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tainly, át that time, I adored him in earnest, " In fact how despised and wretched a monk was “ I then! Whereas, in regard to the Pope, how
great was his majesty! The potentates of the “ earth dreaded his nod. How distressed my “ heart was in that year (1517), and the follow
ing; how submissive my mind was to the
hierarchy, not feignedly but really! Nay, how “ I was almost driven to despair through the “ agitations of care and fear and doubt, those
secure spirits little know, who at this day insult “ the majesty of the Pope with much pride and
arrogance! But I, who then alone sustained “ the danger, was not so certain, not so confi“ dent. I was ignorant of many things, which “now by the grace of God I understand. I “. disputed, and I was open to conviction. Not “ finding satisfaction in the books of theologians " and canonists, I wished to consult the living “ members of the Church itself. There were " indeed some godly souls, who entirely ap“ proved my propositions; but I did not con“ sider their authority as of weight with me in
spiritual concerns. The popes, cardinals, bia, ~ shops, and monks, were the objects of my « confidence. At length, after I became enabled “ to answer every objection that could be brought « against me from the Scriptures, one difficulty “ still remained, and only one ; namely, that “ the Church ought to be obeyed*. By the grace
* " I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,”
~ of Christ, I at last overcame this difficulty “ also *.' Such was the conflict which took place in the mind of Luther. But Calvin and the succeeding reformers treated the Church of Rome with an indignant roughness from the very beginning. Adopting the language of the Waldenses, who had avowedly separated themselves from her communion in obedience to the prophetic exhortation t, they scrupled not to apply to her the name of Babylon, and to denounce against her in the words of the Apocalypse the future | dreadful judgments of God. By the light of Scripture, the daring usurpations, the rank idolatry, and the blasphemous pretensions of the Papacy were detected and exposed. That undefinable dread of its heavenly authority, which at first so strongly influenced the mind of Luther, was unknown and unfelt by subsequent preachers; and, in the height of their zeal even exceeding their warrant, while they justly branded Rome with the name of Babylon, they prematurely stigmatized the Pope with that of Antichrist.
Cited by Milner. Eccles. Hist. vol. iv. p. 331. + “ Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers “ of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev.
" Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” 'Isaiah xxi. 9.' See Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. xiv. By the same figure of “ speech, that the first angel cried, that the hour of his judg«s ment is come, this second angel proclaims, that Babylon is
fallen. The sentence is as certein, as if it were already " executed :” whence, after the manner of the ancient prophets, the present tense is used instead of the future.
And the third angel followed them, saying, “ with a loud voice, If any man worship the “ beast and his image, and receive his mark in « his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall « drink of the wine of God, which is poured out “ without mixture into the cup of his indig. « nation; and he shall be tormented with fire « and brimstone, in the presence of the holy " angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. And “ the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for " ever and ever, and they have no rest day nor & night, who worship the beast and his image, “ and whosoever receiveth the mark of his “ name.”
As the first and second angels represent the Lutheran and Calvinistic churches of the continent, so ' I apprehend the third angel typifies the insular
church of England ; which is not professedly in all points either Lutheran or Calvinistic, and which has justly merited and obtained the glorious title of the bulwark of the Reformation. The description, which is given of the office of the
* The presbyteral und Calvinistic church of Scotland must be considered as a member of the second angel, inasmuch as, although insular herself, she has derived both her discipline and doctrine from the reformed churches of the continent: while the venerable, though depressed, episcopal church of Scotland, may
be esteemed, in a similar manner, a member of the third angel, being the same both in doctrine and discio pline as the church of England, though, so far as her present line of episcopal succession is concerned, of later origið. See Skinner's Eccles. Hist. of Scotland.
third angel, accurately corresponds with the part which the Anglican church has taken in the contest with the adherents of Popery. For more than a century after the Reformation the writings of the English divines continued to denounce the vengeance of heaven against those who still partook of the abominations of the apostate Roman beast after all the warnings which they had received ; and the ablest expositors of those prophecies, which relate to the corrupt tyranny of the mystic Babylon, have been children or fathers of our national Church. Of these it will be sufficient to mention the illustrious name of Mede; who, by his successful application of many of the predictions of Daniel and St. John to Popery, loudly called upon the whole world to come out of the harlot city, lest they should " drink of the « wine of the wrath of God.”
“ Here is the patience of the saints: here are
they, that keep the commandments of God, and « the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from “ heaven, saying unto me, Write, blessed are the " dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; “ Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from " their labours, and their works do follow them.”
Gloriously successful as the Reformation eventually was, the patience of the saints was severely exercised during its progress. It was a season of great trial and persecution : and many of them of understanding perished in trying, and in purging, and in making white, their apostate brethren*. * Dan. xi. 35.
Great was the increase whicli the noble army of the martyrs then received. They overcame the dragon, not by the arm of flesh, but “ by the “ blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony; and they loved not their lives unto 66 death * Hence they had need of that consolatory declaration, “ Blessed are the dead who “ die in the Lord from henceforth.” By their preaching, the gloomy fears of purgatory were dispelled ; and the pious learned to build with confidence upon the assurance of the Spirit, that, whenever they depart. hence and are no more seen, they rest from their labours, and their “ works do follow them t."
“ And I looked, 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 thy 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.
“ And another angel came out of the temple “ which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
* Rev. xii. 11. of For the substance of these remarks upon the characters of the three angels, I am indebted to Mr. Whitaker; whose mode of interpreting this particular portion of the Apocalypse I very much prefer to that adopted by Bp. Newton. See Whitaker's Comment. p. 430 -436.