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would be the last persecution of the church; that during this time the witnesses would lie dead, but should recover and revive within a few years, and the Reformation should be established in that kingdom by royal authority; the whole country should renounce popery,
and embrace the protestant religion. Bishop Lloyd and after him Mr. Whiston (3) apply this prophecy to the poor protestants in the valleys of Piedmont, who by a cruel edict of their sovran the Duke of Savoy, instigated by the French king, were imprisoned and murdered, or banished and totally diffipated at the latter end of the year 1686. They were kindly received and suçcored by the protestant states; and after a while secretly entring Savoy with their swords in their hands, they regained their ancient pofsessions with great slaughter of their enemies and the Duke himself, having then left the French interest, granted them a full pardon; and reestablished them, by another edict signed June 4, 1690, just three years and a half after their total diffipation. These were indeed most barbarous persecutions of the protestants both in France and Savoy; and at the same time popery here in England was advanced to the throne,
(3) Whifton's Effay on the Rev. Part 3. Vifion 2.
and threatened an utter fubversion of our religion and liberties, but in little more than three years and a balf a happy deliverance was wrought by the glorious Revolution.
In all these cases there may be fome resemblance to the prophecy before us, of the death and refurrection of the witnesses; and it may please an overruling providence fo to dispose and order events, that the calamities and afflictions of the church may in some measure run parallel one to another, and all the former efforts of that týrannical and perfecuting power called the beast
, may be the types and figures as it were of this his last and greatest effort against the witnesses. But tho' these instances suficiently answer in fome respects, yet they are deficient in others, and particularly in this, that they are none of them the last persecution; others have been since, and in all probability will be again. Besides
, as the two witnesses are designed to be the representatives of the protestants in general, fo the perfecution must be general too, and not confined to this or that particular church or nation. We are now living under the sixth trumpet: and the empire of the Euphratéan Korsemen or Othmans is dill fubfifting, and perhaps in as large extent as ever; the beast is still reigning ; and the witmeijës are itill, in some times and places more,
in some less, prophesying in fackcloth. It will not be till toward the end of their testimony, and that end seemeth to be yet at some distance, that the great victory and triumph of the beast, and the suppression, and resurrection, and exaltation of the witnesses will take effect. When all these things shall be accomplished, then the sixth trumpet will end, then the second we shall be paft, (ver. 14.) the Othman empire, shall be broken in the same manner that Ezekiel (XXXVII. XXXIX.) and Daniel (XI. 44, 45.) have predicted; the sufferings of the witnesses shall cease, and they shall be raised and exalted above their enemies : and when the second wce shall be thus paft, behold the third woe, or the total destruction of the beast, cometh quickly. Some time intervened between the first and the second wões; but upon the ceasing of the second, the third shall commence immediately. It appears then that the
then that the greater part of this prophecy relating to the witnesses remains yet to be fulfilled: but poflibly some may question, whether any part of it hath been fulfilled; whether there have been any such persons as the witnesses, any true and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who have in every age profeffed doctrins contrary to those maintained by the
pope and church of Rome. The truth of the fact L 2
will best appear by an historical deduction and if it can be proved, that there have constantly been such witnesses from the seventh century down to the Reformation, during the most
forishing period of popery, I presume there can be little doubt about the times preceding or following. As there hath been occasion to observe before, the seeds of popery were sown even in the apostles time, but they were not grown up to maturity, the
power of the pope as a horn or temporal prince was not established till the eighth century; and from thence therefore it will be proper to begin our deduction, when the beast began to reign, and the witnesses to prophesy in fackcloth.
Great as the power of the Latin church was grown in the eighth century, the Greek church still difsented from it, and opposed it. The emperors (4) Leo Ifauricus and his fon Constantine Copronymus not only vigorously opposed the worship of images, but also denied the interceffion of saints, and burnt and destroyed their relics. In the year 754 Constantine Copronymus held a general council at Conftanti
nople (4) Theoph. Cedren. Zonar. [verba funt Bellarmini Tom. I. &c. &c. Fred. Spanhemii Hift. p. 535.) unicam definiverunt Christian. Sæc. VIII. Cap. 6, effe imaginem ab ipfo Chrifio in
Ritutam, nimirum panem & vi
num in Eucharistia, quæ repree(5) Aliis explosis imaginibus, sentant Chrifti corpus & fangui
nople of 338. bishops, who prohibited unani-
bread and wine in the eucharist, which re
present the body and blood of Christ :' than which there cannot be a stronger declaration against the doctrin of tranfubftantiation as well as against the worship of images. It is true that the second council of Nice in the year 787 restored and established the worship of images, and the pope ratified and confirmed it; but nevertheless great opposition was made to it by several churches in the west. Charlemain (6) held a council at Francfort in the year 794, consisting of 300 bishops of various nations, who condemned equally the second council of Nice and the worship of images. The Carolin books were also set forth under the name and authority of that great monarch; and the doctrins therein contained, of the fufficiency of the scriptures, of the worship of God alone, of prayers in the vulgar tongue,
nem. Ex Concil Constantinop. (6) Spanhem. ibid. Cap. 6.