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As Luther foresaw the scandal that would rise from his own and such like sacrilegious marriages, he prepared the world for it, by writing against the celibacy of the clergy, and against all religious vows. He proclaimed that all such vows " were contrary to faith, to the commands of God, and to evangelical liberty.” De votis Monast. He said again : “ God disapproves of such a vow, of living in continency, equally as if I should vow to become the mother of God, or to create a new world." Ep. ad Wolfgang Reisemb. And again : “ To attempt to live unmarried, is plainly to fight against God.” Ibid. How does such doctrine agree with the commendations our Saviour gives to celibacy, when speaking of it he says: “ All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given.” Matt. xix. 11. Or with the advice of St. Paul, who being himself unmarried, said: “I say to the unmarried and widows: it is good for them if they so continue, even as I." 1 Cor. vii. 8. And this has been practiscd through all the ages of Christianity. But when men give a loose to the depravity of nature, what wonder if the most scandalous practices ensue? Accordingly, besides what has been abovementioned, a striking instance of this kind appeared in the license granted in 1539 to Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, to have two wives at once: which license was signed by Luther, Melanchton, Bucer, and five other divines. On another hand, a wide door was laid open to another species of scandal: the doctrine of the reformation admitted divorces in the marriage state in certain cases, contrary to the doctrine of the gospel, and even allowed the parties thus separated to marry other wives and other husbands.
“And their teeth (the teeth of the locusts,) were as of lions," v. 8. In the preceding article we had a figure of the incontinency of the reformers, here we are presented with a symbol of their avarice. It was not sufficient to have named them locusts, and to intimate their ravenous temper by the greediness of those insects; they are here represented with teeth of lions, ready to devour with violence whatever prey they can come at. What is more known than the truth of this representation ? Did not the protestants, wherever they got footing, pillage the churches, seize the church possessions, destroy the monasteries, and appropriate to themselves the revenues ? Such was the case in Germany, in Holland, in France, in Switzerland, in Scotland, as we have seen in relating the protestant wars in those countries. In England likewise, what a scene of rapine! Without descending to a detail of particulars, it may be sufficient to say, that in the reign of Henry VIII. were suppressed no less than 645 monasteries, 90 Colleges, 110 hospitals, and of chantries and free chapels 2374, Baker's Chron.; the lands and revenues of all which were confiscated to the king. Is not this, to devour with lion's teeth ? The same course of rapine was carried on under Edward VI., which swept away what remained from the preceding reign. Dr. Heylin, in the preface to his history of the reformation, speaking of this prince and his reign, says: “Such was the rapacity of the times, and the misfortune of his condition, that his minority was abused by many acts of spoil and rapine, even to an high degree of sacrilege, to the raising of some, and the enriching of others, without any manner of improvement to his own estate." The hungry courtiers began their sacrilegious rapine, by plundering the images and shrines of the saints, and seizing upon the ornaments, plate, and jewels of the churches. These spoils not being sufficient to glut their leonine avidity, they invaded the bishopricks, which they stripped of many of their possessions. The detail of all which may be seen in the above-mentioned history of Dr. Heylin.
In Sweden, Gustavus Erickson introduced the Lutheran reformation, and seized the church-lands and revenues, leaving the clergy but a slender maintenance. The same did Christiern III., king of Denmark, in his dominions. Thus robbing people of their property, demolishing their habitations, public buildings, &c. which violences in all civilized countries are punished with death, were, in the course of the reformation, practised with impunity; and the perpetrators gratified their avarice, which they masked with the pretended vindication of religion. The testaments of the dead, which even among heathens are sacred, were in these times contemptuously violated, and the donations, which the testators had dedicated to the service of God, and to the relief of the sick and distressed, were scandalously diverted to other purposes.
"And they had (the locusts had,) breast-plates as breastplates of iron,” v. 9. In the two last articles, we saw the spirit of incontinency and avarice of the reformers and their societies : here we are presented with a picture of their obstinacy, under the figure of iron breast-plates. Whoever is not joined with the protestants in their persuasion, knows full well that their obstinacy is incredible in defending their doctrine; that for that purpose they are not ashamed to make use of any arguments, though ever so frivolous, inconsistent, or absurd, and to asperse the Catholic communion with slanders, misrepresentations, and calumnies. It also appears from the account we have before given of the wars of the reformation, that the protestants were always ready to maintain their new adopted religion at any rate, even with arms, and at the risk of their lives. In that view the protestant princes of Germany entered into a league offensive and defensive against the Emperor Charles V., rose up in arms, nor could they be prevailed upon to sit down quiet, till they had established the reformation. Thus they carried breast-plates of iron. Many other wars succeeded in Germany between the Catholics and Protestants. After a similar manner in other countries, where the reformation got footing, its abettors so obstinately supported it by sedition, disturbance, and war, that no peace could be purchased from them, till their religion was admitted and ratified by the laws of the respective kingdom's. Such was the case not only in Germany, but in Holland, in several provinces of France, in Scotland, &c. And I believe every one presumes such would be more or less the case at this day, if any danger threatened the reformation.
" And the noise of their wings (the wings of the locusts) was as the noise of chariots of many horses running to battle," v. 9. Here the prophet points at the turbulent, murmuring, clamorous disposition of the reformed, properly expressed by the noise of the wings of the locusts, which was as loud as the noise of chariots of many horses running to war. Did not that inflammatory spirit of uneasiness, loud murmur, and sedition, appear in all those kingdoms where the reformation was received ? How often has the public tranquillity been convulsed by that baleful poison? What fatal disturbances have been raised, and what troubles have princes sustained to quell them ? Some of the sects are inspired with a relentless hatred to government; their complaints are clamorous and unceasing, and they brood upon mischief, devising how to destroy superior power, and reduce all mankind to a level. What intestine murmurs have been heard, what tumultuous scenes have been seen in England, Scotland, and France ?
On another hand, the unhappy effects of this uneasy and ungenerous disposition have been severely felt by those of the Catholic communion, living in protestant countries. Though all the reformed sects agreed in preaching up “Christian liberty,” the Catholics have seemed to be envied the least share of that invaluable blessing. Without any just pro
vocation, alarming outcries have been often thrown out against them : they have been threatened with the rigour of the law's, and persecution even has sometimes been set on foot. We see then that the loud noise of the wings of the locusts, like the loud rumbling noise of chariots of many horses running to battle, very fitly represents that restless turbulent spirit, which continued in the reformed societies, and banished peace from governments as well as from the Church of Christ.
Here terminates the period of five months, or 150 years, mentioned above in verse 5th; within which space of time is comprehended, as we have seen, one share of the history of the reformation, and in reality the principal part of it. During this period, which commenced, as we have said, about the
year 1525, and consequently ended 1675, the reformed religion · was forcibly introduced, took its full growth, and was finally
settled. In Germany, Holland, and Switzerland, borne upon the shoulders of sedition and rebellion, it became so far victorious as to procure its establishment by the celebrated treaty of Munster in Westphalia in 1648. The Calvinists or Huguenots in France made their way by detestable plots and dreadful civil wars, till they procured from Henry IV. the edict of Nantes, for the toleration of their religion, in 1598; which edict was confirmed by Louis XIII. in 1622, though afterwards repealed in 1685 by Lewis XIV. In other countries where the sovereigns received the reformation, it was settled more early.
THE CONTINUATION OF THE HISTORY OF THE FIFTH AGE.
Apoc., chap. ix. 10. “ And they (the locusts,) had* tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails, and their power was to hurt men five months. And they hadt over them,
V. 11. “A king, the angel of the bottomless pit; whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon : in Latin, Exterminans, that is, Destroyer.”
* In the Greek text, “ have.” + In the Greek, "have.”
We shall now proceed to the second period of time, which begins with the above 10th verse, and is of equal duration with the first, that is, consists of 150 years.
That here begins a new period of five months, or 150 years, different from that mentioned in verse the 5th, is not a groundless supposition, but is proved by the following reasons. First, the expression of five months being twice used, namely, in verse 5th and verse 10th, sufficiently argues a double period. For whoever studies the Apocalypse, will find in it such extreme precision, that the same thing is never repeated in the same circumstances; that every word expresses some particular object, and is so necessary in its place, that it cannot be taken away without maiming the sense. One may therefore conclude from the nature of this divine revelation, that the repeated mention of five months indicates the distinction of a double period. Sir Isaac Newton ac
knowledged the same distinction, but applied it to a different the post subject. Secondly, the Greek text shows the same very
plainly, and even the place where the first period expires and the second begins. In the verses 8th and 9th, the de
scription proceeds by the repeated expression, they had; but Ha at the 10th verse the expression is suddenly changed into o they have, and continues so to the end of the description. This
sudden change of time from they had, to they have, clearly points out a transition from one period to another. And in this very same 10th verse, where the transition takes place, is immediately subjoined the second mention of five months.
The distinction of two periods, each of 150 years, being thus stated : as the first began with the reformation about the year 1525, and expired at 1675, the second will reach to 1825. We are now to see what account our inspired writer gives of the reformation in this latter period. It is mostly contained in the 10th verse, which we shall here put down conformable
to the Greek text. “ They (the locusts,) have tails like unto 1F774 Scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power,
was to hurt men five months.” Here the locusts are said to have to tails, that resemble whole scorpions with stings in them.
This allegory describes very emphatically the angry temper of the protestants, and their implacable enmity to those of the Catholic communion. Whoever presumes to abridge that "evangelical liberty,” which is their idol, they immediately declaim against the attempt, chaff, and threaten, like scorpions, to sting. They still retain a good share of that factious and violent temper, with which they first propagated