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tion in the sheep of Christ (i. e. the church of God) are worse than those chief destroyers, to wit, Lucifer and Antichrist." In 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

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 cominon 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 ; and 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 VOL. 1.-NO. IV.

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which they constituted was a true church, so they, while members of the Roman church, constituted it a true church. But when they were cast out from the Papacy they drew up the Confession of Auxburg : this became the chief occasion of calling the Council of Trent; which, putting forth its confession in opposition to the Confession of Auxburg, did in that public act, by which it is still bound, proclaim itself an apostasy; and from that time forth the Auxburgh Confession, and those which followed it, may be considered as the symbols of a true church, and the decrees of the Council of Trent may be considered as the symbol of the apostasy. The church is one body, holding the true doctrines and true ordinances : false professors in a church do not make it an apostasy, so long as sound doctrines and ordinances are maintained in its standards; for a church without false professors has never existed on earth, as Judas, Simon Magus, Demas, &c., may prove. The church is the body of called ones (EKK.nota ek kalew,

many called"): of this body the elect are the chosen ones (EKNEKTOS EK Neyw," the few chosen.") But when the doctrines and ordinances of a church are corrupted, and these corruptions justified by those in authority, then it is no true church, but an apostasy. This demonstration was necessary to justify the Reformers in separating from Rome ; for if it was still a true church, then were they schismatics in leaving her communion; and, down to the present day, every Protestant who calls the Papacy a true church, does, in so doing, plead guilty to the sin of schism.- But it is more to our purpose to remark, how from this time forward the prophecies respecting Antichrist opened to the church. They now saw the general scope of all these prophecies realized in the system they opposed ; and endeavoured to interpret them with an ardour quickened by the sense of their own personal interest in understanding them ; sanctioned, too, as it was by the advice and encouragement of those learned Reformers who had broken up the monopoly of interpretation, which the priests had hitherto enjoyed; and facilitated as it was by the translation of the Scriptures into the vulgar tongues, which then became general. Then, too, they began to understand the great periods of the oppression of the church; and gave their true sense, in many instances, though mistaken in the time of their commencement; for it is worthy of remark, that the exact interpretation of any of the prophetic periods has never been known with perfect certainty till its expiration.

A striking instance of this general truth of interpreting the prophecies of Antichrist and the periods, combined with mistake of the time of their commencement, may be found in Fox, p. 440, vol. i. in “ the Storie and Processe against Walter Brute," A. D. 1391 : “ being a layman, and learned ; brought up, as it seemeth, in the University of Oxford, being there also

graduate." The chiefest occasions that seemed to stir up the heart and zeale of this Walter against the Pope, was the impudent pardons and indulgences of Pope Urban, granted to Henry Spencer, Bishop of Norwich, to fight against Pope Clement." His zeal thus roused, Brute shews at large that the Pope is Antichrist, and that Rome is Babylon ; saying,

“ If the high Bishop of Rome, calling himself the servant of the servants of God, and the chief vicar of Christ in this world, do make and maintain many laws contrarie to the Gospel of Jesu Christ, then is he of those that have come in Christ's name, saying I am Christ, and have seduced many a one.” He then cites many texts in proof, and proceeds, “ Thus, by the testimonie of all these places, is he the chief Antichrist upon the earth, and must be slain with the sword of God's word, and cast with the dragon, the cruel beast, and the false prophet that hath seduced the earth, into the lake of fire and brimstone, to be tormented world without end. If the citie of Rome do allow his traditions, and do disallow Christ's holy commandments and Christ's doctrine that it may confirme his traditions, then is she Babylon the great.... Yet is she ignorant that within a little while shall come the day of her destruction and ruin by the testimonie of the Apocalypse (chap. xvii.); because that from the time that the continual sacrifice was taken away and the abomination of desolation placed, there be passed 1290 days; and the holie citie also hath been trodden under foot of the heathen for forty-two months; and the woman was nourished up in the wilderness 1260 days, or else for a time, times, and half a time, which is all one. All these things be manifest by the testimonie of the Apocalypse, and the chronicles thereto agreeing.” Afterwards (p. 444), he says, “And from that time hitherto have passed near about 1290 days, taking a day for a year, as Daniel takes it in his prophecies, and other prophets likewise : for Daniel, speaking of sixty-two weeks, doth not speak of the weeks of days, but of years; so, therefore, when he saith, from the time when the continual sacrifice was taken away,' &c., 1290 days must be taken for so many years from the time of the desolation of Jerusalem even unto the revealing of Antichrist; and not for three years and a half, which they say Antichrist shall reign. Wherefore that cruel beast coming up out of the sea doth rightly note the Roman emperors. And the power of this beast was for forty-two months; because that from the first emperor of Rome, that is to say, Julius Cæsar, unto the end of Frederic, the last emperor of Rome, there were forty-two months; taking a month for thirty days, as the months of the Hebrews and Grecians are ; and taking a day always for a year, as commonly it is taken in the prophets. By which things it may plainly appear how unfitly this prophecy is applied to that imagined Antichrist; and the forty-two months taken for three


years and a half, which they say he shall reign in, against the sayings of the Prophets ; because that days are taken for years: as in the Apocalypse, chap. ii., “They shall be troubled ten days,' which do note the most cruel persecution of Dioclesian against the Christians, that endured ten years.” He then goes on to expose many of the corruptions of the Papacy, and proves, from Apocalypse xviii., that “ This Babylon, this great city, is the city of Rome;” That the beast with seven heads and ten horns is the Roman Empire ;” That. "the feet of the image which Nebuchadnezzar saw did betoken the empire of Rome; That “the beast with two horns like the lamb signifieth the spiritual dominion of Rome....... This beast hath two horns, because that he challengeth to himself both the priestly and kingly power, above all other here on earth.” “Thus sitteth the Bishop of Rome in the temple of God, shewing himself as God, and extolleth himself above all which is called God, or worshipped as God.”

Another remarkable instance is given by_Fox (i. 503), in the Sermon of R. Wimbledon, preached at Paul's Cross, 1389. “We shall find in the Gospel of Matthew, that the disciples being asked of Christ three questions : first, what time the city of Jerusalem should be destroyed ; the second, what token of his coming to the doom; and the third, what sign of the ending of the world: and Christ gave them no certain time of these things when they should fall, but he gave them tokens, by which they might know when they drew nigh. And so, as to the first question, of the destruction of Jerusalem, he said, When the Romans come to besiege that city, then soon after she shall be destroyed. And as to the second and the third, he

gave many tokens, i. e. that realme shall rise against realme. But the last token that he gave was this: When ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, &c. Upon which text a Doctor argueth that this abomination shall be in the great Antichrist's days, 1290. Now proveth this Doctor, that a day must be taken for a year, both by authority of holy writ in the same place, and in other, and also by reason: so it seemeth to this clerk that the great Antichrist should come in the year 1400 from the birth of Christ; the which number of years is now fulfilled, not fully twelve years and a half lacking. And this reason put not I as to shew any certain time of his coming, since I have not that knowledge; but to shew that he is nigh ; but how nigh I wot never. But take we heed to the fourth part of the second vision of St. John, put in the Book of the Revelations; in the which, under the opening of the seven seals, is declared the state of the church from the time of Christ unto the end of the world. The opening of the four first seals shew the state of the church from the time of Christ, to the time of Antichrist and his foregoers; the which is shewed in the opening of the other three seals. The opening of the fifth seal telleth

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