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tested against the corruptions of the great Apostasy and have thence withdrawn themselves from the pale of the Roman Church; yet these are the only two Churches or (in the figured language of prophecy) the only two candlesticks, which never submitted to the domination of the man of sin, which never therefore had need to reform themselves from his corrupt innovations, and which can be found discharging the office of faithful preachers of the truth from the very commencement of the appointed 1260 years down even to the present hour. Hence it may be expected, that the prediction relative to the slaughter and revival of the two apocalyptic witnesses will be accomplished in the two Churches of the Vallenses and the Albigenses: and here, accordingly, will be found its accomplishment.
We have ascertained, that the war against the two witnesses, which is specially alluded to in the prophecy, must have occurred very shortly before the year 1697, and that it cannot have occurred later than that year.
Agreeably to this conclusion, an edict was issued on the 31st of January in the year 1686, by the operation of which the two Churches were, in their corporate capacity, dissolved: or, in the prophetic style, the two witnesses were, on that day, slain by the wild-beast acting through the instrumentality of two of his then existing horns, France and Savoy.
But their lacerated members were not buried. On the contrary, they were not suffered to be absorbed by the several communions of those protes
tant States, within whose dominions they had taken refuge. They were still preserved, in a separate and distinct and visible condition, on the surface of the earth or the Western Roman Empire, notwithstanding the popish inhabitants of that earth rejoiced over them as if irrecoverably dissolved and never more to be resuscitated.
Their unexpected resurrection, however, was near at hand. The two witnesses were slain, or the two Churches were dissolved, on the 31st day of January in the year 1686: but, exactly three years and a half after this marked epoch, or on the 16th day of August in the year 1689, when the exiles in a body crossed the lake of Geneva and invaded Savoy; the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet.
Victory attended their progress: and great fear, as history most remarkably and most literally bears testimony to the truth of prophecy, fell upon those that saw them. For, notwithstanding the opposition made by the troops of France and Savoy, ere
Very worthy of note is the language employed by their his torian Boyer.
A dreadful fright from God, says he, fell upon their enemies: so that they had no courage nor conduct to defend themselves against the Vaudois; who, without any trouble or resistance, chased them out of the valleys-So many happy successes make it clear, that the God of battles inspired them with the generous courage of returning into their own country to kindle again the candle of his word which the emissaries of Satan had extinguished there. Hist. of the Vaud. p. 226.
Compare this language with Rev. xi. 11. and xi. 4, 7.
the month of April in the year 1690 had elapsed, the two united Churches were again firmly placed in their ancient seats, restored from their allegorical death and instinct with new vitality.
Shortly after this extraordinary political resuscitation, prophecy teaches us, that they heard a great voice from the symbolical heaven, saying to them, Come up hither: and, accordingly, on the fourth day of June in the year 1690, the edict for their full and legal establishment as independent Churches was signed by the sovereign of the country.
Yet, while they were thus legally established by the civil power as independent Churches; they were so established, not in a state of dominance and favour, but in a state of sorrow and depression as to themselves and with undisguised feelings of jealousy and dislike on the part of their
This circumstance is not a little remarkable: yet, without its actual occurrence, the general chronology of the prophecy would have failed. The two witnesses, notwithstanding their civil establishment at the close of the period allotted to their blood-stained testimony, are to prophesy in sackcloth or to preach the Gospel in an afflicted condition to the very end of the appointed 1260 years. If, therefore, they had been dominantly established as the reformed Church of England was; they would have ceased to prophesy in sackcloth, ere the 1260 years had expired and thus, in the general
chronology of the prediction, there would have been a manifest failure 1.
I have remarked, that, although the prophecy leaves the event to determine the particular head or horn by the agency of which the Roman wildbeast is to slay the two witnesses; yet the phraseology of the passage seems to intimate very strongly, that the deed should be perpetrated with the entire assent and consent and approbation of the whole apostate Empire.
Accordingly, there perhaps never was a period
'This explanation of the prophecy, in its great outlines, has been given by Bishop Lloyd and Mr. Whiston: I say in its great outlines; because so far as I can judge, they erroneously compute the three years and a half from the December of the year 1686 to the June of the year 1690. The same exposition has also been adopted by Mr. Jurieu. I may add, that the character of the two witnesses is claimed for the united Churches of the Vallenses and the Albigenses by the celebrated Henri Arnaud, who headed the troop which recovered their native valleys at the point of the sword. The ground of his claim is, that, at the latter end of the seventeenth century, the two Churches had already contended with the Roman wild-beast for more than 1100 years; which would make them to have prophesied in sackcloth from the epoch of any reasonable commencement of the three times and a half: and the establishment of his claim is, that it was at the end of three years and a half, the just time interpreted from the eastern and scriptural allegory of three days and a half, that, the Church of the Vaudois having been as it were dead, and its doctrines and services extinct in the valleys, its professors again entered on their native soil, and reëstablished the Gospel in its purity. Pref. to the Glorious Recov. p. xxv.
more strongly marked by a systematic design to blot out all protestation against the manifold corruptions of the Latin Church, than the latter part of the seventeenth century.
In the year 1655, after an interval of rest from their numerous preceding trials had elapsed, a violent persecution of the united Vallenses and Albigenses commenced; which lasted to what I deem the predicted attack, not merely against pious individuals, but against the very existence of the two witnessing Churches in their special capacity of Churches1.
Shortly afterward, a persecution of the reformed was set on foot in Poland; which drove them out of that kingdom, and which scattered them through Transylvania and Hungary and Germany.
At the same time, immediately after the peace of the Pyrenees, another persecution began in France; and the diabolical project of utterly ruining the Protestants was contrived and undertaken by the court of Versailles.
In the year 1671, commenced the persecution of the Churches of Silesia, Moravia, and Hungary, on the part of the House of Austria; the consequence of which was an almost utter extinction of sound religion within the imperial territories.
In the year 1685, the king of England professed
'The edict, which produced the persecution of the year 1655, was styled the bloody order of Gastaldo. Acland's Compend. p. lx.