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the golden tubes, which connect her bowls with their branches, are choked, then she will burn dimly; if they are broken, she is eclipsed, and the Tabernacle of the World is in darkness.
We now perceive that the transition in the Apocalypse, from the measuring Reed to the Two Witnesses and Two Olive Trees, is far from being abrupt, and is very natural and easy.
The Two Testaments contain all things necessary for salvation; they constitute the Rule or Canon of Scripture; they are the measuring Reed of the Church *. That measuring Reed is put by the Angel of the Covenant, Christ Himself, into the hand of St. John; for St. John, the last-surviving Apostle, was specially appointed by Christ to authenticate and consummate the Canon of Holy Scripture, and thus to fix the faith of the Church. The reed measures the Sanctuary, and so exhibits to us the sufficiency of Holy Scripture. And in the connexion of the Olive Trees and the Golden Candlesticks we behold a true picture of the relation of the Church to Holy Scripture, and of Holy Scripture to the Church.
This, as you well know, is, and long has been, a much-contraverted matter; and perhaps no better, no more vivid, representation can be given of it, than in the Candlesticks fed by the Olive Trees t.
* The connexion of the Seven Thunders with all these Scriptural Symbols will be considered in a subsequent Lecture, Lect. VIII. † Primasius, x. p. 314.
Ecclesia duorum Testamentorum
The Church of Rome, you are aware, would persuade us that we owe the Scriptures to her, and that if we would believe in their Inspiration, we must acknowledge her authority. She even affirms that Scripture derives its validity from her sanction. It is Scripture, she says, because she has canonized it. So that, according to her theory, the Word of God owes its existence, as such, to the Church of Rome *
What is this, but to invert the whole order of things? It is not to imbibe light from the divine source, but it is to attempt to light up the living Olive Trees from the dead Candlestick.
Again: the Church of Rome will not allow the divine oil of Scripture to flow freshly, freely, and fully; but she clogs up the pipes, and thickens the liquid stream of pure doctrine with the admixture of corrupt traditions. What is this, but to mar the Candlestick, to make the wick fungous, and the light dim, and the air fetid and gloomy, and the nations blind; and to incur the Wrath of Him Who walketh in the midst of the Golden Candlesticks *, and to tempt Him to remove her from her place ?
lumine radiata formatur. And Bede, p. 385.-Anonym.ap. S. Aug. Opp. iii. p. 3130. Duo Candelabra Ecclesia est; pro Numero Testamentorum dixit duo: ita et ex Septem Candelabris una Ecclesia est. Nam Zacharias (Zech. iv. 2, 3.) unum Candelabrum vidit Septiforme; et has duas olivas, id est, Testamenta, infundere oleum Candelabro, id est, Ecclesiæ.-See also Bishop Andrewes, (c. Bellarmin. cap. 11.) who concurs in the opinion that the two Witnesses signify the two Testaments.
* See the quotations in “ Lectures on the Canon,” p. 14,
My beloved brethren, let us pray for her, and let us watch for ourselves. Almighty God, let us be assured, does enlighten His Church by the oil poured from the Olive Trees of the Two Testaments. He is the only source of light: He is the Father of Lights t. In His light we see light. Let us not imagine, then, that we can illuminate ourselves. The things of the Spirit of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God [..
He has also set the Golden Candlestick of His Church in the World, to be the recipient of His light, to keep it ever burning, and to convey and diffuse it far and wide. We receive Scripture through the Church; and what has not passed through its sacred Pipes, even from the beginning,—what has not come to us by the golden tubes of its faithful testimony,—we do not acknowledge as Scripture §. But the Church has no light of her own. If God should withdraw the supply, or if she obstructs the channel, her light wanes and dies. But He is graciously pleased to pour a perennial stream of the oil of spiritual truth and grace in His Written Word; and the Son of Man, the Great High Priest, is ever
* Rev. i. 13. ii. 1. + James i. 17. Psalm xxxvi. 9. # 1 Cor. ii. 11.
$ Thirty-nine Articles, Art. VI. “In the name of the holy Scripture we do understand those Canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church."
walking in the midst of His Church, warning her to keep her lights burning; and we are sure that the light so given, though it may be dimmed, will never die.
Lastly, the irreverent and contemptuous treatment which the Word of God will receive, and which, alas! it is receiving, from the World, is pourtrayed by St. John in this divine prophecy; and the final triumph of that Word is revealed also. Let us, therefore, be on our guard; let us be made wise thereby.
The Two Witnesses may prophesy in sackcloth. The Two Testaments * may be assailed by Satan, and impugned by men, as the One Testament was by the type of Antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes; and as Both were by Diocletian. Theit warnings may be despised; their commands may be broken; they may seem as dead; their carcases may be trodden under foot (as the Apocalypse prophesies) in the streets of Sodom and of Egypt, the figures of a rebel World. They that dwell on the earth may perhaps rejoice over them, because the two witnesses tormented them t. The Kingdoms of the World may imagine
* Anonym. ap. S. Aug. iii. 3129. Dabo Testibus meis, id est, Duobus Testamentis ; et prophetabunt diebus mcclx. numerum novissimæ persecutionis et futuræ pacis et totius temporis a Domini passione.
+ Bede, p. 387. Propter plagas quibus propter Testamenta Dei humanum genus urgetur, etiam visus ipse justorum gravat injustos.
that the Word of God slumbers; that all its precepts are obsolete; that all its thunders are spent. Nations may enact laws, and frame Constitutions, which treat that Word as dead. Men may busy themselves in endeavouring to prove that the Two Witnesses are not inspired; and they may presumptuously imagine that they have reduced them to silence, by scoffing sneers or sceptical sophistry. Others may withhold the Word of God, and prohibit its circulation, and stifle or adulterate its testimony by human traditions and legendary fables; but the Scriptures cannot be broken, the Two Witnesses are immortal.
They may appear to be dead, but they still live and breathe; they will rise up again; the Spirit of God will animate them; they will stand again on their feet, and they who see them will fear. They will be raised in triumph to heaven, like Elias, on a chariot of fire. All flesh is grass : the grass
withereth, the flower fadeth ; but the Word of our God shall stand for ever* Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but CHRIST'S WORD shall not pass away t.
* Isa. xl. 6–8. 1 Pet. i. 24.
+ Luke xxi. 33.