THE RVINE OF ROME: OR AN EXPOSITION vpon the whole Reuelation.

Wherein is plainly shewed and proued, that the Popish Religion, together with all the power and au­thoritie of Rome, shall ebbe and decay still more and more throughout all the Churches of Europe, and come to an vtter ouer­throw euen in this life before the end of the world.

Written especially for the comfort of Protestants, and the daunting of Papists, Seminary Priests, Ie­suites, and all that cursed rabble.

Published by Arthur Dent, Preacher of the word of God, at South-Shoobery in Essex.

Apoc. 18. vers. 7.8.

She saith in her heart, I sit as a Queene and am no widow, and shall see no mourning:

Therefore shall her plagues come at one day, death and sorrow, and famine: and shee shall be burned with fire: for that God which condemneth her is a strong Lord.

LONDON

THE EPISTLE TO THE Christian Reader.

BEing often requested (gentle Reader) and much importuned by sundry, both learned and godly, to publish that doctrine of the Apocalyps, which diuers of them with liuely voyce heard publikely deliuered: I did at last, vpon my most mature deliberati­on, yeeld vnto their reasonable request; I meane the reasons of their request. Indeed I doe ingeniously confesse, that I am the vnmeetest of many, which this age (God be thanked) doth afford, to deale in a matter of so great importance, or any wise to be imployed in so great and ho­nourable a seruice as this is. But if I doe industriously vse my small talent, and be found faithfull in a little; I hope it shall haue both chearefull and comfortable acceptation with the Church of God. For this I presume will bee granted of all, that hee which hath but a little strength, and yet putteth it forth to the vttermost to doe good withall, is more to be commended, then he which hath thrise his strength, and vseth it not to the helpe and benefit of o­thers. And true it is indeed, that sundry worthy labours of diuers excellent men vpon the Apocalyps, are already extant: so as he may seeme to powre water into the Sea, or goe about to mend the crowes eyes, that will attempt to adde any thing to that which is al­ready published. But know this (O Christian Reader) that the Lords garden is so large and plentifull of all most sweete and plea­sant flowers, that where any one hath gathered a Nosegay most fragrant and delectable, another may come after, and gather ano­ther not to be contemned. For the wisedome of God is such an vndrainable fountaine and head-spring, that where one hath [Page] drawne much before, another may come happely, and draw as much afterward: yea though thousands doe succeede, yet can this fountaine neuer be drawne drie. Be it farre from me to arrogate any thing to my selfe, aboue others: for I am priuy inough to mine owne meanes, and do freely confesse, that in this worke, I haue receiued much light from others: and therefore do not as a iudge, giue sentence vpon other mens workes: but as one that would furnish the same feast, bring in my dish among them. Or as one that in the same cause would come in as a third, or a fourth wit­nesse to testifie and confirme the same thing. And verily through the gracious assistance of Gods spirit, my simple purpose and inde­uor is to giue a lift to the vttermost of my power, to further that which is already happily begun, and to prouoke others of greater gifts, to come after with their great lights, and Lanternes in their hands, to discry and discouer whatsoeuer in this Prophesie is not yet fully seene into. I am not ignorant that some would not haue this booke medled withall, nor in any wise to be expounded among the common people, because (say they) it is so darke and hard to vnderstand. But let all such leaue their owne opinions, and hear­ken what the holy Ghost saith.Apo. 1.3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that heare the words of this Prophecy, &c. What can be said more? or more effectually to stirre vs vp to heare and reade, and with all gladnesse to embrace this booke, then to tell vs, that in so doing we shall be blessed? For the thinges contained in this booke, be no trifles: they be not things onely for a shew to mooue wonderment, or to delight the curious minds of men: but such as indeed do giue true blessednesse vnto all those that are well in­structed in them. What thing is greater, then to bee blessed for euermore? If we be not exceeding dull, yea, euen like stockes and stones, it must needs moue vs & stir vs vp. For who will wittingly & willingly loose his own blessednes, or suffer it to be taken from him when as he may haue it? If any will obiect that a man may be blessed well inough without the knowledge of this booke, and that there bee bookes inough in the Scripture, to procure our blessed­nesse, without this: and that thousands are now in heauen, which neuer knew what this booke meant: I answere, that all this doth [Page] not take away the necessary vse of this booke: for the holy Ghost doth pronounce a blessing vpon the heads of those that reade and studie this booke, not because a man cannot be saued without it: but because of the great comfort which it ministreth vnto vs of this age, and hath ministred vnto all the Churches since the Apo­stles times. For it is the Prophesie of this age, and the Prophesie of all the ages since Christ: wherein is fully shewed what shall be the estate and conditiō of the Church in the seuerall ages thereof, vn­to the ende of the worlde. For God according to his admirable wisdome & mercy, hath neuer from the beginning left his church without a Prophesie, for the great comfort thereof. For we know, that immediately after the fall of our first parents, God himselfe, for the great comfort of his Church, did foretell and foreprophe­sie long before of that restauration which should be made by the Messias his sonne,Gen. 3. Gen. 15. according as it came to passe in the fulnesse of time. Afterward he did foretell his people of Israel, of their great seruitude, and intollerable bondage in Egypt, and also of the ende and full determination thereof, after foure hundred and thirtie yeares. After all this he foretold by his seruants the Prophets of the captiuitie in Babylon, and the full expiration thereof at the end and tearme of seuentie yeares.Ier. 25. And yet further for the com­fort and consolation of his people,Dan. 7. Ezech. 38. he foretold by Daniel and Eze­chiel, of the great afflictions & troubles which his Church should endure by the persecutions of the diuided Greeke Empire: (I meane Alexanders posteritie,Dan. 8. especially the Kings of Egypt and Siria, which descended of Ptolomeus and Seleucus, Dan. 9. Dan. 11. whom the scripture calleth the Kings of the North and of the South) by the space of 294 yeares, and of the precise determination thereof at the comming of the Messias. Loe then what care God hath had of his Church in all ages before the comming of his sonne in the flesh, so to foretell both of the affliction it selfe, and al­so of the iust period and determination thereof. And shall we not thinke that God hath the like care now for his church which then he had: or hath he not as great and as prouident care for the good of his Church since the promised Messias was actually exhibited as before? Yes assuredly, and much more too: for if his care and [Page] prouidence was so great for his Church being in her ward-ship and minoritie: then much more now being come to her ripenesse and full age: If when it was lesse glorious, then much more now, being farre more glorious. Therefore now vnto vs he foretelleth by his seruant Iohn what shall be the estate of the Church vnto the end of the world: and therefore Blessed is hee that heareth and readeth this booke: sith it foretelleth of the Churches af­flictions in this age by the whoore of Babylon, and of the full end and determination thereof. It sheweth iustly and precisely what the Church hath suffered since the Apostles times in seueral ages, and what it shall suffer: and also how all the enemies thereof shall shortly be troden vnder foote. What can be more ioyfull or com­fortable to all the people of God, then to know afore-hand that Babylon shall fall: Rome shall downe: Antichrist the great persecutor of the Church, shalbe vtterly confounded and consu­med in this world; notwithstanding all plottes and policies, crafts and deuises to the contrary; notwithstanding all forces & armies cunningly contriued and raised vp against the Church by Semina­ry Priests, Iesuites, Pope, Cardinall, and King of Spaine? For all these in this age do very busily bestirre them, and ransacke all corners of their wits to repaire the ruines of Rome, and to make vp the breaches which are made in the walles of Babylon their great citie. But alas all in vaine, for it shall fall: It shal fall: It shal fall as Dagon before the presence of the Arke, do what they can, spight of their hearts, maugre their beards: it shall fall finally: it shall without all hope of recouery: for hath the Lord spoken it, and shall it not come to passe? or can any word of his euer fall to the ground? Sith therefore the Iesuits and Secular Priests do so fiske about, and croake in euery corner, as greatly fearing the fall of their Babylon, and the drying vp of their Euphrates, it standes vs all in hand to be as resolute for Christ, as they are for Anti­christ; and as studious to vphold the kingdome of God, as they are to vphold the kingdome of the diuel. And for this purpose it is ve­ry requisite and necessary, that all the Lords people should be ac­quainted with this booke, and armed against them with the things reueald in this Prophesie. For this booke is a most precious Iewell [Page] which God hath bestowed vpon his Church in this last age: and it is great pitie that all the seruants of God are not better acquain­ted with it, especially in these times, for now in this age is and shall be the very heate of the warre, and brunt of the battell betwixt Papists and Protestants; betwixt God and Belial; betwixt the ar­mies of Christ, and the armies of Antichrist. Now this Prophesie laieth all open, and plainly telleth vs what shalbe the issue and suc­cesse in the day of battaile: which side shall haue the victory, and which side shall goe downe. And therefore very needfull it is that it should be expounded againe and againe, and all the Lords people made throughly aaquainted with it. For in this age wherein we liue, this Prophesie can neuer be inough opened and beaten vpon, that all good Protestants may bee armed with it against future times, euen as it were with an armour of proofe. S. Iohn plainly telleth the people of his time, euen the Churches of Asia, that they should be blessed by reading and studying this booke, because they should thereby be both forewarned, and forearmed against many eminent troubles and future dangers. For saith he, The time is at hand: that is to say, some things were euen then to be fulfilled. For some matters foretold in this booke, did begin to be fulfilled, euen presently after they were shewed vnto Iohn, for the mistery of iniquitie did euen then begin to worke. The Church in the Apostles time had her conflicts. The ten great persecutions began euen then to be raised vp. Heresies shortly after beganne to spring and sprout. Afterward by degrees, the great Antichrist did approach towards his cursed seate. And after all this, S. Iohn foretelleth how hee should take possession of his abhominable and most execrable seate and sea of Rome: How he should raigne and rule for a time as the Monarche of the world: How he should pre­uaile against the Church, and make warre against the Saintes: How he should raigne but a short time, and afterward come tum­bling downe, as fast as euer he rose vp, and decrease as fast as euer he increased. Therefore Blessed is he (saith S. Iohn) that dili­gently readeth and peruseth this booke, that thereby hee may foresee all these thinges, and bee armed against them. For as the Heathen man saith; Leuius laedit quicquid praeuideris antè, Foreseeing daungers do least hurt. Now to apply all this to our [Page] times, I say they are twise happie that are studious and painfull in searching out the true sense and meaning of this Prophesie, that thereby they may be strengthned against all the assaults of the Pa­pists our professed enemies, and the enemies of Gods Church, and stick fast to the euerlasting truth of God, knowing for a certaintie that these sonnes of Belial shall not long preuaile. The date of their raigne is almost out, and the time draweth on apace, wherein both they and their king Abaddon shalbe laide in the dust. But I will now proceed to a new reasō,Apoc. 9 11. to proue that this booke of the Reue­lations ought not to be concealed: but openly preached and publi­shed to the whole Church of God in this age. My reason is taken out of the 22. chapter of this booke, ver. 10. in these words. Seale not the words of the Prophesie of this booke, for the time is at hand. Here is a flat commandement from God, that this booke and the doctrine of it may not be sealed vp; that is to say, kept close from the knowledge of Gods people: but it must lie alwaies vnsealed, that all men may open it, read it, and see what is in it: for it is a borrowed speech, taken from sealing of Letters. For we all knowe, that when Letters are sealed, none may open them, or reade them, but onely those whom it doth concerne: but if they be of purpose left vnsealed, then any man may reade them without daunger: So the Lorde willeth and commaundeth, that this booke of the Reuelations should of purpose be left vnsealed, that all the people of God might reade it, studie it, and knowe it. If any man doubt whether the Metaphor of Sealing be thus ta­ken in the scripture, let him reade the places quoted in the mar­gent,Esa. 29 11. Dan. 12.9. Apoc. 4.1. Apoc. 10.4. and in all these places hee shall finde it taken in this sense. Whereby it doth euidently appeare, that the minde and meaning of God is, that this booke should be proclaimed and published in all the Churches. And vpon this grounde, I holde that euery Minister of the Gospell standeth bounde as much as in him ly­eth, to Preach the doctrine of the Apocalyps to his particular charge and congregation: for euery Minister of the Gospell must shewe vnto his people all the counsell of God, and keepe backe nothing: as Paul testifieth that hee did, to the great com­fort of his conscience. But the doctrine of the Reuelations is a part and parcell of the counsell and will of God: therefore it [Page] must not be concealed or kept backe from the knowledge of the people of God. And in these dayes I thinke it not only meete and conuenient that it should be so, but in truth absolutely neces­sary.

But now me thinketh I heare some man say: what? must this book of the Apocalyps be preached & made knowne to the commō peo­ple? alas, what should they do with it? It is not for them to meddle withall: It is not for their diet. I answere, and yet not I, but the holy Ghost: that this booke must be made knowne to all the seruāts of God. For Saint Iohn calleth it the Reuelation of Iesus Christ which God gaue him to shew vnto all his seruants.Apoc. 1.1. It is plaine therefore, that al the seruantes of God, both men and women, yong and old, rich and poore, must be made acquainted with this booke. Moreouer, Iohn is commaunded by the God of heauen, to set downe all the visions which the Angell shewed him: and to write them all in a booke, and send them to the seuen Churches of A­sia: that is, to people of all sortes, and conditions:Apoc. 1.11. And therefore this booke doth not only concerne preachers, and deep diuines; but euen all the Lords people whatsoeuer: for it doth minister great comfort and strength of faith to all the people of God, that liue in this age. But here the Papists obiect that this booke is full of darkenesse and obscuritie, and therefore not for the common peo­ple to meddle withall: nay, (say they) there are as many misteries, as words in it, and therefore what should men trouble their heads about it. But no maruell though the Papists say so much, for it is the wound of their kingdom, and the battery of their Baby­lon. As for others, both learned and godly, which in this point are al­most of the same mind, that they will not meddle with this booke of the Reuelations: I cannot but maruell at it. The modesty and hu­mility of some, very rare and reuerend men for learning, & great variety of gifts (which notwithstanding scotch much at this book) is greatly to be commended: But if I were worthy to giue them aduice, I would wish them, in this behalfe to change their minde, and to be of another resolution: for I dare auouch it, that there is nothing in this Prophesie, which study and diligence, with prayer and humility, may not ouercome. True it is indeed, that the shell is thicke, and hard to breake: but being broken, the kernell is most [Page] sweet and pleasant. If any be discouraged with the darkenesse & obscurity of it, let him hearken to these reasons following. First it is called a Reuelation, which is as much to say, as an vncouering of things which did lie hid: if it be an vncouering, and reuealing of things, then no doubt it may be knowne and seene into. For re­uealed thinges are for vs and our children.Deut. 19. If it be a Reuelation, how say some that it cannot be vnderstood? For, it is contrary to the nature of a Reuelation, to be so darke that none can vnder­stand it. But shall we say that the holy Ghost which is the spirit of truth, hath giuen a wrong name vnto it? God forbid. For if it hide matters, or so set them forth that it cannot be vnderstood, then it is not rightly called a Reuelation. If this booke be so mysticall that it cannot be vnderstood: If the interpretation of it be vncertaine: If the common people cannot be taught to vnderstand it: how then should the holy Ghost say, Blessed is he that readeth the words of this Prophesie?Apoc. 1. [...]. Apoc. 22 7.&c. Let any man iudge that hath common sense: Can any man be blessed by hearing and reading those things which he vnderstandeth not? I trow no. Then it fol­loweth, that this booke may be vnderstood, and no doubt is vnder­stood of many: and might bee better vnderstood of many moe, if they would bend their wittes and studies vnto it. The holy Ghost as I said before,Apoc. 22.10. willeth and commaundeth that the words of this Prophesie should not be sealed vp. Whereby it is euident, that he would haue them read and made knowne to all. Then I reason thus: That which is open and vnsealed, may be read and knowne: But this booke is open and vnsealed: Therefore it may be read and knowne. If men say the matters of this Prophesie are sealed and hid, and God say they be vnsealed and open, whether shall we beleeue men or God? If any shall reply & say, we feele & finde by experience, that the words of this booke are hard to be vnder­stood: I answere, that the fault is in our selues, because we are so negligent in the search and study thereof. For if we did with that humilitie, and reuerend care that ought to be in vs, search after the things reuealed in this booke, we should finde that they be not sealed vp, but lie open to bee read and knowne. True it is indeed, that if any man light vpon some peece, and take it by it selfe, he shall finde it very darke: But if he looke vpon the whole course of matters throughout the booke, and marke and obserue diligently [Page] how things be iterated, hee shall finde no such darknesse as he fea­reth, for there is a notable coherence of matters, and course of times obserued in this booke, euen from the first chapter vnto the last, as God willing shall more fully & plainly appeare in the parti­cular opening and interpretation thereof. One great obiection a­gainst this Prophesie is, that the Fathers confesse it is full of my­steries, and that they could not vnderstand it. If they could not vnderstand it say some, how, how shall we vnderstand it? Is it not great arrogancy for vs to say wee vnderstand it better then they did. I answer no. For a man of meane learning in comparison, may now in these daies more easily vnderstand & expound this booke, then the learnedest Doctors and Fathers in auncient time. The reason is this, we liue in an age wherein the most of the things pro­phesied in this booke are fulfilled. Now the fulfilling of a prophesie is the best exposition of it. But as for the Fathers, they liued in a time wherein many of these things were not come to passe, nor ful­filled, and therfore more hard for them to interprete and vnder­stand: for those things in this Prophesie which are not yet fulfil­led, are hardest for vs of this age to vnderstand and resolue of. But when a Prophesie is fulfilled, it is an easie matter to say this was the meaning of the Prophet. Some things in this booke were fulfilled before the daies of the Fathers, and some thinges in the daies wherein they liued: and both those they did clearely vnder­stand. Some things were fulfilled after their daies, as the rising and raigning of the great Antichrist, which they did not so clear­ly see into. Hereupon it commeth to passe, that many things which vnto them were very obscure, are vnto vs most cleare & mani­fest: as being already fulfilled: insomuch that all which are not wilfully blinded, may see and vnderstand them, yea the most vn­learned. Be not therefore discouraged (gentle Reader) at the darknesse & difficultie of this booke. Doe not preiudicially resolue and set downe with thy selfe, that the naturall sense of this booke cannot be giuē, nor the true meaning found out, but that we must be faine when we haue done all that we can, to rest in vncertaine coniectures, some following one sense, and some an other, as see­meth most like and probable. But no man can say confidently and precisely this is the meaning of the holy Ghost. Oh be not of that minde good Christian brother: for if we haue not an vndoubted [Page] certainty for the sense & meaning of this Prophesie, we are neuer the nearer: and that is it which the Papists would driue vs vnto. But know for a certainty, that the naturall sense of this booke, is to be found out, as well as of other bookes of the Scripture. And that we might not be left to our selues in the darke, and to our vn­certaine coniectures, and doubtfull interpretations; Behold the mercifull goodnesse of God to his Church, who himselfe doth ex­pound the darkest, and most misticall things in this Prophesie, or at least so many of them, and so far, as the rest are thereby laid o­pen, and made manifest. The Lord himselfe expoundeth some things in the first Chapter, which giue cleare light to the first visi­on: The Angell expoundeth diuers other things. In the 17. Chapter, which is the key of this prophesie, the Angel doth of pur­pose, open and interpret all the greatest doubts of this booke: as who is the Whore of Babylon, who is the beast, what be his seuen heads, what be his 10. hornes, what be the waters which the wo­man, that is, the Whore of Rome, sitteth vpon. Moreouer, for the better vnderstanding of this Prophesie, we must note, that the wri­tings of Moyses and the Prophets, vnto which there bee sundry allusions, and from the which sundry things are drawne, do cleare diuers things in this Reuelation. The knowledge of antiquities, mi­nistreth much aide to the vnderstanding of this Prophesie. The knowledge of the histories of the Church, and the particular state thereof in diuers ages, bringeth great light. The obseruation of the phrases and maner of speech, vsed by the old Prophets, doth helpe also not a little. The serious and deepe weighing of all the circum­stances of the text, & conferring one thing with another the cōse­quents with the antecedents, & the antecedents with the conse­quēts, furthereth greatly for the bolting out of the true & natural sense. And furthermore, as the spirit of God is the author of this prophesie, so the same spirit is the best interpreter of it, & doth opē and reueale it to all such, as vsing al other good meanes are earnest and humble suters vnto God, for the illumination thereof: whereby they may vnderstand both this, and all other the myste­ries of his will: which the Apostle saith, God hath reuealed vnto vs by his spirit:1. Cor. 2. For the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deepe things of God. To all this may be added the knowledge of artes, tongues, and the learned writings, and interpretations of sundry [Page] excellent men, which all do bring great furtherance to the vn­derstanding of this Prophesie. Sith then there be so many helpes for the opening and expounding of this Reuelation: why should a­ny be discouraged from the reading and study thereof? But if any man demaund a reason, why Saint Iohn writeth this Reuelation in such misticall and allegoricall maner: I answere, that there may be diuers reasons yeelded hereof. First, that the world being blinded, might fulfill the things herein specified. Secondly, because Iohn was to publish this Reuelation, in such maner and forme as he had receiued it from Iesus Christ, which was figuratiue and allegoricall. Thirdly, because it was much more wisedome, to foretel the destructiō of the Romaine Empire, which al that time bare the sway, almost ouer all the world, vnder couert and figura­tiue speeches, then in plaine tearmes, least the Romaine Princes should rage more against the Christians, euen in that respect. The like also may be said, for Daniels darke maner of deliuering his Prophesie. For if he had vttered those things in plaine tearmes, which he spake darkely and allegorically, it might haue cost him his life. For the heathen enemies would neuer haue endured to heare that all their Empires glory and renowne should fall one af­ter another, and one by another: and that the Iewes were the one­ly holy people whome God did defend, and to whome in the ende, God would not onely giue a quiet possession of their owne land and kingdome: but also a kingdome euerlasting, & that through their Messias and great deliuerer. But to grow to a conclusion (gentle Reader) thou shalt find in this poore trauell: First, an exposition of the first 13. Chapters: after thou shalt find the next 6. Chap­ters, vnto the twentith, reduced all to one head, which is to proue the 5. points propounded: and last of all the 3. Chapters following briefely and plainely expounded. If any through lazinesse will not, or through want of leisure cannot read ouer this short trauel: yet for his cōfort, let him read those things only which are written vpō the 14. Chapter. And thus (Christian Reader) hoping that thou wilt not neglect that which may be for thine owne good, I commēd thee to God, & to the word of his grace, which is able to build fur­ther, and to giue thee an inheritance among all them that are sanctified.

Thine in the Lord, Arthur Dent.

Vpon the 14. Chapter of this Booke, these fiue points are handled.

  • First, that Babylon in this Booke of the Reuelation is Rome.
  • Secondly, that Rome shall fall, and how.
  • Thirdly, that Rome shall fall finally, and come to vtter de­solation in this life, before the last iudgement.
  • Fourthly, by whom, and when it shall be ouerthrowne.
  • Fiftly, the causes of the vtter ruine and ouerthrow there­of.
Apoc. 18. vers. 4.

I heard a voice from heauen say: Goe out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sinnes, and that ye receiue not of her plagues.

THE RVINE OF Rome, or an Exposition vpon the Reuelation.

Wherein is plainly shewed and proued, that the Popish Religion, together with all the power and authoritie of Rome, shall ebbe and decaie still more and more, throughout all the Churches of Europe, and come to an vtter ouerthrow, euen in this life.

BEfore I enter into the exposition of this Prophesie, I thinke it not amisse to handle sixe circumstan­tiall points, which may giue some light to the whole matter follow­ing, and they be these.

  • First the instrument that writ this booke.
  • Secondly, the time when he writ it.
  • Thirdly, the place where he receiued it.
  • Fourthly, the persons to whom he writ it.
  • Fiftly, the ende and vse of his writing this Pro­phesie.
  • Lastly, the authoritie of it.

As touching the first, it is agreed vpon amongst [Page 2] the soundest Diuines, that Iohn the Apostle or E­uangelist; Iohn the Disciple, whom Iesus loued, was the Authour and Instrument of penning this Pro­phesie:Apoc. 22. verse 8. Apoc. 1. verse 19. as hee himselfe testifieth, saying: I am Iohn which sawe these things and heard them. And he recei­ueth a commaundement from Iesus Christ which hath the keies of hell & death, that hee should write the things which hee had seene and heard,Apoc. 1. verse 11. and set them all downe together in a booke. Now we all know that the testimony of Iohn is of great weight, though hee be but a man: for hee is such a man as is firmely to be beleeued in all that he speaketh. Hee is an Apostle, an Instrument of the holy Ghost, and so guided by the spirit of God, that he speaketh & vtte­reth nothing that is his owne. He was well knowne to the Churches to be one of Christs Apostles, his authoritie among all the faithfull was throughly knowne and approued. For we must consider, that what an Apostle did vtter, hee did vtter it as the in­strumēt of the spirit, which cannot erre. For the pro­phets & Apostles did not write the holy scriptures as they were men only, nor yet as they were Ministers of the church only, but as they were the immediate & certain instruments of the holy Ghost, of purpose chosen & set apart to pen & publish the holy bookes of God.2. Pet. 1. verse 21: This S. Peter confirmeth saying: Prophesie came not in old time by the wil of man, but holy mē of God spake as they were moued by the holy Ghost. The Apostle Paul also affirmeth the same touching his Gospell, which saith,Gal. 1. ver. 12. he was not after man, neither receiued hee it of man, but by the reuelation of Iesus Christ. Therefore whē this our Apostle saith, I am Iohn, which saw these things, and heard them, hee giueth vs to vnderstand, that hee was both an eye and an eare witnesse. Hee [Page 3] bringeth not matters which he hath heard by vncer­tain report: he deliuereth this book to the churches: they which receiued it at his hāds, did know him to be a most faithfull seruant of the Lord, euen a great Apostle, which deliuereth not any thing but that which he had receiued of the Lord, and therfore he testifieth, that he saw & heard al the things which he hath written in this booke. And moreouer he testifi­eth of himselfe, that he was called and authorised by Iesus Christ, to write this Prophesie, & did nothing herein of himselfe, or of his own brain. For saith he, I Iohn, heard behind me a great voice, Apoc. 1. ver. 10.11. as it had bene of a trompet, saying, I am Alpha & Omega, the first and the last, & that which thou seest write in a booke, & send it vn­to the Churches. Here we see how Iohn is called & au­thorised, by Alpha and Omega, that is Iesus Christ, to write this doctrine of the Apocalyps. But may some man say, was not Iohn called before? was he not one of the Lambes 12. Apostles? had he not now many yeares executed the office of the Apostleship right faithfully? must hee now haue a new calling, & a se­cond calling? what needs he being an Apostle, to be called & authorised again? To this I answer, that this matter now in hand, was a new & a special work, and therfore requires a new & special calling. It is a strāge reuelation, & therfore requireth a new authoritie to meddle in it. For in this prophesie God dealeth with Iohn, as he did with the old prophets in like cases. For whē he wold foreshew vnto any of thē speciall mat­ters, he called them by glorious visions, as we may read what a goodly visiō Esay had:Esay 6. what a vision ful of glory Ezechiel had: & what a visiō Daniel had,Ezech. 1. Dan. 10. euē in maiestie like vnto this which Iohn hath here. Thus then it is to be considered.

[Page 4] Iohn now is as one of the old Prophets, to foreshew things to come: therefore the Lord appeareth vnto him in vision, and calleth him, and authoriseth him therevnto, as he appeared vnto them & called them. Let this then suffice for a reason of Iohns new calling to his new worke and office. And thus much tou­ching the first circumstance.

Now followeth the second circumstance, which is the time whē Iohn receiued this Prophesie, which is noted to be vpon a Lords day.Apoc. 1.10. It is the day which S. 1. Cor. 6.2. Paul to the Corinthians calleth the first day of the weeke: in which the Churches did meete for the holy exercises in religion: which is also euident, be­cause hee saith they came together to breake bread. Now the obseruation of a seuenth day is of diuine institution,Act. 20.7. euen from the beginning. It is naturall, morall, and perpetuall: for God blessed the seuenth day, and sanctified it. We are therfore to thinke, that although Iohn now in his exile was absent in bodie from the church assemblies, yet he was present with them in spirit, commending them most earnestly vnto God in his holy praiers, and meditations: and therefore it is said, that hee was rauished in the spirit vpon the Lords day. So we reade, that the like befell vnto Daniel, Dan. 7.2. Ezec. 3.12.14. when hee was prisoner in Babylon: the like also vnto Ezechiel, who was taken by the spirit in the visions of God, and carried to Ierusalem: The like to Peter, Act. 10.10. 2. Cor. 12.2. the like to Paul. But the speciall reason of Iohns rauishment in the spirit at this time was, that thereby hee might be made more fit and capable to receiue and vnderstand all those great mysteries and heauenly visions, which now should be shewed vn­to [Page 5] him. And withall, let vs obserue, that all men are alwaies most capable of heauenly things, when they are most in the spirit: for God doth euermore most reueale himselfe to such as are most in praier, rea­ding, and meditation; and to such as make greatest conscience to spend his Sabaoths Christianly, and religiously, according to his great commandement. And let vs alwaies be sure of this, that the more fer­uent & zealous we are in religious duties, the more familiar acquaintance we shall finde with God, and he will at all times be the more open-hearted vnto vs, and will hide nothing from vs that may be for his glorie, and our good. For such as are much in heauenly contemplatiō, he doth reckē not amongst his seruants, but amongst his dearest friendes;Iohn 15.15. to whom he will make knowne all things that he hath heard of his Father. But now let vs proceed to the third circumstance.

The third circumstance is the place where Iohn receiued this Prophesie, and that is set downe to be the Ile of Pathmos: which (as the Geographers write) is a litle desart Iland lying in the Aegean sea, wherein it is reported that Iohn the Apostle was ba­nished by the Emperour Domitian, about the yeare of our Lorde 96. and there receiued, and writ this booke of the Apocalyps: where note by the way, that there is no place so obscure or vast, wherein a godly mind may not aspire vp vnto heauen, and re­ceiue a great largesse of supernaturall things: for Da­niel in prison, Peter in a Tanners house, Paul in a bro­ken shippe receiued a superabundant measure of grace, more to be esteemed then all the golde of [Page 6] India. Some write, that this Ile of Pathmos is accoun­ted amongst the Ilands called Sporades, which lye ouer against Asia, and the Citie of Ephesus, and was in the sight both of Europe and Affrica, so that it see­med to bee as it were as middle seate or holy chaire, out of the which Christ preached by Iohn from hea­uen to the whole world. And indeed the counsels of God are wonderful, and his goodnesse vnspeake­able, which reuealeth so great mysteries to his faith­ful, as it were out of the Romish prison, and Babylo­nicall captiuitie.

Moreouer, Iohn declareth the cause of his com­ming into the same Iland; for hee saith, he was there for the word of God,Apoc. 1.9. and the testimonie of Iesus Christ: that is, for the preaching and constant pro­fession of the Gospell of Christ.

Histories doo report, that Iohn was apprehen­ded in Asia, and by souldiers ledde to Rome, that hee might pleade his cause before the Emperour Domi­tian, who most sauagely and cruelly condemned the innocent, and caused him to bee put into a caul­dron of hotte boiling Oyle, out of the which when hee by miraculous prouidence escaped without harme, hee was carried and conueied into the Ile of Pathmos.

But immediately after Iohns banishment, God met well inough with this persecuting Emperour Domitian. For in the fifteenth yeare of his raigne hee was most cruelly and shamefully murthered by his owne seruants. And thus much for the third cir­cumstance.

Now it followeth to speake of the fourth circum­stance, [Page 7] which is, the persons to whom this prophesie is written,Apoc. 1.1. and that is set downe in the first chapter and first verse, to bee all the seruants of God. As many therefore as be the seruants of God, must at­tend vnto this booke, heare it, reade it, and remem­ber it: for to all such it is dedicated by the holy Ghost, to all such it belongeth, for all such it is writ­ten and recorded.

Some do falsely and foolishly imagine, that it was giuen onely to Iohn, and that it might likewise bee giuen to some speciall men, as to some great schol­lers or deepe diuines, which could tell how to vse it, and how to weld it. But wee see how grossely they erre: for the holy Ghost saith, it belongeth to all the seruants of God. And moreouer, chapter 1.11. Iohn is wil­led and commaunded to write all the things which hee sawe in sundrie visions in a booke together, and to send it to the seuen Churches which are in Asia, because the Lorde would haue it remaine in per­fect record vnto the vse of the whole Church, both that the Church might haue the custodie of this booke, and also that it might bee a faithfull wit­nesse vnto the ende of the world, that this booke was written and penned by Iohn the Apostle, of whose truth and sinceritie the church had sufficient experience.

True it is indeede that there are but seuen chur­ches named, but vnder these seuen Churches all others are comprehended. It had bene an in­finite matter to recken vp all the particular Chur­ches which were then in the world, and to haue [Page 8] opened their seuerall estates: therefore vnder these seuen Churches of Asia, and their particular and se­uerall estates, the state of the vniuersall Church mili­tant is laid open. I conclude therfore, that the whole doctrine of S. Iohns Reuelation, appertaineth to the vniuersall Church of Christ throughout all the world, and in all times and ages, since it was written and recorded. And that as all scripture is written for our instruction and comfort:Rom 15.4. 2. Tim. 3.16. and as all scripture gi­uen by diuine inspiration, is profitable to teach and conuince, &c: so this booke of the Apocalyps is written for the speciall comfort and instruction of the Church in these last daies. And so I do conclude this fourth point.

The fift circumstantiall point is, the end and vse of this Prophesie, chapter 1.1. which is to publish and blaze a­broad the things which must shortly come to passe, that is, all things prophesied in this booke, and to be fulfilled euen to the end of the world. And whereas he saith, that these things must come to passe, hee doth vs to vnderstand how great the stablenesse, and assurednesse of Gods determination is. For looke what things are foreappointed by Gods determi­nate purpose, they are altogether vnchaungeable: for the Lord is God, and he is not chaunged. And he saith:Mal. 3.6. Esa. 46.10. Math. 24.35. My determination shall stand, and all my will shall come to passe. And Christ saith: Heauen and earth shall passe away, but my word shall not passe. It is there­fore most certaine, that euery particular thing con­tained in this prophesie, shall bee fulfilled in Gods appointed time. For God hath disclosed these things to his sonne Christ, not to the end he should [Page 9] shut them vp againe in himselfe, but that he should shewe them forth to the godly, that the whole Church might fare the better by them. It doth then stand vs all vpon to enquire and search into these things which must so shortly come to passe, that thereby wee may bee strengthened and comforted against all future dangers. And Christ saith:Apoc. 22.7. Beholde I come shortly. Blessed is hee that keepeth the words of the Prophesie of this booke. But how shall we keepe them except wee knowe them? and how shall wee know them except wee reade them, and studie them? If therefore we meane to bee partakers of this blessed­nesse, wee must not onely esteeme this booke to bee very profitable, but absolutely necessarie for all the seruants of God to be exercised in. And if euer there were any time wherein it behoued to set forth, to vrge, and to beate in this doctrine to all the people of God, then is it chiefly necessarie to bee done in this our time. For this age of ours hath in the Popes kingdome, many sharpe and quicke wits, which commend with maruellous praises both the Pope, and the Popish Church, and buzze into the eares of the common people, and vnlearned sorte, many things cleane contrarie to the doctrine of the scrip­tures. The Iesuites & Priests are growne exceeding craftie and cunning. The Papists are rich, wealthy, and full of armour and munition. Poperie seemeth to make a head againe, and the Papists looke for a day. It stands vs then all vpon which loue Christ and his Gospell, that wee should be well appointed, and throughly armed against them. And for this purpose the Reuelation of S. Iohn, is of great vse & necessitie.

[Page 10]As I said before, so I say againe, that it is the Pro­phesie of our time, written to this speciall ende, that by it wee might bee both fore-warned and fore-ar­med. If wee doo consider the whole matter of this booke, wee shall easily finde out the vse and end of it. For the excellent matter of it doth argue the excellent ende and vse of it.

Now then, as concerning the generall matter of this booke, here are to bee founde very large and liuely descriptions of the most glorious person of Christ, chapter 1 and all his excellent offices, both of King,Cap. 2. Cap. 3. Cap 7. Cap. 12. Cap. 7. Cap. 8. Cap. 15. Priest, and Prophet: and also most notable de­scriptions of the Church, and of the Ministers of it: and of the persecutions and afflictions, which it must of necessitie passe through in this world. Also of Gods mercifull prouidence for his Church, and most vigilant care ouer it in the middest of all ex­tremities.Cap. 12. Cap. 1 [...]. Cap. 9. Here are set before our eyes very liue­ly descriptions of the Churches deadly enemies; both of Sathan himselfe, and his three great instru­ments, the Romaine Emperour, the Pope, and the Turke.

Cap. 18. Cap 19. Cap. 14. Cap 20.Here are set downe all their cruell persecutions of the Church, and their vtter ouerthrowe in the ende. Here are described hell, death, the resurrec­tion, and the last iudgement. Here also the very kingdome of heauen is at large described, with all those great rewards,Cap. 21. Cap. 22. infinite glory, and endlesse felicitie, which remaine for all the faithfull worship­pers of God.

I conclude therefore, that for as much as this Prophesie is of such excellent contents, therefore [Page 11] the vse and necessitie of it must needes bee verie great. And for this cause Iohn is willed and com­maunded by Alpha and Omega, chapter 1.19. to write the things which hee had seene, the things that were, and the things that shall come hereafter. By the things which he had seene, is meant that glorious vision mentioned in the first Chapter, vers. 13, 14, 15, 16. wherein Iesus Christ did appeare vnto him in the middest of the seuen golden Candlestickes, in most glorious man­ner, as is there described. And all this was in the Ile of Pathmos, where Iohn was first called, and au­thorised to this worke, and therfore he is willed first of all, to record this vision which hee had alreadie seene.

By the things that are, hee meaneth the pre­sent state of the seuen Churches of Asia, which were then the most flourishing Churches in the world, as they are described in the second and third Chapters, and in them the estate of all other Chur­ches.

By the things that shalbe, he meaneth all the pro­phesies of this booke, which were to bee fulfilled in their time, & al those strange accidents, which should come to passe in processe of time, and the seuerall a­ges of the Church, euen vnto the end of the world. Thus we see how Iohn receiueth a precise comman­dement from the sonne of God, to write things past, present, & to come, that they might stand in record vnto all posterities, from generation to generation. Thus much touching the fift circumstance, which is the ende and vse of this booke.

Now followeth to speake of the last circum­stantiall [Page 12] point, which is the authoritie of this Pro­phesie, which is strongly confirmed from the Au­thor of it, which is Iesus Christ; and therefore it is called the Reuelation of Iesus Christ, which God gaue vnto him. chapter 1.1. And againe it is written: I Iesus sent mine Angell to testifie these things in the Churches. chapter 22 16. Here wee see plainely, that Iesus Christ the very sonne of God, the Alpha and Omega, is the Author of this booke, for hee subscribes his name vnto it, and sets his hand and seale vnto it. Needes therefore must the authoritie of it bee very great, which commeth from so great a personage: for looke what dignitie and authoritie he is of, from whom the booke com­meth, of the same dignitie & authoritie is the booke it selfe.

An other strong argument to confirme the au­thoritie of this booke, may be taken from the prote­station of Iesus Christ in these words: I protest vnto euery man that heareth the words of the Prophesie of this booke, chapter 22 18. if any man shall adde vnto these things, God shall adde vnto him the plagues that are written in this booke. And if any shall diminish of the words of the booke of this Prophesie, God shall take away his part out of the booke of life. Here wee see how Iesus Christ maketh the au­thoritie of this booke equall to all other the Oracles of God, to the which it is not lawfull for any man to adde or detract vnder paine of condemnatiō. It ma­keth much also for the authoritie of this booke, that S.Cap. 1.1. Cap. 1.4. Cap. 1.9. Cap. 22.8. Iohn doth so often repeate, reiterate, and inculcate his owne name; I Iohn, I Iohn, I Iohn: I Iohn the Apo­stle; I Iohn the Euangelist; I Iohn the Diuine. Shewing by all these repetitions, how needfull a thing it was [Page 13] that the faithfull should bee throughly instructed who he was, euen one of the Lambes twelue Apo­stles, and therefore to be voide of all suspition and doubt concerning the authoritie of this booke, and not once to imagine it to bee any inuention of man, or faigned deuice, sith it was penned by so great an Apostle.

Moreouer, the authoritie of this Prophesie is confirmed by foure reasons in the last chapter. The first is the affirmatiō of the Angell, who saith: chapter 22.6, 7, 8. These words are faithfull & true. The second is the authori­tie of the most high God himselfe in these wordes: vers. 6 The Lorde God of the holy Prophets sent his Angell to shewe vnto his seruants the things which must shortly bee fulfilled. The third is the testimonie of Iesus, who pronounceth them blessed which keepe the words of this Prophesie. For saith he, Behold I come shortly: vers. 7 Blessed is hee that keepeth the words of his Prophesie. The fourth and last is the witnesse of Iohn in these words: I am Iohn which heard and sawe these things. vers. 8 Now it may bee demaunded, what is the cause that here are so many things heaped vp for the confirmation of the authoritie of this booke. Surely wee must thinke there is some speciall cause and reason of it. For the holy Ghost dooth not vse to deale so much and so earnestly in a matter, but vpon great cause. We may easily gather what the cause is. This booke painteth out the whore of Babylon, and the whole kingdome of the great Antichrist, together with all Sathans cunning and sleight therein, and for this cause Sa­than hath laboured especially to weaken the credit and authoritie of this booke. Hee by some meanes [Page 14] in olde time preuailed thus farre, that euen among some Churches of true Christians, the authoritie and truth of it was doubted of. The holy Ghost did well foresee this practise of Sathan, and therefore bringeth the moe reasons for the confirmation ther­of. If the credit and authoritie of this booke should neuer haue bene impugned, there needed not any such special confirmatiō. But now (God be thanked) there is no question or controuersie concerning the authoritie of this Prophesie. It is receiued as authen­ticall by the common consent of all the Churches. Almost all the auncient Fathers do acknowledge it to bee Canonicall. The new writers doo with one voice giue their consent & approbation vnto it. The Papists themselues do acknowledge it to bee the sa­cred & vndoubted word of God, though of al scrip­tures they cannot endure it should be medled with­all, because it cutteth them so neare the bone. More­ouer, it may not be omitted, that God is called the Lord God of the holy Prophets, chapter 22. verse 6. which proueth, that this Prophesie is of equall authoritie with the Pro­phesies, which were of olde, in as much as the same God is the Author of it. And this booke is to be held in the same account with the bookes of Moses, and of the Prophets; for all things contained in it shall as certainly be fulfilled in their time, as theirs were. In Esay, in Ieremie, in Ezechiel, in Daniel, and in the rest, we find many things, which the Lord shewed by thē lōg before they came to passe. Euē so there be many things foreshewed & fore-prophesied in this booke, which in their time shalbe assuredly fulfilled. Nay, we see and know, that many things here fore-tolde, [Page 15] are already fulfilled, & some things are come to passe euen in these our daies. Hee that shall looke into the times that are past, since this Prophesie was giuē; shal finde that all things haue fallen out agreeable to the Prophesie of this booke. And surely if there were none other thing to perswade vs touching the au­thoritie thereof, this might suffice, that euery thing hath fallen out iust and iumpe, as this Prophesie did foreshewe. It is our great negligence, that we do not clearely see so much. And I do humbly entreate all the people of God to looke more diligently and nar­rowly into it in all time to come. And thus much concerning the circumstances.

Now, as concerning the booke it selfe, it may ve­ry fitly be deuided into three visions, as it were into three generall parts. The first vision is contained in the three first Chapters. The second vision is con­tained in the next eight Chapters following, from the 4. to the 12. Chapter. And the last vision is con­tained in all the Chapters following, from the 12. to the ende.

As concerning the first vision, my purpose is not to stand much vpon it, because it is plaine and easie to vnderstand, and because it containeth no Prophe­sies of things to come, but onely openeth the pre­sent state of the Church at that time, & also because I haue alreadie touched the summe of it in handling the circumstantiall points, I will therefore content my selfe with a very briefe opening and resolution of it, beginning at the first Chapter.

CHAP. I.

The summe of the first Chapter.

THe first Chapter containeth foure principall things.

  • The Title of the booke.
  • The salutation of the Churches.
  • The maner of Iohns calling to receiue this Prophesie.
  • The description of Christ, the person that calleth him.

The Title of the booke is set downe in these words: The Reuelation of Iesus Christ which God gaue him.

vers. 1 It containeth three things: First the Author of the booke, which is Iesus Christ, receiuing it from God the Father.

vers. 1.2. Secondly, the end and vse of this booke, which is, to shewe vnto all the seruants of God the things which must shortly be done.

vers. 3 Thirdly, the singular fruite and benefite which the Church shall receiue by it, in these words: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that heare the words of this Prophesie, &c.

vers. 4 The salutation is in these words: Iohn to the seuen Churches which are in Asia, Grace bee with you, & peace, &c. It containeth a description of the Trinitie, or three persons in the God-head. The Father is descri­bed [Page 17] of his eternitie, namely, to be he which is, which was, and which is to come.

vers. 4 The holy Ghost is described of his diuerse gifts and operations, and therefore is called the seuen spi­rits which are before the Throne, or which proceed from the Throne: but S. Iohn speaketh here of the holy Ghost, according to the vision shewed him in the fift chapter, where Christ is said to haue seuen eyes, which are the seuen spirits of God, sent into all the the world. Of the which afterward.

vers. 5 6. Iesus Christ is described of his three great offices, of King, Priest, and Prophet, and also of his glorious power and eternitie. vers. 7.8.

First, touching his kingly office, hee is called the Prince of the Kings of the earth, that is, vers. 5 King of Kings, for he is King of Sion. He is a King to rule and gouerne his Church. Hee must raigne ouer the house of Iudah for euer. Hee must raigne ouer all his enemies, and in the middest of all his enemies, euen till he haue trode them all vnder his feete. And this benefite we haue by it, that we are made Kings in him, in this life to raigne ouer our corrupt affec­tions, and after this life to raigne as crowned kings foreuer with him, in infinite glorie, and endlesse fe­licitie.

Secondly, touching his Priest-hood, vers. 5 hee is said to loue vs, and wash vs from our sinnes in his bloud. For hee is our onely high Priest, which by his owne bloud hath once entred into the holy place, and obtained eternall redemption for vs. Hee onely it is,Heb. 9.12. which through the eternall Spirit, offered himselfe without fault to God,Heb. 9.14. to purge our consciences [Page 18] from dead workes to serue the liuing God. So then by vertue of his Priest-hood and sacrifice, wee are reconciled vnto God, haue free accesse vnto the throne of grace, and are made Priests in him to of­fer vp spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through him. vers. 6 For hee hath made vs Kings and Priests vnto God, euen his Father.

Thirdly, concerning his Propheticall office, hee is called that faithfull witnesse. For hee said to Pi­late: vers. 5 Iohn. 18 37. For this cause was I borne, and for this cause came I into the world, that I might beare witnesse vnto the truth. 1. Tim. 6.13. And the Apostle saith: Hee witnessed vnder Pontius Pilate a good confession. So then Iesus Christ is one of those three great witnesses which beare record in heauen. 1. Iohn. 5. Iesus Christ is the Prince of Prophets, euen that great Prophet that should come into the world, through whom all the counsels of God are reuealed vnto vs: he is that only begotten son which is come downe from the bosome of his Father, and hath made knowne vnto vs whatsoeuer he hath re­ceiued of his Father. Hee both by his doctrine, life, and miracles, hath borne witnesse vnto the truth, and by the vertue of his Propheticall office, the whole will of God is made knowne vnto vs. For God hath sent him as the great Prophet to instruct the world in righteousnesse, and hath reuealed him­selfe to vs in him:Coll 1.1 [...]. Heb. 1.3. and therefore hee is called the Image of the inuisible God, the brightnesse of his glorie, and the ingrauen forme of his person. And therefore hee said to Philip: Hee that hath seene mee, hath seene my Father also. Iohn. 14.7. And if you had knowne mee, you should haue knowne my Father also.

[Page 19]And againe: No man knoweth the Father, Math. 15.27. but the Sonne, and hee to whom the Sonne will reueale him. Thus then wee see that Iesus Christ is that faithfull wit­nesse, and Prince of Prophets, in whom the will of God, and all the counsels of his Father are reuealed vnto vs.

The manner of Iohns calling to receiue this Prophesie, is set downe in these wordes: vers. 9 I Iohn euen your brother and companion in tribulation and in the kingdome and patience of Iesus Christ, was in the Ile of Pathmos for the word of God, and for the witnessing of Iesus Christ: vers. 10 And I was rauished in the spirit on the Lords day, and heard behinde mee a great voice, as it had bene of a trumpet, saying: I am Alpha and Omega, vers. 11 that first and that last, and that which thou seest, write in a booke, and send it vnto the seuen Churches which are in Asia, &c.

Now out of these three verses fiue things are to be obserued.

First, that Iohn is commaunded by the voice of Christ, which he heard behinde him as loude as a Trumpet, to write and record the visions which he sawe, and being so written and recorded, to com­mend them to all the Churches, for the common benefite and vse thereof. So that herein Iohn doth nothing of himselfe, nothing of his owne braine, but all things by special warrant and authoritie from Iesus Christ, that Alpha and Omega, which doth call him and authorize him to this great businesse which now he is set about.

Secondly, Iohns rauishment in spirit, to the ende [Page 20] he might be made more capable of all these heauen­ly visions which were shewed vnto him.

Thirdly, his great humiliation, whereby also hee was fitted to receiue and vnderstand these great my­steries.Psal. 25. For God will guide the meeke in iudgement, and teach the humble his wayes; yea, his secrets are with them that feare him. Therefore although Iohn was a great Apostle, and had seene wonderfull visions, yet hee is not thereby puft vp with pride and conceit of him­selfe, but in the greatest humiliation of his soule, cal­leth himselfe a brother and companion of all the faith­full, vers. 9 but specially of such as patiently suffer for Iesus Christ and his kingdome.

Fourthly, the time when Iohn was called, which was the Lords day.

Fiftly, and lastly, the place where he was called, which was the Ile of Pathmos, as formerly hath bene shewed.

The description of Christ, the person that calleth Iohn to this new office, is set downe in the next fiue verses following, wherein the excellent glorie of Christes person is described. vers. 13 First, from the place where Christ did appeare vnto him. Secondly, from the seuerall parts and members of his royall person. vers. 14.15.

vers. 16 Thirdly, from his prouident care ouer his true ministers, and all his faithfull people.

Touching the place where Christe in a vision did appeare to Iohn, hee saith it was in the middest of the seuen golden Candlestickes. For saith hee, I turned backe to see the voyce that spake with mee, and when I was turned, I sawe seuen golden Candlestickes, [Page 21] and in the middest of the seuen Candlestickes one like the sonne of man, &c. The 7. vers. 12 vers. 13 golden Candlesticks are in­terpreted by Christ himselfe, in the last verse of this Chapter, to be the seuen Churches. The Churches are saide to be of golde, because Christ delighteth in them as much as we do in golde; he valueth eue­ry true member thereof as we do golde:Psal. 45.13. Cant. 4.1. Can. 1.9.10. Can. 6.9. for euery beleeuer is all glorious within: euery true Christi­an is faire and beautifull: euery regenerate man is all as golde, euen as most pure golde.

It is said afterward, that Christ walketh in the midst of these seuen golden Candlestickes: that is, he is alwaies present with his Church, to feed it, gouerne it, de­fend it, & comfort it. The Prophet saith that Christ hath seuē eies which goe through the whole world:Zach. 4.10. Zach. 3 9. whereby is signified his watchfull prouidence for his Church: for hee is alwaies looking out for the good of it, to defend and protect it against all ad­uersary power whatsoeuer. Which thing was fi­gured in the Rammes skinnes, & Badgers skinnes, wherewithall the Arke was couered,Exod. 2.6. to defend it a­gainst all violence of winde and weather. Euen so the mercifull protection of Christ, is as it were the continuall couering of his Church.

As touching the parts and members of his roy­all person, hee is described of his head and haire, vers. 13.14.15. of his face, of his eyes, of his voice, of his feete, of his garments, and of his girdle.

As concerning his head and haire, they are said to be as white as wooll, and as snowe, vers. 14 which signifie his great wisedom & knowledge, to performe all things in his Church, for wisedome and knowledge for [Page 22] the most part do accompany white heads, and gray haires.

His face shineth as the Sunne in his strength. Which signifieth that Christ is the same to his Church, that the Sunne is to the world. For as the Sunne lighte­neth the whole worlde with his brightnesse; So Christ with the brightnesse of his face lighteneth his whole Church.

His eyes are like a flame of fire, that is, exceeding bright, and piercing into all places, yea the very harts of men: for nothing is hid frō his sight, with whom we haue to do. He hath Egles eyes to foresee all dan­gers intended and plotted against his Church, that he may in due time preuent them.

His voice is compared to the sounde of many wa­ters, because it should sounde throughout all the world by the preaching of the Gospell. Waters is expounded Chapter 17. verse 15. of multitudes, na­tions, and tongues. Christs voice therefore is like many waters, because his voice should goe through many countries, and kingdomes.

His feete are compared to fine brasse: to signifie both the perfectiō of all his waies, and also his migh­tie power to treade downe all his enemies.

He is cloathed with a garment downe to the ground, to signifie that he walketh as King and Priest in the midst of the seuen golden candlestickes. For Kings and Priests in olde time did weare long garments, specially in the execution of their offices.

He is girded about the pappes with a golden girdle: for as Kings and Priests did gird their garments close vnto them, least otherwise they might be hindred in [Page 23] the execution of their offices. So Christ girdeth himselfe close to his businesse: for he is no idle be­holder of the state of his church: but one that con­tinually worketh out the good thereof.

Concerning his prouident care ouer his faithfull Ministers, he is said to carry them in his right hand: for hee had in his right hand seuen starres: that is, vers. 16 vers. 20 the Ministers of the churches. As Christ saith; the seuen starres are the Angels; that is, the Ministers of the se­uen churches. Ministers are compared to starres, be­cause they should shine as bright starres in this darke world, both by life and doctrine.

Christ is said to hold them in his right hand, be­cause he alwaies defendeth them against the malice & fury of the world, which of all others is most out­ragiously bent against them, and their fauorites. But let men take heed of ouer bold presuming to pul the starres out of Christs right hand, least they smart for it. The world is very busie this way, they thinke to wring them out of his hands; but alas poore soules they are not able, he holdeth them too fast, who can pull them out of his right hand? If they continue bold and busie this way, they may hap at last take a beare by the tooth, and peraduenture pull an olde house vpō their heads. An other reason why Christ is said to holde the 7. starres in his right hand is, be­cause he worketh by them, and their ministrie, as an Artificer with his toole in his right hande. The things which Christ hath done by these instrumēts are glorious and admirable. For by the ministery of the Gospell he hath cōuerted many sinners, & saued many soules, then the which nothing can be more [Page 24] honorable & wonderfull: and therfore the word of God which is the Ministers weapō, is compared to a sharpe two edged sword, vers. 16 which came out of Christs mouth.

Now vnto all this may be added that Christ saith; he was dead, but now aliue, because hee died, and rose againe. And also that he saith; Hee had the keyes of hell and death: that is, authoritie and power ouer hell and damnation. For he hath absolute power to open and shut, binde and loose; and therefore it is written, chapter 3.7. He hath the key of Dauid, which openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth. All this setteth forth the great power & glory of Christs per­son, and all aimeth at this marke & end, to commend vnto vs the authoritie of this booke, because it com­meth from a person of so great dignitie & excellēcy.

Last of all, it remaineth to shewe how Iohn was affected with this vision, wherein Christ did so glo­riously appeare vnto him: vers. 17 for he saith; When I sawe him I fell at his feete as dead. Wherein hee sheweth how greatly hee was amazed and daunted with the sight of Christs most glorious personage. Hee was striken with such an astonishment & feare, that there was almost no life, or spirit left in him, and all this was to humble him euen to the ground, in as much as by it, he findeth his owne weakenesse and imper­fection, not capable of such a sight, so farre as to en­dure it. It was no doubt profitable, or rather neces­sary, that this holy seruant of God, should thus be humbled and made fit to receiue this reuelation with the greater reuerence from his great Lorde and maister. And also it maketh much for our pro­fit, as appeareth, in that euery part of this vision is [Page 25] rehearsed in the Epistles to the Churches. But to conclude, Iohn being thus humbled and cast downe in himselfe, is comforted and raised vp by Christ, who laid his right hand vpon him, and willed him to feare nothing. For saith he: I am the first and the last, vers. 17 and am aliue, but I was dead, behold I am aliue for euermore. In which wordes hee dooth greatly cheare vp Iohns heart, and telleth him plainely, that this might and terrour of his person is bent onely against the wic­ked enemies of his Church, nothing at all against the friends thereof: but contrariwise, that all this po­wer and glorie, might and maiestie, is wholy and al­together for the good of his Church. Wherein wee may all clearely see and knowe to our great com­fort, that the same arme of God which casteth down the wicked, raiseth vp the godly: the same power wich woundeth them, healeth vs: the same hand which destroieth them, saueth vs: the same might and maiestie wich hurteth them, helpeth vs. For whatsoeuer is in God, is wholly for his, and wholy against those that are none of his. And thus much concerning the first Chapter.

CHAP. II. and III.

I Haue thought good to handle these two Chap­ters together, and in a generall and compendious maner to set downe the most speciall matters con­tained in them both: not meaning to insist vpon e­uery particular, both because these two chapters are plaine, and easie to vnderstand, & also because they haue bene sufficiently beaten vpon by many.

[Page 26]These two Chapters doo generally containe seuen Epistles, written to the seuē Churches of Asia: wherein the present estate of the Churches of Asia is very liuely described, and in them the state of all o­ther churches then militant vpon the face of the earth.

Euery one of these seuen Epistles containeth foure things.

  • First, an Exordium or entrance into the matter.
  • Secondly, a generall proposition.
  • Thirdly, a narration.
  • Lastly, a conclusion.

The Exordium or entrance of euery Epistle con­taineth two things; namely, the person to whom the Epistle is written, and the person from whom the Epistle is written.

The proposition is one & the same in all these E­pistles contained in these words: I know thy workes.

The narration containeth the matter of each E­pistle, and cōsisteth of commendations and discom­mendations; of admonitions, reprehensions, threats and promises.

The conclusion of euery Epistle, is one and the same, in these words: Let him that hath an eare heare what the spirit saith to the Churches.

First, concerning the person to whom these Epi­stles are sent, he is named in the beginning of euerie Epistle, To be the Angel of such a Church.

By this word Angel, he meaneth not the inuisible spirits which we call the Angels of heauen; for the [Page 27] things attributed to these Angels, can in no wise a­gree to the inuisible spirits, as to be Angels of seueral churches: to be neither hotte nor cold, to leaue their first loue, to repent and amend, and sundry such like attributes throughout all these Epistles. But by the word Angell, he meaneth the Minister or Pastor of euery church: which therefore is called an Angell, because he is the Minister of God, as the word signi­fieth: As also because euery faithfull Minister ought to be receiued and regarded as an Angell of God, as the Apostle witnesseth of the Galathians, that they receiued him as an Angell of God, Gal. 4.14. yea as Christ Ie­sus. And he giueth many admonitions in his Epi­stles to this effect: for hee would haue all faithfull and painfull Ministers to be greatly reuerenced and had in double honour: to be acknowledged,1. Tim. 5.17. 1. Thess. 5.12. 1. Cor. 16.18. 1. Cor. 16.10. Phil. 2.29. Tit. 3 13. & had in singular loue for their workes sake: to be cared for, to be made much of, and to want nothing. For indeed a good Minister is a Iewel of price. A good Minister is as a friend in court, which we say is bet­ter then penny in purse. A good Minister is like a candle, which spendeth it selfe to giue light to o­thers. A good Minister is like a cocke, which by the clapping of his wings awaketh himselfe, and by his crowing awaketh others. For a good Minister by his priuate studies, praiers, & meditations, awaketh him selfe, and by his publike preaching awaketh others.

The scripture affirmeth a good Minister to be the very glory of Christ. And againe,2. Cor. 8.23. that a good Mini­ster is a singular blessing of God. For the Lord him­selfe saith; I will take you one of a citie, Ier. 3.14. and two of a tribe, and will bring you to Zion: and I will giue you [Page 28] Pastors according to my heart, which shall feede you with knowledge & vnderstanding. Now then, if a good Mi­nister be so great a blessing of God, and so pearelesse a pearle, how great is the sinne of those which con­temne them, and treade their Ministrie vnder foote, as vile and nothing worth. Our Lord Iesus saith of all such:Luk. 10.16. He that despiseth you, despiseth me. Let those scoffers and scorners therefore take heede how they despise Christ, for assuredly he wil not long put it vp at their hands.

If any man demaund a reason why all these Epi­stles are specially sent and directed to the Angels or Pastors of the Churches, seeing Iohn before, chap. 1. verse. 11. is commanded to write them to the Chur­ches of Asia, I answer, that he writing to the Pastors, excludeth not the Churches, but in them, or vn­der them, he writeth to the whole Churches, as it plainely appeareth in the conclusion of euery Epi­stle, when hee saith: Let him that hath an eare, heare what the spirit saith to the Churches. Then that which is spoken to the Angell of the Church, is spoken to the Church. The reason why the speech is specially directed to the Pastor of euery church, is, because the good or bad estate of the church, for the most part, dependeth vpon the Minister. For commonly we see it commeth to passe; Such a Pastor, such peo­ple: Such a shepheard, such sheepe: Such a builder, such building: Such a husbandman, such husband­rie.Hos. 4.9. And as the Prophet saith: Like Priest, like people. For we may obserue in all these Epistles, that where the Minister is commended, the people are cōmen­ded; and where the Minister is discommended, the [Page 29] people are discommended also. So that they stand and fall, sinke and swim together.

As concerning the person from whom these Epi­stles are sent, it is Iesus Christ, who is very gloriously described of his diuerse qualities in the entrance of euery one of these Epistles. First, in the Epistle to the Church of Ephesus, it is said: These things saith he that holdeth the seuen starres in his right hand, and which wal­keth in the middest of the seuen golden Candlestickes. Se­condly, in the Epistle to the church of Smyrna: These things saith hee that is first and last; which was dead, & is aliue. Thirdly, to the church of Pergamus: Thus saith he which hath the sharpe sword with two edges. Fourthly, to Thyatira: These things saith the sonne of God, who hath eies like a flame of fire, and his feete like fine brasse. Fiftly, to the church of Sardis: These things saith he that hath the seuen spirits of God, and the seuen starres. Sixtly, to the church of Philadelphia, it is thus said of Christ: These things saith he that is holy and true, which hath the key of Dauid, which openeth, & no man shutteth, & shut­teth, and no man openeth. Lastly, to Laodicea it is thus said: These things saith Amen, the faithfull and true witnesse, the beginning of the creatures.

Now then wee doo plainely see how gloriously Iesus Christ is described of his seuerall properties in euerie one of these Epistles, and what honourable and magnificent titles are giuen vnto him: and all to this ende, to moue attention, and to worke in vs a reuerence of so great a personage, that wee might more seriously regarde, and deepely ponder the things which proceede from so great a maiestie. For we see and know by cōmon experience, that almost [Page 30] euery mans words are heeded and regarded accor­ding to the opinion & reuerence which is had of his person. Sith then that euery one of these Epistles is fronted with this great authoritie; Thus saith the sonne of God: Thus saith Christ▪ Thus saith Alpha & Omega; therefore wee ought to giue diligent heede to the things herein contained. So likewise we reade in the Epistle to the Hebrewes, that after the holy Ghost had very notably described the person of Christ,Heb. 1.4.5. and extolled him far aboue the Angels & all other crea­tures, hee giueth the vse of it in the beginning of the second chapter,Heb. 2.1. saying: Therfore we ought to giue more diligent heede to his doctrine. And thus much concer­ning the Exordium or entrance of these seuen Epi­pistles, touching the person to whom, and the person from whom these Epistles are sent.

Now it followeth to speake a word or two of the generall propositiō contained in these words; I know thy workes. We read in all these Epistles, how the Son of God doth praise some of the churches, & dispraise others: commend some of the Pastors, and discom­mend others. Now, hee that will praise or dispraise, must specially looke to this, that he be vpon a good ground: and therefore Iesus Christ before he enters into any praising or dispraising, commending or reprouing, doth first protest that hee knoweth their workes, & is priuie to all their particular actions, yea, their very thoughts, and therefore cannot erre or be deceiued in his censures. True it is indeed, that men may erre in their opinions & censures of others, be­cause they know not mens harts, & with what affec­tions things are carried. Men I say, may praise or dis­praise [Page 31] too much or too little. But Iesus Christ whose eies are as a flame of fire, and which searcheth the raines, cannot faile one iot, nor erre a haire breadth, as we say, either in commēding or discommending, and therefore he stoppeth their mouthes at the first dash, so as they can haue nothing to reply, when he saith: I know thy works; I know wel inough what thou art, & what thou hast bin; I am not deceiued in thee; I know thy sitting downe & rising vp, & am accusto­med to al thy waies; And this briefly of; propositiō.

The narration (as is aforesaid) cōtaineth the mat­ter of the Epistles, consisting of praises & dispraises, admonitions, reprehensions, threates, and promises.

Touching the first, we find that some churches are wholy commended, others wholy discommended: others partly commended, partly discommended. As for example, the Pastor & people of Smyrna and Philadelphia, are generally commēded for all things, and discommended for nothing; there is no fault found with them; that is, no grosse fault, as in others: for they were not without commō corruptions and infirmities. The Minister of Smyrna was a very rare & excellēt man, although a poore man to the world­ward. For Christ saith thus vnto him: I know thy po­uertie: but thou art rich; that is, rich in grace,Apoc. 2 9. and the manifolde gifts of the spirit. Thou hast done great seruice to the church. Thou hast imploied thy gifts to the good of many. Thou takest great pains in thy ministrie, & art greatly blessed in thy labors: for thou hast an excellent flocke, a notable good people, and therefore I cannot but greatly commend both thee and them. The Minister of Philadelphia was also a very worthy and notable man.

[Page 32]For although his gifts were not so great as some o­thers, yet was he very painefull and faithfull in a lit­tle:Apoc. 3.8. of whom it is said, Thou hast a litle strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name: that is, thou art very constant in the profession and practise of Christian religion. And therevpon Christ pro­miseth to blesse his labours. For saith hee: I will make them of the sinagogue of Sathan which call themselues Iewes, and are not, but do lye: Beholde I say, I will make them that they shall come and worship before thy feete, and shall knowe that I haue loued thee. Here we do plainely see how Christ promiseth to blesse this mans mini­sterie, for his painefulnesse and diligence, although hee was not of the greatest gifts. For men of grea­test gifts are not alwaies most blessed in their labors. For God doth commonly worke the greatest things by weake meanes, that all glory might redound vn­to him, and no flesh might boast in his sight. For o­therwise, if men of greatest gifts should alwaies bee most blessed in their labours, and winne most soules vnto God, then wee would be readie to ascribe that to men, & their gifts, which is proper vnto God, and so this praise and glorie should be somewhat eclip­sed. Thus wee see what excellent men the Ministers of Smyrna and Philadelphia were, and what excellent people they had in their charges. But on the contra­rie, the Pastor and the people of Sardis and Laodicea, are discommended for all things, and commended for nothing. Indeede the Minister of Sardis had a great name for learning and other good gifts, but he was growne very idle & negligent, & did little good with his gifts.Apoc. 3.1. Of whom it is said: Thou hast a name [Page 33] that thou liuest, but thou art dead. That is, there was no spirit in him, no life of grace, his gifts waxed rustie for want of vse: hee was fallen asleepe: he was fallen away from the grace of God: hee was nothing the man which he had bene. Therefore hee is admoni­shed to awake and strengthen the things which re­maine, which were readie to die.

The Minister of Laodicea, & the people also, were growne luke-warme, neither hot nor colde;Apoc. 3.16. they were become carelesse and secure, not caring great­ly which end went forward in Gods matters, so they might enioy the present profits and pleasures of this life.

Concerning the Pastors and people of Ephesus, Pergamus, and Thyatira, they are partly commended, and partly discōmended. These three were reasona­ble good Ministers, & had many good parts in thē, and tooke paines in their charges, although there be some faults found with them. For the Minister of E­phesus is commended for sixe things; for labour, for patience, for zeale, for wisedome, for sinceritie, & for courage: but discōmended for leauing his first loue;Apoc. 2.5. that is, for reuolting, or somewhat going back, or ra­ther indeed, for cooling in the loue & zeale of God. The Minister of Pergamus, & people also, are great­ly commended for their constant profession of the truth in the middest of manifolde troubles, & the ve­ry heate of persecution. For the rage of the enemies grew so fierce against the profession and professors of the Gospell, that Antipas the Pastor of Pergamus (as some suppose) was put to death. For Christ saith thus of this church:Apoc. 2.13. Thou dwellest where Sathās throne [Page 34] is, and yet thou keepest my name, and hast not denied my saith, euen in those daies when Antipas my faithful Mar­tyr was slaine among you, where Sathan dwelleth.

But yet notwithstāding this church is found fault withal for some few things, that is, two grosse faults: the one for suffering the doctrine of Balaam to be broached there by the instruments of Sathan: the o­ther, that they maintained the doctrine of the Nico­laitans. The doctrine of Balaam did vphold the law­fulnes of eating things sacrificed to Idols,Apoc. 2.14. & of com­mitting fornication: for he taught Balac the King of Moab, thus to put a stumbling blocke before the children of Israel. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes did vphold the common vse of women, that is, that women might be made common. These two most grosse and absurd doctrines, were suffred and main­tained in the church of Pergamus.

Apoc. 2.19.As concerning the church of Thyatira, they are greatly commended for the loue and seruice to the church, for their faith, patience, & manifold workes, and especially for their constant proceeding in reli­gion and godlinesse, and that with increase. For of this church it is said; I knowe thy loue, and seruice, and faith, and thy patience, and thy workes, and that they are moe at the last then at the first. But this church is dis­commended for suffering the wicked woman Ieza­bel, (that is, a false Prophetesse, which was craftily crept into this church) to teach & seduce the people of God in that congregatiō, teaching the same false doctrine that Balaā did at Pergamus:Apoc. 2. Verse 20. which was, that it was lawfull to commit fornication, and to eate meates sacrificed vnto Idolls. Hitherto concerning the praises and dispraises of the churches.

[Page 35]Now followeth to speake of the admonitions.

First the Church of Ephesus hauing fallen from their first loue, is admonished to remember from whence they were fallen, to repent, and to do their first workes. Also the church of Smyrna is admoni­shed and exhorted to stand fast in the midst of those persecutions & troubles, which should be raised vp against it, by the Emperour Traianus, and continue for the space of tenne yeares. They are therefore exhorted and encouraged by our Lorde Iesus, not to feare the things which they should suffer: for al­though the diuel and his instruments should haue scope to persecute and imprison them for ten daies, that is ten yeares, according to prophetical account; yet if they did continue faithfull to the death, they should haue the crowne of life. The church of Per­gamus suffering and maintaining the doctrine of Balaam, and the Nicolaitanes, is admonished to re­pent and amend. The Church of Thyatira, which suffered the false doctrine of Iezabel, is admoni­shed to looke to her selfe, and to hold fast the truth of Religion. Sardis being dull and dead, is admoni­shed to awake, and strengthen the things which re­maine, that were readie to die. Philadelphia is admo­nished to holde that which they had, that no man take their crowne. Laodicea being neither hotte nor colde, but luke-warme, is admonished to be zealous and amend. And although they thought their state good inough, being puft vp with conceitednes, yet are they charged to be poore, naked and blinde, and therevpō counselled & admonished to buy spiritual gold, that they may be rich: and spirituall garments [Page 36] to hide their nakednesse and spirituall eye-salue, to annoint their eyes that they might see.

Concerning reprehensions, Ephesus is reproued for going backward. Pergamus and Thyatira for suf­fering and maintaining corrupt doctrine, as former­ly hath bene shewed. Sardis for dulnesse, deadnesse, and vnsoundnesse in their manner of worshipping God. Laodicea for lukewarmnesse and conceitednes.

Touching threats, Ephesus is threatned, that ex­cept they repent and do their first workes, their can­dlesticke should be remoued out of his place; that is, the Church should bee translated to some other place, but not destroied. For God doth remoue, but not destroy his Candlestickes. Pergamus is threat­ned, that vnlesse they did speedily repent, Iesus Christ would come shortly, and fight against them with the sword of his mouth. Thyatira is threatned, that except they repent them of their workes, they should be cast into a bed of affliction, and all their fa­uourites should be slaine with death. Sardis is threat­ned, that if they did not watch and awake, Christ would come suddenly vpon them as a thiefe, and they should not knowe what houre hee would come.

Concerning promises, they be very great & large for euerlasting ioy, and the very fulnesse of glory is promised to all that fight the good fight of faith, and ouercome in the spirituall battell against the flesh, the world, and the diuell. Ephesus is promised, that if they fight it out couragiously and constantly to the ende, they should eate of the tree of life, which is in the middest of the paradise of God.

[Page 37] Smyrna is promised in like case, that they should not be hurt of the second death. Pergamus likewise is promised to eate of the Manna that is hid, and to haue the white stone of victorie giuen them. Thyati­ra is promised to haue power giuen them to rule o­uer Nations, & to be lightned with heauenly bright­nesse, like the morning starre. Sardis is promised to be cloathed with white aray; that is, with heauenly glorie, and to haue their name continued in the booke of life. Philadelphia is promised to haue a pil­lar made in the Temple of God; that is, a firme and vnmoueable place of eternall glory. Laodicea is pro­mised to sup with Christ, and to sit with him vpon his throne for euermore.

Thus wee see what great and precious promises are made to all Churches that fight and ouercome in this their spirituall battell and conflict.

Concerning the conclusion, it is one & the same to all these seuen churches. Wherein they are exhor­ted, that such as haue eares to heare, should heare, ponder, and consider all the foresaid praises and dis­praises, admonitions, reprehensions, threates, & pro­mises. And it is therefore said, such as haue eares, be­cause there are very fewe to be found that haue cir­cumcised and sanctified eares, to heare and vnder­stand heauenly things. This is proper to the elect, this is but, to whom it is giuen. And thus briefly and generally we see what was the present state of euerie one of the Churches of Asia, vnto which this Pro­phesie was to be sent: so that by them we may see in what estate the vniuersall Church militant was at that time. For as some of these seuen as yet stood [Page 38] firme, and others had much declined, so was it with all other churches.

Hitherto concerning the first vision, containing generally the inscription of this booke: Iohns saluta­tion to the Churches: Iohns new calling: The excel­lencie of Christ which called him: And the present estate of the Church. Now we are to proceed to the second vision, contained in the next 8. chapters to the 12. wherein is shewed, what should be the future estate of the Church in all ages, euen vnto the ende of the world.

CHAP. IIII.

THe principal things contained in this 4. chapter, is a description of the person of God, the Au­thor of this booke, who is most gloriously described of that excellent glorie that is in himselfe, and of his royall throne which he sitteth vpon, & of his good­ly retinue, and troupes of Saints and Angels atten­ding about his most glorious throne. Wherevnto is added the diuerse qualities, both of Angels and Saints, both in themselues and their owne natures: as also in their manner of praising and worshipping of God. This is the generall summe and sense of this chapter.

But for the better clearing and more full opening of it, I will come to the words of the text, and open them as they lie in order.

vers. 1 After this I looked, and beholde a doore was open in heauē, and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a [Page 39] trumpet, talking with me, saying: Come vp hither, and I wil shew thee the things which must be done hereafter.

These words (After this) haue relation to the first vision spoken of before, as if hee should say, after I had receiued the former vision, concerning the pre­sent estate of the Church, now I had an other vision concerning the future estate therof; and therfore he saith, a doore was open in heauen, that he might come in and see al these things which should be reuealed vn­to him. For the opening of the doore in heauē doth here signifie the vnlocking of heauenly things vnto Iohn, or his entrance into them: for so the word doore is taken. 2. Cor. 3.12. Apoc. 3.8. After the opening of the doore, hee is called vp with a loude voice, like a trumpet, saying: Come vp hither. For although the doore was opened, yet durst hee not enter in till hee was called and commanded to come in. For in these cases he doth not presume in any thing as of himself, without speciall warrant and direction: As the scrip­ture saith: No man taketh this honour vnto himselfe, Heb. 5.4. but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. The voice that calleth him, is like a trumpet that is loude and shrill, that he might be stirred vp more diligently to attend vnto the contemplation of these great secrets which should be reuealed vnto him. This voice comman­deth him to come vp hither: which sheweth that Iohn was rapt vp in the spirit vnto the heauens to see this vision. This voice promiseth to shewe him things which must bee done hereafter: that is, that hee should be made acquainted with the future estate of the church, as alreadie he was with the present estate thereof.

[Page 40] vers. 2 And immediately I was rauished in the spirite, and beholde a Throne was set in heauen, and one sate vpon the Throne.

Vpon this suddaine and extraordinary calling by so heauenly and loude a voice, Iohn was forthwith rauished in spirit. For as the Prophet Ezechiel was by the spirite in the Visions of God, carried from Chaldea to Ierusalem: So this holy Apostle is car­ried by the spirite in the Visions of God into hea­uen, and by the same spirite is made fit and capable of all these heauenly Visions which should be shew­ed him. So that in all this we doo plainly and clearly see, that Iohn hath as it were a further calling and admittance from heauen, to beholde and see these wonderfull secrets which now are to be im­parted vnto him.

vers. 2 Behold a Throne, &c. Here beginneth the descrip­tion of the most high and glorious maiestie of God, who is described after the maner of earthly Kings and Iudges sitting vpon their Thrones and iudge­ment seates. For he is king of Zion, and Iudge of all the world.

vers. 3 And he that sate, was to looke vpon like vnto a Iasper stone, and a Sardine, and there was a Raine-bowe round about the Throne like an Emeraud.

God for his admirable glory and beautie, is here compared to two most precious stones. The one which is the Iasper, being of a perfect green colour, [Page 41] as Philosophers write: the other, which is the Sar­dine, being of a most bright redde colour. Nothing can sufficiently resemble the glory of God, being in­finit: But these things, being of the most pretious vn­der the Sunne, do after a sort shadow it vnto vs.

There was a raine-bowe round about the throne, which may signifie, that Gods throne in glorie and beautie doth farre excell all other thrones of mortall Princes; yea, euen that of Salomō, which was of most pure Iuorie: or rather it may signifie, that although God in himselfe is most glorious and admirable, yet he keepeth promise & couenant with the sonnes of men. For the Raine-bowe was a signe of his coue­nant, as appeareth, Gen. 9. and assuredly God will be mindful of his couenant to a thousand generations. This Rain-bowe is said to be like an emeraud, which is alwaies of a fresh greene colour, signifying that Gods couenant of grace and mercie towardes his Church, is alwaies fresh and greene, & his goodnes towards his people perpetuall and vnchangeable.

Moreouer, God is described of his glorious reti­nue, & heauenly company about him. For it is said: Round about the Throne were 24. seates, vers. 4 and vpon the seates 24. Elders: Which signifie the whole church, both militant & triumphant, both of Iewes & Gen­tiles, and are therefore called 24. because the church of the Iewes grew out of the 12. Patriarches: & the church of the Gentiles out of the 12. Apostles. And as the glory and pompe of mortall kings is set out by their troupes and traines of nobles, and other excel­lent personages: So the glorie of God (which in it selfe can receiue no encrease) is to our capacitie cō ­mended [Page 42] and set forth by his goodly companies of Saints and Angels.

vers. 4 These 24. Elders are cloathed in white raiment, which signifieth their righteousnes, as it is expoun­ded, chap. 9. ver. 8. not inherent, but imputatiue: For they hauing no righteousnes of their owne, Christs righteousnes is imputed vnto them through faith, & through faith is made theirs:Rom. 4. For Abraham belee­ued, and it was imputed vnto him for righteousnes.

These 24. Elders had on their heades crownes of gold, which signifie their victories ouer the world: for all the elect ouercome the world through faith, as S.Iohn. 5. Iohn teacheth▪ and not the world only, but euē the flesh & the diuel also. And therefore the crowne and garland of victory belongeth vnto them as most valiant conquerors.

vers. 5 Moreouer it is saide, that out of the throne proceed lightnings, and thunderings, and voices, which signifie his terror and fearefull power in the preaching of the lawe: for the preaching of the lawe, is as it were a voice of lightning and thundring. The powerfull preaching of the lawe, is the very thundring of hell, and lightning of the wrath of God vpon all impeni­tent sinners: and therefore at the deliuery of the lawe, there were lightenings and thunderings, and mount Sinay it selfe did tremble and shake.

vers. 5 Further it is said, there were 7. lampes of fire burning before the throne, which are the 7. spirits of God. These seuen lampes which are interpreted to be the seuen spirits of God, do signifie the preaching of the Gos­pell, and the manifold graces and gifts of the spirit; which are giuē to the church by the meanes therof. [Page 43] For the Gospell giueth a cheareful and comfortable light, being the ministerie of the spirit,2. Cor. 3. as the Apostle saith, and therefore is resembled by seuen lampes. So then from the throne, that is, from the presence of God, proceedeth both lawe and Gospell, & the mi­nistrie of them both for the sauing of soules. And all this maketh much for the setting forth of Gods glo­ry and maiestie, being the marke here aimed at.

And before the throne, there was a Sea of glasse, vers. 6 like vnto Christall.

This Sea of glasse is the world, which is fitly com­pared to a Sea, because it is full of stormes, tempests, and waues, that are continually raised vp in it. It is full of rockes, vpō which many dash, and make ship­wracke. It is compared to a Sea of glasse, for the brittlenesse, chaunges, and vncertaintie of all things in the world. It is said to be before the throne like Christall, because the all-seeing God doth as cleare­ly beholde from his throne all the thoughts, words, and workes of the sonnes of men, and all other par­ticular actions of all his creatures vnder the Sunne, as wee beholde our face in a Christall.Heb. 4 13. For all things are naked, and as it were laide out in an anatomy vnto his eies, with whom we haue to do.

Moreouer it is said, that in the middest of the throne, vers. 6 and round about the throne, were foure beastes, full of eies before and behinde. These foure beastes do signi­fie the Angels of heauen, the inuisible and elect An­gels, as it is expounded, Ezech. 10. verse, 20. where [Page 44] the Prophet in a vision seeth foure beasts, as it were bearing vp and drawing Gods chariot of triumphe. And at the 20. verse he saith expressely, that he at last vnderstood they were the Cherubins. The first and tenth chapter of Ezechiel being throughly looked into, do make this plaine. The reason why the An­gels are called by the name of beasts, is, because in the next verse they are compared to beasts, for their qualities of certaine beastes. They are named foure in number, being otherwise innumerable, because they are likened to foure seuerall beastes.

The Angels are said to haue eies before and be­hind, for their great vigilancie ouer the Church, and euery member therof, and because they are endued with knowledge of things past, and things to come: and last of al, because they see and discerne almost all actions vnder the Sunne, vpward and downeward, backward and forward.

vers. 7 And the first beast was like a Lyon, the second like a calfe, &c.

Here the Angels are compared to foure seuerall beasts: to a Lion for strength and courage: to a calfe, or an oxe, for seruice and vse: to a beast hauing the face of a man, for wisedome: to an Eagle, for swift­nesse and readinesse to execute the will of God. And moreouer, because the Eagles soare aloft, and flye a very high pitch, we are giuen to vnderstand, that the heauenly spirits are much in celestiall contemplati­on, and do receiue the knowledge of hid secrets and counsels, for they are much aloft about the throne of God, and many high and deepe secrets are ope­ned vnto them.

[Page 45]And the foure beasts, had each of them sixe winges a­bout him, and they were full of eyes within, &c. vers. 8

This maketh it very plaine, that by these beasts are vnderstood the sixe Angels, because he ascribeth vnto euery one of them sixe wings a piece. For the Angels are described with winges, both in the first and tenth of Ezechiel before mentioned: and also in the sixt Chapter of the prophesie of Isaias, where the Seraphins are saide to haue sixe wings a piece: two to couer their faces: two to couer their feete: and two to flie withall; because they haue two wings to couer their faces withall, because they are not able to endure the vnconceiuable brightnesse and glory of God, for he dwelleth in vnapproachable light.1. Tim. 6.16. They haue two wings to couer their feete withall, because mortall men are not able to looke vpō the brightnes that is in them. For we read that many haue bin asto­nished & dazeled with the glory & brightnes of An­gels, so glorious creatures are they. They haue two wings to flie withall, to note the prompt obedience and readinesse to execute the commandements of God, as formerly was shewed. Moreouer, the angels are saide to haue winges and to flie swiftly: because God by them doth speedily dispatch many purpo­ses, actions & seruices here below: and for this cause the scripture affirmeth,Psal. 18.10. that he rideth vpon the Cheru­bins: that he dwelleth betweene the Cherubins: Psal. 80.1. and that he maketh the cloudes his chariots, Psal. 104 2. and walketh vpon the winges of the winde. For as earthly Kings are in their progresses carried in their most sumptuous coaches, [Page 46] drawne by the most excellent coach-horses, to dis­patch great businesses, and many waightie affaires within their dominions: so the visions in Ezechiel doo shewe that the immortall king is carried most swiftly in his chariot of triumph, drawne by the Cherubins, as it were by beasts, to direct and ouer­rule all actions vnder the Sunne.

Moreouer, these Angels are said to be full of eies within, vers. 8 to note not only their fulnesse of knowledge, but also their inward sight into all heauenly things; yea, euen such as are most secret and hid: for they are of all other creatures most inward with God. None of his children know so much of his counsell as they.

Furthermore, the Angels are here said to praise God vncessantly, vers. 8 day and night, saying: holy, holy, holy, Lord God almightie, which was, which is, and which is to come. Where wee may clearely see, that the Angels praise and worship God in a burning zeale without wearinesse. For they are not as men, which through their great corruption, are full of dulnesse and weari­nes in Gods worship; but they do alwaies serue him with infatigable desires, and therefore are called Se­raphins, because they burne in the zeale of God, and Cherubins, because their delight is to approach neer vnto him, and to be alwaies about his throne; yea, e­uen in his chamber of presence. They do double and treble this word (holy) and warble much vpon it, because they know full well, that hee is righteous in all his waies, and holy in al his workes; and that all his proceedings & iudgemēts, are euen then waigh­ed in the ballance of iustice and equitie, when to [Page 41] mans sence, & the iudgement of reason,Psal. 36. they seeme nothing lesse. For his Iudgements are as a great depth which mans reason cannot found.

Further, wee see that when these beastes, that is, vers. 9 the Angels, gaue glory, and honour, and thankes to God, &c. vers. 10 the 24. Elders also fell downe before him, and worshipped him that liueth for euermore. Where we may plainely see, that both Saints and Angels doo iointly praise and magnifie God, and him alone, Euen that God that liueth for euermore, euen that God which was, which is, and which is to come; that is, the eternall and euerla­sting God. For the scripture saith:Psal. 1.2.16. Psal 149.5. Ps. 103.20. Praise him ô yee Saints, and praise him ô yee Angels that excell in strength. And the 24. Elders cast their crownes before the throne, saying: Thou art worthy ô Lord, to receiue glory and ho­nour, &c. Wherein wee see, that all the elect doo emptie themselues of all worthinesse, to haue any glorie, acknowledging that their crownes of glorie are Gods free gift, & that the praise therof belōgeth onely to him, and nothing to themselues. And this in very deede is the right manner of worshipping God, frankely to ascribe all glorie to him, and all shame to our selues, to giue all to him to whome all is due, and nothing to our selues, which haue nothing; for nothing can bee giuen or taken out of nothing.

Now then, to conclude and winde vp this fourth chapter, wee doo clearely see the summe and drift of all is, that heauen doore was opened vnto Iohn, and that hee was let in, and called vp into the Chamber of presence by a very loude [Page 48] voice, there to take notice of the future estate of the church: and that the person which thus called him vp, was the very immortall God himselfe, who is so gloriously described of his throne, his troupes and traines of Saints & Angels, as we haue heard. And all this is to commend & set forth the authoritie of this booke, whose Author is so excellent, yea, super­excellent.

CHAP. V.

AFter this Vision containing the glory of the di­uine maiestie was shewed vnto Iohn, that hee might knowe from what fountaine this Prophesie was deriued, now in this fift chapter is taught and shewed by what meanes, and by whose mediation, the knowledge of such hidden mysteries were re­uealed vnto the church; namely, by the meanes and mediation of Iesus Christ, in whom only the coun­sels and secrets of God the Father are opened, and made knowne vnto men. For hee is the great Pro­phet & Doctor of the church, which is come downe from the bosome of his Father, and hath made knowne vnto vs whatsoeuer he hath receiued of his Father, Ioh 15.15. Math. 3. Math. 17.5. as hee himselfe testifieth. And the church is commaunded by a voice from heauen to heare him, and him alone.

ver. 1.2.3.4. This fift Chapter containeth three things gene­rally. First a description of the booke, which was in the right hand of God.

ver. 5.6.7. Secondly, a description of Iesus Christ, which receiueth it at the hande of his Father, and ope­neth it.

[Page 49]Thirdly, a description of those most glorious praises which are giuen to Christ by the Angels, vers. 8.9.10.11.12.13.14. Saints, and all the creatures in heauen and earth.

I sawe in the right hand of him that sate vpon the throne, vers. 1 a booke written within, and on the backe side sealed with seuen seales.

By this booke here mentioned, is meant this pre­sent booke of the Apocalyps, or Reuelatiō, as it shall plainely appeare in the next chapter, when wee come to the opening of the seuen seales thereof. For the things which fall out vpon the opening of the seuerall seales, do plainely declare, that all is meant of the particular matters contained in this present booke.

This booke is said to be in the right hand of him that sitteth vpon the throne, because all the secrets reuealed in it, come from the counsell and decree of the most high God, and are ordered by his meere di­rection and prouidence.

It is called a written booke, to shewe that the things contained in it, are so firmely decreed in the counsell of God, that none of them shall faile, but come to passe, and bee fulfilled in their season. They are such as wee may write of, as wee vse to say: and therefore for the certaintie of them, they are here said to be written in a booke.

This booke is said to bee written within and without, for the multitude and varietie of matters contained in it. For there were both many and great things which should fall out in the world from the [Page 50] time that Iohn receiued this Prophesie, vnto the end of the world.

This booke is sealed with seuen seales, that is to say, perfectly sealed, because the things contained herein, are counsels and secrets, onely knowne to God, til it pleased him to reueale them to his church by his sonne. The elect Angels knew nothing of the things written in this booke, before the seales were opened.

vers. 2 And I sawe a strong Angell, which proclaimed with a loude voice; Who is worthy to open the booke, and to loose the seales thereof?

Here is proclamation made to all creatures, that if there were any manner of persons in heauen or earth, among men or Angels, that would take vp­on them to open and expound this booke, that they should come forth and shewe themselues, and bee very willingly and gladly heard. But alas, the next verse doth shewe, vers. 3 that none in heauen or earth was able to open the booke and expound it, wherevpon Iohn wept very much, vers. 4 because no man was found worthy to open and interpret this booke.

The cause of Iohns weeping and lamenting, was for feare the Church should bee depriued of such profitable and excellent things as hee knew were contained in this booke. Such was his loue to the Church: such was his zeale and care for the people of God. An example worthy of all imitation, to mourne and weepe for the concealing of the booke of God, and to reioyce in the opening of it. But Pa­pists [Page 51] and Atheists are of a contrary minde, for they reioyce in the concealing and keeping close of the scriptures, and are much grieued with the opening and reuealing thereof; because thereby their hypo­crisie and villany is detected and discarded.

Vpon this, one of the Elders said vnto Iohn: Weepe not, vers. 5 Beholde, the Lion which is of the Tribe of Iudah, the roote of Dauid, hath obtained to open the booke, and to lose the seales thereof.

Here we see how Iohn is comforted and cheared vp by one of the Elders, being now very pensiue and sad, and is willed to plucke vp a good heart, and to bee of good cheare, for hee could tell him good newes; to wit, of one that could open and expound this booke, and all the secrets in it, and that is Iesus Christ, the great reuealer of secrets, and onely ex­pounder of all riddles, and hidden mysteries, as be­fore hath bene spoken.

Iesus Christ is here said to be of the Tribe of Iudah, because he is lineally discended of that Tribe, accor­ding to the flesh, and his humane nature.

He is compared to a Lyon, by allusion vnto Iacobs words in his last will and testament concerning Iu­dah, namely, that hee should couch as a Lyon, Gen. 49.9. and as a Lionesse, & none should stirre him. He is fitly compared to a lion, for his great & admitable power & strēgth, for he raigneth and must raigne ouer al his enemies, and in the middest of all his enemies, yea, till he hath troade all his enemies vnder his feete.

He is called the roote of Dauid, both here, and also [Page 52] in the 22. chapter of this booke, verse 16. because he sprung out of Dauid the sonne of Ishai, as a braunch out of his roote,Esay. 11.1. as the Prophet did foretell, that A rod should come forth of the stocke of Ishai, and a graft should growe out of his rootes. Rom. 1.3. And the Apostle saith, that Christ was made of the seede of Dauid, according to the flesh.

vers. 6 Then saith Iohn, I beheld, and loe, in the middest of the throne, and of the foure beastes, and of the Elders, stood a Lambe, as though he had bene killed, which had seuen hornes, and seuen eies, which are the seuen spirits of God sent into all the world.

Here Iohn taketh a view and sight of Iesus Christ, from the verie middest of the throne, & of the foure beastes and the Elders. Christ doth not appeare about the throne, as do the Saints and Angels, which are but ministers and ministring spirits: but in the verie middest of the throne, and the foure beastes, &c. because hee is God euerlasting, coequall and coeternall with the Father, in whom (as the Apo­stle saith) dwelleth all the fulnesse of the Godhead, bodi­ly or essentially. And here afterward the same wor­ship and honour is ascribed vnto him both by the Saints and Angels, which before is ascribed vnto God the Father.

Christ is here compared to a Lambe, for his inno­cencie; for the scripture saith: He was as a sheepe, dumbe before his shearer. Esa. 53.7. Iohn. 1.29. Hee is the Lambe of God that taketh a­way the sinnes of the world. He is the Lambe slain from the beginning of the world. Apoc. 13.8. Hee is compared to a Lyon, [Page 53] for his great & incomparable strength in cōquering hell, death, and damnation, and all infernall power. And to a lambe, because he hath dispatched all this vpon the Crosse, by the sacrifice of himselfe once offered: for hee neuer did more liuely shewe forth his Lyon-like power, then when hee was as a lambe slaine and sacrificed vpon the Crosse.

This Lambe Christ, is here said to haue seuen hornes, which signifie his manifolde power, or ful­nesse of power, or perfect power, according as this metaphor or borrowed speech of horne is vsually so taken in all the scriptures. This Lambe also is said to haue seuen eies, which are interpreted to be the seuen spirits of God: that is, the manifolde graces and gifts of the Spirit, which hee giueth vnto his Church. Now then to conclude this point, for as much as the number of seuen in this booke is a number of perfection, and alwaies noteth perfection, therefore by Christs seuen hornes, and seuen eies, wee may, and that soundly, vnderstand his perfect power, and his perfect sight and knowledge in all things. For his seuen eies are so taken in the third chapter of the Prophesie of Zacharie, where it is said:Zach. 3.9. Vpon one stone shall be seuen eies. Meaning, that Iesus Christ, the corner stone of the Church, should be full of eies, to looke out for the good of his Church, and to giue light to all others: for hee is the life and light of the world.

And he came and tooke the booke out of the right hand of him that sate vpon the throne. vers. 7
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[Page 54]Here Iesus Christ taketh the booke out of his Fa­thers hand, purposing both to open it, and expound it: For he is the onely expounder of the law, and the best interpreter of his Fathers will.

vers. 8 Herevpon it is said, that the foure beastes, and 24. El­ders fell downe before the Lambe, to testifie their thank­fulnesse and inward ioy and reioycing that the Son of God would take vpō him this office, which none other would or could performe.

Moreouer, by their falling downe and worship­ping him, they doo plainely testifie, that hee is God ouer all, to be blessed for euer. For otherwise the Angels of heauen, both Cherubins and Seraphins, would not thus fall downe, and worshippe him, ascribing vnto him, both deitie and diuine honour. Consider then how great hee is, of whom it is said: Let all the Angels of God worship him. Psal. 97.7. Heb. 1.6.

Moreouer, these Angels and Saints are said to haue euery one harpes and golden viols, full of odours, which are the praiers of the Saints. vers. 8

These harpes doo signifie the sweete concent and harmony both of men and Angels, in sounding forth the praises of the Lambe. For herein the whole Church,Apoc. 14.2. both militant and triumphant doo accord and tune together, as many harpers harping with their harpes; as it is written also in an other place.

Hereby also they do plainely testifie that inward peace and spirituall ioy, which all the faithfull haue through Christe, which is more sweete and de­lightsome to the soule, then any musicke is vnto the eares.

[Page 55] The viols full of odours, are expounded to bee the praiers of the Saints, which are therefore compared to odours, because they smell sweete in the nosthrils of God, and are more fragrant then any nosegay or perfume whatsoeuer: for hee taketh great pleasure in the praiers of his people; especially when they come out of golden viols, that is, sanctified hearts and consciences: for euerie sanctified heart is a gol­den heart in the sight of God; and euerie regenerate conscience is a iewell of price, guilt with golde, and enameled with pearle. For this cause the holy man Dauid wisheth earnestly that his heart might bee so renewed and cleansed inwardely, that his prayer might bee directed as incense in Gods sight, Psal. 14 1.2. and the listing vp of his handes as a sweete smelling sacri­fice.

Furthermore, vers. 9 these Saints and Angels doo sing a new song. That is, they do sing to the praises of the Lambe with renued affections, & vnwearied desires: Their inward ioy continueth alwaies fresh and greene, as the Bay-tree: They neuer wither or waxe wea­rie of the seruice of God: Their song is euermore new, and therefore euermore delightsome. For the more new any thing is, the more pleasant and delec­table: for men are not affected with olde, but altoge­ther with new things.

Now then, Iesus Christ hauing taken this booke into his hande to open and expounde, is applauded vnto by the general consent and voices of the whole church: For say they, Thou art worthy to take the booke, vers. 9 and to open the seales thereof. Wherein they doo all with cōmon consent, giue their voices vnto Christ, [Page 56] acknowledging him to be the only fit persō in hea­uē or earth, to take vpō him this functiō of opening a booke so closed, so clasped, so shut, so sealed, and they do yeeld a reason of their proceedings, because (say they) thou wast killed, and hast redeemed vs vnto God by thy blood, out of euery kindred and tongue, and people, and nation. Meaning hereby, that he was put to death to pay the price of our redemptiō, in whom all the beleeuers, both of the Iewes and Gentiles, are saued. Their reason then is this: he that hath died, and risen againe, and is now exalted farre aboue all principalities and powers, &c. is the most fit In­strument to open and interpret this booke. But thou ô Christ the Lambe of God, art such a one, therefore thou of all others, art most meete to take this matter vpon thee, and to enter into this busi­nesse. Further, they amplifie their reason thus: that hee hath made vs of slaues and seruants, vers. 10 Kings; and of prophane persons, Priests vnto the most high God. And last of all, that we shall raigne vpon the earth. Not meaning heereby, that we shall raigne as earthly kings, or only enioy an earthly kingdome. For out of all doubt, the Saints shall raigne with Christ in the heauens for euermore. But heere is mention made of raigning in the earth, because after this life, Gods children shall haue the fruition and inheri­tance both of heauen and earth:Pet. 3.12. that is to say, that new heauen and new earth wherein dwelleth righteous­nesse: for the heauens and the earth being redinte­grated, and purged from corruption, shall be the portion of the Saintes, and the habitation of the elect, for euermore.

[Page 57]After all this, vers. 11 Iohn heareth the voice of innumerable Angels, beside the foure beastes. That is, the Cherubins and Seraphins, or chief Angels; that is, Angels depu­ted to chiefe offices, round about the throne, which all with a loud voice do acknowledge the Lambe which was killed, to be worthy of all honor, glory, & praise, &c. vers. 12 And not onely these innumerable Angels, being twentie thousād times ten thousand, but also all other creatures both in heauē and earth: as the Sun, Moone, & Starres, the fishes in the Sea, and the beastes in the earth, do all in their kinde sing the same song, vers. 13 acknowledging all honour and glory, praise and power, to belong vnto him that sitteth vpon the throne, and vnto the Lambe, for euer­more. For although the creature is as yet subiect to the bondage of corruption, and therefore groneth and trauelleth in paine, waiting when the sonnes of God shalbe reuealed, yet it stādeth in assured expec­tation of restitution to libertie & incorruption; and therefore here all the creatures do praise the Lambe for that restauration which they doo so longly and wishly looke for. And the foure beasts said Amen. That is, they do subscribe to those praises which the crea­ture yeeldeth to their Creator. And not onely the Angels do subscribe and consent vnto it, but the 24. Elders also, who fall downe, & worship him that liueth for euermore. So that the Lambe is praised and worship­ped of all hands, both of men and Angels, and all o­ther creatures, as God euerlasting, and blessed for euermore.

CHAP. VI.

IN the fourth chapter we haue heard the descrip­tion of God the Father, which holdeth the sealed booke in his right hand. In the fift chapter wee haue had the description of Iesus Christ, the ope­ner and interpreter of this seuen sealed booke. Now in this sixt chapter wee are to vnderstande of the matter and contentes of this booke, and of the straunge accidents and euents which followed vp­on the opening of euerie seuerall seale. For in this chapter sixe of the seales are opened by the Sonne of God, and the mysteries thereof disclosed vnto Iohn, that he might declare thē to the Church, for the comfort and instruction thereof.

This chapter containeth sixe principall things, a­rising from the seuerall opening of the six seales; and they are these:

  • vers. 1.2. vers. 3.4. vers. 5.6. vers. 7.8. vers. 9.10.11. The spreading of the Gospell.
  • Great persecutions following therevpon.
  • Famine.
  • Pestilence.
  • Complaints of the Martyrs.
  • vers. 12.13.14.15.16.17. Fearefull vengeance vpon the worlde, for sheading the bloud of Gods Saints.
vers. 1 After, I beheld, when the Lambe had opened one of the seales, and I heard one of the foure beastes say, as it were the noise of thunder: Come and see.

[Page 59]Now, after all these former matters, Iohn did verie intentiuely fixe his eye vpon the Lambe, be­ing now about to open and vnclaspe the first seale of the booke, and all on the sudden hee was admo­nished and stirred vp by one of the Cherubins, that he should drawe neare and come vp, and take know­ledge of these great and important matters, which were now to be reuealed vnto him. And to the end that he might be throughly awaked, and stirred vp to attention in so waightie matters, it is saide, that the voice of the Angell which spake vnto him, was like the voice of a thunder: So that hereby Iohn was throughly rowsed, fitted and prepared, to receiue these heauenly visions.

Therefore I beheld, and loe, there was a white horse, vers. 2 and he that sate on him had a bowe, and a crowne was giuen vnto him, and he went forth conquering, that he might ouercome.

Iohn keeping his eye steadie vpon the Lambe, ha­uing now opened the first seale, doth in a vision see a white horse, &c.

By this white horse, is meant the ministerie of the worde of God, and the first preaching of the Gospell by Christ and his Apostles, and the succes­sors in the Primatiue Church. chapter 19.11. The white horse is taken in this sense in the 19. chapter of this Prophe­sie; where our Lorde Iesus beeing vpon this white horse, beateth downe all his enemies before him: For who is able to resist his worde, and the ministrie of it?

[Page 60] Zach 1.8.In the first chapter of the Prophesie of Zacharie, our Lord Iesus purposing to build vp his church, be­ing in a very ruinous estate after the captiuitie, is brought in by the Prophet on horsebacke, both for the reedifying of his Church, and also for the pu­nishment of the Babilonians, his enemies, and the enemies of his people. In the 45. Psalme the church the spouse saieth thus to her beloued husbande Christ:Psal. 45. Gird the sworde vpon thy thigh, ô thou mightie one, the sworde of thy glorie and comely beautie, and with thy comely beautie ride on prosperously for the businesse of truth, and of meeke righteousnesse, &c.

Now in all these places of the scripture, wee do plainely see, that when Christ goeth about either to broach his Gospell, or build vp his Church, or to be reuenged on the enemies thereof, hee is brought in on horsebacke. And this doth strongly confirme and warrant this exposition, seeing it is not any ima­gined sense, or new deuice of mans braine, but such a sense as other places of scripture will verie fully beare out.

Moreouer, if wee doo seriously consider, and deepely weigh the purpose and intendment of the holy Ghost in all this, it will not a little helpe and further this exposition. For the chiefe scope and drifte of all is, to describe the state of the Church from the Apostles time to the ende of the worlde. chapter 1.1. For this Prophesie serueth to shewe vnto Iohn the thinges that must shortlye come to passe.

Now, wee all knowe by blessed experience, that the first estate of the Church did consist in [Page 61] the preaching of the Gospell by Christ and his A­postles: and therfore this must needs be vnderstood of that time & estate of the church. For Iesus Christ is he that sitteth vpon this white horse, that is, by the ministery of his Gospell he conquereth and subdu­eth the nations vnder him.

There may bee three reasons alledged why this horse is saide to be of a white colour. First, because the doctrine of the Gospell which was preached by Christ and his Apostles, was pure and sincere, being without all spots and blots of error and heresie. For the white colour in the scripture doth signifie puri­tie, sinceritie, innocency, ioy, glory, and beautie.

Secondly, because the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, was full of ioy and comfort: As it is saide of Samaria, after Phillip had set the Gospell a­broache there,Act. 8.8. that there was great ioy in that Ci­tie.

Thirdly, because the ministery of Christ and his Apostles was very glorious and beautifull, as it is written:Rom. 10.15. How beautifull are the feete of them which bring the glad tydings of peace, &c. And againe,Psal. 45. with thy comely beautie ride on prosperously, for the businesse of truth, &c.

If any man demaund a reason of Christs sitting on horse-backe, and riding forth on horse-backe: I answere, that it doth most fitly represent that mar­uellous swiftnesse wherewith the light of the Gos­pell should be carried and spread, not only through­out all Iudea, Samaria, and Galile, but also through­out all the kingdomes of the world. For is it not a wonder, to consider how swiftly, and as it were on [Page 62] horseback, and also how farre ouer the Heathen na­tions, within a fewe yeares after Christs ascention, the doctrine of the Gospell was preached, and of multitudes imbraced. He rode forth indeed prospe­rously and swiftly vpon this white horse, euen the ministrie of the Gospell, for the businesse of truth, and of meeke righteousnesse; and his right hande wrought fearefull things, as saith the Psalmist.

Moreouer, it is here saide, that Iesus Christ hath a bowe in his hand. And in the 45. Psalme, from whence it seemeth all these phrases and speeches are borrowed, hee is saide to haue sharpe arrowes in his hande, whereby he pierceth the heart of his ene­mies.

Now this bowe and arrowes doo signifie the piercing power of the Gospell, whereby the world hath bene subdued vnto Christe. For all the ar­rowes of the Gospell which Christ shooteth out of this bowe, which is euen the tongue of his mini­sters, doo sticke in the hearts of men; yea, they pierce into all the secret places of the soule. For the ministrie of the Gospell is liuely, Heb 4. and mightie in opera­tion, sharper then any two edged sworde, and entreth through, euen vnto the deuiding asunder of the soule and the spirit, of the ioynts and the marrowe, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and the intents of the heart.

Heere is yet further mention made of a crowne which was giuen vnto Christ, and that hee went forth conquering, that hee might ouercome.

This crowne signifieth the victorie which he get­teth ouer the worlde with his bowe and arrowes. For the Psalmist saieth: By thy sharpe arrowes in the [Page 63] hearts of the kinges enemies, the people shall fall vnder them.

We reade in the second of the Acts of the Apo­stles, that 3000.Act, 2.37. of the Kings enemies were at once shot thorough with this bowe, and these arrowes, and did fall vnder him. We reade of many other at other times, and in other places. For the Apostle saith plainely, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnall, but spirituall, 2. Cor. 10. mightie through God to cast downe holdes, casting downe the imaginations, and euery high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captiuitie euery thought to the obedience of Christ.

Thus we see how Christ and his Apostles and all their true successors riding vpon this white horse which is the ministery of the Gospell, haue gone ouer all the worlde, conquering and ouercom­ming.

I am not ignorant that some doo expound this otherwise: but my purpose is not to meddle with other mens opinions, and iudgements, but to set downe that which God hath giuen me to see, and which in mine owne conscience and perswasion, I suppose to be the truth, referring all to the iudge­ment of the church, and such therein as are indu­ed with the spirit of God. For the spirit of the Pro­phets is subiect to the Prophets. And be it knowne vn­to all men, that my chiefe indeuour throughout this whole booke, shall be to seeke the sense that is, and not the sense that is not: to meddle only with truth and let falshood goe.

[Page 64] vers. 3 And when he had opened the second seale, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

As before at the opening of the first seale, so now againe at the opening of the second seale, Iohn is cal­led vpon by an other Angell to giue attention: and so afterwards at the opening of the third and fourth seale. Wherein we may obserue the heauinesse and drowsinesse of mans nature in all heauenly thinges, which is euermore readie to sinke and fall asleepe, except it be awaked by many meanes, and stirred vp by speciall grace.

vers. 4 And there went out an other horse that was redde, and power was giuen to him that sate thereon, to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one an other: and there was giuen vnto him a great sword.

This redde horse, representeth the cruell perse­cution, and bloodie warres which followed the preaching of the Gospell. For the red colour in the scripture, doth note blood, crueltie, and warres. The rider vpon this horse is the diuel himselfe: for who but he and his instruments delight in blood, perse­cutions, and warres? hee hath power giuen him to take peace from the earth, (for hee could haue no power except it were giuen him) and to this pur­pose a great sword was giuen him, to murther and kill withall.

All this is to be vnderstood of the state of the [Page 65] church vnder the tenne great persecutions, raised vp against it by the persecuting Emperours, Domitian, Traianus, Nero, Antoninus, Decius, Dioclesian, Maxenti­us, Licinius, and other cruell tyrants, euen vntill the times of Constantine the great.

Stories doo report, that these cruell persecutors did in most sauage and horrible manner, torture, tor­ment, and shead the bloud of innumerable multi­tudes of Gods people. So that as the first estate of the Church, vnder the preaching of the Gospell, was ioyfull and peaceable; so this second estate of the Church, vnder such outragious persecutions, was troublesome and tragicall: and yet for all that, in the middest of all these swordes, bloud and flames of persecution, the Church did still preuaile and encrease.Tertul. For the bloud of the Martyrs is the seede of the Gospell. And the Church oftentimes beeing sowne in the bloud, yet springeth vp, and groweth in bloud. And as for the cruell and bloud-sucking Emperours, which could not endure the light of the Gospell, but stroue by tirannie to suppresse it, the iust God which taketh vengeance of all iniquitie, and specially of the persecution of his children, was euen with them well inough: for he gaue thē ouer, some to be slaine in the warres, some to be tortured with horrible diseases, some to be poisoned, some to bee murthered, and some to murther themselues. Thus did God the auenger, shewe himselfe from heauen, as the stories report, and pay home to the full these bloud-suckers of his Church, making them exam­ples of his wrath, and spectacles of his vengeance to all nations.

[Page 66] vers. 5 And when he had opened the third seale, I heard the third beast say; Come and see. Then I beheld, and loe a black horse, and he that sate on him, had ballance in his hand, &c.

By the blacke horse, famine and dearth is signi­fied: for the blacke colour, is a mournfull and sad colour: and what maketh men more pensiue & sad then famine and extreame hunger. For it is a thing vntollerable: and therefore the holy Ghost saith; They be better that are killed with the sword, Lament. 4.9. then they that die of famine. He that sitteth on this horse hath a ballance in his hand, which signifieth great penu­ry and scarsitie of all things, but specially of victuall: in so much that men must be pittanced & stinted in their victualls, and their bread and drinke must be deliuered out by waight and measure, as it fareth in straight & sore sieges of cities, when victualls waxe scarse.Leuit. 26. Ezec. 4. & 5. This is it that God threatneth in Leuiticus and Ezechiel, that hee would breake the staffe of bread, and that tenne women should bake in one ouen, and deliuer bread by measure. Now to declare the greeuousnes of this famine, a voice commeth from the throne, and from the Angels, vers. 6 that a measure of wheate should be for a penny, and three measures of barly for a penny: the measure here spoken of is a Chenix, which some writers say, was so much as would serue a man for bread corne for one day. And the Romane penny vnder Domitian, was almost seuen pence of our mo­ny. And at that time the labouring man did worke for a penny a day, which would do little more then [Page 67] buy him bread corne. How then should his wife and children do? Whereas it is said: Wine and Oyle hurt thou not, I take it that it should rather he transla­ted, In Wine and Oyle thou shalt not do vniustly: as the word will beare it. And the sense is, that in the state of corne and vittaile, they shall deale conscionably and mercifully, not selling at the highest, but rather at the lowest rate now in the times of extreame scar­citie.

Now, all this is to bee vnderstood of that most grieuous famine which wee reade to haue bene a­bout the yeare of the Lord, 316. and sundrie times afterward. And all this for the contempt of the Gos­pell preached by Christ and his Apostles vpon the white horse, and the murdering of Gods Saints by him vpon the redde horse, and his instruments. So grieuous and fearefull a thing is the contempt of the Gospell, and the persecuting of the Saints. And God did most iustly cause the worlde to smart for it, and make them with sorrowe inough to feele the punishment of the Gospell reiected.

And whē he had opened the fourth seale, vers. 7 I heard the voice of the fourth beast say: Come and see.

And I looked, and beholde a pale horse, vers. 8 and his name that sate on him, was Death, and hell followed after him, &c.

This pale horse signifieth the pestilence and other contagious diseases, which God most iustly brought vpon the world for the contempt of the Gospel, and the murthering of Christe and his Apostles, and [Page 68] as I noted before out of the scriptures, that when God commeth either in mercy or iudgement, he is said to come on horsebacke, to note his expedition, and swiftnesse, both in the one and the other: so, as before Christ is vppon the white horse, the diuell vpon the red horse, famine vpon the black horse: so here death and hell are said to be vpon the pale horse: for pestilence and death maketh men looke pale: but being dead, hee saith hell followed. For assuredly hell doth alwaies followe the death of the bodie, excepting those onely whom Christ hath deliue­red from hell and damnation by the power of his death.

Thus then it is: the redde horse with blood, the blacke horse with famine, the pale horse with pestilence, haue power giuen them ouer the fourth part of men, to murther, kill and slea, as all stories doe shewe, that for the reiecting of Christ and his Gospell, these plagues were carried as it were on horsebacke, ouer a great part of the worlde. Now as touching this famine and pestilence which fell out vpon the opening of the third and fourth seales, they are to bee referred vnto those times especially, wherein the Hunnes, Gothes, and Vandales, and other barbarous nations which were the wasters of the world, did waste & decaie the Romane Empire both farre and neare. Wherevppon grew this fa­mine, scarsitie, and pestilence, and straunge diseases heere spoken of, about some 300. yeares after Christ, and somewhat more.

[Page 69]And when hee had opened the fift seale, I sawe vnder the Aultar the soules of them that were killed for the word of God, and for the testimonie which they maintained, &c.

Heere is discouered the state of the Martyrs af­ter this life, and the condition of the spirits of all iust and perfect men. For whereas it might bee demaun­ded, what became of all those heapes and multitudes of men which were slaine for the testimonie of Ie­sus in the tenne great persecutions: it is here answe­red, that they were vnder the Aultar. Iohn in a Vision seeth them vnder the Aultar. That is, vnder the mer­cifull protection of Christ in heauen, who for them and for vs all, was made both Aultar, Priest, and Sa­crifice. This Aultar Christ, is afterward called the golden Aultar, which is before the throne of God. chapter 8.3. So then it is cleare, that the soules of the Martyrs were with Christ in glory. For hee saith to his disciples: Where I am, there shall you be also. Ioh. 14 3.

And in an other place he saith: If I were lift vp from the earth, I will drawe all men vnto me, that is, Ioh. 12 32. all beleeuers. Then it followeth, that the soules of these iust and righteous men were in Paradise, and in A­brahams bosome, which is the very port and hauen of saluation. For although the persecuting Empe­rours, and other tyrants of the earth, had power to kill theyr bodies, yet had they no power o­uer theyr soules, as our Lorde Iesus affirmeth.Math. 10.

[Page 70] vers. 10 And they cryed with a loude voice, saying: How long Lord holy and true, doest thou not iudge and auenge our bloud on them that dwell vpon the earth?

Here wee see plainely, that the soules of the Mar­tyrs doo very vehemently crye for vengeance vpon these cruell tyrants which shead their bloud. More­ouer, they crie for it speedily, and seeme to be impa­tient of delay. But it is to be obserued, that they doo not this in any hatred, or priuate desire of reuenge, in respect of any wrong or crueltie shewed to them; but in a very loue and burning zeale of the King­dome and glory of Christ, and whatsoeuer desire they haue, it is wholy to that ende. Wherefore they are here vnder a figure brought in crying for ven­geance, rather to expresse what iudgement of God tarrieth for the cruell persecutors, then to shewe what minde they beare towards them. For it is in­deede their cause that cryeth for vengeance. And as Abels bloud: so theyr bloud cryeth aloude in the eares of the Lorde of Hoastes for reuenge.

Moreouer, wee may not imagine or gather out of this loude crying of the Martyrs in heauen, that they haue any disturbance, impatience, disquiet­nesse, or any discontentment there. But this they do in a feruent desire of that fulnesse of glorie which they assuredly hope for and looke for in the con­summation of all things, when both their soules and bodies shall be ioyned together.

[Page 71]And long white robes were giuen vnto euery one; vers. 11 and it was said vnto them, that they should rest for a little sea­son, vntil their fellow seruants & their brethren which should be killed euen as they were, were fulfilled.

These white robes do signifie that honour, glory, and dignitie, wherevnto not onely the Martyrs, but also all other faithfull beleeuers are aduanced in the chambers of peace: for so white robes are to bee vn­derstood in sundrie other places of this booke.Chap. 3.18. Chap. 7.13. Chap. 19.8. And this doth plainely proue, that the Martyrs were now in glory with Christ.

Now, as concerning the answere to their com­plaint and crie, it was this, that they should be con­tent, and haue patience for a little season, (for the time remaining, to the ende of the worlde, was but as a day with God, and as a moment in comparison of eternitie) and the reason of the delay is yeelded, which is this, that there were numbers of others, their bretheren in the worlde, which should bee martyred and slaine for the truth, as well as they vn­der the great Antichrist of Rome, and the bloudie Turke, at and vpon the opening of the sixt and se­uenth seale. And therefore in consideration that the most wise God had decreed and fore-determi­ned with himselfe in his most secret and hid coun­sell, to bring multitudes of others to glory by the same way and meanes that they themselues were brought, that therefore in the meane time beeing so short a time, they should rest satisfied and con­tented. And hereby the way, we see what staieth the [Page 72] comming of Christ vnto iudgement; namely this, that the number of his Martyrs and Saints, and all such as he hath chosen vnto life, are not yet accom­plished.

vers. 12 And I behelde, when hee opened the sixt seale, and loe there was a great earthquake, and the Sun was as black as sackcloath of haire, and the Moone was like bloud.

vers. 13 And the starres of heauen fell vnto the earth, as a figge-tree casteth her green figges, when it is shaken of a migh­tie winde.

vers. 14 And heauen departed away as a scrole when it is rolled, and euery mountaine and Ile were moued out of their place.

Vpon the opening of this sixt seale, very dolefull and fearefull things which doo followe: As earth­quakes, the darkening of the Sunne, the obscuritie of the Moone, the falling of the Starres, the rolling together of the heauens, the remouing of moun­taines & Iles out of their places, the howlings and horrors of kings and captaines, & other great poten­tates of the earth, which all are things very terrible and fearefull to beholde: and all these do represent and figure out vnto vs the most fearefull tokens of Gods high displeasure and most heauie indignation against the wicked world. Very grieuous things fell out vpō the opening of the 2.3. & 4. seales: but they are farre more grieuous which followe vpon the opening of this sixt seale: for this sixt seale con­taineth an aggrauation and encrease of all the for­mer iudgements. For now after the crie of the Martyrs for vengeance, GOD the auenger of the bloude of the righteous doeth shewe [Page 73] himself from heauen, and declare his wrath in more fearefull manner then before, euen to the great asto­nishment of all the creatures in heauen and earth. So horrible a thing is the sheading of the bloud of the Christians. For now we see plainely, that God heareth the cries of his Martyrs, and commeth as a Giant, or as an armed man, to take vengeance of all their enemies. For Pretious in the sight of the Lorde, Psal. 116.15. is the death of his Saints: and hee is much mooued with the crie of their bloud, as here wee see. And there­fore now threatneth to holde a generall Assises, wherein hee will make inquisition after bloud, and arraigne and condemne all such as are founde guil­tie thereof: according as the persecuting Emperours and many others, did finde and feele by wofull ex­perience. For if God be angry but a little, who may endure it?

Now, although the Stories do report, that in those dayes, which was aboue 300. yeares after Christ, there were many great and fearefull Earth­quakes in diuers nations and cities of the world: yet it is apparant, that the Earth-quake here spoken of, cannot bee taken literally, nor any of the rest here mentioned. For there was neuer any time, nei­ther is it mentioned in any Chronicle, that euer the Sunne was as blacke as sacke-cloth of haire; or the Moone turned into bloud; or the Starres fell from heauen; or the Heauens rolled together like a scrole; or that Mountaines and Ilandes were mooued out of their places. Therefore of necessitie all this must bee vnderstood metaphorically; that is, that God did in so straunge and fearefull a manner manifest [Page 74] his wrath from heauen by tumults, commotions, se­ditions, & alteratiōs of kingdomes, as if these things of the Sun, Moone, and Starres, had bene visibly re­presented to the eye. An earth-quake in this booke, and other bookes also of the scriptures, doth by a borrowed speech signifie commotions of common­wealth, troubles, tumults, vprores, and great alterati­ons of states & kingdoms. The darkning of the Sun, Moone, and Starres, & rolling together of the Hea­uens, do by a metaphor in the scriptures, signifie the fearefull wrath and angrie face of God; which they being not able to endure, are said here to blush at, to couer themselues, to hide themselues, to be ashamed of thēselues, to remoue out of their places, no more to do their offices, &c. For as birds doo hide them­selues, and thrust their heads into bushes when the Eagle commeth abroade: And as all the beastes of the forrest doo tremble and couch in their dennes when the Lyon roareth: And as that subiect doth hide himselfe, and dare not shewe his head, with whom the King is displeased: So here it is saide, that the whole earth doth tremble, and all the celestiall creatures are amazed and confounded with behol­ding the angry face of God against the worlde, in so much that they do as it were, drawe a canopie ouer them, hide themselues vnder a cloude, and surcease to do their offices.

The darkning of the Sunne and Moone is taken in this sense in the second of Ioel, and also in the se­cond chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. For there God promising and foretelling, that in the last dayes he would abundantly powre forth of his spirit vpon [Page 75] all flesh (which is to be vnderstood of the plentifull preaching of the Gospell in the Apostles time, and the aboundance of grace that was giuen with the same) addeth, that for the contempt of so great grace and mercie, he would shewe wonders in hea­uen aboue, and tokens in the earth beneath. Bloud and fire, and the vapour of smoake; the Sunne shall bee turned into darkenesse, and the Moone in­to bloud, before that great and notable day of the Lord come. The meaning of the Prophet is,Act. [...]. as Peter also dooth expound it, that God from heauen will shewe such apparant signes of his wrath against the worlde, that men should bee no lesse amazed, then if the whole order of nature were inuerted. And this was performed, when as the Iewes for the con­tempt of Christe and his Gospell, were most mise­rably destroied by the Romanes.

Euen so here, vnder the opening of the sixt seale, God dooth threaten, that for the murdering of his sonne Christ, and his Apostles, and innumerable Christians, hee would bring straunge iudgements and extraordinarie calamities vpon the worlde, ac­cording as all stories do shewe, that those times were full of bloud-sheads, commotions, famines, pesti­lence, and miseries of all sortes. I am not ignorant, that the darkening of the Sunne and Moone, and the falling of the Starres from heauen, are sometimes in this booke put for the obscuritie and corruption of pure doctrine, and the falling away of the Pastors of the Church from their sinceritie and zeale. But in this place the circumstances will not beare that sense: First, because heere the darkening [Page 72] [...] [Page 73] [...] [Page 74] [...] [Page 75] [...] [Page 76] of the Sunne and Moone, &c. is ioyned with an Earth-quake, the rolling together of the Heauens, and the mouing of Mountaines and Ilands out of their places, which argueth a most horrible confusi­on and concussion of all things. Secondly, because afterward in the eight chapter, hee doth of purpose speake of the corrupting of pure doctrine, & the fal­ling away of the Ministers, referring it to that chap­ter, as his proper place. Thirdly, because the kings and captaines of the earth here immediatly mentio­ned, would neuer haue bene cast into any such per­plexities and horrours vpon any corruption of doc­trine and the ministrie, as here we reade of. For com­mōly men are not any whit touched or moued with that, or such like things. Last of all, because the scope and drift of the holy Ghost, vnder the opening of this sixt seale, is to describe corporall, not spirituall; visible, not inuisible iudgements. For he doth order­ly and of purpose; handle them in the next chap­ter.

Now, whereas it is said in the last three verses, that the Kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, vers. 15 and the chiefe Captaines, and the mightiemen, and euery bond-man, and euery free-man, hidde themselues in dennes, vers. 16 and amongst the rockes of the mountaines, and said to the rockes and mountaines, vers. 17 fall on vs, &c. the sense and meaning of all is this, that these visible iudgements should bee so horrible and extraordi­narie, that all sorts of men then liuing vpon the face of the earth, should euen wish themselues buried quicke, or that they might runne into a mouse-hole or awger-hole, to hide themselues from the [Page 77] wrath of the Lambe. For being both outwardly ter­rified with these sensible iudgements, and inwardly griped and tormented with the furie of their owne consciences, they were at no hande able to en­dure it.

CHAP. VII.

THis chapter dooth wholy appertaine vnto the opening of the sixt seale. It sheweth generally how God in the middest of all the broiles which happened vnder the opening of the sixt seale, yet did preserue his church, and mercifully prouide for his owne people.

This seuenth chapter may very fitly bee deuided into three parts.

First, it sheweth, that as God did most fearefully punish the world with visible & sensible iudgemēts, as we haue heard before: so now he would set vpon them with inuisible and spirituall plagues, which are of all other most grieuous and intollerable. vers. 1

Secondly, it sheweth the state and condition of the Church militant here in earth, as before was shewed vnder the opening of the fift seale the state of the Church triumphant in the heauens; vers. 2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9. name­ly, that it is sealed and set in safetie from all daun­gers.

Thirdly, it sheweth the blessed and happie estate of all Gods elect, vers. 10.11.12.13.14.15.16.17. and their feruent praises and zea­lous worship of God, who thus mercifully did pro­uide for their securitie in the middest of greatest pe­rils and extremities.

[Page 78] vers. 1 And after that, I saw foure Angels stand on the foure cor­ners of the earth, holding the foure winds of the earth, that the windes should not blowe on the earth, neither on the sea, neither on any greene tree.

These foure angels are angels of darknesse, or foure diuels, which is proued by this reason, that they holde the foure windes from blowing on the earth: that is, stop the course of the Gospell, which is a spirituall plague.

They are said to stand vpon the foure corners of the earth, because power was giuen them to plague not some one or two countries, but the vniuersall world, both East, West, North and South.

The blowing of the windes, doth very fitly re­present the preaching of the Gospell, and that hea­uenly inspiration and breathing of the holy Ghost which goeth with it. Winde is so taken, Ioh. 3. where our Lord Iesus saith; The wind bloweth where it listeth, &c: Cant. 4.16. So is euery man that is borne of the spirit. And again in the 4. of the Cantic. in these words; Arise ô North, and come ô South and blowe on my garden, that the spices thereof may flowe out. Where it plainly appeareth, that the Church craueth the inspiration of the spirit, that her fruites may abound: For what can be meant by these windes which she wisheth to blow vppon her garden, but the heauenly breathings of Gods holy spirit and word. It followeth then, that if the blow­ing of the windes in the scriptures doo signifie the breathing of Gods grace, and holy spirite, that the stopping of the windes by a reason of the contraries [Page 79] doth here signifie the stopping of the same, and the depriuation of all heauenly blessings. So that it is cleare, that a spirituall plague is heere represented, which also is the more apparant, because here is such speciall prouiso and care had for the churches safetie, that it might not be infected with this spirituall con­tagiō. Now all this doth plainly fore-prophesie, not only the stopping of the course of the Gospell: but euen the vtter taking of it away from the world, for their great contempt thereof, and the horrible mur­thering & massacring of all the true professors of it: according as it came to passe afterward in the pre­uailing first of heresies, and afterward of the Popish and Mahometish religion, as in the two next Chap­ters following shall plainly appeare.

And I sawe another Angell come vp from the East, vers. 2 which had the seale of the liuing God, and he cried with a loud voice to the foure angels, to whome power was giuen to hurt the earth and the sea, saying:

Hurt yee not the earth, neither the sea, vers. 3 neither the trees, till wee haue sealed the seruants of our God in their foreheads.

This Angell is Iesus Christ, who by the Prophet is called the Angell of the couenant. Mal. 3.1. That Angels do represent & sustaine the person of Christ their head, is so common & vsuall a thing in the scriptures, that I shall not neede to staie in it.

That this Angell is Christ, it doth plainly appeare by the things heere attributed vnto him, which can agree to none other. First, in that he hath the seale of [Page 80] the liuing God (which is the spirit of adoption) to set vpon all the elect, for hee is the onely keeper of this great seale, and this priuie seale. Hee onely hath authoritie to set it vpon whom he will.

Secondly, because hee is saide to come vp from the East: that is, hee is the onely sonne of righte­ousnes which ariseth vpon his Church euery mor­ning, and with his bright beames expelleth all dark­nesse from it.Luk. 1.78. According to that of Zacharias in his propheticall song: Through the tender mercy of our God the day spring from an highe hath visited vs.

Thirdly, because he holdeth a soueraigntie and commaund ouer the diuels: for he chargeth them here to staie their hands from doing any hurt, till he had prouided for his elect.

vers. 2 Whereas it is saide, that power was giuen to these di­uels to hurt the earth, the sea and the trees: that is, the number of reprobates, we may note, that the diuels haue no absolute power, but only by permission: as appeareth in this,Iob. 1. Math. 8. that they could neither touch Iob, nor enter into the heard of swine, without leaue and licence.

vers. 3 Whereas it is said, Till we haue sealed the seruants of our God in their foreheads, it doth plainely shewe that the punishments of the wicked are deferred till prouision be made for the elect.Gen. 7. The floud came not vppon the olde worlde till Noah and his family were re­ceiued into the Arke. Gen. 19. Exod. 12. The Angels destroyed not Sodome till Lot was set in safetie. The plaguing Angell spared the first borne of Egipt, till the postes of the Israelites houses were sprinkeled with the blood of the paschall [Page 81] Lambe. The sixe Angels sent to destroy Ierusalem,Ezech. 9. are charged to staie the execution, till the seruaunts of God were marked in their fore-heads.

All these examples do manifestly declare what tender care the Lorde in all ages hath had of his owne people, that they might be deliuered and set in safetie in the midst of all extremities. E­uen so heere we see that God is verie carefull, that his owne children might not be infected with those damnable heresies which now alreadie vppon the stopping of the course of the Gospell beganne to be hatched, and afterward did spring and growe vp in the Church both thicke and three-folde.

And I heard the number of them that were sealed, vers. 4 and there were sealed an hundred fortie and foure thousande of all the Tribes of the Children: Of the Tribe of Iudah were sealed twelue thousand, &c.

Now Iohn heareth the number of them that were sealed, and hee reckeneth vp the whole Church militant, consisting both of the Iewes, and Gen­tiles. Hee saith, that of the Church of the Iewes there were sealed 144000. Wherein he putteth a certaine number for an vncertaine, and a definite number for an indefinite: for his meaning is not that there were iust so many, and neither moe nor lesse sea­led: but this number doth arise of twelue times twelue, in that hee saith of euery Tribe twelue thou­sande: for twelue times twelue thousande make an hundred fortie and foure thousand. Neither [Page 82] yet may we thinke, that of euery Tribe there were an equall number sealed, not moe nor lesse of one Tribe then an other: but this number of twelue, is vsed as the perfect and full number; in as much as the Church of the Iewes was founded vpon the twelue Patriarkes: vnto which our Sauiour had respect, when for to gather the dispersed and lost sheepe of the house of Israel, he chose twelue Apostles.

Now here we are to obserue, that notwithstan­ding the horrible persecutions and calamities which fell out vpon the opening of foure of the seales; yet God had his Church euen of the Iewes, which in the iudgemēt of reason, a man would haue thought long ere now, had bene vtterly extinct and aboli­shed.Rom. 11. But the Apostle saith: God hath not cast off his people which he had chosen: that is, vtterly cast them off.

It is therefore a most sure and certaine position in diuinitie, that God hath alwaies his; that is, in all ages, in all times, in all places, in all countries, euen in the middest of all troubles and flames of persecuti­on, yet God hath his hidde and inuisible Church euen vpon the face of the earth. As it was in the daies of Elias. 1 King. 19.18. Math. 27. As was in Christs time, when the shep­heard was smit, and the sheepe scattered. And as it was in the daies of the great Antichrist; as afterwarde wee shall see.

Moreouer, it is to be obserued, that in the enume­ration of the 12. Tribes, the Tribe of Dan is left out, and the Tribe of Leui taken in. The cause of the omission and skipping of the Tribe of Dan, was their continuance in Idolatrie from the time of the [Page 83] Iudges,Iud. 18. (at what time the first fell into it) euen vnto the captiuitie. This Tribe is also omitted in the Ca­talogue of the Tribes mentioned 1. Chron. chap. 2.3.4.5.6.7. Then the reason of this omission, is first their vnworthinesse. And secondly, that there might be a place and roomth for the Tribe of Leui to be ta­ken in: which in this Catalogue, for singular reason, & a speciall mysterie, might not be pretermitted. For although the Tribe of Leui had no portion or inhe­ritance amongst the other Tribes in the earthly Ca­naan, yet now the Priest-hood being transferred vn­to Christ, the holy Ghost doth expressely affirme, that the Tribe of Leui, as well as others, hath his part and portion in the heauenly inheritance, and the ce­lestiall Canaan.

After these things, I behelde, and loe a grat multitude which no man could number, of all nations, vers. 9 and kin­dreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lambe, cloathed with long white robes, and palmes in their hands; vers. 10 and they cried with a loude voice saying: Saluation commeth of our God, &c.

This is to bee vnderstood of the Church of the Gentiles, & they are said to bee an innumerable multi­tude of all countries & natiōs. For although the church of God in respect of the reprobates, is very small, and as an handfull vpon the face of the earth: yet in it selfe simply considered, it is very great and large: for euen out of Adams cursed race, God hath chose ma­ny thousands to life. And here still we are to obserue the great goodnes and mercie of God, that notwith­standing; former persecutions, & the great blindnes [Page 84] which afterward did inuade the Church in the pre­uailing of errours and heresies: yet Iohn heareth and seeth such an huge number sealed vp to saluation through Christ, both of the Iewes and Gentiles.

The Church of the Gentiles exceeding in num­ber the Church of the Iewes, are here said to haue lōg whiterobes, in token of their puritie and innocencie; and Palmes in their hāds, in signe of their victorie ouer the world, flesh, and the diuell. For Palmes in aunci­ent time were ensignes and badges of victorie.

After this, is set downe how the whole Church of the Gentiles do praise & worship God freely, vers. 10 ac­knowledging saluation to be onely of him, through Christ. vers. 11 vers. 12 And all the Angels of heauen do applaude, subscribe, & say Amen to the same: as we haue heard before in the 4. chapter.

vers. 11 The 4. beasts are here mentioned againe, where­by is meant the Angels, both because they are said to haue wings, chap. 4. which agreeth to none but Angels, Esa. 6. and also because they are expressely named & interpreted to be the Cherubins, Ezech. 10.

If any man muse why the Angels should bee cal­led beasts, let him be resolued with these 4. reasons. First, because they are compared to beastes before, as the Lyon,Ezech. 1. Calfe, &c. Secondly, because Ezechiel cal­leth them so; in as much as they draw Gods charriot of triumph.Zach. 1.8. Thirdly, because the Prophet Zacharie compareth them to red, speckled, and white horses. Fourthly,Zach. 6.2. Zach. 6.1. because the same Prophet calleth them Gods coach-horses, and the multitudes and societies of them, hee calleth Gods chariots, which came out of two mountaines of brasse: that is, they went forth [Page 85] at his decree (which standeth as fast & vnmoueable as a mountaine of brasse) to comfort and deliuer his Church out of the captiuitie of Babilon:Zach. 6.6. Zach. 6.8. and also to succour and helpe the remnant which were left be­hinde in Iudea. Now in the Prophets, these chariots and chariot-horses are saide to carrie the Almightie most swiftly throughout all the world. And therfore in Zacharie it is said of the Angels: These are they which goe through the whole world. In Ezechiel it is said,Zach 1.10. Ezech. 1.14. that the beastes ranne, and returned like lightning. And againe, vers. 7 that they sparkled like the appearance of bright brasse: and the wheeles of Gods chariots were moued with vnconceiueable swiftnesse, euen as fast as the Angels did flye. Let these reasons and scriptures then satisfie vs touching this, that the Angels are called beastes.

After all this, one of the 24. vers. 13 Elders asketh Iohn what they were, & from whence they came, which were thus araied in long white robes? Which que­stion is asked of the Elder, not as being ignorant thereof; but to stirre vp Iohn, being ignorant, to en­quire of the matter, that he might instruct him there­in. And therfore when Iohn confessed his ignorance, desiring to be instructed therein, the Elder telleth him the whole matter; namely, vers. 14 that they were such as were come out of great tribulation. For none can enter into life, but through many afflictions:Act. 14.22. as the Apostle saith.

After this againe, the militant and visible church is described and set forth, not according to their pre­sent state, but according to that which is to come: vers. 16 vers. 15 for they are here spoken of, as if they were alreadie in the possession of heauen, and that for infallible [Page 86] certaintie and assurance thereof. Therfore the Apo­stle saith, that euen already they do sit together in heauen­ly places. Ephes. 26. And here they are said to be in the presence of the throne of God, vers. 16 &c. to hunger and thirst no more, &c. to haue all teares wiped from their eyes, vers. 17 and to be ledde by the Lambe vnto the fountaines of liuing waters. All which dooth very plainely and plentifully expresse that infinite glory and endlesse felicitie which is pre­pared for all the true and faithfull worshippers of God. Many good lessons and obseruations might be gathered out of all this. But I do of purpose omit them, because in this worke I do chiefly and almost altogether aime at interpretation, therein also study­ing breuitie, soundnesse, and plainenesse.

CHAP. VIII.

WE haue heard out of the seuenth Chapter how the diuels and their instruments, the Romaine Emperors, did stop the course of the Gos­pel. Now in this chapter we are to heare the woeful effects of the stopping thereof, which was the sprin­ging vp, & preuailing of manifolde errors & heresies in the worlde. So that the principall scope and drift of this chapter, is to shewe, that God for the con­tempt of his Gospel, and great indignities offered to the true professors thereof did giue vp the worlde to blindnesse, to errour, to superstition and heresie: and as the Apostle saith;2. Thess. 2. Because they receiued not the loue of the truth, therefore God sent them strong delusions, that they should beleeue lies. For, as before we haue heard how the worlde was most fearefully punished with [Page 87] externall plagues and iudgements: So here we are to vnderstand how the same was punished with iudge­ments spirituall and internall, as formerly hath bene said, vpon the stopping of the foure windes. For al­though that spirituall plague was very great, yet these spirituall plagues which follow vpon the ope­ning of the seuenth seale, are farre greater. For now we are to heare and vnderstand, not onely of the er­rours and heresies, whereby a way and passage was made by degrees, as it were by certaine staires, for Antichrist to climbe vp into his cursed chaire, and to take possession thereof: but also wee are to vnder­stand of his very tyrannie and kingdome it selfe: and also of the kingdome of the Turke, and the last iudgement. For the things contained vnder the ope­ning of the seuenth seale, do reach vnto the ende of the worlde. For the booke sealed with seuen seales containeth all the whole matters which were to bee reuealed.

This chapter containeth foure principall things, as it were the foure parts thereof.

First, the reuerent attention and silence, vers. 1 with ad­miration which was in the Church, at and vpon the comming forth of this most horrible vengeance.

Secondly, before the execution of these most ex­ecrable plagues, vers. 2.3.4.5. the Church is remembred and set in safetie with all her children, by her great mediator Christ Iesus.

Thirdly, the execution of this vengeance, vers. 6 which commeth forth at the blowing of the seuen trum­pets by seuen Angels.

Fourthly, the vengeance it selfe contained in the [Page 88] preuailing of errour and heresie: vers. 7.8.9.10.11.12.13. the falling away of the Pastors of the Church, and the vniuersall darke­nesse that followed therevpon.

And when hee had opened the 7. seale, there was silence in heauen about halfe an houre.

By heauen in this place he meaneth not the king­dome of glory after this life: but by heauen is meant the Church here vpon earth: as it is so taken, chap. 12. verse 1. and chap. 14. verse 2. There may bee three reasons yeelded, why the church is called hea­uen.

First, because the birth thereof is from heauen; for it is borne of God. 1. Iohn. 51.

Col. 1.12.Secondly, because the inheritance therof is from heauen, and therefore is called the inheritance of the Saints.

Phil. 3.20.Thirdly, because the conuersation therof is in heauen, as the Apostle saith.

To this may be added, that our Lorde Iesus in his Gospell dooth so often call his visible Church the Kingdome of heauen by a trope,Math. 13. because Christ begin­neth his raigne in the faithfull therein, whom after­ward he translateth actually into the very kingdome of glory.

By silence here is meant the great attention of the church, because great things were now in hand. For now vpon the opening of the 7. seale, farre grea­ter matters are threatned then any before: and ther­fore the Church doth listen vnto them in deepe si­lence, & as it were in horror and trembling through [Page 89] admiration: for now there appeare such dreadfull iudgements of God to be executed vpon the earth, that all the heauenly company are astonished, and amazed to behold it, and do as it were quake and tremble to thinke vpon it. For as when heauie newes commeth downe from the Prince, to bee proclaimed in open markets, all good subiects doe listen and giue eare with silence and trembling: so it fareth in this case.

By halfe an houre, hee meaneth that short time, wherein the minds of the godly were prepared, fit­ted and disposed, wisely to consider of these mat­ters, and to make good vse of them. I know right well, that this Verse is farre otherwise interpreted of some: but I take this to bee most sound, and simple, and best agreeing to all that followeth: for the next Verse is ioyned vnto this by a coniunction copulatiue, to note a coherence of the matter, and to draw the sense together: for he saith. And I saw 7. vers. 2 Angels, which stood before God, and to them were giuen seuen Trumpets.

These seuen Trumpets signifie, that God would proceede against the worlde in fearefull hostilitie, and come against it as an open enemie vnto battell, proclaiming open warre against it, as it were with sound of Trumpet and Dromme, setting vp the flag of defiance against it. And hereupon groweth this silence and trembling in the Church, which onely is mooued with the signes of Gods wrath,Chap. 1. [...]. when as all others sit still in securitie, as the Prophet Zachary saith in a like case.

To stand in this place, signifieth to administer, as [Page 90] it is said of the Priests & Leuites, that they stand be­fore God,Heb. 1.1 [...]. and before the Aultar, that is, Minister. So here the Angels doo stand before God, as readie to administer and execute these iudgements. For they are ministring spirits, and here they do sound the ala­rum at the commandement of God.

These Angels are propounded as 7. in number, because it pleased not God at once to powre downe his wrath vpon the rebellious worlde, but at diuers times, and by peecemeale.

2. Sam. 24.16. 2. Kin. 19.35.Whether these were good or bad Angels, it is not material to dispute, seeing God executeth his iudge­ments both by the one and the other.

Moreouer, it is specially to be obserued, that the blowing of these seuen trumpets, doo all belong to the opening of the seuenth seale, and are as it were the seuen parts thereof: for the things which fall out vpon the blowing of these seuen trumpets, do reach euen vnto the last iudgement, as the Angell swea­reth, chap. 10.6.7.

vers. 3 Then an other Angel came, & stood before the Aultar, ha­uing a golden Censor, & much odours was giuen vnto him, that hee should offer with the praiers of all Saints vpon the golden Aultar, which is before the throne.

We heard before, that whē the course of the Gos­pell was stopt by the diuell and his instruments, yet God was very carefull for the safetie and sealing vp of his owne seruāts: so likewise we are now to heare of the like care and prouidence. For now, that errors and heresies were to be sowne in the world, where­by [Page 91] many were corrupted: and that he himselfe from heauen dooth proclaime open enmitie against the despisers of his Gospell, by giuing them vp to blind­nesse and error: hee doth double his care and proui­dence to all his faithfull worshippers. For here wee do plainely see, that the Church hath a mediator, and that he which keepeth Israel, neither slumbreth nor sleepeth. And therfore when the wrath of God doth most of all breake forth vpon the world for the contempt of his graces, yet the Church is remem­bred, and set in safetie, with all her children. For her praiers come vp before God, and are accepted through the same mediator. And this is the sense and drift of this third verse.

By this Angell is meant Iesus Christ, the Angell of the couenant, as we haue heard before: who is not an Angell by nature, but by office.

It is manifest, that in the olde lawe there was a golden Aultar, and a golden Censor, in which the Priest did burne sweete incense before the Lorde, which did figure the mediation of Christe, in whome the prayers of the Saintes are accep­ted.

Now heere the holy Ghost alludeth to that sa­crificing Priest-hood of the olde Testament, where incense was offered at the Aultar, which now is the sweet sauour of the death of Christ, through whom both we and all our sacrifices are seasoned & sweet­ned.

Who therefore is this Angell but Christ? Who is the golden Aultar but Christ? What are the sweete odours with the which the prayers of all Saintes [Page 92] come before God, but the most sweet mediation of the Lord Iesus? What is meant by the smoake of the odours, which with the praiers of the Saints, went vp before God out of the Angels hand? Surely the sweete incense of Christs mediation, wherwith our praiers are spiced and perfumed, that they might be as sweete smelling sacrifices in the nosthrils of God. For, as water cast into a fire, raiseth a smoake: so the teares of the faithfull, besprinkeled in their praiers, make them as sweete incense, acceptable to God through Christ. The summe of all is this, that in the midst of all these heresies, and those hellish troubles which should be raised vp by the Pope & his Clear­gie, the Turke and his armies, as in the next chapter wee shall see, the elect haue their praiers heard for their preseruation by the merits of Christ.

vers. 5 And the Angell tooke the Censor, and filled it with the fire of the Aultar, and cast it into the earth, and there were voices, & thundrings, & lightnings, & earthquakes.

Here we see how Iesus Christ taketh the Censor and filleth it with the fire of the Aultar; that is, the graces and gifts of the spirit: for so the fire of the Aultar is taken in Esay. Esay. 6.6.

Math. 3 11.In this sense it is said, that our Lord Iesus should baptise with fire and the holy Ghost; that is, the gifts and graces of the holy Ghost. In this sense also the holy Ghost did rest vpon the Disciples, in the like­nesse of clouen tongues like fire,Act. 2.3. wherevpon they were all filled with gifts and graces.

The holy Ghost is compared to fire, because hee [Page 93] burneth out our drosse, purgeth the hearts of the faithfull, and setteth them on fire with the burning loue and zeale of Gods glorie. So then it followeth, that as before there was prouision had for the safetie of the Church, by her Mediator: so here many heauenly giftes and graces are bestowed vpon her. For Christe casteth this fire of the Aultar vpon the earth; that is, vpon his elect dwelling in the earth.

Herevpon it is saide, that there were voices and thundrings, &c. that is, all manner of broiles, tu­mults, vprores, slaughters, and diuisions. For af­ter the Gospell was sounded forth in the Church by the power of the holy Ghost, the diuell is disturbed, and the worlde molested. And hence spring all these broiles and tumults, thundring and lightning: and wee must looke for such stirres after the prea­ching of the Gospell, whilest there is a worlde and a diuell.

Therefore our Lord Iesus saith, hee came not to bring peace into the earth, but fire and sworde, and to sette a man at variance against his father, Math. 10.34. and likewise the daughter against her mother, &c. for diuisions and ciuill dissentions doo alwaies followe the prea­ching of the Gospell; which thing yet is not simply in the nature of the Gospell, which is a Gospell of peace, but accidentally through the frowardnesse and corruption of mans nature, which will not yeelde vnto it, but most stubbornely rebelleth a­gainst it.

[Page 94] vers. 6 Then the seuen Angels which had the seuen Trompets, prepared themselues to blowe.

Now beginneth this open warre to be proclai­med against the world, for their great vngodlinesse and rebellion against the truth.

vers. 7 So the first Angell blew the Trompet, and there was haile and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast into the earth, and the third part of trees was burnt, and all greene grasse was burnt.

It were absurd to imagine that any thing in this Verse is to bee taken literally: seeing in the literall sense there was neuer any such matter. Therefore of necessitie it must be expounded mystically, and allegorically: therefore by this haile and fire ming­led with blood, is meant errours and heresies. For as haile doth beate downe corne, and destroy the fruits of the earth, fire doth consume, and blood doth corrupt and putrifie: So false doctrine and he­resie doth annoy, consume, and corrupt the soules of men. For it is saide, that all these being mingled to­gether were cast vpon the earth: that is, the inhabi­tants of the earth,Math. 7. and the third part of the trees, that is,Psal. 1. numbers of men, or a verie great part of the worlde was corrupted. For trees in the scripture, signifie men,Esay 40. and all greene grasse was burnt: that is, the fresh fruites of grace did wither apace and drie vp: for as error and heresie did preuaile, so truth [Page 95] and godlinesse did decaie. All this hath relation to the heresies of Sabellius, Manicheus, Marcion, Fotinus, Paulus Samosatenus, Nestorius, Nouatus, Diodorus, Appollinaris, Pelagius, and many others, which about this time, which was foure hundred yeares after Christ, beganne to spring vp and grow apace.

And the seconde Angell blew the Trumpet, vers. 8 and as it were a great mountaine burning with fire was cast into the sea, and the third part of the sea became blood, &c.

Vppon the blowing of the seconde Trompet by the seconde Angell, heere appeareth a great mountaine burning with fire. Whereby is meant some great and notable heresies, as that of Arrius, which troubled and wasted the Church, for the space of three hundred yeares, being greatly fa­uoured of sundrie Emperours, and other great Po­tentates in the earth; by meanes whereof, it conti­nued and ouerspread so long. Also this may be re­ferred to other great and notable Arch▪heresies: as that of Donatus, Macedonius, Eutiches, Valentinus, and such like: which all are heere compared to a mountaine for their hugenesse and greatnesse, and to a burning mountaine, because the Church was almost burnt vp thereby.Luke 3.5. For this word Moun­taine, is sometimes in the scripture put for any let or hinderance to true Religion, as is error and he­resie. Zach. 4.7. Luk. 3.5.

[Page 96]Therefore it is saide, that it was cast into the sea, that is, these great heresies were cast vppon the worlde in Gods wrath and heauie indignation: for the sea is put for the worlde: Chapter 4. Verse 6. Chapter 13. Verse 1. Chapter 21. Verse 1. for as the sea is full of rocke sands, syrts, waues, stormes and tempests: so it fareth with this present euill world.

Moreouer it is saide, that the third part of the sea became blood: that is, all Europe, or some great part of the worlde was corrupted and infected with these great heresies. vers. 9 And hee saith in the next verse, that the third part of the shippes were destroyed: that is, a great number of Marriners and ship-maisters, as well as land men were infected with these heresies, and died of them, and in them.

vers. 10 Then the third Angell blew the Trompet, and there fell a great starre from heauen, burning like a torch, and it fell into the third part of the riuers, and into the fountaines of waters.

Starres in this booke are put for the Ministers of the Gospel, as we haue heard out of the first Chap­ter, and the reason why. Then it followeth that the falling of this starre from heauen, doth most fitly signifie and set foorth the declining and fall of the Pastors of the Church, and their corrupting of the true doctrine: which is meant by the fresh riuers, and pure fountaines into which it fell. This starre hath his name of the effect: vers. 11 for it is called Worme­wood; because through the fall of it, the sweete [Page 97] waters into which it fell, were turned into bitter­nesse, and men died of them: that is, the pure doc­trine was corrupted, which turned to the destruc­tion of many.

And the fourth Angell blewe the Trumpet, vers. 12 and the third part of the Sunne was smitten, and the third part of the Moone, and the third part of the starres, so that the third part of them was dark­ned, &c.

This darkning of the Sunne, Moone, and starres, doth signifie that great darknes which was brought vppon the Church by such teachers as did daily more and more degenerate.

Three things are generally to be obserued in the blowing of these first foure trumpets.

First, that the plagues here mentioned, are speci­ally to be vnderstood of spirituall plagues.

Secondly, that there is a progression from lesser to greater in these plagues.

Thirdly, that in euery one there is mentioned but a third part destroyed; which plainly sheweth, that although the Church was greatly annoyed and pestred with these errors and heresies, yet it was not destroyed and brought to vtter desolation: for the full setting vp of Antichrist was not yet come. All these errors and heresies which were thus cast vpon the world, and did spring and grow apace in all places, did (as it were) make way for Antichrist, and (as it were stirrops) hoist and helpe him vp in­to his cursed chaire.

[Page 98]By the stories of the Church, and course of times, it seemeth that the holy Ghost pointeth at those manifolde heresies which sprung vp in the Church after the first three hundred yeares, especially af­ter the death of Constantine the great, who procured peace to the Church, destroied Idolatrie, and set vp true religion in his daies.

Now, after his raigne, and the raigne of Theodo­sius that good Emperour, Constantius, Iulianus, Arcadius, Honorius, and many other wicked Em­perours succeeded; by whose meanes all thinges in the Church grew worse and worse: yet this one thing is to bee obserued, that all truth of religi­on was not vtterly extinct and put out, till the full loosing of Sathan, which was a thousand yeares af­ter Christ, as wee shall plainely see when wee come to the 20. chapter, concerning the binding of Sa­than for a thousand yeares. For sure it is, that the maine principles and groundes of Religion, conti­nued in the Church till this full loosing of Sathan; which was about the time of Pope Siluester the seconde, that monster, as afterwarde wee shall heare.

But now in the meane time, wee see what here­sies sprung vp, what corruption grew and encreased more and more, what darknesse began to ouerspread a third part of the world: & these things grew worse and worse, euen vntill by these meanes the great Antichrist came to bee possessed of his cursed seate and Sea of Rome, which was about some 600. yeares after Christ.

[Page 99]And I behelde, and heard one Angell flying in the middest of heauen, saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, vers. 13 woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the sounds to come of the three Angels which were yet to blowe the trum­pets.

Because the iudgements which were to be execu­ted hereafter, vpon the blowing of the next three trumpets, were farre more dreadfull and horrible then any that went before: therefore here is a speci­all Angell or messenger of God, sent of purpose to giue warning thereof, and to proclaime openly in the Church, three fearfull woes, which should come vpon the inhabitants of the earth; that is, all earth­ly minded men, as worldlings, Papists, and Atheists, at such time as the next three Angels should blowe the trumpets.

The first of these three great woes, is to bee vn­derstood of the Papacie. The second of Turcisme. The third of the last iudgement. As if hee should haue said: Woe vnto the worlde, because of Pope­rie. Woe vnto the worlde because of Turcisme. Woe vnto the world because of the last iudgement. Woe vnto the worlde for Poperie, because thereby men should be punished in their soules. Woe vnto the world for Turcisme, because thereby thousands should bee murdered in their bodies by the Tur­kish armies. Woe vnto the world, because of the last iudgement, for thereby all worldlings shall bee plagued both in body and soule in hell fire, for euer­more.

[Page 100]Sith then these three last plagues which were to come vpon the worlde, are more fearefull and ter­rible then any of the other foure, no maruell though here is sent of purpose a speciall messenger to giue intelligence thereof, that euery man might looke to himselfe, seeing such great dangers were at hand. And for this cause also it is saide before, that there was silence in the Church for the space of halfe an houre.

CHAP. IX.

THe principall scope and drift of this Chapter, is to paint out both the Pope and his Cleargy, and also the kingdome of the Turke, and his cruell armies. For hauing alreadie set downe how a way and passage was made for the Pope to climbe vp into his cursed chaire by the preuailing of heresies, the falling away of the Pastors of the Church, and the great ouerspreading of darknesse & ignorance: now hee commeth to describe the Pope in his full height and greatest exaltation, being now vniuer­sall Bishop, and in full possession of his seate and sea of Rome, which was about some sixe hundred yeares after Christ, as formerly hath bene shewed. At what time Pope Boniface obtained of the Emperour Pho­cas that murther, which slew his maister Mauri­tius the Emperour, that the Bishop of Rome should be called the vniuersall Bishop, and the church of Rome, the head of all churches.

[Page 101]This ninth Chapter may very fitly be diuided into two partes.In the first 12. verses. The first is a liuely description of the Pope himselfe, his kingdome, and his cleargie. The second, is a description of the kingdome of the Turke, and his most sauage armies:In the last 9. verses. so that this chap­ter is a full opening of the first two great woes men­tioned before, concerning the Papacie, and Tur­cisme.

And the fift Angell blew the trumpet, vers. 1 and I sawe a starre which fell from heauen, and to him was giuen the key of the bottomelesse pit.

Warning was giuen before, that when this 5. An­gell should blowe the trumpet, a most fearefull woe should come vpō the world, surpassing all that went before, which is the setting vp of Antichrist in his pride; that man of sinne, that sonne of perdition.

The Pope is here compared to a starre, as well as other godly Ministers in this booke, because the Bi­shops of Rome at the first were godly and excellent men: for amōgst the first thirtie of them, there were some Martyrs. But it is here said, that now this starre was fallen from heauen vnto the earth; that is, the Bishops of Rome were greatly degenerated & fallen cleane away from heauenly things to earthly: for they declined from time to time, & grew worse and worse, so farre as to become the great Antichrist.

But some man may say, why may not this starre falling frō heauen vnto the earth, be vnderstood of other Pastors falling from the truth, as well as the Pope, as it is taken in the former chapter, & in the 12. [Page 102] chapter, verse 4. I answere, that the circumstances will not here beare it. Therefore to perswade euery honest mans conscience, that this must needs be vn­derstood of the Pope in his pride, let vs giue eare to those three reasons following.

First, wee are to consider, that the maine drift of the holy Ghost in the opening of the seuen seales, and blowing of the seuen trumpets, is to lay out the state of the church in all ages, till the comming of Christ. Further, wee are diligently to obserue, that the things contained vnder the opening of the se­uenth seale (wherof the blowing of the seuen trum­pets are as it were parts, and do all belong vnto it) do stretch euen vnto the ende of the worlde; so as there is no straunge accident, or any wofull condition of the Church in any age, but it is set forth vnder the opening of these seales, and blowing of these trum­pets. But the Papacie was a state of the Church, and that most wofull and lamentable, therefore it is de­scribed vnder the opening of these seales, and blow­ing of these trumpets. But it is not described vnder the opening of any other seale, or blowing of any o­ther trumpet: therefore of necessitie it must be refer­red to this seuenth seale, and fift trumpet: And this is my first reason. If any man obiect, that the Pope and his kingdome are most liuely described in the chap­ters from the 12. to the last: I answere, that all those chapters belong to a new vision, wherin some things propounded vnder the opening of the seuen seales, are more fully opened & expounded. But this I say, that in this 2. vision, the whole estate of the Church in euery age is laid opē, euen vntil the last iudgemēt: [Page 103] and therfore when the 7. Angel here doth blow the 7. trumpet, immediatly followeth the last iudgemēt; as appeareth, cap. 10. ver. 6.7. & cap. 11. ver. 15.16.

My second reason is drawne from the course and consideration of times: for the great preuailing of errors and heresies mentioned before, which made way for Antichrist, was from the first 300. yeares, vntill the 600. yeare, and so forwarde. But now, im­mediately vpon this great encrease of error & dark­ness, commeth the description of a speciall starre fal­len from heauen at this time, which was about 600. yeares after Christ, and therfore it must needs be vn­derstood of the Pope. And this is my second reason.

My third and last reason is drawne from the de­scription of the Pope and his Cleargie in the first ele­uen verses of this chapter. For he is so liuely descri­bed & painted out in particulars, that all men that know him, or euer heard of him, must needes say it is he. For this description here set downe by the ho­ly Ghost, can fitly agree to none other.

The Papists themselues do cōfesse, that this starre here mentioned, must needs be vnderstood of some Arch-hereticke. And full wisely forsoothe they ap­ply it to Luther and Caluin. But wee affirme, that it is to be vnderstood of the Pope: For was there euer any such Arch-hereticke as he? which opposeth and ex­alteth himselfe against all that is called God, 2. Thess. 2.4. and against all imperiall powers, as the Apostle saith. But now let vs proceed to the description of him.

First, he is said to haue the keie of the bottome­lesse pitte, which agreeth well to the Pope: for hee hath power giuen him to open hell gates, to [Page 104] let in thousands thither: but no power to open hea­uen gates, to let in any thither: for he furthereth ma­ny to hell, none to heauen. Hee doth indeed falsely challenge vnto himselfe the keies of the kingdome of heauen, to let in, and shut out at his pleasure. But here wee see the holy Ghost doth attribute no such power vnto him, but onely telleth vs, that his power and iurisdiction is in hell, and ouer hell, & as for hea­uen, he hath nothing to do with it. It were needlesse to shewe how this metaphor of keies is taken for po­wer and iurisdiction in the scriptures, as hath bene proued before, cap. 1. ver. 18. & as needlesse to proue that by the bottomelesse pit, is here meant hell, as ap­peareth, chap. 11.7. chap. 20.1.

vers. 2 And hee opened the bottomelesse pit, and there arose the smoake of the pit, as the smoake of a great furnace, & the sunne and the aire were darkned by the smoake of the pit.

Here we see how the Pope openeth hell gates with his key, & a most horrible, grosse, & stinking smoake ascendeth vp into the ayre presently vpon it, in so much, that both the Sunne & the aire were darkned with it. Which all is to bee vnderstood of that spiri­tual darknesse, ignorance, superstition, and Idolatry, wherewith the whole church was ouerspread, after the great Antichrist came to the possession of his cur­sed chaire, & was in his pride & height, ruling & raig­ning ouer the kings of the earth. For thē indeed the sun was darkned and eclipsed; that is, the light of the Gospell was almost cleane put out. For that which is spoken here of the darkning of the aire & the Sun, is [Page 105] to be vnderstood of a greater and more general dark­nesse, then that which was mentioned in the former chapter, wherein but a third part of the worlde was darkened. But now that Antichrist inuadeth the church, all is ouerspread with grosse and palpable darknesse, all is as darke as pitch: no man can see where he is, or which way hee goeth. For the whole aire is filled with this most odious and thick smoake, which came out of hell pit.

And there came out of the smoake Locusts vpon the earth, vers. 3 and vnto them was giuen power, as the scorpions of the earth haue power.

By these Locusts, is meant the Popes Cleargie, as Abbots, Monkes, Friers, Priests, Shauelings, & such like vermine; which are therefore compared to Lo­custs, because they waste and destroy the Church, euen as Locusts destroy the fruites of the earth. For both Historiographers & trauellers do affirme, that whole fieldes of greene corne new come vp, haue bene wasted and eaten vp in one night as bare as the earth, by swarmes of Locusts in the East-coun­tries. For in those parts of the world,Ioel. 2. multitudes of this litle vermine are to be found: euen so the Popish Cleargie cōsumeth and deuoureth all greene things in the Church.

Moreouer, it is to bee noted, that these Locusts came out of the smoake of the pit; that is, they were bred out of it: for Monkes, Friers, Priests, & such like caterpillers, were bred of ignorance, error, heresie, superstition, & the very smoake of hell: for from hell [Page 106] they came, & to hell they wil. They are discended of the black house of hell, & thither they will returne.

Moreouer, it is said, that power was giuen them to sting like scorpions. For whom haue they not stung with their most venemous stings? I mean their dam­nable errors, and diuelish deuices. Whom haue they not wounded with their corrupt doctrine, & diuel­lish authority? They are the sorest soule-stingers that euer the world had, who haue left their venimous stings in the soules of thousand thousands, where­with they haue bene poisoned and stung to death.

vers. 4 And it was commaunded them, that they should not hurt the grasse of the earth, neither any greene thing, neither any tree, but onely those which haue not the seale of God in their foreheads.

It may be demanded, what became of the church when as the whole earth was full of these crawling and stinging Locusts. This question is now here an­swered; to wit, that these Locusts are charged and commaunded, that they should not hurt any of the elect: for this woe and this plague, extendeth no fur­ther then to the inhabitants of the earth, as wee haue heard before. Their power is limited only to the re­probate, they haue nothing to do with Gods chosen people. And here againe we see what great care God hath for his in the midst of the greatest dangers, as hath bene twise noted before, chap. 7. chap. 8. For now Antichrist raigning in his ful pride, yet his elect are preserued in the midst of these scorpion Locusts, flying about their eares like swarmes of Hornets, not [Page 107] one of them is stung to death. Christs litle flocke is alwaies defended, and set in safetie.

And to them was commaunded, that they should not hurt them, but that they should be vexed fiue monethes, vers. 5 and that their paine should be as the paine that commeth of a scorpion when he hath stung a man.

Some write, that such as are stung of a scorpion, do not die forthwith, but haue a lingring paine, where­with they are miserably vexed three or foure dayes before they die of it. Now, vnto this lingring paine is this spiritual stinging compared: for these Locusts are commanded of God, that they should not kil the very reprobates outright, & at once, but torment thē with a lingring death for the space of fiue moneths, that is, 500. yeares: for so long did the Papacie con­tinue in his height & pride, full strength and vertue: and so long did the Pope & his Cleargie sting men with lingring and scorpion-like paine.

Therefore in those daies shall men seeke death, and shall not finde it, and shall desire to die, and death shal flie frō thē. vers. 6

This verse doth shewe, that all Papists being thus stung and tormented in their consciences with this lingring paine of Popish doctrine, shall wish them­selues out of the world, and buried quicke, that they might be ridde of their spirituall stinging, and hellish torments which they had in their cōscience. For the Popish doctrine hath no sound comfort in it, it lea­ueth men in desperation in sicknesse, and vpon their death-beds.

[Page 108]For alas, what comfort can a poore distressed consci­ence haue in Popes pardons, Indulgences, Masses, Dirges, Merits, Workes, Pilgrimages, Purgatory, Crosses, Crucifixes, Agnus deis, & such like trash and trumpery? these alas are too weake remedies for any spirituall diseases: they are not sufficient to procure pardon at Gods hand for any sinne. Alas, the poore blinde Papists did know & feele that they were vile sinners: they knew they must come to iudgement: they knew that the reward of sinne was death, euen the second death: they knew all this full wel, & ther­fore had horrible convulsions in their consciences, and knew no way nor meanes how to winde out of them. For the doctrine of free iustification in the bloud of Christ, was hid frō them, they knew it not: and therefore all assurance of Gods fauour, all peace of conscience, & all ioy in the holy Ghost, was vtter­ly taken from them, & therefore many of them died in most desperate & vncomfortable maner. And for this cause it is here said, that they sought death, and desired to be rid out of the worlde one way or an o­ther: for a tormented conscience who can beare it, it is a kinde of he [...] torment.

vers. 7 And the forme of the Locusts was like vnto horses prepa­red vnto battel, & on their heads were as it were crownes like vnto gold, & their faces was like the faces of men.

vers. 8 And they had haire as the haire of women: and their teeth were as the teeth of Lyons.

Hitherto we haue heard of the petigrew & poiso­ned stings of these vile Locusts, and how they vexed [Page 109] the inhabitants of the earth all the time of the great Antichrist. Now we are to vnderstand of their form and likenesse: for the spirit of God dooth here paint them out in their colours, that all men may discerne them, and beware of them. First, it is said that they were like vnto horses prepared vnto battell: that is, they were as strong and fierce as barred horses, to rush and run vpon all such as should but once mute or mutter against them, or their authoritie. Moreo­uer, they haue crownes of golde vpon their heads, which sheweth and signifieth, that they were the conquerors of the earth, & Lords of the world, and who but they? for in those daies no man, nay, no Lord or King, durst quitch against a Monke, a Frier, or a pild Priest: for if any did, they were sure to smart for it. They had also faces like the faces of men; that is, they set faire faces vpon matters, and pretended great deuotion in religion, flattering the people, and making them beleeue that they could giue them pardon of all their sinnes, and bring them to heauen; when as in very truth, for their bellies, and for their gaine, they did cunningly smoothe with the nobles, the rich, & the mightie, setting faire faces vpō al their proceedings; and as S. Peter saith, Through couetousnes with fained words, they made merchandise of mens soules, 2 Pet. 2.3. and did closely winde themselues into the hearts of the simple people, by their fawning insinuations, be­ing in very deede most notable flatterers and hypo­crites. They had haire, as the haire of women; that is, they were altogether effeminate, being giuen to de­licacie, lust, and wantonnesse; they were drowned in whoredome & al kind of beastlinesse, being a shoale [Page 108] of most filthy villaines. Their teeth were as the teeth of Lyons, to catch & snatch all that they could come by. They deuoured all the fat morsels euery where: they got the church-liuings into their hands: they first made impropriations: they incroached vpon temporall mens lands: they swallowed vp all euerie where. If we looke vpon the Abbeys, Priories, and Nunneries, wee may easily iudge what teeth they had. Moreouer, it is said they had Habbergions, like to Habbergions of Irō; that is, they were so strongly armed with the defence & countenāce of the Pope, that no secular power durst once quitch against thē. Their wings were like the sounde of chariots, when many horses runne vnto battell: that is, with flutte­ring noise, & terrible threatnings, they stroue to vp­holde their kingdome. Also in Churches and Pul­pits, they make a roaring noise, and take on terribly to maintaine their abhominable Idolatry. They had tailes like vnto scorpions, and there were stings in their tailes. vers. 10 For with their poisoned doctrine & stin­ging authoritie, like adders & snakes they stung ma­ny to death. Moreouer, power was giuen them to hurt men fiue moneths, that is, all the time of Anti­christs raigne, as before hath bene shewed.

vers. 11 They haue a king ouer them, which is the angell of the bot­tomelesse pit, whose name in Hebrew, is Abaddon, and in Greeke he is named Apollyon, that is, destroying.

As the foules haue a king ouer them, which is the Eagle; & the beastes, the Lyon; & mortall men some chiefe gouernour, vnder whose protection and sub­iectiō they liue: so here these hellish Locusts are said [Page 111] to haue a king ouer them, which is the Angell of the bottomlesse pit; that is, the diuell or the Pope, which you will, vnder whose ensigne they fight, and vnder whose defence they liue. Their kings name in He­brew is called Abaddon, and in Greeke Apollyon. The words are both of one signification, that is, destroy­ing: for both the diuell himself, & his vicar the Pope, are destroiers and wasters of the Church of God.

One woe is past, And beholde yet two woes come after this. vers. 2

Wee haue heard at large what this first woe is, namely, the plague of the worlde, by the Pope and his Cleargie. Now wee are to heare of the seconde woe, which is the most huge and murthering army of the Turkes, wherein the third part of men were slaine.

Some do expound this second woe of the king­dome of Antichrist, and his armies: but that it is not so, may appeare by these reasons following.

First, the Angell denouncing woe, woe, woe, de­nounceth three seueral woes, and therefore it is said; One woe is past, and behold yet two woes come after this. It followeth then, that this is a distinct and seueral woe from the former, and therfore cannot be the same.

Secondly, this woe containeth specially a bodily slaughter of the third part of the world, and of the wicked reprobates: but the first woe was specially a plague of mens soules, as we haue heard, and there­fore this cannot be the same with the first.

Thirdly, we are to vnderstand, that this booke de­scribeth all the greatest calamities and plagues that [Page 112] should come vpō the world in any age after Christ: and therfore we may iustly think that the kingdome of the Turkes is not left out, seeing it was one of the greatest plagues that euer came vpon the world. But the kingdome of the Turkes is described in no other part of this Reuelation, and therefore must of neces­sitie be here described.

vers. 13 Then the sixt Angel blew the trumpet, and I heard a voice from the foure corners of the golden Aultar which is be­fore God:

vers. 14 Saying to the sixt Angell which had the trumpet, loose the foure Angels which are bound in the great riuer Eu­phrates.

Now we are come to the description of the second woe, which followeth vpon the blowing of the sixt trumpet, by the sixt Angell. And first of all hee saith; He heard a voice frō the foure corners of the goldē Aultar.

chapter 8.3. By the golden Aultar, is meant Christ, as before hath bene shewed, with the reasons thereof. Frō this Aul­tar the voice commeth to the angel which blew the sixt trumpet, that wee might knowe it is the voice of the mighty God, & the cōmandemēt of our Lord Iesus.

The voice commandeth the sixt Angell to loose the foure Angels which are bound in the great riuer Euphra­tes. By these foure Angels which are thus bound at Euphrates, is meant many diuels, or angels of darke­nesse, as we heard before, chap. 7. verse 1. Their bin­ding signifieth their restraint, by which they were helde backe from doing that mischiefe which they desired to do. Their loosing, signifieth that power was giuen them to performe that which they wished. [Page 113] They are saide to bee foure in number, because they should raise an horrible plague in the foure corners of the earth, both East, West, North, and South. The sense is, that the diuels haue yet further and greater scope giuen them to plague and destroy the inhabi­tants of the earth. These diuels had exceeding great power in the kingdome of Antichrist, but they are vnsatiable in mischiefe, and so after a sorte lie still bound till they haue their desire. The place where they lie bounde, is Euphrates, wherein is a mysterie: for Euphrates literally taken, is a great Riuer, which ranne so nigh the citie Babylon in Chaldea, that it was a mightie defence vnto it, so that the citie could not be taken, vntill they that laide siege vnto it, cut out trenches, and deriued the waters an other way. Now for the mysterie, it is this: Rome in this booke is called Babylon. By a metaphor, and after the same manner, the great Riuer Euphrates, as wee shall see afterward, chap. 16. signifieth the power, wealth, and authoritie, which that citie Rome, euen this we­sterne Babel, hath to defend it selfe. Then it follow­eth, that in this power, authoritie, and strength of Rome, the diuels lie bounde: for they waited through the power of Rome, to worke yet farre greater mischiefe, and therefore are saide to bee bounde, so long as they were restrained. The mis­chiefe which they plotted, and purposed to bring to passe by the authoritie and power of Rome, was the hatching and bringing forth of the Mahometish re­ligion, which in very deed did spring from the dark­nesse of Rome, as from his proper roote and originall cause.

[Page 114]The diuels did foresee, that out of the superstitions and Idolatries of Rome, defended by their great po­wer and authoritie, Mahometish religion, might ve­ry well bee framed, and therefore not being content to plague the West part of the worlde with Poperie and Idolatrie, they do greedily desire also to plague the East part of the worlde with the false religion of Mahomet. They are not satisfied with plaguing and poisoning all Europe with abhominable Idolatries, except also they plague and infect all Asia & Affrica with the Turkes most execrable religiō: so insatiable are the diuels in working mischiefe. Now in the meane time they think thēselues too much straight­ned, bound and tied vp in Rome, & Romish religion, except they may be loosed, and proceede further to ouerspread the whole world with all impieties, and most horrible abhominations. A man would thinke that when the diuels had preuailed so far, as to place Antichrist in his cursed chaire, and to breede the swarmes of Locusts out of the smoake of hell, they might haue bene satisfied: for then, as wee say, hell seemed to be broken loose. But yet all this cannot sa­tisfie the vnsatiable diuels, but they will haue the re­ligion of Mahomet established, to poison and plague all the East parts of the world in their soules: and al­so they will haue the most huge, cruell, and sauage armies of the Turkes raised vp, to murder and mas­sacre milliōs of men in their bodies, in the west parts of the world, as presently we shall heare.

Now till all this bee effected, they are saide to lie bound at Rome. But here we see, that this sixt Angell hath a precise commaundement from Iesus Christ, [Page 115] to loose these diuels which lay bound at the great ri­uer Euphrates, that they might plague the whole world farre and neare, at their pleasure: so now all the diuels of hell are let loose, and let vs heare what followeth.

And the foure Angels were loosed, which were prepared at an houre, at a day, at a moneth, and at a yeare, vers. 15 to slay the third part of men.

Now the diuels being loosed and vnbounde by speciall commandement from Christ, were in a rea­dinesse to execute their mischiefe. This ascending by degrees from a short time vnto longer & longer; From an houre to a day, &c. dooth signifie, that as the diuels were prest, & at hand at an houres warning, as we say, to put in practise whatsoeuer they had plot­ted: so they were as forwarde to continue the same, From an houre to a day, from a day to a moneth, & from a moneth to a yeare, that is frō time to time, vntil the date of their commissiō was out: for their time was limi­ted, and their commission bounded, as afterward we shall see. And this is our comfort, that both the Papa­cie is limited to fiue monethes, and the Turcisme to houres, daies, monethes, and yeares. The diuels po­wer is limited, though it grieueth them full sore. They cannot doo what they list: they cannot conti­nue as long as they would.

After the number of horsemen of warre were twentie thou­sand times ten thousand, for I heard the number of thē. vers. 16

[Page 116]Now, vpon the loosing of these diuels, here fol­loweth the description of a most horrible plague which they raised vp; and it is a huge army, a mur­thering army, an army in number exceeding great: for he saith, They were twentie thousand times ten thou­sand; that is, two hundred millions, or two hundred thousand thousands. But we may not think that this army was euer all at one time, or in any one age, but here are the armies of many ages reckened vp, and the full plague of many yeares set forth. How could Saint Iohn number such an army, may some man say? He answereth this doubt, and saith, Hee heard the number of them. Hee did not number them: but the number was tolde him.

Moreouer, it is to be noted, that as this army did exceed in number, so also in terror and strength: and therefore they are said to be all horsemen. For an ar­my of horsemen are both more strong and more ter­rible, then any arm of footemen.

vers. 17 And thus I sawe the horses in a vision, and them that sate on them hauing firy Habbergeons, and of Iacinth, and of brimstone, and the heads of the horses were as the heads of Lyons, and out of their mouths went forth fire, and smoake, and brimstone.

Heere is the description of these horsemen and horses, as they appeared to Iohn in a vision. First, tou­ching the horsemen, it is saide that they were very well armed with Habbergions; that is, coates of Maile, Corselets, or Curets, and that of a fiery colour, and of the colour of Iacinth; that is, of smoake, as appeareth in [Page 117] the last clause of this verse, and also of the colour of Brimstone. For as horsemen in compleate armour were wont to weare in their breast-plates and tar­gets certaine ensignes and colours, whereby they might be made terrible to their enemies: So these Turkish warriours and horsemen do holde out their colours of fire, smoake, and brimstone, as it were flagges of defiance against the whole world, threat­ning present death to al that should withstand them; or as if they meant to spet fire and flame▪ them, or to choake them with smoake and brimstone, & then burne them vp with fire & brimstone. All this their colours and ensignes in their breast-plates and Hab­bergions did portend. Now, as concerning their horses, no doubt they were as fierce as the horsmen. They were great Launces, they had heads like Lyons; that is, they were full of stomack & fiercenes, and out of their mouthes went forth fire, & smoake, and brimstone; that is, they had the same colours and ensignes vpon them that their riders had.

Of these three was the third part of mē killed, that is, vers. 18 of the fire, & of the smoake, and of the brimstone which came out of their mouthes.

Here is set downe the great slaughters and massa­cres which these martiall horsmen & Turkish armies made throughout the most part of Europe. For hee saith: the third part of men, that is, great numbers in Europe were slaine by the fire, the smoake, and the brim­stone, which came out of their mouthes: that is, by their bloudy crueltie, & barbarous immanitie; some being [Page 118] murthered in their bodies by cruell death, & others violently drawne to the wicked religiō of Mahomet. For partly by externall violence, and partly by a sub­till shewe of religion and deuotion, they destroied thousands both in their soules & bodies. And there­fore it is said, vers. 19 Their power is in their mouthes, and in their tailes. For their tailes were like vnto serpents, and had heads wherewith they hurt. But for the better vnderstanding of these things, I thinke it not amisse a little to open and lay forth the rising vp, and en­creasing of the power of the Turke.

About the yeare of our Lord, 591. was Mahomet borne in a certaine village of Arabia, called Itrarix, for so Histories do report. This Mahomet by fraude and cousenage, grew into great credit and fame a­mong the seditious Arabians and Egyptians, in so much that they made him a captaine ouer them, to warre against the Persians.

After this, hee married a rich wife, and by that meanes he wonne the hearts of many with gifts. In the daies of Heraclius the Emperour, which was in the yeare of our Lord, 623. he grew to be very migh­tie. After this, he faigned himselfe to be a Prophet, and said, that he had visions and reuelations, and tal­ked with Angels. And so by the helpe of Sergius a Monke, hee framed a new worship and religion, pat­ched partly out of the olde Testament, partly from the Papists, and partly from the Heathen. Hee raig­ned nine yeares, and so died.

After him, succeeded in the kingdome of the Sa­racens Ebubezer, who raigned two yeares. Haumar, who raigned twelue yeares. Muhauias who raig­ned [Page 119] 24. yeares. All these made great warres against the Persians, and sundrie other nations, and ouer­came them, and set vp the religion of Mahomet a­mongst them, and so the kingdome of the Saracens grew mightie: but in processe of time the kingdome of the Turkes grew great, and the kingdome of the Saracens diminished. Within a short time after this, the Tartarians, a barbarous people, waxed strong, and made warre against the Turkes, and preuailed greatly for a time. But about the yeare of our Lord 1300. the Empire of the Tartarians was ouer­throwne, and the Empire of the Turkes did flourish more then euer before: For now come the greatest monsters, and most sauage and cruell tyrants of all. The first of them was Ottomanus. The second Baia­zethes. The third, Amurathes. These made bloudie warres against the Christians; I meane the Papists in Europe, and enlarged the Turkes dominions very farre.

They did from time to time so cruelly murther and massacre the inhabitants of the West, with their huge and bloudie armies, that at last both the Pope, the Emperour, the King of Hungary, the King of Po­lonia, the King of Fraunce, the Duke of Burgundie, and the Duke of Venice, and almost all the Potentates in Europe, did ioyne together to make warre against the Turkes, and did leuie huge armies, but yet could not preuaile: so strong were the Turkes: so huge and dreadfull were their armies. Then wee see that ve­rified which here was foretolde, to wit, that the mon­strous armies of the Turkes, with their horses and horse­men, should slay the third parte of men: that is, the [Page 120] Idolaters in Europe by heapes and infinit numbers. To set downe the particular battailes betwixt the Turkes and the Christians in Europe, and their hor­rible bloudsheaddings, would require a volume: but this which I haue briefly set downe, may serue to giue some light vnto it, & may suffice for the vnder­standing of this text. vers. 20 Now, it is said in the next verse, that notwithstanding this heauie hande of God which was vpon the Papists in Europe, and these fearefull iudgements and massacres, they repented not of their Idolatries, but waxed worse and worse: for no iudgements, no plagues can make the wicked any whit the better, as wee see in the examples of Pharaoh and Saul. vers. 20 And here it is saide, that the rem­nant of men which were not killed by these plagues, repen­ted not of the workes of their handes, that they should not worship diuels and Idols of gold, and of siluer, & of brasse, and of stone, and of wood, which neither can see, nor heare, nor goe. vers. 21 Also they repented not of their murther, and of their sorcery, neither of their fornicatiō, nor of their theft. And thus we see how the diuels which were bound at Euphrates, being let loose vpon the world, in the wrath and iust iudgement of God, did fearefully plague both the Turkes in their soules, and the Pa­pists in their bodies. The one with false religion, the other with bloudie swordes: and so was the desire of the diuels fully satisfied.

CHAP. X.

HAuing opened and expounded the two first woes which fel out vpon the blowing of the fift and sixt trumpet, containing the two great plagues of Poperie and Turcisme, wherewith the world was punished many hundred yeares: now in this chap­ter we are to heare of good newes, and great com­fort, after so much sorrowe. For here Iesus Christ commeth downe from heauen to relieue his poore afflicted Church, and to be reuenged of all his cruell enemies. For now, before the 3. and last woe, contai­ning the greatest plague of al vpon the world, which is, the last iudgement; wherein the wicked shall bee tormented in hel fire for euer, both in body & soule, I say, before the blowing of the 7. trumpet, by the se­uenth angel, of which we shal heare in the next chap­ter. Now in the meane time is shewed in this chap­ter, what care God had for his little flocke, which no doubt were hid in those daies, and did not appeare, and yet were scattered in corners, euen in the mid­dest of the darknesse of Poperie, and the most furi­ous & hellish rage of the Turkish armies. And there­fore the principall scope and drift of this chapter, is to shewe how the Gospell should bee preached in many kingdomes, now after this generall darknesse, for the discouering and ouerthrow, both of Poperie and Turcisme, and to shewe what should fall out in the church now in the middle time, before the 7. & last trumpet blow: for then commeth the last iudge­ment, as the Angel sweareth in this chapter, ver. 6.7.

[Page 122]This chapter dooth containe foure principall parts.

vers. 1 The first is a description of Christ and his glory.

vers. 2 The second sheweth how the Gospell should be preached in many nations and kingdomes, by the Ministers of this last age, whereby all aduersarie po­wer should be ouerthrowne.

vers. 6.7. The third is a watch word, giuen to the world by Christ, that when the seuenth Angell should blowe the trumpet, the world should ende.

vers. 9.10.11. The last doth shewe, how all faithfull Preachers being called and authorized by Christ, should tra­uell and take paines in the studie of Gods booke, and afterward should publish the knowledge thereof far and neare.

vers. 1 And I sawe an other mightie Angel come downe from hea­uen, cloathed with a cloude, & the Raine-bowe vpon his head, and his face was as the Sunne, and his feete as pil­lars of Brasse.

This Angel of might is Christ, as appeareth by the description of him, & by all the consequents follow­ing:Math. 24. for he is said to be cloathed with a cloud, which sig­nifieth his great glory and maiestie: For he shall come in the cloudes of heauen to iudge the world: that is, with great pompe and glory. The Raine-bowe was vpon his head, which signifieth the couenant of peace with his church, as before, chap. 4.3. His face was as the Sunne, which signifieth comfort and deliuerance to his church, & the dispelling of all the smoake of the bot­tomelesse pit, as the Sun scattereth and driueth away the thicke mists.

[Page 123] His feete are as pillars of Brasse; which signifieth that he should tread downe all his enemies vnder his feete, both Pope and Turke:1. Cor. 15. for hee must raigne till hee haue destroied them all. The Pope a long time kept all the kings of Europe in awe. The Locusts were of great power. The Turkes preuailed exceedingly. But what are they all to this mightie and glorious An­gell Christ? What is their power to withstand him? What can Abaddō the king of the Locusts do against this mighty king of Sion? What can the Turkes most terrible horses and horsemen do against this Angell which sitteth vpon the white horse? Alas, alas, they are able to do nothing. They must all bee troden downe vnder his feete of brasse.

And hee had in his hand a little booke open, vers. 2 and hee put his right foote vpon the sea, and his left vpon the earth.

This little booke signifieth the Bible.

It is called little, in respect of the great and huge volumes of Popish bookes, though in it selfe it bee large.

It is saide to bee open, that all men might looke into it, because it had bene shut a long time before, euen during all the time of the darkening of the Sun and the Ayre, by the smoake which came out of the bottomlesse pit. But although it was long shut vp in the time of Poperie, and lay buried in a straunge tongue: yet now it is opened, and publikely prea­ched vnto all the seruants of God. And all this [Page 124] no doubt is to be vnderstood of Luthers time, and all the times euer since the Gospell was spread abroade after the great darkenesse. For some hundred yeares agoe it was hard to finde an English Bible: but now God be thanked, there are thousands to be found in the hands of Gods people. And therfore the things here prophesied of, are fulfilled in our daies: for wee liue vnder the opening of the seuenth seale, and the blowing of the sixt trumpet, and the powring forth of the sixt viall, as here doth partly appeare, and shall God willing, be made more manifest whē we come to the 16. chapter. Now wee are diligently to ob­serue, that as the opening of this booke, & the prea­ching of the Gospell by Luther & his successors, hath dispersed the former darkenesse, and beaten downe Poperie: so also hath it driuen backe the Turke, and taken from vs all feare of him, which in former ages, was the terrour of the worlde: for since men haue looked into this booke, repented of their Ido­latrie, and turned vnto God with all their hearts.

The Turke and his power hath not bene feared, especially in these parts where the Gospell is prea­ched. For God in his mercifull prouidence towards his Church, hath diuerted his power an other way, and set him aworke else-where. So that if men can­not be brought to beleeue, that God raised him vp as a scourge for Idolaters, and a plague for Idolatrie and other foule sinnes, according to the wordes in the former chapter; where it is said, They repented not of the workes of their hands, &c. yet when they see, that at the opening of the booke of God, and forsaking Idolatrie, the feare of him is remoued, let them be­leeue [Page 125] it. What can be more plaine, then that this opē booke in the hand of the Angell, hath deliuered vs from the Pope, and from the Turke: A most happie opening of this blessed booke.

Moreouer it is said, that hee put his right foote vpon the sea, and his left on the earth. The setting of Christs right foote vpon the sea, signifieth that he is ruler of the sea, and standeth as firmely vpon the sea, as vpon the land. The setting of his left foote vpon the earth, doth signifie, that he is Lord of the earth, and true heire to all things in it.

And cried with a loude voice, as when a Lyon roareth, vers. 3 and when he had cried, seuen thunders vttered their voices.

This crying with a loude voice, like the roaring of a Lyon, doth signifie the manifestation of the wrath of Christ against all his enemies: for now hee begin­neth to roare against them, as a Lyon whē he is hun­gry, roareth for his pray. Therefore now both the scorpion, Locusts, & the fierce horses and horsemen are like to goe to the pot.

By the 7. thunders which vttered their voices, is meant those perfect and exquisite iudgemēts which now were to be infflicted both vpon the kingdome of the Pope and of the Turke. We haue heard be­fore, that 7. is a perfect number in this booke: & that thunder is put for the thundring of Gods wrath, and all such broiles and plagues as follow therevpō. And this is the reason of this interpretation.

And when the seuen thunders had vttered their voices, vers. 4 I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heauen, say­ing vnto me: Seale vp those things which the seuē thun­ders haue spoken, and write them not.

[Page 126]It should seeme these seuē thunders did so speake, as they might be vnderstood; for Iohn was about to write the things which they spake, thinking that they were vttered for that ende and purpose, that he should deliuer them in writing to the churches. But he receiueth a commandement to the contrarie, for he is willed, not to write them, but to conceale them vntill the appointed time.

But some man may say; Why were they vttered, seeing they must be concealed, and kept close? I an­swere, it was not in vaine: for first, though the parti­culars bee not expressed what the thunders spake: yet here we are taught, that there remaine most fear­full iudgementes against all the oppressors of the Church, which Christ hath thundred out with ter­rour against them. And when the time determined is come, they shall be seene and vnderstood: but in the meane time, they bee sealed vp and kept close; according to that of Iob: Why should not the times bee hid of the Almightie, Iob. 24.1 so as they which know him, should not perceiue the times appointed of him; and that of Da­niel: Dan. 12.9. These things are sealed vp vntill the time determi­ned.

vers. 5 And the Angell which I sawe stand vpon the sea, and vpon the earth, lift vp his hand to heauen,

vers. 6 And sware by him that liueth for euermore, which created heauen, and the things that therein are; and the earth, and the things that therin are; & the sea, & the things that therein are, that time should be no more.

vers. 7 But in the daies of the voice of the seuenth Angel, when he shall begin to blowe the trumpet, euen the ministrie of [Page 127] God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his seruants the Prophets.

The summe of these three verses is, that Christ gi­ueth warning of the last iudgement, that men might awake and looke out in time. And because men for the most part are carelesse and secure,Amos. 6.1▪ putting the euill day farre from them, as the Prophet speaketh. There­fore here Christ bindeth it with a solemne oath, and solemne gestures therevnto annexed, as was the lif­ting vp of the hand in auncient time, Gen. 14.22. The thing that our Lord Iesus deposeth, is, that Time shall be no more; that is, Time as it is now, or the state of things as they be now: but he telleth vs flatly, that as sixe Angels haue alreadie blowne their trumpets, so when the 7. Angell should blowe, the mysterie of God shall be finished: that is, the time of punishing the wicked, and rewarding the godly, should come, which is therefore called a Mysterie, because the world vnder­standeth it not: They thinke there is no such mat­ter.

They imagine there is no reward for the iust, Mal. 3.14.1 [...]. or punish­ment for the wicked, as the Prophet saith. But the holy Ghost saith: Verily there is a reward for the righteous: Doubtlesse there is a God which iudgeth the earth. And here it is said,Psal. 58.11. that God hath declared it to his seruants the Prophets.

And the voice which I heard from heauen, vers. 8 spake vnto mee againe, and said, Goe and take the little booke which is open in the hand of the Angel, which standeth vpon the sea, and vpon the earth.

[Page 128] vers. 9 So I went vnto the Angell, and said vnto him, giue me the little booke· And he said vnto me, take it, and eate it vp, and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall bee in thy mouth as sweete as honey.

vers. 10 Then I tooke the little booke out of the Angels hand, and ate it vp, and it was in my mouth as sweete as honey: but when I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

vers. 11 And hee saide vnto mee, Thou must prophesie againe among the people, and nations, and tongues, and to ma­ny kings.

The briefe sense of these foure verses is, that the Preachers of the Gospell being called, allowed, and authorised by Christ vnto their ministry, should stu­dy the scriptures with great diligence, euē vntil they had eaten vp the booke of God, & then they should preach & publish vnto all nations & kingdomes that truth of God, & doctrine of the Gospell, which now a long time had lien hid in the raigne of Antichrist.

It is to be obserued, that Iohn in this place repre­senteth the person of all the ministers of the Gospell which should be raised vp in these last dayes, for the ouerthrowe of Antichrist, and the restauration of true religion: for Iohn himselfe did not liue to these times.

Further, it is to be noted, that all godly Students and zealous Ministers do eate vp the booke of God by reading, study, praier, & meditation, & they finde it sweete in their mouth, that is, they finde and feele [Page 129] great ioy and comfort in the studie and meditation thereof, especially whē God reuealeth therby great and hid secrets vnto them, & giueth them to vnder­stand the mysteries of the Gospell, & counsels of his will, which are locked vp from the wise and prudent of this world. This I say, is sweeter vnto their mouth then hony, and the hony combe. Concerning this phrase of eating vp the booke, looke Ezech. 2.9. for here the holy Ghost alludeth therevnto.

This booke being so sweete in the mouth, yet be­ing eaten and digested, is bitter in the belly.

There may bee three reasons yeelded of this bit­ternesse.

First, because it being once taken downe into our soule by godly meditatiō, doth mortifie our corrupt nature, & bring vnder our lusts, & therefore seemeth bitter to flesh and bloud.

Secondly, because afflictions & trials do alwaies necessarily followe the sounde digestion of the Gos­pell.

Thirdly, because the doctrine of the Gospel being swallowed by the Ministers therof, must not be kept to themselues, as it were closed vp in their stomacks, but they must out with it againe, as if it were some loathsome & bitter thing, which must needes be cast vp again. And for this cause it is said in the last verse, that they must prophesie againe among the people, and na­tions, and tongues, and many kings. Now blessed be the name of the Lorde our God, who hath giuen vs to liue in this age, wherein we do with our eies behold and see the fulfilling of all these things: let vs there­fore praise God for this great worke which wee see [Page 138] wrought in our daies, and let vs still more and more magnifie this l [...]ttle booke, which will vtterly destroy Popery, and bring downe the proude Antichrist, do all that fight for him what they can.

CHAP. XI.

WE haue heard that the little Booke should be opened, and the Gospell preached and published to many nations and kingdomes, after the great darkenesse of Popery: and that this was done by Luther, Melancton, Caluin, Peter Viret, Peter Martir, Bullinger, Bucer, and all their faithfull suc­cessors vnto this day. Now in this Chapter we are to vnderstand of the effect & good successe of their preaching and publishing the Gospell, which was, that the Church should be restored, reformed, and built vp thereby, which a long time had bene wa­sted and oppressed by the tyrannie of Antichrist: and that many should imbrace the Gospell, forsake their Idolatries, and turne to God with all their hearts: yea whole nations and kingdomes in Europe should be conuerted to the faith, as we see this day God be praised. So then the principall drift of this Chapter is, to shewe those thinges which yet re­maine to be fulfilled vnder the blowing of the sixt trumpet, which is the preaching and preuailing of the Gospell, euen vnto the worldes ende: and al­so the thinges which follow vppon the blowing of the seuenth trumpet, which is the resurrection & last iudgement.

This Chapter containeth sixe principall things, as it were the sixe parts thereof.

[Page 131]First, ver. 1.2. it sheweth how the true Church should be gathered together and built by the preaching of the Gospell, and all the wicked refused and cast out.

Secondly, it describeth the builders; that is, ver. 3.4.5.6. all the faithfull Ministers which had and should resist An­tichrist.

Thirdly, ver. 7.8. it sheweth how Antichrist should per­secute the Preachers and professors of the Gospell vnto death, and murther them by heapes.

Fourthly, it sheweth that Papists, Atheists, and wicked worldlings, ver. 9.10. should reioyce in the death of Gods people, and not vouchsafe them so much as the honor of buriall, but send gifts one to an other for ioy that they were rid out of the earth.

Fiftly, ver. 11.12.13. it sheweth that notwithstanding the rage and fury of the world in persecuting them to death, God would not onely receiue their soules to glorie, but also raise vp others endued with the same spirit, which should preach, professe, & witnesse the same truth constantly & continually, euen vnto the ende of the world.

Lastly it sheweth, vers. 14.15.16.17.18.19. that after the preaching of the Gospell some good time in this last age, the seuenth Angel should blowe the trumpet, and the worlde should end. ‘And there was giuen me a reede like vnto a rodde, vers. 1 and the Angel stood by saying, Arise and measure the temple of God and the aultar, and them that worship therein.’ Here Iesus Christ giueth a reede vnto Iohn like vnto a rodde, and thervpon he is commanded by an An­gell to goe about the measuring of the temple, the aultar, &c.

[Page 132]By this measuring with a reede like a rodde, is signified the restoring and building vp of Gods house, which now was greatly ruinated and runne into decay through the long preuailing of Pope­rie.

Ezech. 40.5. Zach. 1.16. Zac. 2.1.2. Apoc. 21.15.Measuring with a reede, is taken for the buil­ding vp of Gods Church, after the decaied estate thereof, both in Ezechiel, Zachary, and this Pro­phesie.

Iohn in the persons of all faithfull Ministers, hath this measuring rodde giuen him, because the church was to be restored and built vp by the Ministers and Ministrie of the Gospell.

The thing to be measured, is the Temple, the Aul­tar, and them that worship therein.

This is an allusion to the legall worship, whereby our spirituall worship is represented. For by the materiall Temple, is meant the spirituall Temple, or Church of God. By the Aultar of stone, is meant the spirituall worship. By them that worship there­in with carnall sacrifices, is meant all the true mem­bers of the Church, which worship God in spirit and truth.

Now then, both the Church, the true worship and worshippers, were all to be measured, repaired, and built vp by the ministrie of the word, which all were decaied and almost laide waste, by the Popes tyrannie. ‘But the court which is without the temple cast out and measure it not, for it is giuen to the Gentiles; and the [Page 133] holy citie shall they treade vnder foote two and fortie moneths.’ Iohn is heere forbidden to measure and build vp the court which is without the tēple. Wherby is ment all heretikes, hypocrites, worldlings, & all such as haue a place in the Church, but are not of the Church. This phrase of speech is taken from the olde shado­wish worship as the rest before. For in the temple of Ierusalem there was an outward court which was common to all, good & bad: the holy place which was proper to the Priests and Leuites: and the holy of holiest, or most holy place, where none might come but the high Priest onely.

Here is a reason added why the Lord God refu­seth all Papists and hypocrites, and all such as belong to the outward court onely, and it is this: that this outward court is giuen vnto the Gentiles; that is, to all false Christians and counterfaits in Religion, which are members of the visible Church, but haue no­thing to do with the inuisible. These are compared to Gentiles in two respects. First, in regard of pro­phanesse, for they are as prophane as the Heathen. Secondly, in respect of persecuting the truth: for hypocrites and Atheists are as forward in persecu­ting the people of God as the Heathen Emperours, which persecuted the Church by the space of 300. yeares. All comes to this, that when the Church should bee gathered and built by the Preaching of the Gospell, God would haue all Papists, Atheists, and hypocrites shut out.

[Page 134]Moreouer, here is the second reason yeelded, why the outward court should be cast out, and not mea­sured: to wit, because they should tread the holy Cittie vnder foote, forty and two monethes: That is, they should persecute the Church all the time of Anti­christs raigne. For forty two moneths in this verse: and 1260. dayes in the next verse, and three dayes and a halfe verse 9. and time; times, and halfe a time, in the 12. Chapter, verse 14. and 1260 dayes, Chapter 12. verse 6. doe signifie all one thing, which is, the short raigne of Antichrist: for these moneths, these dayes, and these times, doe euery one of them make three yeares, and a halfe. For who knoweth not that 42. monethes make iust three yeares, and an halfe, and that 1260. dayes, maketh euen so much also: and by time he meaneth a yeare, by times, two yeare, and by halfe a time, halfe a yeare. Now the reason, why Antichrists raigne is numbred by dayes, monethes, and halfe times, & all amounting but to three yeares and a halfe, is to note the short continuance there­of,Chap. 12.12. Chap. 17.10. Chap. 20.3. for the comfort of the Church, as appeareth more fully and plainely, in sundry places of this Prophesie, where it is set downe in plaine wordes, that Antichrist should raigne but a short time: for what is fiue or sixe hundred yeares, in comparison of eternitie.

But here the Papists doe shew themselues most sottish and ridiculous, in that they would gather frō hence, that the Pope is not Antichrist: for (say they) Antichrist shall raigne but three yeares and an halfe, but the Pope hath raigned many yeares: therefore the Pope is not Antichrist.

[Page 135]Now to answer the proposition of their argumēt taken from this place. First, it may bee answered that this place is not to be vnderstoode litterally, but mistically: as many other things in this booke.

Secondly, here is a certaine number put for an vn­certaine, a definit number for an indefinit, which al­so is vsuall in this booke, as we heard before, chapter 7 concer­ning the sealing of the Tribes, of euery Tribe 12000. which maketh 144000. Now no man is so mad as to thinke there were iust so many sealed, and neither more, nor lesse.

Thirdly, here is an allusion to Daniels weekes,Dan 9. and other propheticall computatiōs, wherin sometimes a day is put for a yere, a weeke for 7. yeares, as in Da­niels seauens, and a moneth for 30. yeares. So then I conclude, that it is extreame folly to interpret this place litterally. The curious and friuolous interpre­tations of this place, and such like in this booke, by some writers, I do of purpose omit, as matters vn­true, vnsound, & vniudiciall: for I only in this booke seeke the sense that is, and not the sense which is not, as hath beene said before.

But I will giue power vnto my 2. witnesses, vers. 3 and they shall prophesie 1260. dayes cloathed in sackcloth.

Hauing set down how Antichrist & his company, being those Gentiles which possesse ye outward court should tread downe the holy citie, that is, the true churh of God for a short time: now he commeth to shew, that euen in the height and pride of the Popes power, and gouernment, yet the Church was not [Page 136] vtterly extinct, God did neuer vtterly forsake it, but in all ages, and at all times, God did raise vp one or other to withstand all Popish proceedings, which is here meant by the two witnesses. For assuredly these two witnesses do not signifie Enoch, and Elias, as the Papists and some others do dreame: but they signi­fie all the faithfull Preachers and professors of the truth, which in all ages both former and later, haue opposed themselues against the Pope, his Cleargie, his doctrine, his religion, and all his abhominable proceedings.

They are called Witnesses, because they should beare witnesse vnto the truth.

They are said to be two in number, for three reasons.

First, because they were very fewe in those dayes when Popery did so generally preuaile: for two is the smallest number.

Deut. 19.15. Iohn 8.17. Hebr. 10.28.Secondly, because the law of God doth admit of no lesse number in witnesse-bearing, as it is written; In the mouth of two or three witnesses shal euery word stād.

Hagg. 2.5.Thirdly, it is an allusion to Zorobabel, and Iehoshua, which were the two restorers and builders of the temple after the captiuitie.

Christ saith here, that hee will giue power to his two witnesses: for no man hath any power in heauenly things, except it be giuē him from aboue: and espe­cially to stand fast to the truth in the heate of perse­cutions and troubles.

It is said, that these two witnesses shall Prophesie: that is,1. Cor. 14.3. Preach, declare, and speake. For so Prophesie is taken in the former Chapter,2. Thess. 5.20. and last verse: so also in other places of the scripture.

[Page 137]The time of their prophesieng being 1260. daies, hath bene expounded before.

These two witnesses are cloathed in sackcloth, which signifieth that they should lead a sorrowfull life here in this world. For in old time when men did fast and mourne, they did vse to put on sackcloth. It follow­eth then that these faithfull Preachers and witnesses of the truth, did not spend their daies in mirth, iolitie and worldly pompe and brauery, as did the Popes Cleargie, and pompous prelates of Antichrist.

Now if any man wil demaund how this may ap­peare that there haue beene alwaies some raised vp of God, to write, preach, declare, and speake against the whoore of Babylon, euen then when she was aloft and raigned as the Queene and Lady of the world; I answere, that Histories are verie plentifull in this point: which at large do shewe that in all countries and kingdomes of Europe, there were euer some stir­red vp to impugne and resist the whoore of Babylon: As,

In England.
  • Robert Grosted, Bishop of Lincolne. Anno. dom. 1293.
  • Iohn Wickliffe, supported by Edward 3. and diuers of the Nobilitie in England. An. 1400.

In Germany.
  • Taulerus a Preacher. An. 1354.
  • Franciscus Petrarcha. 1356.
  • Iohannes de rupe scissa. 1357.
  • Conradus Hager. 1359.
  • Cerhardus Rhidor. 1359.
  • [Page 138] Petrus de Corbona. 1360.
  • Iohannes de Poliaco.
  • Iohn Zisca. 1420.

In Bohemia.
  • Iohn Husse. An. dom. 1414.
  • Ierome of Prage. 1416.
  • Mathias Parisiensis. 1370.

In Spaine.
  • Arnoldus de noua villa. An. 1250.

In Italy.
  • Ierome Sauonarola, a Monke. An. 1500.
  • Siluester a Friar.

In France.
  • Waldus, of whome came the Waldenses, or poore men of Lions in France. An. 1160.
  • Guilienus de sancto amore. An. 1252.
  • Robertus Gallus. An. 1292.
  • Laurentius. An. 1290.

In Ireland.
  • Armachanus, an Archbishop. An. 1362.

In Sueuia.
  • Many Preachers at once. An. 1240.

In Grecia.
  • [Page 139]All the Churches of Grecia renounced the Church of Rome for their abhominable Idolatry. An. 1230.

It were too tedious to recite all which the sto­ries do report to haue withstood both Pope & Po­pery, euen when it did most of all beare the sway: these may suffice for the vnderstanding of the Text. As for those which haue bene raised vp since the de­cay and fall of Popery: I meane since Luthers time, they are so many, and so well knowne, that I need say nothing.

These are two Oliue trees, vers. 4 and two candlestickes stan­ding before the God of the earth.

Here the two witnesses are compared to two Oliue trees; because that as the Oliue tree doth drop down his Oile and fatnesse:Exod. 30.31. Psal. 45.7. 1. Iohn 2.20. so the faithfull Ministers doe drop downe vpon the Church the sweet oile of the spirit, which is all heauenly and spirituall graces: as the Metaphor of Oile is often so taken in the scrip­tures.

They are also compared to two candlestickes, be­cause that as the candlesticke beareth vp the candle set vpon it, so the Ministers of the Gospell beare vp and hold forth the light of Gods word, euen in the greatest darknesse.

These candlestickes are said to stand before the God of the earth: because God beareth rule, not onely in heauen, but in earth also: euen then when all things in the earth seem to be most troubled, & the church militant vnder greatest persecutions as now it was.

[Page 140]

vers. 5 And if any will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouthes, and shall deuoure their enemies: for if any will hurt them, so must he be killed.

vers. 6 These haue power to shut heauen that it raine not in the daies of their prophesying, and haue power ouer waters to turne them into blood, and to smite the earth with all maner of plagues as oft as they will.

Here is shewed, that if any despise the simplicitie of these two witnesses, and offer them wrong be­cause of their basenesse, and contempt in the world, that there is a fire cōmeth out of their mouth, that is, the firy & mighty power of the word of God, vttred out of their mouthes, which ouerthroweth, & ouer­turneth their enimies: nay as fire it consumeth them to ashes: for the Ministers of the Gospell are armed with ready vengeance against all disobedience. 2. Cor. 10.6. Therfore they be starke madde, and know not what they do, which oppose themselues against the true Ministers of Christ. For the sword which they fight with, slai­eth the reprobates in their soules, though not in their bodies: for the ministery of the word, is the sa­uour of death to all vnbeleeuers.

That which is here spoken of shutting the heauens that it raine not, and turning the waters into blood, is an allusion to Elias and Moses. 1. King. 17. Exod. 4. Whereof the one by his praier shut the heauens, the other by his rodde tur­ned the waters into blood. Now the faithfull Mini­sters of the Gospell are compared to these two, not because they should worke such outward mi­racles as they did, but because they should be furni­shed [Page 141] with spirituall power, which is farre greater. For most sure it is, that the inuisible & spirituall po­wer wherewith the Ministers of the Gospell are ar­med, is very great and glorious, though the world see it not, nor know it not. For the Apostle saith; The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, 2. Cor. 10.6. migh­tie through God to cast downe holdes, casting downe the imaginations, and euery high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, &c.

And when they haue finished their testimony, vers. 7 the beast that commeth out of the bottomelesse pit, shall make warre against them and kill them.

Here is set downe the great crueltie and bloudie tyrannie which Antichrist should vse against these faithfull witnesses of our Lord Iesus. For although they ouercome him with the spiritual sword, which is the fire that commeth out of their mouthes: yet for a time power was giuen to this beast that com­meth out of the bottomlesse pit, that is, the Pope and his adherents to murder Gods Saints with the ma­teriall sword: but yet note that Antichrist can doe nothing till the two witnesses haue finished their te­stimony; such is Gods care and prouidence for all his faithfull seruants.

And their corps shall lye in the streetes of the great citie, vers. 8 which spiritually is called Sodome, and Egypt, where our Lord also was crucified.

By the great citie, here is meant Rome, & yet not the citie only of Rome, but all the Romane Empire, [Page 142] power and iurisdiction, as afterwarde shall be made manifest. Now the corpses & dead carkasses, which were murdered and massacred in all nations, by An­tichrists tyrannie, are here said to lie in the streetes of Rome, that is, to be cast forth into the open fieldes, as not worthy the honour of buriall in all places, coun­tries, & kingdomes, within the Romaine Empire, or iurisdiction of Rome, as we read to haue bene in Eng­land, Scotland, France, Ireland, Germany, and Spaine. And as the holy Ghost saith,Psal. 79.2. The dead bodies of thy ser­uants haue they giuen to be meate to the foules of the heauē, and the flesh of thy Saints vnto the beastes of the earth.

Moreouer, it is to be obserued, that Rome is here compared spiritually, or by a trope, to Sodome and E­gypt. To Sodome for filthines; for what citie euer was, or is more filthy then Rome, chapter 17.5. the mother of whoredomes and abhominations of the earth? And to Egypt, for Ido­latrie, & keeping Gods people in spirituall bondage.

Last of all, it is here saide, that our Lord Iesus was crucified at Rome, which may seeme straunge, sith all men knowe, that Christ was crucified at Ierusalem. But to answere this doubt, wee are to vnderstand, that in respect of the place, our Lord Iesus was cruci­fied at Ierusalem: but if we respect the power and au­thoritie that put him to death, hee was crucified at Rome: for Christ was put to death by a Romane Iudge, by Romane lawes, by Romane authoritie, by a kinde of death proper onely to the Romanes; and in a place which then was within the Romane Em­pire. And for this cause it is here said, that Christ was crucified at Rome.

[Page 143]And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, & Gen­tiles, shall see their corpes three dayes and an halfe, vers. 9 & shal not suffer their corpses to be put in the graue.

Hitherto we haue heard of the rage of Antichrist against the two witnesses. Now further we are to vn­derstand of the malice and furie of all his adherents; that is, all Papists, Atheists, and the rest of the blinde people, and seduced multitude, which all did allow the Popes crueltie in sheading the bloud of the Mar­tyrs; and they do testifie the allowance & approbati­on of the Popes fact, and also their owne malice and madnesse against them in this, that they will not vouchsafe them the honour of buriall, but cast out their dead bodies as carrion, or as the dead bodies of dogges or swine; thereby shewing that they estee­med them no better then so. Nay, we read, that their hellish rage and madnesse was so great & outragious, that they wracked their malice vpon the dead bones and carkasses of Gods Saints and Martyrs. For their bloudie & most malicious minds could not be satis­fied except they digged vp the bodies of Gods wit­nesses out of their graues, & then burnt thē to ashes. Wheras it is said, they shal see their corpes, the meaning is, that all the blind people within the Romane Em­pire should be eyewitnesses of these things; and not only so, but euen great Agents also in the slaughter of Gods people.

By 3. daies & an halfe, which is halfe a week, he mea­neth all the time of Antichrists raigne, & tyrannicall gouernment, as before hath bene shewed. For these 3. daies & a halfe, being in propheticall cōputation three yeares and a halfe, signifie the same thing that [Page 144] the 42. monethes, and a thousand, two hundred and three score daies before.

vers. 10 And they that dwell vpon the earth, shal reioyce ouer them and be glad, and shall send giftes one to an other: for these two Prophets vexed them that dwelt on the earth.

Here we see how the inhabitants of the earth, that is, the seduced multitude and blinde people in the time of ignorance, do greatly insult & triumph ouer the death of the Lords witnesses, & they do expresse their ioy by sending gifts & presents one to another, as if they had receiued some great benefites, or had heard the most ioyfull newes in the world. And the reason is added, because they vexed and tormented them; meaning thereby, that the preaching of the truth, & the reprouing of their errors, Idolatries, and manifolde impieties, was a dagger, & a corsey vnto them, they could at no hand endure it: for the prea­ching of the Gospel is the torment of the world, and the Preachers the tormēters. These fewe Preachers thundring against their superstitions, and abhomi­nable seruice of Antichrist, did vexe euery veine in their heart, and inwardly so wound and launce their consciences, that they could haue no rest til they had rid them out of the world. But now hauing dispat­ched them, and made riddance of them, they are ve­ry cranke and iocund.

But after three daies and a halfe, the spirit of life comming frō God, vers. 11 shall enter into them, and they shall stand vp­on their feete, and great feare shall come vpon them which sawe them.

[Page 145]Notwithstanding the rage and sauage fury of the Pope & his followers; yet heere is shewed, that they could not preuaile as they desired: for within three daies & a halfe, that is, when the date of Antichrists raigne was expired, and the time come that Popery must be disclosed by the light of the Gospell brea­king forth; there followeth a great alteration. For these two Prophets or witnesses are raised vp again. For he saith, the spirit of life which came from God, shall enter into them, and they shall stand vpon their feete.

This may seeme somewhat straunge; but it is not to be vnderstood that they should be raised vp bodi­ly in their persons till the last resurrection: but that God woulde raise vp others endued with the same spirite, which should mightily defend both the doc­trine, cause and quarrell, which their predecessors had maintained, and sealed with their blood; in whom they should after a sort reuiue & liue againe, euen as Elias did reuiue, and as it were liue againe in Iohn Baptist; who is saide to be endued with the po­wer and spirit of Elias, as it was foretold by the Pro­phet, and as our Sauior himselfe doth auouch.Luk. 1.17. Mal 4. 5. Math. 17.12. Now blessed be God, that we liue in these daies wherein we see with our eyes all these things fulfilled. For when the Pope & his Cleargy had murthered Ger­hardus, Dulcimus Nauarensis, Waldus, Nicolaus Orem, Iohn Picus, Iohn Zisca, Visilus Groningensis, Armerius, Wickliffe, Husse, Ierome of Prage, and many Preachers in Sueuia, and one hundred holy Christians in the countrey of Alsatia, and many others in all coun­tries, and of all conditions of men: yet for all that [Page 146] spight of their hearts, God raised vp others in their stead, as Luther, Caluin, Zuinglius, Peter Martir, Peter Viret, Melancton, Bucer, Bullinger, and their successors; yea the thousands of excellent Ministers, and Prea­chers which are dispersed ouer all Europe at this day: In whom all the former witnesses do reuiue, and as it were stand vppon their feete againe. And now a great feare is come vpon the Pope and his Cleargy, and all his fauorites: for they did neuer so much as dreame of such an alteration: but this is the Lordes doing, and it is maruellous in our eyes.

vers. 12 And they shall heare a great voice from heauen saying vn­to them, come vp hither: and they shall ascend vp to heauen in a cloude, and their enemies shall see them.

Here the Lordes witnesses whom Antichrist had murdered, are called, and taken vp into heauen, that they may be crowned with glory and immortalitie, hauing in the earth fought so excellēt a fight of faith as they had: for euen as Christ their head was taken vp in a cloud into the heauens: Euen so his faithfull members are here taken vp in a cloud to raigne with him for euer. Moreouer, it is here said, that their ene­mies shall see them ascending vp, they shall as it were as­cend vp in their sight: for from the fire and faggot, swords and speares of their enemies, they went di­rectly vnto God, and the very consciences of their persecutors did witnesse so much; nay some of them being in horrible convulsions of cōscience, did not sticke to vtter it; auouching the innocency of Gods [Page 147] Martirs: as sometimes Pilat, Math. 2 [...]. and the Centurion did of Christ. But though they had not bene iustified by their enemies, yet are they here iustified by a greater testimony: for the voice from heauen, the voice of God doth iustifie them, & cleare them; accounting them worthy to be called vp from the earth to hea­uen, and receiued to eternall glory. For howsoeuer the Pope & his Cleargy condemned them for here­tikes and scismatikes; yet here they are iustified and cleared by a voice from heauen, which is more then the voices, suffrages, and approbations of all men in the world.

And the same houre there shalbe a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the citie shall fall, and in the earth­quake shalbe slaine in number seuen thousand, and the remnant were sore feared, and gaue glory to the God of heauen.

As hee hath shewed before that the world was very ioyful & iocond, when they had made dispatch of Gods witnesses; but afterward full of feare & ter­ror, when they sawe what followed: So here in this verse is shewed, that at the same houre, that is about the same time whē they haue persecuted the Saints, and see thousands of others raised vp in their stead, and as it were out of their ashes, or rather out of their blood, that there should immediately follow a great earthquake; that is, horrible commotions, seditions, tumults and open warres among the kingdomes and nations of the worlde, and amongst all peo­ple which should liue after the breaking forth of the light of the Gospell, as this day we see with our eyes. For who now in these dayes dooth not see [Page 148] and feele this Earthquake? who knoweth not what stirres there haue bene and are euery where about Religion? Who is ignorant that all the warres, sedi­tions, treacheries, treasons, and rebellions that are this day in Europe betwixt one kingdome and an o­ther, are specially concerning the matter of religi­gion? But marke what followeth. Beholde the effect of this Earthquake. It is saide, that the tenth part of the citie shall fall. By the citie here, he mea­neth the great citie Rome, mentioned before vers. 8. which is therefore called the great citie, because it was the chiefe citie of the Romane Empire, and the verie seate of Antichrist. Now then the sense and meaning of the holy Ghost is, that when there once beginneth to be an earthquake, that is, broiles, contentions, alterations, questions & disputations, about religion: and that the popish doctrine which had so long preuailed in the world, should be called in question, yea openly preached against, conuicted and cōdemned, that then Rome should begin to fall, and Romish religion to suffer a great eclipse, yea the tenth part; that is, some part of the citie of Rome: I meane the doctrine and authoritie of Rome should be ouerthrowne. Now this falling of the tenth part of Rome, was fulfilled within some fewe yeares after the broaching of the Gospell by Luther, and his im­mediate successors; but since it is gone backe many degrees, and hereafter it shall still ebbe & consume away by degrees, euen till it come to nothing: as God willing shalbe plainly proued hereafter.

Moreouer, here is set downe another effect of this earthquake: which is, that thereby shall be slaine in [Page 149] number seuen thousand, that is, many thousands; for the number of seuen is a perfect and vniuersall num­ber, as formerly hath bene declared. But the sense of this clause is, that all such as wil not yeeld to the Gos­pell after matters once come in question, and the light therof breaketh forth, but continue still in their blindnesse and hardnesse, standing out sturdily a­gainst the truth, shall feele the heauie iudgements of God vpon them, and come to miserable and wret­ched endes, as did here in England Stephen Gardiner, bloudie Bonner, and many other such open persecu­tors in other nations and countries, as the booke of Martyrs doth plentifully witnesse.

Last of all it is said, that the rest were terrified, & gaue glorie to the God of heauen: that is, the elect of God see­ing these horrible iudgements vpon the persecutors of the Gospel, and hauing their eies opened through these contentions and broiles about religion, should repent of their former Idolatries, blindnesse, and ig­norance, should yeeld to the truth, and giue glorie to the God of heauen, as at this day we see thousands doo, God be thanked. chapter 9 Wee heard before in the time of the Turkes murthering army, when the third part of men were slain, that the rest repented not of their Idolatrie. But now (God be praised for it) many doo repent euery day, and turne from dumbe Idols, to serue the liuing God. And therefore although the times wherein we liue, bee sinfull and troublesome, yet are they golden times and daies, in comparison of former ages, wherein Antichrist did raigne and rule ouer all. Moreouer, from this place may plainly and strongly be concluded, that the Gospel shal pre­uaile [Page 144] more and more in all the kingdomes of Europe, euen vntill the ende of the world. For here we see it foretolde and prophesied, that in this very last age of the world, & euen as it were, a litle before the blow­ing of the seuenth trumpet, which presently herevp­on is sounded, as in the next verses appeareth, many should repent, and giue glory to God.

vers. 14 The second woe is past, behold the third woe wil come anon.

vers. 15 And the seuenth Angell blew the trumpet, and there were great voices in heauen, saying: The kingdomes of this world are our Lords, and his Christs, and he shall raigne for euermore.

Now commeth the third, the last, and the grea­test woe, which is the woe of eternall death vpon all the vngodly, both in their soules and bodies for euer in the last iudgement. The first woe was the Papa­cie. The second woe was Turcisme. And this third woe is the last iudgement. For it now followeth, that the seuenth Angell bloweth the last trumpet: as our Lord Iesus sware before, that when the seuenth An­gell should blowe the trumpet, chapter 10.6. there should bee no more time. Therefore when we see all things fulfil­led which do belong vnto the sixt trumpet, it remai­neth that wee should euery houre expect and looke for the blowing of the seuenth trumpet, and the end of the world. For the holy Ghost telleth vs, that whē the kingdome of the Pope and the Turke shall fall, and the Gospell bee preached in many nations and kingdomes, that then the third woe will come anon; that is, the last iudgement followeth presently vp­on it.

[Page 151]Now at the blowing of this seuenth trumpet, there were great voices in heauen, saying; the kingdomes of this world are our Lords, and his Christs, and he shall raigne for euermore.

These voices in heauen are the triumphing voices of Gods elect, who do exceedingly reioyce and tri­umph, that the kingdome of Sathan and Antchrist is ouerthrowne, and that the kingdome of God and of Christ is set vp, and shall stand for euermore. For now all aduersary power being ouerthrowne, Christ doth deliuer vp a peaceable kingdome to his father, as it is writtē; Then shalbe the ende, when he hath deliue­red vp his peaceable kingdome to God the Father: 1· Cor. 15.24. For he must raigne ouer the Church militant, till hee haue troade downe all his enemies vnder his feete, and when the Sonne of God hath subdued all things to himselfe, then shall he be subiect to his Father, as he is the mediator of the Church, and yet raigne with his Church triumphant for euermore.

Then the 24. vers. 16 Elders which satte before God on their seates, fell vppon their faces, and worshipped God,

Saying: Wee giue thee thankes ô Lorde God almightie, vers. 17 which art, which wast, and which art to come: for thou hast receiued thy great might, and hast obtai­ned thy kingdome.

These 24. Elders doo signifie all the elect, chapter 4 both of Iewes and Gentiles, as we haue heard before; which all in most suppliant manner, doo worshippe the onely euerlasting God, euen in the Church trium­phant, and do greatly reioyce, and giue all praise [Page 152] and glorie vnto him, because now he had receiued the kingdome, the power and the glory, both Pope, and Turke, and Emperor, and all his enemies, being subdued vnder his feete.

ver. 18 And the Gentiles were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be iudged, and that thou shouldest giue reward vnto thy seruants the Pro­phets, and to the Saints, & to them that feare thy name, and to small and great, and shouldest destroy thē which destroy the earth.

Now he mentioneth the wrath and vengeance which is to bee powred forth vpon all the wicked at the last day, and also the reward of the godly. For whereas he saith, The Gentiles were angry, & thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be iud­ged, the sense and meaning is, that all the prophane enemies of the Church, which haue had their time in which they were angrie with Gods people, and in their wrath did afflict and vexe them very sore, should now bee iudged and condemned in Gods wrath: for now the day of his wrath and vengeance is come, wherein he wil destroy them that destroied the earth, and seemed to carrie all before them; and where also hee will giue a full recompence of re­warde to all his faithfull worshippers, both small and great, both Preachers and professors of his Gos­pell.

[Page 149] Then the temple of God was opened in heauen, & there was seene in the Temple the arke of his couenant, and there were lightnings, and voices, and thundrings, ver. 19 and earthquakes, and much haile.

This is a further amplification of that which is set downe in the former verse. For now he saith, that the temple of God should be opened in heauen: That is, an opē doore and passage should be made through Christ, for al the elect to enter into Gods euerlasting king­dome, and raigne with him, and his Angels for e­uermore.

By the arke of the couenant, is meant Christ, who is saide heere to be seene in the Temple or kingdome of glory, because through his mediation only (in whom the couenant of peace is established with his church) the 24 Elders are made partakers of their Crownes, and enter in with him, and his Angels into the euer­lasting Temple made without handes, and eternall in the heauens. But on the contrary heere is said, that there were lightnings, thundrings, &c. That is, most horrible vegeance and wrath poured downe vpon al reprobates in hel-fire for euermore. For when it shal be said to al the faithful: Come ye blessed, &c. then also shal it be said to al vnbeleeuers: Goe ye cursed into hell fire, &c.

Now for warrant of this expositiō of the last verse, that the Temple in heauen is to be vnderstood of the kingdome of glory, looke Chap. 15. ver. 5.6.8. Chap.Apoc. 15.5.6.8 Apoc. 16.1. 16. ver. 1. The reason hereof is, that as the doores of the Temple of Ierusalem being set open, Gods peo­ple entred in and worshipped: so the euerlasting gates of the new Ierusalem, and celestial Temple being set [Page 150] open by Christ al the elect do enter in, and worship God without wearinesse, euen as the Angels for e­uermore.

2. Sam. 6.2 Psalm. 78.61That the arke of the couenant is taken for Christ, see 2. Sam. 6.2. Psal. 78. ver. 61.62. This arke of the co­uenant, that is, Christ, is here seene in the Temple, be­cause Christ hath already taken possession of heauē as mediator and head of the Church, and now doth set open the kingdome of heauen to al beleeuers, that through him they may haue free accesse thereunto, as it is written,Eph. 2.18 that thorough him only we haue an entrance vnto the Father.

That by thundrings, lightnings, earthquake, haile, is ment that horrible vengeance and wrath, which is powred forth vpon al the vngodly,Psalm. 11 vers. 6. see Psal. 11. verse 6. Let this briefely suffice to satisfie the conscience of the reader. And thus much concerning the second vision contained in these eight chapters going before, wherein we haue heard al things expounded that doe belong vnto the opening of the seuen seales, and the blowing of the seauen trumpets, that is, al notable things which were to fal out frō the Apostles times, vnto the end of the world.

CHAP. XII.

NOw hauing finished the second vision, we are come vnto the third, contained in al the chap­ters following, euen vnto the end of this book. Wher­in diuers things, which were obscurely and darkely set downe in the former vision, are more plainly and fully opened and expounded: So that this third vision is as [Page 151] it were a commentary or more cleare exposition of sundry things contained in the second vision. chapter 6 But e­specially of the persecuting Roman Empire menti­oned in the opening of the second seale, and also of the papacy mentioned at the blowing of the fift trumpet. But the general summe of this third vision, chapter 9 is a liuely painting out of the malignant Church, and the great vpholders thereof, the diuel, the Romane Emperour, and the Pope. It sheweth also the rising and falling of the Romane Empire, and the rising and falling of the papacy. It sheweth also the vtter ouer­throw of both, together with the eternal condemna­tion of the diuel, which set them al a worke to fight a­gainst the Church. Last of al, it sheweth the eternall felicity of the Church, and the vnconceiueable hap­pines of al Gods chosen in the heauens for euermore.

The principal drift of this 12 Chapter, is to set forth the nature of the true visible, and militant Church here in earth, whose head is Christ Iesus. And also the false malignant church, whose head is the diuel, toge­ther with the continual enmitie and war, which is al­waies betwixt them.

This Chapter may very fitly be diuided into fiue parts.

The first is a description of the true Church. vers. 1.2

The second is a description of the diuel the Chur­ches enemie. ver. 3.4.5

The third containeth the Churches battaile with the diuel, and her victorie. ver. 7.8.9

The fourth sheweth the ioy and triumphes of the godly, in the churches victory ouer Sathan. ver. 10.11.12

The fift and last sheweth the fury, ver. 13.14.15 16.17. and malice of [Page 152] Sathan, who, although he was foiled in battell by the Church, yet would not giue ouer, but continued per­secuting the church in her members, and making war against the remnant of her seede.

Text.

ver. 1 And there appeared a great wonder in heauē: A woman clothed with the sunne, and the moone was vnder her feete, and vpon her head a crowne of 12 starres.

First the Holy-ghost calleth the matters of this chapter a great wonder, to stir vs vp to attention. For men are much mooued with wonders; and a wonder indeede it is in the literall sense to see a woman clo­thed with the sunne, &c. but a farre greater wonder in the spiritual sense, as we shal heare; and the greatest wonder of al, that a poore weake woman should en­counter with a great red dragon, and ouercome him.

It is said to be a wonder in heauen, because the church here in vision appeareth not vpon the earth, but in heauen, in asmuch as her birth is from heauen, her in­heritance in heauen, and her conuersation in heauen.

The Church is here compared to a woman, as in the 45 Psalme, and the whole booke of the Canticles, and that for three reasons.

First, as a woman is weake and feeble, and in lawe can do nothing of herself without her husband: so we of our selues are weake and feeble, and in matters of Gods lawe and worship can doe nothing without our husband Christ, as he saith: without me ye can do no­thing. Iohn. 15

Secondly, as a woman thorough the company of [Page 153] her husband is fruitful, and bringeth forth children: so the Church by her coniunction with Christ, and his word, doth bring forth many children vnto God.

Thirdly, as the loue and affection of a woman is to her husband, as Gen. 2.16. so the loue and affection of the Church is altogether to Christ, and Christ to her.

This woman is clothed with the Sunne: that is,Mal. 4.2. the Church is clothed with Christ the Sunne of righte­ousnes, as the Prophet speaketh.

The Moone was vnder her feete. Whereby is meant, that the church treadeth vnder her feete al worldly things, which are compared to the moone for their often changes, waxings, wanings, increasings decre­sings, and continual mutations, and vncertainties.

The church treadeth al transitory things vnder her feet: that is, she maketh light account of them; she re­gardeth them not in comparison of heauenly things. For he that is clothed with the sunne, careth little for the light of the moone.

She hath vpon her head a crowne of 12 starres: which signifieth that the church is adorned, and beautified with the doctrine of the twelue Apostles, that is, the doctrine of the Gospel, as it were with a crowne of gold, of pearle, and pretious stones. For the doctrine of the Gospel is the crowne of the church.

And she was with child, and cried trauailing in birth, ver. 2 and was pained readie to be deliuered.

The church is said to be with child after she hath conceiued the immortal seede of the word, by the mi­nistery of the Gospel, as the Apostle saith. In Christ Iesus I haue begotten you through the Gospell. 1. Cor. 4.15. And to [Page 154] the Galatians: O ye little children of whom I trauaile in birth againe, till Christ bee formed in you.

Galat. 4.19It is not onely said that this woman was with child, but also, that she was very neere her time ready to bring forth, and to be deliuered, and that she crieth in trauaile. Now the child which she bringeth forth, is Christ Iesus, as appeareth verse 5. for there it is said of him, that he should rule all nations with a rodde of iron.

Now although Christ was borne but of one mem­ber of the church, which is the Virgin Marie: yet may it be said that the whole church, which was be­fore his cōming, did euen trauaile with paine to bring him forth, because they had through faith in the pro­mises a longing, & feruent desire & expectatiō of his comming. For from the first promise made to Adam, and afterward renewed to Abraham and his posterity; the church stood in a continual expectation of the promised Messias, looking wishely euery day when he should be actually exhibited to the world. For which cause here she is said to cry trauailing in birth. And not vnsauerly also may ye church be said to cry trauailing in birth, when through many persecutions, & afflicti­ons she bringeth forth children vnto God by the mi­nistery of the word. For the church bringeth forth no children at ease, but with hard trauaile, and much adoe, hauing so few friends to helpe her, and so many enemies against her, as anon we shal heare.

And there appeared another wonder in heauen. For behold a great red dragon, ver. 3 hauing seuen heads, and ten hornes, and seuen crownes vpon his heades.

ver. 4 And his taile drew the third part of the starres of heauen, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood [Page 155] before the woman, which was ready to be deliuered.

Now we are come to the description of the Chur­ches great & capitall enemie, which is the diuel: who because he studieth and laboureth continually to im­peach the good estate of the Church in heauenly things, to deiect her from her dignitie, and dispossesse her of her inheritance, therefore here in vision hee is said to appeare in heauen. For he medleth with the Church, in and about heauenlie things, practising to pull her out of heauen, from whence she came, and whither she must returne, euen to cast her into hell, and condemnation with himselfe, if it were possible.

The diuell is compared to a dragon for his furie & felnesse; to a great dragon for his power & might; and a red dragon, for his bloudy crueltie, malice, and madnesse against Christ, and all his mmbers.

His seuen heads signifie his manifold sleights, and subtilties, wherein he is a crafts-maister.

His ten hornes signifie his dreadful power. For who knoweth not that he is stronger then anie other crea­ture, hauing not lost his strength by his fall, but remai­neth as strong as an Angell of light.

His seuen crownes vpon his heads, do signifie his ma­nifold victories ouer the world. For hee hath from time to time, and from age to age, got so many con­quests of the world, through his sleights and power, that now he is the god of the world, as the Apostle saith, and raigneth as king ouer them.

This dragon hath a mōstrous taile both for length and strength. For it is so long, that it reacheth vp to heauen, & so strong that it brusheth downe the starres from thence. That is, the diuel through ambition and [Page 156] couetousnesse, and other fleshly lusts, doth pul down manie Ministers, which shined in doctrine and life, as the starres of heauen, euen vnto the earth, where they haue lost their brightnesse and glorie, and shine as much as the Moone in a mist.

vers. 4 Moreouer it is said, that the dragon stood before the woman in trauaile, to deuoure her child as soone as it was borne. Wherein we are to obserue the malice and fu­rie of Sathan, in that he watcheth so narrowly to de­uoure the blessed seed, euen the Sauiour of the world, so soone as he was borne. And for this cause he stirred vp Herod the king,Matth. 2. subtilly to seeke him out by the wise men, that he might kill him: and afterward most cru­elly practised the same, by murthering so manie in­nocents. But this is alwayes a generall truth, that Sa­than seeketh to smother not onely Christ, but euerie member of his in the cradle; yea to blast them in the bud, before euer they come to fruit or flower.

vers. 5 So she brought forth a man child, which should rule all nations with a rod of iron, and that her child was taken vp vnto God, and his throne.

Notwithstanding the malice and watchfulnesse of Sathan, yet the Church bringeth forth Christ, which should rule and ouer-rule all nations with a rod of iron: that is, the scepter of his word, as it is in the se­cond Psalme,Isa 11.4. and with the rodde of his mouth, as the Prophet speaketh.

Moreouer it is said, that this child was taken vp vn­to God and his throne. That is, Christ by his resurrecti­on did take possession of his chaire of estate, in de­spite of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Priests, the Phari­sees, and all other his enemies, which sought to keepe [Page 157] him down: and now he being ascended into heauen, doth drawe all his members vnto him, in despite of the diuel and all his imps.

And the woman fled into the wildernesse, vers. 6 where shee hath a place prepared of God, that they should feede her there a thousand two hundred and threescore dayes.

Now after the womans child was set in safetie, here is shewed what became of the woman her selfe: To wit, that she was so sore pursued by the Scribes and Pharisees, and by the Priests and Elders, that she was faine to flie into the wildernesse. The naturall sense & plaine meaning of this place is, that when the church began to grow, after Christs ascensiō, & the number of the Disciples to increase exceedingly, as we reade in the 2. of the Acts; Sathan did so greatly maligne it, and began to bee in such a rage, that he would haue eaten them vp all at a bit, and rooted them out at once, that so the woman might haue no more being in the earth. And therefore we reade, Act. 8. that after the stoning of Steuen, there was such a persecuti­on raised vp against the Church by the high Priests, the Princes of the Iewes, the Pharisees, and all that cursed crue, that all the Apostles and Disciples of Christ were scattered, and dispersed here and there in the Heathen countries, and among the heathen peo­ple, which here are called the wildernesse, that is to say, a ground vntilled, desolate, and barren of all fruits of godlinesse.

But now may some man say, how shal the Church doe in the wildernesse? how shal she liue? how shall she be sustained? There is no tilling, no sowing, no planting, there groweth no corne, there is nothing to [Page 158] be had either for food or raiment. Here it is answered, that God prepared a place for her, where she should be fed. God tooke vp an Inne for her. She wanted nei­ther food nor raiment in her persecutions & troubles. Which teacheth that God doth alwayes prouide for his owne, euen in greatest miseries, scarsities, famines, banishments, and persecutions. As sometimes he did for Elias in the time of dearth,1. King. 17. Numb. 11. Numb. 14. and for the children of Israel in the wildernesse.

The time, wherein the Church was fed in the wil­dernesse, was a thousand two hundred and threescore dayes: that is, during the time of her persecutions, as before hath been shewed, chapter 11.2. chap. 11. vers. 2.

vers. 7 And there was a battell in heauen, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought.

vers. 8 But they preuailed not, neither was their place found any more in heauen.

Now we are come to the third part of this chapter, which is the battell betwixt Christ and the diuel. For whereas the dragon could not smother Christ in the cradle, as he indeuoured, & so depriue the Church of all her happinesse for euer: now he proclaimeth o­pen warre, both against Christ, and all his members, plotting and purposing to oppugne the very saluati­on of the church, though it bee founded in Christ. Wherein he sheweth both his impudencie and furi­ous madnesse.

Dan. 10.13. Iud. 9. Michael here signifieth Christ, as Dan. 10.13. Iude v. 9. This name is giuen to Christ in Daniel, because he is the first of the chiefe Princes: that is, he is the head of the Angels,Col. 1.16. who are chiefe Princes, as the Apo­stle [Page 159] affirmeth.

That Christ hath his Angels ioyned with him, is not to note any weakenesse or want of strength in Christ, alone to ouercome his enemies, but to shew, that as Christ doth effect great wonders in the world; so for the most part hee doth it by instruments, and meanes: as sometimes Angels, sometimes men. But here he specially meaneth the Apostles and their suc­cessours, yea and at this day all christian kings, princes and potentates of the earth; and all others, which take part with Christ against the diuel, & his instruments.

Well, here wee see that these two Generals, and grand captaines Michael and the Dragon, do mu­ster both their armies, ioyne battel, and fight a pitched field, the euent and successe whereof is this, that the Dragon and his Angels goe downe. Oh blessed suc­cesse, may we say! For if the diuel had preuailed, it had beene woe to vs; sith this battel was about, and concerning the verie saluation of mankind by christs death and resurrection. We know how the diuel set vpon Christ alone to tempt him vnto sinne, that so he might ouerthrowe the worke of our redemption, sup­posing in this combate or Monomachie to haue got the day: but he preuailed not. Afterward how strong­ly did he oppugne him by his Angels? I meane the Scribes and Pharise [...] ▪ the high Priests and Elders of the people, yea all the diuels in hel, and his whole in­fernal armie, not onely in murthering and crucify­ing his natural bodie, but also in vsing all forcible and cunning meanes to keepe him downe, that he might neuer rise vp againe; as the great stone vpon his tombe, the sealing of it, the watch set to keepe it. [Page 160] for the diuel knew right wel, that if Christ rose again, hee should lose the field. For the resurrection of Christ is our actuall iustification,Rom. 4.25. Rom. 1.3. And Christ was mightily declared to be the Sonne of God by his resurre­ction from the dead. Wel, do the dragon and his An­gels what they can, yet Christ is risen againe, and hath spoiled principalities and powers; yea al the infernall armie, and hath made a shew of them openly, and hath led them all in triumph vpon his crosse: So that we see in this first and greatest battell, the diuell hath the foile. And it is further said, that the diuell and all his Angels were cast out of heauen, and their place was no more found: which is not to be vnderstood of their first casting out of heauen, immediately after their creatiō. For at that time they were no diuels, nor ene­mies to the church, but Angels of light: but nowe since their fall, and since they were diuels; they are said to be cast out of heauen, not because they euer came in heauen since they were diuels, but because they can no longer impeach the church touching her blessed estate in heauen. They are without all hope to dispossesse her of her inheritance: for that is ratified, and made sure vnto her in the death and resurrection of Christ. And for this cause it is said, that the diuell hath no more to do in heauen: that is, he cannot for his heart ouerthrow the saluation of Gods children. For who can lay any thing to the charge of Gods chosen? It is God that iustifieth, Rom. 8.33. who shall condemne? It is Christ which is dead, yea or rather which is risen againe, &c. True it is indeed that this battell is said to be in hea­uen, that is, about heauenly things, yea about the highest points of heauen, which is saluation or dam­nation: [Page 161] for the diuel vpon this very point, & these very termes, hath frō the beginning mightily wrestled and strugled with ye church, & doth euen vntil this day: but blessed be God, that he cannot, nor shall not preuaile against any one of gods elect. For our lord Iesus saith, I giue vnto thē eternal life, & they shal neuer perish, Ioh. 10.28. nei­ther shal any take them out of my hand: my father which gaue thē me is greater then all. Neither shal any pluck thē out of my hand. And againe.Ioh. 6.37. Ioh. 6.40. All that the Father giueth me, shal come vnto me. And this is the fathers will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath giuen me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it vp againe at the last day.

Now further we are to obserue, that as Christ in his owne person hath once preuailed in the maine bat­tell against the diuell: so his church militant shal like­wise alwayes preuaile through him. For it is written,Matt. 16. The gates of hell shall not preuaile against it.

And the great Dragon, that old serpent, called the di­uel and Satan, was cast out, which deceiueth al the world: vers. 9 He was euen cast into the earth, & his Angels were cast out with him.

Now because the diuel cannot ouerthrow the sal­uation of Gods elect, hee is said to be cast out of hea­uen into the earth: that is, amongst earthlie and carnall men, that he may exercise his tyranny, and wrecke his malice vpon them. For he hath power giuen him to tyrannise ouer them at his pleasure,Ephes. 2.2. 2. Tim. 2.21. and the Apo­stle saith, he worketh in the children of disobedience, and taketh them captiue to do his will.

Then I heard a loud voice in heauen, saying: vers. 10 now is sal­uation, & strength, and the kingdom of our God, & the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast [Page 162] downe, which accused them before God day and night.

Here is the triumphant song of victorie, which al the Saints & Angels do sing vnto God, praysing and magnifying his power, and the power of his Sonne Christ, for ouercomming the dragon, and giuing the victory to the church through Christ. For now with great ioy and loude voices they sing and say, that the churches saluation is sealed, and made sure vnto her for euer. It can neuer be shaken. The diuel is foiled and cast down into the earth.

These songs of ioie after great victories, are of great antiquity in the church: as we read of the children of Israel,Exod. 15 Iudg. 5. 1. Sam. 18 after the ouerthrow of Pharaoh and his army in the red sea: of Deborah, after the great victory ouer Si­sara: of the women, that sung after the victory of Go­liah by Dauid.

The deuil is called the accuser of the brethren for two causes. First because he accuseth Gods elect of much sinne, and calleth for iustice against them day and night at Gods hands, that they might be condem­ned vpon such articles, as he is able to proue against them: for he knowing right well that the iudge of al the world is a iust God, and must needs deale vpright­ly, doth daily vrge him to doe iustice vnto sinners, be­ing willingly ignorant that al Gods People, though sinners, are cleared and discharged in Christ.

Another reason is, because of the calumniations, reproches and slaunders, which in al ages, at al times, and in al places and countries, hee hath alwaies vn­iustly raised vp against the true worshippers of God.

ver. 11 But they ouer came him by the bloud of the Lamb, and by the worde of their testimony; and they loued not their [Page 163] liues vnto the death.

Heere is shewed that the churches victory ouer Sa­than and hel, is not thorough any power or might of her own, but by the bloud of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, that is, the worde of God, which they witnesse, professe, loue, & stick vnto euen vnto death.

Therfore reioice ye heauens, and ye that dwel in them. ver. 12 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, and of the sea: for the diuel is come downe vnto you, which hath great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.

Here againe the saints, and Angels, and al the blessed company of heauē, are called vpon, & exhorted to reioice, because the diuel and his Angels are cast out, and the elect haue the victory ouer him thorough the bloud of the Lamb, and because the saluation of the church is sealed vp, and God onely reigneth through Christ. Which al are matters of so great momēt, that not onely the church militant is stirred vp to reioice herein, but euen the church triumphant also, that is, the spirits of iust, and perfect men. But on the con­trary, here is feareful woe denounced against the inha­bitants of the earth, and of the sea: that is, all Papists, Atheists, worldlings, and reprobates. For sith he can­not haue his wil of the church, yet hee wil haue his will and wite his malice vpon them, by hardening their hearts, and blinding their eyes, & making them his slaues and vassals, to fight for his kingdom against Christ, against his church, against all goodnesse, and all good men. The reason is added, why the diuel is in such a rage with the world, and commeth vpon them in so great wrath and furie, to wit, because hee hath but a short time: that is, because his kingdome [Page 164] draweth toward an end, therefore he dooth so bestir him.

ver. 13 And when the Dragon saw that he was cast vnto the earth, he persecuted the woman which had brought forth the man child.

Now the diuel seeing himselfe cast out of heauen, so as he cannot impeach the saluation of the church, he raiseth vp horrible persecutions against her by his instruments here in ye earth, labouring to root her out if it were possible: for being ouercome of the head, he doth now with might and maine, set vppon the body; and what horrible stormes and tempests he hath in al ages, speciallie in these last daies raised vp, and daily doth raise vp against the church, both the scriptures and al church stories do abundantly declare.

ver. 14 But to the woman were giuen two wings of a great ea­gle, that she might fly into the wildernesse, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and halfe a time, from the presence of the serpent.

These two wings do signifie al the waies & meanes of euasion, which God gaue vnto his church, when he deliuered her from the hands of her pursuers and per­secutors: and also her swift flight from them, and al their malicious practises. For although the church cā ­not absolutelie fly from the presence of the diuel, with her Eagles wings, being so vnspeakably swift as he is: yet after a sort shee is said to fly from him, and his presence, when the power of the tyrants and persecu­tors which he raiseth vp, cannot ouertake her to mur­der, and kil her. But as touching her flight into the wildernesse, and her lodging and nourishment there, by Gods prouidence, in the middest of al penury and [Page 165] extremity, wee haue sufficiently heard before ver 6. and therefore here I surcease to speake any further of it. As concerning the space and continuance of her nourishment in the wildernesse, which is heere set downe to bee a time, and times, and halfe a time, it is the same that the thousand two hundred and three­score daies, mentioned in the sixt verse; and the 42 mo­nethes, mentioned Chap. 11. verse 2. and the three daies and a halfe, mentioned Chap. 11. ver. 9. as before hath bin shewed.

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water after the woman, like a floud, vers. 15 that he might cause her to be caried away of the floud.

Now the church being secretly hid and nourished by Gods prouidence in the wildernesse, so as the di­uel and his instruments cannot find her out, nor come at her, he taketh another course, and casteth about a­nother way to annoy her; & that is by casting a floud of water after her to drowne her withal. Whereby is meant, the innumerable lies, reproches, & slaunders, which he raised vp by sundry hereticks against her in al ages; as the Arrians, Donatists, Papists, and such like, and al to bring her into the hatred of Princes; Potentates, and al that were in loue with her; that sith otherwise he could not preuaile against her, yet at least he might vtterly sinke her in this gulfe of reproches.

But the earth holpe the woman, ver. 16 and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed vp the floud, which the Dra­gon had cast out of his mouth.

The same God which first deliuered the church from the violence and fury of Sathan, and afterward cast him out of heauen, and gaue her the victory ouer [Page 166] him; & after that againe miraculously hid hir & pre­serued her in the wildernesse, doth not now at a dead lift forsake her, nor suffer her to be drowned in this floud of reproches, & vniust calumniations, which the dragon cast vp after her. But causeth the earth to help her, & to swallow vp the floud: That is, he vseth al crea­tures in the earth to helpe his church: and not onely so, but also he stirreth vp many earthly and carnal men to befrend the church, and to take part with her against her enemies. As sometimes he did Cyrus, E­bedmelech, Nebuzaradan, Gamaliel, and sundry others, whose power and policy he vsed for the good of his church, and for the drying vp of that flood of repro­ches, which Sathan hath in al ages cast vp against her. And God be thanked, we see at this day that this floud of slaunders and calumnies, which papists & atheists cast out against the church, and her particular mem­bers, do dry vp dayly, and shal dry vp more and more, being drunk in by the earth. And the church doth stil stand vnmooueable, and shal stand and continue euen vnto the end of the world.

ver. 17 Then the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went & made war with the remnant of her seede, which keep the commandements of God, and haue the testimony of Iesus Christ.

Here we see there is no end of the diuels malice. He is infatigable in mischief: though he haue neuer so ma­ny foiles, yet he wil not giue ouer, but begin againe. For wheras he could not preuaile against the wo­man, to cast her out of heauen, by impeaching her e­lection and saluation in Christ, nor yet root her out the earth by persecutions, being hid in the wildernes, [Page 167] and locked vp in the priuy chambers of Gods proui­dence, as sometimes yong Ioash was locked vp in the priests chamber from the fury of Athaliah:King. 11.2 now he goeth another way to worke, and setteth vpon her in her seed and posterity, which remaine in the earth vn­to this day. So that now sith he cannot do what mis­chiefe he would against the church; yet wil he doo what he can: seeing he cannot wound her in her head, yet wil he bite, and pinch at her heele: as it is written, that he should bruise her heele. Gen. 3.15. And as is the malice of Sathan against the church; so is the rage and fury of al his members, euen al the wicked and vngodly, a­gainst the true worshippers of God. They are restles in malice and in mischiefe: if they cannot vex them one way, they wil try another: if they cannot touch them in their liues, yet will they molest them in their goods and good name: if they cannot do what they would, yet wil they do what they can: they wil neuer giue ouer: if they can spite them in the least thing that is, they shal be sure of it. For they are as ful of venime as a toad, and as full of malice to Christ, as an eg is ful of meate.

And I stood on the sea sand. ver. 18

Now Iohn affirmeth that he stood vpon the sea sand, to behold the beast which riseth out of the sea in the next Chapter; or else because the greeke word may be of the third person, which is, he stood, that is, [...]. the dragon stood, it may beare this sense, that the diuel stood vpon the sea sand, as it were working and fra­ming out of the sea his chief [...] instrument, which is the beast now following to be spoken of.

CHAP. XIII.

WEe haue heard in the former chapter the description of the church, and of her arch­enemie the diuel, and of the battell betwixt them, with the successe thereof. Now in this chapter wee are to heare of the dragons two great instruments, whereby he fighteth against the woman: that is, the Romane empire, and the Papacie. For by these two, as it were his two hands, he hath in all ages, from the Apostles time to this day, most cruelly assailed, and afflicted the church. Therefore the maine drift of this chapter is, to describe at large these two beasts, together with all their beastly proceedings. So that this chapter may fitly be deuided into two principal parts.

The first is a description of the Roman monarchy, when it was at the highest pitch, vntil the 11. verse.

The second, is a description of the Papacie, when it was in his pride, and exaltation; in all the verses follo­wing vnto the end of this chapter.

In the first of these two maine branches, the Ro­mane Empire is diuersly described.

First, of the petigree thereof.

Secondly, of her seuen seuerall gouernments.

vers. 1 Thirdly, of her great and outstretched power.

Fourthly, of her victories.

Fiftly, of her blasphemies.

vers. 2 vers. 3 Sixtly, of her furie, rapine, and pride.

After this is set down the wound, which was made in the Empire, with the curing of the same.

vers. 4.5.6.7.8 9.10. Lastly, is set down the great and admirable power, and authority of the Roman empire, which ruled ouer [Page 169] a great part of the world, and had many nations sub­iect vnto it, especially, when the Popes were the heads thereof.

In the second maine part is the Papacie very liuely described.

First, frō the petigree thereof, which is of the earth. vers. 11

Secondly, from the ciuil and Ecclesiasticall power thereof, which is pretended to come from Christ, al­though in truth it is of the diuell.

After this is set downe that the Papacie should be as mightie, vers. 12.13.14. and performe as much in the seruice of the Dragon against God, as euer the Empire of the heathen could do, both by authoritie and force, and especially, by lying wonders.

Then is shewed, that as the Papacie did in sub­stance of matter set vp and restore againe the old Roman tyrannie, to be worshipped, and wondred at; vers. 14 so hath it framed an Hierarchie or Ecclesiasticall gouernment, after the verie forme and president of the ancient Romane tyrannie; which is indeed so like it, that it is called the liuely image thereof: vers. 15 and he hath by his Clergie and their iurisdiction, put such life and spirit into this image, that it spake with authoritie and power in all countries and king­domes; vers. 16.17. in so much that whosoeuer would not sub­mit himselfe thereunto, and both professe and practise poperie, and yeeld himselfe wholy to the papacie, he should die for it.

Last of all, ver. 18 is descried and discouered from the nu­meratiue letters of the name of the second beast, both who hee was, and from whence hee should spring.

Text.

vers. 1 And I saw a beast rise out of the sea, hauing seuen heades, and tenne hornes, and vpon his hornes were tenne crownes, and vpon his heads the name of blas­phemie.

First, we are to vnderstand that a beast in the Scrip­ture doth signifie a kingdome, or monarchie; and that not in respect of the ciuil power therof, which is of God,Rom. 13. as it is written, There is no power but of God: but in respect of the tyrannie, crueltie, ambition, pride, and other such like beastly qualities thereof, which are of the diuell: and therefore this beast is said to ascend out of the bottomlesse pit, chap. 17.8.

This word beast is thus taken in the seuenth of Daniel, Dan. 7.4.5.6. where the three great Monarchies of the Ba­bylonians, Medes and Persians, and of the Greci­ans, are compared for their pride, rapine and cruelty, to a Lyon, a Beare, and a Leopard. The Angell in that chapter saith expresly,Dan. 7.17. that these beasts were kings, that is, kingly gouernments or Dominions.

By the beast in this place is meant the Romane Monarchie, not in regard of the ciuill power thereof, but especially in respect of the tyranny of it, in op­pressing the Church.

By the sea here is meant the troublesome state of the nations: as it is taken chap. 4. vers. 6. and chap. 21. vers. 1. For from the boyling, and broyling e­state of the former kingdomes and heathen nations, which were as a raging sea, did the Roman Empire spring vp, as all stories do witnesse. And the Prophet [Page 171] Daniel doth flatly teach that through the diuision of the Greeke Empire,Dan. 10. which fell out in the posteritie of Alexander the Great,Dan. 11. especially betwixt his two sonnes Ptolemeus and Seleucus, this Romane mo­narchie by degrees made a head, till at last it came to this pitch, which now we shall heare of.

By the seuen heads of this beast, are meant the se­uen seuerall gouernments of the Roman Empire. First, by Kings. Secondly, by Consuls. Thirdly, by De­cemuiri. Fourthly, by Dictators. Fiftly, by Triumuiri. chapter 17.9. Sixtly, by Emperours. And lastly, by Popes, as heere­after shal more plainly appeare.

By the tenne hornes of this beast, is meant the great power and large dominion of the Roman Em­pire, or as the Angell himselfe doth expound it, chapter 17.12. thereby is meant tenne kings, that is, manie king­domes, which should be subiect to the Roman Mo­narchie, and wherein in verie deede the power and strength of the Empire did consist. For by these hornes the Roman Empire did not only push downe other nations: but especially dosse against the Church, and as it were, cruelly gore the sides thereof.

Nowe then we see that the Roman Emperours both in homes and heads, were like their Father the diuel or the dragon.

By the tenne crownes vpon his tenne hornes, are meant his great and manifolde victories ouer other countries and kingdomes.

The hornes of this beast are said to be crowned, & not his heads, because the Roman Empire hath al­wayes more preuailed by power then by policie, by strength then by subtilty. But the Dragon hath his [Page 172] heads crowned, and not his homes, because he hath alwayes done more hurt by policie, then pow­er; by subtiltie, then strength. One thing in all this is greatly to bee heeded, that the holy Ghost in this chapter doth specially speake of the Roman monar­chie, as the Popes were heads thereof; or as it was vnder the dominion of the Popes in their pride, when as the Emperours were almost troden vnder foote: and not simply and soly, as the Emperours were heads thereof.

Moreouer it is said, that vpon the seuen heads of this beast was written the name of blasphemie. For be­sides the blasphemies of Caligula, Nero, Domitian, Dioclesian, Iulianus, and the other old heathenish, and persecuting Emperours, which haue arrogated vnto themselues diuine honour, wee shall anon heare of the surpassing blasphemies of the Popes against God, ver. 5.6. and all goodnesse.

vers. 2 And the Beast which I saw was like a Leopard, and his feete like a Beares, and his mouth as the mouth of a Lyon, and the Dragon gaue him his power, & his throne, and great authoritie.

Here the Roman Empire is described of the like­lihood of qualities, which it had with the other three Empires going before it. For first, it is compared to a Leopard, for swiftnesse to pray vpon others; and also for fircenesse, and subtiltie, as did the Greeke mo­narchie. Secondly, it is compared to a Beare for rapine and rauening, as the monarchie of the Medes and Persians. Thirdly, it is compared to a Lyon for pride and insolencie, as the monarchie of the Chaldaeans. So then by this description it is [Page 173] verie cleere, that this beast signifieth the Roman monarchie, because it containeth in it the whole power of the other three Empires: and is here de­scribed as a compound of diuers beasts, yea as a verie monster of monsters, hauing the body of a Leopard, the feete of a Beare, and the mouth of a Lyon.

Moreouer it is said, that the Dragon gaue him his power, and his throne, and great authoritie. Which plainely sheweth, that the power and authoritie of the Roman Empire is of the diuell, in respect of the euill qualitie thereof, that is, fraud, rapine, chapter 17. v. 8. and op­pression: In which respect it is said to ascend out of the bottomlesse pit, as was declared before. But the sub­stance of it, and the gouernement it selfe, was of God. For the powers that be, are ordained of God, Rom. 13.2. as saith the Apostle.

And I saw one of his heads, vers. 3 as it were wounded vnto death: but his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondred, and followed the beast.

Heere Iohn in a vision seeth one of the seuen heads of the beast, almost wounded vnto death. There bee diuers and differing opinions of the lear­ned touching this wound of the Empire, both when it should bee, and howe, and by whom. Some vnderstand it of the death of Iulius Caesar: some of Nero: some of the oppression of the Gothes and Vandales: some of the great preuailing of Iohn Husse, and Ierome of Prage in the greatest part of Bohemia. But to let all these passe, if wee do wise­ly consider and weigh with our selues, that by a beast in this place, is not meant anie lawfull ad­ministration of gouernement: but a tyrannicall [Page 174] power in persecuting the Church, wee shall find that a head of the beast was then wounded, when Con­stantine the Great slew Maxentius and Licinius, the two last persecuting Emperours, set vp true religi­on, and brought peace to the Churches. For here­by the Roman Empire was greatly wounded, as tou­ching the tyrannie of it. The holy Ghost doth not set downe which of the seuen heads were thus woun­ded, but in generall saith, one of them. Nowe it is verie probable, that he meaneth the sixt head: For we doe not reade of anie such wound in the former fiue which were past. Neither can it be vnderstood of the seuenth head, which was the Papacie, because it receiued no such wounde as yet. It followeth then, that the wound was in the sixt head, that is, in the Empire. But we reade of no Emperour that did so wound the beast, as did Constantine the Great. And therefore it is verie probable, nay, an hun­dred to one, that the holy Ghost here pointeth at him.

But it followeth, that his deadly wound was hea­led, to wit, by these wicked Emperours which suc­ceeded Constantine, as Constantius, Iulianus, Valenti­us, and others, which afresh did set vp Idolatrie, and persecuted the Church. Nowe vppon the healing of this wound, it is said, that all the world wondred, and followed the beast: that is, manie nations, or the greatest part of the world did submit themselues to the Roman tyrannie. For sure it is, some kingdomes were neuer subiect to the Empire of Rome, as some part of Asia, and some part of Africa.

vers. 4 And they worshipped the Dragon which gaue power [Page 175] vnto the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying: Who is like vnto the beast, who is able to warre with him!

Now is shewed how all the subiects of the Ro­man Empire, did worship the Dragon: that is, they maintained that worship, which he liked and loued, that is, the worship of idols, which the Apostle cal­leth the worship of diuels. And it is said also,1. Cor. 10.20.21. they wor­shipped the beast: that is, they did all with one accord submit themselues both to the religion, and authori­tie of the beast: that is, to the Popes, as they were the seuenth head of the Empire. For, as I said be­fore, so I say againe, the holy Ghost heere speaketh of the Empire, when it was in the greatest glorie and exaltation; yea when all the worlde wondred and followed the beast; yea, when all admired the great and large dominion of the Roman empire; and said within themselues, who is like vnto the beast? who is able to warre with him? Now, the Empire of Rome was neuer so great and powerful, as when the Popes were heads thereof, I meane when they executed the whole ciuill iurisdiction of the empire, besides their Ecclesiasticall power, which now did both meete in one. For now the Papacie was aloft, and the Roman Empire ioyned with it: so that the eyes of the world were dazeled with the pompe and magnificence thereof, and they said, What is like vnto it? or who is comparable to the Pope, the se­uenth head thereof? For then the blinde worlde thought that the power of the Popes, was not one­ly aboue all things in this world, but also did reach euen vnto heauen and hell. For they imagined that [Page 176] the Pope might carie to heauen whom hee would; and whom he would, he might cast downe to hell: and therefore who could warre with the beast? And thus wee see the reason of their wonderment, and of their speech. All stories and experience it selfe doe shew, that there was neuer anie power in the world so wondred at, as the vsurped power and maiestie of the Pope, after he came to bee the head of the Ro­man monarchie. For then the world supposed that hee had power, euen as God: and that he might de­pose, and set vp kings and Emperours at his plea­sure. Then it is cleere, that vnder the dominion of the Popes, Rome hath beene in her highest exalta­tion and glorie. For the Papacie was the seuenth head of the beast, whereby the whoore of Babylon was supported in her most magnificall pompe and pride.

vers. 5 And there was giuen vnto him a mouth that spake great things, and blasphemies, and power was giuen vnto him to do 42. moneths.

ver. 6 And he opened his mouth vnto blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwel in heauen.

Here are set down the proud and blasphemous speeches both of the old, and new Romane Empire; and of the old, and new Romane Emperours. For this beast (as I said before) comprehendeth al the Ro­man Empire, both vnder the Heathen Emperours, and the Popes. Touching the great things, and blas­phemies, which the old persecuting Emperours haue belched out against the God of heauē, it wold require [Page 177] a volume to set them downe in particulars. I wil ther­fore only mention two or three for exampels sake: As first that of Caius Caligula, which would haue his image set vp in temples to be worshipped as God, and that the people should sweare by his name. Nero also did openly blaspheme the name of Christ, and requi­red diuine honour to be giuen vnto him. Domitian commanded that he should be called God and Lord. Many others required the like things: and so al the world woondred and worshipped this blasphemous beast. Now as the sixt head, which was the old em­pire of Rome, was ful of the names of blasphemy; so the seuenth head, which is the new Empire vnder the dominion of the Popes, which he here chiefely spea­keth of, did most of al blaspheme. For the Pope did challenge vnto himselfe al power both in heauen and earth: he would be worshipped as God: he vsurped authority ouer the worde of God: he did take vpon him to forgiue sinnes. He did most blasphemously in­croach vpon all the offices of Christ, as king, priest, & prophet. He hath commāded the Angels. He hath erected blasphemous images, and caused pictures to be made of the Godhead. He boasteth and craketh great things of his Papal power, of Peters keies, of Pe­ters chaire, of Peters succession, of his miracles, of his two swords, and of his manifold praerogatiues roial. One of the Popes poisoned his God: another cast his God into the fire: another would eate his peacocke in despite of God. Some of thē counted the religiō of Christ a tale or a fable: some drank to the diuel: some said, they could doe as much as God. It were infinit to set downe al their blasphemies: for it is saide of the [Page 178] whoore of Babylon, that she was full of the names of blasphemy. Let this suffice for the vnderstanding of this text, that as the olde heathenish Emperours did blaspheme, so the Popes being heades of the Em­pire, did most of al blaspheme. And as it is here said, they did not only blaspheme the name of God, but al­so did open their black and blasphemous mouthes a­gainst his tabernacle, that is, his church, calling it a cō ­pany of heretickes, schismatickes, apostataes and such like; and also against them that dwell in heauen, that is, the spirits of iust and perfect men, which are in heauē, as Luther, Caluin, Melancthon and such like.

Moreouer it is to be noted, that this mouth was gi­uen vnto this monstrous beast, thus to blaspheme and speake great things. But this is to be vnderstood, that it was giuen in the wrath and iust iudgement of God vpō the world, to plague them withal, because they re­garded not the knowledg of the truth. But it is added, that this power of the beast thus to worke his actions, was limited vnto 42. monethes; so that although he rule and rage for a time, yet shal he not long continue.

ver. 7 And it was giuen vnto him to make war with the Saints, and to ouer come them; and power was giuen vnto him ouer euery kindred, and tongue and nation.

ver. 8 Therefore all that dwell vpon the earth, shall worship him, whose names are not written in the booke of life of the Lambe, which was slaine from the beginning of the world.

These two verses do set forth the great power which was giuen vnto this beast, both in fighting against Gods people, and also ouercomming of them, and murdering of them by heapes. As we reade of thou­sands [Page 179] murdered in the first ten great persecutions, and ten thousands by the Popes, since they came to exer­cise the ciuill authority and iurisdiction of the Ro­mane Empire, and that in al countries and king­domes of Europe; as it is here said, that power was gi­uē vnto him ouer euery kindred▪ and tongue and nation. And it is added, that all that dwell vpon the earth, that is, al the subiects of the Roman monarchy, shal wor­ship the beast, and make a God of him; as we read they haue don. And the chiefe motiue therof, was his blas­phemous mouth, boasting & threatning great things if any did withstand him: and also his mighty power and authority, whereby he bare downe al before him. For if any did but mute against him, he was sure to smart for it. And thus through his tyrannicall power he subdued al nations vnder him, and made them stoupe and fal downe and worship him. But it follow­eth, that for al this, none of Gods elect did worship him, or submit themselues to his religion, and autho­rity, but only those that dwell vpon the earth, that is, earthly men: as papists, atheists, and reprobates, and al such, whose names are not written in the booke of life.

Christ is called the Lambe slaine from the begin­ning of the world, because the sauing power of his death was from the beginning to all beleeuers, al­though hee was not actually exhibited vntil the ful­nesse of time.

Yf any man haue an eare, let him heare.

Yf any lead into captiuity, he shall goe into captiuity: ver. 9 ver. 10 yf any kill with a sword, he must be killed by a sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the Saints.

Here is shewed, that the things spoken of this great [Page 180] beast, are very secret and mystical, and can be vnder­stood of none but those onely, whose eares and eies God openeth to heare, & see, and vnderstand, that is, the very elect of God: as for al papists and worldlings, their eares & eies are sealed and shut vp, they cannot vnderstand them, but doe stil worship the beast, ascri­bing vnto him diuine power and honor.

In the 10. verse the iudgement and vengeance of God is denounced against the Romane monarchie, both former and latter; which, as it hath long oppres­sed the church with cruel bondage, and drawne thou­sands into perpetual captiuity; so it selfe also should be cast downe, with al the adherents thereof, both in this life and that which is to come. For as the Romane Empire did tyrannise ouer the world, and led milli­ons into spirituall captiuity and bondage: so here it is auouched, that according to the iust lawe of quit­tance, it selfe should be brought to the same lore. And as this beast had murdered many by the sword; so he him selfe must be murdered by the sword also: As the Apostle saith,2. Thes. 1.6 God is iust, and therefore will recom­pense tribulation to them that trouble his Church. Now al this seemeth vnto me, to be a cleere prophecy of the fal and final destruction of the Romane Empire, which indeede considering the pitch that it was at, may seeme a thing strange and incredible: and there­fore the Holy-ghost stirreth vs vp to attention in the ninth verse, as to a thing of great woonderment, and admiration: for if the Romane monarchie fall, the Papacy must of necessity fal with it. For the Romane Empire is that beast, chapter 17. verse 3. which beareth vp the whoore of Babylon, as appeareth in the 17. Chapter of this pro­phecy, [Page 181] where we shal (God willing) plainely, and at large heare of the ioint destruction of them both to­gether.

It is added: Heere is the patience and faith of the Saints. That is, here is required great patience of al Gods children, to waite, and carry til the per­formance and accomplishment of those things; and also faith and ful assurance to beleeue, that they shal in Gods appointed time come to passe. For few doo beleeue these things, and therfore wait not with patience for the accomplishment thereof.

And I beheld another beast comming out of the earth, ver. 11, which had two hornes like the Lamb, but he spake like the dragon.

Hauing described the first beast which is the Ro­man Empire: now the Holy-ghost commeth to de­scribe the second beast, which is the Papacy, or the kingdome of the great Antichrist: for although hee bee described before in regard of his monarchy, that is, the ciuill iurisdiction, which hee exercised as he was the seuenth head of the beast, and head of the Empire; yet here he is described after another sort, that is, according to his ecclesiastical authority: and therfore he is called another beast, or a beast diffe­ring from the former, in that he exerciseth an other power, besides the power of the heathen Emperours of Rome, which is his spirituall iurisdiction,Chap. 16 Ver. 13. Chap. 19. Ver. 20. in which respect he is called the false prophet.

This second beast riseth out of the earth, as the for­mer rose out of the sea: then it appeareth that Anti­christ is, by his breed, a sonne of the earth; obscurely borne, & by little and little creeping vp out of his ab­iect [Page 182] estate; as did the Turke. It is here most truly said, that the kingdome of Antichrist ariseth out of the earth, & is the very breed of the earth: for assuredly it neuer came from heauen. It was first hatched out of couetuousnesse, ambition, pride, murders, treasons, poisonings, sorceries, enchantments, and such like. For al stories do shew, that from these roots the Pa­pacy grew to his exceeding height and altitude.

This second beast hath two hornes, like the Lambe: Whereby is meant his ciuil and ecclesiastical power, or his kingdome, and Priesthood; which he falsly pretendeth to come from the Lamb: and therefore he giueth in his armes two keies, and hath two swords carried before him. So Boniface the eight shewed himselfe one day in apparrel as a Pope, and the next day in armour as the Emperour; and the two hornes in the Popes miter are signes hereof. But the Holy-ghost here telleth vs, that these two hornes are not the hornes of the Lambe, but only like the hornes of the Lamb: for he receiued not his power from the Lamb Christ; but from the diuel, that is, the dragon with ten hornes. Then thus it is, the Papacy is the seauenth head of the first beast, that is, the Empire; & yet a beast by it selfe, with two hornes like the Lamb, in respect of his ioint power and authority, both ec­clesiastical and ciuil, in which respect he is called euen the eight: and one of the seuen, Chap. 17. ver. 11.

Although this second beast haue two hornes like the Lamb, yet he spake like the dragon, that is, al his words and workes, practises and proceedings, lawes and de­crees, are for the dragon, of whom he hath his pow­er and throne, and great authority. So that whatsoe­uer [Page 183] he pretendeth in religion, and matters of Gods worship, as though he would be like the Lamb; yet assuredly hee is altogether for the dragon and the di­uel: he is assured vnto them, as al experience doth ma­nifestly witnesse.

And he did all that the first beast could doe before him: & he caused the earth, & them that dwel therin, vers. 12 to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Here is shewed, that this second beast was as migh­ty and stronge as the first beast, and could doo as much as he, euen in his presence. Whereby is noted the great power, and authority of the Papacy, in per­forming as much in the seruice of the dragon against God and his church, as euer the Empire of the hea­then, and those wicked Emperours could doo: yea he did much more against Christ and his religion, then euer the persecuting Emperours could do, euen then when they were at their highest pitch. And al this he did in his presence, that is, in the sight and o­pen view of the whole Empire, or whole world.

And he caused the earth, and them that dwell therin, that is, al Papists, and worldlings, to worship the first beast, that is, to receiue the worship and religion of the old Roman tyranny, which set vp and maintained Idolatry. So then, although the power in the Papa­cy came vnder the name of Christ, yet in truth it was the same that the power of the persecuting Empire: for the heathen emperours condemned the true wor­ship of God, and set vp false worship, euen the wor­ship of diuels, which is Idolatry, and so do the Popes also. So then we see, that this second beast is al for the first beast, that is, he leuieth al his power and au­thority, [Page 184] to set vp the worship and religion of the old Romane tyrants; and to force al men by cruel lawes and decrees, to receiue and embrace the same. So this second beast is nothing better thē the first; nay in truth a great deale worse.

vers. 13 And he did great woonders, so that hee made fire to come downe from heauen on the earth, in the sight of men.

vers. 14 And deceiued them that dwell on the earth, by the signes which were permitted him to doo in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make the Image of the beast, which had the wound of a sword, and did liue.

These two verses do containe two special things: The one is, the false & fained miracles of Antichrist. The other is, the cursed effect thereof.

Touching the first, which is the woonders and mi­racles which Antichrist should worke, it is here said that he should make fire come downe from heauen, as Elias did. The meaning whereof is not, that the Popes could indeed cause fire to come downe from heauen, as Elias did: but in the opinion of the blind world, they seemed to haue as great power as euer had Elias. For partly by counterfeit miracles, and partly by some strange things done by the power of Sathan, the se­duced world hath verily beleeued, that the Pope and his clergie had as great power to worke miracles, as euer had Elias.

Touching the second thing, which is the effect of these woonders: It is here sayd that the inhabitants of the earth, that is, Papists and Worldlings, were grosselie deceiued and deluded by them, euen by [Page 185] those lying woonders, which were permitted him to doo in the sight of the beast, that is, in the face and open view of the Empire: According as the Apostle foretolde, that the comming of Antichrist should be by the effectuall working of Sathan, 2. Thes. 2. with all power and signes, and lying woonders, and in all deceiueablenesse of vnrighteousnesse among them that perish, &c. But con­cerning the Popishe counterfeit signes and woon­ders, it is needelesse to write, beeing so wel knowne to al men, as they are, and so common and notorious in al stories.

ver. 14 Saying to them that dwel on the earth, that they should make the image of the beast, which had the wound of a sword, and did liue.

Now Antichrist hauing gotten the world vnder him, by his counterfeit miracles, dooth lay his com­mandement vpon thē, to make the Image of the beast. Now what is here meant by the image of the beast, is somewhat hard to discusse: some thinke, that by the image of the beast, which had the wound of a sword, and did liue, is meant the repairing, and the resto­ring of the decaied estate of the empire, by the Popes, to his ful strength and vertue. We doe read that the state of the empire vnder Nero, Otho, Galba, and Vitel­lius, was weak & feeble, in comparison of that which it was before, vnder Augustus, Tiberius, & Claudius. We doo reade also that the Gothes and Vandales made horrible rents and dissipations in the Romane em­pire. We doe further reade, that the empire was deuided and rent in peeces; so that there was the em­perour of the East, & the emperour of ye West; yea at [Page 186] last, the empire of the West fel quite downe: so that for the space of three hundred yeares and more, there was no Emperour of the West, vntill the Bishop of Rome Leo the third made Charles the Great, the king of France, Emperour: Then was the empire of the West againe erected, and in time grew to as great an height vnder the dominion of the Popes, as euer be­fore; yea and farre greater. Now I say, some do take this restoring of the decayed estate of the Empire, by the Popes, to his former strength and power, to be the making of the image of the beast, which had the wound of a sword, and did liue. But for mine owne part I cannot be of that opinion; and my reason is, that the restoring of the decaied estate of the empire to his former condition, was the setting vp of the beast himselfe: for the empire is the beast, and not the I­mage of the beast: for we must needes graunt, that the beast, and the image of the beast, are two seueral things. But the Popes in recouering the empire to his pristinate estate, set vp the beast againe: and ther­fore not the image of the beast. Therefore the image of the beast, cannot be vnderstood of the restauration of the decaied estate of the empire. Besides this, it is here said, that the inhabitants of the earth had a great hād in making of this image. But the inhabitāts of the earth bare smal sway in the recouering and e­rectiō of the empire. (For therein the Popes were al in al, after it came into their hands) Therfore this cannot be vnderstood of ye Empire, but of some other thing: let vs then diligently search out what may be the true meaning of this place. It must needes be graunted, that by the beast, which had the wound of a sworde, [Page 187] and did liue, is meant the recouered estate of the em­pire, as before vers. 12. and by the image thereof, I vnderstande the forme of gouerment: for an image doth signifie a likenes, a similitude, a figure or forme of a thing. And as in all ciuil and ecclesiasticall regi­ments, there is both a substance and a forme; a mat­ter and a manner: so here, vers. 12 hauing before set downe that Antichrist had erected the substance and mat­ter of the old Romane tyranny; now he sheweth, that he should also set vp the image and forme of the same. For before ver. 12. it is said, that Antichrist this se­cōd beast, caused the world to worship the first beast, that is, to receiue and imbrace the lawes, worship, and religion of the olde heathenish Romane tyrants, as before hath bin shewed: and now here is added, that hee did not content himselfe with causing the inhabitants of the earth to worship the old beast, in the substance of his religion; but also he laieth com­maundements vpon them, to make his Image, that is, to erect an externall forme of Ecclesiasticall go­uernment, after the verie patterne and forme of the gouernement of the old Empire; yea so like it, that it is called the verie image of the same. For as the forme of gouernement vnder the old Emperours, was cruell and tyrannicall, and altogether bent a­gainst the Church: so the forme of Ecclesiasticall gouernement vnder the Popes, was cruell and ty­rannicall, and altogether bent against the Church; and therefore heere it is called the Image of it▪ for it is as like it as it can looke. Then it followeth, that Antichrist hath set vp that externall forme of worship, which the Idolatrous Romans of old vsed; [Page 188] and that he hath renewed the persecuting Empire, not onely in substance of matter, but also in forme of gouernement: and therefore I conclude, that the Popish Church-policie, and externall regiment, is the verie Image of the beast.

Heere the inhabitants of the earth are said to make the Image of the beast, because they gaue their consent to the making of it: for indeede the Popes themselues were the chiefe agents and do­ers in it.

ver. 15 And it was permitted vnto him, to giue a spirit vnto the Image of the beast; so that the Image of the beast should speake, and should cause that as many as would not worship the Image of the beast, should bee killed.

Heere is shewed, that this image of the beast was not a dead image, but a liuing image: for An­tichrist put a spirit into it; that is, life and power, and great authoritie; insomuch that this Image could speake; and not onely speake, but speake with great authoritie and terrour: so as whosoeuer would not worship this Image, that is, submit himselfe to the Popish Hierarchie, should bee put to death. But may some man say, How did this image speake? I answer, by the Popes Clergie. For the Romish rab­ble of Cardinals, Abbots, Monks, Priests, Friers, and all that cursed corporation, were the verie breath, life, and spirit of this image: I meane, that the life­bloud of their externall regiment, did lie in the exe­cution thereof by the Clergie, as it were in certaine arteries and veines. For what was their outwarde [Page 189] forme of gouernement, without this cruell execu­tion of their stinging Clergie men, but as a dead I­mage without life? But when Antichrist had once consecrated and erected his Romish priesthood, then did hee put life into his Image, which before he had caused to bee made and erected. Then wee doe plainely see, that the popish Hierarchie is not a bare resemblance of the old Roman policie, to stand as a picture on a wall, but hath a spirit put into it by the false Prophet, and speaketh with such power and terrour in all kingdomes, that it causeth all to bee put to death that will not submit themselues vnto it, and fall downe and worship the beast. Who knoweth not this, that as manie in all countries, as would not embrace poperie, and the old Roman ty­rannie; the Popish Clergie, their inquisitors, and other Officers, did condemne them in their Courts, as heretikes, schismatikes, and deliuered them o­uer, being condemned, to the secular power to bee put to death.

And he made all both small and great, vers. 16 rich and poore, bond and free, to receiue a marke in their right hand, or in their foreheads.

And that no man might buy or sell, vers. 17 saue he that had the marke, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Antichrist is not content to murder and massa­cre all in all countries, which will not worship the I­mage of the beast; that is, stoupe to his gouerne­ment and authoritie: but hee will goe yet a steppe further, and will haue all sorts of people brought in [Page 190] bondage vnto him, as his marked seruants. For as men vse to set a brand vpon their sheepe and other cattell, and to eare-marke them, that it may openly and manifestly appeare to whom they appertaine: so doth Antichrist this Romish beast, cause all men in all kingdoms to carie in open viewe his marke or brand, whereby all may see that they do appertaine vnto him.

It is heere said, that all the vassals of Antichrist, of what degree, estate, or condition soeuer, must re­ceiue his marke in their right hand, or in their fore­head: that is, they must openly professe and practise the worship and religion of the beast. For the fore­head is put for the profession; and the right hand, for the action: so that in one of them at the least, euery man must openly declare, that hee acknowledgeth the Pope of Rome to be Lord of his faith.

Moreouer it is added, That no man might buy or sell, saue hee that had the marke, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name: the meaning is, that no man might traffique in the world, or haue anie doings amongst men; nay, hee might not be suffered to liue, except hee had the marke of the beast in his forehead, or in his right hand; that is, vnlesse he did professe and practise the worship, the religion, the lawes, and decrees of the Pope. For the marke of the beast is put for his worship, religion, lawes, decrees, regiments, and policie.

Moreouer the Popes vassals haue not onely his marke vpon them, whereby they may be knowne, but also the name of the beast; for they must bee named after him, euen as children beare the name of their [Page 191] Fathers, and must bee called of the Pope, or Papa, Papists. And not onely so, but also they haue ano­ther priuie marke vpon them, and that is the num­ber of his name, which is Latinos, or professours of the Latine religion, Latine kingdome, and Italian Church, as shall by and by appeare.

Now then to grow to a conclusion, and to make a briefe recapitulation of all thinges heere spoken concerning the second beast, which is Antichrist: Let vs consider what increasings and proceedings hee hath made, as it were by degrees.

First, although he haue two hornes like the Lamb, that is, ciuill and ecclesiasticall power; yet he speaketh like the Dragon, that is, he bendeth all his power and authoritie, words and works for the diuell.

Secondly, he doth as much as the first beast could do in the seruice of the Dragon.

Thirdly, he causeth the first beast to be worship­ped, that is, establisheth the substance of his re­ligion.

Fourthly, he maketh the image of the beast, that is, addeth a forme to the substance.

Fiftly, hee putteth life into his Image by his Clergie.

Sixtly, he will haue this Image worshipped, and yeelded vnto, on paine of death.

Lastly, he will haue all men of all conditions to weare his liuerie, and to receiue his marke, as it were his hired and couenant seruants.

Heere is wisdome: Let him that hath wit, count the the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, [Page 192] and his number is sixe hundred theescore and sixe.

Now last of all the holy Ghost telleth vs that it is a verie high point of wisedome and vnderstan­ding, to count the number of the beast, and requi­reth a sharpe and pregnant wit; and withall telleth vs, that it is the number of a man; that is, such as a man endued with Gods Spirite may finde out. Then wee are encouraged to search into it, sith it is within the compasse of mans reach. It is no im­possible thing. If therefore wee could find out his name, wee would desire no more; then the field were wonne: for his name would discouer him, and descrie him to all the world, and quite stoppe the mouthes of the Papists, so as they should neuer haue anie thing more to say. For if Saint Iohn had said expresly and in plaine tearmes, that the Popes of Rome are this second beast, and the verie Antichrist himselfe, then the Papists had beene put to per­petuall silence, all matters quasht, and all contro­uersies ended betwixt them and vs for euer. But heere the holy Ghost doth not tell vs his name plainely, but mystically, as manie other things in this booke, that the worldlings which should ful­fill them might be blinded, whilest the eyes of Gods elect are opened to see into the truth of all these mat­ters. Well, to come to the point: Saint Iohn doth onely heere set downe the numeratiue letters of the beasts name. Hee wrote in Greeke, and he one­ly setteth downe three Greeke letters or characters, which in Greeke numeration make sixe hundred sixtie sixe. [...] Now further wee are to note, that the [Page 193] numeratiue letters of the Greeke word [...] doe make iust this number. And yet further we are to ob­serue as a verie speciall thing, that Irenaeus, Iren. lib. 5. con­tra haeres. an an­cient Father of the Church, who liued verie neere vnto the Apostles times, mentioneth this worde Lateinos, as the name of the beast. And moreouer af­firmeth, that it was a common receiued opinion in his time, and before, that the Beast should be so cal­led. Now then let vs consider how this fitteth. First, we know that the numeratiue letters of Lateinos doe iustly fit Saint Iohns Greeke numeratiue letters. Se­condly, we know that Antichrist is the head of the La­tine Church, or Latine Empire: and therefore this verie Lateinos. For here we doe not enquire after the name of anie particular man, but about the name of a kingdome; for the beast is a kingdome, and a suc­cession of men. Now Italy in old time was called Latinum, & the Italians Latini: which noteth of what countrey the beast should come. Moreouer, the beasts name, or name of the Romane Empire is La­teinos, because the Empire both vnder the heathen tyrants, and the Popes especially, had all their religi­on, seruice, prayers, lawes, decrees, writings, and translations in Latine: all was in Latine, Latine. The Pope preferred his Latine translation of the Bible, before the Hebrue and Greeke originals.

Thus then it is. Saint Iohn telleth vs flatly, that the number of the beast is sixe hundred sixtie sixe: Ire­naeus saith, that Lateinos is his name, which contai­neth iust that number. Therefore heere wee haue his name, heere hee is found. For if his name bee Lateinos, wee neede search no further, wee [Page 194] know who it is, we know who is meant: for is not the Pope Lateinos? are not the succession of them La­tini? are they not the heads of the Latine Church, and Latine Empire? Haue they not all their wor­ship and seruice in Latine? Are they not Latines? for what is the name of the Romane Empire but Latei­nos? And what is the name of the Popish Hierar­chie but Lateinos? True it is indeed which the papists say, that manie names may bee inuented, whose let­ters make this number: but the Spirit of God spea­keth not of fained names, for thereof can come no­thing but vncertaintie: but he willeth vs to count the number of his name, which then the beast had, that is, Lateinos. I doe thus then conclude. The beast is a kingdome, and the Papacie is the king­dome of the Latines: Therefore the Papacie is the beast. The papacie is Lateinos, and containeth the number of the beast. For what other monarchie can bee shewed since this Reuelation was giuen, whose numeratiue letters containe this foresaid number? Assuredly none. And therefore out of all doubt Saint Iohn pointeth at the Roman Empire, and monar­chie of the Popes. For Lateinos doth both containe the number of the beast, according to Saint Iohns computation, and also his name, which is the Latine Empire, or Romane Empire. And thus haue wee heard the description of these two huge and mon­strous beasts, the sea beast, and the land beast; which both from the Apostles times hitherto haue indeede played the beasts against Christ and his Church, and still doe play the beasts, and will neuer cease playing the beasts, till their hornes, and hoofes, heads, and [Page 195] bodies be cleane cut off, which will be shortly, as we shall heare anon.

CHAP. XIIII.

WE haue heard in the former chapter the de­scription of the two great and dreadfull beasts. We haue also heard how mightily they haue preuailed now manie yeeres, & raigned as monarches of the earth. Now in this chapter wee are to heare of the fall and ruine of them both. So that the maine drift and scope of this chapter, and all the chapters following, vntill the twentith chapter, is to shew, that both the Roman Empire, and the Papacie shall ebbe as fast as euer they did flow, shall wane as fast as euer they did waxe, shall decrease as fast as euer they did increase, and fall downe as fast as euer they did rise vp, euen vntill they come to vtter ruine and deso­lation.

This Chapter containeth seuen principal things.

First, vers. 1 it sheweth that God had his Church vpon the earth euen then, when it seemed to bee vtterly extinct by the preuailing of the two outragious beasts.

Secondly, vers. 2.3.4.5. it sheweth that the poore persecuted Church did sincerely & zealously worship God euen in the fire and flames of afflictions.

Thirdly, ver. 6.7 it sheweth that the Gospell shall be prea­ched with great successe in these last daies throughout manie kingdoms.

Fourthly, ver. 8 it sheweth that Rome shall fall downe at the preaching of the Gospell.

[Page 196] ver. 9.10.11. Fiftly, it sheweth that all Papists shal be condem­ned, and cast into hell fire for euer.

ver. 12.13. Sixtly, it sheweth that it shall go well with Gods elect, which hauing refused the worship of the beast, do liue and die in the Lord.

ver. 14.15.16.17.18.19.20. Lastly, it describeth the day of iudgement, where­in all both good, and bad shall haue according to their deserts.

Text.

ver. 1 Then I looked, and behold a Lambe stood on mount Sion, and with him an hundred fourtie and foure thou­sand, hauing the Fathers name written in their fore­heads.

Nowe at last the holy Ghost bringeth in Iesus Christ vpon the Theater of the world, as it were to play his part in this tragedie, and to helpe the poore weake woman, which we heard of before, against the Dragon, and the two monstrous beasts, which would haue torne her in peeces, and vtterly deuoured her, if this Lambe Iesus Christ had not stept in and rescu­ed her. Well, now commeth in our Lord Iesus, and beginneth to stirre in these matters, and to take vpon him the protection and defence of the poore help­lesse woman, against both the dragon, & the dragons two great instruments. But may some man say, What is a poore Lambe to encounter with a dragon, with a Lyon, with a Leopard, and a Beare? I answer, that al­though Christ be a lamb to his church, euē the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, and the Lamb that was a slaine sacrifice from the beginning, [Page 197] for the redemption of his elect: Yet to all his enemies he is a most strong and terrible Lyon, euen the Lyon of the Tribe of Iuda, as he is called before. chapter 5.5 Now this most terrible Lyon, euen the Lord of hosts, the Lord mightie in battell, commeth forth to protect and defend his Church against all her enemies, who is of such infinite might and puissance, that neither the old Dragon, nor his young imps, nor all the cursed helhounds that barke and bite, and take their part, shall euer bee able to stand in his hands: For rage they neuer so much, hee will hamper them all well enough. For though he haue giuen them the reine a long time, and let them alone, and suffred them to play the tyrants with the woman his spouse; yet now he will no longer put it vp at their hands, but will vp and maintaine the womans cause, and beare her out against them all: nay, hee will make readie his bow, that he may shoote off, and make his ar­rowes drunke in the bloud of her and his enemies, and will whette his glittering sword, that hee may sheath it in the heart of Antichrist and all his adhe­rents. Therefore now let both the great beasts and their Sire looke to themselues: for heere comes in one that will knocke them all downe, and lay them in the dust, that they shall neuer rise vp againe. For this cause now at length Saint Iohn in a vision seeth a Lambe stand vpon mount Sion; that is, Christ present with his Church. For mount Sion was an ancient figure of the Church; as it is written: Mount Sion lying Northward is faire in situation:Psal. 48.2. it is the ioy of the whole earth, and the citie of the great king. And againe, The law shall goe forth of Sion, Mich. 4.2. and [Page 198] the word of the Lord from Ierusalem.

Moreouer, Saint Iohn seeth heere with the Lambe an hundred fortie and foure thousand: that is, the par­ticular members of the Church, putting a certaine number for an vncertaine, and specially alluding to the sealing of the twelue tribes of Israel, as before hath beene shewed. For it might bee demaunded, where the Church was, chapter 7.4. when all the world wondred, and followed the first Beast? and also when all, both small and great, rich and poore, receiued the marke of the second Beast? Saint Iohn answereth, that euen then in the middest of the heate of persecutions God had his hid & inuisible church, whom Iesus Christ did protect and preserue euen in the verie flames of per­secutions, being alwayes present with them, and amongst them, as he said to his Disciples a little be­fore his bodily departure from them. Lo, I am with you euen vnto the end of the world. And heere hee is said to stand vpon mount Sion with his hundred fortie and foure thousand. And it is added, that this num­ber of Gods faithfull elect children had the Fathers name written in their foreheads: That is, they did pro­fesse, and practise the doctrine and religion of God their Father onely, vtterly renouncing and abhor­ring the worship and religion of the Beast. For the Fathers name in this place is set opposite to the marke of the Beast; to signifie, that as the wor­shippers of Antichrist receiued his marke: so the true worshippers of God receiued his brand, which is his Spirit, and the fruits therof, whereby they were perfectly discerned from those which had the beasts [Page 199] marke. So then it cleerely appeareth from this place, that God preserued many thousands of his true worshippers, euen in the daies of the great An­tichrist, when there seemed to bee verie fewe or none remaining vppon the earth, as it was in the dayes of Elias. In vaine therefore doe the Papists aske vs, where our Church was before Luthers time, sith the holy Apostle heere stoppeth their mouth, and telleth vs plainely, that Christ had his little flocke in the wildernesse, euen then, when it was in greatest streightes, and as wee say, driuen to the wals. And therfore visibilitie is no sound note of the Church, as the Papists doe most ignorantly dispute. For it is a fond and absurd kind of reasoning, to say there is no Church at all, because it doth not visi­bly appeare: as if a man should reason that there is no Moone in the heauens, because sometimes there is none seene, as in the change.

And I heard a voice from heauen, vers. 2 as the sound of manie waters, and as the sound of a great thunder: and I heard the voyce of Harpers harping with their harpes.

Heere is set forth how this companie of true wor­shippers doe magnifie and praise God, for his great mercies towards them. First, Iohn heareth a voyce from heauen, that is, an heauenly voice, or the voice of the Church praising and glorifying God. For wee haue heard before, chapter 8.1 that heauen in this Booke is sometimes put for the Church vppon [Page 200] the earth, and the reasons thereof: Whersoeuer ther­fore the Church is assembled to heare the word, and to pray, and giue thanks; there is a voice from hea­uen, or an heauenly voice. Now this voice is com­pared to three things: first, to the sound of manie waters. Secondly, to the sound of a great thunder. Thirdly, to ye voice of harpers, harping with their harps. It is likened to manie waters, because it proceedeth from sundrie sorts of people, of sundrie nations, coun­tries, and kingdomes, as the word Waters is taken af­terwards in this Prophesie.Chap. 17.1. Chap. 17.15. It is compared to Thun­der, because the prayers and inuocations of the true Church are as loud in the eares of God as any thun­dercracke. It is compared to Harpers harping with their harpes, both because their spirituall worship and seruice is as sweete vnto God, as any musicke vnto men: as also because all Gods faithfull people doe tune together among themselues, and in their wor­ship, as the strings of a well tuned instrument of musicke, or as manie musitians playing together, which make a sweete harmonie, and most melodi­ous dittie.

vers. 3 And they sung as it were a newe song before the throne, and before the foure beasts, and the Elders, and no man could learne that song, but the hundred fourtie and foure thousand, which were bought from the earth.

Now is shewed how this holy societie of the faith­ful do continue their praising and glorifying of God. They are not weary of well doing, but hold on con­stantly in the course of Gods worship, hauing new songs of thanksgiuing in their mouthes, and seruing [Page 201] God dayly with renewed affections, as men inflamed with the zeale of Gods glory: and all this they doe performe before the throne, before the foure beasts, and the Elders; that is, in the presence of God, and his Angels, and his holy congregation. And no man could learne that song, but the hundred fortie and foure thousand, that is, none of the reprobates and vngodly worldlings could inwardly feele and vnder­stand this spirituall worship, but onely the elect, to whom it is giuen to vnderstand the secrets of God, and the mysteries of his sonnes kingdome.

These are they, vers. 4 which are not defiled with women: for they are virgins: these follow the Lambe wheresoeuer he goeth: these are bought from men, being the first fruits vnto God, and to the Lambe.

And in their mouthes was found no guile: vers. 5 for they are without spot before the throne of God.

This holy cōpany are not defiled with women, that is, with grosse & diuers sins, or rather with idolatrous pollutions. For they are virgins, that is, chast worship­pers of God, which are not polluted with the defile­mēts of Antichrist. These follow the Lamb Christ wher­soeuer he goeth. They heare his voyce, they professe his worship, and obey his doctrine; they abhorre An­tichrist, they followe not the beast, nor receiue his marke. They are bought from men, and bought from the earth, as it is sayd before, that is, they are redeemed and bought with a price from the corrupt lumpe of mankind, and cursed race of Adam, that they might bee the first fruits vnto God, and to the Lambe, that is, wholy consecrated to his worship, and to serue him [Page 202] in righteousnesse and true holinesse all the dayes of their life. In their mouthes was found no guile: That is, they doe declare their innocencie and vprightnesse both in their words, and works, as those which Christ hath chosen out of this world, and bought with a price thorough his bloud, in whom they are with­out spot or speck before God.

vers. 6 Then I saw another Angell flie in the middest of heauen, hauing an euerlasting Gospell, to preach vnto them that dwell on the earth, and to euery nation, and kinred, and tongue, and people:

vers. 7 Saying with a loud voice, Feare God, and giue glorie vnto him: for the houre of his iudgement is come, and worship him that made heauen and earth, and the sea, and the fountaines of waters.

Hitherto the holy Ghost hath taught vs how the Church was preserued vnder the tyrannie of Anti­christ, and greatest waues of persecutions; and that euen then they did purely and faithfully worship the true God. Now he proceedeth to foreshew the ruine and downfall of Antichrist, and plainely to prophe­sie the vtter decay of the kingdome of Babell. This doctrine therefore we are to hearken vnto with great attention and cheerefulnesse, because it doth so much concerne our good, & the good of the whole church, also because we liue in the dayes, wherin we see it is in part fulfilled.

First therefore wee are to vnderstand, what is meant by this Angell heere mentioned, to wit, not anie celestiall Angell, or inuisible spirit, as it is sundrie [Page 203] times taken before: but by this Angell, and the two Angels following, are meant all the faithfull Mini­sters of the Gospell, which should bee raised vp in these last dayes, for the ouerthrow of Rome, and the deliuering of the Church from vnder the captiuitie of Antichrist: which may plaine [...]y appeare by this, that it is said, this Angell preacheth the euerlasting Gospell vnto them that dwell on the earth, which cannot properly agree to the celestiall spirits. Wee haue heard out of the tenth chapter, that Iesus Christ did open the little booke, which is the Bible, and did giue authoritie to his faithfull Ministers to goe preach and publish the doctrine thereof to manie nations, countries, and kingdomes: chapter 10.11. nowe vnto that agreeth this which is heere spoken of, and is a further opening and declaring of that which is there set downe. For as there Iesus Christ commeth downe from heauen, and openeth the little booke, which had beene long shut vp vnder the darknesse of Poperie, and the smoake which came out of the bottomlesse pit: so heere Christ Iesus raiseth vp his faithfull Ministers and preachers, to publish and proclaime the doctrine of the Gospell, which had long lyen hidde vnder the outragious persecutions of the two monstrous and most hideous beasts. chapter 18.1 To this also agreeth that which is written in the eigh­teenth chapter of this Booke, where Saint Iohn seeth an Angell come downe from heauen, hauing great power, so that the earth was lightened with his glorie. By which Angell is meant all the Prea­chers of this age. And the Angell is saide to haue great power: For what is more powerfull then the [Page 204] ministerie of the word. And moreouer it is sayd, that the earth was lightened with his glorie, that is, with the brightnesse of the preaching of the Gospel, whereby the darkenesse of Poperie was dispersed and driuen away, and Babylon falleth vpon it, as there you may reade, and as heere we shall see the like effect by and by.

Moreouer it is heere sayd, that this Angell flieth in the middest of heauen: that is, verie swiftly carrieth this euerlasting Gospell thorough all the Churches. For when Gods appointed time was come, wherein he would goe about the ouerthrowe of Poperie, he caused his euerlasting Gospell to be set abroach, and to spread ouer many kingdoms and nations, as wee see this day. Now because these kingdoms, where God would haue the knowledge of his Gospell di­uulged, were manie and great, therefore heere is ex­pedition required: and this Angell doth carie it, not standing but flying. And all this we see perfectly ful­filled with our eyes, when God raised vp Luther, Zuinglius, Melancthon, Peter Viret, Caluin, Bucer, Bullinger, Peter Martyr, and all their worthy succes­sours vnto this day, which haue spred the euerlasting Gospell verie farre, and caried it verie swiftly ouer England, Scotland, Germanie, Denmarke, Polonia, Sweuia, Russia, and many parts of France and Flaun­ders. Another reason why this Angell is said to flie in the middest of heauen, is because no power of man shall euer be able to stay the course of this euer­lasting Gospel which this Angel carieth abroad, no more then men are able to stoppe the course of the Sunne in the heauens, or a cloud in the skie. For this [Page 205] Angel flyeth in the midst of heauen, far aboue the reach of the beast, and al Kinges and Potentates that stand for the kingdom of the beast: Therefore let them doe al what they can, they shal neuer be able to stop the course of the Gospel. For it is called the arme of God, & his very arme holdeth it forth to the world, and who is able to bend it in, or to turne it backward?

There be three reasons, why the Gospell is called euerlasting.

First, because it is in his owne nature euerlasting,1. Pet. 1.25. as it is written, the worde of the Lord indureth for euer.

Secondly, because it putteth vs in possession of euer­lasting things. As it is written; Thy word, O Lord, Psal. 119. endu­reth for euer in heauen.

Thirdly & principally, because as it was long be­fore Antichrist was hatched: so it shal continue, when he and his kingdome is dead and rotten.

Saying with a loud voice; Feare God, ver. 7 and giue glory vnto him, &c.

Here is sette down the doctrine, which this Angel preacheth with a loud voice, that is, with great zeale. The summe whereof is this, Feare God, and giue glo­ry vnto him, and worship him that made heauen and earth, &c. The sense is, that the true and euerliuing God should only be feared, and worshipped, and all glory should be giuen to him alone through Christ, and none to Antichrist, none to Cardinals, and Legats; none to Angelles, none to Saintes, none to images, roods, crosses, and crucifixes. Here then is set downe an abridgement of the doc­trine of this euerlasting Gospell, namely that men [Page 206] should onely feare God and worship him, and giue all glory to him alone, and not to any creatures. And the reason is yeelded, because the houre of his iudge­ment is come,Deut. 33 10 Isay 42.4 Zeph. 2 3. Psal. 119.13 that is, the time of the manifestation of the Gospel, or lawes of the most high God: for so the word iudgement is often taken in the scriptures.

Here we are to obserue one speciall thing, to wit, that the Gospel, which this Angel flyeth withal, con­taineth the briefe summe of al the doctrine which Luther, Caluin, Peter Martyr and the rest haue taught out of Gods word, & agreeth in al points with it. For what other thing did they al preach, teach and write, but that men should turne from idols to the liuing God? from fearing, glorifying, & worshipping crea­tures, to feare, worship, and glorifie God alone which hath made al things? What other thing doo all the Preachers of this age publish & proclaime in al their sermons, but this; Feare God and giue glory onely to him? Is not this the Epirome and short summe of the doctrine of all the Preachers of England, Scotland, Germany, Fraunce, Denmarke, and all the rest? and therefore I conclude, that this Angel must needes be vnderstood of the preachers of this last age, which now these fourescore yeares haue founded the Trumpet of the Gospell against all the inuentions of Popery. And blessed bee God, wee see these thinges fall out in our daies, and are eye-witnesses of the fulfilling of them.

And there followed another Angell, saying, It is fallen, it is fallen, Babylon that great City: for she gaue to all nations to drinke the wine of the wrath of her for­nication.

[Page 207]Here is set downe the blessed effect of the prea­ching of this euerlasting Gospel, which is the downe­fall of Babylon. For as when the cleere sunne ariseth vppon the earth, the thick mists and cloudes are dis­persed: euen so when the bright beames of the Gos­pel do shine forth vnto the world, Babylon that darke kingdome vanisheth away incontinently. And as it is writtē in the eighteenth Chapter: chapter 18.1.2. So soone as the earth was lightened with the glory of this euerlasting Gospell, Babylon immediately falleth. Therefore now before I goe any further, my purpose through the assistance of God, is to prooue these fiue points out of this verse, and that which follweth vnto the twentith Chap­ter, to wit:

First, that Babylon here signifieth Rome.Fiue maine points.

Secondly, that Rome shal fall, and how.

Thirdly, that Rome shal fal finally, and come to vt­ter desolation in this life.

Fourthly, by whom, and when it shall be ouer­throwne.

Lastly, the causes of the vtter ruine and ouerthrow thereof.

But before I go about to prooue that Babylon here is Rome, I would haue it carefully obserued,How Rome is to be taken. what is meant by Rome, viz. not the topographie of Rome, that is, so much groūd only as is compassed within the wals of that City, but the regimēt, gouerment, & pre­rogatiue that is claimed by vertue of that monarchie, whereof Rome is the head. By Rome is meant the power and authority of Rome: or to speake plainelie, by Rome is meant the Romane monarchy. Further, we are here to obserue the reason why the Holy-Ghost [Page 208] calleth Rome Babylon: for Rome litterally & proper­ly taken, is not Babylon, in as much as they were two diuers Cities, one in Italy, the other in Chaldaea: But Rome is called Babylon mystically, figuratiuely, &, as the Holy-ghost speaketh, spiritually, and by a kind of allusion.Chap. 11 Vers. 8. A reason why Rome is called Babylon. For as the old Easterne Babylon did a long time oppresse the church of the Iewes: so Rome this Westerne Babylō, hath long oppressed the church of the Christians. As the Easterne Babylon did many yeeres hold downe the people of God, in miserable bondage and seruitude: so the Westerne Babylon did a long time keepe the Christian Church, in spiritual thraldome and misery. In which respectes Rome is spiritually compared to Sodome and Egypt: chapter 11.8. To So­dome for filthinesse, and to Egypt for idolatry, and keeping Gods Church in spirituall bondage, and sla­uery. And thus we see the reason why Rome is called Babylon, which is not simply, and properly, but after a sort, that is, by a phrase of speech, or trope which they call a Metonymie, or changing of names, when that is giuē to one thing, which is proper to another, for the likenesse of quality that it hath with it, or ad­ioined vnto it.

Now hauing shewed the reason why Rome is cal­led Babylon, and what is meant by Rome; we are to proceed to the first point, which is, to prooue that Ba­bylon in this place signifieth Rome, which although it bee granted of all sound diuines, and auouched in the writings of the best learned both new and olde, so as it shal need no great proofe: yet I wil ad three or foure reasons out of this booke, to make it more plaine and apparant. First therefore, I doe thus reason out of [Page 209] the seuenteenth Chapter and laste verse: chapter 17.18. Babylon is that great City which reigneth ouer the Kinges of the earth: but there was no other City which did reigne ouer the Kings of the earth, when Iohn writte this book, but only Rome: Therefore Rome is Baby­lon. For as for Ierusalem, it was at that time made an heap of stones. The first proposition is auouched by the Angel of God, expounding vnto Iohn what is meant by the great whoore, chapter 17.1. whose damnation he had shewed him before; and by the woman which sate vp­pon a scarlet coloured beast. The woman which thou sawest, saith the Angel to Saint Iohn, is the great City, which raigneth ouer the Kinges of the earth, That is to say, Rome, or the Romish synagogue, and malig­nant Church. For the Angel could not speake more plainely, except he should haue named Rome, then to say thus, The woman the great whoore of Babylon is the great City, which raigneth ouer the Kings of the earth. For if one should say, the great City of Englād, euery man knoweth that thereby is meant London; if one should say, the great City of France, euery one know­eth that thereby is meant Paris: so when the Angell sayth, the great city which raigneth ouer the Kings of the earth; all that liued in those times knew that,Babylon is Rome. therby was meant Rome. For Rome was the chiefe City of the monarchie, and is put in this booke for the whole monarchie, and the religion thereof, as hath beene sayd before.

My second reason is this. chapter 17 verse 5. Babylon is the mother of whoredomes, and abominations of the earth. Babylon is that great whoore, with whom haue cōmitted fornicati­on the Kings of the earth, chapter 17. verse 2. & the inhabitants of the earth [Page 210] made drunke with the wind of her fornication.

But Rome, & none but Rome is such a one. Ther­fore Rome is Babylon.

My third argument is this. Babylon is that City which hath had seuen seuerall gouerments. But only Rome hath had seuen seueral kind of gouermēts: ther­fore Rome is Babylon.

The proposition is prooued from the words of the Angel, expounding vnto Iohn what is meant by the seuen heads of the scarlet coloured beast, whereup­on the woman sate. chapter 17 9. The seuen heads (sayth he) are se­uen Kings, that is, seauen orders, or states of kingly gouerment: for seuen Kings in this place are not put for seuen seueral men, which were Kings, as some do take it:Dan 7.17. but for seuen seueral gouerments, as it is ta­ken in Daniel. The foure great beastes, sayth the Angel there, are foure Kinges, that is, foure kingdomes, go­uerments, or monarchies, as al men know. So here by seuen Kinges is meant the seuen seuerall regiments of Rome: That is to say, by Kings, Consuls, Decem­uiri, Dictators, Triumuiri, Emperours, and Popes, wherof the first fiue were then fallen when Iohn wrote, one was, chapter 17.10 that is, the Empire, and one was to come, that is, the Papacy.

My last argument is this. Babylon is that City which is situate vpon seuen hilles: but onely Rome of all Cities in the world is situated vppon seuen hilles: therefore Rome is Babylon.

The proposition is auouched by the Angel, which saith in the seuenteenth chapter, that the seuen heads of the scarlet coloured beast, are seuen mountaines, whereon the woman sitteth, that is, seuen hilles where­on [Page 211] the City of Rome is scituated, whose names are these: Capitolinus, Palatinus, Auentinus, Exquili­nus, Celius, Viminalis, and Quirinalis, as al Poets, and Historiographers doo testifie. One sayth thus of Rome. ‘Septem quae vna sibi muro circundedit arces.Virg. Georg. another thus. ‘Septem vrbs alta iugis toto quae praesidet orbe.Propert. Another calleth Rome [...], the City with seuen heades, that is, seuen hilles. It is cleere then by these reasons, that Babylon in this place signifieth Rome. As for the exposition of the Papists, which affirme that Babylon here signifieth the vniuersall society of the wicked, it is fond & ridiculous: for the Holy ghost sayth,Chap. 17. Chap. 18. Babylon is that City which raigneth ouer the Kings of the earth. But to say that the vniuersall soci­ety of the wicked raigneth ouer the Kinges of the earth, is absurd and ridiculous. Therefore to say that Babylon is the vniuersall society of the wicked, is ab­surde and ridiculous. The distinction of the Iesuits here is also as friuolous as their exposition: for they say, if Babylon be Rome, then it must be vnderstood of Rome vnder the heathen Emperours: but not vn­der the Popes. But the Angel sayth, the woman, that is, the whoore of Babylon, or Antichrist sitteth vpon se­uen mountaines: ergo shee sitteth at Rome, and Rome is the seat of Antichrist; and consequently Rome vn­der the Popes is Babylon. Moreouer, we may reason thus against the Popish distinction: That which was Babylon vnder the heathen Emperours, is the same which is here prophecied to bee the chiefe City and seat of Antichrist. But Rome was then Babylon: [Page 112] ergo Rome is now Babylon: for Rome is that City which the Angel sayth shoulde bee the seat of Anti­christ: And this book doth shew, that the great Anti­christ shoulde raigne in the same City, where the hea­then Emperours had raigned: & therfore it standeth firme, that Rome vnder the Popes is Babylon.

This then beeing graunted, that Babylon here is Rome; it followeth that Rome shall fall: for the Holy-Ghost sayth, Babylon is fallen, speaking in the present tense, as the maner of ye scripture is in prophecying of things to come. For whatsoeuer God hath determi­ned to cōe to passe, is, as it were, already don, because of the certainty of it:Rome shall fall. and for this cause also the word is doubled: It is fallen, It is fallen. Wee see then most cleerly, that almost 1500. yeers before Rome began to fal, the certaine fall thereof was foretold. This place of it selfe, is cleere inough to prooue my second point, which is, that Rome shal fal. But my purpose is to re­duce and gather all the fiue Chapters following to certaine heades, to prooue the maine points which I haue propounded: first then I reason thus to proue the second point, that Rome shall fall. That City and kingdome which hath the seuen vialles of Gods wrath emptied and powred downe vppon it, cannot stand, but must needes fall. But Rome is that City, which hath the seuen vialles of Gods wrath powred downe vppon it: Therefore Rome cannot stande long, but must needes fall. The proposition is manifest, and not to bee denied. The assumption is prooued throughout al the sixteene Chapter, and e­specially in the tenth and the twelfth verses, chapter 16. Ver. 10 Vers. 12 where the vials of Gods wrath are expresslie saide to be pow­red [Page 213] downe vpon the throne of the beast: and in the se­cond verse of that Chapter it is auouched, ver. 2 that the se­cond viall was powred down vpon the men which had the marke of the beast, and vppon them which worship­ped his image: Howe then can the throne of the beast hould out? or how can they which haue receiued the beastes marke stand vp long? For there is a great Em­phasis or vehemency in the manner of speeche. For he dooth not simply say, the wrath of God, chapter 15. verse 7. but the fulnesse of Gods wrath: he dooth not say, should bee a little sprinkled, but powred downe as it were by pailefulles vppon the kingdome of the beast. How then can the kingdome of the beast stande, which hath so many great ordinances, and so many double cannons discharged and shot off against it? Surely it must needes fal.

My second reason is this. The beast that was, and is not, and yet is, shall go into perdition. chapter 17 But Rome is the beast that was and is not, and yet is: Ther­fore Rome shal goe into perdition. The assumption is set downe Chapter. 17. verse. 8. For the Romane mo­narchie was great in the daies of Iulius Caesar, Augu­stus, Claudius, Tiberius; and therefore it is said, that it was. But in the raigne of Nero, Otho, Galba, and Vitel­lius, it was greatlie decayed: and therfore it is said, it is not; meaning so great as it had beene: and yet in some sort it was: and therefore it is said, and yet is. Now this beast shall go into perdition. Therefore the Romane monarchie shall bee destroyed; and consequently, the Papacie. For the Romane Empire holdeth vp the Papacie, as it is written, that the woman or whoore [Page 214] of Babylon sitteth vppon the Scarlet▪ coloured beast, which had seuen heades and tenne hornes: that is, the Roman monarchie, which beareth vp the whoore, and beareth vp the Papacy: but the Holy-ghost sayth, this beast, that is, the Romane Empire, shall go into per­dition. chapter 17. verse 8. Then it followeth that the papacy shal follow after: for if the beast that she sitteth vpon, & which beareth her, fal vnder her, then shee must needes fall together with him. But we see, God be thanked, that the Roman monarchie is in a manner quite fallen, therefore the Papacy cannot stand long.

My third argument is this.

The beast that was and is not, being euen the eight, & one of the seuenth, shall go into destruction. But Rome is the beast that was and is not, being the eight, and one of the seuenth: chapter 17. verse 11 therefore Rome shall go into de­struction. The assumption is set downe Chapter 17. verse 11. For the Papacy or dominion of the Popes, is the seuenth head of the beast in respect of their ciuil power; and yet a beast by themselues, that is, an eight in respect of their ecclesiasticall power. Nowe the Angel sayth flatly, they shall both together go into de­struction, that is, both the Empire and the Papacy. For as the dominion of the Popes goeth downe, so also their worship and religion, goeth downe with it, and for this cause it is expresly set downe in the nine­teenth Chapter, chapter 19. verse 20 that the beast and the false Prophet, that is, the Romane Empire, and the Papacy, were both destroied together.

Sith then the Holy-Ghost hath spoken it twise for failing, that Rome shall goe into perdition, and shall [Page 215] goe into destruction; I take it to be a very sound con­sequence, that Rome shall fall, and shall be destroy­ed. But how shall it fall, may some man say? or wherein shall it fall? I answer, that it shall fall in the credite and estimation of her doctrine: It shall fall in wealth and riches:How Rome shall fall. It shall fall in power and authoritie. And in all these it shall fall by degrees, as it did rise vp by degrees: It shall not fall at once, as it did not rise vp at once.

This is set downe in the sixteenth chapter, chapter 16. v. 12 where the fall of Rome is compared to the drying vppe of the riuer Euphrates, which was dried vp by degrees: Thus it is: Euphrates was a great Riuer, which did runne very neere vnto the olde Babylon in Chal­daea, and it was the wall and fortification of the Citie; in so much that Cyrus and Darius the kings of the Medes and Persians, laying siege against it, could not take it till by policie they digged great trenches, and deriued the waters another way, and so dried them vppe, that the Holie Ghost saith, The vvay vvas prepared for them to passe ouer. Now, as this Euphrates was the strength and fortificati­on of old Babylon: so the honour, wealth, riches, power, and authoritie of Rome, is the verie forti­fication of it. chapter 16.12. But the punishing Angell is com­maunded to poure downe the Viall of wrath vp­pon this Euphrates: that is, vppon all that vp­holdeth Rome, or fortifieth Rome, and foorth­with it dried vppe; that is, all the credite, power, ri­ches▪ and authoritie of ROME did diminish day­lie vppon it, doeth diminish, and shall diminish [Page 216] by degrees vnto the end of the world. For the vtter destruction of Rome is not yet come, but it is great­ly decayed from that it was fourescore yeares ago: And if it continue decaying fourescore yeeres mo, as assuredly it shall, then will it bee brought to a lowe ebbe. Since Luthers time wee knowe how the Popes Euphrates hath dried vp; but there is yet much water left, and it is yet too deepe for the kings of the earth to passe ouer and take it. But it shall ebbe so lowe, that the kings of Europe shall easily passe ouer, and take it, as wee shall heare anon. But in the meane time we see that it falleth, and that it is in falling, and the worke of God goeth forward euerie day. For now in this age, God bee thanked, manie kings and princes, with great multitudes of their sub­iects, haue their eyes opened to behold, that the Ro­mish religion is abominable;The kings of the earth in this age re­nounce the Pope. and that the Papacie is the verie kingdome of the great Antichrist. And whereas before they worshipped the beast, now they holde vp their hands onely to the God of heauen, and glorifie him in his sonne Iesus Christ. Now wee see that manie lawes are made in sundrie kingdoms and prouinces to abolish that vsurped power of the Bishop of Rome: Manie acts, edicts, and iniuncti­ons are set forth in sundrie nations and kingdomes of Europe to destroy, roote out, and deface all mo­numents of Idolatrie and superstition, which Anti­christ had erected in all kingdoms.

Now the Popes which were honoured as Gods in the earth, are accounted, and adiudged as the most vile and abominable creatures that liue vpon [Page 217] the earth. Doth not all this experimentally shew that Babylon is fallen, and that Babylon doth fall by de­grees? It is very palpable: we need no further proofe for this second point. But heere wee are further to obserue, that the Iesuits perceiuing the great de­cay of Rome,The Iesuits be­stir them, and why. and the continuall drying of their Eu­phrates, doe bestirre them to stoppe the leake, that it might not drie vp altogether. Euen as when men let out the waters of great fish-ponds, so as the wa­ter waxeth lowe, wee see the fishes skip and plunge, and take on wonderfully: So the Iesuits perceiuing the waters of their Romish Euphrates to emptie and drie vp daily, doe mightily take on, digging and searching euerie day to open the springs, and to find out some fresh fountaines to maintaine their great fishpond, and to keepe the waters deepe enough, that there may be no safe passage ouer, for the kings of the earth to come and take their great Babylon. All this doth appeare out of the sixteenth Chapter of this Prophesie: where Saint Iohn in vision seeth three vncleane spirits like Frogges, chapter 16. v. 13. comming out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false Prophet. By which frogges the holy Ghost meaneth the Iesuits and Se­minarie Priests,The Iesuits compared to frogs, and why. which are compared to frogges for three reasons. First, that as frogges delight in fil­thie lakes, and puddles; so the Iesuits delight in the filthie puddles of idolatrie and superstition. Se­condly, as frogges make a great croaking in their marish grounds; so the Iesuits make a great croaking in kings courts, in Noblemens houses, and Gentle­mens [Page 218] houses, and almost euery where, where they can get any entertainment, croaking and craking of the Popes supremacie, the popes holinesse, the Popes blessing, the popes keyes, the popes power, Peters chaire, Peters successour, Christs Vicar, and many good morowes, I knowe not what. Thirdly, as frogs are all of one nature and qualitie, delighting in croa­king, and liuing in puddle: so the Iesuits are al of one mind and disposition in euil, croaking euerie where to maintaine their Euphrates, and liuing dayly in whoredome, Sodomitrie, and al kind of outragious beastlinesse. But that I may more fully perswade the cōscience of the reader, that by these frogs are meant the Iesuits & seminarie priests: let vs seriously weigh that which goeth before, and that which followeth after in this text, and wee shal discerne it to be verie cleere and apparant. First, it is said, vers. 10. that when the fift Angell poured out his viall of Gods wrath vp­pon the throne of the beast, chapter 16. v. 10. by and by his kingdome waxed darke: that is, the maiestie, power, pompe, credite, and estimation of Antichrist beganne to bee diminished, obscured, and to suffer a great Eclipse: which thing was fulfilled shortly after Luthers prea­ching. And presently it followeth, that they gnawed their tongues for sorrow: that is, they were ful of furie and rage, ver. 10 barking and grinning like mad dogs, or ra­ther like helhounds against all such as set the Gospel abroach, wherby their Babylon began to shake. For at the first, when the Gospel began to peep forth, they did despise it, as a thing which they could easily sup­presse; but within a short time they found that neither [Page 219] by excommunications, wherewith in former times they had euen as it were with lightening and thunder caused kings and nations to tremble; neither by force of warres and bloudy slaughters; neither by anie skill in learning; nor by treacheries, they could any thing preuaile, but that the Gospell did still more and more lay open their filthinesse and shame: then did they become, and so do they continue til this day, euen as mad men in sorrow and rage, which the holie Ghost expresseth, in saying, chapter 16. v. 11. that they gnawed their tongues for sorrowe, and blasphemed the God of heauen, &c. Wher­by it is euident that the beast, and all that haue receiued his marke are full of firie hatred and malice, and cannot tell which way to be reuenged. For the more they striue, the more they lose dayly. Faine would they haue Poperie restored to his ancient credit and dignitie: and they deuise what they can to bring it about; but it will not be. For their kingdome wax­eth darker and darker, weaker and weaker: and that is a dagger vnto them, & a griefe of all griefes, which maketh them gnaw their tongues, and gnash their teeth for sorrow. But yet for all this, chapter 16. v. 11. they repented not of their works, saith Saint Iohn, and therefore God is more incensed against them, and causeth the sixt An­gel to poure out another vial vpon the great riuer Eu­phrates, and the water therof dried vp: as wee haue heard. Now then obserue carefully, and note it dili­gently, that the frogges come forth vpon the darke­ning of the kingdome of the beast,Note this. & the drying vp of their Euphrates. For who knoweth not that the pope & his cōplices perceiuing ye weakning & diminishing [Page 220] of their kingdome, haue sent out these Iesuits and Se­minarie Priests into all parts of Europe, to repaire the ruines of Rome, if it were possible. And this is one circumstantiall reason to proue these three frogges be vnderstood of the Iesuits. But let vs proceede to open the whole description of the holy Ghost, that it may yet more plainely appeare. First, these frogges are called vncleane spirits, chapter 16. v. 13. because they are the verie limmes of the diuell, full of all filthinesse and vncleannesse. Secondly, they are called spirits, because they come out of the mouth of the Dragon, [...]he beast, and the false Prophet. Thirdly, they are cal­led three in number, being in the truth neerer vnto three thousand, because they proceed out of three seuerall mouthes the Dragon, the beast, and the false Prophet: that is, the diuell, the Roman Empire, and the Papa­cie. Three horrible monsters, three terrible bug­beares, which with one consent conspire together a­gainst the Gospell, to vphold their Babylon, and to stop the leake of their Euphrates. Nowe these three Frogges are said to come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the beast, and the false Prophet, because they come with the verie mind and message of the Pope, and the Roman Empire, and so consequently with the verie mind and spirit of the Dragon. For they are the verie breath of the Pope, and the spirits of the di­uell, as like him, as if they had beene spitte out of his mouth. They are sent on the diuels errand, and the Popes embassage into all countries and kingdomes, and are taught their lesson what they shall say, and in­structed what they shall doe, and what courses they [Page 221] shal take with all sorts of men, both Kings, Nobles, and the meaner sort: and for this cause the holy Ghost saith, they came out of the verie mouth, the verie heart, and the very bowels of the Pope, and of the di­uell. And although these Iesuits and seminarie priests are called of their fauorits, Catholike doctors,The holy ghost calleth the Iesuits the spirits of diuels Chap. 16.14. holy fa­thers, &c. yet the holy Ghost saith flatly, they are the spirits of diuels, working false and fained miracles, and with great efficacie of errour, deluding and deceiuing the simple and blind multitude. Wee see then, that the holy Ghost in al this description, doth plainly note out the Iesuits and seminary priests. For to whom can these things here spoken of agree, but only to thē? And do not we which liue in these daies, sensibly see and discerne the fulfilling of al these things? Surely we can not but see & feele thē, vnles we be wilfully blind, and do of purpose blindfold and hoodwink our selues. But the holy ghost goeth yet futher, and doth more fully, & as it were demonstratiuely point them out vnto vs, describing thē by their office, which is, to go vnto the kings of the earth, & of the whole world; vers. 14 to gather thē to the battel of that great day of God Almighty. Who is ignorāt that the Iesuits & seminary priests are sent out to al kings & Nobles of the whole world, that fauour thē & their proceedings? Are they not croking in cor­ners thicke and threefold in all parts of this land? Are they not practising of treacheries & tresons against our most gratious Queene and the whole state? are they not plotting the destruction & subuersion of this Church & common wealth? Nay, as the holy Ghost saith, the chiefe end of their comming abroad, is to sol­licite & gather ye kings of the earth vnto battel against [Page 222] God, against Christ, and against all true professours of religion. The bettell betwixt them is heere called, The battell of the great day of God Almighty: that is, that Battell, wherein the Almightie God will haue the day, and goe away with the victorie. For it follo­weth, that the Iesuits and seminarie Priests did pre­uaile with the seduced kings of the earth so farre, as to gather them together to place,The Iesuits by their craftie perswasions shall bring the popish kings, and their ar­mies to a place where they shal be destroi­ed. Numb. 11. which in Herbrue is called Armageddon: that is to say, a place where they shall be destroyed, and that with such horrible slaughter, that the place shall take a name thereof. For it was an vsuall thing among the Hebrues, to call the place where anie famous thing fell out, by a name which did report ye same vnto all posteritie, as Kibroth Hataanah, the graues of Concupiscence; Hamon Gog, the multitude of Gog; and diuers such like. And so here Armageddon, Ezech. 39. the destruction of an armie, be­cause the kings of the earth, and their armies which shall fight against the Church, at the instigation of the Iesuits, shall come to a place, where they shall haue a notable ouerthrow. This word Armageddon may fitly bee deriued of two Hebrue words, that is to say, Cherem, which signifieth destruction, and Ge­dudh, which signifieth an armie; that is, the destru­ction of an army; or as some say, & that verie iudici­ally, it may come of Gnarmah Gidnon, which signifi­eth the subtiltie of destruction; because the blinde kings and Nobles of the earth shall by the subtiltie and craftie perswasions of the Iesuits and Semina­rie Priests, be entised to fight against the Protestants, in a place where they shall haue a famous foile. [Page 223] Some deriue Armageddon of Har, which in Hebrue signifieth a mountaine, and Megiddo, which is the place where the godly king Iosias was slaine: and so this place should be called Armageddon, the moun­taine of Megiddo, for the slaughter of kings that shall be there.Zach. 12.11· To the which the Prophet Zacharie alludeth, saying: In that day there shall be a great mour­ning in Ierusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon, in the valley of Megiddo. Well, we doe see that all these significations and deriuations of Armageddon come to one thing in effect; which is, that the great armies which assemble themselues in battaile against the Lord, shall bee destroyed: and therefore it is not much materiall to dispute, which is the more likely signification of the Word. But this let vs obserue for our comfort, that whensoeuer wee shal see the kings & Captaines, Nobles and Potentates of the earth, be­ing solicited by the Iesuites, priests, and the false Pro­phet, to leuy great armies, and make great powers to fight against the Gospell, and the true professours thereof, for the maintenance of great Babylon, they shall not preuaile, but bee vtterly ouerthrowne and destroyed. As in part wee see fulfilled in the yeare of our Lorde 1588. when the great and inuin­cible Armado of the Spaniards, as they thought, which was long in preparing against vs, and at last, by the instigation of the Iesuites, brought vpon vs, came to Armageddon, as we know, God be praised. And in all time to come, in the like case, let them look for the like successe. Well, now to grow to some con­clusion of this point; wee doe plainely see that Rome [Page 224] falleth, their kingdome waxeth darke, their Euphra­tes drieth vp, they espie it. The Dragon, the beast, & the false Prophet send out their frogs into all coun­tries and kingdomes, hoping to preuent it by the help of the kings of the earth, and especially the king of Spaine: but alas all in vaine! for they must come to Armageddon, when they haue done all that they can. For God fighteth from heauē against them, God bringeth them downe, and no power of man is able to vphold them.

But now let vs proceede to prooue the third maine point; which is, that Rome shall fall finally, and come to vtter desolation. For all sound Diuines are perswaded of the fall of Babylon, and doe graunt that it falleth, and is in falling: but all are not so thoroughly perswaded of the finall fall thereof in this life. Therefore now I wil proue by manifest Scripture, that Rome shall fall for a doo.Rome shall fall finally. First, if the things be deeply considered and narrowly looked into, which Saint Iohn saith shall fall out vpon the pouring forth of the seuenth vial of Gods wrath, by the seuenth Angel, they doe fully portend a deadly downfall, and vtter ouerthrowe of Rome. For the seuenth vial is not poured vpon the earth, or sea, or fountaines of waters, or on the Sunne, as the first foure vials were, which signified some particular iudgements; but it was poured forth into the verie aire, chapter 16.17. which signifieth the vniuersalitie of it, and containeth the most gene­ral▪ and most grieuous iudgment, and vengeance of Almightie God, vpon the whole bodie of the king­dome of Antichrist, a little before the last day. The [Page 225] text saith, that vpon the pouring forth of this viall, there was a loud voice heard out of the temple of heauen from the throne: that is, vers. 17 from the verie presence of God, saying: It is done. It is dispatched. The vtter o­uerthrowe of Rome is fully concluded of, and all things finished which belong to the pouring forth of the seuen vials, which containe the seuen last plagues, wherein the whole wrath of God is fulfilled, as ap­peareth chap. 15. as before it is said, Babylon is fallen, chapter 15.1. because it should certainly fal: So heere God him­selfe saith, It is done, because it shal certainly be done. For whatsoeuer God hath determined to be done, is as it were alreadie done, because it shall most cer­tainlie be effected. Sith then the Lord hath pronoun­ced this of Rome, there remaineth nothing but a dayly accomplishment of it: and let all the papists know for a certaintie, that they must go to their geare, they must come to their paiment, there is no way of euasion. For hath the Lord spoken it, and shall it not come to passe? Now vpon this that God saith, It is done, followeth presentlie, that there vvere voices, and thunderings, and lightenings, chapter 16.18 and there vvas a great earthquake, such as was not since men were vpon the earth, euen so mightie an earthquake. What is meant by thundrings, lightenings, and earthquakes in this Booke, I haue before shewed: to wit, chapter 6.12. commotions seditions, tumults, vprores, and alterations of states, kingdomes, and common-wealths: and then the mea­ning of this place, is that there shall be horrible sha­kings, cōcussions, tumults, & great alteration of states in al ye kingdoms which are subiect to Antichrist, none [Page 226] of them shall escape. For this seuenth viall of Gods wrath vpon the kingdome of the beast, is compared to a most horrible and blustering tempest, raised vp in the whole aire, that is, in all places of Antichrists dominions. And it is specially to be noted, as a thing of great moment, that the holy Ghost saith, There was neuer such an earthquake as this, since the world beganne, and since men were vpon the earth. For as­suredly, so soone as the seuenth Angell poureth forth his viall, the kingdome of Poperie shall go downe a maine, which shall not belong before the end of the world, as all circumstances heere doe shew. After all this, Saint Iohn telleth vs the effect of this thunde­ring, lightning, and extraordinarie earthquake; which is, chapter 16.19. that the great citie was diuided into three parts; that is, there shall bee a most horrible rent and diuision in the citie of Rome, and throughout all the Popes dominions. What this rent and diuision is, and how it shall bee, I cannot determine, being a thing to come, as all the rest comprehended vnder the pou­ring forth of the seuenth viall. But this I am sure of, that Rome shall go downe; and there shall be such tumults, vprores, rents, diuisions, dissipations, and concussions in Rome, and throughout all the Ro­mish iurisdiction, as neuer was heard of, nor read of, since the world began. For Saint Iohn addeth, that Ba­bylon came in remembrance before God, vers. 19 to giue vnto her the cup of the wine of the fiercenesse of his wrath: That is, God doth now at length call to mind all the wrongs done to his people, & all the righteous bloud shed, for the space of seuen or eight hundred yeers, by [Page 227] the whoore of Babylon, that he may be fully reuenged, and execute the fiercenesse of his wrath both vpon her, and her whole kingdome: yea, and that in such terrible and wrathfull maner, that there shall bee no place of refuge, no place to flie vnto for succour. vers. 20 For Saint saith, Euerie Ile fled away, and the mountaines were not found: Meaning, that the Papists in that day shall haue neither moutaine, nor Iland to flie vnto. And last of all, the holy Ghost saith, that there fell a great haile like talents out of heauen vpon the Idolaters: chapter 16.21. insomuch, that they blasphemed God, because of the plague of the haile. For the plague thereof was exceeding great. A talēt was about the weight of threescore pound, as some write. Then it followeth, that this haile of Gods wrath vpon the Papists, shal be most terrible and fear­full, and beate them all downe to the ground, as it were an haile of milstones, or plough-irons. Nowe, when this haile of talents commeth, as assuredly come it shall, then shall the kingdome of Poperie bee beaten to dust and powder: and therfore no mar­uell though the idolaters, seeing all this, bee in a most horrible rage, and blaspheme God, as Saint Iohn saith, vers. 21 because of this exceeding and most extraordinarie plague, which shall then come vpon them. But nowe to conclude and wind vp all together: For as muc [...] as this last viall is powred into the aire (God saith, it is done) an extraordinarie earthquake followeth; the great citie of Rome is rent; Babylon called into que­stion; and feareful hailestones of wrath poured down vpon the Idolaters: I do conclude, that Rome shal fall finally, and come to vtter destruction in this life.

[Page 228]Nowe let vs proceede to further proofe. In the eighteenth chapter of this booke, the whoore of Ba­bylon saith in her heart: chapter 18.8.9. Isa. 47. I sit, being a Queene, and am no widowe, and shall see no sorrowe. Therefore shall her plagues come at one day, death, and sorrow, and famine: and shee shall be burnt with fire. For that God which condemneth her, is a strong Lord.

First, here Rome is described, as shee was in the height and toppe of her pride and securitie, when shee held the dominion of the kings of the earth, and boasted that shee was the head of the Catho­like Church, carying her selfe very insolently aboue all kings and Emperours, treading vppon their neckes, and making them attend at her gates bare­foote in the middest of winter, as the stories report. Yea, and that shee was no widow; that is, no solita­rie or desolate person, but one that had manie lo­uers, which were strong to defende her, so as shee should feele no want, nor see any sorowe. But the time will come, and draweth on apace, wherein shee shal be throughly punished for her haughtinesse, and intolerable pride & security. For the holy Ghost saith, her plagues shal come at one day, that is, sodainly, shortly and speedily, euen death, sorow and famine, and she shall [...] burnt with fire. For that God which condemneth her, [...] a strong Lord.

If this bee not plaine enough to proue an vtter ouerthrow of Rome, I know not what can be plaine enough. For if death, famine, and fire will not pul her downe, I knowe not what shal pul her downe. But Saint Iohn saith flatly, that God himselfe who [Page 229] is a strong Lord, will oppose himselfe against Rome, and condemne her. If this strong God take a­gainst her, who can vpholde her? Can the king of Spaine? can the Cardinalles? can the Emperour? can all the Dukes of Italy, and al the potentates of the earth, that take part with her? No, no,Iob. 23. they are al too weake. For if God take against a man, who can reclaime him, sayth the Holy-Ghost? For he dooth whatsoeuer he will. And againe, God is wise in heart, Iob. 9. and mighty in strength, who euer hardened his hart against him and prospered? If God call not backe his anger, the most proud helpes are bowed vnder him. And God sayth by the Prophet: Can thy hands be strong, Ezech. 22. or can thy hart endure in the day that I shal haue to do with thee? Then it followeth, that though Babylon sit as a Queene, & al her louers take part with her, yet because the strong Lord is against her, therefore shee shal come to vt­ter destruction. Some of good iudgement in the truth, haue gathered from this place, that the very City of Rome shal be burnt with fire;Amos. 1. ver. 4.7.10.14. Amos 2. ver. 2.5. which assuredly may wel bee. But this I am sure of, that the phrase of burning with fire, doth in the Prophets alwaies sig­nifie an vtter destruction and desolation of a City, or a kingdome, and therefore it followeth that Rome shal be vtterly destroied.

But behold yet stronger, and plainer proofe. chapter 18. verse 2. For Saint Iohn sayth, a mighty Angel tooke vp a stone like a great milstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, with such violence shal that great City Babylon be cast downe, and shal be found no more. Al men know, that old Baby­lon in Chaldaea was destroied by the Medes, and Per­sians, [Page 230] long before Saint Iohn writte this booke: and therefore that is not here meant, but the new Babylon which is Rome, as afore hath bin prooued. The Phra­ses of speech, and the signes which the Prophets v­sed to declare the destruction and desolation of olde Babylon, are heere alluded vnto in the destruction of Rome. For we reade in the prophecy of Ieremy, that the Prophet hauing written in a booke al the euil that should come vpon Babel, for holding Gods people so long in most miserable captiuity, sayd to Seraiah, When thou commest vnto Babel, Ier. 51. ver. 61 62.63.64. thou shalt reade all these words, and when thou hast made an end of reading this book, thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the middest of Euphrates, and shalt say: Thus shall Babel be drowned, and shall not rise vp from the euill that I will bring vpon her, although they wearie themselues. Now let vs consider how this agreeth with the same which is heere set downe, and wee shal finde, that all thinges are here set downe, with greater force, to ex­presse, as it were, a deeper vengeance, and a more heauie (and vnrecouerable destruction). First, there is a man, here is a mighty Angel: there the man ta­keth vp a stone, heere the Angell taketh vp a great stone, like a milstone: there the stone is caste into the riuer, here into the deepe sea. Al these circum­stances being applied to Rome, doo greatly aggra­uate the matter,Rome shall fall without all hope of recouery. and verie plainely shewe, that it shal fal, Without al hope of recouery. For the Lorde declareth by this forcible signe, of casting a milstone into the sea, that the City and kingdome of Antichrist shal bee cast deepe downe into perditi­on, [Page 231] and shall lie ouerwhelmed, and drowned in the same for euer. For if olde Babylon was vtterly destroied, and came to a final desolation in this life; much more shal Rome, as the Holy Ghost disputeth. But olde Babylon came to vtter ruine and desolati­tion in this life, as both Isay and Ieremy doe witnesse: Therefore newe Babylon; that is, Rome, shal come to vtter destruction: and as the Holy-ghost here sayth, shall be found no more, or shal fal without all hope of recouery. Stories doe report that Rome hath beene sundry times destroied by the Gothes and Vandales, and others, yea once fired and quite burnt vp, but afterward built and raised vp againe by the Emperours: But here the Holy-ghost sayth expres­lie, that it shal haue a final fal, and an vnrecouerable destruction. For can a milstone, cast into the bottome of the sea, euer be gotte vp againe? no, no, it is impos­sible. Therefore, let the Iesuits, and Seminarie Priests, doe what they can, they shal neuer set vp Rome againe; they shal neuer restore her to her for­mer state and dignity; they shal neuer repaire her cre­dit againe. Let he Pope, and Cardinals, and the King of Spaine, and al the world, and al the diuels in hel, ioyne together, they shal neuer get vp this mil­stone out of the bottome of the sea. For the Angel hath cast it in with such a violence, that no power of man shal euer fetch it out againe. True it is in­deede, that the Iesuits bestir them, and the Seminary Priests, and Papists doe worke apace in al landes, and aduenture themselues in most desperate manner, to recouer againe the credit of Popery, and to set vp a­gaine [Page 232] the dignity and the power of the Pope, and the glory of their Church and City, and their bold enter­prises, doe make many euen to doubt that they wil againe one day preuaile. But assuredly wee are to make ful reckoning, that although heere and there they may support for a time, some ruinous partes of their rotten frame: yet doo what they can, it shal in the end downe vpon their heades, and come to vtter desolation. Indeede, Rome standeth yet, and Pope­ry is not quite fallen downe. But they are disclosed, their credit is cracked, their power decaieth: and so this thinge is begunne, and the time draweth on when it shal bee fully accomplished. He that had beheld the Power, the Pompe, the riches and estima­tion of the Church of Rome aboute some foure­scoure yeeres paste, and looketh vpon it now, shal see a woonderfull alteration. It seemed then to bee without al daunger of shaking: for the Empe­rour and the Kinges of the earth stoode foorth with al their force and might, power and pollicy, to vphold it: but God be thanked, we see how it is already come down, and shal come down euery day more & more, whosoeuer sayth nay to it.

But beholde yet more, and more plaine proofe for the vtter desolation of Rome. For Saint Iohn describeth the eternal desolation thereof, by denial of those things which are in Cities inhabited: First hee sayth, there shall be no more any voice of harpers, Musiti­ans, chapter 18.22.23.24. Pipers, and Trumpeters, heard in Rome, that is, al musick shal surcease, which argueth an vtter desola­tion. For what inhabited cities are without musicke?

[Page 233]Secondly, hee sayth there shall be no craftes man of what trade soeuer found in Rome;Rome shall come to vtter desolation. which argueth an vt­ter desolation. For what flourishing City is without artificers?

Thirdly, he sayth, no light of a candle shall any more shine in Rome, which argueth an vtter desolation. For what inhabited Citie is without candles?

Fourthly, hee sayth, no sounde of a milstone shal bee heard in Rome, which argueth an vtter desolation. For what Citie is without milles to grinde their corne?

Lastly, hee sayth, the voice of the Bridegroome and of the bride shall be heard no more in Rome, which ar­gueth an vtter desolation: for what Citie is without bride and bridegroome? and without mariage for procreation sake? Then I conclude from al this, that Rome shal fal finallie, and come to vtter destruc­tion.

But behold yet more plaine and pregnant proofe drawen from the pitiful mournings, and most wo­ful lamentations of the Kinges of the earth, the Mer­chantes, and the Mariners, who al doe iointlie la­ment and mourne, for the destruction and desola­tion of Rome, crying, alas, alas, chapter 18. ver. 10. Vers. 17. Vers. 19. that great City Baby­lon, that mighty City: for in one houre is thy iudgement come: In one houre so great riches are come to desolation In one houre she is made desolate. What can bee more plainely, and fully spoken, to prooue an vtter desola­tion of Rome? What can bee more required, then to haue it set downe in expresse tearmes? as here we see. For nowe the Holy-Ghost vseth no figure, no [Page 234] hardnesse, no circumlocution, no obscurity: but telleth vs plainely, and thrise for failing, that Baby­lon, that is, Rome, is made desolate, is come to deso­lation. ver. 10 ver. 15 ver. 18 Moreouer it is said that the Kinges, Mer­chants and Mariners, shall stand a far off for feare of her torment, and they shall weepe and waile, when they shall see the smoake of that her burning, signifying that the torment, and plague of Rome shal be so great, that Kinges for al their might shal not dare to come nigh to rescueher: no not the Kinge of Spaine with al his great might and power, hee shal bee faine to stand a far off, or rather vtterly to forsake her, weeping and wailing as wel as others, for her most feareful, and vnrecouerable destruction.

But wee are to obserue in al this, that the holy Ghost vseth a figure or kinde of speech, which they cal a Prosopopoeta or fayning of a person, whereby the Popishe Kinges beeing dead and rotten are brought, in lamenting, and bewailing the fal of Ba­bylon, as if they were aliue againe: or else it may bee vnderstood of the Cardinalles, and Legates, which are euen as Kings vppon the earth. But it cannot be vnderstood of christian Kinges, for they shal be the instruments of God to pul down great Babylon, as wee shal heare anone. Furthermore, let vs con­sider the causes of this great lamentation, for the deadlie downefal of Babylon, by the Popish Kings, Merchants, and Marriners. First the Kings, they mourne and lament, sayth Saint Iohn, because they had committed fornication with the great whoore of Babylon, ver. 9 and liued in pleasure with her. That is, they [Page 235] had liued long with her in abominable idolatry, and pleased her that waie: and therefore shee gaue them dispensations to liue in wantonnesse and al car­nal pleasures, and euen to doe what they list, spending their dayes in sensuality and al kinde of fleshlie de­lightes.

Secondly, the Merchants do weepe and waile, ver. 12.13.14. because no man buyeth their ware any more. These Merchants are not named, but they may easily be knowne by their wares, which the holy-Ghost de­scribeth, to witte, that they be the Popish Merchants, the shauen Merchants, who are heere brought in mourning and lamenting for the losse of their gaine. The Monks, Friers, & Priests cannot haue that vtte­rance of their wares, that in times past they haue had; their wares are nowe out of request; their markets wax deade, and they haue colde takings. When these fellowes passe by the great Monasteries and Abbeyes, and see them made ruinous heapes, and withal remember the fatte reuenewes, the good cheere, the pleasure and delight which sometimes they haue had in those places, it cuts their heartes, and maketh them shake their heads at it, saying, alas, alas, that great City that was clothed in fine linnen and purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold, vers. 16 and preti­ous stones, and pearles, for in one houre so great riches are come to desolation. Marke then that the ruine of their great City, with al the pompe, pleasure and ri­ches thereof, is that which yet sticketh in their sto­mackes.

Thirdly, the Mariners doe greately mourne and [Page 236] lament, chapter 18. verse 17.18.19. for the losse of their profit and commodity. For while Rome had dominion ouer the kingdomes, and the Pope ruled ouer al, euen as a God vppon the earth, there was nothing but trudging ouer the seas to Rome out of al landes, and againe from thence, there was carrying and recarrying; in somuch that multi­tudes of Mariners and Shipmasters were continually set on worke, & gained greately therby. No maruaile then though these Mariners are brought in among o­ther friends of Rome bewailing her destruction, euen with dust vpon their heads weeping, and crying, and saying, vers. 19 Alas, alas, that great City, wherein were made rich all that had ships on the sea by her costlines. For in one houre she is made desolate. Thus we see how the Kings and Merchants and Mariners shal bewaile the vtter ruine and great desolation of Rome, for the losse of their pleasure, their gaine, and their profit.

Moreouer wee are to obserue, that that which is spoken by the old Prophets Isay and Ieremiah, touching the vtter desolation of olde Babel, is ap­plyed by Saint Iohn to newe Babel, which is Rome. Touching the olde Easterne Babylon, the Prophet sayth thus:Isay. 13.19 Babel the glory of kingdomes, the beauty and pride of the Chaldeans, shall be as the destruction of God in Sodome and Gomorrah. It shal not be inhabi­ted for euer, neither shall the Arabian pitch his tent there, neither shall the sheppeheardes make their foldes there. But Ziim shall lodge there, and their hou­ses shal be ful of Ohim: Ostriches shall dwell there, and the Satyres shall dance there, that is, Fairies, Hobgoblins, [Page 237] Night-spirits, and such like, whereby is signified the vtter desolation of olde Babylon. chapter 18. v. 2. Now Saint Iohn ap­plyeth al this to Rome saying, Babylon that great City is become the habitation of diuels, and the hold of al foule spirits, and a cage of euerie vncleane and hatefull bird. Noting heereby both the filthinesse of Rome, and also her vtter desolation.

But nowe let vs proceede to our last and grea­test argument, to prooue the finall fall, and vtter de­struction of Rome, and all Romish power and autho­ritie. In the nineteenth chapter of this Prophesie our Lord Iesus is described, sitting vpon his vvhite horse, chapter 6.2. which is the ministerie of the Gospell, as hath be­fore beene proued; and is most gloriously brought in by Saint Iohn, as graund Captaine and Gene­rall of the field, fighting with all his armie against Antichrist and his souldiers. Saint Iohn giueth him goodly names and titles, calling him the word of God, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: chapter 19. v. 12.13.14.15.16. and saith, that hee hath a name written that no man knew but himselfe; which is his infinite glorie and maiestie. And moreouer, that his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head manie crownes, and a sharpe sword in his mouth, and clothed with his warlike garment dipt in bloud, and all his heauen­ly souldiers followed him vpon white horses: mea­ning thereby all Christian Kings, Dukes, Lords, Nobles, Captaines, Preachers and Professours of true religion. This graund Captaine with all these worthie souldiers, saith Saint Iohn, shall muster together, and prepare themselues to fight against [Page 238] the beast, and the false Prophet, and all their forces, and at last hee seeth them ioine battaile. vers. 19 I saw (saith Saint Iohn) the Beast and the kings if the earth, vers. 19 and their armies gathered together to make battell against him that sate vpon the vvhite horse, and against his ar­mie. Now all this is to be vnderstood of the battels betwixt the Papists and the Protestants in these last dayes. But, may some man say, who shall haue the victorie? what is the successe? what was the issue? Let vs heare of that. The holy Ghost answereth, that the Beast and the false Prophet vvere taken, foyled and ouercome:The Protestāts shal haue the day. vsing a warlike phrase, because in the warres they vse to take the greatest Captaines and Commaunders aliue, and to put them to their raun­soms. The like vnto this wee haue in the seuen­teenth Chapter, where Saint Iohn telleth vs, that when the Popish kings and Potentates shall make warre a­gainst Christ and his Gospell, they shall haue the like successe vnto this. For, saith hee, These haue one mind, chapter 17. v. 13.14. and shall giue their power and authoritie vn­to the beast, they shall fight with the Lambe, and the Lambe shall ouercome them: for hee is Lord of Lords, and king of kings.

But, may some man say, when the Leaders and commanders of the Popish armies shal be taken cap­tiue and set at their ransomes, what shall become of the inferiour Captaines and souldiers? The holy Ghost answereth, that the remnant were slaine with the sword of him that sitteth vpon the horse: That is, they were put to the sword, chapter 19. v. 21. and al the foules were filled full with their flesh. And for this cause S. Iohn [Page 239] saith, that he saw an Angell stand in the Sunne, chapter 19. v. 17. who cried with a loud voice, saying to al the foules that did flie by the middest of heauen, Come and gather your selues together vnto the supper of the great God.

Now to make this plaine. Wee know, that they which proclaime anie matter, seeke some market crosse, or high place to stand in, where they may best be heard: So this Angell, which proclaimeth the vi­ctorie against Antichrist, before anie stroke bee stric­ken, because of the certaintie of it, standeth in the Sunne, as it were in the Theater and middest of the world, as in a place most fit for his purpose, that hee may bee heard throughout all the earth. Now this proclamation is directed to all the foules of the aire, to bid them to a supper, which is here called the sup­per of the great God. But it may be demanded, what cheare shall they haue? The holie Ghost answereth, that they shal eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of great Captaines, and the flesh of mightie men, vers. 18 and the flesh of horses, and of horsmen, and the flesh of all freemen, and bondmen, and of small and great.

This we knowe, that when men are slaine in great numbers in the warres, their bodies lie scat­tered, as meat for the foules of the aire. And there­fore heere all foules are inuited and bidden to a great supper, made them by the great God, whose hand is in all this; their cheare, and their dainties are recko­ned vp to bee the flesh of kings and Captaines, &c. Now out of all this may be strongly concluded, that heereafter in all time to come, when the armies [Page 240] of the Pope, which is the beast, the armies of the king of Spaine, who hath giuen his power and au­thoritie vnto the beast, & is his great vpholder; when the Armies of the Cardinall his great confederate; whē the armies of the Leaguers, his great adherents; yea whē al these, & all other Popish armies shall ioyne & band thēselues together against the christian kings and defenders of the Gospell: they shall haue a nota­ble ouerthrow, insomuch that their dead carkesses shall euen couer the earth, and the foules of the aire shall come to their great supper, which the Lord of hosts will make readie for them. For assuredly, and out of al doubt, they that liue shall see the fulfilling of all this,The popish ar­mies shal go down by heaps and shall see the popish armies go downe by heapes in all countries and kinstdomes, and be made meat for the foules of the aire. For the holy Ghost saith, chapter 16. v. 16. They shall come to Armageddon, that is, the place where their Armies shall be destroyed. And againe, If anie leade into captiuitie, chapter 13. v. 10. he shall goe into captiuitie. If anie kill with a sword, he must be killed with a sword: For as the Popish forces haue in former time taken captiue the people of God, and cruelly murdered them: so nowe the time draweth on apace wherein they themselues shall be taken and put to the sword. And therefore now at last I conclude, that Rome shal fall finally, and come to vtter destruction in this life. For as Rome did rise vp by degrees in this life, so Rome shall fall by degrees in this life: As Rome grew vp to her full height and highest pitch in this life; so it shall come to her lowest ebbe and greatest declination in this life: I meane before the com­ming [Page 241] of Christ vnto iudgement. For the falling downe of haile like talents vppon the kingdome of the beast, shall bee in this life: The extraordinarie earthquake vpon the dominions of Antichrist, shall be in this life: The comming of the Popish Armies to Armageddon, shall bee in this life:Rome shal be vtterly destroi­ed in this life. The mourning of the kings, merchants and marriners, for the ouer­throwe of Babylon, shall bee in this life: The great battaile betwixt the beast and him that sitteth vpon the white horse, shall be in this life, before the day of iudgement: The pouring foorth of al the seuen vials of Gods wrath vpon the kingdome of the beast, shall bee euen in this life. For it were an absurde thing to say, anie of these things shal bee after this life; or to say that these things shal not bee til the ve­rie comming of Christ; for they are all things to be effected heere in this earth: and the holy Ghost doth describe them as things to be done vpon the face of the earth: for otherwise wee could haue small com­fort in anie of these things, if they should not bee done heere in earth, or if they should all bee de­ferred till the verie comming of Christ, and in the meane time Antichrist shal stil preuaile.2. Thess. 2. An obiection answered. But it wil be obiected, that Saint Paul saith, The Lord shall con­sume Antichrist with the spirit of his mouth, and abolish him with the brightnesse of his comming: Therefore before his comming he shall not be vtter­ly abolished. True it is indeede, hee shall not vtter­ly be cut off in all his members, til the verie com­ming of Christ. For there will bee some Pa­pists remaining in all countries, euen vnto the end: [Page 242] there be some, nay, manie, that will carie the beasts marke euen til the last day. But the holy Ghost in this Prophesie speaketh of the reuolting and falling away of kingdoms, and countries from the sea of Rome; whereby it shal come to passe, that it shal bee exceedingly weakened, and brought so lowe, that the kings of the earth shall easily take it; or as the ho­ly Ghost speaketh, shal easily passe ouer their Euphra­tes, chapter 16. v. 12. being dried vp▪ and enter their Babylon. But then wil some man say, Shal there be no Pope at all a little before the comming of Christ? I answer, and not I, but the holy Ghost for mee. Hee shall bee a poore Pope, chapter 17. v. 16. The Pope shall be brought ve­ry low. 2. Sam. 3. a naked Pope, a desolate pope, a Pope whose flesh shal be torne, whose flesh shal wither, as wee shall heare anon. He shal be such a Pope, as Ishbosheth was a king, when Abner and all Israel fel away from him. He shal bee such a Pope, as the king of Portu­gall is a king.

But it will be obiected, How knowe you this? are you a Prophet? can you foretel of things to come? I answer, Saint Iohn was a Prophet, and indued with a prophetical Spirit in this matter of his visions and reuelations; and I speake no more then Saint Iohn hath set downe. And therefore I hope I speake within compasse: for I do but relate Saint Iohns words, and explaine them in such measure as I am able. This Prophesie doth plainely declare, that Babylon shall fall; Rome shall come downe, the Pope shall ne­uer be esteemed againe. And I doe beleeue it to bee so; I beleeue God; I beleeue his word; I beleeue all that is spoken in the Scriptures: and I doe ende­uour [Page 243] to perswade others also. For sith the holy Ghost hath so plainely, and so fully foretold it, why shoulde we not beleeue it? Why are we so slowe to beleeue all that is written in the Scriptures? Hath God spo­ken it, and shal it not come to passe? Shall any iote of his word faile? Shall wee thinke hee iesteth with vs, when hee doth so often and so seriously tell vs of the downefall of Rome? Surelie, surelie, the cause why men are not fully perswaded of the finall fall of Rome, is, because they doe not diligentlie peruse this booke of the Apocalypse. But let men be studi­ous and diligent in this booke, and they shall bee out of al doubt, that Rome is the great whoore of Babylon; that the Pope is Antichrist, and the Papacy the beast.

But nowe mee thinketh I heare some man say, how is it like that Popery shal fal downe more and more heere amongst vs, sith it hath so many friends, backers, and vpholders, and seemeth to gather strength, and make an heade againe? I answere, that al is but a lightening before death. I answere, that al is but the stopping of a water-brooke, or making a damme ouerthwart it, which wil cause it to swel more, and breake ouer with greater violence. I an­swere, that all is no more then is foretolde, that 2the Iesuits shal come forth like frogges out of their puddles, and marish groundes, and keepe a croa­king for a time, til they haue croaked their owne destruction, and many others. For they shal neuer set vp Popery here in England, to stand and continue, doe what they can. I must needes confesse, that our [Page 244] sinnes, beeing so horrible and outragious, as they are, and being grown to such an height, and ripenesse, do deserue some fearefull vengeance, and that God hath a iust controuersie against vs, as sometimes he had against Israel, because there vvas no mercie, nor truth, Hos. 4. nor knowledge of God in the land: but swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and whooring, and bloud touch­eth bloud, and therefore saith God, the land shal mourn, &c. But yet I hope for his couenant sake, for his great mercies sake, for his names sake, for his glory sake, and for his Church sake, he will be gratious and fauorable vnto vs, & not bring vpon vs that vēgeance which our sins haue deserued: or at leastwise though he correct vs, as indeed he hath iust cause, & we may iustly feare it; yet he will doe it in mercie, for our a­mendment, and not in wrath to our destruction, as he saith by his Prophet:Ier. 30.11. Ier. 46.28. Ier. 10.24. I will not vtterly destroy thee, but I vvill correct thee by iudgement, and not vtterly cut thee off. But howsoeuer it shall please the most wise God to deale with vs; yet this I say, and am perswaded of, that Poperie shall neuer bee establi­shed againe in this kingdome; my reason is, because the euerlasting Gospell caried abroad by the Angell that flieth in the middest of heauen, shall spread still more and more throughout all the kingdoms of Eu­rope, chapter 14.6. Rom. 11.24. as appeareth Chap. 14. ver.6. for otherwise how shal Rome fal? how shal the Iewes euer be conuerted? how shall fire come downe from heauen, and deuour both Gog and Magog, chapter 20.9 as the holy Ghost foretelleth shall come to passe: and as we shal heare more anon? Moreouer Saint Iohn telleth vs plainly, that in these [Page 245] last dayes the Gospell shall bee preached to many people, Apoc. 10. ver.11 Apoc. 11. ver. 13 and nations, and tongues, and to many kings. And further he saith, that in this age wherein wee liue, many shall renounce Idolatry, repent and giue glorie to the God of heauen. But some man may say, how proue you that this kingdom is one of them which S. Iohn speaketh of, and which he meaneth, wherein the gospell shall be preached vnto the end of the world? I answere,Apoc. 17 ver. 12.13.16. that it is prooued out of the 17. chapter of this pro­phesie, where the holy ghost telleth vs flatly, that those ten kingdomes of Europe which had a lōg time ben the ten hornes & strength of the beast, chapter 17. verse 13 & being of one minde, had giuen their power & authority vnto the beast, should now in these last daies rise vp against the whore of Babylō, make war against her, hate her & make her desolate. But this kingdome is one of those ten hornes, ver. 16 and one of those ten kingdomes, which a long time had giuen her power & authoritie vnto the beast. There­fore as this kingdome hath happily begun to hate the whore, and to make her desolate and naked: so vndoubtedly shee shall continue vnto the end of the world. For if this kingdome,England and other king­domes which haue forsa­ken the beast, shall so con­tinue vnto the end of the world. and other kingdomes which now hate the whore, doe not continue, how shall shee bee made desolate and naked &c? Then it should seeme, the beast shall reuiue and recouer himselfe againe, and so S. Iohn shall be found a false prophet. But God is true, and all men are liers, & Saint Iohn shall bee found a true prophet: and therefore these kingdomes of Europe which haue begun to hate the whore, shal cōtinue, & neuer giue her ouer, [Page 246] till (as the holy ghost saith) they haue eaten her flesh, & burnt her with fire: that is, till they haue vtterly de­uoured her. But heere it will be obiected, that in the latter daies iniquitie shall haue the vpper hand. I an­swere first, that I finde no such place of scripture. But this I find, that our Lord Iesus foretelleth his disciples, that very shortly after his death & resurrecti­on, many seducers and false teachers should arise, which should deceiue many, and draw them away from the loue of the gospell: and saith hee, because iniquitie shall bee increased, Math. 24.12. the loue of many shall bee cold. But this speech of our sauiour, doth not properly concerne our times. But yet it must needes be gran­ted, that the wicked shall wax worse and worse, & the world shall not amend, but still bee worse and worse, chapter 14. ver. 1 14 & 18. and grow to a greater height and ripenesse of sinne, as appeareth in this prophesie. Yet for all this wee must note withall, that the number of true beleeuers in those last daies, chapter 11. ver. 1 ver. 11. ver. 13. shall bee very many, as this booke doth also teach. But it may bee obiected, how can this geare stand together, that in the last daies there shall bee multitudes and millions of re­probates, and most wicked & abhominable persons, and yet withall, a great increase of true beleeuers? I answere, that the world will bee alwaies like it selfe, impious and vnbeleeuing. But the church shall purely worship God, and that with daily increasing, euen vnto the end.

But now me thinketh I heare some man say, what likelyhood is there of all this which you write touch­ing [Page 247] the ouerthrow of Rome? Doe wee not see, that Rome is yet strong? Doth not Italy, Spaine, the greatest part of France, and Netherland, and Ger­many, stand for her defence? Hath not the whore still many and great bearers, and vpholders, what likelyhood is there thē, that euer she shal be brought so low as you speake of? I answere,Wee may not say, what like­lyhood is ther of this? that in this case we must not aske this question what likelyhood. We must not consult with flesh and bloud. Wee must not take counsell of humane reason. For God is maruellous in his deuises, and when hee hath once decreed and determined of any future euent, he will compasse it by meanes far surpassing all humane reach and capacitie: yea by such plots and deuises, as mans wit could neuer haue once dreamed of. For hee hath all meanes in heauen & earth in his hands, and is admirable in all his proceedings, and there­fore we may not aske this question, what likelyhood, or how can it bee, or how can it possiblie come to passe? What likelyhood was there an hundred yeeres past, when Rome was in her height, and all the king­domes of Europe stood for her, that euer she should haue been forsaken of so many of her old friends, as at this day shee is? What likelyhood was there, that when the Pope could commaund the Emperor, and all the kings of Europe, and their kingdomes, that euer hee should haue beene brought so low as at this day hee is, God bee thanked? What likelyhood was there that euer poore Martin Luther should stand out with the euerlasting gospell in his mouth [Page 248] against the Pope, Emperour, & as it were the whole world, & yet dye in his bed in a good old age? What likelyhood was there that Henry the eight, of famous memory, should renounce Rome, oppose himselfe against the Pope, and suppresse the Abbies, Priories, and Monasteries in this kingdome, and take their lands and liuings into his owne hands? Therefore I conclude, that when God hath decreed the vtter o­uerthrow of Rome, wee must not aske this questi­on, how can it be? or which way shall it be brought about? For the scriptures doe teach that God in all ages, hath done the greatest exploits, either by him­selfe alone without meanes, or else by weake meanes, or contrary to all meanes.

2. Chro. 20. By himselfe without meanes hee ouerthrew the Moa­bits, Ammonites, and them of mount Seir, which made warre against good king Iehosaphat.

Exod. 14. By himself he destroied Pharaoh, & his army in the red Sea.

Ios. 6. 2. King. 19. By himselfe hee ouerthrew Iericho, that great citie.

By himselfe hee slew the huge army of the Assyrians, that made warre against Ezechias.

2. Chro. 14. By himselfe hee smote the great and dreadfull army of the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Iudah.

2. King. 6. By himselfe hee smote the Syrians, which besieged Do­than the citie where the prophet Elisha was.

Iud. 7. By weake meanes hee ouerthrew the innumerable army of the Midianites, euen by Gedeons three hundred.

1. Sam. 14. By weake meanes he slew a garrison of the Philistines, euen by Ionathan and his armour-bearer.

Gen. 14. By weake meanes he ouerthrew the kings of Sodome & [Page 249] thereabouts, euen by Abraham, & his family.

He ouerthrew Goliah by Dauid: Sisera by Iael: 1 Sam 17· Iud 4. Iud. 9. Dan. 3. Abimi­lech by a woman.

Contrary to meanes, hee saued the three children from burning, being in the fire.

Contrary to meanes, hee saued Ionas from drowning, Ion. 2. being cast into the sea.

Contrary to meanes, Dan. 6. hee preserued Daniel from deuou­ring, being cast into the Lions denne.

Contrary to meanes, hee kept the Israelites from drow­ning, being in the bottome of the sea. Exod. 14.

Contrary to meanes, Ios. 10. and to all expectation hee caused the Sunne to stand still at noone day, whilest he overthrew the fiue kings of Canaan by Iosuah.

Therefore I conclude, that forasmuch as God in all ages hath effected the most strange and admira­ble things, either by himselfe without meanes, or by very weake meanes, or contrary to all meanes, there­fore it is in vaine to aske this question,The vtter o­uerthrow of Rome con­cluded of. how or by what meanes shall Rome bee destroyed? for it is inough for vs to know that it shall be destroyed, and come to vtter desolation. And in my iudgement the holy ghost hath so often, & so plainely affirmed this, that no man should any more make any doubt of it,Apoc, 14.8. Apoc. 16 2. Apoc 17.8. Apoc. 17.11. Apoc. 18.21. Apoc. 18.8. Apoc. 17 16. Apoc. 18 22. Apoc. 18.9. or once call it into question. For what can bee more plaine, then to say, Rome is fallen: Rome shall fall. Great hailestones like talants shall fall vpon it. It shall goe to perdi­tion: It shall fall to destruction: It shall bee cast downe like a great milslone into the bottome of the sea. It shall be burnt with fire: It shall bee made desolate and naked: It shall bee [Page 250] without inhabitants. All the popish sort both high & low, shall with great mourning & lamentation bewaile the desolatiō therof. Apoc. 16.16. Apoc. 19.20. Their armies shall come to Armageddon. The beast & the false prophet shall bee taken, & their cap­taines & souldiours slaine by infinit heapes, & their carka­ses made meate for the foules of the aire. If all this be not plaine inough, I cannot tell what can bee plaine inough. True it is indeed, the holy Ghost doth not name Rome, but it is apparant by the circumstances, that all these places must needes bee vnderstood of Rome, of Romish power, and of the Romish armies. For there can be no other soūd sense giuen of them, as all diuine writers, and interpreters doe affirme, both new & olde. And therefore I conclude, that S. Iohn in this prophesie could not speake more plain­ly, except hee should haue named Rome. For hee nameth Babylon. He nameth the great citie, which then raigned ouer the kings of the earth. He nameth the citie situate vpon seauen hils. Hee nameth the citie which had seauen seuerall gouernments. And therefore out of all doubt hee meaneth Rome.

Well then, sith it is so that Rome and all Romish power and authoritie shall fall flat downe, and come to vtter destruction and desolation in this life, let all men take heed how they ioine with Rome: how they ioyne with the Romish Church, and how they receiue the beasts marke, for assuredly they shal al be destroyed together, both in this life, & in that which is to come, as wee shall heare by and by.

Let all wise men therefore, and all such as haue a­ny [Page 251] care of their saluation, follow the wholesome counsell and aduise of the holy ghost, which saith, Goe out of her my people, Apoc. 81.4.5. that yee be not partakers of her sinnes, and that yee receiue not of her plagues: for her sins are come vp to Heauen, and God hath remembred her ini­quities. Our onely wisdome then wilbe to seperate our selues from the whore of Babylon, that is, from the Church of Rome, and to ioyne our selues with all speed to the true Church of God, that is, the Church of the Protestants, for this shall stand and florish: the other shall fall downe and perish.

But what then,Gods people are to reioice in the ouer­thr [...]w of Rome. Apoc. 18.20. shall wee bee sory for the fall of Babylon and the ruine of Rome? No no. The holy Ghost counselleth vs greatly to reioyce in her de­struction and ouerthrow, saying, O Heauens reioyce o­uer her, and ye holy Apostles & Prophets, because God hath giuen your iudgement on her. We are therefore to be so far from mourning & lamenting for the desolation of Rome, as the kings, merchants, mariners & other her friends, as that it ought to be the very ioy and reioicing of our hearts. For S. Iohn saith, that not onely the holy Angels, Prophets, Apostles & Mar­tyrs shall reioyce at the destruction of Rome: but also all the Saints, and the whole bodie of the Church. And therfore he saith, that after the vtter ouerthrow of Rome, He heard a great voice of a great multitude in Heauen, saying, Hallelu-iah, that is, praise yee the Lord, Apoc. 19.1.2. for hee hath condemned the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath auenged the bloud of his seruants shed by her hand. And againe saith S. Iohn, [Page 252] they said, Hallelu-jah, Hallelu-jah, Hallelu-jah, thrise to­gether, therby expressing the great ioy, & thāksgiue­ing, for the destruction and ouerthrow of the great whore: and euen so ought all that loue God, that loue the Church, and that loue the truth, greatly to reioyce in the destruction of Rome: because this monster shall no longer oppresse the Israell of God. And sure it is, that the more zealous & godly that a man is, the more he will rejoice at the destruction of Popery: for a man cannot loue God and his church, that doth not laugh in the destruction of that Anti­christian and bloudy kingdome. Let no man heere say, this is crueltie: this is want of charitie: and want of pittie, to laugh in the destruction of any, or to re­ioice at other mens harmes.Apoc. 8.6. But the most wise God saith, Reward her, euen as she hath rewarded you, and giue her double, according to her works, and in the cup that shee hath filled to you, fill her the double. In asmuch as shee glori­fied her selfe, and liued in pleasure, so much giue yee to her torment and sorrow. And therfore I affirme, that no man ought to be moued with any compassion or pittie,Psal 137. for the ouerthrow of Rome. But heerein that saying of the Prophet is true: Blessed is hee that taketh and dasheth her children against the stones: and againe bend thy bow, Ier. 50.14. shoot at her, spare no arrowes. For she hath sinned against the Lord. Moreouer wee are to obserue, that forasmuch as the Lord willeth & commandeth all men to reward Rome, as shee hath rewarded vs, & to giue her double according to her works, there­fore wee ought euery one of vs, as much as in him [Page 253] lieth, and as his calling will beare, to doe his vtter­most to pull downe Rome, the Magistrate by the sword, the Minister by the word, and the people by their prayers. For euen Christian kings and princes, and all the nobles of the earth, must not bee negli­gent to fight against Rome. For heerein that saying is true:Ier. 48.10. Cursed is hee that doth the worke of the Lord negligently, and cursed is hee that keepeth backe his sword from bloud. For this cause, I doe vpon my knees night and day, most humbly and instantly intreate the God of heauen, that as hee hath put into the heart of our most gratious and excellent Queene, to hate the whore of Babylon, and to be his greatest instrument in the whole world, for the weakening and ouerturning of Rome, and defence of his most glorious gospell (which is her crowne and glory in all the Chuches, and her great renowne in all Chri­stian kingdomes) so shee may constantly continue, and neuer cease drawing out the sword of Iustice, till she haue vtterly rooted out of her dominions, all the cursed crew of popish Iebusits, and all such as haue receiued the beasts marke, and especially the Iesuits and seminary priests which are the diuels bro­kers, the popes agents, and the king of Spaines fa­ctors in all kingdomes. Here also I doe most humbly euen vpon my knees, with dropping eies, yea if it were possible with teares of bloud, beseech and in­treate the learned and reuerend fathers of our Church, that they would bend all their power and authoritie, with might and maine against the Romish [Page 254] strumpet, and the rather because in these dayes shee seemeth to make a head againe, hauing so many and great fauourers, that shee and her com­plices dare perke with their nebbs, and very bold­ly and confidently prate of a tolleration. Heere also I doe most humbly and earnestly intreate, all my learned and godly brethren, the ministers and preachers of this Church of England, that in all their publike teachings, and priuate proceedings, they would make strong opposition against Rome, and Romish religion. And I beseech the God of Gods, that wee may all ioyne together, with vni­ted forces, to march on valiantly against the ar­mies of Antichrist, and to spread the euerlasting Gospell far and neere, to the vtter ouerturning and beating downe of this westerne Babylon, and that howsoeuer wee may amongst our selues differ in iudgement in some things, yet that there may bee no breach of loue, or alienation of affections amongst vs, but that wee may all goe together hand in hand, and arme in arme, to preach Gods euerlasting truth, and to set our selues against the common aduersaries. For if wee will not set our selues against them, yet they will be sure to set them­selues against vs. And thus much concerning the third maine point, which is the finall fall of Rome, euen in this world.

Now it followeth to speake of the fourth maine point, which is, by whom, and when Rome shall bee ouerthrowen. But for the better vnderstanding [Page 255] of this point concerning the persons that shall ouer­throw Rome, wee are to obserue that S. Iohn descri­beth the whore of Babylon, Apoc 17.4. sitting vpon a scarlet colou­red beast, hauing seauen heads, and tenne hornes, where­by is meant the Romane monarchie, as hath beene shewed before. After this the Angell expoundeth vnto Iohn, what the heads, and hornes of the beast meane, and saith, that the ten hornes are ten kings, or ten kingdomes, ver. 12 which yet haue not receiued a king­dome, but shall receiue power as kings, at one houre, with the beast. The sense is, that these tenne king­domes, had not receiued such power and autho­ritie, vnder the Emperours, as they should vnder the Popes, for there was great difference in these kingdomes vnder the Popes, from that which they had beene vnder the Emperours. For they receiued far greater power, and they carried an other minde toward the papacy, then the nations did before to­ward the empire, for they did submit themselues to the papacy for conscience, and loue, euen as to the holy Church, which they neuer did to the Empire. And this is the reason, why the holy ghost saith, they had not receiued a kingdome, but should re­ceiue power as kings, at one houre with the beast. Which is not to be vnderstood simply, but after a sort, for they had receiued kingdomes, vnder the Emperors, but not in such sort as afterward they did vnder the Popes. For the Romane monarchie vnder the do­minion of the Popes, was in his greatest height, and altitude, and the kings of Europe grew vp together [Page 256] with the papacie in power, might and dominion. And S.Cap. 17. ve. 13. Iohn addeth, that these ten kings or kingdomes were all of one minde, and did giue their power and au­thoritie vnto the beast, that is, they did with might and maine, labour to vphold the Babylonicall strum­pet. But the Angell telleth Iohn flatly, that the ten hornes, that is, the ten kingdomes of the empire, which before had giuen their names, their power, and authoritie to the beast, to vphold her and defend her, should now in these last daies all change their mindes, and turne against her. For saith the Angell to Iohn: chapter 17.36. The ten hornes which thou sawest vpon the beast, are they that shall hate the whore, and make her desolate, and naked, and shall eate her flesh, and burne her with fire. Heere then it doth plainely appeare, who they bee that shall ouerthrow Rome, and by whom it shall bee destroyed. To wit, by the tenne kings of Eu­rope, or kingdomes of Europe, which some very learned doe reckon vp to bee these, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spaine, Denmarke, Sweueland, Po­land, Russia, and Hungary. If the holy ghost by the ten hornes, do not meane a defi [...]t num­ber, that is iust ten: yet assu­redly he mea­neth all the kingdomes of Europe, and whatsoeuer else did once vphold the beast. S. Iohn words are plaine, that these kingdomes which tooke part with the beast, shall take against her, & pull her downe. But we know, that all the kingdomes of Europe did take part vvith her, therefore it followeth that all the king­domes of Europe shall take against her. And there­fore it is very probable, that in time France, Spaine, and Italy, It is probable that France, Spaine, and I­taly sh [...]ll f [...]r­sake the whore shall turne against the beast. Wee know that the rest of the kingdomes are already turned a­gainst the beast, and the beast hath lost seuen of his [Page 257] hornes: the eight, which is France, beginneth to be somewhat loose, and to shake a little, which if it fall off, the rest will follow after a pace. The reson why the kingdomes, which were subiect to the Romane empire, are compared to hornes, is, because that as hornes are the strength & defence of a beast, where­with also hee pusheth downe other creatures: so the strength and defence of the Romane empire, and the papacie, was in the kingdomes which were subiect vnto them, and tooke part with them, whereby also they did mightily push at other nations and king­domes. Moreouer wee are to obserue, that whereas S. Iohn saith, the same hornes which did vphold and defend the whore, shall pull hir downe, it is not to be vnderstood of the same men, but of their succes­sors in the same kingdomes. For the kings of Eng­land, Scotland, Denmarke, Polonia, and other countries, which gaue their power and authoritie vnto the beast, are dead and gone. If vvee respect the persons of the men, and those which succeed them novv in these kingdomes, and pull downe the whore, are other persons: but because they succeed & gouerne in these kingdomes, they are said to bee those ten hornes of the beast. Then thus it is: these ten kings which novv hate the harlot, are called the ten hornes of the beast, not because they bee any defence and strength vnto him, but because they sit vpon the same thrones of their auncestors, which did vphold and maintaine him But this one thing is very cleare and apparant out of the interpretation of the An­gell, [Page 258] that the same kingdomes which haue maintai­ned Popery, shall put it downe, as we see alredy ful­filled in England, Scotland, Denmarke, & the rest which haue embraced the Gospell. And it is very likely that the other kingdomes which as yet haue not embra­ced the Gospell, shall Gods good time embrace it. For this seemeth vnto mee, to bee a very good ar­gument taken from the words of the interpreting Angel. Those tenne kingdomes which haue vpheld Rome, shall pull downe Rome: but France, Spaine, and Italy, haue vpheld and doe vphold Rome: Therefore France, Spaine, and Italy, shall pull downe Rome. To this may be added for confirmation: that the euer­lasting Gospell shalbe preached in these last dayes, Apoc. 14.6. to euery nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. Which I vn­derstand of all the nations of Europe, which were subiect to the Romane Empire, and the Papacie. And further that the holy ghost saith, that the prea­chers of the Gospell from Luthers time, shall pub­lish Gods truth among people and nations, and tongues,Apoc. 10.11 and many kings: which I vnderstand as be­fore.

I am not ignorant that some good diuines make it doubtfull, whether Rome shalbe ouerthrowne by the Kings of Europe onely, or by the Turke also, and the kings of the East. For mine owne part, I dare not resolutely determine of it, being a thing to come, but the euent shall declare, and they that liue shall one day see it. It may be the Turke, and the Easterne princes may haue some hand in this businesse. For [Page 259] the Romane Monarchie did stretch far that way, whē it was in his highest eleuation. But that which is alledged of the drying vp of the waters of Euphrates, Apoc. 16 12. that the way of the Kings of the East might be prepared: Proueth nothing, because it is an allusion to Darius and Cyrus, which were kings of the East; and tooke old Babylon by drying vp the vvaters of Euphrates, and leading ouer their armies, as we haue heard be­fore. I doe thus then resolue and conclude, that the Turke and the Easterne Kings may happely haue some stroke in this work. But it seemeth most proba­ble vnto mee,The kings of Europe shall ouerthrow Rome. that the kings of Europe shalbe the greatest agents in this action. For the vvords are plaine, that the Kings of the earth vvhich sometimes were subiect to that monstrous beast, should now at last shake of the yoke of her seruitude, and vvith­draw the obedience of their subiects from her, chapter 17.16. And should hate and abhorre the harlot of Rome, and should make her desolate. By vvithdrawing their subiects from her obedience, and naked, by spoiling her of her treasures, and shall eate her flesh, and teare her in peeces for pure hatred, and burne her with fire: that is, bring her to vtter destruction.

So that she vvhich beefore at her pleasure might commaund all Princes to beegin vvarre, to cease from vvarre: to defend her quarrells, and to an­noy her enemies, now is glad to flatter a few se­duced Princes to take her part, that shee bee not vtterly forsaken of all men. Or else to practise by treason, and treacherie, subborning the Iesuits, [Page 260] those rogues and vagabonds, to stir vp tumults a­mong the people, and to trouble godly estates, and commonwealthes, that despise her dominion, but assuredly vvithout all hope, euer to recouer her aun­cient tyrannie. But heere it may bee obiected, that the preaching of the gospell, is the greatest and strongest meanes to ouerthrovv Babylon. And there­fore hovv can it bee done by the Christian prin­ces. I answere that it is true indeede, that of all other meanes, the gospell is the strongest, but the thing is this. First the gospell beeing set abroach, shall detect and discouer the vvhore of Rome, and all her abhominable doctrine, and filthinesse, which the Christian princes espying, shall renounce her, make vvar vpon her, and slay in the field thousand thousands of her souldiers, as vvee haue heard be­fore. And hitherto concerning the persons, that shall ouerthrovv Rome.

Novv it followeth to speake of the time vvhen it shall bee destroyed. Which of all the rest is a thing most hard to bee decided. For the holy ghost faith,Iob. 24.1. why should not the times hee hid of the Almightie: So as they which know him, should not forsee the times appointed of him. Dan. 12.9. And againe, the words are closed and sealed vp, Act. 1.7. vntill the time determined. And againe, it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the father hath put in his owne power. Yet euen in this point, I vvill by Gods asistance, set downe so much as is reuealed, and so much as God hath giuen me to see. First I doe confesse that God in his vvord, [Page 261] hath set downe the iust period, and precise determi­nation of all the greatest afflictions & persecutions, that euer came to his Church, before the comming of his Son in the flesh, for the comfort thereof, as that of Egipt, after the expiration of foure hundred and thirtie yeeres: that of Babylon, after the date of seuen­tie yeeres: that of the Medes & Persians, Dan. 8. after the de­termination of an hundred & thirtie yeeres: that of Alexanders state after sixe yeeres:Dan. 11. that of Magog and Egipt, after 294 yeeres. So likewise that of Christs death and resurrection, after seauentie seauens, or seauentie weekes, which make 490 yeeres, as the An­gell Gabriell foretold, vnto the prophet Daniell. Dan. 9 42. But concerning the iust period and precise determinati­on, of the persecutions of the Church, since Christ by the Romane Empire, and the papacy, we find not the like set downe: & heere of there may be two reasons yeelded. First because the Church of the Iewes were not vnder so cleere, and pretious promises as we are, therefore it was needfull, for the better strengthning of their hope & cōfort in afflictiōs, that they should know the very time determined: but because the Church of the christians liueth vnder most cleere & comfortable promises of deliuerance, therfore God according to his deepe wisedome would haue our faith exercised in an assured expectation of the accō ­plishment therof, though the precise time be concea­led. An other reason may bee this: the vtter ouer­throw of Rome, falleth out to bee, but a little before the comming of Christ to iudgement, as appereth in [Page 262] this prophesie. Now then, if wee knew the day or yeere certainely, when Rome should fall finally, it would giue vs too much light, vnto the knowledge of the last day, which God in great wisedome, hath of purpose hid from the knowledge of all men: yea, and of Angels. I know right well, that a cer­taine learned writer, doth precisely determine the vtter destruction of Rome to fall out, in the yeere of our Lord 1639.Napier in Apo. 14. page. 183. But by the fauour of so excellent a man bee it spoken, I see no sufficient ground there­of. But touching this matter, of the time of Romes finall fall, I will deliuer mine opinion, and my rea­sons, submitting my selfe to the iudgement of the learned, for I would bee loth, in this or any other thing, to goe beyond my compasse, or to passe the bounds of modestie, and humilitie, and therefore doe refer all to bee tryed by the sicle of the sanctua­ry. I doe therefore thus iudge, that the vtter ouer­throw of Rome, shall bee in this age, I meane with­in the age of a man: my reason is this. We of this age, liue vnder the opening of the seauenth seale, the blowing of the sixt trumpet, and the powring foorth of the sixt vial. For the first it is manifest, be­cause the opening of the seauenth seale, containeth all things, that shall fall out to the end of the world: as hath beene shewed and proued before.Apoc. 8.1. For the blowing of the sixt trumpet, that also is plaine, be­cause vnder the blowing thereof, the little booke was opened, and the gospell preached, as wee see in this age.Apoc 10.2. ver. 10.11. For the powring downe of the sixt viall [Page 263] of Gods wrath, that also is most cleere, because thereupon the great riuer Euphrates drieth vp, and the Iesuits are sent out, to sollicit the kings of the earth to battaile against the Church, as wee see fulfilled in these our daies. Then I reason thus, Rome must fall downe finally,Apoc. 14. voc. 6.8. in that age where­in the little booke is opened, and the euerlasting gospell preached: but in this age, the little booke is opened, and the euerlasting gospell preached, ther­fore in this age, Rome must fall downe finally. And againe I reason thus: Rome must fall downe finally, in that age, wherein the riuer Euphrates, that is,Apoc. 16.16. the fortification of Rome drieth vp, and the Iesuits are sent forth, to stop the leake thereof: but all this fal­leth out in this age, as wee see with our eies. There­fore in this age Rome shall fall downe finally.It is very pro­bable that Rome shall fall finally in this age. Apoc. 10.6.7. The reason of the proposition is, because in this age the popish armies shall come to Armageddon.

Moreouer this I say, and not I, but the Lord, when the seauenth Angell bloweth the seauenth trumpet, then commeth the end of the world: But the sixt Angell, hath sounded the sixt trumpet long agoe, as appeereth by the effects: Therefore it can­not be long ere the seauenth Angell blow. But Rome must fall downe finally, before the seauenth Angell blow, as hath beene shewed before. Therefore the vtter fall of Rome cannot bee long deferred. I doe not determine either of day, month, or yeere, be­cause it is not reuealed. But I guesse at an age, because the holy ghost pointeth vs vnto an agent.

[Page 254] If any man see further I will easely yeeld vnto him, and thanke God for his light.But all these things I set downe for the comfort of Gods Church, not desiring to vnderstand aboue that vvhich is meet to vnderstand: but to vnderstand according to sobrietie.

Now it resteth to speake of the last maine point vvhich is the causes of Romes vtter ruine, and ouer­throw: chapter 14 8. Chap. 18.3. Chap. 19.3. Chap. 17 2. vvhich first of all are set downe foure seue­rall times for falling, to be, because she made all nations drunke with the wine of the wrath of her fornication. They which outwardly make others drunke, or com­mit fornication vvith others, are vvorthie to be se­uerely punished.

How much sorer punishment are they vvorthie of, vvhich doe the same spiritually: and therfore vvoe be to Rome.

An other cause of the destruction of Rome is, for that she hath shed the bloud of all the Prophets, Martyrs, chapter 16.6. Chap. 18.24. and Saints: as it is vvritten. In thee was found the bloud of the Prophets, and of the Saints, and of all that were slaine vpon the earth. The causes of Romes vtter downefall. What is he vvorthie to haue, that is a most cruell bloudsucker: nay vvhat is he vvorthie to haue, that shal murther a kings chil­dren: yea, that shall murther his eldest sonne and heire apparant to the crowne.

But Rome hath murthered thousands of the king of Heauens children. Yea, Rome hath murthered the great heire of Heauen and earth, I meane the very sonne of God. For Christ vvas put to death by the Romane power and authoritie, and by a Romane Iudge, chapter 11.8. as before hath bene shewed. Therefore let all [Page 265] men iudge vvhat Rome is vvorthie to haue.

Moreouer, S. Iohn telleth vs, that Rome with her enchantments hath deceiued all-nations. chapter 18.23. Then let the matter be referred to the iudgement of any indiffe­rent man, to determine and set downe vvhat punish­ment sorcerers, and enchanters, are vvorthie of: es­pecially spirituall sorcerers, and enchanters.

Besides all this, the holy ghost saith, chapter 18.2. that Rome is the habitation of diuels, and the hold of all foule spirits, and a cage of euery vncleane, & hatefull bird. What think you is like to come of an habitation of diuels, What trow yee vvil be the end of a shoule of foule feends, & a company of most vgly & mōstrous helcats. What is like to become of a cage of Howles, Rauens, and Vultures. Yea, a nest of Vipers, Toades, Snakes, Ad­ders, Cocatrices, & all the most stinging serpents and venemous vermin in the world. What wilbe the end of pild Priests, filthie Friers, maungy Monks, roguing Iesuits. Are not these a cage of vncleane birds. What doe they studie, what doe they plot, what doe they practise euery daye, but seditions, periuries, mur­thers, cōspiracies, treacheries, treasons, & all maner of villanies. If I had no other reason to persuad me that Rome shal fal, & come to a miserable end, yet this one­ly would make me so to think, that these villanous Ie­suits do teach & conclud in their cursed conuēticles, yt it is not onely lawful but also meritorious, to mur­ther any christiā prince yt is not of their catholike reli­giō: oh mōstrous villains: ô most hideous helhoūds: haue not these monsters suborned diuers desperate [Page 266] caitiffes, to embrue their hands in the bloud of chri­stian princes. How many haue beene their plots? now desperate haue beene their practises, to murther & poison our gratious and noble Queene, the French king, the king of Scots, and other Christian princes. But can such proceedings prosper? can such courses bee blessed? can a man bee established by iniquitie? No no, let them know for a certaintie, that God will crosse and curse all such diuellish proceedings, as hitherto hee hath done, his most holy name be prai­sed. But if any man list to know more of the pro­ceedings, and practises of Iesuits, let him read master Doctor Sutclieffe his answere, to Parsons wardword, a booke worthie to bee read and knowen of all men. But now to grow to a conclusion of this point, and to winde vp together, all the reasons and causes of Romes ruine, thus I doe determine, that forasmuch as Rome is the great whore, chapter 17.2. with whom haue committed fornication all the kings of the earth: forasmuch as Rome hath made all nations drunke, with the wine of her forni­cation: forasmuch as Rome hath deceiued all nations, with her inchantments: forasmuch as Rome is a denne of di­uells, and a cage of all vncleane birds: forasmuch as Rome hath shed the bloud of Apostles, Martyrs, and Saints: for­asmuch as Rome hath murdered the sonne of God. Ther­fore it shall at last, come to most miserable destructi­on,Nomb. 24. ver. 24. being that Chittim, which in the end must needs perish: for what punishment, what paine, vvhat tor­ture, vvhat torment can be inough for this damnable whore, which hath committed such execrable and [Page 267] most outragious villanies?

Bee it therefore knowen vnto all men by these presents, that Rome for all her most monstrous and prodigious sinnes, shall fall still more and more, and come to a fearefull destruction, euen in this life. But some man may say, what shall become of Rome, and of all her friends after this life. S. Iohn answereth,Apoc. 14. ver. 9 that if any man worship the beast and his image, and receiue his marke in his forehead, or on his hand, 10. the same shall drinke of the wine of the wrath of God, and hee shall bee tormen­ted in fire and brimstone, before the holy Angells, and be­fore the Lamb. And the smoake of their torment shall as­cend, and they shall haue no rest, day nor night, 11. which wor­ship the beast, &c. Heere is sentence of eternall dam­nation, passed vpon all the friends of Rome. Oh that all papists would consider this in time, & think with themselues, what a wofull thing it is to bee a papist, for they and their kingdome must goe downe in this life, and in the life to come, they must bee tormen­ted in hell fire for euer. For Saint Iohn saith flatly, that all papists shall bee cast into the great wine presse of the wrath of God, where they shall bee strained and tread, Apoc. 14. ve. 20 till bloud come out of the wine presse, vnto the horse bri­dles, by the space of a thousand and sixe hundred furlongs. And againe hee saith, that the beast and the false pro­phet were taken aliue, and cast into a lake of fire, chapter 19.20. burning with brimstone. Let all men therefore take heed, how they ioyne with the papists, for wee see what shall bee their end, both in this life, and the life to come. Therefore let all Gods people, come out of Babylon, [Page 268] and hasten out of Sodome, least they bee wound vp in their iudgements. Let all wise men practise the pollicie of the Gibeonits, who when they saw that Io­suah did so mightely preuaile against the Cananits, Ios. [...]. & beare downe all before him, did very pollitikely pro­uide for their owne safety, and by subtile meanes enter into league with Iosuah, and the Israell of God. So let all that haue any care of their owne saluation, speedely forsake Babylon, which otherwise will fall vpon their heads, and flie to Zion, which shall stand fast for euermore. And thus hauing reduced all the fiue Chapters following, to proue these foresaid points, I will proceede vnto the twentith Chapter: for there is almost nothing of any moment or dif­ficultie in the 15.16.17.18. and 19. Chapters, but it hath beene already opened and expounded.

Chap. 20.

SAint Iohn hauing in the former chap­ters, plainely and plentifully set down the vtter ouerthrow both of the beast & the false prophet, that is, the Romane empire, and the papacie, doth now in this chapter set forth the condemna­tion of the dragon, their graund captaine, which set them all on worke. For there hath as yet, beene no motion of him, which hath beene the beginner and raiser vp of the rest, and the great worker of all mis­chiefe, therefore now commeth his iudgement and [Page 269] condemnation, now because hee hath beene a more generall worker, and his mischiefe hath extended larger then the kingdome of Antichrist, therefore in this 20. chapter ther is an historie of him, set foorth by it selfe. First how he seduced the nations before the comming of Christ: afterward how Christ at his comming bindeth him, by the light of his Gospell, from seducing the nations, and so holdeth him shut vp, for the space of a thousand yeeres, in which the Church did flourish greatly, and many were raised vp, vnto the spirituall life. But when the thousand yeeres were expired. Sathan was let loose and went foorth againe to seduce, and by the great Antichrist, & the Turk, gathered innumerable mul­titudes into his armies, to fight against the Church, which armies are called Gog and Magog.

But they are all ouercome and destroyed, and that olde serpent himselfe is caught, and together with his instruments the beast, and the false pro­phet is cast into hell fire, to bee tormented for euer. And this is the summe and principall drift of this Chapter.

It containeth fiue principall things, as it were the fiue parts thereof.

The first is, the binding, ver. 1.2.3. and chaining vp of Sa­than, by our Lord Iesus, for the space of a thousand yeeres.

The second is, the flourishing of the Church, ver. 4 5.6. du­ring the time of Sathans captiuitie.

The third is, ver. 7 8.9. the loosing of Sathan after the [Page 270] thousand yeeres expired, and the wofull effects thereof.

ver. 10 The fourth is, the casting of the Diuell into a lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were.

ver. 11.12.13.14.15. The fift is a glorious description of the last iudgement, wherein euery man shall bee iudged according to his workes.

The text.

ver. 1 AND I saw an Angell come downe from heauen, haue­ing the key of the bottomlesse pit, and a great chaine in his hand.

ver. 2 And he tooke the dragon that old serpent, which is the di­uell and Sathan, and bound him a thousand yeeres.

ver. 3 And cast him into the bottomlesse pit, and hee shut him vp, and sealed the doore vpon him, that hee should deceiue the people no more, till the thousand yeeres were fulfilled: so after that hee must bee loosed for a little season.

This Angell heere spoken of, is our Lord Iesus, who is therefore said to haue the key of the bottom­lesse pit, because he hath power and authoritie ouer hell and death, as we haue heard before.

chapter 1.18. By the chaine in his hand, is meant the doctrine of the gospell.

The time when Sathan was thus taken & bound, was, when Christ first preached the Gospell, and his Apostles after him, to all nations.

[Page 271]The cause why hee was now bound and chained vp, was, for that hee had a long time seduced all na­tions, and raigned as King and Lord ouer the Gen­tiles, and greatly seduced the Iewes also.

The time of his imprisonment is set downe, to be a thousand yeeres, that is, all the time frō the preach­ing of Christ, and his Apostles, vntill Gregory the sea­uenth, & other monstrous Popes, which did let Sa­than loose againe. Which space of time is guessed by the learned, to be a thousand yeeres or thereabouts. But heere it is to bee obserued, that this binding of Sathan, is not to bee taken simply, and absolutely, as though Sathan was so bound and chained vp, for this thousand yeere, that hee could not seduce at all, or doe no mischiefe at all, after the preaching of the Gospell by Christ, and his Apostles: I say this is not to bee taken simply, but afrer a sort, that is, that hee could not so generally and vniuersally seduce all na­tions, as hee had in former time, before the com­ming of Christ. For otherwise it is well knowne, that euen after Christs time, hee did greatly persecute the Church, bring in many errors and heresies, and harden and blind many mens hearts: but yet all this was nothing, in comparison of that which hee had wrought in former ages, when hee was euen as it were the god of the world, and the Gentiles wor­shipped him as God, as the Apostle teacheth,1. Cor. 10. that all the worship of the heathen nations, was the worship of di­uels. And againe, that God in times past suffered all the Gentiles to walke in their owne waies. Act. 14.16. And then was [Page 272] Sathan a great prince indeede.Luke. 10.18. But now commeth a chaine for him: For Christ preacheth the Gospell, and sendeth foorth his disciples vvith power, and there­vpon saith, I saw Sathan fall downe like lightning: For the preaching of the Gospell, beateth downe the kingdome of Sathan and sinne.

Moreouer, it is to be noted, that notwithstanding all Sathans power and might, craft and subteltie, yet this Angell vvhich hath the key of the bottomlesse pit, doth apprehend him and shut him vp, and seale the dore vpon him: so that he cannot get abroad to seduce so generally, as in former time.

But S. Iohn saith, that after a thousand yeeres, he must be loosed for a little season: that is, the time vvherein the great Antichrist should beare the sway: vvhich vvas some 4. or 5. hundred yeeres. For the Gospell did preuaile in some measure, in the world, a thousād yeeres after Christ, & the principles & groūds of true religion cōtinued in the church, vntil the ful loosing of Sathan, though vvith many blotts, corruptions, and abuses. For after the first six hundred yeeres, the cleere sinceritie of the truth vvas much dimmed vvith errors and heresies: but yet the maine grounds dyd remaine till the full expiration of the thousand yeeres. Now vve know that the Gospell hath bene preached in these last daies, aboue three score yeeres. Therefore it followeth, that the strength of Popery continued not much aboue 500. yeeres: Which heere the holy Ghost for our comfort, calleth a little season: chapter 11.2. of vvhich vve haue heard before, and [Page 273] therefore I doe heere omit it.

And I saw seates, and them that sate vpon them, ver. 4 and iudgement was giuen vnto them. And I saw the soules of them that were beheaded for the witnesse of Iesus, and for the word of God, and which did not worship the beast, nei­ther his Image, neither had taken his marke vpon their foreheads, or on their hands, and they liued and raigned with Christ a thousand yeere.

But the rest of the dead men shall not liue againe, ver. 5 vn­till the thousand yeeres be finished: this is the first resur­rection.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resur­rection. For on such the second death hath no power. ver. 6 But they shalbe the Priests of God, and of Christ, and shall raigne with him a thousand yeere.

Heere now is set foorth the state of the Church millitant, for the space of the thousand yeere, where­in Sathan vvas chained vp. For it is sayd heere, that the Church dyd grow and flourish: yea, and great­ly exercise her power and aucthoritie, during that time. And therefore Saint Iohn saith, that he saw seates, and they sate vpon them, and iudgement was giuen vnto them. Whereby he meaneth, that the Apostles and their successors, had their chaires, seates, and consistories, vvherein they did both preach the vvord, and execute the Church censures: as the Scribes and Phariseies beefore had sit in the chaire of Moises, and I take it, the latter part of the fourth verse, is to be referred to the first clause, to vvit, that the Church dyd liue and raigne with Christ, a thousād [Page 274] yeeres. Which is not to be vnderstood of the Church triumphant, as some doe take it, & all the rest of this fourth verse, but of the flourishing estate of the Church militant, during the time of Sathans capti­uitie: for all the faithfull do after a sort liue, & raigne with Christ, euen heere in the earth, when they ouer­come the world by faith, and subdue Sathan & sinne, by the power of grace.

Now where it is said that Iohn saw the soules of them that were beheaded, for the witnesse of Iesus, &c. It is to bee vnderstood of those, which in the time of the persecuting empire, and growing of the papacie, vvere slaine for the truth. For the second beast, which is the dominion of Popes, raigned not in those thousand yeere, in the which Sathan vvas bound, but yet did grow by degrees towards their height, and vsed great tyrannie against the seruants of God, before Sathans full loosing.

The Chiliasts or Millenaries, doe fondly gather from this scripture, that after the ouerthrow of Antichrist, the Lord Iesus would come & raigne vvith the faith­full, heere a thousand yeeres vpon the earth, and that in this time, that Christ should so raigne, as a great and glorious king vpon the earth, his subiects should enioy all manner of earthly pleasures, and delights. This foolish error is confuted by the words that fol­lovv in the text; as wee shall see afterward.

Whereas hee saith, the rest of the dead shall not liue againe. It is to bee vnderstood, of such as were spiri­tually dead, that is, such as did despise the Gospell, [Page 275] which vvas preached those thousand yeeres, & were not thereby reuiued and quickened vnto eternall life, but did still remaine, as men dead in sinnes, and trespasses.

Therefore the meaning of S. Iohn is, that as in the thousand yeeres, many that heard Christ and his A­postles, and their successors, were raised vp from the death of sinne, to the life of righteousnesse, so many others were not quickened by their doctrine, but stil dwelt in their sinnes, whom hee calleth the rest of the dead: and hee saith, these shall not liue againe, meaning the life of God, or the life of grace, and whereas hee addeth vntill the thousand yeeres be finished, he mea­neth neuer, or not at all, for so the word vntill, is often taken in the scriptures: and it is sure, that after the expiration of the thousand yeeres, they did not liue the life of God, and the life of the spirit. For then the diuell was let loose vpon the world, to worke his pleasure, and to seduce with all efficacie of error and iniquitie.

Whereas it is said, this is the first resurrection, he meaneth the rising from sinne, to the life of righte­ousnesse, which was in the thousand yeeres, of the gospells preaching, and therefore hee addeth, that he is blessed that hath part in the first resurrection, &c. and saith, that all such shall raigne with Christ a thousand yeers. Which is meant of the raigne of the faithfull, euen vpon earth, for the space of that thousand yeeres, in which Sathan was bound: but yet excludeth not their eternall glory in the heauens.

[Page 276] ver. 7 And when the thousand yeeres are expired, Sathan shall bee loosed out of his prison.

ver. 8 And shall goe out to deceiue the people, which are in the foure corners of the earth, euen Gog and Ma­gog, to gather them together to battaile, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

ver. 9 And they went vp vnto the plaine of the earth, and they compassed the tents of the Saints about, and the be­loued cittie: But fire came downe from God out of hea­uen, and deuoured them.

Now S. Iohn telleth vs, that after the determina­tion of the thousand yeeres, Sathan shall be let loose vpon the world, for their vnthankfulnesse, and con­tempt of the Gospell, to seduce and deceiue, euen as much as euer hee did. No maruaile therefore, that the two great and monstrous heresies of Po­pery and Mahometrie, did now beginne mightely to grow and increase in the world. For what other thing can bee looked for, after this letting loose of Sathan.

But wee are to obserue, that as Sathan was bound by degrees, through the ministery of Christ, and his Apostles, and their immediat successors: so also he was loosed by degrees, by the preuailing of heresies, till the great Antichrist was hatched, and brought into the possession of his cursed chaire. For Sathan was not fully loosed, till the yeere of our Lord 998. At what time Siluester the second, came to bee Pope, who was in league with the Diuell. Stories doe re­port, that at his death hee called for the Cardinals, [Page 277] and confessed that hee had familiaritie with the Di­uell, and how hee had giuen himselfe vnto him body and soule, so that hee might come to the pa­pall dignitie.

After him succeeded sundry other Popes, which were notorious monsters, some of them murderers, some poisoners, some sorcerers, some coniurers. By whom the diuell was fully loosed, all light of the gos­pell, and true religion being in a manner cleane put out, & most abhominable Idolatrie, & all manner of villany spreading ouer the face of the earth, & there­fore S. Iohn saith, that Sathan being thus fully loosed, hee went forth to deceiue the people, which were in the foure corners of the earth, euen Gog and Magog, &c. This se­ducing by Sathan, heere spoken of, is the same with that which is spoken Chapter 13. onely this excep­ted, that this of Gog and Magog is more generall. Wee reade there how all nations, kindreds, and tongues, were made to worship the image of the beast, and to receiue his marke: but that is to bee extended no further, then to those kingdomes which were subiect to the papacie. But heere by these armies of Gog and Magog, are vnderstood all the chiefe enemies of the Church, in these last daies, since the loosing of Sathan, both open and secret, both Turk and Pope: for the Turk is an open ene­mie: the Pope a more close enemie. Gog signifieth co­uered, Magog vncouered, wherby is noted the Pope & the Turk. For the Pope cōmeth couered vnder the name of Christ, and Christs vicar, Peters successor &c. But [Page 278] the Turk commeth vncouered, for hee openly deni­eth, and impugneth Christ.

Moreouer the names of Gog and Magog, are heere set downe to note of what countries these chiefe e­nemies should spring: to wit, out of Scithia, Siria, A­rabia, Italy, and Spaine. For Magog was the sonne of Iapheth, Gen. 10. ver. 2. of whom came the Sythians. Gog was the name of a great Captaine in the lesser Asia, which built a citie, and named it after his owne name Gogkartah, that is, the citie of Gog. And it is put in the prophesie of Ezechiel, Ezechiel. 38. for the whole regi­on of the lesser Asia, and Siria. Whereby the prophet did foretell, that the great enemies of the Church should arise out of those coasts. As in very truth they did, for out of Egipt, Scithia, Siria, and the lesser Asia, did spring vp Ptolomeus, Silencus, Antigonus, Cassan­der, and the rest of Alexanders posteritie, which vexed and oppressed the Iewes, by the space of 294. yeeres, euen vntill the comming of the Messias, at what time the deuided Greeke empire was ouerthrowen, and translated to the Romanes.

Furthermore it is to bee noted, that the prophet Ezechiell saith, that Gog is the chiefe prince of Mesech, and Tuball. Gen. 10.2. By Mesech hee meaneth Arabia, and by Tuball Italy and Spaine: noting thereby the countries and kingdomes from whence the great persecutors of the Church, from the returne out of the captiuitie of Babylon, vntill the comming of the Messias should arise. For assuredly those enemies, were collected of diuers nations, but serued chiefely vnder the princes [Page 279] of Asia the lesser, of Siria, and of Scithia. Now then to conclude: Gog and Magog in Ezechiell, are put for the princes of those coūtries, which were the chiefe Captaines in gathering great and mightie armies vn­to battaile, against the children of Israell, after they were come out of the captiuitie of Babylon. And the prophet there in one summe vnder the armies of Gog and Magog, comprehendeth all the enemies that fought against them, from time to time, after the captiuitie, vnto the comming of Christ. And now for the application of this, vnto the enemies of the Church, vnder the Gospell, wee must first note, that through this booke, the figures and phrases of speech are taken out of the law & the prophets. Now there­fore, when the Lord would set foorth in one summe all the enemies of the Church, which Sathan muste­reth, after the time of his loosing out of prison, be­fore the comming of Christ to iudgement: there is no one place more fit, to set foorth all these armies, then those armies of Gog and Magog, & therefore the names, euen Gog and Magog are heere brought in, to set foorth these huge ar [...]ies of the Turk, and of the Pope, and of all the enemies of the Church, in these last daies, which should gather thēselues to battaile, being in number as the sand of the sea: as S. Iohn saith, yea, did couer the whole face of the earth with their multitudes, and compasse the tents of the Saints about, and the beloued citie, that is, did make warre against the Church and people of God, which in comparison of them, were but as a few tents, or some little citie. [Page 280] But marke vvhat followeth, and consider the issue of the battaile. The holy ghost saith expressely, that fire came downe from God out of Heauen, and deuoured them. Which doth plainely shew that the armies of Gog & Magog, though neuer so huge, shalbe destroyed by the fire of Gods vvrath.

Now from this I gather, that as the armies of the Pope shall goe downe still more and more, as formerly hath bene shewed, and as experience in the last yeeres good successe both in Ireland, Ne­therland, and against Spaine also, hath partly proo­ued, (Gods most holy name be praised) so also the armies of the Turk shalbe ouerthrowen, so farre foorth as they fight against the true Church, or at least be so kept back, that they shall not be able to compasse the tents of the Saints, as vve see and feele this day, God be thanked.

ver. 10 And the Diuell that deceiued them, was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, where that beast, and that false pro­phet are and shalbe tormented, euen day and night, for euermore.

Heere is set downe the Diuells doome: to vvit, that he shalbe cast downe into the infernall pit, as vvell vvorthy both for his seducing all nations, and stirring vp the armies of Gog and Magog, against the Church, euen to roote it vp, if it vvere possible. Therefore Saint Iohn telleth vs, that forasmuch as he is the author of all mischiefe, and he that hath set all the rest a vvork, therefore both he and his in­strumens the beast, and the false prophet, Gog and [Page 281] Magog, shall all drinck of the same cup of Gods eternall vvrath, and be all throwne downe toge­ther into one close prison, vvhich is that gasping gulfe and infernall lake, that burneth vvith fire and brimstone, for euer.

Loe then, vvhat shalbe the end of the diuell, the Pope, the Turk, the Emperour, the King of Spaine, the Cardinall, and all other the diuels instruments, vvhich heere in earth haue persecuted the Church, and compassed the tents of the Saints, and the be­loued Cittie.

Now after all this in the fiue last verses, Saint Iohn entreth into a liuely and cleere discription of the last iudgement. First noting the terror and ma­iestie of the Iudge himselfe, in this, ver. 11 that from his face both Heauen and earth fled away: that is, no crea­ture shalbe able to endure his angry countenance, in that daye: and yet vvithall setting downe the puritie and vprightnesse of his iudgement and iudgement seate, calling it a white Throne. ver. 12 And af­ter this, the generall citing and personall appearing of all men before him, of vvhat degree, estate, or condition soeuer. For both death and hell, sea and graue, did deliuer vp their dead. And all vvithout exception, came to iudgement. And the bookes of their con­sciences vvere opened, (for euerie mans vvorke is engrauen vpon his cōscience, as it vvere in letters of brasse, or vvith the point of a Diamond:Ier. 17.2. Ver. 13. as the Prophet speaketh.) And they were iudged of those things which [Page 282] were written in the bookes, according to their workes, and according to the testimonie of their owne consciences: And death and hell, ver. 14 that is, all the heires of death and hell, euen all the societie of reprobates, both papists, Atheists, and all vnbeleeuers, yea, whosoeuer were not found written in the booke of life, were cast into the lake of fire, ver. 15 which is the second death. Now, heere I would haue it dilligently obserued, that the holy ghost hath three seuerall times in this booke, described the last iudgement, to wit, in the latter end of the 11. Chap­ter, in the latter end of the 14. Chapter, and now in the latter end of this Chapter. And moreouer I would haue the order and causes of these descripti­ons, well waighed. For in the 11. Chapter hauing before described the kingdome of the Pope, and the Turk, with their ouerthrow, and also the preach­ing and preuailing of the Gospell in these last daies: hee commeth to describe the last iudgement In the 14. Chapter hauing set downe, that the euerlasting gos­pell should be plētifully preached in this last age, & the ouer­throw of Babylon, immediately following, forthwith hee proceedeth to the discription of the last day. In this Chapter hauing before concluded of the vtter ouerthrow of Rome, of the beast, and the false pro­phet, of Gog and Magog, and all aduersary power, at length hee proceedeth to this description of Christs second comming, which wee haue heard of. And out of all this, I do gather, that the vtter ouerthrow of the Pope, & all his adherents, shall be in this life, a lit­tle before the comming of Christ vnto iudgement.

Chap. 21.

AS wee haue heard before of the vtter ouerthrow of the beast, and the false prophet, and all their adherents, and also of the euerlasting condemnati­on of the dragon, that old serpent, which set them all a worke. So now in this Chapter, wee are to heare of that most happy and blessed estate, which the faithfull shall dwell in for euermore: so that the maine drift of this Chapter is, most fully to describe that infinit glory and endlesse felicitie, to the which all the 144000, that is, all the elect of God, shalbe ad­uanced, when both the beast, and all that haue recei­ued his marke, shall be cast downe into the infernall lake.

This Chapter may very fitly bee deuided into foure parts.

The first is, a description of the renouation of the world, and the restauration of the creature. ver. 1

The second is, ver. 2.3.4. a laying foorth of the most glo­rious estate of the Church, when it shall bee freed from all misery.

The third is, a protestation of God himselfe, ver. 5.6.7.8. con­cerning the renouation of all things, the felicitie of his elect, and the endlesse torment of all repro­bates.

The fourth is, ver. 9.10.11.12.13.14.15.16.17.18.19.20.21.22.23.24.25.26.27. a liuely description of the very kingdome of God, and the vnspeakeable ioyes of heauen, vnder the figure of a great citie called the [Page 284] holy Ierusalem. Which citie is heere most gloriously described of his walles, gates, foundations, streets, height, length, breadth, brightnesse, matter, forme, persons, and inhabitants.

The text.

ver. 1 AND I saw a new heauen, and a new earth, for the first heauen and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.

ver. 2 And I Iohn saw the holy city new Ierusalem come downe from God out of heauen, prepared as a bride trimmed for hir husband.

ver. 3 And I heard a great voice of heauen, saying, behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and hee will dwell with them, and they shall bee his people, and God himselfe shall bee their God.

ver. 4 And God shall wipe all teares from their eies, and there shall bee no more death, neither sorrow, neither crying, nei­ther shall there bee any more paine. For the first things are passed.

By a new heauen and a new earth, is meant the re­nued estate of heauen & earth, after this life in their qualitie, not in their substance. For wee doe beleeue according to the scripture, that this visible heauen, and this visible earth shall continue for euer, as touching their matter and substance. But shall bee greatly altered and changed in condition, and qua­litie.2. Pet. 3. For S. Peter saith, wee looke for new heauens, and a new earth, according to his promise, wherein dwelleth [Page 285] righteousnesse, that is, such heauens, and such a earth, as is free from all corruption & sinne. Which thing also the Apostle S. Paul doth plainely teach, saying, that the creature doth feruently expect, Rom. 8 19. when the sonnes of God shall be reuealed, that is, when Gods children shall be made knowen to be as they are, the very heires of infinit glory, which in this life doth not appeare. And hee yeeldeth two reasons of this desire of the creature: one is, because in the meane time it is sub­iect to vanitie and corruption: the other is, that then it shall bee free from both. And for this cause the A­postle saith, that the creature groneth with vs, Rom. 8. and ear­nestly desireth, and longeth after that day, wherein it shall bee set free from the bondage of corruption, and redin­tigrated and restored to that pristinate estate, where­in it was before the fall. But whether this is to be vn­derstood of heauen & earth onely, or of heauen and earth with their adiuncts & particular creatures, I wil not heere goe about to discusse: howbeit I do greatly incline to their opinion, which hold, that heauen and earth, with all their furniture being redintigrated & restored to their first estate, shall remaine for euer, to set foorth the glorie of the creator, & for that vse of glorified men, which now the Angels haue of them.

Now whereas Saint Iohn addeth, that there shall bee no more Sea. Hee meaneth that there shall bee no more any troublesome and confused estate of this world, no moe broiles, waues, tempests,Chap. 4.6. Chap. 8.8. Chap. 13. [...]. and stormes, as it falleth out in this life. For the word Sea is so taken twise or thrise before.

[Page 286]By the holy citie new Ierusalem, hee meaneth the Church triumphant, which therefore is said to come downe from God out of heauen, because it hath all his newnesse and holinesse from God, and from heauen, whereby it is now prepared and made ready to bee maried vnto Christ, ver. 3 euen as a bride tricked and trim­med vp for her husband. And for this cause S. Iohn heareth a voice from heauen, saying, the tabernacle of God is with men, and hee will dwell with them, and they shall bee his people, and hee will bee their God. Meaning ther­by that Iesus Christ will keepe house with his glori­fied spouse, and be at bed and bourd with hir for e­uer in the heauens, at what time shee shall bee freed from all teares woe and miserie, ver. 4 as the next verse decla­reth, yeelding also a reason heereof, which is, that the first things are passed, that is, the state wherein the world is now, being subiect to many afflictions, temptations, vanities, and corruptions.

ver. 5 And hee that sat vpon the throne said. Behold I make all things new, and he said vnto mee. Write: for these words are faithfull and true.

ver. 6 And hee said vnto mee, it is done, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will giue to him that is a thirst, of the well of the water of life freely.

ver. 7 Hee that ouercommeth, shall inherit all things, and I will bee his God, and hee shall bee my sonne.

ver. 8 But the fearefull and vnbeleeuing, and the abhominable, and murtherers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and Idolaters, and all liers, shall haue their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.

[Page 287]Heere the omnipotent God, which sitteth vpon his most glorious throne, doth protest, that hee will make all things new, that is, restore the world to that execellent estate wherein it was before Adams fall, and his elect to a state and condition farre more ex­cellent in heauen, and for the greater certainely and assurance of it, willeth and commandeth Iohn to write it, ver. 5 and record it as a thing most certaine and infalli­ble, and to set it downe as a thing already done. For things to come which are decreed in the counsell of God, are as certaine, as if they were past: for God cannot erre, alter, nor change, and therefore he saith, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the vn­changeable, and immutable God. And addeth, ver. 6 that hee will giue freely to euery one that is a thirst, of the well of the water of life, that is, without all regard of our desarts, hee will giue to euery one, that earnestly see­keth after heauen and heauenly things, his full fill thereof. And moreouer, that whosoeuer ouercommeth, in the spirituall battaile, shall haue the full fruition of all good things, both in this life, and the life to come, as hauing speciall right and interest therein through Christ, God being his father, and hee his sonne and heire. ver. 7 But on the contrary, hee willeth it to bee written, and recorded as a thing most certaine and sure, that all reprobates, all Atheists, worldlings, ver. 8 and all vnbelee­uers shall haue their part an portion, in the lake which bur­neth with fire and brimstone for euer.

And there came vnto mee one of the seauen Angels, ver. 9 which had the seauen vials, full of the seauen plagues, and talked [Page 288] with mee, saying, I will shew thee the bride the Lambs wife.

ver. 10 And he carried mee away in the spirit to a great and an high mountaine, and shewed mee that great Citie, that holy Hierusalem, discending out of Heauen from God.

ver. 11 Hauing the glory of God, and her shining was like vnto a stone most pretious as a Iasper stone, clere as Christ all.

Heere one of the Angels mentioned in the 16. Chapter, which had a Viall full of Gods vvrath: Talketh vvith Iohn, and telleth him that he will shew him the bride the Lambs wife: that is, the triumphant Church, or the Church in her glorified estate, bee­ing vnited, and married vnto Christ, in the kingdome of glory. And therefore Saint Iohn saith, that this Angell carried him away in the spirit, to a great and high mountaine, and shewed him that great Citie holy Ierusa­lem. &c.

chapter 17.1.2.3 Wee reade in the 17. Chapter, that when this An­gell shewed Iohn the great whore of Babylon, he carried him away into the wildernesse in the spirit: because the vvhore of Babylon should make the Church barren and desolate, as a vvildernesse. But now that he is to shew him the spouse of Christ in her glory, and to describe the euerlasting Ierusalem, he carrieth him in the spirit, vnto a very high mountaine, that he might take a sight of it, as Moises was carried vp to the top of mount Nebo, that from thence he might take a view of the holy Land. Which teacheth, that none can take a right view of Heauen and heauenly things, but onely such as fly an high pitch, and mount far [Page 289] aboue this earth in holy affections, and heauenly contemplation.

Moreouer, Saint Iohn telleth vs, that assone as hee tooke a sight of this new Ierusalem, far passing all Sinai sights: foorthwith he espied in it the very glory of God. If he had said, he had espied the glory of a King, it had bene much. If he had said, he espi­ed the glory of an Angell, it had bene more. But that he espieth the very glory of God, it is most of all. For vvho can conceiue or expresse, vvhat the glory of God is, beeing infinit. The Apostle saith, that God dwelleth in vnaccessible light, 1. Tim 6. or such light as none can approch vnto.

Then this is one vvord for all, touching the beau­tie and superexcellencie of the new Ierusalem, that it comprehendeth in it, the very glory of God: but yet for amplifications sake, it is compared to a Iasper stone, for neuer fading greennesse: and to a Chrystall stone, for bright shining and glittering for euer.

And had a great wall and high, and had twelue gates, ver. 12 and at the gates twelue Angels, and the names written which are the twelue tribes of the children of Israell.

On the East part, there were three gates: and on the Northside three gates: on the Southside three gates: ver. 13 and on the West side three gates.

And the wall of the citie had twelue foundations, ver. 14 and in them the names of the Lambs twelue Apostles.

Now Saint Iohn procedeth to the description of the wall & gates of this great citie. This we all know, [Page 290] that a strong wall serueth for the safety and defence of a citie, and for the securitie of such as dwell in it. For if it bee so high that none can it scale, & so thick that none can batter it, then is it indeed impregna­ble, and the Citizens in great securitie. But the wall of heauen is so high, as none can scale it, as is set downe in this twelfe verse, and so thicke, that no double Cannon can pierce it, as appeareth verse 17. therefore all the inhabitants of this new Ierusalem are out of all feare of dangers.

Moreouer this citie hath twelue gates, to signifie an hard accesse for enemies to breake in: and an easie passage, for the Citizens themselues to goe in and out. And at those twelue gates twelue Angels, at eue­ry gate an Angell, as it were a porter, to see that none bee let in, but the true Citizens, and free denisons, and such as haue to doe there, which are heere na­med to bee the twelue tribes of Israell, that is, all the elect of God, both of the iewes and gentiles.

Moreouer it is said, that there were three gates on euery side the citie, both East, West, North, and South, to note that out of all quarters of the earth, the redee­med should bee gathered, and as our sauiour saith, many shall come from the East, and the West, the North, and the South, Math. 8. and sit downe with Abraham, Isaac, and Iacob, in the kingdome of God. So that it is not materiall, what countrey or nation a man is of, whether English, Scot­tish, French, or Spanish, so hee bee a beleeuer, for then he shall be sure to be let in, at one gate, or another, either at the Eastgate, or the Westgate, the Northgate, [Page 291] or the Southgate. Moreouer the wall of this citie, hath twelue foundations, that is to say, it is surely founded. And in euery gate, the name of an Apostle, so that all the gates had the names of the Lambs twelue Apostles, to sig­nifie, that the groundsell & foundation of this citie, is laid vpon the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets, Ephe. 2. Iesus Christ himselfe beeing the chiefe corner stone.

And he that talked with mee, had a golden reed, ver. 15 to mea­sure the citie withall, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

And the citie lay foure square, ver. 16 and the length is as large as the breadth of it, and hee measured the citie, with the reed twelue thousand furlongs, and the length and the breadth, and the height of it are equall.

And hee measured the wall thereof, an hundred forty and foure cubits, by the measure of man, ver. 17 that is of the Angell.

Now S. Iohn telleth vs, that the Angell which tal­ked with him, had a golden reed to measure both the citie, and the gates and walls thereof. Measuring with reeds was a thing of great vse in ancient times, as wee read in the prophesie of Ezechiell and Zachary, Ezechiel. 40. Zacharie. 2. and as wee heard before in the eleauenth Chapter. But because all things belonging to this celestiall Ierusalem, are super excellent and glorious, therfore the very mea­suring rod and reed, is of pure gold. This great and glorious citie is said to lye foure square, to note vnto vs, that it standeth fast, and vnmoueable, for round things are easily rolled, & mooued this way or that way, hither and thither. But square things are not apt [Page 292] to rolle or mooue. This euerlasting Ierusalem therfore lieth foure square, because it can neuer be moued, but standeth fast for euer. As the Apostle saith: Seeing we receiue a kingdome which cannot be shaken, Heb. 12. ve. 28 let vs haue grace whereby we may so serue God, that we may please him with reuerence and feare.

The Angell with his golden measuring rod, mea­sureth the square sides of the citie, both the length, breadth, height and depth of it, and findeth each of them to bee 12000 furlongs, which after eight fur­longs to the mile, maketh in our accompt 1500 miles, and so the whole square of this great citie, commeth to sixe thousand miles, which is a goodly compasse, & noteth vnto vs the great largenesse of gods king­dome, & that there is romth inough for all the inha­bitants thereof. Yea, most pleasant & commodious roomes, as our Lord Iesus saith: in my fathers house are many dwelling places. Iohn. 1.4. If it were not so I would haue tolde you: for I goe to prepare a place for you.

After this, hee measureth the thicknesse of the wall, and findeth it to be an hundred forty and foure cubits, which after our common accompt of two cu­bits to a yard, amount to seauentie and two yardes, which is a iolly thicknesse, euen so thick as no Can­non can pierce, and therefore altogether in expug­nable, as hath beene said before.

ver. 18 And the building of the wall of it, was of Iasper, and the citie was pure gold, like vnto cleere glasse.

ver. 19 And the foundations of the wall of the citie was gar­nished with all manner of pretious stones. The first founda­tion [Page 293] was Iasper, the second of Saphire, the third of a Chalce­donie, the fourth of an Emeraud, the fit of a Sardonix, ver. 20 the sixt of a Sardius, the seauenth of a Chrysolite, the eight of a Beryll, the ninth of a Topaze, the tenth of a Chryso­prasus, the eleauenth of a Iacinth, the twelft of an A­metheist.

And the twelue gates were twelue pearles, ver. 21 and euery gate is of one pearle, and the street of the citie is pure gold, as shining glasse.

As we haue heard of the forme of this goodly citie: so now wee are to heare of the matter of it, that is to say, of what stuffe it is made. First, S. Iohn telleth vs, that the whole Citie is of most pure and glittering gold, like vnto glasse: and that the wall was of Iasper most greene and flourishing, and also that the very foundation of the wall was beautified and adorned with twelue sundry kindes of preti­ous stones, which hee reckoneth vp. We count it a great matter heere below, to compasse and close in our houses with a wall of bricke, and none can do it but men of place: but alas, what is that to his wall? what is bricke to precious stones: & pibbles, to pearle. But S. Iohn addeth that the gates were of pearle, and the streete of the citie of pure gold! Oh how braue, how beautifull, how glorious, how glittering, how gorgeous, how admirable, a citie is this: for if the gates be of pearle, & the streets of gold, then what are the inner roomes, what are the dining chambers, and what are the lodging roomes. But heere we may not grossely imagine, that the kingdome of God is [Page 294] of such mettall and matter inded, as is heere descri­bed. But the holy ghost would giue vs some tast of it, and after a sort shadow out vnto vs vnder these things vvhich are in most pretious accompt amongst men, vvhat the glory and excellencie of the immor­tall kingdome is. For otherwise there is no compa­rison betwixt gold, pearle, and pretious stones, and those heauenly, inuisible, & immortall things which vve looke for, and hope for thorough Christ: vvhich in very deed are so great, so glorious, and so vncon­ceiuable, that gold, pearle, & pretious stones, are scant so much as any shew, shadow, or resemblāce thereof.

ver. 22 And I saw no Temple therein, for the Lord God al­mightie, and the Lamb, are the Temple of it.

ver. 23 And this Citie hath no need of the Sunne, neither of the Moone to shine in it: for the glory of God did light it, and the Lamb is the light of it.

ver. 24 And the people which are, saued, shall walke in the light of it: and the kings of the earth shall bring their honor & glory vnto it.

ver. 25 And the gates of it shall not be shut by day, for there shalbe no night there.

ver. 26 And the glory and honour of the Gentiles shalbe brought vnto it.

ver. 27 And there shall into it no vncleane thing, neither whatsoeuer worketh abhomination or lies: But they which are written in the Lambs booke of life.

In this new Ierusalem there is no Temple, as was in the olde Ierusalem: For there shalbe no neede of a­ny, no neede of doctrine, of Sacraments, of prayer, [Page 295] as in the olde Temple, wherein the law was taught, sacraments administred, sacrifices offered, and many other rites and ceremonies obserued.

But Saint Iohn saith, that now God and Christ shalbe all in all. They shalbe the Temple of this most holy Citie. And all they elect shall fully know them, and dwell with them for euer.

And as this Citie hath no neede of any Temple, so hath it no neede of any light either of Sunne or Moone. For the glory of God and the brightnesse of the Lamb doe light it for euer: vvhose incomprehensible bright­nesse doth as far excell the brightnesse of the Sunne and Moone, as they doe excell a little candle at noone day. But it may be demaunded vvho shall dwell in this so glorious a Citie, and in this so great a light. Saint Iohn answereth, that the people that are saued shall walke in it: that is, all the Israell of God, all true beleeuers, vvhich are happy that euer they vvere borne, that they may come to the possession of such a kingdome, as is heere described. For Saint Iohn saith, that the resplendent brightnesse of this Citie is so great, that euen the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour vnto it. And also, that the glory and honour of the Gentiles shalbe brought vn­to it.

Oh how vnspeakeable is the glory of this citie, that Kings shall throw downe their Crownes and Scepters beefore it: counting all theyr pomp and glory but as dust, in respect of it. And the magnificence and pomp of all the potentates of [Page 296] the earth shall heere bee laide downe. And albeit none of the kings, and nobles of the gentiles, might bee admitted into the old Ierusalem, yet all of the gentiles that beleue, shall be admitted into this new Ierusalem, & made free denisons therof for euer. And although the gates of this citie alwaies stand open both night and day, as not fearing any danger of e­nemies: yet no vncleane thing shall enter into it, but onely they which are written in the Lambs booke of life. Thus wee see how gloriously the holy ghost hath descri­bed vnto vs, this citie of the Saints, and habitation of the iust, for euermore. He must needes bee a very blocke, that is not moued with the consideration of this endlesse felicitie. For this citie is described vnto vs, in so glorious & admirable a manner, to bring vs into loue with it, and to worke in vs an vnquenchea­ble thirst & desire after it. Oh therefore let vs spend many thoughts vpon it: let vs enter into deepe me­ditations, of the inestimable glory of it: let vs long till wee come to the fingering and possession of it, euen as the heire longeth till hee come to the posses­sion of his lands. Let vs thinke euery day tenne, and euery yeere twenty, till wee bee in possession: let vs with the Apostle sigh and grone, desiring to be clo­thed with our house, 2. Cor. 52 which is from heauen: let vs in the meane time, cast away all things, that may hinder vs in our christian course: let vs shake off euery bur­den, and run with patience, the race that is set before vs: let vs as they which prooue masteries abstaine from all lets and hinderances. And sith wee striue [Page 297] so exceedingly for a corruptible crowne: how much more ought wee for an vncorruptible. For what paines, what cost, what labour, can bee inough for a kingdome: let vs therefore striue and straine, to get into this golden citie, where streets, walles, & gates, and all is gold, all is pearle: yea, where pearle is but as mire and durt, and nothing worth. Oh what fooles are they, which depriue themselues willingly of this endlesse glory, for a few stinking lusts Oh what mad men are they which bereaue themselues of a roome in this citie of pearle, for a few carnall pleasures and delights. Oh what bedlames and straught beasts are they, which shut themselues out of these euerlasting habitations, for a little transitorie pelfe. Oh what in­tollerable sots and fops are all such, as will willing­ly be barred out of this pallace of infinit pleasure, for the short fruition of worldly lucre and trash. Let vs therefore in all time to come, make more recko­ning of heauen, and lesse reckoning of the earth. Let vs minde heauenly things, & despise earthly things, let vs prease hard, vnto the things that are before, and forget the things that are behind. Let vs striue hard for the price of the high calling of God, and contemne euen the glory of this world.

Chap. 22.

IN this Chapter S. Iohn proceedeth yet more large­ly, to describe the blessed estate of all Gods Saints in the kingdome of glory, and the principall scope [Page 298] and drift of this Chapter is yet more to enlarge the ioyes of Gods people, after this life, and to ratifie the authoritie of this prophesie.

This chapter containeth foure principall parts.

[...]er. 1.2.3.4.5.The first, is an amplification of the ioyes of Gods kingdome.

[...]er. 6.7.8.9.16.19.The second, is a confirmation of the authoritie of this booke.

ver. 9.10 11.12 13.14.15. The third, is an exhortation both to spread a­broad the knowledge of this booke: and also for e­uery man to prepare himselfe for the comming of Christ vnto iudgement.

ver. 17 20. The fourth, is the feruent desire of the Church, for the second appearing of Christ.

The text.

ver. 1 AND hee shewed me a pure riuer of the water of life, cleare as Christall, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lambe.

ver. 2 In the middest of the streete of it, and of either side of the riuer, was the tree of life, which bare twelue manner of fruits, and gaue fruit euery moneth, and the leaues of the tree, serue to heale the nations with.

ver. 3 And there shall bee no more curse, but the throne of God, and of the Lambe, shall bee in it, and his seruants shall serue him.

ver. 4 And they shall see his face, and his name shall bee in their foreheads.

ver. 5 And there shall bee no night there, and they neede [Page 299] no candle, neither light of the Sunne: For the Lord God giueth them light, and they shall raigne for euer­more.

The Angell doth yet further shew vnto Iohn a pure riuer of the water of life. Whereby is signified the ouerflowing aboundance of all good things, which the righteous shall enioy, in the kingdome of glory.

This riuer is said to proceede out of the throne of God, and of the Lambe, because God in Christ is the originall of all this life and happinesse.

Further it is added, that in the midst of the golden street of this new Ierusalem, and of both sides the ri­uer, there was a tree of life. Which representeth Christ, now in this heauenly paradise: as in former time, it represented Christ in the earthly paradise: and also that eternall and blessed life, which our first parents should enioy, if they did continue in the o­bedience of God.

This tree standeth not in an out corner of the citie, but in the very middest of the streete, and of both sides the riuer, that all the Citizens of the new Ierusalem, might haue free accesse vnto it, and tast of the most daintie fruits thereof, in great va­rietie: for it beareth twelue manner of fruits, that is, in Christ all varietie of pleasure and endlesse delight, is to bee found.

This tree beareth fruit euery moneth, as well in winter as in sommer: for heere euery moneth is Autumne. The sense is, that in Christ the new and [Page 300] fresh fruits of immortall ioy, without any satiety or loathing, are for euer to be found.

The leaues of this tree are very medicinable and sauatiue. For they serue to heale the nations with, that is, to preserue them from all diseases, and griefes: which argueth a most blessed life, not subiect to sicknesse, or any other infirmitie. For Christ is our neuer failing phisition, which in this life healeth all our spirituall diseases, and infirmities. And after this life, will pre­serue vs in perpetuall health and happinesse.

There shall bee no more curse, that is, in the heauen­ly paradise, we shall no more be subiect to any curse, as Adam was in the earthly paradise. Which also ar­gueth the perfection of happines after this life, & yet for further amplification of this most glorious estate: it is said, that the throne of God, & of Christ shall be erected in the middest of this golden street, and all his chosen people shall there accompany him, dwell with him, bee alwaies about him, yea and serue him without wearines for euer. Yea, all his faithfull wor­shippers, shall come so neere his throne, that they shall see his very face, and bee rauished with his glory, ha­uing his image, his name, his wisdome, and mercie imprinted in their foreheads: yea, his vnconceiuable light and glory, shall bee so resplendent, that there shall bee neither night, nor neede of candle: but in his glittering and most glorious chamber of presence, shall all his elect raigne, and triumph with him, for euermore, in infinit felicitie: and the very fruition of eternall delectation, where shall bee mirth with­out [Page 301] measure, and solace without sorrow: as the Prophet saith:Psal. 16. in thy presence is the fulnesse of ioy, and at thy right hand there is pleasure for euer­more.

And hee saide vnto mee, ver. 6 these wordes are faithfull and true, and the Lord God of the holy Prophets, sent his Angell to shew vnto his seruants, the things which must shortly bee fulfilled.

Beholde I come shortly. Blessed is hee that keepeth the words of the prophesie of this booke. ver. 7

And I am Iohn, which saw and heard these things, ver. 8 and when I had heard and seene, I fell downe to wor­ship before the feete of the Angell, which shewed me these things.

But hee said vnto mee, see thou doe it not, for I am thy fellow seruant, and of thy brethren the Prophets, ver. 9 and of them which keepe the wordes of this booke: worship God.

In these foure verses, are foure speciall reasons brought, to confirme and ratifie the authoritie of this booke.

The first of them is, the affirmation of the Angell.

The second, the authoritie of the most high God.

The third, the testimonie of Iesus, pronouncing them blessed, which keepe this prophesie.

The fourth, the testimonie of Iohn, who heard and saw these things. But beecause in the epistle to the Reader, I haue more at large hand­led this argument, and these same verses: there­fore [Page 302] heere I doe of purpose relinquish them. And that also of Iohns adoration, and the Angels refu­sall, beeing thinges most manifest and easie to vn­derstand.

ver. 10 And hee said vnto mee, seale not the words of the prophesie of this booke, for the time is at hand.

ver. 11 Hee that is vniust, let him bee vniust still, and hee which is filthie let him bee filthie still, and hee that is righ­teous, let him bee righteous still, and hee that is holy, let him be holy still.

ver. 12 And behold I come shortly, and my reward is with mee, to giue euerie man, according as his worke sha [...]l bee.

ver. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

ver. 14 Blessed are they that doe his commandements, that their right may bee in the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the citie.

[...]er. 15. For without shall bee dogges, and enchanters, and whooremongers, and murtherers, and Idolaters, and who­soeuer loueth or maketh lies.

Heere is first an exhortation, to publish and proclaime the knowledge of this booke to all peo­ple, and in no wise to conceale it, or keepe it close, as formerly hath beene shewed in the e­pistle.

Heere is a further admonition, that they which are vnrighteous should bee vnrighteous still, &c. Which is no allowance or encouragement granted vnto wicked men, to continue in their euill waies, but is [Page 303] rather a terrible threat, if wee take all the wordes together, in this and the next verse, as if he should say, if men will needes continue in their filthines, yet certainely Christ will come shortly and reward them according to their workes.

Or else it may bee a phrase of speach, which they call an ironicall concession: as in another place the holy ghost saith to the young man.Eccles. 11. Walke in the wayes of thine owne heart, and in the sight of thine eies: but know that for all these things, 1 King. 22.15. Math. [...]6.45. God will bring thee vn­to iudgement: So likewise in other places.

After this, heere is blessednesse pronounced vpon all such as keepe the commandements of God, and it is said, that there right is in the tree of life, not meaning thereby, that their keeping of the comman­dements is the cause of their right in Christ: but onely an effect or consequence. For our good works doe not goe beefore, as causes of our iustificati­on: but follow after, as declarations of the same. For by doing wee are not made iust, in the sight of God, but onely declared to bee iust, in the sight of men.

And as for the keeping of the commandements, wee doe it not in such perfection as Gods iustice requireth, but in such measure, as his mercie accep­teth through Christ. And heere the holy ghost saith, that all they which haue a right in Christ, which is the tree of life, and indeauour to keepe the com­mandements, shall enter in through the gates, into the new Ierusalem: but on the contrarie, all [Page 304] the rout of reprobates, whom hee calleth dogges, enchanters, whooremongers, &c. shall bee vtterly shut out, as hauing nothing to do, in this euerlasting citie, their portion, beeing allotted in the infer­nall lake.

ver. 16 I Iesus haue sent mine Angell, to testifie vnto you these things. I am the root, and the generation of Dauid, and the bright morning star.

ver. 17 And the spirit and the bride say Come. And let him that heareth, say Come: and let him that is a thrift come: and let whosoeuer will, take of the water of life freely.

ver. 18 For I protest, vnto euery man that heareth the words of the prophesie of this booke. If any man shall adde vnto these things, God shall adde vnto him, the plagues that are written in this booke.

ver. 19 And if any man shall diminish of the wordes of the booke of this prophesie, God shall take away his part out of the booke of life, and out of the holy citie, and from those things, which are written in this booke.

ver. 20 Hee which testifieth these things saith, surely I come quickly. Amen. Euen so come Lord Iesus.

ver. 21 The grace of our Lord Iesus Christ, bee with you all. Amen.

The authoritie of this booke is heere againe ra­tified from the person of him vvho is the author of it, that is, Iesus Christ, vvho is heere called the root and generation of Dauid: both because he is dis­cended of the house of Dauid, according to the flesh: and also because the eternall kingdome vvhich all [Page 305] the prophets did foretell, should spring out of the house of Dauid, vvas indeed and in truth establi­shed in Christ, vvho is our true Dauid, and our righ­teous braunch, and as it is heere said, the bright mor­ning starre, vvhich hath most gloriously risen vpon the vvorld, to dispell all darknesse, and to bring the great and euerlasting light.

Moreouer, heere is great protestation made in the eightene and ninteene verses, of great plagues to bee inflicted vpon all such as shall adde any thing vnto this booke, or take away any thing from it. Which also ma­keth greatly for the confirmation of the authoritie of this booke, for that to the which nothing may be added, and from the which nothing may be taken a­way, must needes bee absolute and perfect. But this booke is such a one: therefore this booke is abso­lute and perfect, being a part of Gods euerlasting truth.

Last of all, heere is set downe the feruent desire of the bride, after the bridgrome, for shee being in­flamed with the spirit, desireth him to come, and make vp the match betwixt them, that shee may bee ioyned to him in marriage, celebrate the solem­nization, and liue together with him in the eternall triumph. Which is the sence of these words, the spi­rit, and the bride say come, and let him that heareth, say come. For it is proper and peculiar onely to the brid, to heare, waite, and long for the comming of Christ. And let him that is a thirst, come. That is, all such as thirst after righteousnesse, may truely say, come sweet [Page 306] Iesus. For they are allowed freely, to drinke of the water of life. The plaine menaing of all this is, that the Church being directed by the holy ghost, most vehemently prayeth and longeth for the comming of Christ, that shee may haue her topfull happinesse, and full fruition of all those super excellent things, which are prouided and purchased for her through him. And therefore to satisfie her desire, Iesus Christ the heauenly bridegroome saith, I come shortly. To the which the bride saith, Amen, Amen. Euen so be it. Come Lord Iesus, come quickly, and make an end of these sinfull and conflicting daies, that all thy deer ones may haue and enioy, their long [...] ­ked for happinesse, and felicitie in the heauens, for euer and euer.

FINIS.

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