Since the first publication of the foregoing Essay some important events have taken place, which have tended to confirm the conclusion to which the above enquiry has led.
The first of these occurred on Friday, December 8th, 1854. On that day, the Bishop of Rome, in the presence of a vast multitude gathered together in St. Peter’s Church in that city from all parts of the world, affirmed it to be an Article of the faith, and necessary to be believed by all, that the Blessed Virgin Mary is exempt from original sin; and he solemnly asserted, that all who contravene this dogma "are guilty of heresy, and have incurred the wrath of Almighty God, and of His blessed Apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul."
By this act the Bishop of Rome assumed to himself a divine attribute. He claimed the power of adding to the "faith once for all delivered to the Saints (Jude 3)." He arrogated the right of making a new revelation. He also did outrage to the unique sinlessness of Christ. He affirmed that a human creature, the blessed Virgin—and not her Divine Son Who was conceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost—is the source and well-spring of purity and holiness to our fallen Nature. He obscured the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Son of God. He condemned the Apostles and Apostolic Churches, and anathematized eighteen centuries of Christians, who did not acknowledge this doctrine, but either indirectly or explicitly censured and rejected it.
Thus the Church of Rome corroborated the arguments already adduced, that she is the faithless Woman of the Apocalypse, who holds in her hands a golden chalice of false doctrine, and makes all men, as far as she is able, to drink of it.
The second event, which has confirmed the same conclusion, took place in Rome in the same Church on Monday, the 18th July, 1870.
On that day, amid a terrible storm of thunder and lightening, the Bishop of Rome in a Council of the Roman Church, the Vatican Council (erroneously called Ecumenical) proclaimed in a solemn decree that he himself, and every Bishop of Rome in succession, is Infallible, whenever he speaks "ex cathedra" on matters of faith and morals; and that all their decisions in such matters are unerring; and that all persons, who presume to contravene this dogma, are under an anathema or malediction from God.
Here again the Church of Rome fulfilled the prophecies of the Apocalypse. Rome is the city on seven hills which is presented to our view in that book. Rome is the City which is there described as "reigning over the Kings of the Earth" at the time when St. John wrote. The City of Rome is the subject of his prophecies in the Apocalypse. This is confessed by Roman Catholic divines themselves.
And now in the greatest Church of that City on seven hills, which reigned over the Kings of the Earth when St. John wrote the Apocalypse, and concerning which he delivered a full and a solemn prophecy in that book which all men are exhorted by the Holy Spirit to read and observe (Revelation 1:3, 22:7)—two great religious assemblies have been held, in which the Roman Pontiff has assumed to himself prerogatives of God, and has pronounced an imprecation upon all who dispute his claim to them.
By these acts the Church of Rome has added new force to the evidence which has been submitted to the reader’s consideration in the foregoing pages, and has riveted the proof, that she is the Babylon of the Apocalypse.
There are two events recorded in the Book of Daniel, of which the Apocalypse is the sequel and completion, concerning the literal, or Assyrian, Babylon, which are like foreshadowing of the two events which have just been noticed in the history of the mystical Babylon, the Church of Rome; and which ,when compared with these two recent events, shed fresh light on the question, why the Church of Rome is called in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon.
The first of those two events in the history of the literal Babylon, was the setting up of the golden image by Nebuchadnezzar to be worshipped by all on pain of death. This was an act of self-deification on his part; and it may be compared to the recent act of the Roman Pontiff, the sovereign of the mystical Babylon, commanding that he himself should be acknowledged, on pain of eternal damnation, to have the divine attribute of Infallibility.
The other great event in the history of the literal Babylon was the banquet of Belshazzar. That festival was celebrated on a religious Anniversary. Then it was that the King of Babylon and his nobles worshipped the work of their own hands, and profaned the sacred vessels of the Lord; and in the hour of their idolatrous and sacrilegious revelry, God’s decree went forth against them in the handwriting on the wall of the palace, and Babylon fell into the hands of the Medes and Persians.
Is there not a parallel to this event also in the recent history of the mystical Babylon, the Church of Rome?
The Festival of the Immaculate Conception was a great religious Anniversary; it was celebrated by the Church of Rome in honour of an object of worship which she had made for herself, and at that festival she outraged the Majesty of the Most High. That festival has now become the signal for the execution of God’s judgments upon her, and of the transfer of her Temporal Power into other hands: as the power of the literal Babylon was transferred at the religious festival to the hands of the Medes and Persians.
Observe what was prophesied in the Apocalypse on this subject.
It was there foretold, that the mystical Babylon would be punished for her sins (Revelation 18:4, 5). It was also prophesied there that (as the literal Babylon was punished by the Medes and Persians, who were formerly subject to her and who rose up against her, and took the city, according to Daniel’s interpretation of the handwriting on the wall) (Daniel 5:25-31), so likewise the mystical Babylon would be chastised by God, using the agency of some who had once been her allies and tributaries. It was predicted that some of them would revolt from her, and "ate her and make her desolate and naked, and tear her flesh" (Revelation 17:16); in other words, that they would despoil her of her Temporal Power, and would ravage her dominions, and take from her that carnal Sovereignty in which she trusted.
And what is now the fact? The House of Savoy, which was once the most devoted vassal of the Papacy, and which exercised its power in obedience to the Papacy in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries in successive sanguinary persecutions of its own Protestant subjects, the Waldenses, whom it almost exterminated at her bidding, has been raised up by Almighty God against the Papacy in the person of Victor Emmanuel, a Prince of that house, and now King of Italy.
Not by conquests of his own, but by the inscrutable Providence of God, overruling the events of War for his exaltation and aggrandizement, and for the humiliation and overthrow of the Temporal Power of the Papacy, Victor Emmanuel has now become Sovereign of Rome and of all the Papal States.
It is also a remarkable coincidence, that the promulgation of the dogma of the personal Infallibility of the Papacy by the present Pose, in the Council which commenced its sessions on the Festival of the Immaculate Conception, was followed on the next day after that promulgation (July 19, 1870) by the declaration of War on the part of France against Prussia; which has led to the sudden humiliation of France, the protectress of Rome, and to the withdrawal of the French troops from Rome, and to the opening of the gates of Rome to the forces of Victor Emmanuel.
It is also worthy of notice that in the same year, 1870, on the very next day after the Anniversary of the Festival of the Immaculate Conception on which (in 1854) the novel dogma of the Immaculate Conception was promulgated, and on which (in 1869) the Vatican Council met, which has decreed the Pope’s Infallibility,—a public document and Manifesto was laid before the Italian Parliament, in which the Government of the King of Italy announced a royal decree, accepting the City and provinces of Rome, transferred to the King by a "plebiscito" of the roman people themselves, and in which it is declared that the Pope’s Temporal Power is extinct, and that Rome is no longer to be the Metropolis of the Roman Papacy, but is henceforth to become, in lieu of Florence, the Capital of the Kingdom of Italy.
These coincidences were undesigned; the principal actors in them thought nothing of the Apocalypse.
But they who have that divine book in their hands, and who remember Christ’s command to "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3; Luke 12:56), and who consider the blessing which is promised to those who read and meditate upon the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:3, 22:7), will mark these facts, and will observe these coincidences, and will enquire with reverence, whether the prophecies of the Book of Revelation are not now receiving their accomplishment in Italy and at Rome.
It was foretold, in these prophecies, as has been already noticed, that some who have been tributaries and vassals of the mystical Babylon, will "tear her flesh, and make her desolate and naked, and burn her with fire" (Revelation 17:16). That prophecy has a spiritual meaning. The mystical Babylon is compared to a faithless woman, and her chastisement is likened to that which was inflicted on Hebrew women for harlotry. They who were once her votaries will tear the flesh of her who once enchanted them with her charms. It is added that they will "burn her with fire" (Leviticus 21:9); this is also a figurative phrase; and its meaning is that, as, among the Hebrews, unchaste women were burnt, so the mystical Babylon will be punished, and her glory will be consumed for her sins, as with fire.
I do not venture to express a confident opinion, whether the present occupation of Rome by the arms of Victor Emmanuel, and the destruction of the Temporal Power of the Papacy by the People of Italy, including the Romans themselves, and by the Sovereign of Italy at the invitation of the Romans themselves, is a fulfillment of this prophecy; but it seems to be an approach towards it. Time will show. The capture of the literal Babylon by Cyrus was not the total destruction of Babylon, it was the transfer of its sovereignty from the Babylonians to the Medes and Persians.
Many years afterwards, Alexander the Great attempted to make Babylon the Capital of his empire; with what result is well known.
Let us remark another fact in the present condition of the Church of Rome, which appears to be a fulfillment of the prophecies of the Apocalypse.
The Papacy is now using its spiritual weapons against those who are taking possession of its temporalities. It wields against them the thunders of Ex-communication; and it threatens to lay the Kingdom of Italy under an Interdict.
But let the Papacy be reminded, that in former times for six centuries—it used its spiritual weapons in order to deprive others of their temporalities. Pope Gregory VII used them to dethrone the Emperor of Germany, Henry IV; Pope Innocent III used them to dethrone the Emperor Otho and King John of England; Popes Honorius III, Gregory IX, and Innocent IV used them to deprive Frederick II of his dominions. Pope Paul III used them to dethrone our Henry VIII. Pope Pius V (canonized as a Saint) and Gregory XIII used them to depose Queen Elizabeth. Pope Urban VIII used them against our King Charles I. And even at the present day, the Church of Rome eulogizes Pope Gregory VII in her Breviary, whom she has canonized as a Saint, because he "deprived the Emperor Henry IV of his kingdom, and released his subjects from their oaths of allegiance to him."
We are no advocates of aggression, or apologists of spoliation, but we cannot fail to remark, that is written in the Apocalypse concerning the mystical Babylon, "Her sins have reached unto heaven" (did they not reach to heaven when the Pope proclaimed himself to be Infallible? Did they not then come to a head? And is it surprising that the cup of God’s wrath should now overflow upon her?), "and God hath remembered her iniquities; reward her, even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double" (Revelation 18:5, 6). And we cannot but observe the evidence which is now displayed to the world, that God is a righteous Judge, and that He is the moral Governor of the world, and Arbiter of the destinies of nations, and that, after long forbearance, He punishes Churches and Empires in a manner proportioned to their sins; and that the prophecies of the Apocalypse are true.
There are other portions of this prophecy which now claim careful attention.
The Apocalypse predicts that the spiritual dominion of the Papacy will survive the fall of the temporal power of Rome.
In that Book the mystical Babylon falls, but that spiritual Empire, which is personified as the Beast (a term derived from Daniel’s prophecy) (Daniel 7:2) on which she sits, is described as remaining after her fall. The fall of the Pope’s temporal power will not be the extinction of the Papacy. On the contrary, it is very probable, that the fall of the temporal power of the Papacy will add fresh strength and confidence to its spiritual domination. The same public document of December 9, 1870 already referred to, in which the Italian Ministry announces the fall of the Pope’s temporal power, and the transfer of the seat of the Government of Italy from Florence to Rome, proposes to give to the Bishop of Rome absolute dominion in all spiritual matters. It revokes what is termed the regale, which was formerly exercised by means of the royal placet and exequatur, without which no Papal Decree could be published. It gives free scope to the exercise of his spiritual despotism, or rather to the despotism of that secret mysterious Power which deifies him, in order to work by him for its own ends. It surrenders to him the nomination to all Italian Bishoprics, which in primitive times were elective by the suffrages of the Clergy of the Dioceses, and have been now for some time in the Patronage of the Crown, by virtue of the Concordat between it and the Papacy.
The Roman Catholic Bishops are vassals of the Pope, being bound to him by a solemn oath "to the Papacy against all men." Those Bishops have despotic power over the Priesthood; the Priesthood, which is at the mercy of the Episcopate for its daily bread, acts upon the consciences of the Roman Catholic Laity, for the exaltation of the Church of Rome, by means of the Confessional, by refusal of absolution to soldiers if they fight against the Pope, and to civilians if they venture to do what he censures and condemns; and by denial of the Sacraments in sickness and at deathbeds, and by refusal of Christian burial.
Let us also observe that these concessions are made by the Italian Government to the Papacy at a time when by the recent decree of the Vatican Council, which ascribes the divine prerogative of Infallibility to the Bishop of Rome, the spiritual power of the Roman Church has been concentrated in him, and when by virtue of that decree he is regarded by many as "a God upon earth," whose decrees are to be received and obeyed as divine oracles. Therefore, unless the Priesthood and Laity of Italy arise and recover their rights, especially in the nomination of Bishops, according to ancient practice, the destruction of the temporal Power of the Papacy will be coincident with its spiritual aggrandizement, and with the subjugation of the Church and Nation of Italy to its despotism. The splendour of the regal diadem will be eclipsed by that of the Papal tiara. In deed, though not in name, the Pope will be King of Italy.
The Apocalypse foretells a remarkable phenomenon, which may soon be manifested, namely that, Powers, which have destroyed the mystical Babylon, will mourn over her (Revelation 18:9).
The cause of this seemingly strange anomaly is now beginning to disclose itself. Where Ultramontanism is dominant, there the Papacy will now have acquired new force; but in other places, where Ultramontanism does not prevail, there, as is notorious, the usurpation and corruptions of the Roman Church have given a strong impetus to Infidelity. Infidelity produces Anarchy. Anarchy is impatient of all civil rule, especially of royal power. As long as kings reigned by hereditary right, or where they were allied with the Papacy, and wherever the religion of Rome had some hold over the minds of the people, there the Throne rested (though not very securely) on some religious foundation. But this foundation has almost disappeared. Many European Sovereigns are now nominees of the people. They are made and unmade by popular passion. And the Papacy is no longer confederate with them, but is arrayed against them. Can such Monarchies have any permanence? Is it not probable, that the time will soon come, when some of them may even regret their own act in destroying the temporal power of the Papacy, and, according to the prophecy of the Apocalypse, mourn over the ruins of that mystical Babylon which they themselves have laid low?
Thanks be to God, the Monarchy of England rests as yet on other foundations than these. May it long continue to do so!
There is another prophecy in the Book of Revelation which is a fit subject for solemn mediation at the present time.
It seems to foretell, that after the destruction of its temporal sway, the Papacy will act, if not in alliance with some Infidel powers, yet concurrently with them (Revelation 19:1-19), and will display a still more direct antagonism to the true Faith, and will thus eventually bring upon itself the wrath and indignation of Christ (Revelation 19:20), and that when this has been accomplished, then the final struggle of Christianity against open Infidelity will ensue; and then, after that great conflict, the Victory of Christ will be complete, and the General Resurrection and Universal Judgment of quick and dead will take place (Revelation 20:2-13), and His faithful soldiers and servants will be received into the everlasting glory (Revelation 21:1-26, 22:1-5) of His heavenly kingdom. Then will be the consummation of all things which is revealed in the last chapters of the Apocalypse ... "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come ... Amen, so come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:17, 20).
Works on Prophecy and Inspiration
From Thynne and Jarvis’ List "Aids to Prophetic Study"
The Lights and Shadows of the Millennium. Revelation 20 by Harold St. John and R. T. Naish. The Supernatural Element in Prophecy, with a Review of Dr. Peake’s Commentary. By W.E. Vine, M.A., and Dr. A.H. Burton, B.A. Stiff Paper covers 1s. 6d. net.
The New Heavens and the New Earth Revelation 21. By Pastor F. E. Marsh and the Rev. W. C. Procter. European and Near East Conditions. By Rev. T. H. Wilkinson and E. B. Samuel. Stiff paper covers, 1s. 6d. net.
The River of God Revelation 22. By Mr. Theodore Roberts and Rev. Peter Rose. The Progress of Revelation concerning the Second Coming. By Messrs. C. F. Hogg and Thos. Stockdale. Stiff paper covers, 1s. 6d. net.
Palestine and the Restoration of the Jews. By Revs. E. P. Cachemaille and Samuel Schor; and The Great Apostasy. By Pastor D. M. Panton and Rev. E. L. Langston. Stiff paper cover, 1s. 6d. net.
Israel’s Resurrection and Restoration by Lt. Col. G. F. Poynder and Rev. J. M. Pollock, and The Great Tribulation. By Mr. W. Hoste and Rev. E. H. Horne.
Baxter, Michael Paget Baxter. Clergyman, Evangelists, Editor and Philanthropist. A Memoir by Nathaniel Wiseman, Author of "The Messages of Christ," etc. With 32 illustrations. Demy 8vo., cloth, beveled boards, gold lettered and gold top, 15s. net.
Forty Future Wonders of Scripture Prophecy. With 50 pictures, maps and diagrams. 15th Edition, 124th thousand. Cloth, gilt, 4s.net.
Berry. European History Foretold, or St. John’s Foreview of Christendom. By the Rev. Digby M. Berry, M. A., minister of Christ Church, Johannesburg. Demy 8vo. Cloth, gilt, 4s. net.
Daintree. From the Rapture to the Eternal State. A Bible study. By Rev. A. Daintree, Rector of Mowbray, S. Africa. 9d. net
The Apocalypse. Expounded by Holy Scriptures. By Robert Govett, M. A. This book was originally issued in 4 vols. It is a complete Commentary on the Book of Revelation, verse by verse. This new edition preserves all the special features of the Book. Crown 8 vo, cloth, gilt, 7s.
Rome, Turkey, and Jerusalem. By Rev. Canon Edward Hoare. A Series of Sermons on prophecy now republished with additional Notes by the Rev. J. H. Townsend, D. D. New Edition. 6th Impression. Cloth 1s 6d. net.
Great Britain, Palestine, Russia, and the Jews. Being Canon Hoare’s "Palestine and Russia." Brought up to date by the Rev. E. L. Langstron, M. A. Second Edition. Cloth 1s.6d. net.
Horsefield, The Return of the King: Its Certainty; Its Meaning; Its Nearness. By Rev. F. J. Horsefield, D. D., Hon. Canon of Bristol. Third Edition, cloth, gilt, 5s. net.
Hurnard "To Him that Overcometh." Studies in Revelation. By Samuel F. Hurnard. With Foreward by P. S. Oswald, LL. D. Crown 8vo. Second Impression 1s.6d. net.
Langston. Ominous Days: or, the signs of the Times. By the Rev. E. L. Langston, M. A. Incumbant of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon. 5th Edition, with 1923 Supplement. Crown 8vo. Cloth, 2s.6d net.
Marsh. What Will Take Place when Christ Returns? By Pastor F. E.Marsh, 2nd Edition. Cloth , gilt, 5s.6d.net.
The Law of Moses. A Vindication of the Pentateuch. By Prof. E. Naville. Translated from the French. With Preface by the late Dean Wace. Paper Boards, 2/6 net.
Great Principles of divine Truth. Holy Scripture, its Inspiration, Supremacy and Sufficiency, etc. By Rev. Canon Edward Hoare, sometimes Vicar of Holy Trintiy, Tunbridge Wells. Cloth, gilt, 5s net.
Inspiration and Higher Criticism. By Rev. E. L. Langston. A Handbook for the People. Stiff ppr. 9d. net; cloth, 1s. net.
How Shall I Study My Bible? Studies and searchings in the Word of God from Genesis to Rev. by M. E. and F. A. Markham. Foreword by Rev. R. Wright Hay. Cloth, gilt, 5s. net.
Five Hundred Bible Readings: or Light from the Lamp of Truth. By Pastor F. E. Marsh. Cloth, gilt, 4s. net.
Verbal Inspiration Demonstrated. By Ivan Panin. Paper covers, 6d. net.
Is all Scripture Inspired? By Bishop J. C. Ryle. Ppr. Bds., 1s. net.
Titterton. Glories of the Messiah. By Rev. C. H. Titterton, B. D. Paper covers, 9d. net.
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The Messiah, or the Gospel in Daniel IX. Paper covers, 6d. net.
Bible Topics. Addresses and Studies on Verbal Inspiration. By H. D. Woolley. Cloth, gilt, 4s. net.
Evolution and the Fall. By D. M. Panton 2d.
Scientists and the Fall by Rev. E. L. Langston 2d.
Bible Predictions and the Critics by W. E. Vine. 4d.
How God speaks to Man Rev. H. Crossland. 4d.
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