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CHAP. 9.

MILITARY ORDERS.

221

der pretence of extending the triumphs of the cross, abandoned themselves to the most flagitious and abominable crimes without any shame or remorse. If they went from home, a crowd of pretended saints, they came back desperate villains.

Such an opportunity the cunning Pontiffs and monks did not lose to strengthen the superstition of the age An army of dead men's bones, the pretended relics of all the saints from the martyr Stephen down to the latest age, was brought by the returaing crusades from the tombs of Asia, and most carefully deposited in all the temples and monasteries of Europe. The Greeks and the Syrians knew how to impose upon the ignorance and superstition of the French, the English, and the Germans, and sold them these pretended relics at the highest prices. They were considered as the noblest spoils, compensating for all the toil, expense, and bloodshed of these wild enterprises.

The Crusades, too, gave rise to three military orders in the Church of Christ. These were called the knights of St. John, of Jerusalem, the Knights Templars, and the Teutonic Order. Their general business was to support and extend Christianity, to protect the pious pilgrims of Jerusalem against the Mahometans and all foes, and to assist and relieve all wounded and needy soldiers. These orders indeed sustained for a while their great and good fathers, the Roman Pontiffs, but they so increased in wealth, in vice, and savage barbarity, that the nations could not endure them. Some were suppressed by the

power, others were abandoned at the light of reformation. Thus have we taken a view, not of the true Church of Christ, but of the “ MAN OF SIN,” of the terrible beast which opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, and to whom it was given to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and to have power over all kindreds and tongues and nations. We have seen its rise, the extent of its power, and the artful means by which it strengthened itself in its terrible dominion. For near ten centuries it held all Europe, and has for a much longer period, many of its countries, in the most horrid bondage.

For a long time the bishops of Rome were chosen by the suffrages of the whole Roman people; but in consequence of the rage and violence of contending factions, the choice was taken out of their hands, and committed to a small number of men called Cardinals, and even the approbation of the emperor,

once requisite, was soon rejected and despised. Some distinį guished monk was commonly raised to the papacy. Sometimes

opposing factions elected two popes, when bitter contentions ensued. In 855, it is said, a woman disguised as a man, had the art to gain an election to the Papal chair, and governed the

arm of

Church for two years. She is known by the title of Pope Joan, Many of the popes reigned but a few months, and most of them but a few years. The number of bishops and popes who have filled the See of Rome, is 250. John XII. first introduced the practice in 956, followed by all his successors of changing their name when chosen to the papacy.

The Papists flattered themselves that their dominion would be for ever.

But the trump of prophecy, ages ago, proclaimed its end. Dainel says, it shall continue 6 a time and times, and the dividing of time.” John gives its duration - forty and two months,” and a thousand two hundred and threescore days." All these are the same period, 1260 years. For a time signifies a year. A time and times and the dividing of time, are three years and a half; which, according to the ancient Jewish year of 12 months of 30 days each, is equal to 42 months or 1260 days. If then the establishment of Popery was at the grant of Phocas, in A. D. 666, it will come to its end before the close of the nineteenth century. But if it was at the rise of image worship and the little horn, it will not cease until 2000 years from the birth of Christ.

Thanks be to God, the power is already broken. Thanks be to God, the Bible was preserved through the long night of darkness, and has been brought forth pure and uncorrupt to bless mankind. Every step in the history of the reformation will call for the warmest expressions of gratitude and praise.

CHAPTER X.

Two Witnesses, predicted by John. Their Character. Why said

to be two. Their History obscure. Traced out in an age of darkness. Leo and Constantine. Council of Constantinople and Frankfort. Alcuin. Council of Paris. Rabanus and Scotus. Claudius of Turin. Goteschalcus. Council at Trosly, Athelstan, Afric, Arnulphus. Witnesses in France and England. Waldenses. Peter Waldo. John Wickliff and his followers. William Sautre. John Badby. Lord Cobham. John Huss and Jerome of Prague. Their adherents and followers. The Hassite War. Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit.

In the revelations to John, in which the Papal power was so clearly predicted, we are presented with two Witnesses, who are to prophesy in sackloth, during the continuance of the grand corruption. By these, it is supposed, are designated the

CHAP. 10.

WHY SAID TO BE TWO.

223

true followers of Christ; who should, from age to age, bear witness to the truth. They are said to be two; a small, but competent number; the number required as suitable testimony by the law and the gospel. 66 In the mouth of two witnesses shall every word be established" Their history, therefore, is that of the true Church, while the history of popery is that of a monstrous corruption. But it is a history almost entirely hidden from us, in some periods ; because the number of real Christians was exceedingly small, and because they were persecuted and trodden down and without the means of giving their own history to a future age.

Amid the ravages of Mahometanism, Christianity nearly expired in Africa and the East. Constantinople remained a Christian city until the fifteenth century; but as early as the tenth, we find scarce any vestiges of piety among the Greeks. The witnesses to the truth, the men of piety, who abhorred the man of sin, and who formed the connecting link between the early Christians and the reformers were chiefly to be found in the western or Latin Church. The emperors Leo Isauricus and Constantine Copronymus, and the council of Constantinople, however, are not to be forgotten for the bold stand they took in the eighth century, against the worship of images, and the intercession of saints--the first great defection of the Roman church. With them may be connected Charlemagne and the council of Frankfort, who, in 794, condemned in the West, the same abominations. Alcuin, an Englishman, and Paulinus an Italian bishop, in the same age, raised their voice against the rising errors.

The Paulicians, though they held some errors, bore witness against the errors of the seventh and eighth centuries.

In the ninth century, several princes warmly remonstrated against the increasing power of the pope and the worship of images. Lewis, the pious, held a council at Paris, A. D. 824, which forbad that worship. Agobard, archbishop of Lyons,

wrote against it. Rabanus and Johannes Scotus, the two most | learned men of the age, vigorously opposed the new doctrine

of transubstantiation. But no man so powerfully stemmed the torrent of superstition as Claudius, bishop of Turin. He opposed the supremacy of the pope, the doctrine of merit and transubstantiation, and the worship of images, preached the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and laid the foundations of those churches, which, long after, flourished in the vallies of Piedmont. · He was a bright light, in an age of great darkness. In Germany, Goteschalcus, bore witness to the doctrines of pre

destination and grace ; defended them with great ability; was heard with deep attention, but was publicly condemned, whipped and confined in a loathsome dungeon until he died, A. D. 869.

The tenth century was, as the Papists acknowledge, an iron, a leaden, an obscure age. Then,” says Baronius, their chief annalist, “ Christ was in a very deep sleep, when the ship was covered with waves; and what seemed worse, when the Lord was thus asleep, there were wanting disciples, who, by their cries might awaken him, being themselves all fast asleep." The Church then sunk to its very lowest depression. Yet ihe witnesses lived. Some few pious men were carrying the Gospeí to the beathen, and others were found declaiming against the abominations of popery. A council at Trosly, in France, wituessed a good confession. Athelstan caused the scriptures to be translated into the Anglo-Saxon idiom, and Afric wrote against transubstantiation. Arnulphus, " a Luther in embryo," president of a council at Rhiems, ventured even then, to call the pope Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God.

The eleventh century differed little from the tenth. It was almost equally sunk in wickedness and ignorance. The pope reigned with absolute and awful sway. But there were some pious people in France, who ventured to deny the doctrine of transubstantiation, and the propriety of praying to martyrs and confessors. Thirteen of them were burnt alive, A. D. 1017. Others appeared in Flanders, who came from Italy, disciples of Gundulphus, who denied the papal doctrines. Berengarius of Tours, wrote against the doctrine of the real presence, and had many followers in France, Italy and England. A decree of the pope, commanding celibacy among the clergy, met with great opposition throughout Germany, as unscriptural.

In the twelfth century, new light dawned upon the Church. New and powerful witnesses appeared for the truth. In England, the constitution of Clarendon, forbidding all appeals to the pope of Rome, without the king's license, were sworn to by the clergy and laity. Bernard inveighed loudly against the corruptions of popery. Fluentius, bishop of Florence, publicly declared that Antichrist was come. Joachim, abbot of Calabria, in presence of Richard I. king of England, said, that Antichrist was born in the city of Rome, and would be advanced to the apostolic chair. Peter de bruis, and Henry his disciple, exposed in France, the corruptions of popery, and were hoth martyrs. Arnold of Brescia did the same, and was burned at Rome, A. D. 1155 ; his ashes were thrown into the Tyber, that the people might not venerate his relics. Some faithful

CHAP. 10.

WALDENSES.

225

root.

men sought refuge in England from the persecutions of Germany in 1160, who were condemned, whipped and tortured because they made the word of God the rule of their faith.

But the distinguishing witnesses of this, and the succeeding centuries, were the WALDENSES. They were a people scattered through the vallies of Piedmont, There, two centuries before, Claudius had sowed the seeds of truth, which had taken

This people had long been poor and despised, but for their piety had been a spectacle to the world, and objects of enmity and malice. They had been called Vallenses, or dwellers in the valley ;-Cathari, or pure; Leonists or poor men of Lyons ; Sabbatati, for wearing wooden shoes and dressing with great simplicity, and Albigenses, from Albi, a town where many resided. In the year 1160, Peter Waldo a merchant of Lyons, disgusted with the abominable practice in the papal church of falling down before the consecrated host and adoring it as God, sought for divine instruction from the Scriptures. Light shone upon his mind. He learned the doctrines of Christ, and had the four gospels translated from the Latin into the French tongue and circulated among the people. It was an invaluable gift. As the Latin had become obsolete, a dead language, the Scriptures were inaccessible to all who could not read that. Waldo first put them into the hands of the multitude and became himself an expounder of their doctrines. The effect was prodigious. Crowds flocked to hear him. Associations of men, adopting his sentiments, were formed. But the spirit of persecution arose. Waldo and his adherents were anathematized and obliged to disperse for safety. He retired first into Dauphiny, then into Picardy, and at last into Bohemia, where he died about 1179. He was a wonderful man. His piety, his labours and the good he effected, have seldom been equalled. Wherever he went, the truth took deep root and spread wide. The word of God grew mightily, and converts were multiplied. From him the witnesses who testified to the truth against the errors of popery, were called Waldenses. Neither his death nor the persecutions of the pope, checked their growth. On the contrary, they increased amazingly throughout the south of France, Switzerland, Germany and ihe Low countries. In Bohemia alone, it is computed there were not less in 1325 than 80,000.

Their religion was the religion of the Bible. By their adversaries they were charged with holding every monstrous heresy and with the commission of every abomination. But it is evident, from the writings of their persecutors as well as their own, that their greatest crime consisted in denying the supre

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