Amandus Polanus (1561-1610)
The Substance of Christian Religion (1595)
Book I, pp. 172-178
Concerning the False Church.
The false Church is that which followeth a false religion.
A false religion, is what religion so ever is contrary to the word of God, delivered in the holy Scripture.
Whosoever embraces this, are the enemies of Christ and his Kingdom, or true Church.
The enemies are either open or dissembled.
The open enemies are those, who do manifestly shew themselves enemies to the name of Christians.
And they are both blasphemous Jews and Gentiles.
The blasphemous Jews are the open enemies of the Christian religion who though Jesus Christ the promised Messiah be already manifested, yet look for another and speak evil of the Lord Jesus and his members, neither will they believe the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ.
In them especially we must consider both their rejection and also restoration.
The rejection of the Jews is a most just punishment which by God is laid upon them, whilst he hath blinded and hardened them being thankful towards Christ and his Gospel, and rejected them from his covenant, that he might call and adopt the Gentiles in their stead. (Acts 13.46; Rom. 11 almost throughout).
And that is neither general nor perpetual (Rom. 11).
Of the Restoration of the Jews.
The restoring of the Jews is a benefit of God, when God after that the fulness of the Gentiles is come in into the Church, shall convert the Jews, that they being kindled with an emulation of the mercy shewed to the Gentiles, might embrace that Gospel which concerneth Christ, and be engrafted again into the Covenant of Grace made with Abraham and their fathers, and might be saved (Rom. 11.23-32).
Hitherto concerning the Jews: now concerning the Gentiles.
The Gentiles are open enemies to the Christian religion, who worship false and counterfeit gods.
And they be either Mahometans or other Pagans.
Mahometans are open enemies to the Christian religion, who worship Mahomet, and embrace the Alcoran delivered unto them by him. They are also called Turks.
Other Pagans are also besides the Mahometans, which worship fained gods.
And thus far concerning open enemies: now concerning dissembled enemies.
The dissembled enemies of Christ and the true Church, are those who under the name of Christ do fight against him, and by many lying signs seduce men.
And they are either Antichrists, or false Christs.
Antichrists are the dissembled enemies of Christ, who every manner of way are against the doctrine of Christ, whose followers they profess themselves to be (1 John 2.18-22; 4.3; 2 John 7).
And the same are also called false prophets (Mat. 7.15).
Antichrist is twofold: for either he is against one part or other only of the Christian doctrine, or else almost against the whole body of it.
Of the first kind are all Heretics.
An Heretic is he who doth err in the foundation of eternal salvation, that is to say, who doth fight against either the person or office of Christ, and doth stubbornly persevere in error.
Many such have been even from the times of the Apostles, and yet also there are some, as Cerinthus, Valentinus, Marcion, Sabellius, Arrius, Nestorius, Ertiches, Pelagius, and others.
Of the latter kind is that notorious adversary of Christ, who by an excellency and principally is called Antichrist (2 Thess. 2.7), and that false prophet (Rev. 16.13).
In this place especially two things are to be considered: first Antichrist himself: secondly the Church of Antichrist.
Concerning Antichrist himself, the question is both what he is, and who he should be.
That Antichrist is a man exercising a kingdom, the head of the universal Apostasy, or falling away from the faith, and professing the name of a Christian indeed, but yet setting himself both against Christ and the doctrine of Christ: having a double and supreme power, to wit, a spiritual and secular, boasting himself with deceiveable signs and miracles, an enchanter making a compact with the devil: an idolater, an hypocrite, a blasphemer, ambitious and proud, lawless, leading a single life, and forbidding marriage, and yet he himself a filthy fornicator and adulterer, a Sodomite, and that whore of Babylon: abstaining from certain kinds of meats, and yet given to riotousness: covetous, cozening men of their money, wily, given to vanity, a liar, cruel, a tyrant, a persecutor and murderer of the saints, vaunting himself as God, and lifting up himself against all powers and majesties, both in earth and also in heaven, arrogating to himself the divine power and absolute dominion of Christ, by a double and fourth fall that is to say, by the Roman Monarchy out of the rubbishes thereof by little and little, rising and increasing by the power and forcible working of Satan, in the city compassed with seven hills, that is to say, at Rome: and in the temple of God, that is to say, in the Church, but he shall be discovered in the last times of the world, and at the length by the glorious coming of Christ, shall utterly be abolished. (2 Thess. 2.3; Dan. 7.8; Rev. 17.1; 18.3; 13.11; and everywhere throughout the Revelation).
Thus far is shewed what Antichrist is: now who it is.
THAT ANTICHRIST IS THAT POPE OF ROME: even as both the canon law, and also the lives and acts of the Bishops of Rome do expressly shew.
Thus far concerning Antichrist himself: now concerning the Church of Antichrist.
The Church of Antichrist, is the Church of Rome, falsely called Apostolical and Catholic, whereas it is indeed an Apostatical Church, that Beast, and indeed disguising itself, and which doth represent the lively image of the monarchy of the Romans, heretofore defaced of their government, power, honour, and seat among all nations. Rev. 11.7-8 and 13.3 and so forward, and everywhere in the Revelation: and experience also doth witness the same.
Of this Church there be two parts: to wit, the head, and the members.
The head of this Church of Antichrist, is Antichrist himself, the Pope of Rome, the Son of Perdition, and minister of the Dragon.
The members of it be either the clergy or the laity.
The clergy are those unclean spirits coming out of the mouth of the Dragon, of that Beast and False Prophet (Rev. 16.13).
Of them there be three orders: Cardinals, false. Bishops and the filthy heap of Canonists, Schoolmen, and Monks.
Cardinals are those unclean spirits, coming forth of the mouth of the Dragon, of that Beast and False Prophet, who go to the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, honored by that Antichrist of Rome with a Cardinals hat, and sent out that even like frogs, by their clamorous and unpleasant cracking they might be importunate, which all men, to the intent they may gather them to the battle against God (Rev. 16.13-14).
False Bishops are unclean spirits, coming out of the mouth of the Dragon of that same Beast and False Prophet, who for a great price do buy their cope [vestment] at Rome, and have special jurisdiction, both civil and ecclesiastical.
That heap of Canonists, Schoolmen, and Monks, are unclean spirits coming out of the mouth of the Dragon, of that same Beast and False Prophet, everyone according to his place underpropping the See of Rome by murders and lies.
But amongst the Monks, those new Monks nowadays have the cheifty, who by a false name are called Jesuits, whereas they are indeed Esauites or Jebusites.
So much concerning Antichrist: now concerning False Christs.
False Christs, are dissembled enemies of Christ, who vaunt themselves to be Christ (Mat. 24.26; Mark 13.21; Luke 17.23).