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vicegerent on earth claimed the very same power that Christ would have if he was present on earth, and reigned on his throne, or the same power that belongs to God, and used to be called God on earth ; and used to be submitted to by all the princes of Christendom. He claimed power to crown princes, and to degrade them at his pleasure ; and this power was owned : And it came to that, that kings and emperors used to kiss his feet. The emperors were wont to receive their crowns at his hands, and princes were wont to dread the displeasure of the Pope, as they would dread a thunderbolt from heaven ; for if the Pope was pleased to excommunicate a prince, all his subjects were at once freed from their allegiance to him ; yea, and obliged not to own him any more, on pain of excommunication ; and not only so, but any man might kill him wherever he found him. And further, the Pope was believed to have power to damn men at please ure; for whoever died under his excommunication, was looked upon as certainly damned. And several emperors were actually deposed, and ejected, and died miserably bị his means; and if the people of any state or kingdom did not please him, he had power to lay that state or kingdom under an interdict, which was a sentence pronounced by the Pope against that state or kingdom, whereby all sacréd administrations among them could have no validity. There could be no valid baptisms, or sacraments, or prayers, or preachings, or pardons, till that interdict was taken off; so that that people remained, in their apprehension, in a miserable, darnnable state, and therefore dreaded it as they would a storm of fire and brimstone from heaven. And in order to execute his wrath on a prince or people with whom the Pope was displeased, other princes must also be put to a great deal of trouble and expense.
And as the Pope and his clergy robbed the people of their ecclesiastical and civil liberties and privileges, so they also robbed them of their estates, and drained all Christendom of their money, and
and engrossed the most of their riches into their own coffers, by their vast revenues, besides
for pardons and indulgences, baptisms, and extreme unctions, deliverance VOL. II.
out of purgatory, and an hundred other things....See how well this agrees with the prophecies, 2. Thess. i. 3, 4. Dan. vä. 20, 21, Rev. xii, 6, 7, and chap. xvii. 3, 4.
During this time also superstition and ignorance more and more prevailed. The holy scriptures by degrees were taken out of the bands of the Jaity, the better to promote the unscriptural and wicked designs of the Pope and the clergy ; and instead of promoting knowledge among the people, they industriously promoted ignorance. It was a received maxim among them, That ignorance is the mother of devotion : And so great was the darkness of those times, that learning was almost extinct in the world. The very priests themselves, most of them were barbarously ignorant as to any commendable learning, or any other knowledge than their hellish craft; in oppressing and tyrannizing over the souls of the people. The superstition and wickedness of the church of Rome, képt growing worse and worse till the very time of the Reformation; and the wholé Christian world were led away into this great defection, excepting the remains of the Christian church in the Eastern empire that had not been utterly overe thrown by the Turks, as the Greek church, and some others, which were also sunk into great darkness and gross superstition, excepting also those few that were the people of God, who are represented by the woman in the wilderness, and God's two witnesses, of which more hereafter.
This is one of those two great kingdoms which the devil in this period erected in opposition to the kingdom of Christ, and was the greatest and chief. I come now,
(2) To speak of the other, the second, which is in many re'spects like unto it, viz, his Mahometan kingdom, which is another great kingdom of mighty power and vast extent, set up by Satan sgainst the kingdom of Christ : He set this up in the Eastern empire, as he did that of Antichrist in the West
Mahomet was born in the year of Christ 570, in Arabia.... When he was about forty years of age, he began to give forth that he was the great prophet of God, and began to teach his new invented religion, of which he was to be worshipped as
the head next under God. He published his Alcoran, which he pretended he received from the angel Gabriel ; and being a subtle crafty man, and possessed of considerable wealth, and living among a people who were very ignorant, and greatjy divided in their opinions of religious matters, by subtilty and fair promises of a sensual paradise, he gained a number to be his followers, and set up for their prince, and propagated his religion by the sword, and made it meritorious of paradise to fight for him. By which means his party grew, and went on fighting till they conquered and brought over the neighboring countries, and so his party gradually grew till they overran a great part of the world. First, the Saracens, wha were some of his followers, and were a people of the country Arabia, where Mahomet lived, about the year 700, began dreadfully to waste the Roman empire. They overran a great many countries belonging to the empire, and continued their conquests for a long time. These are supposed to be meant by the locusts that we read of in the 9th chapter of Revelation.
And then after this the Turks, who were originally another people different from the Saracens, but were followers of Mahomet, conquered all the Eastern empire. They began their empire about the year of Christ 1296, and began to in vade Europe in 1300, and took Constantinople, and so became masters of all the Eastern empire in the year 1453, which is near three hundred years ago. And thus all those cities and countries where were those famous churches of old, that we read of in the New Testament, as Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, &c. now all became subject to the Turks. And they took possession of Constantinople, which was named af. ter Constantine the Great, being made by him the head city of the Roman empire, whereas Rome had been till then..... These are supposed to be prophesied of by the horsemen in the 9th chapter of Revelation, beginning with the 15th yerse, And the remains of the Christians that are in those parts of the world, who are mostly of the Greek church, are in miser. able slavery under these Turks and treated with a great deal of
barbarity and cruelty, and are become mostly very ignorant
Thus I have shown what great works of Satan were wrought
2.' I come now to show how the church of Christ was 'upheld through this dark time.....And here,
(1) It is to be observed, that towards the former part of this space of time, some of the nations of Christendom held out a long time before they complied with the corruptions and usurpations of the church of Rome. Though all the world wondered after the beast, yet all nations did not fall in at once. Many of the principal corruptions of the church of Rome were brought in with a great deal of struggle and opposition ; and particularly,when the Pope gave out that he was universal bishop, many churches greatly opposed him in it; and it was a long time before they would yield to his exorbitant claims. And so when the worship of images was first brought into the churches, there were many who greatly opposed it, and long held out against it. And so with respect to other corruptions of the church of Rome. Those people that dwelt nearer to the city of Rome complied sooner, but some that were more remote, were a long time before they could be induced to put their necks under the yoke ; and particularly ecclesiastical history gives an account, that it was so with great part of the churches in England and Scotland, and France, who retained the ancient purity of doctrine and worship much longer than many others who were nearer the chief seat of Antichrist.
(2) In every age of this dark time, there appeared particular persons in all parts of Christendom, who bore a testimony against the corruptions and tyranny of the Church of Rome. There is no one age of Antichrist, even in the darkest times of all, but ecclesiastical historians mention a great many by name who manifested an abhorrence of the Pope, and his idolatrous worship, and pleaded for the ancient purity of doctrine and worship. God was pleased to maintain an uninterrupted succession of witnesses througb the whole time,
in Germany, France, Britain, and other countries ; as historians demonstrate, and mention them by name, and give an account of the testimony which they held. Many of them were private persons, and many of them ministers, and some magistrates, and persons of great distinction. And there were numbers in every age who were persecuted and put to death for this testimony.
(3) Besides these particular persons dispersed here and there, there was a certain people, called the Waldenses, who lived separate from all the rest of the world, who kept themselves pure, and constantly bore a testimony against the church of Rome through all this dark time. The place where they dwelt was the Vaudois, or the five valleys of Piedmont, a very mountainous, country, between Italy and France. The place where they lived was compassed about with those exceeding high mountains called the Alps, which were almost impassable. The passage over these mountainous desert countries, was so difficult, that the valleys where this people dwelt were almost inaccessible. There this people lived for many ages, as it were, alone, in a state of separation from all the world, having very little to do with any other people. And there they served God in the ancient purity of his worship, and never submitted to the church of Rome. This place in this desert mountainous country, probably was the place especially meant in the 12th chapter of Revelation, 6th verse, as the place prepared of God for the woman, that they should feed her there during the reign of Antichrist.
Some of the Popish writers themselves own, that that people never submitted to the church of Rome. One of the Popish writers, speaking of the Waldenses, says, the heresy of the Waldenses is the oldest heresy in the world. It is supposed that this people first betook themselves to this desert, secret place among the mountains, to hide themselves from the severity of the Heathen persecutions which were before Constantine the Great. And thus the woman fled into the wilderness from the face of the serpent, Rev. xii. 6. And so, verse 14. “ And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place :