Being an Inquiry into

the Period of The Prophesying of

The Two Witnesses, and the Characteristics of The Beast That Kills Them.


With Strictures on the Views of Fleming, Elliott, and The “Seventh Vial”.








William White and Co.

Booksellers to the Queen Dowager

Glasgow: W. Collins and Bryce.

London: Longman, Brown and Co.







This Little Work is,













This Digital Edition has been restored, expanded and reset by the Central Highlands Congregation of God.

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12 March, 2021

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Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1—The Holy City.

CHAPTER 2—The Two Witnesses.

CHAPTER 3—The Twelve Hundred And Sixty Days.

CHAPTER 4—The Slaughter Of The Witnesses.

CHAPTER 5—The Scarlet Coloured Beast.

CHAPTER 6—The Broad Street of The Great City.

CHAPTER 7—The Resurrection Of The Witnesses.



Note A.

Note B.

Note C.

Note D.




“And I will give authority to my two witnesses to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. . . .  Now when their witnesses are complete, the beast that ascends from the sea will make war with them, and will conquer them, and it will kill them.

And their corpses will come into the street of the great city where their Lord was impaled, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt. Rev 11:3,7,8





At a time when thrones are tottering, when kingdoms are reeling to and fro like drunken men, and all Europe is shaken to its very centre, the question involuntarily arises in every thoughtful mind, “What shall the end of these things be?”  That very “discourse of reason, that looks before and after,” of which mankind, as such, are possessed, cannot fail to prompt such as inquiry, and to lead its possessor to look around in every direction, to see if there be any means by which he may penetrate the palpable obscurity of the coming future.

The Christian mind, especially ever wakefully alive to all that may help or hinder the interests of truth and of godliness, desires to know what effect the stupendous changes now in progress are likely to have on the cause and Kingdom of God in the world.

Now God has seen fit to a certain extent, to gratify this natural desire, not indeed for the satisfaction of a mere vain curiosity, but for the practical guidance of His people.  The passage of the prophetic Word which I have chosen for the subject of this treatise, Rev. 11:1-14, casts a clear and steady light upon the events now transpiring, and upon the ultimate issue to which they are tending.

There are some, indeed who deprecate all such attempts as the present.  Prophecy, say they, is given for the confirmation of faith, after it has come to pass, but not to be made a subject of inquiry before it is accomplished.  To inquire into events, therefore, still in the womb of the future, they regard as presumptuous.  Now, there is no presumption at all in the matter.  Our Lord Himself has expressly encouraged such inquiries.  “Blessed” says he, at the beginning of this book, in express reference to events still future, “blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and attend to those things that are written therein, for the time is at hand.” (Rev 1:3)

It is quite true that no efforts of human ingenuity can fix before hand the precise moment when the grand moments of prophecy shall take place.  Of the coming of Christ, for instance, to destroy the Man of Sin, there is abundant reason to believe, that the saying is just as true as of his coming to destroy an ungodly world.  “of the day, or hour, knows no man, no, not the angels of God, but my Father only.”

But nevertheless, the signs of the approach of the one day, as well as of the other, are clearly given in the word of God.  “Now, learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putting forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh, so likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the very doors.” Matt 24:32.

We admit that “it is not for us to know the times and seasons which the Father has put into His own power.” (Acts 1:7)  But the times into which we now propose to inquire are not such.  They are not the secret things which belong unto God.  They are things which are revealed, and therefore, belong unto us, and to our children; and the signs by which they may be known are recorded for our instruction and warning.  To refuse, therefore, or neglect to inquire into these things is it not the effect of godly reverence or true humility.  It is the effect either of indifference, or of morbid feeling, which instead of being approved, exposes those who cherish it to the keen and cutting rebuke of the Lord: “When it is evening, you say it will be fair weather, for the sky is red.  And in the morning, it will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and lowering.  O!  You hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?” (Mat 16:2-3)

We know, in point of fact, that the prophecies already fulfilled were not unintelligible till after the event, that they were given for the regulation of conduct, for quickening the faith and vigilance of God’s people, as the time for the fulfilment of prophecy drew nigh; and they actually had the effect.  Thus, in regard to the return from Babylonish captivity, as the time for its accomplishments approached, Daniel set himself to the prayerful study of Jeremiah on the subject.  And, what was the result?  That he found it involved in hopeless mystery, till the event should clear it up?  No.  Before the decree came forth for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, “he understood by books, the number of years whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (Dan 9:2, Jer 29:10)

The consequence was that he set his face unto the Lord, to seek by prayer and supplication, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes, the favour of God upon his people, and the city that was called by his name.  The Lord heard the prayer of His servant, and the captivity of Judah was turned.  The prophecy of the seventy weeks, in regard to the coming of Messiah was equally understood before its actual fulfilment.  As these prophetic weeks were drawing to a close, the body of the Jewish were living in the confident expectation that Messiah was about to appear.  Simeon, a just and devout man who waited for the consolation of Israel had it especially revealed to him, by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death till he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Luke 2:25-34)  This godly man was peculiarity favoured, but even those who had no special revelation, were led, by attention to the prophecy, to the certain conclusion that the coming of the Lord was at hand.

Thus, when John the Baptist, our Lord’s forerunner, appeared in the wilderness of Judea, preaching the baptism of repentance, “all the people” says Luke, “were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts about John, whether he were the Christ or not.” (Luke 3:15)  There was, no doubt, much misapprehension of the true character of the Messiah mingled with their expectations, but this resulted not from any obscurity in the prophecy, but from the sinful carnality of their own minds.  Their expectation itself, that the set time for Christ’s appearing was near, was in itself as well founded as it was general.  So, strong indeed, and universal, was the expectation of Christ’s coming, just before his actual appearing, that even the heathen historians have referred to it.  “There had spread,” says Suetonius, “over the whole of the east, an old and constant opinion, that it was in the decrees of the fates, that at that time, some one coming from Judea should gain the empire of the world.”1  Tacitus, in his history, in almost the very same language, alludes to the very same universal belief2  Whence came this general expectation, but from the prophecy of the seventy weeks, which were then near their expiry?  Our Lord’s prediction with regards to the destruction of Jerusalem, too, was both intended to be understood before the event, and was actually so understood.  “When you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies”, he said to His disciples, “then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.  Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let them which are in the midst of it depart out, and let not them which are in the countries enter there into.” (Luke 21:20-24)  Our Lord’s disciples gave heed to his prophetic sayings; when the predicted signs appeared, they fled to Pella in the mountains; there they were hid in the day of Jehovah’s anger, and so escaped the calamities which came with desolating fury on their unbelieving countrymen.

Now, if in all these cases the prophecy was understood, and intended to be so, before its actual accomplishment, why should it be thought that those which concern the Christian church in these latter days are an exception to the general rule?  Christ loves his church, and is as tender for the welfare of His disciples now as He ever was.  Shall He hide, therefore, what He is about to do from His own chosen, and leave them in darkness, as he doth the unbelieving world, that the great events of the last days should come upon them as a thief?  Surely not.  In reference to these very times, he has said, “The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand: but the wise shall understand.” (Dan 12:10)  When the prophecy was given to Daniel, of which the Apocalyptic visions are only a more full development, “the words were closed, and sealed up,” (Dan 12:9) even from the godly.  They had no immediate use for them.  But were they always to be sealed?  No.  The sealing was to continue only “until the time of the end”until the time for their accomplishment should be drawing near.  However dark and mysterious they might be at the first announcement, as time rolled on, as the march of events proceeded, their meaning would be gradually unveiled, until at last, the children of God, who made them the subject of humble and prayerful study, should be enabled, by the light of the signs of the times, to read their mystic characters, and put themselves in attitude of expectancy and preparation.

Some interpreters have laid it down as a principle that before we address ourselves to the interpretation of any particular part of the Apocalypse, it is indispensable that we should determine the structure of the book, and the order, and succession of the different visions.  But this is to require what is plainly not necessary.  Who ever thought of dealing thus with the ancient prophets?  In the prophecy of Isaiah, there are so many predictions of the fortunes of the church in all ages of the world.  The order of events, in many cases, is intricate and difficult to determine, and a complete arrangement of them has never yet been made.  But did any of them ever think of waiting for an interpretation of the fifty-third chapter, for instance, until its exact position in the series should be determined?  No.  That chapter contains in its own bosom such clear, specific, and unequivocal references to Christ, that on the strength of these alone, without any regard to succession, it has been unhesitatingly applied to Him by all Christian expositors.—Now, it is just so with the passage of the Apocalypse under consideration.  It is complete in itself, and under circumstances as make it quite possible, without any minute examination of the structure of the book, to ascertain with very considerable precision, the leading events to which the Spirit of God refers.  That this is the case, I plan, by a careful consideration of its several parts, to show.




CHAPTER 1The Holy City.

Revelation chapter 17 opens with a figurative description of a great apostasy.  John sees before him in vision, a “holy city” with a “temple,” an “altar,” and a “court outside the temple.”  That that “holy city” was not the “holy city” of God’s ancient people, nor its temple, the temple that stood on Mount Maria, is plain; for whether or not that temple was actually overthrown at the time that the apostle beheld this vision, certain it is, that soon after, at least, the words of our Lord were fulfilled in regard to it, in all their literality, that not one stone should be left upon another that could be thrown down. (Mark 13:2)

And from the day when Turnus Rufus drove the plowshare over its foundations, down to this hour, notwithstanding the mad attempt of Julian the Apostate to the contrary, a temple of God has never again been erected on its site.  Had the vision referred to the literal Jerusalem, its treading under foot of the Gentiles would, at least five centuries ago, have come to an end; but; instead of that, it is still as much trodden under foot as ever, and the mosque of Omar still occupies the site, where, on this supposition, God’s holy temple ought at this moment to be standing.

We must look elsewhere, then, for this holy city of the prophetic vision.  And where shall we find it?  There can be no difficulty on the subject.  All who have examined the matter; however much they may differ in other respects, are agreed on this, that the “holy city”  is none other than the professing church of Christ as existing within the bounds of modern Christendom.  In the early ages of Christianity, there were large and flourishing churches within these bounds, distinguished for holiness and good works.

The church at Rome contained many whose “faith,” on the testimony of Paul; “was spoken of throughout the whole world.”  Before the end of the second century, Spain, France, Germany, and Dacia had not only received the glad tidings of salvation, but had shown their appreciation of its blessings by sending forth multitudes of their sons to swell the “noble army of martyrs.”

“Even those parts of Britain,” says Tertullian, “that the Romans have never reached, have submitted to the yoke of Christ.”3  The church of Christ, then, soon after its first planting in the western empire, was at once widespread and pure.  But that church, as represented to John, has undergone a woeful eclipse.  The true worshippers of God are few; the immense mass of those who bear his name cannot be distinguished from heathens: “And there was given me,” says John, “a reed like unto a rod; and the angel stood, saying, rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.  But the court which is outside the temple, leave out and measure it not, for it is given to the Gentiles.” (Rev 11:1-2)
To understand the full meaning of this, and the greatness of the apostasy which it indicates, we must bear in mind an essential distinction, (a distinction which all the commentators I have met with, including the author of the “Seventh Vial,” seem to have overlooked) between the temple of God, as it existed under the Old Testament dispensation, and that same temple as it exists under the New.  Under the Mosaic economy the temple buildings consisted of no fewer than at least four distinct divisions.  There was first the Holy of Holies, into which the high priest alone entered, and that only once a year, on the Great Day of Atonement.4  Separated from this by a veil was the sanctuary, where stood the altar of incense, and where the priests officiated in their courses.  Then all round the building that contained these two chambers—the holy place, and the most holy—was the first or inner court, appropriated exclusively to the Israelites; and lastly, beyond this again, was the outer court of still wider extent, into which the proselytes from among the Gentiles had admittance.  Such were the arrangements of the temple and its courts under the Law.  But the temple must be rectified to suit it to the gospel dispensation.

In the Christian temple, the temple as it appeared to John, there were three most essential changes which must not be lost sight of.     First, the veil between the holy and most holy place was torn in twain.  The temple, therefore, properly so called, consisted only of one chamber appropriated to the priests.  Secondly, the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles being thrown down, the outer and inner courts together formed only one great and immense “court outside the temple.”  Lastly, as under the gospel, all distinction between priests and people, so far as worship is concerned, is entirely abolished, and all the true spiritual Israel are alike “priests unto God,” no true worshippers were to be found in “the outside court” at all.

These Christians were to be found only “in the temple and at the altar,”in the holy place, in the comparatively small chamber allotted to the priests.5  For lack of observing these changes which necessarily flow from the Bible, commentators attempting to explain this part of the prophecy have been only groping in the dark.  Now, this holy place, with its inmates, John was commanded to “measure,” in token that it was separated from the world, placed under God’s particular care, and hedged about by the discipline of the church.  All the immense extent of area around it he was commanded to “cast out” (εχζαλέιν), to treat as forsaken by God, because “it was given to the Gentiles,” to men who, though Christian in name and profession, were in worship, in spirit, and in practice, not better than pagans.  The true worshippers of Christ, then, as here represented to John, are a small group; not more in proportion to the masses of ungodly professors than the sons of Aaron who served at the altar were to the thousands of Jews and proselytes who worshipped both in the inner and outer courts of the ancient temple.
Now, while such is the low state of religion, it inevitably follows that all the nominal churches of Christ would be one scene of profanation.  “The holy city shall they,” that is, the Gentiles, “tread underfoot.”  Not a few seem to have misunderstood this expression of the angel, thinking it meant that “the holy city,” or true church of Christ, should be oppressed and borne down by heathen persecutors.6  It is true, as we shall afterwards find, that the true and faithful followers of the Lamb were destined to suffer persecution.  But that is not the idea conveyed by the expression in question.  The context shows that “the holy city” here referred to, is not the true church of Christ, for it is described in Rev. 11:8, as “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”  It is Jerusalem, indeed, but an apostate Jerusalem: a Jerusalem that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent unto it.  It is “the holy city,” inasmuch as by profession and obligation it is bound to be holy; but in practice it is “Sodom,” full of all uncleanness; it is “Babylon the Great, the mother of Harlots, and the abominations of the earth.”  When, therefore, the angel says that “the holy city shall be trodden under the foot of the Gentiles,” he cannot refer to the oppression of the saints.

The true idea of “treading underfoot,” when applied to holy things, or holy places, is that of desecration.  Thus, for instance, in Isaiah 1:12, the Lord says to the wicked, “Who has required this at your hands, to tread my courts?”  And of apostates, it is said by Paul, showing the greatness of their guilt, and the hopelessness of their case, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing?” (Heb 10:29)  The treading underfoot of the holy city, then, refers not to the persecution of the true church, but to the profanation of religious ordinances.  Throughout its whole extent, the city of God, the nominal church of Christendom, should swarm with irreligious men; all places of authority should be usurped by them, all the ordinances of God should be perverted, all his worship defaced and profaned.

The moral characteristics of this holy city, trodden underfoot by the Gentiles, described as Sodom, as Egypt, as Jerusalem, guilty of the blood of Christ, would of themselves go far to enable us to identify it with the Roman Church and her daughters.  Rome, above all churches, makes loud professions of holiness.  It says it is “our holy mother, the church;” “the holy apostolic Church” of Rome; and the head of it is “our Most Holy Lord, the Pope.”  But with all this high-sounding profession, it is essentially heathen in worship and in practice.  As to its worship,its holy-water, its incense, its burning of wax-candles at noonday,7 its adoration of saints, its worship of images, are all borrowed from the ancient Pagans.  Its practice is no better than its worship.  From a moral point of view it is overspread with the worst abominations of heathenism.  Its doctrine of the merit of virginity, its forced celibacy of priests, its convents for monks and nuns, and, above all, its confessional, have made it the antitype of Sodom, and plunged it in the grossest debauchery.8  Its denial of the right of private judgment to the people, its denunciation of liberty of conscience, as “liberty to err,” prove it to be the spiritual Egypt, the house of oppression and of bondage; and above all, its cruel and intolerant spirit that has made it so often drunken with the blood of the saints, and so often persecute Christ through his members, shows how aptly it is prefigured by Jerusalem, the holy city “where also our Lord was crucified.”  Contemplate the symbols and the reality; look on this picture and on that; and see if they do not answer one to another as face answers to face in a mirror.

But the locality, the geographical bounds, within which this heathenised church is to be found, render all doubt on the subject impossible.  It is intimated (Rev. 11:13) that it consists of “ten parts,” which parts are elsewhere (Rev. 11:8) called “streets,” thereby identifying it, so far as geography is concerned, with the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, and the ten-horned beast of the Apocalypse itself; in other words, with apostate Christendom; or the ten kingdoms of Papal Europe into which the Roman empire was divided, on the irruption of the Goths and Vandals.  The fact that ten distinct kingdoms arose on the dismemberment of the empire in the West is proved by undeniable evidence.  Procopiusa heathen who lived soon after the period in question, Machiavela papist, and Gibbonthe infidel historian; men who had no theory to support, who least of all thought of elucidating the prophecies of Scripture, all concur in the statement that such was the number of the original Gothic kingdoms of Christendom.  Even their names and their localities are expressly recorded.  Thus Machiavel (Hist. Flor. i.) states them as follows:


1.  The Ostrogoths in Mæsia;

2.  The Visigoths in Pannonia;

3.  The Sueves and Alans in Gascoigne and Spain;

4.  The Vandals in Africa;

5.  The Franks in France;

6.  The Burgundians in Burgundy;

7.  The Heruli in Italy;

8.  The Saxons and Angles in Britain;

9.  The Huns in Hungary; and,

10.  The Lombards on the Danube.


These, according to this distinguished Roman Catholic historian, were the primitive ten kingdoms of the dismembered Roman empire.  During the long ages that have passed away since that dismemberment took place, many changes have occurred in the bounds and arrangements of these kingdoms; but from their original number, in common language as well as in the prophetic word, they are still denominated as the ten kingdoms of the West.

Now these kingdoms, though distinct, all came to be bound together by one common tie; they all became subject to the spiritual supremacy of the Pope; they all embraced the idolatry and superstitions of the Roman Catholic church; and therefore, by the Spirit of God, they are all regarded as only so many “streets” in “the great city Babylon:”  Some of them have for a longer or a shorter period been, in a great measure, separated from the communion of Rome; but there is reason to believe, that as the grand consummation approaches the bounds of the great city will be very much the same as they were at first.  Thirty years ago; when Dr.  Macleod of New York wrote on this subject; he proposed that the Vandals of Africa should be expunged from the list of the ten kingdoms, and another kingdom substituted in their place, on the ground that they had long exchanged the superstition of Rome for the imposture of Mahomet.  But behold the march of events.  The French conquered Algeria, the seat of the ancient African Vandals, and hastened anew to consecrate its soil by annexing it to the see of Rome.  In like manner, Britain might once have been supposed to be separated forever from the papacy; but the recent formal recognition of the Pope has constituted us again as one of the “streets” of the great city, and threatens, along with other antichristian measures in progress, to undo at no distant day, all that God did for us leading into the Reformation.




CHAPTER 2The Two Witnesses.

SUCH was the holy city with its ten streets which John saw in vision on the eve of the apostasy.  That apostasy was to continue for many a long and dreary century.  But during all that time of darkness; during all that period of abounding iniquity, our Lord was not to leave himself altogether without witnesses.  He has “two witnesses,” (Rev. 11:3) in the very midst of the apostate city, who boldly oppose the abominations around them, and stand up for the honour of their Lord.  Who are these two witnesses?  Much that is fanciful has been written on this subject, which it is needless to examine.  Plain it is, that they cannot be two individuals, or any two literal persons, as the length of time during which they testify renders this impossible.9  Neither can they be any two geographical communities, such as the Paulicians of the East, and the Waldenses of the West, as some would have them,10 for that would place one of the witnesses altogether beyond the bounds of this ‘holy city,’ against whose corruptions they are raised up, on purpose to testify.  The two witnesses referred to here, are just a succession of faithful men within the Western empire, who, from generation to generation, bear testimony for Christ in opposition to his enemies.  But why, it may be asked, are they called two witnesses?  There are two reasons.  The first, as shown long ago by Joseph Mede, has reference to the Mosaic law on witness-bearing: “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death, be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness, he shall not be put to death,” Deut. 17:6.  The witnesses of Christ, though few, were to be sufficient to condemn the adherents and abettors of the apostasy, and to render them inexcusable.  This was one reason; but there was another, and that no less important, which has been seldom observed.  They are called two, because of the two grand truths to which they bear testimony, and the twofold capacity in which that testimony is borne.  The two vital truths for which they testify during the continuance of the apostasy are Christ’s headship over the church, and his headship over the state, or, in other words, the supremacy of the Word of God alike over nations and churchestruths which comprehend every other.  During the period of their prophesying, both civil and ecclesiastical society alike were to be in a state of revolt from their allegiance to Christ; and, of course, their testimony was to be commensurate with the extent of the apostasy.
This is no mere assumption.  It is clearly indicated by the symbolical language in which the witnesses are described: “These,” says the angel, (Rev. 11:4) “are the two olive trees, and the two menorahs standing before the God of the earth.”  This language sends us back to the prophecy of Zechariah for its explanation.  The angel that talked with the prophet, the same angel that conversed with John, who is obviously none other than Christ, “The angel of the covenant,” said to him, (Zech. 4:2) “What do you see?”  “I have looked,” said the prophet, “and, behold, a menorah all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof and two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.”  Three times did the prophet ask, “What are these two olive-trees?”  And once and again he received no direct answer, that attention might be aroused; that curiosity might be excited, and that the answer might be more memorable, when it came.  At last, the answer is given: “These are the two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”  When Zechariah had received this answer, he asked no farther.  He knew at once who they were.  His mind turned immediately to “the two anointed ones,” whose grand duty it was to promote the cause of God in Jerusalem.  These were Joshua the anointed high priest, and Zerubbabel the anointed king of Israel.11
There are those who say that under the gospel, the church alone has to do with the cause of God—that the state, as such, has nothing to do to acknowledge Christ, or to govern itself by his revealed will.  The passage before us shows the reverse.  There are two anointed ones, two olive-branches, two menorahs standing before the God of the earth, and both alike are bound to let their light shine for his glory.  Their spheres are entirely distinct.12  The one may not enter into the province of the other.  But each, in its own sphere, is bound to glorify God.  The prophecy under consideration intimates that just as Joshua was the Lord’s witness for his supremacy over the church, and Zerubbabel for his supremacy over the state, so should there be a succession of faithful witnesses for the same great truths, during all the period of the apostasy.  It may be objected that here there are not two witnesses; but only one testimony after all for two separate truths.  But the answer is easy.  Not only are there two truths for which they testify, but there are two different relations, and two distinct capacities in which they bear witness.  They are members of the church, and at the same time members of civil society; and fidelity requires that in both capacities they testify against the corruptions around them.  These corruptions are found in the administration of the state as well as in the administration of the church and no one could be a faithful witness for Christ, who did not, in both respects, according to his opportunities, bear witness for the truth.  The influence which Christ’s faithful servants could bring to bear on the government of states during most of the period of their testimony must have been small indeed; but whether that influence was little or great, they felt bound to consecrate it all to the glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom in the world.  It is to be lamented that not a few in modern times, who have vouched ‘the Lord’ to be their God, have altogether overlooked their obligations to act and testify for Christ in this two-fold capacity.  They have counted it enough that, as members of the church, their creeds and confessions have been sound.13  They have not felt the necessity, as members of the state, of using the influence they possess in such a way that Christ should be recognised, and his will respected in the councils of the nation of which they form a part, and for whose public deeds they are responsible.  On the contrary, for low and selfish ends, they have often given that political influence which they hold as a trust, and which they are bound to exercise for the honour of their Lord, into the hands of men who are the open and avowed enemies of Him who is “the head of all principality and power.” (Col 2:10)  The consequence is what would be expected: “the wicked walk on every side, while the vilest men are exalted.” (Psm 12:8)  The authority of God’s word is despised, and a low, blind, worldly expediency is set up in its stead.  “It is a most dangerous precedent,” said the late prime minister of Great Britain in his place in Parliament, “for the house to take upon itself the duty of interpreting the Divine commands.”  What were the circumstances in which this oracular announcement was made?  Mr. Turner had brought in a bill for the prohibition of duelling as opposed to the law of God.  No, said the Premier, you may prohibit the practice if you see fit, you may make as stringent laws against it as you please; but that the house should be called upon to prohibit it on any such ground as that contained in the preamble of the bill, he felt bound to resist.  To prohibit it out of respect to “the Divine commands,” was, in his opinion, “a dangerous precedent!”  There was not a protesting voice raised against this unchristian sentiment.  Such is the avowed principle on which the government of this great nation is now conducted.  Expediency, and expediency alone, is the rule of our public conduct.  The authority of God’s word is thrown away, and the way is paved for any iniquity; and now we have the anomalous spectacle of a legislature chosen by professing Protestants, voting money for the support of a system of superstition and idolatry, which, as members of churches, they condemn as antichristian and ruinous to men’s souls.  This is the sad state of matters, but who are to blame for it?  If the professing Christians in this land had felt themselves bound, both as citizens and church members, to act as Christ’s witnesses, this could never have been the case.  Alas!  Too many seem to have forgotten the awful words of this book, “If any man receive the mark of the beast, on his forehead or his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” (Rev 14:9-10)  The open and avowed adherents of Antichrist, who receive his mark in their foreheads, shall not escape the righteous judgment of God; but those also, who, with a better understanding, give the active co-operation of their hands to the support of the unhallowed system, are doomed to drink of the same bitter cup.

The true witnesses of Christ, as kings and priests unto God—as active promoters of his cause in the world, as well as worshippers in his temple, keep their garments undefiled; and in both respects bear a bold and consistent testimony for the truth.  They are represented not only as two menorahs, but as “two olive-trees,” whose leaf does not wither, whose branches are ever green and flourishing.  For the due discharge of their high office, they are “anointed” by God, they have “the unction of the Holy One,” and are thus preserved from the danger of apostasy themselves, and are enabled to let their light shine without interruption on the dark world around them.

Now of these witnesses it is said, “They shall prophesy in sackcloth.”  The sackcloth robe indicates:

1.  Their character as mourners. They mourn for the spiritual desolation of Jerusalem, for the iniquity that everywhere abounds.  When they testify of ungodly men, that their works are evil, it is not with a proud spirit of defiance, but with a real desire for their welfare; and when their remonstrances are in vain; it grieves them at the heart.  The ungodly look with the most supreme indifference on the sins of others.  They feel as did the chief priests when Judas cast down the thirty pieces of silver before them, saying, “I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood.”  “What is that to us?”  said these hard-hearted sinners. (Mat 27:4)  It is not so with Christ’s witnesses.  They feel that it is something to them, when their brethren live in sin and go on in the way to perdition.  “If you will not hear,” said Jeremiah to his ungodly countrymen, “I will weep in secret places for your pride.” (Jer 13:7)  “I saw transgressors,” says David, “and was grieved;” and again, “rivers of waters run down my eyes, because men keep not your law.” (Psm 119:158 & 136)  “What true heart,” said the dying Campbell of Kinyeancleuch, as he thought of the unfaithfulness of some of the ministry in his day, “what true heart can contain itself unbursting?” at the same time giving vent to a flood of tears, accompanied with sobs and lamentations.

So essential, indeed, is this spirit to the servants of Christ that when God intends to make a distinction in the time of judgment between those who fear him and those who fear him not, those only who possess this spirit are singled out for mercy:  In the 9th chapter of Ezekiel, we find a distinguishing mark set by an angel upon the forehead of the men who were to be spared in the midst of desolating judgments.  Those and those only who had this mark were to escape; all else were to be remorselessly cut off.  “Go you,” said the Lord to his ministers of vengeance, “go you through the city, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have you pity.  Slay utterly old and young, both maids and little children and women, but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.”  Who then were the men on whom God set his preserving mark?  They were those “who sighed and who cried for the abominations that were done in the midst” of Jerusalem.  Now such also is the character of God’s witnesses during the apostasy; they are clad in sackcloth, to point them out as “the mourners in Zion,” who grieve for the dishonour done both by high and by low to the God whom they serve, and who have continual heaviness and sorrow of heart, at the thought of the eternal ruin into which the ungodly world is rushing.

2.  The sackcloth indicates also their suffering condition: They are sufferers, as well as mourners.  In times of apostasy, the saying of James Guthrie, the martyr, to the great Marquis of Argyle, is always found true; “My Lord, I perceive that a time either of much suffering, or of much sinning, is at hand.”  In such seasons, one or the other side of the alternative must be chosen.  There is no avoiding both.  The witnesses of Christ have grace given them to choose the better part.  They are content to suffer, rather than to sin.  Considering their useful lives, their gentle demeanour, their loving spirit, it might have been thought that the enmity of their adversaries would have been disarmed.  But the mere fact that they are perceived to be the children of God is sufficient to bring ill will upon them.  “If you were of the world,” said Christ to his disciples, “the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (Joh 15:19)  Ever since enmity was put between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, those who are “born after the flesh,” have shown a constant and instinctive disposition “to persecute those who are born after the Spirit.” (Gal 4:29)  The testimony which the children of God bear for truth and righteousness necessarily condemns the world.  Their spiritual, holy, and consistent lives give edge and point to the testimony of their lips.  Both combined speak loudly of judgment to come; awaken in spite of them an echo even in the consciences of the most wicked, and it will not allow them to sin on in unbroken peace.  Therefore it is said of the witnesses, that “these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth.”  The world, unwilling to forsake their sins, and unwilling to have their tranquillity disturbed, count them as their enemies, and treat them as such.  It was this that made Ahab exclaim, when Elijah suddenly presented himself before him “Have you found me, O my enemy?” (1 Kings 21:20)  It is this that has so often kindled the flames of persecution; and made the saints to be killed all the day long, and counted as sheep for the slaughter. (Psm 44:22, Rom 8:36)  The ungodly resent the uneasiness they feel, and whenever they can, avenge it upon those who are the innocent causes of their torment.  The circumstances of society at different times since the holy city began to be trodden underfoot by the Gentiles, have somewhat restrained the violence of the persecuting spirit.  But never yet has there been a period when the saints of God, the true witnesses of Christ, have been altogether exempt from persecution in one form or another.  If the carnal sword has not been always drawn, the wicked have never ceased to “whet against them their tongue like a sword, and to bend their arrows, even bitter words, that they might shoot in secret at the perfect.” (Psm 64:2-4)  The children of the kingdom have always been the butt of cruel mockings, evil surmises, and the most malignant calumnies.  Truth has been twisted, and facts distorted, in order to cover them with infamy.  Thus David Hume did not blush to confess to Dr. Robertson that he had purposely softened the character of Queen Mary, “that he might make John Knox and the reformers very ridiculous.”  And when a slander is raised, it is striking to see the greediness with which ungodly people of every description drink in every tale, however unfounded, if it will only bring disgrace upon a friend of pure and undefiled religion.  When an absurd and scandalous story was circulated about Hannah More, how eagerly was it caught at!  “I would give a hundred pounds,” said a votary of dissipation, “to be able to prove that holy Hannah had a bastard!”  Without proof, and in defiance of evidence, have calumnies a thousand times refuted been cast in the teeth of the godly.  Still, as in the first ages of Christianity, is all manner of evil falsely spoken against them, for Christ’s name sake.  When the poison of asps is thus manifestly under their lips, it is a plain proof that the venom of the old serpent is rankling in their heart; and while that is the case, there only needs a favourable concurrence of circumstances to develop the old malignity in as bloody characters as ever. (Rom 3:10-18)  Until the period arrives when judgment shall be given to the “saints of the Most High, and the time comes that the saints shall possess the kingdom,” (Dan 7:18) the witnesses of Christ may expect nothing else than to be clothed in sackcloth, and expect to find the saying of Paul verified in their own experience, “yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim 3:12)

The witnesses of Christ, poor and persecuted, like a few sheep in the midst of ravening wolves, might have seemed altogether at the will of their enemies and capable of being easily put down.  But they are not so defenceless as they appear.  “Greater is he that is in them, than all that can be against them.” (1 John 4:4)  They are dear to the heart of the Lord, and he that touches them touches the apple of his eye.  His angel encamps around them, and they are themselves invested with powers that might well strike terror into the hearts of their adversaries.  “If any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” (Rev 11:5)  This language, of course, like the rest, is symbolical, and is explained by what Jehovah said to the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 5:14), “Therefore thus says Jehovah God, behold I will make my words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.”  The meaning here is unquestionably that the threatenings of the prophet would as certainly take effect in the irremediable ruin of those who were the objects of them, as if, like Elijah, he visibly called down fire from heaven to consume them.  So with the two witnesses; if any man injured or oppressed them, their pronunciations of the wrath of Heaven would not be empty words, and if not prevented by repentance, would bind him over to hell-fire.  This ought to be a sobering thought to the world, who are so ready to persecute the saints; for it is certain that were is better for a man to have a millstone hanged about his neck, and to be cast into the sea, than to offend or to injure “any of Christ’s little ones who believe in him.” (Mark 9:42)  That the words of Christ’s persecuted witnesses have indeed the power here attributed to them, our Lord has given abundant evidence in the speedy retribution which has often overtaken the persecutors even in this world, and that in express accordance with the predictions of his servants.  There are facts of this kind strewed throughout church history, which cannot be gainsaid, and which historians have found difficult to explain or account for.  When Sebastian Bazan, a Waldensian witness, was condemned to be burnt at Turin in 1623, he meekly submitted to his death, as appointed by God, and tending to his glory; but at the same time solemnly testified that such a decree from men was cruel and unjust, and that those who had ordered it would soon be called to account.  Did the Lord allow the martyr’s words to fall to the ground?  No.  The judge who condemned him died shortly afterwards, one evening, suddenly, and without any previous illness.  Look at our own history.  At the martyrdom of the youthful Patrick Hamilton, the friars who stood around him disturbed his last moments by constantly crying out, “Convert heretic; call upon our lady; say Salve Regina.” (Hail, Queen)  “Desist,” cried the martyr, “and trouble me not, you messengers of Satan.”  One of them in particular, named Friar Campbell, rendered himself conspicuous for his rudeness.  “You wicked man,” said Hamilton, addressing him, “you know that I am not a heretic, and that it is the truth of God for which I suffer; so much do you confess to me in private, and therefore, I appeal you to answer before the judgment seat of Christ.”  How quickly did the appeal take effect!  The wretched man soon after went distracted, and died in the utmost horror of mind, with the appeal of the martyr ringing in his ears.  The words of George Wishart at the stake, in regard to Cardinal Beaton are equally well known and equally remarkable.  “This flame,” said he, “has scorched my body, yet has it not tormented my spirit.  But he who, from yonder high place, beholds us with such pride shall, within a few days, lie in the same, as ignominiously as he is now seen proudly to rest himself.”  How speedily and how exactly this was fulfilled, the reader need not be told.  What shall we say to these things?  Were they mere accidental coincidences with the rash and enthusiastic sayings of the martyrs?  There are some who think so, and who cannot believe that in any case, the saints of God, in modern times, have been gifted with the spirit of prophecy.  But cases of the same nature are so numerous, and so well supported, that men in the last degree removed from superstition have been constrained to admit that accident will not account for the coincidences, but that when the martyrs thus spoke, they spoke under impressions that could have come only from God’s Holy Spirit.  “That the Supreme Being,” says the late Dr. Cook, of St Andrew’s, “may, in seasons of difficulty, thus enlighten his servants cannot be doubted.”  To this conclusion have sagacious men found themselves shut up by a mere consideration of the recorded facts of history, and the general principles of God’s word.  But, viewed in the light of the passage before us, how plain it is that these denunciations of Bazan, Hamilton, and Wishart, followed by such remarkable fulfilment, were just “the words of fire” proceeding “from the mouths” of the witnesses; to “devour their enemies that hurt them.”  God in his wisdom has seen fit that cases here and there should be singled out, as hints, as visible pledges, that all the threatenings of his faithful servants, stretching as they did into eternity, would, in their own time, be equally fulfilled, and that everyone who lifted a hand against them would just as certainly perish.

But the witnesses are commissioned not only to send fire on those who hurt them personally, but in general to apply the prophetic denunciations against the apostate nations of Christendom to the times in which they live.  The language in which this is intimated is very strong, and shows that they wield the combined powers of Elijah, Moses, and Aaron—the most distinguished of the Old Testament prophets; (Rev 11:6), “These have power to shut heaven that it rains not in the days of their prophecy, and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will.”  When the plagues are said to be inflicted as “often as they will,” we are not to understand that the judgments which come on apostate churches or nations are, in any proper sense, dependent on the mere will or discretion of the witnesses.  The same form of expression is applied to the wind: “The wind blows where it wills.(οπου θέλει)  The wind has no will of its own, but its movements are so incomprehensible, so absolutely beyond human control, that they could not be more so if it were possessed of an independent will.  And so with the witnesses, who keep the Instructions of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, who seek the wisdom that comes from above, and are enlightened by the word and Spirit of God.  Warned by the sins and the signs of the times, they are enabled with as great certainty to announce the approach of God’s judgments, as if these judgments were dependent upon their own good pleasure.  Does any one call this in question?  Surely the experience of the past few years ought to inspire conviction.  When the bill for endowing Maynooth—for incorporating the abominations of the Man of Sin within the very constitution of this once Protestant land—was under discussion, was there the least prospect of either of those plagues that have now in succession visited our land?  No.  The potato disease was unknown in Great Britain; the pestilential cholera was still confined to its wonted bounds in the East, and not the slightest sign of its  looking westward had appeared.  And yet, what faithful minister of Christ was there, who opposed that antichristian measure, that did not denounce the judgments of an offended God upon the nation if it should pass into a law?  Yes, they warned the world that if the system then commencing were persevered in, the wrath that should come would be only the beginning of sorrows.  The warning of God’s witnesses was unheeded, and speedily that mysterious blight took place which cost the British legislature ten millions of money, and left the Irish Roman Catholics to die of fever and famine by thousands, and to be buried in the fields and ditches.  Not only so, scarcely had a single month elapsed after the passing of the Maynooth bill, when The Times announced in its eastern intelligence, that that pestilence which had previously been confined to India, had crossed its westward bounds; and now, after traversing Asia and Europe, just as the royal assent was given to the bill for renewing diplomatic relations with Rome, it landed on our shores.  Let anyone look at these things and compare them with the passage of the prophetic word under consideration, and doubt, if he can, if the appearance of these judgments at the time when they actually appeared is merely accidental.

There were some, who, when the former judgment came, deprecated all attempts to connect that national infliction with any national sin in particular.  One writer in particular, distinguished in general not only for genius, but soundness of mind, insisted that all such attempts were presumptuous, that the judgments of God were inscrutable, except when connected with sin by his ordinary providence, in the relation of cause and effect; and that without inspiration, such as no one possessed now, to trace them to their procuring cause was impossible.  But surely that excellent writer had forgotten, or overlooked, what is contained in the brief and emphatic utterance before us.  If the witnesses of Christ have power “to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will,” if they have power to announce the approach of God’s judgments on guilty nations before they come to pass; surely after they have come to pass, after their own threatenings have been realized, they may know what are the special sins that have provoked God’s displeasure, and drawn down his wrath in judgments on the world.




CHAPTER 3The Twelve Hundred And Sixty Days.


WE come now to inquire, How long shall the testimony of the witnesses continue, and when shall their prophesying in sackcloth come to an end?  The 3rd verse of Revelation 11 tells us, “they shall prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days clothed in sackcloth.”  Now the first thing to be determined here, is what we are to understand by the 1260 days; and the next, when we are to begin to count; for if we can fix when the prophesying in sackcloth began, that will bring us to the time when it must come to an end.  As to the meaning of the 1260 days, there is no difficulty at all.  All commentators of any note are agreed that they are just 1260 years; and for this opinion, there is ample Scriptural warrant.  The reader, on consulting Numbers 14:34, and Ezekiel 4:6, will find that the Spirit of God has expressly sanctioned this mode of interpretation.  “I have appointed you,” says the Lord, “each day for a year.”  The seventy weeks of Daniel are beyond all question computed in this way.

A week in that instance, does not mean a literal week of seven days, but seven years; and consequently the seventy weeks are 490 years.  We have the most solid data then for assuming that 1260 years is the period during which the witnesses are to prophesy in sackcloth.  The second question then comes: “When did that period commence—from what date are we to begin to count?”  Now that period evidently began at the same time that the holy city was given to be trodden underfoot by the Gentiles; for the forty-two months of the apostasy are just the same as the 1260 days of the testifying.  The reason that time, in the one case, is expressed by months, and in the other by days, does not seem to refer to any difference in the mode of computation; but to the very different condition in a spiritual point of view of the two parties concerned.  The witnesses who worship in the temple are “all the children of the light, and the children of the day.”  The multitudes who worship in the outward court of the Gentiles, are the children of “the night and of darkness.”  Therefore is the time expressed in the one case by the apparent motions of the sun that rules the day, and in the other by the revolutions of the moon that presides over the night.  The period in both cases is the same; for the apostasy of the one party is the reason for the testifying of the other.  Is there any event in history, then, that fixes the time when the holy city was given to the Gentiles?  There is, and it stands out so conspicuously from all other events, that it seems impossible to mistake it.  What is that event?  It is the grant of supreme authority to the Pope as Universal Bishop or head over the whole Church of Christ.  In Daniel 7:20 we read of a little horn that came up on the head of the Roman beast, that “had eyes like the eyes of man, a mouth that spoke great things, and whose look was more stout than his fellows.”  The little horn beyond all controversy is the Pope; and into his hands, as the angel told Daniel, the saints were to be given for a time and times and the dividing of time, in other words, for three and a half years, or 1260 days, the very period during which the holy city was to be trodden underfoot by the Gentiles.  Now just as the angel foretold, so it came to pass.  The saints “were given” into the hands of Boniface III, at the beginning of the seventh century, A.D. 606 by the Roman Emperor Phocas.14  Boniface flattered the unprincipled Phocas, who had murdered his master Mauritius, and usurped his throne; and in requital for his flatteries, Phocas conferred upon him, by his imperial decree, the dignity of Universal Bishop, and head of the whole Church of God.15  Then, for the first time, were the saints ‘officiallygiven into the hands of the little horn; then the holy city began to be visibly and manifestly trodden underfoot by the pagan gentiles.  Some have fixed on an earlier period as the time when the Pope was constituted head of the Church.  Dr. Keith, for instance, is of opinion that this took place in 533, and appeals to an epistle of the Emperor Justinian in proof of the fact, in which he styles him “head of all the holy churches.”  With all deference to one so distinguished by his valuable labours on prophecy, we decidedly demur to this opinion.  The very passage in question is pronounced by Comber in his “Forgeries of the Councils,” p. 251, to be spurious.  Dr. Keith himself seems to have had some misgiving on the subject, and finds it necessary to appeal to the edicts of the Novellae of Justinian as “unanswerable proofs”  of its authenticity.  But the support which the Novellae give to the strong language in which the Pope’s authority is here described, is very much like that given by the famous postscript of Charles I. to the pleadings of his letter for the acquittal of his minister Strafford.  After long and elaborate arguments in his behalf, the letter thus concluded:—“P.S.  If the unfortunate gentleman must die, it were charity to reprieve him till Saturday.”  The postscript neutralized the whole effect of the previous pleading.  So, to our mind the last of the “unanswerable proofs” of the excellent Doctor upsets his whole theory.  What is that proof?  It is contained in the following passage:The 131st edict, on the ecclesiastical titles and privileges, chap. ii. states, “We therefore decree that the most holy Pope of the elder Rome, is the first of all the priesthood, and that the most blessed Archbishop of Constantinople, the new Rome, shall hold the second rank, after the holy apostolic chair of the elder Rome.”  Does this imply the Pope’s headship, or universal episcopate over all churches?  It refers not to authority, not to jurisdiction, but simply to status, to precedency in point of dignity, as holding the “first rank” among the bishops of the church.  The epistle of Justinian then, even if he had had that power over the western empire which was necessary to give him any plea for constituting the Pope “Head of all the churches”a power, which, at that time, he assuredly had not, must be classed with “the Donation of Constantine.”  Nothing is more easy than to show that up to the time of Boniface, the Pope had never been constituted as the head of the church.  The language of Gregory the Great, Boniface’s immediate predecessor, in his famous controversy with John of Constantinople, renders this a matter of absolute demonstration.  On what ground did Gregory resist the assumption of the title of Universal Bishop by his brother of the East?  Was it because it was an invasion of his own prerogatives, the usurpation of a title which belonged exclusively to himself?  No.  He resisted it on the express ground that for anyone to lay claim to the authority implied in it was an act of impiety.  “Whosoever,” said he, “either calles himself universal priest, or desires so to be called, is the forerunner of Antichrist.”  The same and even stronger language he reiterates again and again, in the various letters that he addressed to the Emperor, the Empress, and even the Byzantine bishop himself, during the five years of controversy on the subject.  He denounces the title as a “profane title” a “perverse name, which whoso coveted, showed that he was moved by the spirit of him who fell, by proudly aspiring to an equality with God.”16  Is it conceivable that Gregory could have used such language if all his predecessors for the last sixty or seventy years, ever since the time of Justinian, had exercised the authority implied in the title of “Head of all the holy churches?”  No, he positively asserts that the title in question was a “new,” as well as a “profane and perverse name.”17  He declares that “none of his predecessors had ever consented to use this ungodly name,”18 and that, when the name “had been offered them in the council of Chalcedon, it had been peremptorily refused.”  There is not an allusion in all the lengthened correspondence, so far as I can find, of such an authority being conferred by Justinian.  It is plain, then, that when Phocas gave Boniface the title of Universal Bishop, he did not “confirm by his decree, what Justinian had done before him:”19  but that he bestowed a name and a power which were altogether new.  Phocas was what Justinian in 533 was not: the imperial head of the Western as well as Eastern empire; and by the civil power which he exercised over that empire; he constituted the Pope its spiritual head, he made him universal bishop, and so far as any earthly power could do so, “gave the saints into his hands.”  From any period earlier than this, then, the 1260 days cannot be counted.
Neither can we commence much later.  Some have insisted that the Pope cannot be regarded as Antichrist until he was invested with civil power as a temporal prince, and that consequently the 1260 days could not begin to run till A.D. 754, when he became possessed of those principalities that form the states of the church.  But this proceeds upon an entire misconception of what it is that constitutes the essentially antichristian character of the Papacy.  That has no necessary connection with the temporal sovereignty of the Pope.  The Pope might be divested of every shred of his temporal sovereignty tomorrow, and yet remain as much Antichrist as ever.20  That which constitutes him in true and proper sense, the Antichrist, is his seating himself in the mediatorial throne, usurping the inalienable prerogative of Christ, and as universal bishop lording it over the church of God.  This Gregory knew well, when he condemned the man who assumed the title as guilty of proudly aspiring to “an equality with God.”  The antichristian character of the Pope, then, was clearly developed when he received and assumed the headship of the church.  And that we are not mistaken in the date on which we have fixed, is further manifest from the fact, that, at that very time, the apostasy of Christendom into all the abominations of heathenism, was plainly consummated.  That it was now that “the holy city was trodden underfoot by the Gentiles,” we know on the authority of two most exceptionable witnesses: an infidel and a Roman Catholic historian.  The language of Gibbon on this subject, is very remarkable: “The Christians of the seventh century,” says he, “had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of Paganism.”21  What words could form a more striking commentary on the prophetic declaration of the angel?  Gibbon does not indeed fix on any specific date in the seventh century when this “relapse  into a semblance of Paganism” had taken place.  But a statement of the deacon Paul supplies the want, and brings us to the very time when the headship of the church was given to the Pope.  “The same” Phocas; he tells us, who made Boniface III universal bishop, gave the Pantheon at Rome “to another Boniface,” that is, Boniface IV.22  The Pantheon was originally dedicated by Agrippa to Jupiter, and all the gods.  Boniface; as head of the church, dedicated it anew to the Virgin Mary, and all the saints.  With this alteration, from that time forward, it served as exactly for all the purposes of Popish idolatry, as it had done for the Pagan idolatry for which it was built.  The idols in that Pagan temple were now called by Christian names; but Pope Boniface, and his subjects who worshipped them, were manifestly as truly Pagans as Agrippa who had founded it.  This grant of the Pantheon was made A.D. 608.  Now, could anything be more significant, could anything more decisively show that the apostasy was completethat the gift of the saints, “into the hands of the little horn,” was identical with “the giving of the holy city to the Gentiles”  From A.D. 606 then, or 608, must we begin to count; and of course, if the prophesying in sackcloth began then, it must come to an end A.D. 1866-68, that is, taking it for granted, that the 1260 years are to be counted as Julian years.  Fleming in his “Rise and Fall of Papacy,” lays it down as a principle of his theory, that these years must be counted as Jewish years.  As there is a difference of more than five days between the Jewish and the Julian year, 1260 Jewish years are equal to only 1242 Julian ones.23  Dating the commencement of these from 606, they would of course run out exactly in this year 1848; and many, in consequence, have been on the tiptoe of expectation as if the overthrow of Antichrist might immediately be looked for.  But this is founded altogether on a misapprehension.  The chronological prophecies of this book which are already fulfilled, such as those relating to the Arabian locusts, and the four angels bound in the river Euphrates, have fallen out according to the Julian and not the Jewish period.  The 1260 days, therefore, must be computed in the same way.  As most of the great prophecies of Scripture have a double fulfilment, so God has seen fit that in this year, there shall be something like a foreshadowing of the grand catastrophe: It is not more, however, than a mere foreshadowing.  Not till 1866 can the 1260 days expire.  Then, but not before, shall the dominion of Antichrist come to an end; then shall the mystery of iniquity be finished, then shall Babylon fall to rise no more.24



[CHCoG – With the hindsight offered by the 172 years that have passed since Hislop wrote this, we can see that much of what he predicted is correct, but a few things were wrong.

He was correct that the Papacy would have their Papal States restored to them (by Napoleon), but would eventually lose all of its Papal States, and how that would not destroy the Roman church, but stimulate it to broaden its outlook and include more international catholics as Cardinals.  And that would make it even more dangerous.  He also correctly pointed out how the lack of crowns on the final version of the scarlet beast meant that the future nations composing the beast would be republics, not true kingdoms.  And he has been correct in showing that this last beast will be composed mostly of citizens who are openly heathens or atheists, as these are now both realities that we are living with.

One of his errors is his assumption that the 1260 years would be complete in 1866, and that year would mark the beginning of Christ’s rule on earth.  Aspects of that prediction came close, as the Papacy finally lost all of its papal states in 1870.  And that occurred just a few months after the Roman church absurdly declared the Pope infallible.  And what infallible decree has the Pope since made?   That Mary has ascended bodily into heaven, where she is now Queen (in 1950).  The corruptions of the papacy only grow worse as time passes, though it continues to disguise itself as a lamb.  But the end of the witnesses did not happen then, nor has it happened yet.  Hislop did not realise there would be a long delay between the end of the second version of the beast and the rise of the third, nor has he allowed for the probability that the last rendition of the Beast and the Harlot would be timed in literal days rather than years.  If he had recalled that the final army against Jeshua would number two hundred million, (Rev 9:16) and they would be capable of rendering the earth lifeless, (Mat 24:22) he would have realised that many decades still needed to pass before these terrors would be possible, as they now are today.

Another error appears to be his insistence that the Great City at the end would be London, despite the Bible clearly stating that it is Jerusalem.  Though London was the greatest city in the world when he wrote in 1849, today the British Empire is mostly gone, and London is only one of many large cities.  But even thisthe collapse of the British Empire,was correctly predicted by Hislop, based on his detailed observations of Britain sinking back into the corruptions of Roman Catholicism, which he provides in this book.  The process of infiltration and degrading of the Protestant churches in Britain that he presents below is a sobering reminder of how easily Satan can steal away Truth the moment people cease to value it.]



It is by no gradual decay, by no lingering consumption, that she is destined to come to an end.  When judgment overtakes her, nothing to human appearance is less likely, nothing could be more unforeseen.  Read the picture of her overthrow (Rev. 18) and what do you see?  She is in the very height of her pomp and splendour.  All nations are made drunk with the wine of her fornication; all the powers of the earth are in willing subjection to her; all rejoice to do her homage, and to minister to her luxury and gratification.  Whatever she had lost has been restored; whatever grief had clouded her brow has been effectually dispelled.  The kingdoms that had revolted from her at the Reformation have returned to her bosom; the northern schism is healed; she has no “widowhood”  now to trouble her; no separation from those who had committed fornication with her any longer to deplore.  She sways a sceptre of undisputed supremacy.  All that her heart could wish for is hers.  From her throne on the seven hills, she looks abroad with delight on her wide dominions.  She glorifies herself, she lives deliciously, she says in the pride of her heart, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”  While thus secure, while thus rejoicing, while saying to her soul, “Tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant,” her doom arrives and the kingdom departs from her.  Suddenly, with violence, like a great mill-stone cast into the sea, Babylon falls, her lovers weep and wail for her unexpected desolation, and heaven and the holy apostles and prophets rejoice in her overthrow.  As it was in the day when Sodom was destroyed, so shall it be in the day of Babylon’s doom: “The sun had risen upon the earth, when Lot entered into Zoar;” (Gen 19:23) it’s beams poured down as brightly as ever, and nothing gave token of approaching disaster, when suddenly the brimstone shower descended, and the cities of the plain were one wide extent of burning ruin.  And just so, when the spiritual Sodom, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth is least expecting it, “in one hour shall her judgment come.”

“Behold I come as a thief,” is the warning voice of Christ, just before the outpouring of the seventh and last vial, that makes her desolate.  She hears not the warning, she heeds it not.  Therefore, when most puffed up, and most secure, “her plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord Jehovah who judges her.” (Rev 18:8)

Now as this is the inspired description of Antichrist’s doom, how obviously unfounded, altogether irrespective of dates, are the hopes of those who expect that the present shakings among the nations will gradually undermine the Papacy, and speedily issue in its ruin.  So far from Pius IX reposing in undisturbed tranquillity, and rejoicing in imaginary security, never has a Pontiff been filled with such constant anxieties as he.  Ever since he was elevated to the papal throne, he has had one difficulty after another to grapple with.  If, one day, all Italy has been ready to worship him for his pretended reforms, the very next, the citizens of Rome have beheld him with averted looks because of his reluctance to give them all they asked; and the disappointed Pontiff has returned gloomy and desponding to his palace.  During the two years and a half that have elapsed since his reign commenced, vivas and vituperations have followed one another in rapid alternation.  His attitude is not what the prophecy requires—an attitude of triumph and proud security, but his is one of conflict and sore travail.  When therefore, we learn from Italian journals that “Il Papa piange” “The Pope weeps,” when we find him attempting to escape from his long-continued and thickening anxieties by flight from his capital; when we even hear of residents within the Italian states insulting him in his disappointments, and addressing him in such language as this, “Weep, O Pontiff, you sceptred and living Antichrist!  Weep, you favoured of Loyola!  Weep burning tears over the tomb you have dug for yourself!”  However unprecedented such language from such a quarter may be, we draw from it a very different conclusion from that drawn by many, who fondly imagine it as the prelude of his fall.  We see in it, on the contrary, and in its attendant circumstances, the most complete demonstration that the doom of Babylon is not yet.  The weeping and fugitive Pontiff, filled with anxieties for the partial failure of his schemes, and yet all the while sowing in tears, and extending his spiritual power to the ends of the earth, cannot be the antitype of the woman, who, in the very “hour” before her judgment comes, says in her heart, “I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow.”  The Papacy is at present only in a transitional state.  The shaking of nations and the tumbling and tottering of thrones which we have seen are not the beginning of the end, not the pouring out of the last vial; but only the readjustment of the Roman world, the shifting of the scenes, and the clearing of the stage for the development of the antichristian power in a new phase, and the performance of the last act in the grand drama before its fall.




CHAPTER 4The Slaughter Of The Witnesses.

BABYLON shall fall; but before that, the Witnesses must be slain, Rev 11:7, “When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.”  Although the period for the prophesying of the witnesses in round numbers is called 1260 years, it is plain, (from Rev 11:9&11) that it falls short of that number by three and a half years.  three and a half years before the expiring of the 1260 years, their active testimony for Christ is destined to come to an end.  Then shall this successful assault be made upon them;  then they shall be overcome and slain.25  What are we to understand by the slaying of them?  Clearly, not that the true Church of Christ shall be extinguished, nor that all true Christians shall be slain.  The promise of Christ to his first disciples precludes the possibility of this; “On this rock I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat 16:18)

In all ages, without a moment’s intermission, till the very consummation of all things, shall Christ have a Church upon the earth.  Its members may be driven into corners; they may be compelled to hide themselves, like the 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal; when Elijah thought himself absolutely alone in his fidelity to Jehovah; but they shall never cease to exist.  The slaying of the witnesses is just the putting down of their testimony, the suppression of the true worship of God. This, however, unquestionably implies severe persecution.  It is not conceivable that the testimony of Christ’s faithful witnesses can be suppressed without great bloodshed.  If the streets of Paris have run with Huguenot blood, if the fires of Smithfield have been fed with Protestant victims, if the Alpine valleys have been whitened with Waldensian bones, if the dungeons of the Inquisition have been crowded with the saints of God, while the witnesses were yet alive and prophesying in sackcloth,what slaughter, what havoc, must be made upon the godly before their testimony shall be entirely suppressed!  The last persecution, beyond all question, shall be the worst.

The downfall of Antichrist is a cheering thought.  Most professing Protestants look forward to it with pleasure.  But the prospect of so dark and gloomy a night before the dawn of the millennial day is not a little stumbling to many.  To slumbering churches, and those who are at ease in Zion, nothing can be more unpalatable; and with such it has always been a favourite idea to persuade themselves that the slaying of the witnesses is past, and that no such time of tribulation is at hand.  Even individuals of distinguished talents and unquestioned piety, and who commence the 1260 years at or near the period already indicated; have incautiously cast the weight of their authority into the same scale.  Admitting that we have commenced correctly in A.D. 606, it would seem impossible by any human ingenuity to escape the conclusion that the two witnesses cannot yet have been slain: The language of the text is express; “When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast shall overcome and kill them.”  Then and then only shall their testimony be put down.  How, then, it may be asked, do those who start from the same point as I have done contrive to make it appear that the witnesses have been slain already?  There are two ways:

I.  The first is that of Fleming in his treatise already referred to, “the Rise and Fall of Papacy,” which has of late attracted considerable attention.  His way is to make the “prophesying in sackcloth” one thing, and their “testimony”  another.  Their prophesying in sackcloth he holds, according to the usual opinion, to be their maintaining the truth of Christ in circumstances of sorrow and depression; their “testimony” he restricts to their “witnessing unto death,” or testifying for Christ by “martyrdom.”  The former he admits is to continue during the 1260 years; the latter was to be only for a part of that period.  As on his view, it was only in connection with the finishing of their “martyrdom,” that their testimony was to be everywhere suppressed, he thinks that that is long since past, and that consequently the overthrow of Rome may be expected without any such period of trial to the saints as I have been insisting upon.  But to this view there are two special and inseparable objections.

1st, The sense which he endeavours to fix upon the word “testimony” has no foundation in Scripture.  According to scriptural usage, it signifies witness-bearing, and nothing but witness-bearing, without the least reference to sealing the testimony with blood.  Of this anyone may satisfy himself by glancing at Heb. 12:1.  “Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.”  This word “witnesses,” according to this theory, ought to be rendered “martyrs.”  There is precisely the same reason for rendering it “martyrs,” as for translating “testimony” by “martyrdom.”  The words are essentially the same.  But observe, among these “martyrs,” are Noah, and Abraham, and David, and Samuel, and many others who died in their beds and were peacefully gathered to their fathers.

2nd, Even granting that the word signified “martyrdom,” or “witnessing unto death,” Fleming, according to his theory, was bound in consistency to maintain that Christ’s witnesses finished their “witnessing unto death,” before the Reformation; for it is three and a half years before the appearance of Luther that he fixed on as the period when the witnesses were slain.  If that was the time when the witnesses were slain, beyond all question, then they had finished their “martyrdom.”  But were there no martyrdoms after that period?  Were there not hundreds of martyrs burnt in England in the days of “bloody Mary”?  Was not the Parisian massacre of St Bartholomew’s day long after Luther?  Was the Irish massacre of 1641,when 100,000 Protestants were butchered in cold blood, prior to the Reformation?  No, were our own covenanting ancestors hanged in the Grassmarket for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus before the time of Luther?  The theory cannot bear examination for a moment.  And yet hundreds, on no better grounds than this are flattering themselves that the grand trial of God’s people is over.  The more intelligent see at a glance that this will not do; but as they are equally anxious to find the slaying of the witnesses past, they have recourse to another theory in support of it.

II.  The theory of the Rev. E. B. Elliott; A minister of the Church of England who has laboured hard on the subject, and who, by bold assertions and a vast display of learning, has gained not a few adherents to his opinion.  To shake the confidence of all sober-minded men in the soundness of Mr. Elliott’s judgment, it might be enough to state, in limine, that he finds in this very chapter under discussion, conclusive proof of the right of the civil magistrate to model, and control, and govern the church of Christ at his pleasure.  The gift of the measuring reed by the angel of the covenant, the sole Head of the church, to his own spiritual servant the apostle John, he holds to be a demonstration that all spiritual authority in the Christian churches flows to the ministers of Christ through the hands of the temporal prince!  The mere statement of this opinion, especially when taken in connection with the character of Christ’s Two Witnesses as described in this prophecy is, to our mind, sufficient to refute it.  But to come to his theory in regard to the death of the witnesses; he also maintains, like Fleming, that the witnesses were slain in 1514, just three and a half years before the appearance of Luther.  But how does he reconcile that with his own view that they began their prophesying in sackcloth not earlier than the sixth century, and consequently in A.D. 1514, when they were slain, instead of prophesying 1260 years, had prophesied only about 1000?  He does so by giving a new interpretation to the word “finish”: “When they shall have finished their testimony,” he says, does not mean when they shall have finished the period appointed for them to testify in, that he admits to be the 1260 years, but “when they shall have completed the elements of their testimony,”when they shall have testified against all the abominations of Antichrist.26  This he maintains was during the dark ages, about the end of the twelfth century, when the Papacy had reached its meridian; and that then the Beast from the bottomless pit began that warfare against them, which, centuries after, ended in their complete extirpation, just three and a half years before Luther posted up his thesis against the indulgences on the door of the cathedral of Wittenberg.

But to this view there are as fatal objections as to the former.  Even if the proposed rendering might be admitted, nothing is more easy than to show that the testimony of the Witnesses could not be “complete” before the Reformation.  The Church of Rome, it is true, was corrupt and antichristian then; but it has become even more antichristian since.  When Luther appeared, it was possible for a man within its pale to hold and teach the great doctrine of justification by faith.  The whole spirit and actions of Popery were doubtless opposed to it, but yet there was no express and formal deed of the church absolutely condemning it.  It was not till the Council of Trent, which finished its sittings in 1563, more than forty years after the Reformation, that every man was formally anathematized who taught that dependence on our own works must be renounced, and salvation sought only through the blood and righteousness of Christ.  At the Reformation, too, Jesuitism, with its monstrous abominations, was unknown.  Luther and Loyola were born in the same year; but it was long after the theses were affixed to the cathedral of Wittenberg, that that society, which the latter founded, reduced fraud, and falsehood, and crime, to a regular system.  In the hands of Loyola and his disciples, who, by their doctrines of “probability,” “mental reservation,” and “direction of the intention,” have taught men the most approved modes of sinning with a safe conscience, the immorality and corruption of Rome have appeared with a malignancy altogether unprecedented.  Even the blasphemies of the Papacy were immature at the time of Luther.  For centuries after the Reformation, and indeed till the reign of the last Pontiff, it was an open question whether or not the Virgin Mary was born without sin.  Those who taught that she was conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity, like other mortals, were held to be as good sons of the Roman church as those who taught the reverse.  But such is not the case now.  In 1832, Gregory XVI., speaking ex cathedra, positively determined what previous Popes had absolutely refused to settle; and not only did he pronounce her to be “immaculate,” but be declared her “our greatest hope; yes, the sole ground of our hope;” thereby dethroning the one and only Mediator between God and man.  Now, as the corruptions of Rome have been thus germinating and blossoming up to this day, even if we accepted  Mr. Elliott’s interpretation of “finishing the testimony,” it is plain that that testimony could not be full and complete at the period when his theory requires it to have been so.

But if we grant that the witnesses did complete their testimony, and were slain before the Reformation; then observe what follows: It is said that three and a half years after their slaughter, they rose from the dead, and ascended in triumph up to heaven; and yet, after their resurrection, their ascension, their triumph, for upwards of 300 years they have still been prophesying in sackcloth and sorrow. What can be more contradictory?  What can be more incongruous?  He that can believe this can easily believe anything.

But, in point of fact, it is not true that all the witnesses of Christ were slain, or their testimony suppressed before the Reformation.  This has been boldly asserted by Mr. Elliott; but the facts of the case, when examined, entirely disprove the assertion.  I will give first Mr. Elliott’s statement on the subject, and then compare it with the undeniable facts of the period, and leave the reader to judge whether the statement and the facts agree.  And here I may observe, by the way, that the theory of the “Seventh Vial” being avowedly founded on this very statement; the facts which demolish the one, of course at the same time demolish also the other.  After quoting the verses of this chapter which speak of “them of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, and nations,” rejoicing over the dead bodies of the witnesses, Mr. Elliott goes on to say,


“The very occasion of the Two Witnesses appearing as dead corpses is described to have been one of precisely such a gathering—the gathering of some general council from the several states of Western Christendom . . . .  So that, on the whole, in turning from prophecy to history, from the symbolic picture to the thing symbolized, it seems almost impossible to mistake the precise scene and occasion alluded to.  It can surely be none other than that of the very Lateran council, held from 1512 to 1517, under the pontificates of Julius II. and Leo X., just before the Reformation.”


Having stated that one chief object for which this council was held was the suppression of heresies, and in particular of the heresies of the Bohemian Hussites, the author thus proceeds:


“In a Papal bull, issued with approbation of the council, in the very next or eighth session, held December 1513, a charge was issued summoning the dissidents in question without fail to appear, and plead before the council at its next session, unless indeed they should have previously done so before a neighbouring Papal legate; the declared object being their conviction and reduction within the bosom of the Catholic Church; and the time finally fixed for the said important session, May the 5th, in the spring ensuing.  Thus was the crisis come which was to try the faith of this bleeding remnant of witnesses, and exhibit its vitality or death.  And would they therefore face their Lord’s enemies?  Would they brave the terrors of death, and plead his cause before the lordly legate or the antichristian council, &c?  Alas!  No.  The day of the ninth session arrived; the council met; but no report from the cardinal-legate gave intimation either of the pleading, or even of any continued stirring of the Bohemian heretics.  No officer of the council announced the arrival of deputies from them to plead before it.  Nor, again, was there a whisper wafted to the synod from any other state, or city, or town in Christendom, of a movement made, or a mouth opened, to promulgate or support the ancient heresies.  Throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, Christ’s witnessing servants were silenced; they appeared as dead.  The orator of the session ascended the pulpit, and amid the applause of the assembled council, uttered the memorable exclamation of triumph, “Jam nemo reclamat, nullus obsistit.”  “There is an end of resistance to the Papal rule and religion; opposers there exist no more.”


Such are Mr. Elliott’s statements; and certainly at first sight, it looks something like the slaying of the witnesses.  But examine it more closely, and it will be seen to be altogether delusive.

1.  Observe the ground on which it is assumed: that all faithful witnessing for Christ was extinct throughout the bounds of Christendom.  The servants of Christ in Bohemia are summoned to a Popish council in Rome, for the express purpose of making their submission to the Man of Sin; and because they do not appear, they are held to have abandoned their testimony.  What reason had they to appear and plead before a Roman Council?  They testified that the Pope was Antichrist, and renounced both him and all his works.  Why would they, of their own accord, put themselves in his power?  Mr. Elliott refers to Luther, Wickliffe, Lord Cobham, and others, as having proved themselves faithful witnesses of Christ by doing the very thing which the Hussites of Bohemia had failed to do.  But the cases are far from being parallel.  When Luther appeared to plead the cause of truth before the Diet of Worms, he was still a Roman Catholic priest.  The Bohemians, on the other hand, had utterly broken with the Church of Rome, and had not the slightest wish for a reunion.  Besides, there was essential difference between a diet of the empire; and a council of Romish ecclesiastics.  Before an assembly composed in great part of laymen whose minds had been opened, less or more, to a sense of the corruptions of the Church by his own writings, the truth might have some chance of a fair and candid hearing.  But no such candour or impartiality could be expected for the Bohemians from the Lateran council: They were summoned before men who had condemned them unheard, and whose interests and passions stopped their ears to every plea but that of instant submission.  The case of Wickliffe is just as little to the point.  When summoned before the Popish assembly at Oxford, he had no alternative but to appear.  Having never separated from the Romish Church, he could not dispute the jurisdiction of the council appointed by its authority to try him and his doctrine.  Had he, in such circumstances, refused to appear and plead, it might well have been counted a failure of duty, and an abandonment of the cause of Christ.  Neither Luther, nor Wickliffe, then, can help Mr.  Elliott in the least.  But what shall we say of his alleging the case of Lord Cobham?  Lord Cobham did plead, and that manfully, before the prelates who thirsted for his blood. But did he come before them of his own accord?  No.  When first summoned to appear at Leeds Castle, in Kent; he utterly refused, and was condemned and excommunicated for contumacy.  It was only when he was arrested by the commandment of the king, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and brought by the lieutenant from his dungeon in the Tower and placed before the bishops that he witnessed that good confession for which he is commended!  And Lord Cobham is to be held up as a faithful witness of Christ, while the Bohemians, who acted on the very same principle, and whose only fault was that they were more successful in escaping the snares of their enemies are to be branded as traitors!  Mr. Elliott has selected his instances poorly.

And his principle is utterly anti-scriptural.  There is nothing in the word of God that requires his servants to act as he would have them act.  Quite the reverse.  It was the command of our Lord to his disciples, “Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Mat 7:6)  John Huss, the countryman of these Bohemian witnesses, about a hundred years before forgot this; and relying on a safe conduct of the Emperor Sigismund, had come to the council of Constance.  What was the result?  His safe-conduct was violated and he himself consigned to the flames.  His countrymen had learned something from his fate; and mingling the wisdom of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove, they refused, as there was not the least prospect of any good to be gained by putting themselves unnecessarily in the hands of “the woman drunken with the blood of the saints.”  Their Lord and Master, the Lord of all faithful and true witnesses, in like circumstances, acted in a like manner.  “After these days,” says John, “Jesus walked in Galilee, for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.” (John 7:1)  Did Jesus thereby abandon his testimony?  No!  Neither did his servants in Bohemia, when they did what they could to keep themselves out of the hands of those whose only choices for heretics weresubmit or burn.”

2.  The statement which Mr. Elliott makes in regard to the absence of all reports from the Papal Legate sent into Bohemia, taken in connection with the circumstances, is, in itself, positive demonstration that the witnesses were not unfaithful.  What is his statement?  It is this, “Thus was the crisis come.  And would they face their Lord’s enemies?  Would they brave the terrors of death, and plead his cause before the lordly legate, or the antichristian council, &c.?  Alas!  No.  The day of the 9th session arrived.  The council met.  But no report from the cardinal legate.”  Mr. Elliott holds this to be one grand proof that their witnessing was extinct.  Now, I make bold to affirm that it proves just exactly the reverse; that it proves that instead of being put down, instead of being silenced, they were at that moment maintaining their testimony as unequivocally as before.  A brief statement of the facts will make this abundantly plain, and the facts shall be derived from a source which Mr. Elliott cannot question; his own work, just published, entitled “Vindiciæ Horariæ.”  Well, then, in 1513 Cardinal Thomas of Strigonium was dispatched by the Pope into Bohemia for the express purpose of rooting out, if possible, heresy from that country.  When he was dispatched, it was well known at Rome that there were in Bohemia not only Calixtines but Hussites, the purest body of Christ’s witnesses, in a position of avowed opposition to the Papal church.27
In the same year, the Pope’s bull was issued, giving them the choice either of pleading at Rome or making their peace before the cardinal in their own country.  That bull testified to the existence of “manifold heresy,” (multiplex hæresis) in Bohemia.  Now, what success attended the legate’s mission?  Did he succeed in extinguishing the Hussites, in putting down the “multiplex hæresis”  of the Bohemians?  If he did, of course there were only two ways by which that could be accomplished: The one was by force, the other by conciliation.  Did the sword, then, or the stake, purge Bohemia of the taint of heresy?  There is not the slightest evidence of anything of the kind.  Mr. Elliott himself elsewhere admits that from 1511, when Andrew Poliwka was burnt at the stake, until the Reformation, there is no trace of martyrdoms in Bohemia.  “He (Poliwka),” says he, “seems to have been the last of the Bohemian martyrs before the Reformation; at least, the last whose name is on record.”28  If, then, the “manifold heresy” of Bohemia was utterly extinct before the 5th of May next year, 1514, that event must have been brought about by conciliation aloneby the prudent policy adopted by the Papal legate.  Now, here let the reader mark the bearing of Mr. Elliott’s statement about the entire absence of all “report from the cardinal legate.”  When the cardinal legate was sent to Bohemia to bring back the remnants of the Calixtines and Hussites into the bosom of the Church, as these heretics pleaded the concessions of the Basle Council, Leo, with the view of facilitating their conversion, empowered him “to renew these concessions, on condition, however, that everything should be referred to the Lateran council.”29  If, therefore, the Papal legate had made any impression upon the heretics of Bohemia, if he had gained over either Calixtines or Hussites, the tenor of his commission required him of necessity to report to the council the converts he had made, and the terms he had granted them.  “But,” says Mr. Elliott, “the day of the 9th session arrived.  The council met.  “But no report from the cardinal legate.”  What is the inevitable inference?that his mission had been a failure—that he had made no convertsCalixtines and Hussites alike had held aloof from him, and that he had left the “manifold heresy” of Bohemia exactly as he had found it.  I appeal to the reader, is it be possible to resist this conclusion?  Let Mr. Elliott himself candidly examine my argument, and refute it if he can.
3.  But perhaps the reader may ask, What do you make of the triumphant exclamation of the orator, which Mr. Elliott quotes as the very climax of his proof, that heresy was extinct?  Now, his use of that exclamation is precisely the most unaccountable perversion of language that can be conceived.  How Mr. Elliott could apply it in the way he does, knowing the circumstances in which it was uttered, I am at a loss to comprehend.  When the orator uses the expression in question: “Jam nemo reclamat: nullus obsistit,”“No one any longer reclaims—no one opposes,” he uses it in a very different sense from that which is attributed to it by Mr. Elliott.  It has been conclusively shown by Dr. Keith,30 that when these words were uttered, the meaning was not that heresy was extinct—not that there was an end of resistance to the Papal religion—not that the Bohemians were put down,—but that the schism which had previously existed within the Papal church itself had been healed, “the unity” of that ‘church’ restored, and the authority of Leo X as “legitimate” Pontiff was universally acknowledged.  A schismatical council had been held at Pisa a short while before, in opposition to the court of Rome.  The French bishops and French king Louis XII, had at first supported its decisions; but the kingdom of France having been laid under an interdict by the Pope, the king of Francethe mainstay of the schismatics, had found it necessary to give way, and had sent ambassadors to the Lateran council to intimate his submission.  It is to this, and not to the suppression of heresy that the orator refers.  The words that occur in immediate connection with the expression in question preclude the possibility of any reference to the Bohemian heretics.  “No one,” says the orator, addressing Leo X, “no one reclaims: no one opposes . . . all at length look for healthful food to you.”31  This was strictly applicable to the supporters of the Pisan council, who had petitioned for the recall of the interdict, for the restoration of Papal ordinances, which during the season of the interdict had been suspended, and consequently for a supply of that spiritual “food” which had, during the same time, been withheld, and which Rome alone could give.  But it could not apply to the heretics of Bohemia.  Why not?  says Mr. Elliott.  Why could it not apply to “converted heretics,” as well as to “converted schismatics?”32  For this plain reason,that upon Mr. Elliott’s own showing, as we have seen, in regard to the “no report from the cardinal legate,” there were no “converted heretics,” from Bohemia, at least, to seek for any such “healthful food.”  No, this very oration itself, from which a single isolated expression is culled to prove the utter extinction of heresy, contains positive evidence in its own bosom that heresy was not extinct.  So far from rejoicing in the entire extinction of heresy, the orator enumerates “the extirpation of sprouting heresies,” as among the things which still require the council’s most earnest care, and which they must take pains, with all diligence and wisdom, “to discuss and settle.”33  Nothing is more certain: nothing can be more easily proved than that during the whole time that the Lateran council sat, heresy was far from being either dead or dying.  At the opening of the council, in the first sermon preached before the assembled cardinals, we have evidence of how much and how painfully its influence was felt.  “Heresy and infidelity,” says the preacher, “obstruct us, and greatly trouble both us and the whole church.”34  During the five years of its sitting, no better account could be given.  Why was it that the Bohemians were summoned to the council at all?  It was, says Waddington, one of Mr. Elliott’s own authorities, although this he does not quote, “because the heresy was again rising into formidable attention.”35  This statement is amply borne out by a Roman Catholic authority that cannot be gainsaid.  Mansi, the editor of the Ecclesiastical Annals of Raynaldus, expressly states that during the time the council sat, “the Bohemian heresy,” so far from being extinct, “was flourishing” (vigebat).  On the 5th May 1514, the very day when the oration referred to was made, the Pope issued a bull in which the actual existence of “heresies” is distinctly recognized, and in which the cardinals are required “to labour strenuously to know what regions have been infected36 with them, and to report on the subject “to him and the Roman pontiff for the time being.”  Is this not enough to show that heresy was not suppressed at the time when Mr. Elliott would have it so?  If anything more is needed, the language of the bull of Leo X issued in 1518, just one year after the rising of the council must be amply sufficient.  Thus runs the bull in question; “Pondering maturely in his own mind how the holy expedition might be carried out, that the formerly Catholic kingdom of Bohemia might be reclaimed from the errors and heresies into which it had fallen for many years, and be brought back in to the bosom of holy mother church; and reflecting on the great prudence, &c., of his beloved son, Cardinal Thomas Sixtus, and his fitness for the charge of restoring to the faith each and all of the said lapsed kingdoms, and other neighbouring regions, his holiness therefore enjoins him to remove by his authority all errors from that kingdom, and those other places which were infected as if by a long contagion, that the plague of heresy might be purged out, eradicated, and utterly destroyed.”  “Given at Rome, the 9th of May in the year one thousand five hundred and eighteen, in the sixth of our pontificate,” and addressed “to our sons the Emperor Maximilian and the King of Dacia.”  Now here the Pope himself,who certainly is an authority on the subject,declares that at that very time when the witnesses in Bohemia are said to be extinct, that whole kingdom and other neighbouring regions had “for many years been infected with the plague of heresy, as if by a long contagion.”  It is in vain to say, as Mr. Elliot does, that the Bohemian heretics, though reconciled to the Church in 1514, had suddenly been raised again into portentous vigour by the appearance of Luther six months before; and hence this Papal bull.  This is a mere assumption, and inconsistent with the very terms of the bull itself.  Had heresy been extinguished in Bohemia four years before, and just broken out anew within the last few months, there would have been some hint, some expression of surprise and disappointment.  The language should have been very different from that in which it is couched.  Instead of speaking of Bohemia as “formerly Catholic,” but “for many years fallen into errors and heresies,” from which it needed “to be reclaimed,” it would have characterized it as “recently Catholic, but unhappily “relapsed within the last six months” into heresies “from which it had been reclaimed.”  No; the language of the pope is too plain and too express to be twisted to suit Mr. Elliott’s purpose.  “The kingdom of Bohemia,” says the bull, “has been infected with heresy; as if by a long contagion.”  There was no break, no interruption in the prevalence of the “multiplex hæresis,” with which it had been overrun.  Now after all this evidence, is it possible to believe that Christ’s witnesses were slain in Bohemia, and that the appearance of Luther was their resurrection?

4.  The speech so often quoted is referred to by Mr. Elliott as altogether a triumphant orationjust such an oration as might be expected to be made when “they of the peoples, and kindreds, and nations, and tongues,” were filled with exuberant gladness and delight that all grounds of fear and uneasiness were forever taken out of the way.  But if this were so, could such expressions as the following be found in it?  “What over all the world, alas! do I find that does not afflict and overwhelm me with vehement grief?”  “With what sorrow, with what groaning, with what sobbing, can I express the state of the sacred religious orders in other respects?”  Is this a song of triumph?  Is this the counterpart of the prophecy?  “they that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and send gifts one to another?”

5.  Hitherto I have gone on the supposition that the term rendered as “finish” in our version might admit of the rendering proposed by Mr. Elliott.  But there is not the least warrant for the change he makes; there is no instance in which the verb uncompounded is clearly and undeniably used in the sense proposed.  The plain natural meaning of the word is simply “to finish;” in this sense, it is used in all the other six instances in which it occurs in the Apocalypse; and be it observed, it is the very word used by Christ himself, when on the cross he said, “It is finished.” and bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.  To our Lord’s use of it on that occasion, there is a plain and manifest allusion in the case before us.  There was a work which the Father gave him to do, which was absolutely and exclusively his own.  In his work as an atoning high priest, he was altogether alone; and there were none of the people with him.  But he had another work conjoined with that, the work of a faithful and true witness for God.  “To this end was I born,” he said to Pilate, “and for this cause I came into the world, to bear witness unto the truth.”  In this part of his work, his own redeemed and faithful people are called upon to bear a part.  When Christ’s personal testimony was finished, that testimony was handed over to his disciples, who, in bearing it, rejoiced with Paul, “to fill up that which was left of the afflictions of Christ.”  As witnesses they have the same work to do, and the same fate to expect as he had, when he bore witness to the truth.  Christ’s personal ministry in Judea, and the literal Jerusalem, was just three and a half years; during all which time he bore the contradiction of sinners against himself; but till the end of that time, his enemies could not touch him, “because his hour was not yet come.”  The ministry of Christ’s witnesses in the spiritual Jerusalem, is also three and a half years; for three and a half years are just 1260 days,37 the period of their prophesying; and like as it was with their Lord, so is it also with them, they are kept alive until their work is done.  The preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ are obviously the counterpart of the prophesying, slaughter, resurrection, and ascension of his witnesses.  Now, it was at the end of the three and a half years of his personal ministry that Christ was crucified, remained in the grave for three days, and then rose from the dead and ascended up to heaven.  So in like manner, it must be at the end of the three and a half times, at the conclusion of the 1260 days of their testimony, and not before, that his witnesses must be slain, lie dead for three and a half days,38 and then rise from the dead, and ascend up to heaven in a cloud.




CHAPTER 5The Scarlet Coloured Beast.

THE considerations already adduced are of themselves sufficient to demonstrate that the slaying of the witnesses cannot be already past.  But an examination of the character of the beast destined to slay them will, if I am not mistaken, throw additional light on that subject.  That beast did not exist at the period of the Reformation.  What is the beast in question?  It is the beast from the bottomless pit, Rev 11:7: “When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit39 shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.”
To arrive at clear views as to the precise power indicated here, it is necessary to make a comparison of three distinct visions which the Apostle had.  In Rev 12:3, after describing the true church of Christ as represented to him in symbol, he tells us, “there appeared another sign in heaven, and behold a great red [fiery] dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon its heads.”  In Rev 13:1-2, another object is presented to his eyes, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon its horns ten crowns, and upon its heads, the name of blasphemy.”  The last vision with which we are at present concerned is in Rev 17:3, where, being carried away in spirit into a wilderness, John saw “a woman sit upon a scarlet-coloured40 beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”  Now the beast of all these three visions obviously has a substantial identity.
In all alike, it is the beast with seven heads and ten horns, in other words, the secular empire of Rome.  But yet with this substantial oneness, there is very considerable circumstantial diversity, indicating that it is the same empire indeed, but under different forms, and in different states of its progress.  The caterpillar is the same insect, under all its different transmutations, from the worm to the chrysalis, and from the chrysalis to the butterfly; but its form and characteristics are very different under these different metamorphoses.  And so with the Roman empire, while remaining substantially the same, these three different visions show that it is to appear under three very different phases.  In which of these three forms was it to appear when it should slay the witnesses, and suppress all public testimony for Christ?  It was in the last, as “the scarlet-coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy,” for that according to the angel, Rev 17:8, is “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit.”  Not a few commentators have confounded the beast from the bottomless pit, with the beast of the second vision mentioned above as the beast from the sea.  The term in the original for the bottomless pit is “the abyss,” and they maintain “the abyss” is only another name for the sea.41
But the use of the term, both in this book, and in other parts of the New Testament, is directly opposed to any such identification.  In Luke 8:31, we find the devils who had entered into the unhappy man named “Legion,” beseeching our Lord that he would not command them to go out into the abyss, but permit them to enter into the herd of swine that were feeding in the neighbourhood.  Our Lord granted their request; and what was the result?  The account, as given both by Matthew and Mark, shows that the unclean spirits who were so afraid of being sent into “the abyss,” had no objections at all to going into the sea.  No sooner had they got permission to enter into the swine, than the “whole herd,” under their instigation, ran violently down a steep place into the sea [CHCoG - Hislop is in error here.  The Greek in Luke 18:33 is lakeλίμνη.  Yet he says that it is θάλασσαsea, the word used in Rev 13:1], and perished in the waters.42  It may possibly be said that “the abyss,” of which they were so much afraid was the Mediterranean or “Great Sea,” and that they had not the same fear of the little freshwater ‘Sea’ of Galilee.”  But this is mere trifling. [See previous footnote.]

The term “abyss” occurs in different places in the Apocalypse in such a connection as plainly excludes the idea of its being synonymous with the “sea.”  Take, for instance, the statement at the commencement of the Rev chapter 20: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain in his hand, and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him.”

Does any one believe that it is into the sea that the devil is to be cast before the millennium?  No.  It is into inescapable prisonthe “bottomless pit,” as our translators have most correctly rendered it.  Now, it is from the same “bottomless pit,” that the angel tells John, that the “scarlet-coloured beast,” or third form of the Roman empire, is to ascend.  The Holy Spirit having varied the symbol, representing the one beast as “ascending out of the sea,” and the other, as “ascending out of the bottomless pit,” would seem to shut us up to the conclusion, that these two beasts cannot be in all respects the same, but that they differ in very important respects.  The ten-horned beast from the sea, as admitted by all commentators, represents the Roman empire, as appearing at first in its divided form at the beginning of the seventh century, after the barbarian hordes from the north had broken the ancient empire into pieces.  Then society had been in a state of dissolution, tossed about and agitated (as represented in the symbol of the sea), by the irruption of one savage conqueror after another.  That dissolution, however, and agitation was not the result of any premeditated design against God and religion.  It was the effect of ill-regulated ambition and turbulent human passions.

When the “beast from the bottomless pit” appears, society will doubtless again be in a state of dissolution; but the overthrow of established government then is not the consequence merely of the ordinary passions of men, but of principles that bear upon them the very stamp of hell, and are direct emanations from the bottomless pit.  So much seems plainly to be implied by the change of the symbol.


[CHCoG – As noted above, the Aramaic Peshitta says that both of these versions of the Beast arise from the sea.  This suggests to us that the Beast arises yet again from the same source as its previous incarnation: out of the nations that once formed the Roman Empire. These nations are now re-uniting under the guise of the European Union.  Apart from this detail, Hislop’s analysis seems valid.]


That it is near the end of the Roman empire’s existence that the empire appears as “the beast from the abyss,” may be inferred from several distinct considerations.  It is shortly before “the judgment of the great whore,” that the angel represents the scarlet-coloured beast as making its appearance.  “Come here,” says the angel to John, “I will show you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters.”  John looks at the vision before him; and when he sees the woman upon that beast, “drunken with the blood of the saints,” “he was astonished with great amazement.”  John had already seen much persecution.  He had seen the dragon persecuting the woman and making war with the remnant of her seed: he had seen the beast from the sea waging war with the saints and prevailing against them: he had seen the beast from the earth, with two horns like a lamb, and the deceitful tongue of the serpent,43 persuading them that dwell on the earth to set up a power to which all that refused to do homage were unsparingly killed.  But a sight like that which now met his eyes, when the woman riding on the scarlet beast appeared he had not yet seen.  The angel seeing the excess of his astonishment, thus addresses him, “Why do you marvel?  I will show you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast which carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.  The beast which you saw was and is not, and is about to ascend (μελλει άναβαινεινwill ascend, used both here and in Rev 13:1) out of the bottomless pit, and to go into perdition.”

The angel has often been understood, in these words, to be speaking of the time when, in Patmos, under the reign of Domitian, John had the apocalyptic vision made to pass before him.  It may be that from the 9th verse, where he begins to explain the mystery, this is the case; but the language which he uses here, when he states the mystery of the beast, can by no means be reconciled with any such supposition.  The Roman empire could not, in Domitian’s days, be spoken of as the beast that had been and was not.  Its continuity was then unbroken; its character unchanged; its power as great as it ever had been.  The language then points to a quite different period from that of the reign of Domitian.  And what period can that be?  The only other period in which the rise of the beast from “the abyss” can with any propriety be dated is the time just before that judgment which John was invited to see.  By that time the beast from the sea has disappeared; the power of the old papal empire is, to all appearance, shaken to pieces; and those who see the greatness of the overthrow suppose it to be gone for ever.  Then it is “the beast which was, but is not.”  But the angel says that this same beast shall be restored, and restored by agency from the bottomless pit, “and all that dwell on the earth, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, shall wonder when they shall see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Rev 17:8)

The restoration, however, is to be for only a brief period; for the language of the angel strictly implies that the beast is not only “about to ascend out of the bottomless pit,” but “about to go into perdition.”  And this most exactly agrees, too, with the position in which John finds the great harlot, the woman which sits on the seven hills, when carried away by the angel to see her (Rev 17:3).  “The angel,” says he, “carried me away in the Spirit into A DESERT, (εις ερημον); and there, in that “desert,” did he see the woman seated in all her pomp and glory.  Now, it is remarkable that no word, no form of expression, could so graphically depict, as if by a stroke of the pencil, the aspect of the country all aroundin every direction, in the midst of which (at this day,) Rome is situated as this very word “desert.”  It was not so in the days when John saw the vision.  Then the now desolate Campagna di Roma was not only distinguished for its beauty and fertility, but filled with a teeming population.  It was not so when the ten Gothic kingdoms first submitted to the papal yoke; for the ruins found amid its deserted solitudes bear marks of Gothic greatness, as well as of imperial grandeur.  It is thus described by Charlotte Eaton, the author of Rome in the Nineteenth Century:


“Far as the eye can reach, the Campagna stretches  in every direction.  To the west, a wild sullen flat extends to the sea.  A profusion of bushy thickets, and a few solitary trees were scattered over the broken surface of this unenclosed and houseless plain,for a plain it issince, at the distance of sixteen miles . . .  we distinctly saw Rome. . . . Over this wild waste, no rural dwelling, nor scattered hamlet, nor fields, nor gardens, such as usually mark the approach to a populous city, were to be seen.  All was ruin: fallen monuments of Roman daysgrey towers of Gothic timesabandoned habitations of modern years, alone met the eye.  No trace of man appeared, except in the lonely tomb, which told us he had been.  Rome herself was all that we beheld.  She stood alone in the wilderness as in the world, surrounded by a desert of her own creating.” [Vol 1, p.63, 1852 ed]


Now, it was in reference to the time when Rome should stand in the midst of a dreary “desert,” that the angel spoke of the approaching ascent of that beast from the bottomless pit that was to raise her for a short time to unexampled power and splendour, and then go along with her into final “perdition.”

We have considered the origin of the Beast that slays the witnesses, and the time about which it may be expected to appear; let us now examine the specific characteristics which the Spirit of God attributes to it:

I.  It is destitute of “crowns.”  There are no crowns either on the heads or horns of the beast.  Is there no meaning in this?  The position of the crowns on the beast in its two former appearances were fraught with significance.  “The great red dragon” standing before the woman, ready to devour her child as soon as it is born, represents pagan imperial Rome.  The character of the child brought forth by the womanor, in other words, by the church of God,demonstrates this: Rev 12:5, “And she brought forth a man-child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.”  This could be none other than Christ.  Now, when Christ was born, pagan Rome was in the very zenith of its power; and therefore, in exact accordance with the history, its seven heads are encircled with seven crowns; while the ten horns that appear on the dragon, to show the substantial identity of pagan and papal Rome, are destitute of crowns.  In the beast from the sea, again, the crowns have shifted their position from the heads to the horns.  The ten horns wear ten crowns, while the seven heads have none.  This also was strictly verified in the history of the period to which the vision referred.  The imperial power was removed from the city of the seven hills, and ten independent sovereignties started up in the western empire, sharing among them the power once concentrated in the secular Emperor of Rome.  Now, if we find the position of the crowns so significant in regard to the history of the past, the conclusion seems inevitable that the entire absence of crowns on the beast that is yet to come is significant too.  The beast from the bottomless pit, then, represents the Roman empire as about to appear under the form of ten confederated republics.  It may be thought to mitigate against this view of the matter that when Babylon falls, there are “kings of the earth” who are represented as weeping and wailing over her downfall.  But this really has very little weight.  The term “king” does not necessarily indicate the possession of sovereign or independent power: In scriptural usage, it is applied to any kind of ruler, whether his power be inherent or delegated; and may as well be applied to the president of a great republic as to the occupant of a throne.  Thus Herod and Pontius Pilate,the one was only a tetrarch or governor of the fourth part of a province, and the other was simply procurator of Judea,are, according to the interpretation of Peter, prophesied of in the second Psalm, when it is said, “the kings of the earth stood up, the rulers took counsel together.” (Acts 4:26-27)  Besides, whatever may be the character of the kings that shall weep over the fall of Babylon, it cannot necessarily be supposed that they are European kings, for Rev 17:16 seems to distinctly intimate that the ten horns, or ten rulers of the Roman empire shall themselves be actively concerned in overthrowing her.

When the purposes of God are fulfilled, then it is said, “they shall hate the whore, and strip her naked and desolate, and eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”  These kings that lament for Babylon cannot be within the bounds of Europe; we must look for them elsewhere.  And let it be borne in mind that before the final ruin of Rome, there are three unclean spirits like frogs represented as going forth out of the “mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, to the kings of the earth, and the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.” (Rev 16:13-14)  Moreover, it is said, but just before the judgment of Babylon, that “all nations have drunk of the wine of her fornication;” (Rev 17:2) and that “by her sorceries all nations have been deceived,” (Rev 18:23)language a great deal too strong to refer only to the ten kingdoms of modern Europe.  The Western empire in which these ten kingdoms are situated constituted only a “third part” of the original Roman world.  Now, though there be no kings in Europe at the time referred to, there may nevertheless be kings in other quarters of the world in league with the apostate church of Rome who sympathise very deeply with her tremendous and unexpected destruction.  And the very language employed in reference to those kings would seem to indicate that they are themselves beyond the bounds of the Western empire.  They are represented as “standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas!  alas!  That great city Babylon, that mighty city, for in one hour has your judgment come.” (Rev 18:10)  There is nothing here, then, to militate against the idea that the last form of the Roman empire, as represented by “the beast from the abyss,” is essentially republican.  The position of the crowns, first on the “heads” of the dragon, and then on the “horns” of the beast from the sea, (which accords so exactly with historical fact,) renders it impossible to believe that the entire absence of all crowns from both heads and horns of the beast from the pit is a mere accident,a thing without significance.

II.  It is represented as “full of names of blasphemy.”  In this we see another very marked distinction between it and the beast from “the sea.”  The beast from the sea had on its heads the name of blasphemy; and accordingly, that beast “opened its mouth in blasphemy against God.”  But in the third beast before us, the blasphemy is not confined to “the heads.”  The Roman empire being remodelled by agency immediately from hell, bears on all its members the evidence of its origin; its whole body is covered with blasphemous names.  And this is exactly what we might expect from other parts of the word of God.  The apostle Paul speaks of two distinct apostasies that should come during the Christian dispensation, the last being of a much more malignant nature than the first.  Of both he speaks in his epistle to Timothy, representing the one as taking place “in the latter times,” (1 Tim 4:1) the other in “the last days.” (2 Tim 3:1)  That these are not two different expressions for one and the same period is clear, both from the way in which he speaks of the apostasy of the last days, and from the peculiar language of Peter, referring to the same apostasy as distinctly predicted by Paul.  Paul, although he had informed Timothy in his first epistle of the apostasy of “the latter times”; when he speaks in his second epistle of the apostasy of “the last days,” does not speak of that apostasy as of a thing already known to Timothy, but as a piece of information altogether new.  “This know also,” says he, “that in the last days perilous times shall come.”  Peter, again, when stirring up the pure minds of those to whom he wrote, by way of remembrance of what they had heard on this very subject from his beloved brother Paul, as well as himself, uses a form of expression which distinctly carries us down to near the conclusion of the well known 1260 days.  “Knowing this first,” says he, “that there shall come at the extremity of the days (έπ έσχατου των ήμερων) scoffers walking after their own lusts.” (2 Pet 3:3)  “The latter times,” then, and the “last days” of Paul are entirely distinct; and the distinguishing characteristics of these two apostasies are also clearly marked.  With regard to the first, “the Spirit speaks expressly,” says he, “that some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines concerning demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.”  These are the leading characters of the apostasy as developed under the reign of the first beast from the sea.  These features of apostasy, we have every reason to believe, will continue to the end; but they will be aggravated and fearfully increased in malignity by the apostasy at the end of the days, which Paul thus describes: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, when men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, BLASPHEMERS, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, intemperate, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” (2 Tim 3:1-4)  Here, then, according to the combined testimony of Paul and Peter, “scoffing” and “blasphemy,” along with a dreadful train of kindred abominations shall predominate before the final fall of the Roman empire.

It is now not merely the supreme power of the empire that opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, but “men,”mankind in general,are infected with the same outrageously “blasphemous”  spirit.  There is a fearful significance, then, in the symbol, when the beast from the bottomless pit is represented as “full of names of blasphemy.”

III.  The beast is represented as a “scarlet-coloured [blood-red] beast.”  This is the first time that the beast appears in this colour.  The great dragon is “red” (πυρρος).  The symbol of the dragon, though specially descriptive of the pagan empire, is so framed as to include also the papal power, for it is said that “its tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth.” (Rev 12:4)  The “stars of heaven” are the ministers of Christ, and the casting of “the third part” of them to the earth, implies the apostasy of such of them as were in the western empire,“the third part” of the Roman world.  This apostasy was not occasioned by pagan but by papal Rome.  Now the dragon, so far as it represents both pagan and papal Rome, is represented merely as “red.”  The beast from “the abyss” on the other hand, is “scarlet-coloured.” (χοχχινος)  The scarlet of the ancients was “crimson,” and was “twice dyed;” and there can be no doubt that this points at the pre-eminent ferocity and blood-thirsty character of the beast in its last form.  Pagan Rome persecuted the saints of the Most High with great cruelty.  Papal Rome, using the beast from the sea, persecuted more fiercely still.  But Rome working with the beast from the bottomless pit, instinct in every part with the malice of hell, will outdo all its predecessors in deeds of blood.  Even during the dark ages, the kings of the Roman world could be inspired by natural feeling, and often cast their shield over their godly subjects, and screened them from the rage of the harlot.  The Waldenses frequently enjoyed seasons of peace and tranquillity through this cause.  But when the secular power is, according to Paul’s description, in the hands of men universally “without natural affection, intemperate, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” no such merciful compulsions will be felt.  Enmity against the truth will make their “feet swift to shed blood;” (Pro 1:16) and to obey the behests of her who guides and controls their movements, and who will then give herself up to frantic excesses such as the world has not yet seen.

Here, then, we have the three leading characteristics of the beast from “the abyss,” or Roman empire in its last form.  Its ten horns are discrowned; its whole body is pervaded with blasphemous names; it is “double-dyed” with blood.  To this conclusion we are led by a patient examination of particulars, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, from a mere consideration of the symbols of the prophetic page, with nothing before us but the history of the past, as reflecting light on the representations of God’s inspired word.  When we turn our eyes to the events of the present, now passing on the stage of time, do we see anything that gives confirmation to our anticipations, anything that answers to the prophetic description of the beast from the bottomless pit?  We do.  What is that monster form, which, within the last year, across Europe; in Paris, in Vienna, in Berlin, has been raising its portentous head, perplexing monarchs, breaking society into pieces, and filling men’s hearts with alarm?  It is the RED REPUBLIC.

The history, the character of the new power, that is beginning to glare in the eyes of the world, show that it exactly fulfils the conditions required by the prophetic symbols.  1st, it aims avowedly at the subversion of every throne and the establishment of liberty, equality, and fraternity on their ruins.  2nd, It has its origin directly from the bottomless pit.  It is the offspring of those blasphemous principles of socialism and communism with which the masses of Europe are infected to the core.  The spirit that it breathes bears distinct testimony to vile source whence it has sprung.


“In this year 1848,” says the Morning Post, “there are orgies of the ‘red’ people in France, in which they drink toasts to hell, and seem to long for that running riot in delirious sin, which wild imagination attributes to the damned.”  The doings of the same party throughout Germany are marked by the same satanic spirit.  The pantheistic philosophy that had so long been taught in the schools and colleges of the Germans has passed from the higher to the lower classes,and behold the result.  “The usual bonds of social life,” say the distinguished divines who met at the recent great Wittenberg Assembly, the “usual bonds of social life are broken, law has become powerless, love is converted into hate.  Exasperation prevails among the German races so nearly related to each other, property is insecure, and the poor, without labour and without bread, are left an easy prey to seducers and revolutionists.  The great cities are an arena of party feuds and reckless factions, of ingratitude, perfidy, and even assassination.  It is as if the spirits of the abyss had ascended to seduce and betray us.44


One grand means of spreading the atheistic leaven among the mass of the people is stated to be the Herberge, or tradesmen’s house of call, established in all the cities where the corporation system is maintained, to which the travelling journeymen “who wander about in hundreds of thousands” from place to place, resort as to their rightful house of entertainment.  The Herberge in its original institution was useful and benevolent; but for long it has been a hot-bed of immorality.  “What scenes are enacted within the Herberge,” said Mr. Wichern of Hamburg, at the meeting just referred to, “may not be rehearsed before a mixed assembly.  Suffice it to say that the most fearful orgies of the ancient heathens have therein been surpassed.  From the days of Charles V to the present time, efforts have been made by successive governments to stop or to lessen the evil; but though here and there checked, it has never been mastered.  These Herberges are the cradle of all political machinations.  In them the A B C of democracy is taught, and many advance in the political catechism, systematically gone through, until the capstone is laid in red republicanism, and avowed atheism.”45

In many of the cities of Germany, men trained in such schools, through the newly given universal suffrage, have most of the political power in their hands, and of course, those whom they choose to represent them reflect their views.  In Hamburg, the man who has received the largest number of votes as the representative of his townsmen in their new parliament, is William Marr, who has raised himself to a “bad eminence,” by his heaven-daring blasphemies, and his unwearied promulgation of atheism.  Let the reader peruse the following extracts from his book entitled “Young Germany,” and he will see how lost and degraded must be the people who put him forth as the man whom they delight to honour.  “I maintain,” says he, “that the belief in a personal Deity is the chief ground and originating cause of our present worm-eaten social system, and that so long as mankind clings with the slenderest fibre to the idea of a heaven, there is no hope of true happiness on earth.”  “Christianity,” he says again, “and the existing order of things which is built upon it are the real cancerous sores of human society.”  And to crown all, thus daringly does he deify human nature: “Man by himself,man is the religion of the coming age.  GOD STANDS IN NEED OF MAN (as his worshipper), BUT MAN HAS NO NEED OF GOD!”

Let such views spread, as they are but too likely to do, and what a commentary they afford upon the language of the Apostle, that in “the last days,” not popes, not prelates or priests only, but “men,” mankind in general shall be “blasphemers.”  And should “such men through the progress of democracy come to have the destinies of Europe in their hands,” how strikingly will the state of the Roman empire correspond to the apocalyptic description of the “beast from the bottomless pit, full of names of blasphemy?”  These sentiments of Marr are daring and blasphemous in the extreme, but there are many already in the “Reformed Legislative Assemblies,” of the German fatherland avowing precisely the same.  “Similar to these,” says the German correspondent of Evangelical Christendom, are the sentiments of Itzstein, Hecker, Simon of Treves, Vogt of Giessen, Held of Berlin, Jacobi of Konigsberg, and the larger portion of the extreme left in the Frankfort parliament.  Such were the sentiments of that wretched man, Robert Blum, who, after being by turns Jesuit, German catholic, and infidel, has expiated his sins against human law by a violent death.  And such are the sentiments held by the aggregate of his sorrowing admirers throughout Germany, as may easily be inferred from the heathen honours paid to him, under the name of funeral obsequies.

3.  As the new power is essentially irreligious, so the very name and ensign which it displays serve to identify it with the “scarlet-coloured beast.”  The Red flag, from which the Red Republic derives its name, was hoisted in opposition to the tricolour, as the avowed emblem of the guillotine, as the pledge of the determination of its partisans to re-enact the “Reign of Terror,” and to consolidate the communist republic they wished to erect with the blood of all who opposed it, or who stood in its way.  The three days of last June, when ten thousand men were slain in the streets of Paris in the rebellion they excited, show the excesses to which they are prepared to go to carry out their views.  It is well known that on that occasion, in spite of all the energy and military skill of Cavaignac, the city was within a hair’s breadth of falling into their hands.  They have avenged themselves on Cavaignac now, for the defeat they sustained from him then, by swelling the majority that have seated his rival in the presidential chair of the French Republic.  The avowed advocates of the socialist republic have carried but few votes in comparison at the recent election.  But is that to be held, as some would fain believe, as a proof of the feebleness of their cause?  No.  They knew well what they were about, when they bent all their energies, in the first place, to get their grand enemy out of the way.  Cavaignac ruled them with a rod of iron; Cavaignac saved Paris from their bloody regime.  That Louis Napoleon will be able for any length of time to hold them in check, and rule them with as firm a hand as his predecessor, may well be doubted.

Wherever the partisans of the Red Republic appear, blasphemy and blood are their inseparable characteristics.  Even amongst ourselves the same foul spirit lives and breathes.  In the late chartist trials, this has been abundantly shown.  Take a single specimen: Charles Bowker, a man of genteel appearance, was convicted the other day at Liverpool, for sedition and blasphemy; and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.  From the evidence, it appeared that on Sunday morning, the 13th of August, the prisoner addressed a large meeting of chartists in the marketplace at Heywood.  After reading a hymn from a Wesleyan hymn book, he proceeded to denounce all sects of religionists, and charged them with preaching blasphemy if they preached according to their Bibles and Prayer books.  “I come here,” said he, “to do good as Christ did good; and why should we not shed blood for the good of others? . . .  If God was pleased with the shedding of Christ’s blood, let them shed blood to redeem his people from under the oppressing hand of wicked men such as Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, and all the rest of the aristocratic murderers.  I would wish to gain the rights of the people without the shedding of blood or destroying of property; but if they cannot be gained without, let us at once unanimously agree, and assemble together to fight manfully for our rights; to destroy our enemies and oppressors, and to take and devour everything before us.  This is the will of God concerning those that oppress his children.”  The men who cherish and avow such sentiments have in the meantime been put down by the strong arm of power; but there are thousands, and tens of thousands, among the depraved masses of our large towns who have drunk deep of the same spirit, and who only wait an opportunity to display themselves.

But perhaps some may be inclined to say: How shall the reckless and blasphemous atheism of the Red Republicans ever harmonize with the abject and drivelling superstition of Rome?  Is it not much more likely that if ever they gain the power to which they aspire, they will immediately show their hatred to the whore by stripping her naked, and making her desolate, and burning her with fire?  If there were no other enemy to hate, no other adversary to oppose, this, in all likelihood, would be the case.  When the witnesses shall at last be slain, when all testimony for Christ shall be suppressed, then shall the antipathy between atheism and superstition have scope to develop itself.  But so long as infidelity and popery alike shall feel themselves confronted by Biblical Christianity, so long as they shall find in Christ’s witnesses a common and formidable enemy that will meet them at every turn, and allow them no peace in their ungodly career; an offensive and defensive union may easily be cemented between these two seemingly repulsive and antagonist powers.  When Christ was to be crucified, Herod and Pilate, though at enmity before, found it no difficult matter to be reconciled.  To those who look only on the surface of things and who have seen the masses recently expelling the Jesuits from one quarter of continental Europe after another; it might seem an incredible thing that Rome should ever again acquire that ascendant over these same masses, as is represented by the vision where the harlot is seen riding on the scarlet-coloured beast.  But those who have more deeply scrutinized the workings of the Roman apostasy will never venture to affirm beforehand what seemingly invincible obstacles the power of the Man of sin may not overcome.  The mystery of iniquity, like the mystery of godliness, is unfathomable.  “There is a power in Popery,” says Adolphe Monod, “which God knows, and which the devil knows, but which I do not know.”  That power is felt at this hour in Great Britain as a power which our most sharp-witted statesmen cannot cope with; and the queen of the nations, after three hundred years in defiance of Rome, is now preparing to give up the contest in despair, and to meekly bow down and lick the very dust of her feet.  That power is making large and rapid strides in republican America, and bids fair, at no distant period, to have the liberties of that boasted land of freedom entirely in her keeping.  Already has the American congress been compelled to do homage to her claims by calling Dr. Hughes, the Popish bishop of New York, to preach before the assembled senators in the capitol.  That power is rising rapidly in infidel and republican France.  It is but two years since the chambers decreed the expulsion of the Jesuits.  And yet, When Pius IX, avowedly under jesuit influence, comes into distress for the breach of his pledges to his own subjects, the French National Assembly resolves, by a majority of about six to one, to come to his aid.  Let no one then say that Rome cannot tame the blaspheming atheists of the Red Republic and render them obedient to her will.  She can pander to every passion.  She can suit herself to every taste.  She can lead democrats and aristocrats alike in triumph at her chariot wheels.  The union therefore may be easily effected: and when it is, then shall the grand crisis come.  Then shall persecution be waged in the name of Liberty and Equality: Then shall the woman calling herself the bride—the lamb’s wife, be seen drunken beyond what she ever yet has been with “the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus.”

I have said, “the union may easily be formed;” and while I write, there is evidence that goes far to show that steps are already being taken to bring about that union.  The socialists of France at least seem disposed to meet the Church of Rome half-way.  Retaining all their atheism and licentiousness, they show a desire to sanctify them by borrowing some of the forms of the Roman Catholic church.  The following extract from the Morning Chronicle, as casting light upon the alliance which the prophetic word leads us to expect between the “woman” and the “beast from the bottomless pit,” is worthy of an attentive perusal.


“The astounding presumptionthe reckless ignorance, the audacious impiety of the socialist theorists, we have long looked at and listened to from afar.  They have been in our ears so continually since February [1848], that we have almost begun to consider them as permanent phases of human aberration.  But the present developmentit strikes us that this is the proper expressionof French socialism is strikingly novel.  It has suddenly transformed itself into a direct conscious parody of [pagan] Christianity.  The approach of Christmas appears to have recalled to its leaders the hint contained in the well-known speech of poor Camille Desmoulins before the revolutionary tribunal.  He, in a random bravado, made the Founder of our faith the type of sans culottism.  These worthies seek to turn to socialist account the solemnities, the traditions of Roman Catholic Christianity.  The scriptural narratives of the nativity, the passion, the crucifixion, and the ascension, are expounded in a new and monstrous sense.  The holy teaching of the sacred volume is made to communicate the doctrinal impurities of Leroux.  The one great figure which fills the scene depicted in these pages has his place usurped, and his pre-eminence overshadowed by the pretensions of Raspail and Lagrange.  Names the most awful are mingled in the invocations addressed to the foul deities embraced in the Republican Hagiology.  ‘Let us drink,’ says the speaker, ‘to Jesus Christ, to Couthon, to St Just, and to Robespierre.’  The language in which the ordinances of this precious dispensation are conveyed is no less curious than its subjects.  Scriptural phrases are of course largely intermixed; and altogether, we venture to say that mysticism never spoke in a tongue so admirably calculated to bewilder the weak and turn the stomach of the wary.  Were it constantly adopted, we have no doubt, but that as the authors of this movement desire, attention would be effectually diverted from the real projects of the banqueters, the real source of their inspiration, and their real plan of action.”


Such is the statement of the Morning Chronicle.  The Parisian correspondent of Evangelical Christendom also refers to it at great length, as one of the most startling phenomena of the day.  “I have to call your attention,” says he, “to a new invention of the socialists: their banquets in honour of Jesus Christ; banquets for all the festivals of the [Roman] Church.  The neophytes of socialism have a mania for being called Christians.  In vain do pious men of all denominations tell them that they have no right to that sacred title; in vain do their own writings prove that they deny the fundamental doctrines of the gospel; their part is taken, their opinion decided; Christians they will be, in spite of everybody.”  After alluding to two other banquets of this description, the same writer describes a third got up by socialist females: “The first address,” says he, “delivered by a socialist democrat female, was entitled Sermon on the Mount.  Another lady proposed a toast to the Virgin Mary, St Simon, Fourier, &c.”  “Women,” said she, in her enthusiasm, “if we desire to transform a society, let us take the divine Mary as a model.  Let her name be blessed among women. . . . .  Glory to St Simon!  Glory to Fourier!  Glory to all peoples!  May they be united among themselves!  Glory to all the suffering exiles!  To the fraternity then: it will put God on our side.”  Another proposed the following toast: “To the living Christ, to the French people!”  And she sought to prove that there was a complete analogy between Jesus Christ and the French people.”46  It is stated by Paul that though the “heady, high-minded blasphemers” of the last apostasy had “cast off the power of godliness,” (την δε δυναμιν αυτης ηρνημενοι), still they desired to retain “the form” of it.  And here we find the socialists, after repudiating “a personal Deity,” without which religion is an empty name, still determined to have something in the form of a religion.

This new phase of socialism will not escape the piercing eye of Rome; and if she finds it necessary, or in her interest, to pay court to the men of the Red Republic, she will not hesitate for a moment to do so.  Popery, in its first phase, was “baptised paganism;” in its last phase, it seems destined to appear as “baptised atheism.”

Now, if the Red Republic is indeed what is prefigured by the symbols before us; who could not admire the wisdom and goodness of God in causing the adoption of the red flag, and the currency of the very name at the precise period when it most concerns his people, so they should be aware of the perilous times which are at hand, and be preparing accordingly.  This is altogether in accordance with the established usages of prophecy.  Our Lord does not merely give symbols that are significant of ideas; but symbols that shall have their visible counterpart in the history of the world, and thus be the more likely to attract the attention of men.  The sight of the triple crown, with which the papal head has been so long encircled, has helped the people of God in all ages to see in the Pope “the little horn whose look was more stout than his fellows, and before whom three kings fell.” (Dan 7:24)  When the Christians saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, and the silver eagles of the Roman legions glittering the sun, how emphatically would they recall to their mind the saying of the Lord, “Wheresoever the carcass is, there shall the eagles be gathered together.” (Mat 24:28)  And so, in like manner, when near the close of the predicted 1260 days, we see all of a sudden, the red flag of the Red Republic beginning to gleam throughout Europe, ought not that to inspire the inquiry: Is the new power not indeed the scarlet beast, with its ten discrowned horns, that, shortly before the judgment on Babylon, was to ascend from the bottomless pit and make war on the witnesses and kill them?

No, the very shock that has recently been given to the temporal power of the papacy gives the strongest possible confirmation to the view I have been endeavouring to establish;that a time of trouble for the saints is approaching, and that in that crisis, Rome is to direct the onslaught that is to be made upon them.  Many are disposed to think that if the temporal sovereignty of the Pope were gone, of which there is now every prospect, Popery can persecute no longer.  But let it not be forgotten how it was with Jerusalem, the type, of which Rome is the antitype.  It was after the sceptre had departed from Judah, and a lawgiver from between his feet, after the chief priests were constrained to say, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death;” (John 18:31) that she consummated her guilt by persuading the Roman empire to crucify Christ and persecuting the saints most cruelly.  Though Jerusalem had then no temporal power of her own, yet she found means to employ the civil power of Caesar to work her bloody will.

And does not the very symbol by which the Romish Church is represented, when she appears in conjunction with the “scarlet-coloured beast,” indicate this very thing?  In league with the beast from the sea, the church of Rome is represented as a “beast with two horns”47—as possessed in itself of both temporal and spiritual power.  In league with the beast from the bottomless pit, it is a “woman” arrayed with everything imposing and attractive.  This is the first time that the apostate church in the Apocalypse appears as a “woman.”  Now we have seen already that the change of symbol in regard to the secular empire implies the appearance of that empire in a new and altered phase.  By parity of reasoning, we may expect that a change in the symbol representing the ‘church,’ must be significant of some transformation there also.
At all times, the papal church, as an apostate and idolatrous church, might without impropriety be characterized as the “mother of harlots.”  But it is only now, as the coming events cast their shadows before us, that the symbol in question begins to stand out in its full force and propriety, in bold and beautiful relief.  What is the idea that the “woman,” as contra-distinguished from the “two-horned beast,” is fitted to convey?  Is it not plainly intended to represent the Roman church as destitute of all physical power in itself, and relying only upon its spiritual charms and fascinations for its sway over mankind’s minds?  Let the classical reader call to mind the well-known ode of Anacreon in regard to the power of woman.  “Nature,” says the Greek bard, “gave horns to bulls, swiftness of foot to hares, yawning teeth to lions, fins to fishes, wings to birds, wisdom to man.  What did she give to woman?  Beauty, which is instead of all shields and all spears, and enables her who possesses it to vanquish both fire and sword.”  Compare this with the description of the beautiful “harlot,” as given in the opening verses of the 17th chapter of the Apocalypse where she is represented as seducing all the inhabitants of the earth, both rulers and subjects, by the witchery of her fascinations; and doubt, if it is possible, that the image points to that very new phase of the Romish church on which she is now manifestly entering.  If the ten horns of the Roman empire are destined to lose their crowns, beyond all question the Pope’s triple crown must go along with them.  And it is striking to see that just as the Red Republic appears above the horizon, that movement begins at Rome which, there can be no doubt, will in due time extinguish the temporal sovereignty of the Roman Pontiff.48

If I have been correct in interpreting the symbols of the “scarlet-coloured beast,” and the “woman,” then it inevitably follows that the jubilation of those who have seen in the recent events at Rome, the immediate precursors of the downfall of Antichrist, and the advent of the millennium, must be premature.  These interpreters of Providence and prophecy fondly imagine that the subversion of the Pope’s temporal throne gives a death-blow also to his spiritual dominion.  But far-seeing men at Rome, who have a deep interest in the subject, look upon the events now in progress in a very different light.  “In our own times,” says Father Prout, the Roman correspondent of the Daily News, writing in December last, “in our own times the Papacy has relapsed into its mere spiritual essence twice, under the two popedoms of Pius VI and VII; but these occurrences were from without, by external pressure and accidental combinations.  The Popedom had a recuperative energy within the Roman states, but now the disconnecting agency is from within; and for the first time, the Romans have declared that no priest shall hold king’s authority in Rome.  The effects of this extraordinary revolutionby far the greatest that has marked the current year, are not dreamed of by parties engaged in its accomplishment, nor perhaps by the superficial reader of a newspaper.  Far from being fatal to the great Western church, called Catholic, (and by accident Roman), it is the harbinger of a new vitality; and by the destruction of the mere Italian exclusiveness, which has been a corroding ulcer for ages, that church will really become what it scarcely has been of late—universal, and instead of being under the narrow management of an Italian club, will seek for intellect, virtue, and sagacity throughout the range of Christendom, and recruit its staff no longer from the petty boundaries of a very ignorant territory, but from the whole domain of civilized Europe and America.” (της γης όιχουμενης)  In confirmation of this view, the author makes a statement which is not unworthy of notice.  “There are now,” says he, “sixty cardinals, and out of that whole number of dignitaries, in whom there is supposed to reside some undefined and nebulous claim to regulate the church of God, only seven belong to Europe and the world, the rest belonging to this peninsula, including Sicily and Sardinia.”  Now while the “princes of the church” are thus taken almost exclusively from the Italian soil, the church of Rome cannot stand on so broad or firm a foundation as if the college of cardinals were thrown open to the world.  If the abolition of the pope’s temporal sovereignty has, as it is almost sure to have, the effect of reversing the present system, then it is not difficult to see how it may actually be the means of consolidating the apostate church, and putting her in a better position than ever to receive the homage of “the peoples, and kindreds, and nations, and tongues” of “the earth, and the whole world.”




CHAPTER 6The Broad Street of The Great City.

The witnesses, then, shall at last be slain.  The testimony, which for 1260 years has been uninterruptedly maintained, shall be completely put down.  Throughout the length and breadth of the great city, there shall not be left one public witness for the truth as it is in Jesus.  This will be an event which will be celebrated with rapture and delight over the whole bounds apostate Christendom; Rev 11:10, “They that dwell on the earth, shall rejoice and make merry, and send gifts one to another,” in token of their exuberant gladness.  To apply this, as Mr. Elliott does, to any banquet, however splendid, given by Leo X to the cardinals at Rome, at the conclusion of the Lateran council already referred to is altogether out of the question.  The language looks far beyond any such commonplace event as that.  It is not a pope making merry with a few cardinals, but the people of the Roman world in general that are here brought before us as so extravagantly rejoicing.  “They that dwell on the earth,”men of all ranks, and conditions, and classes are equally filled with joy at the great event.  The civil rulers rejoice, because those that impeded their selfish and unhallowed schemes, by bringing every measure to the test of the law and the testimony, instead of a low and shifting expediency, are conclusively removed out of the way.  The Church of Rome rejoices because there are none now to brand her as the corrupt “mystery,” and to oppose her claims to undivided and universal spiritual supremacy.  Now at last has the golden era arrived, for which popes and prelates had for ages striven and sighed in vain; when, with complacency, she might say, “Behold I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow.”  The ungodly people rejoice because those who spoke of judgment to come, who disturbed them in a life of worldliness and sin, are finally put down.  It is the very carnival of an apostate world, when priests, and magistrates, and people alike, may live as they wish, and sin as they may; when God, being banished from his own world, and all testimony for God suppressed, conscience may sleep in unbroken repose, and men may run riot each in his favourite iniquity.  It is nothing less than this that seems implied in the strong language of the passage before us.  But where, in the history of the past, has there been any such universal rejoicing since antichrist was revealed?  The annals of Europe will be sought in vain for any such thing.  There have been partial rejoicings, once and again, when the truth in a particular place has seemed to be suppressed.  The Bartholomew massacre, for instance, was celebrated at Rome by a solemn procession of the pope and cardinals, and by public thanksgivings on that ‘auspicious occasion.’  Even the unfounded rumour of the death of a distinguished witness of Christ has called forth similar demonstrations of joy.

When Calvin was reported to have died, the bishop of Noyon signalized the event by religious rejoicings in the cathedral of the city that had given birth to the Reformer.  The premature reports of the deaths of Luther and John Knox were celebrated in the same way.  These instances show sufficiently the truth of the statement, that the witnesses “torment” the enemies of God; and they show also what delight they would feel at their universal suppression.  But no delight that has ever yet been expressed can come up to the requirements of the prophetic language, “They that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them;” no rejoicings have ever been so widely diffused, as it is plain they shall be, when the witnesses are actually slain and their testimony everywhere completely suppressed.

When the witnesses are slain, it is further said, that “their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city.”  Have we any data by means of which we may arrive at the locality here indicated?  The author of the “Seventh Vial” makes it to be Rome—the literal city of Rome.


“The street, πλατεια, literally the broad place,” says he, “has reference, plainly, to the forum of ancient cities.  This was the place where public assemblies were held, where laws were proclaimed, justice administered, and merchandise set forth.  To guide ourselves to the street in which the sad spectacle of the dead bodies of the witnesses should be seen, we have only to inquire, in what city of Europe was it where the papal gatherings took place, where the papal laws were proclaimed, where papal causes were adjudged, and sentence pronounced, and where the papal merchandise was set forth.  The answer is Rome.  This was the broad place, or forum of the great city.”


Now, supposing that the word rendered “street,” signifies “the broad place” or “forum,” and that the “forum” or “broad place” is intended to symbolize the city of Rome, let us see how the prophetic language in regard to the dead bodies of the witnesses will agree with such a supposition.  According to this view, when it is said that “their dead bodies shall lie in the broad place of the great city,” the meaning must be, that “their dead bodies shall be exposed in the streets of Rome.”  But the question arises, “How do these dead bodies come to be there?”  The witnesses whose dead bodies are in question, be it remembered, according to the “Seventh Vial,” were slain in Bohemia.  Now, attach whatever meaning you please, literal or symbolical,49 to the “dead bodies,” but it will be impossible to reconcile the statement about the slaughter of the witnesses with that about the exposure of their “bodies.”  Why, what was one of the strongest evidences adduced to prove that the witnesses in Bohemia were actually slain before the Reformation?  It was that when summoned to appear at Rome, and plead before the Lateran council, not so much as one of them answered the summons.  How then did their dead bodies come to lie in the streets of Rome?  Was the ‘miracle’ of the Santa Casa of our Lady of Loretto, wrought over again in regard to them?  Were they, after being slain in Bohemia, miraculously transported by angels to Rome, to afford a spectacle for the pope and his cardinals?  The theory will not hang together.  In regard to the past, it is plain that Rome could not be the “street” in which the dead bodies were to lie exposed.

Neither is there any reason to think that in the future, when the actual catastrophe arrives, the dead bodies of the witnesses will be exposed in the literal city of Rome.  The true meaning of the word in question (πλατεια) is not the “broad-place” or forum, but “the broad street” of the city.  The forum, the place of public assemblies, where laws were proclaimed, justice administered, and merchandise set forth, is plainly referred to again and again in the New Testament, (Mat 20:3, Mark 12:38, Acts 16:19, and many other places,) but wherever this is the case it is not πλατεια, the term used here, but quite a different one, άγορα, that is employed.  The obvious meaning of πλατεια, according to its general usage, is undoubtedly “the broad street.”  According to ancient custom, broad streets were by no means common in oriental cities.  The far greater number were made very narrow, from three to six feet wide, on purpose to exclude the rays of the sun, and so to promote the coolness of the houses.  Wide streets are accounted no luxury in warm climates; and Tacitus states in regard to Nero, that he “spoiled Rome by the broad streets which he made.”  Now the great city is represented as having only one “broad street.”  What, then, are we to understand by the “broad street of the great city?”  According to the analogy of the figure, it would seem to mean the most important, the most influential of the ten kingdoms of the papal empire.  At the distance of fourteen years from the event, it may be impossible, with certainty, to fix on the precise kingdom here intended.  But yet there is no lack of considerations that may go far to enable us to form a very probable conjecture.  I am inclined to think, as others have done before, that Great Britain may here be intended.  It is one of the original ten streets of which the great city was composed.  It is now rapidly becoming more and more united with the papacy.  In a political point of view, it is beyond all comparison the most powerful of the nations of Europe; as a promoter of the spiritual dominion of Rome, it is the very right arm of Antichrist.  No other nation of Europe is doing half so much, or so zealously, in extending the empire of the Man of Sin throughout the world.  Wherever we have a colony, popish bishops and popish priests are being sent out day after day at the expense of this country.  Six years ago, Cardinal Pacca, in an oration delivered before the Propaganda at Rome, could comfort himself and his brethren for the untoward events then taking place in Spain by referring to the prospects of Romanism in Great Britain.  “England,” said he, “consoles me for the troubles of the church.”  This was before Maynooth was incorporated with the British constitution, before the bill was passed for renewing diplomatic relations with Rome.  How much more reason would he have to use the same language now!

There is another consideration too, which would seem to identify “the broad street” in question with Great Britain.  The place where the last of the witnesses fall must be that part of the Roman empire where liberty and religion linger the longest.  Now Britain, fallen though it is, with all its vices and all its apostasy, is still, above all other lands, the sanctuary of the gospel, the abode of freedom, the asylum of the persecuted; and so long as any measure of religious freedom is to be found on the earth, in all likelihood it will still be here that it will be found.  When the servants of God shall be hunted out of all the nations of the continent by the combined hosts of popery and atheism, the probability is that, as so many have done before, they will take refuge on our shores, and after maintaining their testimony to the last, be put down here.  But once more, the place where the witnesses fall, where their dead bodies are exposed, seems plainly the same with the place where they rise again, with the tenth part of the city, which, after undergoing some grand convulsion, repents of its sins, gives glory to the God of heaven, and thus becomes the first of the “kingdoms of this world which become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ.”  Now, whatever kingdom that may be, it must obviously be the one for which is destined the high honour of taking the lead in spreading the reign of righteousness in the world, of helping in the restoration of the Jews, and of paving the way for the glory of Christ’s universal millennial kingdom.  But we know from Isaiah that the nation which is to act such a conspicuous part is one of the leading maritime powers of the world.  “Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of Jehovah your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you.”  Isa. 60:9.  How remarkably this seems to point at Great Britainthe mistress of the seas, the reader needs not to be told.  These things considered then, would seem to go far to show that the last great onslaught will be made upon the witnesses of Christ here.  When the truth has been put down everywhere else, here will the beast from the abyss, under the instigation of Rome, concentrate its forces to, “make war against the witnesses, and overcome them, and kill them.”  Here their dead bodies will lie unburied three and a half years, exposed to the insults and contumelious treatment of their persecutors.

Some have striven to fix an allegorical meaning on “the dead bodies” of the witnesses and their exposure in the broad street of the great city.  Various have been the attempts of this kindall unsatisfactory.  The “Seventh Vial” has an explanation of its own, which at first sight has an air of ingenuity.


“Life and organization,” it says, “are connected.  The moment life departs, the organization is lost, and the body is reduced to its component elements.  [Ought not the ingenious author to have added, and goes to corruption?]  The witnesses were organized societies, and the slaying or silencing of them lay in their suppression as churches.  After that, though a few of the individual members which had composed these churches still existed, they had lost their organizationthe principle of social life.  They were the mere elements of what had been the living witnesses.  They were their corpses.”


Here I do not need to show that the witnesses are not any particular churches, or any organized societies of Christians as such; that they are so is a mere imagination of the author’s own, and has been already disproved in its own place.50  But what, let me ask, is it that constitutes an organized or living church of Christ?  Is it necessary to its life and organization, that it consist of a multitude of congregations under sessions, presbyteries, synods, and general assemblies?  No.  Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name; wherever the smallest number of believers shall, in obedience to the command of their Lord, meet with an ambassador of Christ, to receive from him the bread of life and engage in the worship of God; there is a church with all that is essential to its organization.  There is Christ the living head.  There is the living Spirit of all grace, to unite, to purify, to comfort its members.  Weak and despicable in the eyes of the world it may be; but dead it is not.  That there has ever been a time since the gospel was preached, and Christianity planted, when the church has been reduced so low as this, the “Seventh Vial” has not proved, and no man can prove.  And even when all public testimony for Christ shall be put down, the organization of Christ’s church shall never be extinguished.  During the three and a half years when true Christian public worship shall be prohibited throughout the world; to the faithful followers of the Lamb, the visibility of the church shall be affected, but its existence shall not.  Even in the darkest hour, though in secret, though at the dead of night, we have reason to believe the social worship of God will be observed.  The saints of God, few though they be, in their church capacity will still edify one another.
“Then they that fear the Lord will often speak together.”  Were not this the case, how could the word of Christ be fulfilled: “On this rock I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  If the life of Christ’s church, as a church, were for a moment interrupted, where would the faithfulness of him that promised be?  If, then, the church of Christ is an “indestructible society,” if it never has been, and never can be destroyed, “the dead bodies” of the witnesses could not be the church of Christ reduced to “its elements.”  Besides, to symbolize living saints, however few, by the figure of “corpses” or “dead bodies,” is certainly a very extraordinary use of language.  But, after all, what need is there to find a symbolical meaning for the “dead bodies” of the witnesses?  Is this not to run into the excess of those who make everything in a parable parabolical?  The witnesses, considered as two, are symbolical; but as far as they themselves are concerned, there the symbol ends.  They are made of flesh and blood like other men; and everything stated in regard to them is plainly not symbolical.  The “fire” that comes out of their mouths may be symbolical; but “their mouths” themselves are not symbols.  The beast that makes war upon them is a symbolical beast; but the war, as the “Seventh Vial”  itself admits, is no figurative war.  Why then should their “dead bodies” be supposed to be other than literal “dead bodies?”  The suppression of the witnesses cannot be effected, as we have seen, without the sacrifice of innumerable lives, without multitudes sealing their testimony with their blood.  Therefore, when matters come to this point, it is intimated to us in the passage under consideration that the fury of their persecutors will pursue them after deathwill be displayed even in the treatment of their corpses.  When the martyr Stephen was slain, the enmity of the Jews was satisfied with his death.  We read of no insult offered to his lifeless clay.  “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.” (Acts 8:2)  But Rome allows no such respect to be shown to the remains of the heretics.  “Let them not be buried,” “We deny them earth to bury them,” is the formal language of the apostate Church in regard to those who suffer at her hands for heresy.51  To this there is a plain and unequivocal allusion in the words before us.  The language of the prophecy cannot be twisted to mean, as the “Seventh Vial” supposes, that the persecutors will hunt out individual saints from their “concealment,” who are strangely enough supposed to be “the corpses of the witnesses,” in order that “they may be kept before the sight of men.”  It is not said that “they that dwell on the earth” will not permit the dead bodies to be “put in the ground”“to be buried out of sight;” but that they will not allow them “to be put in tombs,” (έις μνήματα  Rev 11:9) that is, to receive the customary marks of honour and respect due to the dead.

Now, if the views I have been unfolding are well-founded, how solemnizing are the thoughts they are-fitted to inspire!  To many it seems utterly incredible that persecution should ever come to such an extreme, or the cause of truth be reduced so low.  That the truth might be put down in one country or another, they could admit as within the bounds of possibility; but that it should ever be extinguished everywhere, including Britain, is what they will not allow themselves for a moment to believe.  There was a time when there might have been some excuse for this incredulity; but such is the case no longer.  To my mind, it seems more difficult to understand how the crisis should be averted for fourteen years than to believe that at the time which the prophecy indicates, all testimony for Christ should be suppressed within these realms.  Let anyone only take a sober, an enlightened, and scriptural view of the present aspect of the Church, and the nations, and he will surely see abundant reason for the deepest alarm.

The rapid, wide-spread progress of Puseyism in the Church of England is evidently paving the way for some great catastrophe.  The conspiracy formed in 1831 by a few young students in Oxford for “unprotestantizing” that Church has given rise to a movement  unprecedented in the history of the English Church.  Ten years had hardly passed away from the time their plans were formed, and their operations commenced, when the whole face of the Church of England began to be changed.


“The contagion,” says the Rev. Richard Mars, the excellent author of the “Retrospect,” and vicar of Great Missenden, writing in 1842; “the contagion has spread through the 1ength and breadth of the land, and by far the greater part of the clergy of the Established [Anglican] Church are more or less contaminated with the plague, many of them beyond all reasonable hope of a recovery, and many others to a degree that at best admits of only a trembling hope.  Already do many of our churches, in populous districts, exhibit such a mass of tawdry, foolish, popish mummery, that a stranger entering into them would immediately conclude he was in a popish place of worship . . .  All ‘these wandering stars’ do not, indeed, run into the same excess of folly and error; but the leaven has extended so far and so widely, that its blighting, darkening, corrupting effects, have quite extinguished the pure light of the Gospel in many of our parish church pulpit ministrations, and so obscured the light, the truth, and the way in hundreds and thousands of others, that those who go to learn what they might do to be saved, are in the utmost danger of being led most fatally astray.  Such things we have already lived to see; and should this downward movement go on but a few years longer, as it has progressed through the last seven, then Ichabod will be written on our church doors; for she will not only fail to answer her intended purpose of enlightening and evangelizing the nation; but she will bring popish abominations over it, and a darkness, a spiritual darkness, that may be felt.  Oh, England! England!  Already may it be said with truth, “They which lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.” [Isa 3:12]


Now, this is not the testimony of an enemy, but of a devoted friend of the Church of England, of one sensitively alive to its honour; and such was his view of the state of matters in 1842.  Has there been any change for the better, any improvement since?  No!  The Puseyites have been unwearied, labouring night and day in sowing their tares, by novels, by tales, by sermons, by pamphlets,in every conceivable way; all the others have been asleep.  In recent years, there has not been so much excitement, so much public discussion in the newspapers on the subject of Puseyism.  But why?

Just because the poison has been taking more effect; because the English mind has become more familiarised with their baneful system; and because the existence and progress of Tractarianism have come to be looked upon as matters of course, as necessary evils.  Those who suppose that the recent absence of excitement on the subject is a sign that the pestilence has received a check are fatally deceiving themselves.  There has been no serious, no earnest attempt made by any party whatever, whether bishops, or evangelical clergy, or the people themselves, to check it.

The bishops have done nothing to check it.  Not a few of them have done what they can to directly foster and promote it.  Many have looked on with the most complete indifference.  A few have expressed their fears and alarm for the prospects of Protestantism.  But in no case has any effective step been taken to stay the pestilence.  Low churchmen and high churchmen, Evangelicals and Puseyites on the Episcopal bench have alike allowed the Romanizers to pursue their own course.  So extraordinary indeed has been the supineness manifested by those entrusted with the government of the church that even the London Record, the organ of Episcopacy, felt constrained a few years ago thus to refer to the subject: “Whether these dignitaries meet at Lambeth, or whether they remain dissociated, nothing is done to root out, whatever may be openly or silently done to cherish, a system of doctrine, whose true character and issues are scarcely attempted to be concealed, which a child may read and understand, and which the Protestantism of Europe, with one mind appreciates, and with one voice condemns.  Strange, deplorable,we had almost said despicable,that when, in such circumstances, we naturally look to the heads of the Church for the exposition and denunciation of the damnable evil which Europe sees suspended over our church.  We look in vain; for the most part, they remain silent as the grave; or, if they speak either by words or actions, it is in a language which no human being can satisfactorily understand.”

Since this was penned, Puseyism has become more plainly and unequivocally popish; but the heads of the church have pursued the very same course.  There have been Episcopal charges in which the Tracts have come under review, and some of the most glaring of their Popish sentiments have been deprecated.  But the faint censure in these charges has generally been so mingled with high praise, that every new condemnation of the Tracts has only inspired new courage into the tractators.  For a time the conspirators had some fear of the bishops, but lately, all such fear has been cast aside as needless.  Purgatory, prayers for the dead, transubstantiation itself, and everything which Protestantism most abhors, has been openly inculcated by ministers of the Church of England, and that with the most perfect impunity.  Had the poison of popery been diffused in so subtle and secret a way that it had been difficult to bring home the guilt to the offending parties, the conduct of the bishops might not have been so bad.  But as the matter stands, they have no such excuse.  In cases without number, they have had the most ample proofs that ministers in the Church of England were bona fide Roman Catholic priests, and yet they have cast their shield over them.  In 1843, the curate of the Rev. F. Oakey published a work entitled, “A Short and Easy Catechism for the use of young persons of the Church of England, compiled from authentic sources.”  This catechism inculcated the rankest Popery,the distinction between “deadly and venial sin,” the propriety of worshipping saints and angels, the doctrine of “a propitiatory sacrifice” in the Lord’s Supper, and the “sacramental” efficacy of “confirmation, holy orders and matrimony.”52

All this was bad enough in one who ministered in a professedly Protestant church.  But what remains to be told, makes the case much worse.  The “authentic sources” from which this manual of instruction for the youth of the Church of England was compiled were found to be none other than avowedly Romish catechisms, published in English and Italian, with the stamp and authority of the Church of Rome.  The questions and answers were in many places taken word for word from these catechisms.  The case was brought before the bishop of London, in whose diocese the offender taught.  How did his Lordship deal with it?  Did he expel the traitor from the church which he had entered, obviously only with the view to undermine its faith?  No.  He caused the catechism to be suppressed; that is, he removed from public view the evidences of the curate’s anti-protestant designs, and with an admonition to him to observe more caution in time to come, he sent him back to his charge, of course to disseminate from the pulpit of St Margaret’s chapel by his living voice, the very same Romish poison that had been embodied in his catechism.  Both Mr. Oakey and his curate have now gone to their own place,have openly joined themselves to the communion of Rome; but that, be it observed, was altogether of their own free choice.  For years after, they remained in the ministry of the Church of England, doing what they could to lead the unsuspecting flock under their charge into the corruptions of the Roman apostasy.

The extraordinary conduct of the late bishop of Oxford, now bishop of Chichester, in regard to Tract 90 manifests the very same disposition to retain popish priests in the bosom of the Church of England.  That tract, as is well-known, had as its object to show how priests of Rome could subscribe the articles of the English church, and excited deep indignation in the public mind.  Yielding to the feeling of the time, the Bishop of Oxford had pronounced a public censure on it.  But did the public censure of the bishop imply that he was really opposed to the doctrine of the Tract?  A letter of Dr. Pusey’s, addressed to the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal, in defence of the Tractators, for still continuing to publish that Tract in spite of the bishop’s censure, testifies but too plainly to the contrary.  Dr. Pusey states in the letter that although the bishop publicly condemned the Tract, he told its author in private, that “he did not wish it to be withdrawn.”  Could anything in the school of Loyola surpass this?

The same positive encouragement to men with full formed Popish beliefs, to minister in the Church of England, has, there is reason to believe, been secretly given by some of the bishops up to the present time.  It was only the other day that the Rev. Robert Skonce, B.A. of Brazenose College, Oxford, who was ordained in 1845, went over to the Church of Rome.  In giving his reasons to the public for so doing, he took care to show that it was not in consequence of any change in his doctrinal opinions.  In his published statement, he affirms that “he had been permitted by his diocesan to hold and to teach the identical doctrines which he now holds in communion with Rome; and that the only doubt existing in his mind, for a considerable period, was whether his own diocesan bishop or the bishop of Rome had the greater claim on his obedience!”

The bishop who can thus give a “dispensation” to his clergy to hold and to teach Popery in a Protestant church, must himself be a papist at heart.  How many may adopt this jesuitical line of policy, of course we cannot tell.  But practically it makes little difference, whether there be many or few, so long as the most pernicious dogmas of Rome are permitted to be openly taught by their clergy.  To allow men to continue in the ministry of the Church of England who make no secret of their abhorrence of that Protestantism which they are sworn to maintain, gives all the encouragement to Puseyism that it needs, and must infallibly end in the complete Romanizing of the English Establishment.  Does the reader wish any further proof of the boldness with which the Tractarians pursue their course under the connivance of the bishops?  Let him peruse the following astounding verses, in which Popery lifts up its head without either mask or veil:


“Oh the good old times of England,

Ere in her evil day,

From their holy faith, and their ancient rites,

Her people fell away

When her gentlemen had hands to give,

And her yeomen hearts to feel,

And they raised full many a bead house,

But never a bastile.


But times and things are altered now,

And Englishmen begin

To class the beggar with the knave,

And poverty with sin.

No gentle nun with her comfort sweet,

No friar stands nigh,

With ghostly strength and holy love,

To close the poor man’s eye.


We mourn not for our abbey lands,

Even pass they as they may,

But we mourn because the tyrant found

A richer spoil than they.

He cast away as a thing defiled,

The remembrance of the just;

And the relics of our martyrs

He scattered to the dust.


Yet two, at least, in their holy shrines,

Escaped the spoiler’s hand,

And St Cuthbert and St Edward might

Alone redeem a land.

And many an earnest prayer ascends,

From many a hidden spot,

And England’s Church is Catholic,

Though England’s self be not!


England of saints!  the hour is nigh,

Far nigher may it be

Than yet I deem, allbeit that day

I may not live to see,

When all your commerce, all your arts,

And wealth, and power, and fame,

Shall melt away at your most need,

Like wax before the flame.


Then shall you find your truest strength

Your martyrs’ prayers above;

Then shall you find your truest wealth

Their holy deeds of love.

And your church awaking from her sleep,

Come glorious forth at length,

And in sight of angels and of men,

Display her hidden strength.


Again shall long processions sweep,

Through Lincoln’s minster pile,

Again shall banner, cross and cope,

Gleam through the incensed aisle;


And the faithful dead shall claim their part,

In the church’s thoughtful prayer,

And the daily sacrifice to God,

Be duly offered there.


And tierce, and nones, and matins,

Shall have each their holy lay;

And the Angelus at Compline

Shall sweetly close the day.

England of saints!  The peace will dawn,

But not without the fight;

So, come the contest when it may,

And God defend the right!”


Such is the language in which the Rev. J. M. Neale, a minister of the Protestant Church of England, and a popular Puseyite writer, boldly, unblushingly, and in the face of day, proclaims his detestation of the Reformation, and exults in the prospect of the speedy restoration of that reign of monkery and priestcraft, from which so many noble martyrs shed their blood to deliver us.

And still the discipline of the Church of England slumbers; still the traitors are allowed to remain within the citadel of the Establishment.  With discipline so utterly in abeyance, with Romanism so publicly avowed by the English clergy, what is there to prevent any number of Jesuits whatever from entering the fold whose doors are thus manifestly left open to invite their entrance?  After what we have seen, is it any wonder to be told that the popish Duke of Norfolk has of late years been purchasing presentations to the Church of England?  Or can there be the least doubt of the object which these presentations are designed to serve?

Once or twice there has indeed been something like an attempt at discipline, though not by the bishops; but even what has been done in this way has only strengthened the hands of the Romanizers, and shown them how safely they might proceed in their evil path.  Dr. Pusey was suspended by the Vice-chancellor of Oxford for two years for preaching popery on the subject of the Eucharist.  After his suspension, great influence was used with him to induce him not to publish the sermon for which he was suspended, on the ground that if it were published, it would greatly embarrass the heads of the church.  Dr. Pusey, however, knew full well the strength of his position, and gave all such suggestions to the winds.  He cared nothing for the embarrassment of the bishops, provided the cause he had at heart might be advanced; and in due time the sermon was published.  The doctrine of that sermon was as thoroughly popish as Rome itself could desire.  Dr. Pusey laid it down in plain terms that, “elements of this world,” that is, the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper, after “consecration,” “become the body and blood” of Christ in so “literal a sense,” that they are “the very flesh and blood which were given and shed for the life of the world.”  So thoroughly Romish was the doctrine inculcated in the whole sermon, that the Rev. J. Moore, Roman Catholic priest of Birmingham, soon after its appearance, read it on Sabbath to his congregation, commented on it, and described it as “a pure exposition of catholic doctrine.”  Now, what did the “heads of the church” do?  Nothing.  As soon as the two years of suspension were came to an end, without the least retractation, without the slightest change of opinion, Dr. Pusey was restored to his functions; and, from that day to this, he has gone on unchallenged in his work of instilling the undiluted poison of Rome into the minds of the students under his charge, and of all who come under the influence of his preaching or his writings.

If it had been only the high-church bishops that had thus connived at the spread of Popery within their dioceses, the case of the English Establishment would not have been so hopeless.  The zeal of sounder men on the episcopal bench might have done something to stay the plague; but, alas! the case is far otherwise.  Those who might have been expected to show the most determined opposition to Puseyism have been altogether sleeping at their posts.  “Under present circumstances,” says the London Watchman, referring to the case of Dr. Pusey, “it will be a great mercy indeed if the candlestick be not removed from a church in which there is so much apostasy from the principles of reformed truth, and so little self-sacrificing effort in defence of Protestantism, even on the part of those whom it is the fashion to regard as its especial advocates and champions.”

The bishops most distinguished for evangelism seem in regard to this matter to have been smitten with a sort of judicial infatuation.  The Bishop of Winchester denounces the doctrine of the Tracts, and then rewards Rev. Manning, one of his clergy, for his maintenance of tractarian doctrine by raising him to the dignity of archdeacon.  The Bishop of Calcutta, in his charge, expresses the greatest alarm at the progress of Puseyism in his own diocese; and then, to the great joy of the Puseyites, imposes silence upon all his clergy who were disposed to write or preach against it.  If there was one man on the whole bench who might have been expected to do something to “cleanse the foul bosom”  of the church of “that perilous stuff” which infects and pollutes it to the core, it was Dr.  Summer, late Bishop of Chester, now Archbishop of Canterbury.  But how little may be looked for from him also, his answer to the address of the laity of Plymouth the other day, amply testifies.  “He regretted,”exceedingly regretted the indiscretions of the “younger clergy,” and “could have wished” that they had not outraged the feelings of their parishioners by reviving obsolete practices that in their esteem savoured of Popery; but inasmuch as these clergy had ancient rubrics and canons on their side, he felt “bound to respect conscientious scruples, even though he could not participate in them.”  Well then, say the earnest men of Plymouth, please your Grace, bring in a bill for the abolition of these canons and rubrics, under cover of which so much false doctrine is being introduced into the Church of England.  No, says the Archbishop: “The time is not yet come.  A season of excitement is not a season for reasonable deliberation.” ! !  What can be more wretched, what more infatuated policy than this!  While the evangelical bishops are waiting for a “convenient season,” the plague is spreading, and the whole religious character of England is being gradually but surely undermined.

But perhaps there may still be a lingering feeling in the mind of the reader that though the bishops have utterly failed in their duty, the case of the Church of England is not so bad after all, inasmuch as the recent voluntary secessions of tractarians to the Church of Rome have practically remedied the evil, and removed much of the danger that might have been apprehended from Puseyism.  Now I have very little doubt that one main aim of these secessions was just to inspire this very feeling of security, which too many are disposed to cherish; that while the Christian public are saying, “peace, peace,” the traitors within the Establishment might the more securely prosecute their unholy designs.  But let the number of those who have seceded be distinctly stated, and this delusion will at once be dissipated.  From the way in which the secessions took place, only two or three going over to Rome at a time, and these secessions being spread over a considerable space, the impression on a careless observer might have been that a very large portion, indeed, of the English clergy had abandoned the Establishment.

But subjected to the test of arithmetic, how insignificant has been the Puseyite secession!  Not above a hundred in all, of the tractarian clergy have gone over from the Church of England to Rome.  Now when it is remembered that the English clergy amount to thirteen or fourteen thousand, and that of these, on the testimony of Mr. Marks, whose statement is amply borne out by other authorities, “the greater part” even in 1842 were more or less infected with Puseyism, how slight is the consolation that any enlightened Christian can derive from the fact of the recent secessions!  No; it is in no such way that a church can be delivered from the consequences of its own unfaithfulness.  The church, as represented by its rulers, has acted the part of Eli: “When her sons made themselves vile, she restrained them not.” (1Sam 2:22-25)  When they have taught the grossest superstitions of Rome, she has allowed them, as long as seemed good to themselves, to retain their status and their livings.  Therefore, without doubt, she shall be made to eat of the fruit of her own ways, and to be filled with her own devices.

There have been hopes, from time to time, that a movement in real earnest would be commenced by the evangelical clergy, and that through their means the Church of England, as a Protestant church, might still be saved.  But all such hopes have been doomed to disappointment.  No movement of such a kind has ever been attempted; and in an episcopal church, where reverence for the bishop is so high, no movement in opposition to the will of the bishops can ever have the least chance of success among the clergy.  The truth is, however, that too many even of the evangelical clergy themselves have insensibly imbibed not a little of the tractarian poison and hence their apathy.  Dr. Pusey boasts of the fact, and Mr. Marks acknowledges with deep regret that he has too much reason to do so.


“The more,” says Mr. M., “the signs of the times are contemplated, the more astonishing and distressing they must appear to every man who is not himself within the engulfing vortex.  Dr. Pusey enlarges with much apparent delight, not only on the direct influence of ‘the movement’ in bringing many forward publicly to join their ranks, but he expatiates largely on the still wider influence which is indirectly telling on great numbers who as yet do not profess to join them.  Alas!  This is but too true; and to this indirect influence silently stealing ino many good men’s minds, we may attribute that death-like silence they maintain, and all their apparent apathy and unconcern as to the present state of things.  Here and there only can we hear the sound of alarm in all God’s holy mountain.  The watchmen seem wholly off their guard; insensible to any danger; or, what is still more distressing, partly won over to the very cause and people which they ought to watch and pray and fight against, with every weapon of spiritual warfare which the armoury of God’s word supplies.”


What a striking comment on this is supplied by the fact that, when at a meeting of the Christian Knowledge Society, a meeting where two hundred of the evangelical clergy were present, after the regular business was dispatched, a vote of sympathy was proposed for Dr. Kalley, at the time lying in the jail of Funchal for his disinterested exertions in “promoting Christian knowledge.”  The motion fell to the ground for want of a seconder.  Dr. Kalley, as an independent minister, was destitute of the apostolic succession, and therefore his labours and sacrifices for that very cause which had brought them together, called forth no response from their hearts.  Amongst the evangelical ministers, there are here and there men who have a real concern for the cause of truth; but they are isolated; they are dispirited; and they have no heart to attempt anything.  “Nothing can be more hopeless,” says one of them, in a letter to the Record, “than to look to the clergy to stay the flood of pharisaical formality and folly which is now breaking in upon the church.”

They have to only lift their voices and they are silenced.  One by one they can be, and are, put down without hope of resistance.  The bishops, who have so much tolerance for undisguised popery, have no tolerance at all for those who show themselves valiant for the truth, and act as men set for the defence of the gospel ought to do.  For many years the silencing system has been going on widely and effectively.  Low church as well as high church bishops have given their hearty cooperation in extinguishing the witnesses of Christ.  The “peace of the church” must not be disturbed; and therefore Puseyism must be allowed to have its own unresisted way.  The latitudinarian Bishop of Durham has played as effectually into the hands of Dr. Pusey as the Bishop of Exeter himself.  Under the influence of this system, Mr. Rees of Sunderland, Mr. Miles of Bishopwearmouth, Mr. Babb of Exeter, Mr. Jukes of Hull, Mr. Edelman of Wimbledon, and many others throughout England have been compelled by episcopal tyranny to leave their charges for their fidelity in preaching the gospel.  Even Mr. Marks himself, by the pamphlet from which I have quoted, brought down upon his head an episcopal admonition from the Bishop of Lincoln; and, but for the weight of his character, and the danger of exciting a revulsion by a harsh step, he ran the greatest risk of being expelled.  From the clergy there is no hope!

Where then shall we turn?  To the people, say some.  The people will certainly be aroused at last by the corruptions and abuses of the Establishment,take the matter into their own hands,and demand reform with a voice that it shall be impossible to withstand.

The prospect of any effectual remedy from this quarter seems just as hopeless as from any other.  There may yet be some fitful movements on the part of the laity, but the experience of the past lends no countenance to the opinion that it will be of such a nature as is absolutely required to grapple with the magnitude of the evil.  Every lay movement that has hitherto been attempted, has been of the most abortive kind and has demonstrated that the people were not really alive to the vital importance of the interests at stake.  There has been some appearance of zeal for a time, but how easily has that zeal been sapped!  Who does not remember the lay memorial to the Duke of Wellington, as Chancellor of the University of Oxford, petitioning his Grace to take some effectual steps for preventing the spread of Popery in that ancient seat of learning of which he was the head.  That memorial was got up by Lord Ashley, received 10,000 signatures, and led many to anticipate as the consequence a death-blow to Puseyism.

It was presented to his Grace, it was courteously received: but what was the result?  His Grace found that “the university possessed an ample safeguard against the prevalence of erroneous opinions among its members,” in the signature of the thirty-nine articles.  That ought to satisfy every rational Protestant; and any further step to banish erroneous and strange doctrine from in the university was in his opinion altogether needless.  The tutors, who after signing these articles had for years been engaged in inculcating on the students committed to their care doctrines utterly subversive of them, and were allowed to go on exactly as before.  The 10,000 memorialists abandoned their movement for arresting the progress of Puseyism as contentedly as if every point had been gained, and Protestantism were now triumphant.  Such was the feeble conduct of the aristocratic opponents of Tractarianism.  The opposition it has met with from more plebeian quarters has not been of a more encouraging nature.  At Ware, at Ilford, and diverse other places, there have been great heats and strong demonstrations against the clergy who have rashly introduced a vestment or a ceremony to which their parishioners have been unaccustomed.  But in many of these instances, it has been most manifest that there has been more of Protestant prejudice, than of Protestant principle.  In not a few of the cases which made the most noise, the people had listened without complaint to the Puseyism which had been preached from the pulpit Sabbath after Sabbath.  It was only when the sermon began to be preached in the surplice that heresy became suspected.  When that surplice was laid aside, and the gown to which they had been accustomed was restored, all fear of Popery vanished, and they returned again with all reverence and respect to the ministrations of the very men they had denounced as Romanizers.

While such is the state of matters, both among the higher and lower orders of the membership of the Church of England, what hope can there be of any deliverance effected by the laity?  The truth is that Puseyism is at this moment more popular with the people of England than any other form of worship or belief.  Here and there it may revolt the feelings of serious believers and drive them into the ranks of dissent; but throughout the nation at large, it has spread, and is spreading every day.  The bounds of evangelical dissent are daily becoming narrower, while the Romanized establishment is lengthening its cords and strengthening its stakes.  What can be more significant of the popularity of Puseyism than the facts stated at the last meeting of the Wesleyan Conference?  While 1000 churches have within the last few years been added to the Establishment, the Wesleyans have had it in serious contemplation to discontinue some of their oldest stations.  In former years, large accessions used to be made to their numbers; now the tide has begun decidedly to turn.  In 1847, the increase of members over the whole body was 600; in 1848, instead of an increase, there was a decrease of no less than 4800 members.

Now this, we are assured on good authority, is only an example of what is taking place throughout England with other bodies of evangelical dissenters.  Let this process go on, and in the course of a few years, how serious will be the result!  And that it will go on, there is too much reason to apprehend.  The tractarians have seized upon the education of England.  There is no party in England at this moment that is so vigorously plying the office of the schoolmaster as they.  For centuries, the heads of the Church of England have dreaded, have deprecated, have opposed, the education of the people.  Now, under the influence of Puseyism, they have thrown themselves into the educational movement with a zeal that has distanced all competitors.  Is this because they at last have a sincere desire for the spread of knowledge, and for the elevation of the sunken masses of the community?  No.  The men who have well nigh banished science from Oxford, who have all but shut up Dr. Buckland’s classroom, and who are constantly decrying the right of private judgment, can have no real love for the spread of intelligence among the people.  They are wise in their generation.  They know that the diffusion of intellectual light would pale the fires of the tapers which they set up to burn at mid-day on their altars.  Then why do they show so much zeal in the planting of schools, and the training of teachers?  Because they know full well that there will be education whether they choose it or not, and that the only chance of their making it further their own ends is for themselves to control the direction of the movement.  They have taken a leaf out of the book of the Jesuits.

It is stated by Ranké, in his History of the Popes, that though the gospel had spread far and wide over Europe, and seemed to threaten the immediate subversion of the papacy before Loyola came into the field, such was the effect of the Jesuit schools opened by his disciples throughout Germany, with the express design of producing a counter-reform, that in fifty years after Luther had appeared, the evangelical movement was stayed, and the Reformation was struggling for existence from the Alps to the shores of the Baltic.

The Jesuits in the English Church are profiting by the experience of their predecessors.  That at their educational zeal has the same end in view as that of the ancient school of Loyola is manifest from their own avowal.  “It,” (the doctrine of the ‘holy Catholic Church’,) says Dr. Pusey, quoting with high approbation a saying of Dr. Sikes of Gilsboro, “ought especially of all others, to be a matter of catechetical teaching and training in the doctrine of the church catholic, and the privileges of church membership cannot be explained from pulpits.”  If “thrust on minds unprepared, and on an uncatechized church . . . .  there will be one great outcry of Popery from one end of the country to the other.”  Dr. Pusey himself, as we have seen, has not hesitated, from the pulpit and the press, when occasion served, to teach the most undiluted Popery; but in general, both he and the knowing ones who take the lead in the tractarian movement have deprecated the rashness of their disciples who have incautiously proclaimed their designs from the pulpit, and awakened unnecessary opposition by their plainness of speech.  Hence the zeal for the establishment of schools.  Hence the felt necessity of “catechetical teaching and training,” that the minds of the young might become leavened with the “doctrine of the church catholic,” by means of catechisms “compiled from authentic sources,” and that quietly and easily England might be prepared for an early return into the bosom of Rome.  From this source arises the most formidable danger to Christianity in England.

For many years, the most important Normal Institutions in London, on the testimony of the Record, have been in the hands of the tractarians.  From these, teachers are sent to the schools of the National Society throughout all parts of the country; and while education is nominally promoted, the fetters of Popery and spiritual despotism are in reality being wreathed about the necks of the young.  With such means in operation in the church, in the university, and above all in the school, well may the tractarians boast, as they did years ago, that though “they may not succeed with the present generation, the next is their own.

Now if Popery, under the flimsy veil of Puseyism, gains the ascendant, what have true Christians to expect?  Plainlypersecution.  Wherever the venom of the Tracts has spread, an intolerant and fanatical spirit has been manifested.  “Of course,” says the Rev. F. W. Faber, “it belongs to the state to silence heretics whom the church has condemned.”!  How comes it, that in the middle of the nineteenth century the Bishop of Exeter is taking out authority to cast Mr. Shore into prison because he has presumed, after leaving the Church of England, to preach as a dissenting minister?  Just because he is carrying out the principles of the Tracts to their legitimate conclusions.

There are few as yet who have the hardihood to act out their principles like Dr. Philpots; and it is not very easy to believe that the time has yet arrived when the outrage he is meditating will he tolerated by the British public.  But is it not in itself a portentous thing that there should be found one man in all England, seventeen years after the Reform Bill, to venture on such high handed tyranny; and that, when the Liberal ministry, the quondam denouncers of intolerance, the advocates of universal freedom, are appealed to in behalf of Mr. Shore to deliver him from the fangs of the persecutor, they find it necessary to make the subject an open question?  When matters have arrived at this pass already, what may we expect when the youth, now under Puseyite training, come to act a public part on the stage of the world?  In every manifestation Puseyism is essentially persecuting.  Witness the clause in the leases of the property held under the dean and chapter of Westminster.  On that property, there are brothels and dens of infamy without number.  These can be tolerated; but evangelical dissenters cannot.  The property may be used for the basest purposes, and the tenant is scatheless.  But let it be “used for dissenting worship,” and ipso facto “the lease is made void.”!  Let men with such principles, and such a spirit, only increase in numbers,to countenance one another in their intolerance, and the example set by the Bishop of Exeter may find many an imitator.

Well may Dr. Croly, speaking of the prospects of Christianity, draw the following dark and gloomy picture:


“The preacher is bound to tell you,” says he, “that a trial of fearful bloom is hasting over the whole Protestant world.  It may be the Divine will to avert the hour; but to all human appearance it is inevitable; and this is no passing struggle—no casual dimness of the day, but the steady, sweeping, resistless coming of night.  We feel it already in the chill that has reached some hearts.  We hear it in the growing stir of those voices which hail it as the coming of their hour, the spoiler’s hour.  We may see it in the sports of those strange meteors, which springing from the darkness and fog of the human morass, already gleam with such lurid rays.  Well may we ask ourselves, if they can thus glare, creeping along the edge of the horizon, what will they be when the hour and power of darkness is all their own, when they shall shoot above our heads, and unfolding all their trains, lord it in fire through the storm.”


Now, while corruption has thus been proceeding in the church, what has the state been doing?  It has been actively engaged, in almost every possible way, in aggravating the evil.  It has been fighting against the cause of Christ, and casting the weight of its influence into the scale of every manifold form of error and superstition.  It has dis-established the evangelical church of Scotland because it would not consent to obey human law in opposition to the law of God.  It has spoiled Biblical dissenters of property that legally belonged to them, to bestow it on Socinians, who, by the civil tribunals themselves, were declared to have not the least shadow of right to it.  Above all, it has shown the most determinate purpose, at home and abroad, to foster, and patronise, and exalt the emissaries of the Man of Sin.53  The favourite scheme of all men of all parties is now, as fast as possible, to raise a state-paid Popish hierarchy in Ireland.  The increased endowment to Maynooth was only a step in the progress of national apostasy in this direction.  And what is the use to which the 30,000£ annually paid by this Protestant country for the support of that college is devoted?  To teach fanatical students that “heretics” may justly be “taken and put to death.”!  It was given in evidence on oath, before a parliamentary committee, that books inculcating this atrocious doctrine are the regular text-books of Maynooth.  And yet, as a reward for such instruction, the grant must be raised from 9000£ to 30,000£ a year.  And, at the same time, with such a charge hanging over it, while we increase the grant, with unparalleled infatuation we voluntarily cut ourselves off from all opportunity of inquiring into the nature of the instruction there communicated.  Formerly there were Protestant inspectors who might visit the college, and make such inquiries as they saw fit.  Now there are none but Roman Catholics; and even these are bound up from inquiring either into doctrine or discipline.  Thus is Protestant money given to enable the sworn servants of Antichrist with all security to dig the mine, which, when it explodes, will involve Protestants and Protestantism in one common ruin.  Unless the rulers of this great nation had been smitten with judicial blindness, it would have been impossible that they could ever have consented to such a measure.  What would have been thought of the sanity of the senators of James I if, after being informed of the plot of Percy and Guy Fawks to blow up the two houses of parliament, they had resolved, first, to vote a large grant to be placed at the entire disposal of the conspirators, and then, that no one should be permitted to disturb them in their operations in the vaults beneath?  But this is exactly what has been done by the Maynooth endowment bill of 1845.  And then, after the priests are thus trained, after they are filled to the very brim with rancour against the truth, and all who love and defend it, the church in which they minister is to be raised to the honour of a national establishment.  There is no intelligent person who doubts that this is the prospect which we have immediately before us.  It may perhaps still be deferred for a short time longer, but that the consummation of our national apostasy is not far distant cannot be doubted.

With Popery spreading faster and farther every day in the once-Protestant Church of England, and an avowedly Roman Catholic Establishment raised side by side with it, while large masses of the population are daily sinking into heathenism, who can hesitate to admit the probability that here as well as elsewhere, the truth of God will be suppressed at no very distant period?  The sure word of prophecy seems distinctly to point to Great Britain as the “broad street of the great city,” where the dead bodies of Christ’s witnesses shall he exposed to insult for three and a half years; and the signs of the times, both in church and state, give but too ample confirmation to the same opinion.




CHAPTER 7The Resurrection Of The Witnesses.

“You shall weep and lament,” said our Lord to his disciples, referring to his approaching death and burial, “but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” (John 16:20)  When Christ is again ‘slain’ in the persons of his witnesses, the saints that are left in their hiding-places will have a dark night of sorrow and distress.  The three and a half years [days], however, pass away; the night of sorrow comes to an end, and joy comes in the morning.  The morning has at last dawned,the morning of that day for which the whole creation earnestly longs, groaning and travailing together in pain until now, [Rom 8:18-23]when the people of God shall be finally delivered from oppression, when the saints shall begin to take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom even for ever and ever. At the predestined time, after the witnesses have lain dead three and a half days, “the spirit of life from God enters into them, and they stand upon their feet.” [Rev 11:11]  The testimony that had been suppressed is again openly borne in “the broad street of the city,” where it had been put down.  It is not necessary to suppose that those who bear aloft the banner for the truth are any considerable number.  It is easy for “the Lord to save, whether by many or by few.”  We find, that when all testimony for the truth had been put down in Israel, for three and a half years [days]the very time during which the witnesses are silencedElijah was commissioned at the end of that period, alone to go and testify before both king and people, for the God whom they had cast off.  “Go, show yourself to Ahab,” said God to his servant; and strong in Jehovah, and in the power of his might, he went, and single-handed in the face of an apostate nation, pleaded, and successfully pleaded, the cause of Jehovah.  So will it be with the servants of Christ.  Few they may be, but however few, when “the spirit of life from God” comes mightily upon them, they will not be able to keep silence; they will again openly testify, and will not “fear what flesh can do unto them.”

But though they are undaunted, it is not so with the people whose sins they are sent to bring to their remembrance.  “Great fear fell upon them which saw them.”  During the whole 1260 days, the testimony of the witnesses had “tormented” them that dwelt on the earth.  Now, when that testimony, after so complete an extinction so miraculously revives, and becomes bolder, clearer, and more powerful than ever, we may well suppose that their astonishment and alarm will be great.  The analogy of the three and a half years in Ahab’s time, when Jezebel was slaying the public witnesses of Jehovah, may lead us to another circumstance that may account for their terror.  As soon as Elijah, by God’s command, had hid himself by the brook Cherith, the heavens over the heads of the apostate Israelites became as iron, and the earth under their feet as brass; the hand of Jehovah was stretched forth in righteous judgment against them and cut them off in thousands by sore and wasting famine. [1 Kings 17:1-18:46]  And can there be a doubt, if Great Britain is indeed the “broad street” where the slain servants of Christ shall be exposed to insult, that the providential judgments of God will speedily and terribly overtake it?  When, therefore, the witnesses of Christ appear anew, the providence of God without and the Spirit of God within will alike bear testimony to the truth.  Conscience will be quickened; many will be pricked to the heart; many who, during the time of persecution had temporized, will feel that they can temporize no longer.  Be the consequences what they may, they will feel that now is not the time to halt between two opinions, between Jehovah and Baal; but will boldly exclaim, “Jehovah, he is God!  Jehovah, he is God!”

Most manifest it is that the testimony of the witnesses is now attended with extraordinary power, and that, as it was in Israel of old, “Jehovah has turned the hearts of the people back again;” [Mal 4:5-6] for it is said, “they (the witnesses), heard a great voice from heaven, saying unto them, ‘Come up here.’  And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.”  No longer are the witnesses of Christ to be depressed, no longer are they to wear sackcloth; the days of their mourning are ended.  They are called to influence and power, both in the church and in the state.  A question of some interest here presents itself: Will not the testimony of the witnesses take a historical form, and will not that be one grand element in their success?  I am persuaded it will.  It was a memorable incident at the execution of James Guthrie, the martyr, when, on the point of being turned off the ladder, with the light of eternity already bursting on his soul, he lifted the napkin from off his face and exclaimed, “the covenants, the covenants shall yet be Scotland’s reviving!”  What if these covenants, long despised and generally forgotten,in the hands of the risen witnesses of Christ be the reviving, not of Scotland only, but of England [the world!!] too?  Certain it is, that both England and Scotland lie under the bond of these covenants, and that no long-continued neglect, no lapse of time, can nullify their binding obligation.  Yes, it is the high and distinguished privilege of these realms that God condescended in ancient, times to enter into covenant with them.  The grand objects for which they were sworn were to secure the supremacy of Christ, alike over the church and the nation; and as they were agreeable to God’s word, and entered into in defence of his cause, so they were attended by the most abundant evidence that they were ratified in heaven.  “The Lord [Jehovah] from heaven,” says the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland of 1640, “did testify his acceptance of the covenant, by the wonderful workings of his Spirit in the hearts of both pastors and people to their great comfort, and strengthening in every duty, above every measure that has been heard of in this land.”

The testimony of the godly Livingston on this subject is very express.  “I was present,” says he, “at Lanark, and several other parishes, when on Sabbath, after the forenoon’s sermon, the covenant was read and sworn; and I may truly say that in all my life-time, excepting at the Kirk of Shotts, I never saw such motions from the Spirit of God.”  In England, there seems to have been more of the earthly mingled with the religious element, but both Scotland and England were solemnly dedicated to the most High God.  The Lord plainly accepted the dedication; and Great Britain, by that solemn deed, became “holy to the Lord.”  Defection and apostasy have long prevailed, and that defection and apostasy shall draw down sharp and severe retribution, but the covenant on God’s part still stands, and he will, in due time, vindicate his own claims, as covenant God and king of the nation.  Now the terms of the prophecy before us recognise the existence of one, and only one, such nation within the bounds of apostate Christendom.  The great city, or European commonwealth in general, is destined to utter desolation, but a tenth part of that city, the tithe, as holy to the Lord, after being judged and severely chastened, shall be saved from the general ruin.

When the witnesses arise from the dead, may we not suppose that the breach of covenants, as well as the transgression of commandments, will form the burden of their testimony; and that the repentings of the people will be kindled within them, when they compare the then wretched condition of the land, both in a temporal and spiritual point of view, with what it was when the Lord was honoured by them as the only King of saints, and King of nations?  When therefore the witnesses are called to positions of influence and power, it is, of course, that the principles for which they54 contend may be fully carried out.  But this cannot be done without vast changes, especially in the whole framework of the church.  Bishops and archbishops, deans, and prebendaries, and canons, and archdeacons, patrons, and rectors, and curates, and all such “names of men” (όνοματα ανθρωπων) as have no warrant in God’s word must be forever abolished.  The witnesses of Christ have no worldly, no selfish objects to promote.  If therefore they receive power, it is only so the glory of Christ may be promoted, so the authority of his word may be exalted, so every plant in the professing church that their heavenly Father has not planted may he rooted up.  Every corruption, every abuse, must be swept away.  But will such a reformation be easily effected?  No: corruption has taken deep root in the soil; and those who have an interest in the maintenance of it will at once be aroused.  The consequence is that there is a “great earthquake,” a great intestinal convulsion.  The men who seek to reform the church and the nation by the standard of God’s word will be denounced as the troublers of Israel, and new attempts will be made to cut them off.  The maintainers of abuses will think that “what firmness has done before, firmness may do again.”  But now “the hour and the power of darkness” are gone forever. Jesus fights for his own servants, and at once delivers them from the hands of them that hate them, and avenges on the persecutors all the innocent blood they have shed.  “The tenth part of the city falls,”the antichristian community is finally separated from the rest; “in the earthquake are slain seven thousand men; the remnant are frightened, and give glory to the God of heaven.” [Rev 11:13]  Here the reign of righteousness is commenced, the authority of God is exalted; the sanctuary is cleansed, the world is regenerated.

Almost immediately after, the wrath of God is poured out on the great city.  There is no repentance there, no giving glory to the God of heaven.  When the “seventh vial” has been poured out to the very dregs, the wretched inhabitants, instead of repenting, “blaspheme God because of their plagues.”  It is not reformation then, but destruction, complete and utter destruction, that awaits the antichristian nations of continental Europe [CHCoG - should be ‘antichristian people of the world’], and that both in a secular and ecclesiastical point of view.  Rome, as a church, like Sodom its prototype, is destined to fiery destruction: “She shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is Jehovah God which judges her.”  (Rev 18:8)  Rome, as an empire, is to be given over to the same fate: “I beheld,” says Daniel, “till the beast (the secular empire of Rome) was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the devouring flame.” (Dan 7:11)

And in exact accordance with this view, we find that in the very last passage of the Apocalypse where both are mentioned, Rev. 19:20, the false prophet and the beast,the harlot church, and the antichristian empire,are alike represented as judged with fire: “These both,” says John, “were cast into the lake of fire, burning with brimstone.”  Now, how does this dreadful destruction come on the great city?  The doom of Jerusalem casts light on the subject.  Let it not be forgotten that the city which spiritually is called Sodom, is also “the holy city” Jerusalem, “where our Lord was crucified;” and it can be demonstrated that when our Lord predicted the doom of the literal Jerusalem, he, at the same time, predicted the fate of the spiritual Jerusalem also, of which the former was a type.  The guilt and doom of both cities are expressed in the very same language.  The grand consummating guilt of the ancient Jerusalem was expressed in these words: “That on you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias, the son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar.” [Mat 23:35]  In like manner of Babylon, it is said is Rev. 18:24, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”  Now, as the guilt of both cities is the same, so also is their fate.  In reference to the destruction of the literal Jerusalem, thus spoke our Lord in Matt. 24:21, “Then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to that time, no, nor ever shall be.”  This is very express.  But, be it observed, the very same language is by the angel in Daniel applied to a period still future, to the period of the restoration of the Jews,a period which, as all admit, synchronizes with the downfall of Babylon in Dan. 13:1.  “At that time shall Michael stand up; the great prince which stands for the children of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as there never was since there was a nation, even to that same time.”  Now, how can these two statements be reconciled?  Only on one supposition; that the destruction of Jerusalem was the image and the type of the destruction of Babylon.  And how strikingly does this accord with the prophetic language of the Apocalypse in regard to Babylon’s fall!  1st: When the seventh vial is poured out, immediately there is “a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”  What is this but another way of expressing, in symbolical language, what our Lord expressed without a figure, as attending the destruction of Jerusalem, “the great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to that same time” [CHCoG – Or it is a literal discription of what is to happen?!]  Now, 2ndly, How was it that the great tribulation came upon the guilty Jews?  It was, in the first instance, and pre-eminently, from their own ungoverned passions let loose upon themselves.  It was in the streets of Jerusalem; within the doomed city itself, that the tribulation was felt in all its intensity.

Three different factions:—the Zealots under John of Gischala, the robbers under Simon of Gerasa, and the small but powerful band of the men of wealth under Eleazar waged incessant war upon one another, and filled every part of the city with carnage.  And look at the prophetic description of what followed the great earthquake, and what do you see?  “The great city was divided into three parts.”  For a time, the discordant elements of which the great European commonwealth was composed, harmonized sufficiently in opposition to the truth.  But now that the time of retribution has come, the outward union is dissolved, and internal strife in the most deadly form rages through all the streets of the great city.  The three unclean spirits from the mouths of the false prophet, and the dragon and the beast, have not been labouring in vain.  Three parties full of fury and mutual hatred are found marshalled, to wage exterminating war against one another.  If I mistake not, this is not a geographical tripartition.  In every kingdom of Europe [CHCoG - Or as the Bible indicates: the world, and in all following instances], these three principles of evil arm citizen against his fellow-citizen.  Except in the single case of the ancient Jerusalem, the world has seen no civil war such as this.  There the most deadly elements were brought into collision, but the sphere was limited.  Here wide Europe is the theatre, in which the hellish passions of ungodly men are left to give vent to themselves in reiterated and frightful vulcanic explosions.  Now is the cup of the wine of Jehovah’s wrath put into the hand of great Babylon.  There is no remedy, no escape, but drink it she must.  High and low, rich and poor, rulers and subjects, priests and people, had combined to cast off the yoke of the King of kings, and to exterminate all who testified for his rightful authority.  And they have been allowed to succeed.  The saints are rooted out from the Continent of Europe;55 the salt of the earth is gone.  The wicked are allowed to govern themselves.  And what is the result?  Hell is enacted upon earth.  The flames of civil war and universal anarchy spread in every direction; and there is no power on earth to quench them.  Society is dissolved; government is extinct: “Every island flees away, and the mountains are not found.”  Small states and great nations are alike involved in the social conflagration.

But foreign power also interposes to consummate the desolation of the great apostate city.  The Roman armies were commissioned to sweep Jerusalem, after it had suffered dire calamities at the hands of its own sons, from the face of the earth, with the besom of destruction.  When it had become a dead carcase, then were the eagles gathered together to devour it.  Now, if the principle I have been endeavouring to establish, in regard to the typical character of the prophecies concerning Jerusalem are correct, there must be something analogous to this also in the final ruin of the great city Babylon.  And is it difficult to see whence to “eagles” may come, that shall do for apostate Europe what the Roman armies did for ancient Jerusalem?  The Russian “eagles” are watching every movement on the Continent, with as intense interest as ever the Romans did the doings of the rebellious Jews.  Can it be imagined that of so strong and tremendous a despotism has been raised up by Providence without some important design?  And what can that design be, but that like “the Assyrian, the rod of God’s anger,” it may execute the fierceness of the Almighty’s wrath on apostate nations who are ripe for judgments?  And the language of the Apocalypse itself points in the very same direction as the words of our Lord.  The last judgment upon the great city is a desolating storm of hailstones, “every stone about the weight of a talent; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail: for the plague thereof was exceeding great.”  Now whence comes the hail?  Plainly from the real north, the region of frost and snow.  Under the first trumpet, the hail symbolized the wars of the barbarians, who burst in desolating fury from the frozen north upon the fertile fields of Italy; but no hail, no northern warfare was ever so desolating as this.  The civil warfare of the great earthquake dissolves the framework of society.  This seems destined to involve it in final destruction, and to sweep it clean away, or to leave only a smoking ruin.  Now is fulfilled what Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision; when the stone cut out of the mountain without hands smote the great image on the toes, “Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors, and the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them.”  How long Europe will be scorched with the fires of civil and foreign warfare, I presume not to say.  It may not be improbable, however, that the thirty supplementary years, which in Daniel are added to the 1260, may be filled up with the last judgments on the antichristian nations.  It is not in Europe only, however, that judgment will be inflicted.  There is the centre of the earthquake, but the shocks shall be felt to the world’s circumference.  “The time of trouble such as there never was since there was a nation;” will affect men in every country, and every clime.  “All the tribes of the earth shall wail.”  The saints alone shall be safe.  All else in the remotest parts of the world will be exposed to the anger of that God who comes out of his place to smite the nations: “Thus says Jehovah of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.  And the slain of Jehovah shall be at that day from one end of the earth, even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither shall they be gathered nor buried, they shall be dung upon the ground.” (Jer 25:32-33)

When our Lord has thus made bare his holy arm before all the nations, then shall men begin to learn, that verily there is a God that judges in the earth.  Then shall the word of Jehovah have free course and be glorified.  Israel shall look on Him whom they pierced, and recognise and acknowledge their long rejected Messiah. (Zec 12:10)  The idols of the nations will be utterly abolished.  Men shall be blessed in Christ, all nations shall call him blessed; and the probability is, that when forty-five years, in addition to the thirty, shall have passed away, the full glory of the millennium kingdom shall have commenced; all of the “kingdoms of this world” shall have “become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ.”  “B1essed is he that waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty five days.”





IF the general views embodied in this work are well-founded, it cannot be said that they are unimportant, nor that it is of small moment, whether Christians are aware of them or not.  If so great a catastrophe as the slaying of the witnesses is near, it cannot be a matter of indifference to be ignorant of it.  To be saying ‘peace and safety,’ when the last and most tremendous struggle between the true Church and the world is at the doors must have the most disastrous effects.  Supposing the reader is convinced by the reasonings I have employed, let me endeavour to point out in a few words some of the practical lessons which the subject in hand is fitted to teach.

1.  It ought to arouse and quicken all the professing disciples of Christ.  “Perilous times” are approaching, when seduction on the one hand, and power on the other, will be employed to make them fall from their steadfastness.  Who are those who shall stand in the trying hour, and pass in safety through all the spiritual dangers that shall soon so thickly beset their path?  None but those who in heart and soul are devoted to the Lord.  “All that dwell upon the earth shall wonder after the beast that was and is not, and yet is, whose names were not written in the Book of Life, from before the foundation of the world.”

Now is the time then for men to be trying their foundation; to be making their calling and election sure; to be building themselves up on their most holy faith, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  A time of peace and tranquillity, without the distracting influence of fear and anxiety, is the most favourable for this.  This is clearly intimated in the Acts, where the period of peace is described which followed the conversion of Paul: “Then the churches had rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, are edified; and walking in fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit were multiplied.”  If nominal Christians halt between two opinions now; if they cannot attain to well-grounded peace with God, and settled assurance of his love in their present favourable circumstances, what is it that hinders?  It is the love of sin, or the love of the world.  And if they cannot overcome the smaller temptations that beset them now, how will they overcome the greater?  If they cannot sacrifice their own will, or their own worldly inclinations, when the sacrifice required is slight, how will they be prepared for the sacrifice when life itself may have to be surrendered for Christ’s sake?  Let the words of the prophet be pondered, “If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?  And if, in the land of peace wherein you trusted, they have wearied you, then how will you do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jer 12:5)  No!  Christ forewarns his church of coming danger, that before it comes, his people may be quickened, that, knowing their own weakness, they may lay hold more firmly of his almighty strength, that they may take to themselves the whole armour of God that they may stand in the evil day, and having done all, that they may stand.  Those who take the warning shall come off more than conquerors.  Those who think there will be time enough to prepare when the conflict comes shall miserably fail, and, like the foolish virgins, find their lamps go out when they stand in most need of them.

2.  The subject ought to excite every true christian to activity and zeal in promoting the cause of Christ.  Now is the time for labour, for sowing broadcast the good seed of the Word over the field of the world.  The door of entrance to the apostate ‘Christians’, idolatrous heathen and unbelieving Jews still stands open.  As yet, the heralds of the impalement may go forth to the ends of the earth, to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ.  Yes, new doors have recently been thrown open that had been hermetically sealed for centuries.  What is the meaning of the recent movement in favour of religious liberty on the continent?  Doubtless it is so ordered by God; in his goodness, that the last blast of the silver trumpet may be heard through every street of the great city, that the elect may be gathered out of the doomed Babylon before her fall, that hearing, they may obey the heavenly voice, “Come out of her my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.”  The opportunities now enjoyed are not likely to last long.  It is infidelity, preaching universal toleration for its own ends, that has, at this time, set open the door for the gospel in the popish countries of Europe.  The toleration that springs from such a source is precarious, and little to be trusted.  And even among the heathen, there is reason to fear that the liberty of Christ’s faithful servants may soon be abridged.  The “unclean spirits” that have gone, or are yet to go forth, “to the kings of the earth and the whole world” may prevail to shut many a door against them which are at present standing open.  The conduct of the British government in aiding and abetting the persecution of Christianity at Nagpore is full of evil omen to the cause of evangelical missions.  Therefore, while the door still stands open, let the friends of Christ zealously enter in.  The night comes.  Whatsoever their hands find to do, let them do it with all their might.

But if we ought to labour for the cause of Christ abroad, surely much more ought we to do so for His cause at home.  In this point of view, the subject ought to come home to the heart especially of every Christian parent, and every Christian minister.  Can parents that love the Lord, and that love their children’s souls, think of the prospect before them without the most solemnizing concern?  These children are to grow up in a world where the light of the gospel may be expected every day to grow more and more dim, and where error will appear in such plausible shapes as to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.  What labour then, what pains ought to be employed in teaching them the good word of Jehovah, in fortifying their minds against the seductions of error, in commending them to God, and the word of his grace, which alone can keep them from falling and preserve them for his heavenly kingdom!  How watchful, how circumspect ought they to be themselves, in all respects to walk before them according to the truth and simplicity of the gospel!  The errors of parents are often reproduced with large and fatal additions in their children.  Look at William Wilberforce.  He was an eminent man, and doubtless holy.  But he had faults and imperfections; he leaned in some things too much to the asceticism of Rome.  To remind him of things unseen and eternal, he wore a pebble in his shoe; and had recourse to other means not sanctioned in Scripture.  This might have seemed a trifling or insignificant thing; but it was not so to his family.  His sons found it easier to copy their father’s defects than to emulate his excellencies; and now all three of them are among the most zealous promoters of the movement whose object it is to give a death-blow to the Protestantism of England.  Can there be a doubt, that the pebble in the father’s shoe had an essential connection with the Puseyism of the sons?  And ought not a fact like this to speak loudly to Christian parents, not only to teach their children the truth with all diligence, but to take care, lest by their own example in countenancing anything evil, or anything unscriptural, they neutralize the effects of their own instruction.  Let the ministers of Christ also arouse themselves to the greatness of the emergency.  Let them feel called upon, more than ever, to be instant in season and out of season, to preach the word, to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine.  The time may come, and come soon, when they may seem to labour in vain, and spend their strength for nought, when the more faithful they are, the less success may appear to attend them, when the people who now listen to them so devoutly may have itching ears, and will not endure sound doctrine.  The plentiful rain that ten years ago descended so copiously at Kilsyth and Dundee, and many other parts of our land is plainly very much restrained.  If there come not soon some season of refreshing, what can we expect but that positive declension may soon be apparent, and that the hearts of faithful ministers may be abundantly tried?  But even if this should be the case, should it discourage them, should it lead them to faint in the discharge of their high calling?  No; success is not the rule of duty.  Let them remember Noah; he was an upright man; he walked with God.  He faithfully delivered the message Jehovah had given him.  He warned the world of approaching wrath.  But not one soul was converted, so far as we know, except in his own family.  But he did in no way lose his reward.  And the very faithfulness he displayed, though useless to the old world, has not been in vain.  Who can tell how many thousands in all generations since have had their souls strengthened and their faith enlivened by contemplating the sublime example of that holy man, who, when all flesh was corrupting its way, in the face of the greatest discouragements, with no token of success to cheer him, still stood forth as a witness for his Lord, and a “preacher of righteousness?”  And should it be the will of God as apostasy spreads, that faithful ministers even in Scotland should have some share of a like trial, they have no reason to despond.  Let them go forth, though in tears, bearing precious seed, and though no sooner, yet in the resurrection of the just, they shall doubtless come again, and their sheaves with them.  Their labour shall not be in vain in Christ.  The seed they sow will not be lost.  It may be like the winter wheat; it may be buried for a time under the snows of persecution; but when the winter is past, the very seed that may have been sown in apparently the most ungenial soils may spring up and “shake with prosperous fruit like Lebanon.”  It may be the means of preparing for the season when, God’s judgments being manifest, the remnant of the tenth part of the city who escape them “shall give glory to the God of heaven.”

3.  Lastly, The fiery trial itself, in the circumstances attending it, to which the people of God are yet to be called, is full of the most heart-cheering encouragement to all who have grace to be faithful.  Not only do we know in general that those who suffer for Christ shall also reign with him; and that as their day is so shall their strength be; but the great Head of the Church has marked this dark hour with a glory peculiarly its own.  In Rev. 14 we read first of the reaping of the harvest, and then of the gathering in of the vintage.  According to the views most generally prevalent at present, the former is supposed to refer to the judgment upon the apostate empire, the latter to the wrath poured out on the apostate church; the one being thought to take place at the distance of many years from the other.  But for such an opinion there is not the least foundation.  We have seen already that both the Roman empire and the Roman Church are simultaneously involved in the same ruin.

The apostate empire is to the apostate church, what the body is to the soul,—the instrument of its sin; and therefore “both” under the symbols of the beast and the false prophet, are represented as together “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.”  But why should the reaping of the harvest be thought to signify the inflicting of judgment upon the enemies of God?  The harvest is the usual symbol for the gathering in of souls into the kingdom of God.  “The harvest truly is plenteous; but the labourers are few; pray you therefore to the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into his harvest.”  In that case, the harvest is gathered in by conversion into the church on earth.  In the case before us, it is the gathering in of souls into the general assembly and church of the first-born in heaven; for the instrument of ingathering is a “sharp sickle” in the hand of Christ, who has the keys of hell and of death, who opens, and no man shuts, and who shuts and no man opens. Rev. 14:14.  “I looked,” says John, “and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in your sickle and reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.”  Now what can this reaping of the harvest of the earth, this gathering in of saints into the garner of God, by the “sharp sickle” of death, immediately before the treading of the wine press of Jehovah’s wrath be, but just that very slaying of the witnesses which has already occupied so much of our attention?  To the eyes of the flesh, this might seem a dark and most gloomy dispensation.  But observe what is contained in the verse immediately preceding those I have quoted, and it will be seen that light shines into the midst of the darkness from the excellent glory; verse 13: “I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord FROM HENCEFORTH.”  In all ages, blessed have been the people who have died in our Lord, who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  But now, when the last persecution begins, when the malice of earth and hell rages with exterminating fury against the saints, when the furnace is heated seven times more than ever it was, then from that time forward does a sevenfold blessedness fill the souls of the martyrs; the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon; them in all the amplitude of his heavenly comfort; the Son of God walks familiar with them in the very midst of the furnace.

With such hopes, with such prospects, even in the time of trial, and a crown of everlasting glory beyond it, who would not rather choose affliction with the people of God, than the pleasures of sin, which are but for a short season.  Let the weakest believer not be dismayed at the thought of the great tribulation that is approaching.  Let him look up to the bright cloud, and the Son of Man who sits upon it, and his fears will vanish.  “To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and have sat down with my Father on his throne.”





Note A.

The author of the “Seventh Vial” evidently labours under a very considerable confusion of ideas with regard to the “two witnesses”.  He first makes them to be two churches, the Eastern and Western, and then the clergy of these two churches.  “By the two olive trees”, says he, “are meant plainly the pastors of these churches”.  Now what is this but the Puseyite, or Popish, notion that the church is the clergy, and the clergy is the church?  Are the laity then to be excluded from the rank of Christ’s witnesses?  Were not Lord Cobham, and the Marquis of Argyle as truly the witnesses of Christ as Hugh Mackail, or Richard Cameron?  But they could not be if the principle of the “Seventh Vial” is well founded; that the two olive trees, or witnesses are the “pastors” of the churches.  The “Seventh Vial” thinks it necessary to find a twofold character for these pastors, and with this view, assigns them to the twofold office of prophets and priests of the churches.  “They performed the same office to these churches,” he says, “which the prophets and priests performed to the Old Testament church.”  Now with the words of Zechariah before him, where Joshua and Zerubbabel are manifestly indicated as the “two olive trees,” this seems to me a very extraordinary mistake.  That Mr. Elliott should overlook the plain intimation which this passage gives: that the grand duty of Christ’s witnesses is to bear testimony for His headship over the church and over the state alike is not so very wonderful; for it is obvious that he knows nothing of the Scriptural relations of church and state to one another, or to Him who is head at once of all civil and ecclesiastical authority.  But that the author of the Seventh Vial, who is not ignorant of the Scriptural principles of Scottish evangelism, should allow himself to be led so far astray as to assign to ministers under the gospel the two fold character of “prophet” and “priest” is certainly not what could have been expected.  Surely the author does not need to be told that under the Church dispensation, the pastor as such has no priestly functions to perform except such as are identical with those of the “prophet”, or authorized expounder of the mind and will of God.

The attempt to make out both a priestly and prophetic character for the witnessing pastors, which the author gives from Vitringa, will not bear examination.  “They preached the word,” says he, “and they were employed in multiplying manuscript copies of the Holy Scriptures, so that they supplied the church with both the preached and the written word, answering, according to the ingenious and natural supposition of Vitringa, to the two golden pipes by which the two olive trees in Zechariah’s vision emptied the golden oil out of themselves.”  The meaning of this seems to be that as priests they preached, and as prophets they transcribed the word of God.  Now be it observed, the two olive trees or two anointed ones, empty the golden oil out of themselves during the whole period of the apostasy, the whole 1260 years.  But for four hundred years, ever since the invention of printing, where has been the exercise on the part of the witnessing pastors of their prophetic office, the office to wit of “supplying the church with the written word?”  During all that period, the prophetic office of the witnesses has been extinct, or if not, it has been exercised only by the printers.  The printers have printed the word of God correctly enough without any special “unction from the Holy One.”  Why should it be thought that the witnesses need such an unction to enable them to transcribe it?


Note B.

Mr. Elliott makes the dimensions of the measured temple very large indeed.  Supposing that the temple, under the Christian dispensation, is exactly the same as under the Law, he includes the inner court, or court of the Israelites, within the bounds which John was commanded to measure.  His object in thus enlarging the spiritual temple is obviously to get within its limits the unwieldy hierarchy of the Church of England, with all its corruptions, so faithfully portrayed by Mr. Baptist Noel.  But how does he make it appear that the inner court was included in John’s measurement?  Why thus: John was commanded to measure “the temple, and the altar, and them that worshipped therein.”  Now, says Mr. Elliott, “the great brazen altar of sacrifice was in the open court next to the sanctuary.  That court, therefore, was necessarily and expressly included.”  Here there is certainly a stupendous mistake to be made by one who has written so much in opposition to the errors of Rome.  What?!  Does not Mr. Elliott perceive that his argument proceeds on the Romish supposition that there is still an altar of burnt-offering under the Gospel?  But what does Paul say?  “Every priest, (i.e. every Jewish priest) stands daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God.  For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Heb 10:11-14)

Under the Mosaic dispensation, from its necessary imperfection, there were two altars; the altar of burnt offering, and the altar of incense.  Under the Christian, there is only one, the altar of incense —that is, Christ himself in his own person, pleading the merits of his own finished work.  Throughout the whole of the Apocalypse, wherever an altar is mentioned, it is “the altar”, implying that there is one and one only.  Now, where did the altar of incense stand?  In the sanctuary or holy place, over against the ark of the covenant.  It was that holy place, with all who worshipped in it, which John was commanded to measure.  All else, whether they were in the inner or outer court, were treated as Gentiles.  True Christians worship not only in the temple, but in the altar, that is in Christ, through whom they offer up spiritual sacrifices, the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, the “incense and the pure offering,” which alone God now requires and accepts.  Through Christ they have boldness to enter into the “holiest of all”; and none but those who do enter in have any part or lot with the Church of God.



Note C.

It has sometimes been felt as an objection against the view I have laid down in the body of this work, in regard to the duration of the prophesying of the witnesses in sackcloth, that at different periods since the Reformation, Christ’s true and faithful servants have been favoured by the powers of the world.  But this is very easily answered.  We have a case in point in the history of Abraham and the Israelites.  The period during which Abraham’s seed was to be afflicted by strangers was stated by God to be 400 years.  During the currency of these 400 years, there were times when strangers treated them very kindly, as for instance, when Joseph was ruler over all the land of Egypt, and his father and brethren were nourished by Pharaoh in the land of Goshen.  But these were only exceptions to the general treatment they met with; and therefore they were ignored when Jehovah gave Abraham a prophetic glance of the fortunes of his prosperity.  In like manner, when Christ describes the state of His witnesses, although His omniscient mind saw all the gleams of sunshine with which they should be visited, yet as these were but few and far between, He leaves them altogether out of view, and speaks of them as clothed in sackcloth during the whole 1260 years.



Note D.

“The deceitful tongue of the serpent.”  I am aware that in giving this sense to the words in which the lamb-like beast from the earth is represented as “speaking like a dragon,” I am departing from the universal opinion of all past commentators.  But let the reader judge if I have done so without reason.  It has been usually supposed that there was a contrast drawn between the look of the beast and its language: but the words of prophecy indicate no such contrast.  It is not said that the beast “had two horns like a lamb but spoke as a dragon,” as it seems invariably to have been read; but that he “had two horns like a lamb, and (χαί) spoke as a dragon.”  Now, how does a dragon speak?  Our commentators have evidently allowed themselves, in this matter, to be misled by the fabulous notions of dragons prevalent in the Middle Ages, when they were represented as equipped with wings and vomiting flames.  Of course, such dragons, if supposed to speak, might be expected to speak most ferociously.  But is this the Scriptural notion of a dragon, and the speech of a dragon?  According to the Word of God, a dragon is just a large serpent; and in the only authentic case in which we ever heard of a dragon speaking, its speech was of a very different nature from that usually attributed to the “dragon words” of the lamb-like beast of the earth.  Instead of speaking with fury, its speech was most gentle, subtle, and insinuating; and just as “the serpent beguiled Eve”, so it is evidently intimated that this beast, by its fair speech, as well as its gentle aspect, would mislead mankind.  It is said, accordingly, verse 14, that itdeceives them that dwell on the earth.”

There is no doubt that the popes have often spoken in a most arrogant style; but that is obviously not the idea conveyed here: and, indeed, it is one of the most remarkable characteristics of the Church of Rome which the beast in question represents, that its language, even while perpetrating the greatest cruelties has often been soft and gentle.  Thus the inquisitors of Spain, in handing over heretics to the secular arm to be burned, used to entreat that the civil magistrate would “deal mercifully” with the poor heretics.  Thus the Popish Bishop of Chichester, in sending the Protestant martyrs to bloody Bonner,who, he well knew, after making them, as he brutally boasted, “a foot longer” on the rack, would consign them to the flames,hypocritically stated that he sent them “to be dealt with according to his fatherly and charitable discretion!”  The “words of the dragon” are plainly not fierce, but cunning and deceitful words, beguiling men with “all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”

The beast referred to above has now conclusively come to an end.  The Roman Republic has abolished the two swords signified by its “two horns;” and of course, the Church of Rome henceforth appears under another emblem.  Foreign bayonets may possibly endeavour to restore temporal power to the head of the Roman Church, but the deep rooted feeling not of Rome only, but of Italy, shows that the time is past for temporal and spiritual power to be lodged in the same hands.  Any attempt made to force the Romans to resign the political power they have now grasped may have the effect of changing the Moderate into the Red Republic; but will never reconcile them to a temporal papal government, which it is evident they abhor.






Some Other Resources Available from


The Holy Bible - CHCoG Version - This translation from the original Hebrew and Aramaic is accurate and readable, giving you a clear understanding of how the New and Old Covenants are interlocked and God’s message to you.

Everlasting Life is God’s Gift - Does the Bible teach that you have everlasting life?  If not, how can you receive God’s gift of immortality as His child?

Books of Moses - Fact or Fiction Series - Are the miracles recorded in Genesis and Exodus our true history?  Do the facts support Special Creation or the Big Bang & Evolution scenarios?  What about the Flood, Babel and the Exodus?

Spirit, Soul and Body - What does the Bible teach about the nature of human beings?  Do we have a soul?  What is our spirit?  What happens when we die?

Eastern Meditation and Jeshua the Messiah - Recounts the experiences of a CHCoG member who became a Christian while practising Eastern Meditation.

Animals in the Bible- What does the Bible teach?  Does God love His animals, and how should we treat them? Are they intelligent, relational beings?

The Ten Commandments - What are God’s Ten Commandments? How do they guide us in our relationships with God, our family and our neighbours?  Shows how obedience to Jehovah’s Instructions would result in true civilization.

Fifty Years in the Church of Rome - Charles Chiniquy’s amazing account of his time in Romanism, including his 25 years as a priest, and how God saved him and brought him out of it.

What is God’s Name? - How can we know what God’s Name is and how to Pronounce it?  Does the Bible teach us to use God’s Name?

God’s Calendar and the Sign of Jonah - Shows how God’s Calendar reveals that Jeshua truly kept the Sign of Jonah, His ultimate proof that He is the Messiah.

The Sabbath in Scripture - Has God’s Seventh-day Sabbath been ‘done away with’?  What does the Sabbath mean, and does God want us to keep it?

Sex, God and Families - Article exposing the dangers of sexual immorality and outlining the benefits of following God’s sexual principles.

The Daystar’s Fall and the Age of the EarthDoes the Bible teach the Daystar (Satan) ruled the world before Creation Week, when Adam was formed?

Free to Obey GodGod’s Son Jeshua sets us free!  But what does he set us free from, and how does He expect us to live our new life?

Jeshua the Messiah: Is He the Son of God or Part of a Trinity? - Explores the relationships between God the Father, our Lord Jeshua, the Holy Spirit and us.


Calculated Biblical Calendar - Calculates dates of Annual Holy Days, Crucifixion, Flood, Creation: allows you to test the new moon visibility locally.

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1 Sueton. Vespas., c. iv.

2 Tacit. Hist. Lib v. .c. 9

3 Tertullian, adv. Jud., sec. 7.  Wirceburgi, 1781.

4 Heb 9:7, Lev 16:2-34

5 See Note A.

6 This is the sense in which it is understood by the author of the “Seventh Vial.”  See pp. 43-44

7 The Fathers of the Christian church frequently upbraided the Pagans of their day with the absurdity of this practice, “they light up candles to God,” says Lactantius, “as if he lived in the dark; and do not they deserve to pass for madmen who offer lamps to the Author of light?”

8 For proof that Rome is justly characterized as “Sodom,” see the Author’s “The Two Babylons” and Light of Prophecy,” pp. 112-127.

9 [CHCoG – Though this may be true in an historical view, there is likely to be an end-time fulfilment of these prophecies in which each day is indeed a day, and there will be two men who stand against the final Pope and his political companions during the Great Tribulation.]

10 “Seventh Vial,” p. 116.

11 See Note B. [CHCoG – Also note that it is probable that in the coming Great Tribulation, the final Two Witnesses will likely be two men who will be filling equivalent roles.]

12 Comp. Zech. 3:6-7 and 4:6-10.

13 [CHCoG – Yet even in this they have often failed to fully root out the deep corruptions of the papacy, as explained in The Two Bablyons, and in various works at]

14 [CHCoG – Technically, Boniface III was not elected pope until February, 607.]

15 [CHCoG – And this also defines the daughters of the Harlot: any church which accepts any of the filth taught by the corrupt papacy and thereby rejects the Bible becomes one of her daughters.]

16 See “Light of Prophecy” pp. 77, 78, and 200, 201.

17 Greg. Opera, Lib. iv. Epist. 32. Basil 1550.

18 Ibid. Lib. iv. Epist. 36.

19 These are not the words of Dr. Keith, but of the “Seventh Vial,” which adopts his view.  For further information on this subject, see the very able work of Rev. Mr. Whyte on Daniel.

20 [CHCoG – With the exception of the Vatican, this indeed happened in 1870, when the Italian papal states were finally set free from the tyranny of papal rule.]

21 Gibbon, vol. ix. p. 261.

22 Pauli Diac. Lib. xviii.

23 [CHCoG – Though there are sound reasons to claim that these ‘times’ in the Bible are each 360 days, the “Jewish” lunar-solar Biblical calendar averages the same length as Gregorian years.  See God’s Calendar and the Sign of Jonah for more on this.  Hislop published Red Republic in 1849, so this was a hot topic then, as his predicted END was less than twenty years in the future.]

24 See Note C.

25  It is not without reason, however, that these three and a half years are included in the period of their prophesying; for like Abel, “though dead, they yet speak.”  The very sight of their dead bodies, at that precise period, speaks trumpet-tongued, that the judgment of Babylon is at hand.

26 [CHCoG – this was never done by the Protestant churches, whoas her daughtersusually retained the papacy’s hatred of the Jewish people, their rejection of many of God’s Laws, their eternal punishing in Hell, their Friday crucifixion, their dislike of God’s Name, their Sunday ‘sabbath’ and pagan holy days.  In all this they contrast with the pre-Reformation ‘apostolic’ church, as shown in A History of the True Church.]

27 “Agebatur vero maxime in Bohemia de Calixtinorum Hussitarumque reliquis ecclesiæ conciliandis.” Raynald, xxxi. 29. Vindiciæ Hor. p. 243.

28 Vindiciæ Hor. p. 229.

29 “Ita tamen ut singula ad concilium Lateranense referrentur.” Raynald xxxi. 29.  Vindiciæ p. 243.

30 See his “Examination of Mr. Elliott’s Theory,” p. 215.

31 “Utque illis tandem salutarem praebeas escam omnes a te expectant.” Hard. ix. p. 1763, ap. Keith.

32 Vindiciæ, p. 238.

33 This a very puzzling passage for Mr. Elliott; and in his Vindiciæ, he does what he can to reconcile it with his theory.  How does he deal with it?  He so translates it as to leave upon the unwary reader the impression that the orator refers not to the actual state of matters when he spoke, but to a contingency which might arise, and which was only in prospect.  According to his translation, “the extirpation of sprouting heresies,” is only one of the things that might at some future time need “salutary discussion or arrangement.”  But, what is the expression in the original?  It is not “salutari indigeat;” but “salutari indiget discussione.”  Who gave Mr. Elliott a right to translate “indiget” “it needs,” as if it were “indigeat,” “it may need?”  This certainly is a liberty which no translator ought to take with his original.

34 Vindiciæ, p. 234.

35 Waddington, Hist. of Church, p. 661.

36 Here also Mr. Elliott mistranslates his original.  The words of the bull are, “scire quæ regiones haeresibus infectæ sint.”  This he renders, as if the words had been “quæ regiones haeresibus inficiantur,”“what regions may be infected with heresies.”  Now I do not say that Mr. Elliott has knowingly mistranslated these two passages to suit his purpose; but I think it would be not amiss if he should explain how he could fall into such mistakes.

37 [CHCoG – In the Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek, this period is 3 ½ times, not years.  In Bible prophecy, each time is once around the circle of 360 degrees, with each degree corresponding to a day or a year.  This is likely a pre-Flood remnant, when it appears that each year consisted of 12 lunar months of exactly 30 days each.  The symmetry was broken in the Flood.]

38 [CHCoG – The three and a half days also links strongly to Christ, who died mid-afternoon on the Wednesday Passover, was placed in the tomb  at dusk that day and rose three days later, meaning He was dead for three nights and almost three and a half days.  See God’s Calendar and the Sign of Jonah for details.]

39 [CHCoG – The Peshitta says the beast ascends from the sea, meaning that it comes out of the nations of the world.]

40 [CHCoG – The Peshitta says the beast is “blood-red”.]

41 [CHCoG – As in Rev 11:7, the Crawford Aramaic Revelation, which we believe to the original version of Revelation, says “sea” יַמָא , not abyss.]

42 [CHCoG – In this instance, we believe that Jeshua made the swine run into the sea and drown.  Thus the demons were driven out of both hosts. However, the Peshitta confirms that they feared the abyss לַחֿהֻומָא]

43 See Note D.

44 “Call to Repentance” in Evangelical Christendom, November 1848.

45 Evangelical Christendom, Jan. 1849.

46 Evangelical Christendom, Feb. 1849.

47 The two swords carried before the Pope at his coronation form the best comment on this.

48 While this is passing through the press, that which is spoken of above as a probability has become a fact.  The Pope, as a temporal prince, has ceased to reign.  On the 8th February, 1849, the Roman constituente, while carefully guarding his spiritual supremacy, decreed by an overwhelming majority136 to 8, that “Papacy has fallen, de facto and de jure, from the temporal throne of the Roman state.”  [CHCoG – Napoleon restored the Papal states to the pope in June of that year, and it was not until 1870 that the papacy permanently lost control of all but the Vatican.]

49 The “Seventh Vial,” as we shall see by and by, makes the “dead bodies” to signify individual believers, destitute of any church organization.

50 See page 13.

51 See Elliott, “Vindiciæ,” p. 247.

52 See Christian’s Monthly Magazine, No. IV. 1844.

53 Lord Eliot, late Irish Secretary, in advocating the Charitable Bequests bill for Ireland, stated as a recommendation of it, that by its provisions, “the Roman Catholics were placed on a better footing than any other class of her Majesty’s subjects.”! !  This is the decided tendency of all legislation at present, as might easily be shown.

54 See Isaiah 6:13.

55 [CHCoG – Though there is much of interest in the Red Empire, it remains odd that Hislop frequently ignores the WORLD-WIDE nature of these prophecies (Mat 13:40, Mat chap 24, Acts 17:31, 1John 4:1-5, Rev 3:10, 11:15, 12:9, 16:14, etc) and applies them only to Europe, and sometimes even more specifically to Britain.  Nowhere does the Bible make such a narrow application.]