To observe another passage, though not in this prophecy, yet delivered out by the same inspired writer, which predicts some of the notorious doctrines and practices of antichrist; it is in 1 Timothy 4:1-3 where the apostle foretells a departure from the faith in after-times, and the appearance of seducing spirits, who should teach doctrines of devils. The doctrines of demon-worship; like that of the heathens, their demons being a middle sort of beings between God and men, and mediated between them; and such are the angels and saints departed, the Papists direct men to pray unto; and which is called worshipping devils and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood (Rev. 9:20), forbidding to marry; matrimony, though God’s ordinance, and honorable, is forbidden popish priests, and celibacy is enjoined, under a notion of sanctity and purity; and which is the source of great debauchery and uncleanness among them: commanding to abstain from meats: as on Wednesdays and Fridays in every week, and during the quadragesima or Lent, the fast of forty days. And now whereas it is most clearly manifest, that all these characters of antichrist, and all these things predicted of him hundreds of years before his appearance, exactly answers to the Pope of Rome, and have been punctually performed; there can be no reason to doubt of the certain performance of what the same prophetic spirit has declared concerning his destruction; as that the Lord shall consume him with his mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of his coming; that is, by the spiritual and powerful preaching of the gospel, attended with the presence of Christ in the beginning of his spiritual reign; when the whole earth will be enlightened with his glory, and antichrist, and all antichristian darkness, doctrine and worship shall disappear; and the rather this is to be credited, since it receives confirmation from a prophecy of Isaiah, delivered many hundreds of years before this, in much the same language, and from whom the apostle seems to borrow his words; for speaking of Christ, he says, he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked: that wicked lawless one, antichrist: The Lord in his great zeal will perform this. THE SURE PERFORMANCE OF PROPHECY. A SERMON, Preached at a Wednesday’s Evening Lecture, in GREAT EAST-CHEAP, Jan. 1, 1755.
Gill considered the observance of Lent a reason to separate from the Church of England and the use of the Anglican prayerbook:
It directs to the observation of several fasts and festivals, which are no where enjoined in the word of God, and for which it provides collects, gospels and epistles to be read: the fasts are, Quadragesima or Lent, in imitation of Christ’s forty days fast in the wilderness, Ember weeks, Rogatian days, and all the Fridays in the year; in which men are commanded to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. The festivals, besides, the principal ones, Christmas, Easter and Whitsuntide, are the several saints days throughout the year; which are all of popish invention, and are either moveable or fixed, as the popish festivals be; and being the relics of popery makes us still more uneasy and dissatisfied with them. The DISSENTER’S REASONS FOR SEPARATING FROM The Church Of England, Occasioned By A Letter wrote by a Welch Clergyman on the Duty of Catechizing Children. Intended chiefly for the Dissenters of the Baptist Denomination in Wales
From A DISSERTATION CONCERNING THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF POPERY:
Another popish tenet, foretold by the apostle Paul as a part of the apostasy which would hereafter come upon, is abstaining from meats, (1 Tim. 4:3) and observing fasts, such as the Quadragesima or Lent, &c. and which quickly took place: the above mentioned ancient heretics, the Saturnalians, Ebionites, Gnostics, Marcionites, and Encretites, who were against marriage, were also for abstinence from meats
If I understand Gill correctly, he takes a strong stance against the observance of Lent for two reasons;
1) The observance is not commanded in scripture (easy enough) and therefore antichristian in origin, confirming prophecy about the raise of false religion that attempts to robe itself in Christian imagery, apostolic authority, the Bible, etc.
2) and, the practices accompanying the Roman Catholic observance of Lent, promotes the antichristian religion of self-righteousness by pretending to give merit for pilgrimages, the increase of the adoration of images and other such indulgences.
I agree with Gill.