« PreviousContinue »
said that Constantinople, the great metropolis of the Mahometan empire, stands upon seven hills; the same is also asserted of London. As regards the blood of the saints and of the martyrs of Jesus, there are other cities besides Rome which are stained with this holy blood, and are guilty of the most cruel persecutions against the true followers of Christ throughout the world. Moreover, there is nothing which hinders us from believing that before the coming of Christ another city may arise, as much swayed by an Antichristian spirit, and as guilty of cruelty in persecuting the followers of Jesus, as Jerusalem was in killing the prophets and just men of old, and pagan Rome in persecuting the Church in her infancy and shedding the blood of her children.
Heretics, who are always on the watch in order to slander and defame the Catholic Church, assert that the Babylon of the Apocalypse signifies Papal Rome. But where are their arguments ? Papal Rome, far from bearing those characteristics which St. John attributes to Babylon, is stamped with the very opposite marks. If heretics do not acknowledge this, it must be attributed to the deep prejudices which, from their infancy, they have unhappily imbibed against the Catholic Church. For who can say that the chief characteristic of Papal Rome is to excel other cities for “merchandise of gold and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls and fine linen and purple
. and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses?”1
Who can be sincerely convinced that the merchants of Papal Rome are "the great men of the
A poc, xviii. 12, 13.
earth,” and that “every mariner, and all that have ships at sea, are made rich by reason of her prices?” Who can be persuaded that the welfare of the kings and merchants of the earth, and of every ship-master and of all mariners, depends on the prosperity of Papal Rome, so that her fall should cause in them great mourning and weeping ?1
The angel proclaims the destruction of Babylon, because, he says, “all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have been made rich by the power of her delicacies."? “ Now let the reader," as Mr. Phillipps justly remarks, dwell
upon these words, and he will at once see the absurdity of applying them to the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has never yet brought all nations within her pale; and as for the kings of the earth, very few of them have ever yet admitted her authority or embraced her doctrine. At the moment that I am now writing, there are in Europe alone a majority of nations and kings who do not profess the Catholic faith. England, Holland, Wirtemberg, Prussia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Russia, are all of them either Protestant, or else in schism, all separated from the Catholic Church; and when we look to the other continents, the proportion is still less in her favour; while I am quite at a loss to understand what the Catholic Church can have to do with the "merchants of the earth," or how the
power of her delicacies” can have possibly enriched them. No, if the Catholic Church were exterminated from the face of the earth to-morrow, 'Apoc. xviii.
2 Ib. xviii. 3.
I think the last people who would mourn over her destruction would be the kings and the merchants. Neither of these two classes of men have ever been very famous for obeying her laws, or following her maxims. I should be more inclined to expect that they would rejoice over it, and say, as we read in the eleventh chapter, “Let us rejoice, for her prophets tormented us, who dwell upon the earth.”i But if neither ancient nor modern Rome realizes the Babylon of the Apocalypse, where shall we look for a city which may realize it? Where is the city which answers to what St. John says of the great Babylon ?Without venturing
| Mahometanism in its Relation to Prophecy, p. 243.
? The Rev. John Walker, in his reply to the Rev. J. C. Hume, shows thạt many of the marks given by St. John to characterize Babylon are utterly inapplicable to Papal Rome; and that to none of the existing cities they are more applicable than to London. “There are many marks,” says he, "of the prophecy, which would suggest that such a city as London was intended by the Apostle. For what city better answers to that mark which is given as the essential test of Babylon,-namely, that she
sitteth upon many waters,'—if it be not that capital which is surrounded with thousands of ships, ready to carry her name and commands to the extreme shores of the ocean? What other city can equally be said to be clothed round in purple and scarlet, and gilded with gold and precious stones and pearls ?' Compare, for a moment, the scanty shops of Rome, with the bazaars, warehouses, and banks, and exhibitions of London. Which is that city, of which it can be justly said, that the merchants of the earth have been made rich by the abundance of her delicacies,' if it be not the great emporium of the commerce of the whole world established on the strands of the Thames ? In what cities are the impurities of Babylon more prodigiously multiplied, than in those streets which contain twenty times the popula. tion of Rome, and wherein crimes that had been convicted and punished abroad, are publicly and officially absolved ? To what city, of modern times, shall more of the blood of the saints of Jesus Christ be imputed than to that capital wherein, during the single reign of Elizabeth, sentence was passed, by which, says Dr. Milner, above two hundred Catholics were hanged, drawn, and quartered, for the mere profession or exercise of the religion of their ancestors ? Will any one then turn to an
to enter into particulars, we will only set down the chief marks given by St. John to characterize it.
1st Mark.—Babylon must be sunk in extreme wickedness ; for she is called by St. John " a great harlot,” and is represented as "having a golden cup in her hand full of the abomination and filthiness of her fornication."1
2nd Mark.—She must be the seat of false and impious doctrines ; for she is represented as sitting "upon a beast full of names of blasphemy."2
3rd Mark.-She must be a stumbling-block and a rock of scandal to the nations which she will seduce by her enchantments ; for she is called the mother of the fornications and the abominations of the earth; and it is said that “all nations have been deceived by her enchantments, and that with her the kings of the earth have committed forniçation, and they who inhabit the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her whoredom." 3
4th Mark.—She must greatly abound in wealth, and wallow in all sorts of sensual delights; for she is represented as a "woman clothed round about with purple and scarlet, and gilt with gold, and precious stones, and pearls."4
5th Mark.—She must be greatly renowned for her immense commerce ; for her merchants are said to be the great men of the earth. So that at her fall “the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her, because no man shall buy impoverished city, which has no port, no ships, no commerce ; in which professional infamy, elsewhere legally allowed and encouraged, is proscribed with uniform and authoritative rigour, and where the clemency of the land is extended not to the sins but to the sinners ?" . Apoc. xvii. 4.
2 Ib. xvii, 3. 3 Ib. xvii. 2-5.
4 Ib. xvii. 4,
their merchandise any more. Merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner of vessels of ivory, and all manner of vessels of precious stone, and of brass, and of iron, and of marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.”1
6th Mark.-She must be mistress of the sea; for at her fall "every ship-master, and all that sail into the lake, and mariners, and as many as work in the sea, stood afar off, and cried, seeing the place of her burning, saying, What city is like to this great city? And they cast dust upon their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, Alas! alas! that great city, wherein all were made rich that had ships at sea, by reason of her prices; for in one hour she is made desolate.”
7th Mark.—She must be the centre of a mighty and extensive empire; for she is represented as sitting upon many waters; namely, as the angel explained to St. John, upon “many peoples, and nations, and tongues.” Moreover, it is said that she is a great city, which hath kingdom over the kings of the earth." Hence the kings of the earth are astonished at her fall, and weep and bewail themselves over it, seeing the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for fear of her torments, saying, “ Alas! alas ! that great city Babylon, that mighty city; for in one hour is thy judgment
8th Mark.—She must be full of pride, boasting Apoc. xviii. 11
2 Ib. xviii. 17-19. 3 Ib. xviii. 10.