Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thus the church of God emerged from the great wilderness of obscurity in which she had been held fast so long, and songs of deliverance filled the hearts of the redeemed.

This naturally stirred the camp of the Roman church into a state of hatred against the reformers and their followers. Persecution at once began. Soon after the death of Luther there came a great war in Germany between the Protestants and the Catholics. It is known in history as the Thirty Years' War. In the beginning of this great conflict it seemed that the work of the reformers would be crushed, but through the assistance of Gustavus Adolphus, from Sweden, who, with his armies, came to the rescue of the Protestants in Germany, they eventually gained the victory and secured their religious liberty.

It has become customary to denominate all the religious systems that have arisen since the Reformation, Protestants; therefore Protestantism is properly all the so-called Christian churches that discard at least some of the doctrines of their mother, the Roman church.

Sect-making,

The Lutheran reformation was soon followed by apostasy. As before stated, Zwingli at this time was effecting a reformation in Switzerland, and Calvin also was doing a work. Menno Simons came out of popery at this time. Though the reformers preached some truth, yet coming out of the darkness of night as they did, they understood comparatively little of the clear truth taught in the primitive days of Christianity. The result was that several sects were organized, and this marks the rise of Protestant sectism. The oldest of these is the Lutheran, whose creed-the Augsburg Confession - was formed in A. D. 1530. As before stated, this marks the end of the papal reign, as portrayed in prophecy and revelation.

Turning again to the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, we find a description of the ruling power in Protestantism:“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh 'fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." Rev. 13: 11-18.

This second beast is Protestantism. The symbolic description of this beast directs us to a political and religious power rising at the expiration of the 1,260 years' reign of the first beast. This one looks more natural than the first in that it has but two horns. These are England and Germany—the two political powers that have always stood in defense of Protestantism. By these two powers Protestantism

arose.

It is reasonable that if the ten horns of the first beast represented ten temporal powers that supported it, the two horns of the second beast represented two temporal powers which have always supported it. England and Germany have done this, and they are two of the original ten. His two horns like a lamb signify the tolerance and mildness of these nations, as well as of Protestantism as a whole. Though this beast was lamb-like, yet it spake as a dragon. The dragon-power was even traceable down through the Protestant age. This twohorned beast was to exercise all the power of the first beast before him. Popery, as we have seen in a previous chapter, exercised a universal influence, swayed universal dominion; therefore to exercise the same power of the first beast, Protestantism must exercise a universal influence. This it has surely done. Protestantism is the universal religion of the socalled Christian world, just as popery once was.

[graphic][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »