in the room of faith and love.

3. Other mediators besides the man Christ Jesus. The two last branches, together with idolatry and bloodshed, are the direct consequences of the former; namely, the adding to the word of God. Already worketh - In the church. Only he that restraineth - That is, the potentate who successively has Rome in his power. The emperors, heathen or Christian; the kings, Goths or Lombards; the Carolingian or German emperors.

8. And then - When every prince and power that restrains is taken away. Will that wicked one - Emphatically so called, be revealed. Whom the Lord will soon consume with the spirit of his mouth - His immediate power. And destroy - With the very first appearance of his glory.

10. Because they received not the love of the truth - Therefore God suffered them to fall into that "strong delusion."

11. Therefore God shall send them - That is, judicially permit to come upon them, strong delusion.

12. That they all may be condemned - That is, the consequence of which will be, that they all will be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness - That is, who believed not the truth, because they loved sin.

13. God hath from the beginning - Of your hearing the gospel. Chosen you to salvation - Taken you out of the world, and placed you in the way to glory.

14. To which - Faith and holiness. He hath called you by our gospel - That which we preached, accompanied with the power of his Spirit.

15. Hold - Without adding to, or diminishing from, the traditions which ye have been taught - The truths which I have delivered to you. Whether by word or by our epistle - He preached before he wrote. And he had written concerning this in his former epistle.

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