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for; and the same church which had boldly and faithfully adhered to the truth under persecution, was enervated and deteriorated by this patronage of the state. It suffered loss in general doctrine and discipline: but these it would be beside our present object to notice; the deterioration we have to do with is that which respects the one doctrine of the coming of the Lord. The church found itself unexpectedly courted, caressed, and loaded with favours, while accustomed to look for nothing but persecution from men. The Scriptures, it is true, promise a time of blessedness upon earth; but the day of vengeance, the day of the Lord, the coming of Christ, uniformly precede it. They now found themselves very much at ease, and were willing to persuade themselves that the time of blessedness promised in Scripture had already begun they therefore lowered the prophetic announcements, calling them poetical and metaphorical, and exaggerated their own prosperity; imagining that by this double process they made the prophecy and their own times accord: and a little ingenuity of the same kind made the day of vengeance already passed. Origen had before taken the same unwarrantable liberty with other doctrines of our faith and from sources no more worthy than these is the greater part of the modern system of spiritualizing to be derived. But the halcyon days of Constantine quickly passed, and these men of metaphor were driven to great straits. Some of the thorough-going spiritualizers were determined to maintain their interpretation at all hazards, and insisted that they were still living under the reign of peace which the Millennium denoted, and that Julian's persecutions did not materially alter its character of blessedness; which preposterous folly has been revived by Grotius and Hammond. Others declared that the Millennium was passed, and that Satan was again loosed from the bottomless pit. But the greater number abandoned part of their error, and still retained the other part: they re-asserted a personal Antichrist, to be revealed in the last times, whom the Lord would come in person to destroy; but they thought that this coming would be the end of the world, and that the Millennium was only a figurative expression for the joy of heaven. In this state of uncertainty, mingled with hope, the church remained till about the thirteenth century; with light enough to guide the elect in the course of their duty, and with knowledge enough to enable many individuals to protest against the errors and superstitions which were in these times heaped upon the true doctrines; but not with light or knowledge sufficient to enable them to detect and expose that Antichristian principle which had then grown up in the church. In the thirteenth century the Papal abuses had become so enormous, and these were so like the characteristics of Antichrist in Scrip

ture, that all those who partook not of its plunder hesitated not in condemning and denouncing the Papacy. They also began to think that the 1260 days of the beast's ascendancy might be understood as so many years; which having now run their course, the downfall of this usurping power might be soon expected. The Pope, confident in the strength of that wellknit fabric of policy over which he presided, often disregarded these murmurings; or when, from the station and character of the parties, they became too important to be passed by, he crushed them with the most unsparing rigour and such was the compact strength of this stronghold of superstition, that it went on, accumulating abuses and defying the attacks of the champions of truth, for two centuries more; when the Reformers gave it a blow from which it has never wholly recovered. A brief notice of these times is necessary, that we may see how light broke in upon that large portion of Scripture which foretells the tyranny and downfall of "Babylon the Great, the Mother of abominations."

The authority of Christ being two-fold, as King and as Priest, political and ecclesiastical; the usurpations of Antichrist were also two-fold, and were gradually assumed by the Pope, one after another; till, in the plenitude of his pride, in the fourteenth century, he had blasphemously arrogated to himself all the dignities belonging solely to Christ. The nomination to the popedom, as to all other bishopricks, was originally in the Emperor, and was confirmed to the Emperor Charles V. by the 22d canon of the Synod of Rome, held under Adrian A. D. 773, one hundred and fifty-three bishops being present. The decree runs, "ut ipse habeat jus et potestatem eligendi pontificem, et ordinandi sedem apostolicam; denique ut archiepiscopi et episcopi per singulas provincias ab eo investituram accipiant. Refrangentes huic decreto anathematizat synodus." This decree was often acted upon; insomuch that Otho I. deprived Pope John XIII. and substituted Leo VIII. in his place. But Gregory VII., Hildebrand, wrested this prerogative from the Emperors; and though Henry IV. disputed it, and even deposed Hildebrand, putting Clement in his place, yet was he ultimately foiled, and excommunicated by the Pope, and forced to sue barefoot before Gregory to have the excommunication removed. These monstrous usurpations of the Pope, and the corresponding enormities in doctrine, had grown out of the vice and ignorance of the tenth century, probably the very darkest era of the church. Historians generally described this century as " devoted to ignorance and debauchery.' Caranza, Genebrard, and Baronius, describe it as "a monstrous age." Ratherius, Bishop of Vicenza at that time, charges the whole clergy with being utterly corrupt and profligate; and he says, the Italians were the most so of all, by reason of their

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greater proneness to debauchery and vice: that the doctors there neglected all discipline, insomuch as the clergy did in nothing differ from the laity but in their habits. And he says, such was the extreme ignorance in the priests of his diocese, that they could not so much as say the Apostles' Creed; and he charges the priests, in his synodical epistle, that they learn to say it without book, together with that of St. Athanasius. The same testimony is borne by Atto, Bishop of Verceil in that time. These abominations went on, with little check or hindrance, till the thirteenth century; at which time the exactions of the Pope, the pest of the begging friars, and the gross corruption and insolence of the whole body of the clergy, became intolerable to the people but so compact and politic was the papal fabric, and so numerous were those who fattened upon its luxuries, that another century passed before it could be at all humbled, or the people obtain any mitigation of its exactions. About 1230 the Apocalypse came to be employed as the most powerful weapon against the Papal apostasy, and it is curious to observe, that Gregory IX. seems to have been the first to unsheath this sword whose point was afterwards turned with such tremendous effect against himself and his system. He put forth an edict against the Emperor, Frederic, beginning, "Ascendit de mari bellica bestia, wherein he declareth the causes, wherefore he curseth, and giveth the Emperor to the divel of hell, and dejecteth him from all his princely dignity." Frederic, in his reply, says: "The Lord Pope hath compared us to the beast rising out of the sea: to take the words in the true sense and interpretation, he is that great dragon, that hath deceived the whole world: he is that Antichrist, of whom he hath called us the forerunner."—In 1240, God stirred up faithful teachers in sundry countries, many of whom are mentioned in Crantz. In 1250, Arnoldus de Nova Villa denounced the Papists for teaching only historical faith, which is the faith historia non fiducia, and their other abuses. Then also lived Gulielmus de Sancto Amore, denounced as an heretic by the Pope. In 1250, too, Grosthead, Bishop of Lincoln, refused to admit Frederic, the Pope's natural son, and a minor, as canon or prebendary of Lincoln. Writing to the Pope, he says: "Moreover, next after the sin of Lucifer (which shall be in the latter time, to wit, of Antichrist, the child of perdition, whom the Lord shall destroy with the breath of his mouth), there is not, nor can be, any kind of sin so repugnant and contrary to the doctrine of the Apostles and holy Scripture, and to our Saviour Christ himself more hateful, detestable, and abominable, than to destroy and kill men's souls, by defrauding them of the mystery of the pastoral office, which by the ministry of the pastoral cure ought to save and quicken the same. Hereby it is manifest that the inducers of such wicked destroyers of God's image and deifica

tion in the sheep of Christ (i. e. the church of God) are worse than those chief destroyers, to wit, Lucifer and Antichrist." 1260, Laurence, an Englishman, did in his teaching and preaching condemn the Papal abuses, and by divers proofs and testimonies argued and proved that Antichrist was not far off to come. In 1290, Petrus Johannes proved from the Apocalypse that the Pope was Antichrist, and that the synagogue of Rome was Great Babylon. In the beginning of the fourteenth century, Armachanus, Primate of Ireland, set himself to oppose the friars. In 1364, Nicolas Orem preached against the abuses of the time, in presence of the Pope. In 1366, Militzius declared Antichrist come. To these we might add many more during these times which we have gone over; but we hasten to the first effectual and permanent resistance to the Pope, which began in Wickliffe.

"After all these heretofore recited (says Fox), by whom it pleased the Lord something to work against the Bishop of Rome, and to weaken the pernicious superstition of the friars; now remaineth consequently, following the course of years, orderly to enter into the story of John Wickliffe our countryman, and other more of his time, whom the Lord raised up here in England, to detect more fully and amply the poison of the Pope's doctrine, and false religion set up by the friars. In whose opinions and assertions, albeit some blemishes perhaps may be noted, yet such blemishes they be which rather declare him to be a man that might err, than which directly did fight against Christ our Saviour, as the Pope's proceedings and the friars' did. This is certain, and cannot be denied, but that he, being the public reader of divinity in the university of Oxford, was, for the rude time wherein he lived, famously reputed for a great clerk, a deep schoolman, and no less expert in all kind of philosophy. The which doth not only appear by his own most famous and learned writings, but also by confession of Walden, his most cruel and bitter enemy; who, in a certain epistle written unto Pope Martin V., saith that he was wonderfully astonished at his most strong arguments, with the places of authority which he had gathered, with the vehemency and force of his reasons, &c. It appeareth that this Wickliffe flourished about 1371; but as touching the just number of the year and time, we will not be very curious at this present. This is out of all doubt, that at what time all the world was in most desperate and vile estate, and that the lamentable ignorance and darkness of God his truth had overshadowed the whole earth. This man stepped forth like a valiant champion, unto whom it may justly be applied that is spoken in the book called Ecclesiasticus, of Simon son of Onias. Even as the morning-star being in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon being full in her course, and as the bright beams of

the sun; so doth he shine and glister in the temple and church of God. In these latter days and extreme age of the church; whenas the whole state and condition, not only of worldly things, but also of religion, was depraved and corrupted, the only name of Christ remained amongst Christians; but his true and lively doctrine was as far unknown unto the most part, as his name was common unto all men. The world, leaving and forsaking the lively power of God's spiritual word and doctrine, was altogether led and blinded with outward ceremonies and traditions insomuch that scarcely any other thing was seen in temples or churches, taught or spoken of in sermons, or finally intended or gone about in their whole life, but only heaping up of certain shadowed ceremonies upon ceremonies; neither was there any end of their heaping. The people were taught to worship no other thing but that which they did see, and did see almost nothing which they did not worship. Thus, in these so great and troublous times and horrible darkness of ignorance, what time there seemed in a manner to be in no one so little a spark of pure doctrine left or remaining, this foresaid Wickliffe by God's providence sprang and rose up; through whom the Lord would first waken and raise up again the world, which was overmuch drowned and overwhelmed in the streams of human traditions."


Till the time of Wickliffe the Papal system had never been opposed as a principle of falsehood and blasphemy. Acts of individual oppression, and separate antichristian doctrines, had been often and loudly complained of; but these were rather the angry or indignant feelings of individuals, wrung from them by their personal experience, than convictions deduced from Scripture and appealing to the general character of the Papacy, to prove that its whole system was inherently, irremediably, and wholly antichristian; that it was incapable of amelioration; that the only safety was in separating from it, inevitable destruction being the doom of its adherents. The Papacy was now openly arraigned as Antichrist; the charge was fairly proved by Wickliffe and his companions; but the pleadings lasted a whole century, that it might be evident to all the world that the Papal abominations were not the accidental vices or follies of individuals, but that they formed inseparable parts of a system which was no longer a true church, but an apostasy; no longer under Christ, but under Antichrist. Till the time of the Reformation, the Papacy did contain within itself a true church all its standards and confessions were orthodox; and its enormous abuses are to be considered rather as the vices of individuals than of the Roman church, for they had not yet been enjoined by any council or public authority. Luther and the Reformers were members of the Roman church: and as the Reformed church

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