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languages ceased to be spoken in the Roman government, in the middle of the sixth century. Sackcloth denotes great calamities and troubles, as in the days of Hezekiah, II. Kings, xix. 1, 2, “When king Hezekiah heard the threatnings of the king of Assyria) he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth;" also the Ninevites put on Sackcloth, at the preaching of Jonah, when their city was threatened with a final overthrow. So with the two witnesses, while they were clothed in sackcloth it was a time of great calamity and trouble to the people of God; persecution raged without any mitigation in some or all parts of the Roman government, and the church of God, which was fed and nourished by the two witnesses, during her residence in the wilderness, was threatened with a final destruction by the papal armies, the inquisition, and every other means that could be devised by wicked men or devils. But God has preserved his word, through all the persecutions of the Roman power. I shall now,
III. Show their history, prophecy, and time specified in the text.
db Ist. Their history, contained in Rev. xi. 5–13, inclusive. Let me read and explain. 5th verse, 7 ( If any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies; and if any man will hurt them he must in this manner be killed.” If any man shall add or take away from the book or revelation of God, “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city," and "God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” This verse has been verified in our day in the history of deistical France. The rulers of France, in the Revolution, proclaimed a war of extermination against the fishermen's bíble, as they were pleased to term it; and within six years they exterminated themselves, the republic, and almost their principles. The kingdom was deluged in blood, anarchy was the law of the land, and the judgments denounced by this word were literally accomplished, so that deists themselves stood appalled at the horror and confusion their own principles had brought upon their heaven daring crimes.
Si 6th verse, « These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy.” Allusion is here had “ to the three years and a half” in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up, Luke iv. 25, which is the same time the witnesses prophecy clothed in sackcloth,
“As often as they will,” meaning as often as they have prophecied of them, so often will the plagues be sent; not one jot or tittle of the word of God will fail.
7th verse, “ And when they shall have finished their testimony,” that is, when the 1260 years are about fulfilled, the “beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit”—this beast is the same as the little horn, Papal Rome, and is said to ascend out of the bottomless pit, because it is founded on error. The principles taught by this beast were first Paganism, and ended in Deism, which are not built on the word of God, and therefore have no foundation and may truly be said to be “bottomless." "Shall make war against them.” The governments under the authority of Papal Rome shall endeavor to exterminate the "two witnesses,” the word of God." And shall overcome them, and kill them,” have power over them, pass laws or edicts against them, and by this means destroy their usefulness, life and activity. For where the scriptures are not read and believed in, they become a dead letter; but when read and believed, “ they are spirit, they are life.” John vi. 63.
8th verse, " And their dead bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” This verse teaches us that the word of God would be made a dead letter, by the authority of one of the principal kingdoms out of one of the ten into which the Roman government was divided, and that they would be guilty of the same sins that Sodom and Egypt were guilty of, and also of crucifying our Lord, that is in a spiritual sense. This will apply to France in particular. France, previous to, and in the French Revolution, was guilty of Sodomitish sins ; she also had held in bondage, like Egypt, the people of God, and in France Christ had been crucified afresh in his people, on St. Bartholomews eve, A. D. 1572, when 50,000 Hugunots were murdered in one night. The people of God are called Christ's spiritual body. I. Peter ii. 5: Col. i. 24. \9th verse, “ And they of the people, and kindreds, and tongues, shall see their dead bodies three days and a half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. This decree or edict should be generally known among all nations, and although they could not prevent the witnesses from lying in the streets of the great city three years and a
half, yet the nations about them would prevent the scriptures from being buried, or put out of sight.
10th verse, And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth.” We learn by this text that the nation who would suppress the reading of the word of God, would make great rejoicings upon this occasion, and congratulate each other upon the destruction of the bible, as they would suppose, for this reason, because the doctrine
precepts of the bible would be hateful and disagreeable to them.
11th verse, “ And after three days and a half (years) the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them." After the bible would be dormant three
years and a half, God would so order in his providence, that they would again be permitted to be read and enjoyed as usual, and the bible would again stand upon its own foundation or merits, and would again have then bearing on the hopes and fears of mankind and the governments of the world, and their enemies would see it and tremble.
12th verse, " And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, come up hither ; and they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.
up This verse shows us that many voices would unite in calling for a general spread of the bible through the world, and that the buble would be exalted among the nations, and great multitudes of them circulated, and the enemies of the word of God could not prevent it. Here we have a plain and distinct prophecy of the bible societies.
13th verse," And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men (names or titles] seven thousand, and the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven." At the same hour the witnesses would be slain, there would be a great revolution and one of the ten kingdoms which had given their power and support to the papal beast would fall, and seven thousand names or titles of nobility and priestly dignitaries would be destroyed; and this revolution would produce great fear among the nations, and some would acknowledge that the word was fulfilling and God was producing these wonderful events. Here we again see exactly depicted the French Revolution and its
effects, and we cannot but see that the whole of this prophecy has been literally fulfilled.
In the beginning of the sixth century about A. D. 538, Justinian, Emperor of Constantinople, in his controversy with the Arians, and other schismatics in the Greek church, constituted the bishop of Rome head over all others, both in the western and eastern churches, who by his authority suppressed the reading of the bible by laymen, pretending that they could not read and understand without the assistance of the clergy. About this time, too, the Latin language ceased to be spoken in Italy, and the Greek and Latin both became dead languages. The bible at that time into beng/written or translated into any other languages in Europe it became an easy task for the bishop to obscure the doctrine and discipline of the word of God, so far as suited his convenience, and to obtain universal power over the minds and consciences of men and clothe the scriptures in sackcloth. If, then, the scriptures were first clothed in sackcloth in A. D. 538, and were to prophecy 1260 years in this situation, their prophecy would end in 1798. About the close of the eighteenth century, in consequence of the abominable corruptions of the church of Rome being exposed to public view, the men of the world began to treat revelation as a fiction and religion as priestcraft, and instead of searching for the pillar and ground of the truth, “their imaginations became vain and their foolish minds were darkened;" they declared war against the bible, the “wo witnesses,” which war became general all over Europe and America. Some of the most eminent and principal writers in this controversy were in France, the principal kingdom among the ten, into which Rome had been divided at the close of the fifth century, and so successful were these writers that almost the whole nation of the French became deists or atheists in a short time. This nation had long been guilty of the abominations of the antichristian beast, the sins of Sodom and Egypt, and the persecution of those who protested against her national corruptions; the slaying of the witnesses, their laying in a dead state three years and a half in the street of the great city; the Revolution spoken of in this prophecy; all happened in the French Revolution between the years 1793 and 1798. A decree was passed by the council and directory of France prohibiting the bible to be read in public in any of the chapels in France, and bibles were gathered in heaps