« AnteriorContinuar »
golden angels, the gold and silver lamps; the vast number, variety, and richness of the jewels, of the vestments for the--image, and for the priests; with the prodigious treasures of all sorts ; are far beyond the reach of description ; and, as Mr. Addison says, “as much surpassed my expectation, as other sights have generally fallen short of it. Sil-, ver can scarce find an admission, and gold itself looks but poorly amongst such an incredible number of precious stones. Moreover the woman, like other harlots who give philters or love-potions to inflame their lovers, hath a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication ; to signify the specious and alluring arts, wherewith she bewitcheth and inciteth men to idolatry, which is abomination and spiritual fornication.” In addition to what Bishop Newton has said, I think, with Dr. Mitchell, that the cup which the Woman holds in her hand being of gold, is to denote the most pompous and costly manner in which the Latin church has held forth to the nations, the rites and ceremonies of its idolatrous and corrupt worship: .
“ And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” This inscription being written upon her forehead is in tended to shew that she is not ashamed of hy doctrines, but publicly professes and glories them before the nations: she has, indeed
whore's forehead, she has refused to be ashamed." But the inscription upon her forehead is exactly the portraiture of the Latin church. This church is certainly, as Bishop Newton well expresses it, “a mystery of iniquity.” It is a great and unfathomable mystery, that such a church should be permitted to exist upon the face of the earth ; but God hath promised, for the consolation of his people, that upon the sounding of the seventh trumpet “ the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” This Woman is also called Babylon the Great: she is the exact antitype of the ancient Babylon in her idolatry and cruelty ; but the ancient city called Babylon is only a drawing of her in miniature. This is, indeed, Babylon the Great. “She affects the style and title of our holy mother the church, but
she is in truth the mother of fornications and abo· minations of the earth.”*
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” It is one of the articles of the Latin church that it should have no faith with heretics; and how the members of this church have acted upon this most dreadful tenet, the pages of ecclesiastical history plainly declare, as I shall have occasion to notice more at large in a subsequent part of this work. But it is expressly declared that
this church, this Latin church, which is supported by the Latin empire, is guilty of the blood of the saints, and of the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; great numbers of those whom she has denominated heretics have, therefore, been the saints of God and the martyrs of Jesus. Hear this, thou apostate and cruel church! They were saints of God; but thou hast treated them as the filth of the world, and as the offscouring of all things. They were the martyrs of Jesus, whom thou burnedst in thy fires, and torturedst in thy inquisitions. * Thou hast been drunken, intoxicated with pride, because thou hast had power over these holy men of God, whom thou hast called herétics, but whom the Lord owns as his holy ones, as his faithful martyrs. No marvel then that the Christian prophet is affected with so great wonder; for thou hast assumed to thyself the most sacred names; he saw the beast upon which thou sittest full of names of blasphemy, such as holy, most holy, most Christian, sacred, most sacred; and yet thou art drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the mar
* The most sacred titles have been given by the Papists to this horrid tribunal. The inquisition is called Sanctum Officium, (The holy office ;) the prison of the inquisition is styled Sancta Domus, (The holy house;) the Tribunal is named Sacrum Inquisitionis Tribunal, Sanctæ Inquisitionis Tribunal, (The holy Tribunal of the Inquisition, The Tribunal of the holy Inquisition.) The Papists have even gone so far as to call it Sanctissima Inquisitio, (The most holy Inquisition !!) See Limborch's Hist. of the Inquisition, Lib. i. c. 1, 25, 30.
tyrs of Jesus. What horrid blasphemies thou hast been, and still art guilty of, in thus prostituting the sacred names of God and Christians, and applying them to thy most abominable idolatries, and thus alluring men to drink of thy poisoned cups of idolatry and pride. “But thy time is near to come; and thy days shall not be prolonged.”
"And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel ?. I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.” St. John was greatly astonished at this symbolical representation of the Woman sitting upon a beast. But the angel who shewed him the vision asks him the rea-, son of his astonishment, evidently intimating to him by this interrogation, that the Wounan, from such a character as that he saw inscribed upon her forehead, must be capable of committing every species of cruelty, and of uttering all manner of blasphemies. The angel also undertakes to explain the vision; and the explication is of such great importance, that had it not been given, the mystery of the Dragon and the Beast could never have been satisfactorily explained in all its particulars. The angel begins with saying, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition : and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,) when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” There have been
several interpretations of this passage, some of which it may not be improper here to notice. Lord Napeir, upon the foundation that the Revelation was written during the interregnum which took place in the Roman empire between the reigns of Domitian and Nerva, explains it thus: “ This Beaste that Sainct Iohn did see,' was, and is not, and shall rise of lowe estate, and shall goe into decay: Was (saith hee) because the Romane Empire, and gouernment of Emperors, was before that time, that hee wrote: Is not (saieth hee) because the time wherein hee wrote, the Emperour Domitian was dead, and the Empire waked, for the nexte Emperour Nerva Cocceius, who was the first straunger, or Barbarian Emperour: This (saith hee) shall goe into decay: that is, shall goe shortlie into decaie : for otherwise simplie, all feshe must goe at some time into decay: And so was it indeed, that this Nerua goeth shortlie into decaie : For hee liued Emperour but one yeare, three monethes, and nine daies, and then he died. Againe, the Beaste (saith that same text) Was, and is not, and yet is, that is to say, there were Emperours before Sainct Iohn wrote, none when he wrote, and yet when he wrote the Empire stood, and the gouernment by Emperours was vnabolished." * The interpretation here given is very ingenious; but it rests upon a very slender foundation. For, first,
* See Napeir on the Revelation, Prop. 24, p. 37, Edit. Edin. burgh, 1593.