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by David Low Dodge

◄Part 1

Part 2


The apostle James, in his epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel that were scattered abroad, asked them this question: “From whence come wars and fighting among you?  Come they not even of your lusts that war in your members?  Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain; ye fight and war, and yet ye have not.”  “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend to the world is an enemy of God.”  From this we think it evidently appears that the warlike spirit of the world is directly opposed to God.  The god of this world works effectually in the hearts of the children of disobedience and stirs up their lusts, which war in their members, and hurries them on to acts of cruelty, revenge, and fighting.

This subject is of so much practical consequence that it requires a few observations in reply to some of the arguments of worldly and unenlightened Christians in favor of using carnal weapons.  It is said that government is an ordinance of God that exists throughout his vast dominion.  In heaven above there are angels and archangels, upon earth there are magistrates and powers, and in hell there is the prince of devils.  That God in his holy providence has so disposed of events that governments of some kind or other do exist in all parts of his dominion, none but skeptics will deny.  But who would pretend that the governments in heaven and hell are not diametrically opposite?  One is the spirit of peace and love, and the other, rebellion and war.  Perhaps the manifestation of these different spirits here on earth may fairly be the dividing line amongst its inhabitants, and show to which kingdom they belong.  They say all powers are ordained of God.  Thus far they are correct, but they do not make a proper distinction between the ordination of God and his preceptive will for man.  So far as the former agrees with the latter, it is a rule of duty and cannot be any further.  One is the rule of God’s own procedure (if the expression is proper), and the other the rule of action for his creatures; but the counsel of God and his laws for man are often diametrically opposite.  It is not improbable that this is part of the mystery of God that will, by and by, be finished.

The Lord Jesus Christ was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; and yet, by wicked hands, he was crucified and slain.  Here, as in the case of Pharaoh, and many other instances recorded, the divine counsel and the duty of man were directly opposite.  To ascertain our duty we must look at the preceptive will of God and not to his eternal counsel.  Although all powers are ordained of God, yet it must not be inferred that all the laws of the heathen or civilized world are to be a rule of duty for the Mediator’s subjects, or that their spirit is agreeable to the spirit of the gospel dispensation.  It is said, “We are commanded to obey magistrates and every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.”  All this is admitted.  But these injunctions are either limited by other precepts or they are unlimited.  If they are unlimited, then all who have died martyrs fell as sacrifices to superstition instead of duty.  Notwithstanding these directions were intended as a rule for Christians in all ages, yet they were promulgated while the disciples were under idolatrous governments, and were never intended to encourage them to worship idols.

These commands must, therefore, be limited.  The question is, how are they limited?  We understand by the spirit and other precepts of the gospel.  We have already shown, we trust, that these absolutely prohibit war in every form.  If so, then none of these injunctions can counteract the position we are examining.  They only enjoin strict obedience to all human laws under which we live that do not contradict the spirit or precepts of the gospel.  When they do, they are not binding and must be resisted – not, however, with carnal weapons, but with spiritual weapons.  We must take joyfully the spoiling of our goods and count not our lives dear unto ourselves.

It has been often said that he who refuses to comply with the commands of the magistrate resists the powers that be, and, according to the apostle’s reasoning, resists the ordinance of God and will receive to himself damnation.  And, further, as all powers are the ordinance of God, they ought to be supported; and if they cannot exist without the sword, then they must be supported by the sword.  Here the subject of the Mediator must make a distinction between resisting the “powers that be” by force of arms, and refusing to obey their unlawful commands.  It is not supposed that in one case he would obey and that in the other he would disobey the commands of his Master.  No martyr ever considered himself as violating this precept in refusing to sacrifice to an idol at the command of an earthly power; neither will any subject of the Mediator view himself as violating it by refusing to use carnal weapons while he believes that his Lord has utterly forbidden his using them.  It is understood that if this proves anything upon the principles of war, that it will prove too much for its advocates.  The command is to obey the powers that be, and not the powers that ought to be.  If it is taken in an unlimited sense, then it must prohibit resisting even tyrannical powers, and would, of course, condemn every Christian who engaged in the American Revolution.  To say that all power is in the hands of the people – and, of course, it is the people who are the powers that be – is thought to be but a quibble.  We will suppose a very possible case: that a foreign power completely overturns the government of the people, disannuls their laws, and gives a new code.  In that case, the command to obey the powers that be would not be annihilated.  The precept originally was given while the disciples were in the midst of tyrannical governments.  It is thought that it is so far from tolerating defensive war that it is opposed to it.  The precepts of the gospel cannot be dependent upon the convulsions of the nations.  If Christians are bound to aid with carnal weapons in suppressing a rebellion, then, if the opposing power gains the predominance, they must turn directly about and fight the very power they were before supporting.  Such conduct would not become the citizens of Zion.  If it is said the powers that be are Christian rulers, then we say, let them govern only by the laws of the Mediator’s kingdom, and we will bow with reverence before them, and not teach for commandments the doctrines of men, as we cannot receive human laws for divine precepts.

It is stated that our Lord paid tribute, that we are commanded to pay tribute to whom tribute is due, and that tribute supports the governments of this world.  This is granted, but the Mediator’s subjects are also required to lead peaceable and quiet lives.  This is promoted more by paying tribute than by the refusal.  Our Lord directed Peter to pay the tribute lest they should give offense.  But paying tribute for the sake of preserving peace is a very different thing from actually engaging in war.

Whenever the Christian is called upon to pay money by way of taxes or tribute, he does not part with any spiritual treasure, but only earthly property, for which he has the example and precepts of the Lord.  The currency of the world generally bears the ensign of the nation that made it.  If it bears the image and inscription of Caesar, then “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.”  Christians, however, whose hearts are upon this idol, will sooner give up their lives than their God.  “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  The real Christian’s treasure is in heaven and beyond the reach of the powers of earth or hell.  The things of this world are but privileges loaned him, to be resigned at the call of his Lord.  Shall he then fear those who can only kill the body and afterwards have no more that they can do?  Rather, let him fear him who has power to destroy both soul and body in hell forever.  It is better for him to suffer wrong than to do wrong.

The permission granted to the Jewish church to wage war has often been pleaded as authority for Christians.  If this proves anything, it proves too much, for not only defensive but also offensive war was permitted under the Mosaic dispensation.  The tyrants of the world have not generally contended that this was right since the gospel dispensation.  We think, however, that we have fully shown that this was abrogated under the gospel dispensation, and that all kinds of war were prohibited.  If so, it has no weight on the subject.[16]

It has been said that Christians with a small exception have never questioned the propriety of defensive war.  As it regards nominal Christians, this statement is perhaps correct, but as it respects the real disciples of the Mediator, it is to be questioned.  We hear of no Christians in the first ages of the church engaged in carnal warfare until we hear of great corruptions in the church.  Most Protestants have been of opinion that those precious disciples who inhabited the dark valleys of Piedmont during the great corruptions of the nominal church were the Redeemer’s true subjects.  These disciples, of whom the world was not worthy, utterly refused to engage even in defensive war, notwithstanding they were hunted down by their bloody persecutors.[17]

It has been often said that the Reformers, who were good men, did not hesitate to engage in defensive war, and that the Reformation was finally supported by the sword.  That the Reformers were generally pious men is readily admitted, and that the Reformation, under divine providence, was a glorious event to the church is also granted.  But the history of the Reformers, when written by their friends, abundantly manifests that they were men, subject to like passions with other men, and that all the means they employed could not be justified, either by the spirit or the precepts of the gospel.

Henry the Eighth was a vile man, but he was very active in protesting against the Pope because his holiness would not grant him a divorce.  God makes the wrath of man praise him.  It will not probably be a great length of time (in the opinion of the writer) before those churches which were defended with the sword will be destroyed by the sword.

It has been further urged that not only the Reformers but most pious Protestants have prayed for the prosperity of the arms of their country, and many have actually fought in the field of battle.  All this is likewise admitted.  But many pious men have had a mistaken zeal.  It is fully believed that Protestants, generally, have been in the habit of considering the Reformation so glorious an event that they have very little inquired whether the means by which it was finally defended were agreeable to the spirit of the gospel or not.  They have been taught from their earliest years to consider that the weapons of warfare used by the Reformers were lawful, so that they have not hesitated to follow their example.  That the example and prayers of pious people ought to have weight is readily granted, but to place a blind confidence in them, we understand, is criminal, for their example is to be imitated no further than it agrees with the spirit and precepts of the gospel.  These must forever remain a perfect standard of duty, whereas the practice of real Christians, owing to their imperfect state, is constantly changing and often contradictory.  During the American Revolution, doubtless, real Christians were praying and fighting for the success of the American arms, and real Christians in the British service were praying and fighting for the success of his Majesty’s arms.  The truth is, they ought not to pray for war in any shape, but to pray that wars may cease from under heaven, and that God’s kingdom may come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.  And they ought not only to pray, but also endeavor to advance the kingdom of heaven and put a stop to wars and bloodshed.  The opinions of pious people often vary with the increase of light that shines upon the church.  One century ago most pious people believed in the propriety of the slave trade, but very few can now be found to advocate the abominable practice.  The nature of the crime has not changed, nor the evidence against it, but the truth is that the opinion of pious people has materially changed upon this subject.  We ought always to remember that the example of pious people is to be of no weight any further than it agrees with the example of our Lord.  It is always unsafe to be looking too much to the fallible example of those whom we have esteemed pious for a rule of duty, while we have the unerring word in our hands to light our way.  When anyone is depending upon the example of Christians not under the immediate influence of divine inspiration for evidence to support his hypothesis, it is strong presumptive evidence that he has not the word of God in his favor.  By the word of God and by that only ought every controversy to be tried.

It is further urged that we are commanded to pray for kings and all in authority.  It is true we must pray not only for kings but all men, even enemies.  This, however, does by no means imply that we are commanded to pray for a blessing upon their unhallowed undertakings, but it only implies that we must pray that they may be translated out of nature’s darkness into the light of the gospel, and from the power of Satan unto the living God.

The great difficulty with the subjects of the Mediator ever has been, and still is, a want of faith in the promises of God.  They are prone to be afraid of consequences.  They look nearly as much at consequences as the children of Israel did while journeying from Egypt to Canaan.  The truth is, they ought to have nothing to do with consequences, but only duties.  “Thus saith the Lord,” should be their warrant and only guide.  If they implicitly follow the command, consequences are all safe in God’s hand.  Had Abraham looked only at consequences, it is not probable he would ever have been styled the Father of the Faithful.  It is not uncommon for timid and worldly Christians to be alarmed at consequences and to argue in this manner: “Shall we stand still and suffer an assassin to enter our houses and take our lives and property without ever attempting to resist him?”  All this must go upon the supposition that he who has said he will never leave nor forsake his people, and is a very present help in every time of need, will take no care of them.  No assassin could stand a moment before the prayer of faith that would enter the heavens and reach the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.  If faithless Christians cannot be persuaded to look at the precepts and the promises, but only at consequences, they ought, at least, to examine them well.  Suppose God, in his holy providence, should permit an assassin to take the life of one of his dear children.  The consequence would be that he would immediately be translated to glory, and possibly the assassin might become a penitent.  But should he take the life of the assassin in defending himself, the consequence then would be that he would hurry him into the abyss of the damned where his probation would be eternally ended.  He who puts his trust in the Lord shall not fear what man can do to him; he will be like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved.

Remember, dear brethren, that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual, and mighty through God.  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God (here is the equipment of a soldier of Jesus Christ), that ye may be able to withstand in an evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”  And the very God of peace shall be with you, and he will shortly bruise Satan under your feet.  For yet a little while and the Almighty angel will come down with a great chain in his hand, he will lay hold on the dragon – that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan – and will bind him a thousand years, cast him into the bottomless pit, shut him up, and set a seal upon him so that he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are fulfilled.  Then wars will cease from under heaven and the implements of death will be converted into the harmless utensils of husbandry, and there will be nothing to hurt or destroy in all God’s holy mountain.  The stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands will become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.  Then will be heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.”

It is, however, very important, dear brethren, that we keep it constantly in mind that the nature and precepts of the gospel are the same now as they will be then, in that glorious reign of righteousness and peace, and that it is our duty constantly to be influenced by the same spirit now which will then be manifested by the followers of the Lamb.  The little leaven is of the same nature with whole lump when it is leavened.  Let us therefore gird up the loins of our mind and watch unto prayer.

4.  If the Mediator’s kingdom is not of this world, but spiritual, heavenly, and divine, and if the kingdoms of this world are under the dominion of Satan, and if the subjects of Christ’s kingdom are not permitted to use carnal weapons, then we may infer who is the “great whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”  A virgin or chaste woman is a familiar symbol in the Scriptures of the true church of God; and an unchaste woman is as familiar a symbol of an apostate or corrupt church.  As a lewd woman calls herself by the name of her husband, notwithstanding she has constant intercourse with other men, so the corrupt church calls herself by the name of Christ, notwithstanding she has constant illicit intercourse with the kings of the earth.[18]  Understanding the true nature of spiritual whoredom will assist us in ascertaining the bounds of mystical Babylon.

The children of Israel were separated from all the nations of the earth and set apart to be holy unto the Lord.  As they were in covenant with the God of Israel, he addressed them in the endearing character of a husband.  Whenever they made any covenant or formed a confederacy with the nations around them, or imitated their idolatrous abominations, they were charged with spiritual whoredom.  The church, under the gospel dispensation, is redeemed from amongst men out of every nation, and sanctified and set apart to be a peculiar people to show forth the praises of God.  It is styled the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.  Its members are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of the Spirit.  They do not belong to any earthly kingdom, for our Lord has said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  They are citizens of the heavenly Zion and belong to the household of God – members of the same community, with the innumerable company of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect – and are to be governed by the very same spirit and temper which reigns amongst those blessed inhabitants above.  God is an overflowing and unbounded ocean of blessedness and love.  Love is therefore the fulfilling of the law.

Whenever the subjects of the Redeemer unite themselves to the kingdoms of this world, and engage in their political contentions and fighting, then it appears they commit spiritual whoredom, for they forsake the fountain of living waters and hew out to themselves cisterns – broken cisterns, which can hold no water.  When they thus mingle with the world and unite in its pursuits they may spiritually be styled as adulterers.

While reproving the twelve tribes, which were scattered abroad, for their wars and fighting and friendship to the world, the apostle James styled them as adulterers and adulteresses.  In direct opposition to this representation, the first fruits of the church are styled virgins, as not being defiled with women.  “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.  These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.  These were redeemed from amongst men, being the first-fruits unto God and the Lamb.  And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.”  As virgins are pure and undefiled, so were the disciples of Christ in the first age of the church when they had no impure intercourse with the kingdoms of this world and followed the Lamb in refusing to engage either in its profits, honors, or fighting.  They are, therefore, called virgins, without fault, in opposition to those who mingle with the world, who are spiritually styled as harlots.

It evidently appears, if what has been said is true, that mystical Babylon, that mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, is just as extensive as the union of the church with the kingdoms of this world; and just in that proportion in which an individual Christian, or a single church, or a number of churches united in one body, engage in the honors, profits, and fighting of the kingdoms of this world, just in that proportion they may be said to be guilty of spiritual whoredom.

The writer is well aware that this inference, however just, will be looked upon with contempt by worldly political Christians whose clearest interest is involved in the kingdoms of this world, and especially by those who are clothed in purple and scarlet and have a golden cup in their hands.  He has no expectation of being candidly heard by such, but it is God’s own dear children who have ignorantly mingled with the world, having been blinded by their education, from whom he expects a candid hearing.  “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.”

It is not common for a lewd woman openly to avow to the world her character; neither can it be expected that the mother of harlots will own her name.  The writer is of opinion that very few have understood the full dimensions of this mystical city.  She appears to him in her greatest extent to be bounded but little short of the whole visible church of God.  She is styled “the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”  “And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.”  But a dreadful judgment awaits her: “She shall utterly be burnt with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.”  Being mingled with the nations and supported by their power, when they become like stubble before the devouring fire, she will be consumed with them.  The whore is represented as riding upon a scarlet-colored beast, and upheld by him.[19]

When he, with all his heads, is cast into the lake of fire, she will likewise be given to the burning flame.  But before this great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come, which will burn as an oven, when the whore shall be consumed with the nations of the earth, God will call to his people to come out of her, saying unto them, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  As God’s ancient people were carried captives into literal Babylon, so God’s dear people will be found captives in mystical Babylon, until they hear the command of their Lord to come out of her that they be not partakers of her sins and that they receive not of her plagues.  The captive daughters of Zion are very numerous.  O that they may soon arise and shake themselves from the dust!  “Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem.  Loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.”

5.  If the Mediator’s kingdom is not of this world, and the kingdoms of this world are under the dominion of Satan, and if Christ’s subjects cannot unite themselves to the kingdoms of this world without committing spiritual whoredom, then we may infer the great impropriety of the subjects of the Mediator’s kingdom becoming political Christians and enrolling themselves with the men of this world.  They cannot serve two masters, for they will either hate the one and love the other, or else they will hold to the one and despise the other.

How humiliating it is to see subjects of the King of Zion engaged in the drudgery of the prince of darkness, laboring and struggling to support his tottering throne!  Satan’s kingdom is divided against itself and must, therefore, come to an end.  But how lamentable it is to see the sons of the living God, the subjects of the Prince of Peace, taking sides in the cause of the adversary of souls, and actually opposing and fighting each other under his banner!  They do it ignorantly and will, therefore, obtain forgiveness, for they know not what manner of spirit they are of.  They are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them.

Before our Lord departed from this world to go to the Father, he gave laws to his subjects for their rule of life until his second coming.  All these laws contemplated their residing as a holy nation in the midst of a wicked and benighted world, to reflect the rays of the Sun of righteousness on the thick darkness that covers the people.  They were to be a city set upon a hill and a light to the world.  The apostle exhorts them to “do all things without murmuring and disputing, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”  They must be a peculiar people to show forth the praises of God.  How inconsistent is it, then, for the citizens of the heavenly Zion to be mingling with the politicians of this world and uniting in their processions, feasts, and cabals, when they ought rather to be praying for them, that the very sins they commit in these scenes may be forgiven them!  Dear brethren, is it not high time to come out from the world and be separated?  “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial?”  “‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters,’ saith the Lord Almighty.”

6.  In view of what has been said, we finally infer that every interest that is not built upon the sure foundation stone that God has laid in Zion will be swept away when the storms of divine wrath shall beat upon our guilty world.  “‘For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up,’ saith the Lord of hosts, ‘that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.’”  “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon everyone that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.”  “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”  “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.  He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with their dead bodies, and he shall wound the head over many countries.”  “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.  For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.”  “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies.  He hath utterly destroyed them.  He hath delivered them to the slaughter.  Their slain shall be cast out, their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with blood.”  “For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries; and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and be made drunk with their blood.”  The nations must drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, and they will be trodden in the great winepress of the wrath of God Almighty.  And the great whore which has drunk the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus will have blood to drink, for she is worthy.

The sword of the Lord has two edges; it will cut off the offending limbs of the church and destroy her enemies.  The fire of the Lord will purify his saints but utterly burn up the wicked.  He “whose fan is in his hand will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Although the earth is thus to be desolated, and the nations destroyed, yet the saints of the Most High shall “possess the kingdom for ever and ever.”  “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.”

Dear brethren, these events are rapidly rolling in the fiery wheels down the descent of time.  Although the nations must first drink the vials of divine wrath and the battle of God Almighty must first be fought, yet the time is at hand when we shall no more hear the sound of war, and of garments rolled in blood, for man will cease to be the enemy of man.  Everyone will sit quietly under his own vine and under his own fig tree, there will be nothing to hurt or destroy in all God’s holy mountain, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the channels of the mighty deep.

Dear brethren, it is “high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent; the day is at hand.  Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”  And let us pray with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit for all men: not only for ourselves, our families, our friends, and the church of God; but for a dying world, that God would in infinite compassion cut short these days of dreadful calamity for his elect’s sake, and in the midst of deserved wrath remember mercy.

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

◄Part 1

Table of Contents


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[16] Although it is not expected that any intelligent and candid Christian will attempt to say that the arguments that have been advanced may fairly apply to offensive but not to defensive war, yet some weak and unenlightened Christians may make the assertion.  In answer to such, we would observe that this would be begging the question and taking for granted the very subject in dispute.  We cannot be satisfied with anything short of a candid answer, drawn directly from the spirit and precepts of the gospel.  When it is fairly proved that under the gospel dispensation our Lord did draw a clear line of distinction between offensive and defensive war, and that he intended all such precepts as have been adduced to apply to the former and not to the latter, then we will acknowledge the weight of the argument.  Until this is done we shall not consider our arguments as answered.

[17] The writer perceives that he has made too unlimited a statement respecting the disciples who inhabited the valleys of Piedmont.  Historians have generally considered those who dissented from the Church of Rome during the dark ages as possessing similar sentiments.  It is true they did agree in renouncing the authority of the Pope, but in other things they did not all agree.  Some courted the protection of earthly powers and united with them in defending their rights by the point of the sword, and were finally destroyed by the sword.  Others, instead of defending themselves with carnal weapons, fled from the face of the serpent and were, under divine providence, the seed of the church in the wilderness.  It is the latter class to which the writer would be understood as referring.

[18] As the writer has been for some time studying the symbolic language of the Scriptures, and intends (if the Lord will, unless some person more able should attempt an explanation) to give his views to the public, he will not be so particular at present in explaining the symbol of the great whore who sits upon many waters, as he otherwise should.  He early perceived that the heavens and the earth, with all their furniture, were used as an alphabet, in the language of things, to represent moral subjects.  His object has been to learn the true meaning of each symbol by comparing Scripture with Scripture.  No language can be read until the alphabet is first learned.  Symbolic language does not, like other languages, change with time and place, but represents the same idea to all nations and at all times.  He is of opinion that one symbol does not represent two events, unless it first has a reference to some lesser event which is typical of some more important event.  In that case, all together may be figurative of some great ultimate end.  Although one symbol is supposed never to represent two different things, yet two or more symbols generally represent one thing.  He has found by tracing back a symbol to its first use, that its true meaning is generally manifest.  Since examining the Scriptures with this view, he has been irresistibly drawn into the conclusions now exhibited.

[19] The writer is fully of opinion that a ferocious beast is never used as a symbol of a corrupt church, but of a tyrannical warlike power.  He has been for some time of opinion that the second Apocalyptic beast is rising, that he will possess all the power of the first beast before him, and that under him the false prophet will appear.  The witnesses will be slain, and upon his kingdom the six first vials of his divine wrath will be principally poured out.  The seventh will be poured upon Satan’s kingdom universally, as he is the prince of the power of the air.