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CHAPTER II-X-D

October 10, 2013 1 comment

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

X-D. The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, AD 303

Quirinus, bishop of Siscia, being carried before Matenius, the governor, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan deities, agreeably to the edicts of various Roman emperors. The governor, perceiving his constancy, sent him to jail, and ordered him to be heavily ironed; flattering himself, that the hardships of a jail, some occasional tortures and the weight of chains, might overcome his resolution. Being decided in his principles, he was sent to Amantius, the principal governor of Pannonia, now Hungary, who loaded him with chains, and carried him through the principal towns of the Danube, exposing him to ridicule wherever he went. Arriving at length at Sabaria and finding that Quirinus would not renounce his faith, he ordered him to be cast into a river, with a stone fastened about his neck. This sentence being put into execution, Quirinus floated about for some time, and, exhorting the people in the most pious terms, concluded his admonitions with this prayer: “It is no new thing, O all-powerful Jesus, for Thee to stop the course of rivers, or to cause a man to walk upon the water, as Thou didst Thy servant Peter; the people have already seen the proof of Thy power in me; grant me now to lay down my life for Thy sake, O my God.” On pronouncing the last words he immediately sank, and died, June 4, AD 308. His body was afterwards taken up, and buried by some pious Christians.

Pamphilus, a native of Phoenicia, of a considerable family, was a man of such extensive learning that he was called a second Origen. He was received into the body of the clergy at Caesarea, where here he established a public library and spent his time in the practice of every Christian virtue. He copied the greatest part of the works of Origen with his own hand, and, assisted by Eusebius, gave a correct copy of the Old Testament, which had suffered greatly by the ignorance or negligence of former transcribers. In the year 307, he was apprehended, and suffered torture and martyrdom.

Marcellus, bishop of Rome, being banished on account of his faith, fell a martyr to the miseries he suffered in exile, January 16, AD 310.

Peter, the sixteenth bishop of Alexandria, was martyred November 25 AD 311, by order of Maximus Caesar, who reigned in the east.

Agnes, a virgin of only thirteen years of age, was beheaded for being a Christian; as was Serene, the empress of Diocletian. Valentine, a priest, suffered the same fate at Rome; and Erasmus, a bishop, was martyred in Campania.

Soon after this the persecution abated in the middle parts of the empire, as well as in the west; and Providence at length began to manifest vengeance on the persecutors. Maximian endeavored to corrupt his daughter Fausta to murder Constantine her husband; which she discovered, and Constantine forced him to choose her own death, when he preferred the ignominious death of hanging after being an emperor near twenty years.

Constantine was the good and virtuous child of a good and virtuous father, born in Britain. His mother was named Helena, daughter of King Coilus. He was a most bountiful and gracious prince, having a desire to nourish learning and good arts, and did oftentimes use to read, write, and study himself. He had marvelous good success and prosperous achieving of all things he took in hand, which then was (and truly) supposed to proceed of this, for that he was so great a favorer of the Christian faith. Which faith when he had once embraced, he did ever after most devoutly and religiously reverence.

Thus Constantine, sufficiently appointed with strength of men but especially with strength God, entered his journey coming toward Italy, which was about the last year of the persecution, A. D. 313. Maxentius, understanding of the coming of Constantine, and trusting more to his devilish art of magic than to the good will of his subjects, which he little deserved, durst not show himself out of the city, nor encounter him in the open field, but with privy garrisons laid wait for him by the way in sundry straits, as he should come; with whom Constantine had divers skirmishes, and by the power of the Lord did ever vanquish them and put them to flight.

Notwithstanding, Constantine yet was in no great comfort, but in great care and dread in his mind (approaching now near unto Rome) for the magical charms and sorceries of Maxentius, wherewith he had vanquished before Severus, sent by Galerius against him. Wherefore, being in great doubt and perplexity in himself and revolving many things in his mind, what help he might have against the operations of his charming, Constantine, in his journey drawing toward the city, and casting up his eyes many times to heaven, in the south part, about the going down of the sun, saw a great brightness in heaven, appearing in the similitude of a cross, giving this inscription, In hoc vince, that is, “In this overcome.” Eusebius Pamphilus doth witness that he had heard the said Constantine himself oftentimes report, and also to swear this to be true and certain, which he did see with his own eyes in heaven, and also his soldiers about him. At the sight whereof when he was greatly astonished, and consulting with his men upon the meaning thereof, behold, in the night season in his sleep, Christ appeared to him with the sign of the same cross which he had seen before, bidding him to make the figuration thereof, and to carry it in his wars before him, and so should he have the victory.

Constantine so established the peace of the Church that for the space of a thousand years we read of no set persecution against the Christians, unto the time of John Wickliffe.

So happy, so glorious was this victory of Constantine, surnamed named the Great! For the joy and gladness whereof, the citizens who had sent for him before, with exceeding triumph brought him into the city of Rome, where he was most honorably received, and celebrated the space of seven days together; having, moreover, in the market place, his image set up, holding in his right hand the sign of the cross, with this inscription: “With this wholesome sign, the true token of fortitude, I have rescued and delivered our city from the yoke of the tyrant.” We shall conclude our account of the tenth and last general persecution with the death of St. George, the titular saint and patron of England. St. George was born in Cappadocia, of Christian parents; and giving proofs of his courage, was promoted in the army of the emperor Diocletian. During the persecution, St. George threw up his command, went boldly to the senate house, and avowed his being Christian, taking occasion at the same time to remonstrate against paganism, and point out the absurdity of worshipping idols. This freedom so greatly provoked the senate that St. George was ordered to be tortured, and by the emperor’s orders was dragged through the streets, and beheaded the next day.

The legend of the dragon, which is associated with this martyr, is usually illustrated by representing St. George seated upon a charging horse and transfixing the monster with his spear. This fiery dragon symbolizes the devil, who was vanquished by St. George’s steadfast faith in Christ, which remained unshaken in spite of torture and death.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

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CHAPTER II-X-C

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

X-C. The Tenth Persecution, Under Diocletian, AD 303

Victorius, Carpophorus, Severus, and Severianus, were brothers, and all four employed in places of great trust and honor in the city of Rome. Having exclaimed against the worship of idols, they were apprehended, and scourged, with the plumbetÊ, or scourges, to the ends of which were fastened leaden balls. This punishment was exercised with such excess of cruelty that the pious brothers fell martyrs to its severity.

Timothy, a deacon of Mauritania, and Maura his wife, had been united together by the bands of wedlock above three weeks, when they were separated from each other by the persecution.

Timothy, being apprehended as a Christian, was carried before Arrianus, the governor of Thebais, who, knowing that he had the keeping of the Holy Scriptures, commanded him to deliver them up to be burnt; to which he answered, “Had I children, I would sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed, than part with the Word of God,” The governor being much incensed at this reply, ordered his eyes to be put out, with red-hot irons, saying “The books shall at least be useless to you, for you shall not see to read them.” His patience under the operation was so great that the governor grew more exasperated; he, therefore, in order, if possible, to overcome his fortitude, ordered him to be hung up by the feet, with a weight tied about his neck, and a gag in his mouth. In this state, Maura his wife, tenderly urged him for her sake to recant; but, when the gag was taken out of his mouth, instead of consenting to his wife’s entreaties, he greatly blamed her mistaken love, and declared his resolution of dying for the faith. The consequence was, that Maura resolved to imitate his courage and fidelity and either to accompany or follow him to glory. The governor, after trying in vain to alter her resolution, ordered her to be tortured, which was executed with great severity. After this, Timothy and Maura were crucified near each other, AD 304.

Sabinus, bishop of Assisium, refusing to sacrifice to Jupiter, and pushing the idol from him, had his hand cut off by the order of the governor of Tuscany. While in prison, he converted the governor and his family, all of whom suffered martyrdom for the faith. Soon after their execution, Sabinus himself was scourged to death, December, AD 304.

Tired with the farce of state and public business, the emperor Diocletian resigned the imperial diadem, and was succeeded by Constantius and Galerius; the former a prince of the most mild and humane disposition and the latter equally remarkable for his cruelty and tyranny. These divided the empire into two equal governments, Galerius ruling in the east, and Constantius in the west; and the people in the two governments felt the effects of the dispositions of the two emperors; for those in the west were governed in the mild manner, but such as resided in the east felt all the miseries of oppression and lengthened tortures.

Among the many martyred by the order of Galerius, we shall enumerate the most eminent.

Amphianus was a gentleman of eminence in Lucia, and a scholar of Eusebius; Julitta, a Lycaonian of royal descent, but more celebrated for her virtues than noble blood. While on the rack, her child was killed before her face.

Julitta, of Cappadocia, was a lady of distinguished capacity, great virtue, and uncommon courage.

To complete the execution, Julitta had boiling pitch poured on her feet, her sides torn with hooks, and received the conclusion of her martyrdom, by being beheaded, April 16, AD 305.

Hermolaus, a venerable and pious Christian, of a great age, and an intimate acquaintance of Panteleon’s, suffered martyrdom for the faith on the same day, and in the same manner as Panteleon.

Eustratius, secretary to the governor of Armina, was thrown into a fiery furnace for exhorting some Christians who had been apprehended, to persevere in their faith.

Nicander and Marcian, two eminent Roman military officers, were apprehended on account of their faith. As they were both men of great abilities in their profession, the utmost means were used to induce them to renounce Christianity, but these endeavors being found ineffectual, they were beheaded.

In the kingdom of Naples, several martyrdoms took place, in particular, Januaries, bishop of Bemeventum; Sosius, deacon of Misene; Proculus, another deacon; Eutyches and Acutius, two laymen; Festus, a deacon; and Desiderius, a reader, all, on account of being Christians, were condemned by the governor of Campania to be devoured by the wild beasts. The savage animals, however, would not touch them, and so they were beheaded.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

CHAPTER II-VII

THE TEN PRIMITIVE PERSECUTIONS

VII. The Seventh Persecution, Under Decius AD 249

This was occasioned partly by the hatred he bore to his predecessor Philip, who was deemed a Christian and was partly by his jealousy concerning the amazing increase of Christianity; for the heathen temples began to be forsaken, and the Christian churches thronged.

These reasons stimulated Decius to attempt the very extirpation of the name of Christian; and it was unfortunate for the Gospel, that many errors had, about this time, crept into the Church: the Christians were at variance with each other; self-interest divided those whom social love ought to have united; and the virulence of pride occasioned a variety of factions.

The heathens in general were ambitious to enforce the imperial decrees upon this occasion, and looked upon the murder of a Christian as a merit to themselves. The martyrs, upon this occasion, were innumerable; but the principal we shall give some account of.

Fabian, the bishop of Rome, was the first person of eminence who felt the severity of this persecution. The deceased emperor, Phillip had, on account of his integrity, committed his treasure to the care of this good man. But Decius, not finding as much as his avarice made him expect, determined to wreak his vengeance on the good prelate. He was accordingly seized; and on January 20, AD 250, he suffered decapitation.

Julian, a native of Cilicia, as we are informed by St. Chrysostom, was seized upon for being a Christian. He was put into a leather bag, together with a number of serpents and scorpions, and in that condition thrown into the sea.

Peter, a young man, amiable for the superior qualities of his body and mind, was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to Venus. He said, “I am astonished you should sacrifice to an infamous woman, whose debaucheries even your own historians record, and whose life consisted of such actions as your laws would punish. No, I shall offer the true God the acceptable sacrifice of praises and prayers.” Optimus, the proconsul of Asia, on hearing this, ordered the prisoner be stretched upon a wheel, by which all his bones were broken, and then he was sent to be beheaded.

Nichomachus, being brought before the proconsul as a Christian, was ordered to sacrifice to the pagan idols. Nichomachus replied, “I can not pay that respect to devils, which is only due to the Almighty” This peech so much enraged the proconsul that Nichomachus was put to the rack. After enduring the torments for a time, he recanted; but scarcely had he given this proof of his frailty, than he fell into the greatest agonies, dropped down on the ground, and expired immediately.

Denisa, a young woman of only sixteen years of age, who beheld this terrible judgment, suddenly exclaimed, “O unhappy wretch, why would you buy a moment’s ease at the expense of a miserable eternity!” Optimus, hearing this, called to her, and Denisa avowing herself to be a Christian, she was beheaded, by his order, soon after.

Andrew and Paul, two companions of Nichomachus the martyr, AD 251, suffered martyrdom by stoning, and expired, calling, on their blessed Redeemer.

Alexander and Epimachus, of Alexandria, were apprehended for being Christians: and, confessing the accusation, were beat with staves, torn with hooks, and at length burnt in the fire; and we are informed, in a fragment preserved by Eusebius, that four female martyrs suffered on the same day, and at the same place, but not in the same manner; for these were beheaded.

Lucian and Marcian, two wicked pagans, though skillful magicians, becoming converts to Christianity, to make amends for their former errors, lived the lives of hermits, and subsisted upon bread and water only. After some time spent in this manner, they became zealous preachers, and made many converts. The persecution, however, raging at this time, they were seized upon, and carried before Sabinus, the governor of Bithynia. On being asked by what authority they took upon themselves to preach, Lucian answered, ‘That the laws of charity and humanity obliged all men to endeavor the conversion of their neighbors, and to do everything in their power to rescue them from the snares of the devil.’ Lucian having answered in this manner, Marcian said, “Their conversion was by the same grace which was given to St. Paul, who, from a zealous persecutor of the Church, became a preacher of the Gospel.” The proconsul, finding that he could not prevail with them to renounce their faith, condemned them to be burnt alive, which sentence was soon after executed.

Trypho and Respicius, two eminent men, were seized as Christians, and imprisoned at Nice. Their feet were pierced with nails; they were dragged through the streets, scourged, torn with iron hooks, scorched with lighted torches, and at length beheaded, February 1, AD 251.

Agatha, a Sicilian lady, was not more remarkable for her personal and acquired endowments, than her piety: her beauty was such, that Quintian, governor of Sicily, became enamored of her, and made many attempts upon her chastity without success. In order to gratify his passions with the greater conveniency, he put the virtuous lady into the hands of Aphrodica, a very infamous and licentious woman. This wretch tried every artifice to win her to the desired prostitution; but found all her efforts were vain, for her chastity was inpregnable, and she well knew that virtue alone could procure true happiness. Aphrodica acquainted Quintian with the inefficacy of her endeavors, who, enraged to be foiled in his designs, changed his lust into resentment. On her confessing that she was a Christian he determined to gratify his revenge, as he could not his passion. Pursuant to his orders, she was scourged, burnt with red-hot iron and torn with sharp hooks. Having borne these torments with admirable fortitude, she was next laid naked upon live coals, intermingled with glass, and then being carried back to prison, she there expired on February 5, 251.

Cyril, bishop of Gortyna, was seized by order of Lucius, the governor of that place, who, nevertheless, exhorted him to obey the imperial mandate, perform the sacrifices, and save his venerable person from destruction; for he was now eighty-four years of age. The good prelate replied that as he had long taught others to save their souls, he should only think now of his own salvation. The worthy prelate heard his fiery sentence without emotion, walked cheerfully to the place of execution, and underwent his martyrdom with great fortitude.

The persecution raged in no place more than the Island of Crete; for the governor, being exceedingly active in executing the imperial decrees, that place streamed with pious blood.

Babylas, a Christian of a liberal education, became bishop of Antioch, AD 237, on the demise of Zebinus. He acted with inimitable zeal, and governed the Church with admirable prudence during the most tempestuous times. The first misfortune that happened to Antioch during his mission, was the siege of it by Sapor, king of Persia; who, having overrun all Syria, took and plundered this city among others, and used the Christian inhabitants with greater severity than the rest, but was soon totally defeated by Gordian.

After Gordian’s death, in the reign of Decius, that emperor came to Antioch, where, having a desire to visit an assembly of Christians, Babylas opposed him, and absolutely refused to let him come in. The emperor dissembled his anger at that time; but soon sending for the bishop, he sharply reproved him for his insolence, and then ordered him to sacrifice to the pagan deities as an expiation for his offense. This being refused, he was committed to prison, loaded with chains, treated with great severities, and then beheaded, together with three young men who had been his pupils, Alexander, bishop of Jerusalem, about this time was cast into prison on account of his religion, where he died through the severity of his confinement.

Julianus, an old man, lame with the gout, and Cronion, another Christian, were bound on the backs of camels, severely scourged, and then thrown into a fire and consumed. Also forty virgins, at Antioch, after being imprisoned, and scourged, were burnt.

In the year of our Lord 251, the emperor Decius having erected a pagan temple at Ephesus, he commanded all who were in the city to sacrifice to the idols. This order was nobly refused by several of his own soldiers, viz. Maximianus, Martianus, Joannes, Malchus, Dionysius, Seraion, and Constantinus. The emperor wishing to win these soldiers to renounce their faith by his entreaties and lenity, gave them a considerable respite until he returned from an expedition. During the emperor’s absence, they escaped, and hid themselves in a cavern, which the emperor being informed of at his return, the mouth of the cave was closed up, and they all perished with hunger.

Theodora, a beautiful young lady of Antioch, on refusing to sacrifice to the Roman idols, was condemned to the stews, that her virtue might be sacrificed to the brutality of lust. Didymus, a Christian disguised himself in the habit of a Roman soldier, went to the house, informed Theodora who he was, and advised her to make her escape in his clothes. This being effected, and a man found in the brothel instead of a beautiful lady, Didymus was taken before the president, to whom confessing the truth, and owning that he was a Christian the sentence of death was immediately pronounced against him. Theodora, hearing that her deliverer was likely to suffer, came to the judge, threw herself at his feet, and begged that the sentence might fall on her as the guilty person; but, deaf to the cries of the innocent and insensible to the calls of justice, the inflexible judge condemned both; when they were executed accordingly, being first beheaded and their bodies afterward burnt.

Secundianus, having been accused as a Christian, was conveyed to prison by some soldiers. On the way, Verianus and Marcellinus said, “Where are you carrying the innocent?” This interrogatory occasioned them to be seized, and all three, after having been tortured, were hanged and decapitated.

Origen, the celebrated presbyter and catechist of Alexandria, at the age of sixty-four, was seized, thrown into a loathsome prison, laden with fetters, his feet placed in the stocks, and his legs extended to the utmost for several successive days. He was threatened with fire, and tormented by every lingering means the most infernal imaginations could suggest. During this cruel temporizing, the emperor Decius died, and Gallus, who succeeded him, engaging in war with the Goths, the Christians met with a respite. In this interim, Origen obtained his enlargement, and, retiring to Tyre, he there remained until his death, which happened when he was in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

Gallus, the emperor, having concluded his wars, a plague broke out in the empire: sacrifices to the pagan deities were ordered by the emperor, and persecutions spread from the interior to the extreme parts of the empire, and many fell martyrs to the impetuosity of the rabble, as well as the prejudice of the magistrates. Among these were Cornelius, the Christian bishop of Rome, and Lucius, his successor, in 253.

Most of the errors which crept into the Church at this time arose from placing human reason in competition with revelation; but the fallacy of such arguments being proved by the most able divines, the opinions they had created vanished away like the stars before the sun.

John Foxe-Foxe’s Book of Martyrs

Dispensationalism and the Anti-Christ

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the Anti-Christ takes place during the seven year period after the Rapture. At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of Armaggedon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David, as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.

This Futuristic theory of the Anti-Christ propagated by Dr. Scofield is the Popish view. “Alarmed by the fact that the Reformers were pointing to the Pope as the Anti-Christ, the Jesuit Ribera at the end of the sixteenth century, invented or at least propagated futuristic views of the Anti-Christ, and pointed to a solitary Infidel Anti-Christ who would appear in the dim future. Ribera’s view soon infected the High Church party. J. N. Darby caught the contagion, and finally Dr. D. L. Scofield swallowed the Jesuit’s pill. Thus Ribera succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, for the attention of thousands of Protestants became deflected from the Papacy, a future Infidel Anti-Christ was looked for, and the historic Protestant view handed down by the Reformers was despised by many. These are the hard facts of history. A Protestantism saturated with Ribera’s Futurism is not the Protestantism of the Reformers, nor is it feared by the Papacy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Rev. F. S. Leahy).

In the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists, heretics who denied either the divinity of Christ or His actual incarnation. “Even now” he writes “are there many antichrists.” He also says, “Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that Antichrist shall come.” (1 John 2:18). According to Matthew Henry the generality of Christians had been informed of the coming of the Antichrist. Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians Ch. 2:8-10 made it clear to them. He is called the Antichrist as though there were none but he, because he was so eminently above all others. He is, therefore, called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” and the system of which he is the head “the mystery of iniquity.”

The Meaning of Anti-Christ

All the Reformers and all the Churches of the Reformation and the great body of Protestant interpreters hold that the Pope of Rome or the Papacy is the Anti-Christ, the word anti-christos being composed of kristos meaning anointed (Christ) and the prefix anti. “Anti” means against also instead of or in the place of. “When prefixed to the name of an individual it indicates an agent who assumes that individual’s place, and at the same time acts in opposition to him. Thus Rome herself speaks of Anti-popes. Anti-Christ therefore means one who pretends to be a vicar of Christ, and assumes to act in His name, but who is at the same time His rival and greatest enemy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Leahy).

In the Smalcald Articles Martin Luther singles out one particular statement of the Apostle Paul which beyond all doubt labels the Pope as the Anti-Christ “- – – the Pope raised his head above all. This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Anti-Christ, who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power. This is properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God, as Paul said, (2 Thess. 2:4) (Smalcald Art 11, art. 4:9-10).

“No one else has ever and will never be able to exalt himself above all that is called God more than the Pope of Rome, who holds millions of people at his command and over four thousand priests as agents of his ambition. He dares to oppose and rejects even the central truth of the Scriptures. He condemns justification by faith, which is fundamental to all, the heart of the Gospel. He puts himself against Christ, he damns, curses this cardinal truth given by Christ.” (Who is the Antichrist? by J. Zacehello, D.D.).

“To submit to the Roman Pontiff, we declare, say, define and pronounce to be absolutely necessary to every human creature to salvation.” (Bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII).

“If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be accursed.” (Council of Trent Can. 9.12).

The late Pope John XXIII was no sooner inaugurated in November 1958 than in his coronation address said: “Into this fold of Jesus Christ no one can enter it if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff; and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His person on earth.”

The Babylon of the Apocalypse

As the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Babylon in the Book of the Revelation is the Church of Rome. Babylon cannot be the literal Babylon for it was not built on seven hills, nor was it the Queen of the earth in John’s time. Even the great Roman Catholic controversialists have been driven to admit that Rome fits the description of Babylon in the Revelation. ” St. John in the Apocalypse” says Cardinal Bellarmine, “calls Rome Babylon, for no other city besides Rome reigned in his age over the kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated upon Seven Hills.”

“It is confessed by all” says Cardinal Baronius, “that Rome is signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon.” And the language of the celebrated French Prelate Bousset, in his Exposition of the Book of the Revelation is: “The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked, that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure Babylon.”

The above quotations from Bellarmine, Baronius and Bousset are taken from “Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?” a classic by Charles Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster and later Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1885.

“These Apocalyptic prophecies, which describe the Woman who is called Babylon and is seated on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns do not concern the older, literal, Assyrian Babylon. The inscription on the woman’s forehead is Mystery, indicating a spiritual meaning. This word had been used by the Apostle Paul in his description of the Mystery of Iniquity opposed to the Mystery of Godliness; and St. John adopts the word from St. Paul, and applies it to the same object as that which had been portrayed by that Apostle.

“Again, the Babylon of the Apocalypse is described as a city existing and reigning in St. John’s age; but the literal, or Assyrian Babylon had long ceased to be a reigning city when St. John wrote. Therefore the Babylon of the Apocalypse cannot be the literal or Assyrian Babylon.”

In the conclusion Canon Wordsworth writes: “We have been contemplating the TWO MYSTERIES of the Apocalypse. The word Mystery signifies something spiritual; it here describes a church. The first Mystery is explained to us by Christ Himself. “The Mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest – – – The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20). The second Mystery is explained also: “I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman.” The Beast that carrieth her, which bath the seven heads, is described, and the seven heads are expounded to be seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:7.9).

      1. The first Mystery is the Mystery of the seven stars.

      2. The second Mystery is the Mystery of the seven hills.

The first mystery represents the universal church in its sevenfold fulness, containing within it all particular churches.

The second mystery represents a particular church, the church on the seven hills, the Church of Rome, claiming to be the church universal.

The first mystery represents the universal church, liable to defects, but not imposing errors as terms of communion; and therefore, by virtue of the Word and the sacraments, held together in Apostolic communion with St. John and Christ, who walketh in the midst of it, and governed by an apostolic ministry, shining like a glorious constellation in the hand of Christ.

2. The second mystery represents the particular Church of Rome, holding the cup of her false doctrines in her hand, and making all nations to drink thereof. And the voice from heaven cries, “Come out of her, my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her plagues.”

      The first mystery is a “Mystery of Godliness.”

      The second is a “Mystery of Iniquity.”

Such is the interpretation of the two Mysteries of the Apocalypse.

“If any minister or member of the Church of Rome can disprove this conclusion, he is hereby invited to do so. If he can, doubtless he will; and if none attempt it, it may be presumed that they cannot; and if they cannot, then as they love their salvation, they ought to embrace the truth, which is preached to them by the mouth of St. John, and by the voice of Christ.”

“This appeal was just made in a sermon preached by the Canon on Sunday, April 28th, 1850, in Westminster Abbey, and reiterated in Westminster Abbey on Sunday, February 16th, 1851. As far as the writer is aware, no reply has yet been made to it by any member of the Church of Rome. It is therefore repeated here.”

With reference to Paul’s description of the Anti-Christ in 2 Thess. 2:3-8, Dr. Charles Hodge of theological fame says, “This portrait suits the Papacy so exactly that Protestants have rarely doubted that it is the Anti-Christ which the apostle intended to describe.”

“So strikingly” says Richard Baxter, “does the Church of Rome resemble Anti-Christ that any one is justified in mistaking the similarity for sameness.”

“And the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth” (Rev. 17:9). “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH AND I SAW THE WOMAN DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS.” (Rev. 17: 5,6).

The Doom of the Papacy

“As sure as the Papacy has had its glory, so surely shall its doom come. Paul before closing his prophecy pauses, and in solemn and awful words foretells the night of horrors in which its career is to end. “That wicked — whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2 Thess. 2:8). This day of wrath will be unspeakably great and will mark as one of the greatest days of vengeance since the foundation of the world. Paul despatches it in a single sentence; John expands it into a whole chapter. And in what other chapter of the Bible or of human history is there such another spectacle of judgement — such another picture of horrors of awestruck consternation, of loud and bitter wailings and cries of woe as in the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse? The kings of the earth shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas! Alas! That great city Babylon, the mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. (Rev. 18: 9,10).

But this dark scene has one relieving feature. It is a scene that will not be repeated for it will close earth’s evil days and begin the hallelujahs of the nations. “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. Rejoice over her, thou heavens, and holy apostles and prophets: for God hath avenged you on her – – – and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Rev. 18: 20, 21, 24). (The Papacy is the Anti-Christ — p. 128 by Rev. J. A. Wylie).

An excerpt from an article entitled “The Scofield Bible and Dispensationalism” found at http://www.theologue.org

Prophecies were not given for our idle curiosity to be overindulged

 

I think I may add, there is reason to hope that the time when these things shall be accomplished cannot be far off. I have no desire to deal in uncertain conjectures. The prophecies were not designed to make us prophets, nor to gratify an idle curiosity. They contain enough, however, to strengthen our faith, and invigorate our zeal. If we carefully examine the scriptures, though we may not be able to fix times with any certainty, yet we may obtain satisfaction that the day is not very distant when the kingdom of Christ shall be universal. The New-testament writers, in their times, made use of language which strongly indicates that time itself was far advances. The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. –Behold the judge standeth at the door. — The end of all things is at hand. — He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly! These, and such like passages, I should think, cannot mean less than that in those days they had passed the meridian of time, and entered, as it were, into the afternoon of the world. And now, after a lapse of eighteen hundred years, what else can be expected, but that things are fast approaching to their final issue? But it is not merely on general grounds that the conclusion rests. The prophet Daniel, in his seventh chapter, describes the successive establishment and overthrow of four great governments, which should each, in its day, rule the greater part of the world. He also speaks of the last of these governments as issuing in ten branches, and describes another, which he calls a little horn, as rising from among them. The dominion of this last government was to continue until a time, times, and the dividing of time. After this the judgement should set, and they should take away its dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And then it immediately follows, And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High. There are many things in the prophecies which are hard to be understood: but this seems to be very clear. There can be no doubt of the four great governments being the Babylonian, the Persian, the Grecian, and the Roman. Now these have each appeared upon the stage, and are gone into perdition. The division of the Roman empire into a number of lesser governments, such as continue in Europe to this day, and, among them, exercise a dominion over the rest of the world equal to what was formerly exercised by the Romans, is doubtless signified by the ten horns of the fourth beast. Nor can we be at a loss to know what that government is which is signified by a little horn, which rose up from among the ten horns, which speaketh great words against the Most High, and weareth out the saints of the Most High.

 

Rev. Andrew Fuller-God’s Approbation of our Labours Necessary to the Hope of Success-Preached