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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84

A Certain Church, Symbolised as a Woman, Termed a "Great Harlot."

page 24

A Certain Church, Symbolised as a Woman, Termed a "Great Harlot."

Having seen what is meant by the beast in Revelation xvii., we shall now direct our attention to the woman sitting upon the beast, in order to find out what Church is represented by her. There are only two Churches which can possibly be meant by this woman; let us look at their claims.

One remarkable statement is made with regard to this woman, and that is, that she is a great drunkard; not, however, by some liquor, but "with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (verse G). Strange, it may well seem, that this woman should be thirsty after the blood of the saints, which are apparently the best and most useful members of human society. The reason may be found in the fact that Christians have a very delicate taste; when there is poison offered them they refuse to partake of it; and, out of love to their fellowmen, they warn others not to touch it, though it might be offered to them in a golden cup, for it will surely cause their everlasting ruin (verse 4). When she thus gets exposed, with her uncleanness, she gets into a rage, and nothing less than their blood will satisfy her : "Away with them," she cries; "it is not right for them to live;" and, having the temporal power at her command, she drinks Christian blood freely, whilst her thirst never gets quenched, but she longs for more.

Now let us try to find out what Church it is which is so marvellously represented by this woman, and by considering the marks given her we shall be able to recognise her.

We will first consider the Mahomedan or Turkish Church. (1.) She has undoubtedly with her Governments drunk much Christian blood; but we cannot see that in other points she agrees with the description of this woman. The Turkish Church does not sit upon a beast with seven heads and ten horns, as this woman does. Though Turkey is one horn of the beast, and is thus far part of the Roman Empire, its Church is only confined to its own Government, and Persia, Arabia, and India, besides Egypt, which is partly under Turkish rule. It cannot, therefore, be said to sit upon the beast. (2.) The Turkish Church has not her seat, nor does she sit upon seven mountains, as this woman does (verse 9), for Constantinople, the seat and head quarters of the Turkish Church, is not built upon seven mountains. (3.) The Turkish Church, or Constantinople, the seat of the Church, is not, nor ever could be styled "that great city which reigneth over the Kings of the earth (verse 18), as this woman, and the city where she has her seat, is. She is a great whore (verse 5), signifying that she was once a virtuous wife, but has foisaken her husband : the Turkish Church has never changed, hut is exactly what she was originally. For these reasons, we conclude that the Turkish Church cannot possibly be meant.

Let us now look at the other possible Church indicated in the chapter we are considering. That Church is what is known as the Romish or Catholic Church; and here it would appear that, to all the marks of the woman, in every particular, that Church entirely agrees. We will look at them : (1.) She has drunk the blood of many thousands of the saints and martyrs of Jesus. All countries over which she has held dominion produce records to this effect. Of course she does not admit that those she murdered were saints and martyrs of Jesus, but that they were heretics. The same thing was said by the Jews of our Lord, when they crucified him, that he was a heretic, an imposter, who deceived the people under pretence of being their promised Messiah. The murder of the Apostles and early Christians by the Jewish Church was likewise done under pretence of their being heretics. (2.) The woman sits upon a beast with seven heads and ten horns. We have already seen that the beast represents the Roman Empire, and that the ten horns upon the beast represent ten kingdoms, into which the Roman Empire is divided. The Romish Church at one and the same time extended over all the ten kingdoms. (3.) The woman sits upon "many waters" (verse 1) : "The waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (verse 15). The Romish Church at one time extended over the whole of the civilised world. (4.) The woman is "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth (verse 18). The Pope, the head of the Romish Church, had at one time such a power over the kings of Europe that, at his will, he set up kings or de-throned them. (5.) The woman sitteth on seven mountains (verse 9). Rome, page 25 where the Pope resides, and from whence the doctrines of the Romish Church are promulgated, us is well known, is built upon seven mountains. (6.) The woman is a great harlot, signifying that she was once a virtuous wife to her husband, but has forsaken him and his virtue, and has become an abominable whore. The Romish Church holds God's Testimony, and His Covenant with man—the Bible—in her hands, and professes the creed of the Apostolic faith and doctrine; but she has utterly corrupted the Scriptures and all the holy ordinances instituted by our Lord, and the doctrine of the Apostles and the Prophets,—of which our Lord Jesus is the head or "chief corner-stone," and set up instead a most shameful and fabulous system of superstition and idolatry; respecting which we shall mention only a few specimens, but they will be sufficient to point out some of the dangerous errors of that deluded Church of Rome :—

Indulgences.—The Roman Church teaches that Christ has committed to her Pope, Bishops, and Priests the power of indulgences—or, in other words, the power of discharging from the punishment of sin in this world and in the next; and that these indulgences may be purchased with money. And the fact is well known that indulgences have been purchased for large sums of money, not only for sins that were committed, but for sins about to be committed.

That presumptuous power we declare to be a monstrous blasphemy.

(2.)The Worship of the Virgin Mary.—No doubt the most remarkable privilege possible fell to the share of this holy woman. But conceived in the course of the law of nature, as she was. and flesh born from flesh, the same as we are—to hold her up to such surpassing honour as the Church of Rome does, so that she eclipses even Christ himself. "who is God over all. blessed for evermore to ascribe to her such power as to be able to command all that Omnipotence can do, making her equal with God. and thus virtually setting up a fourth person in the Godhead, is nothing less than the most diabolical blasphemy and idolatry.
(3.)The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.—The Romish Church teaches the superstitious idea that the elements of bread and wine, when consecrated by the priest, are changed into the natural body and blood of Christ. The Council of Trent defines it thus : "Whoever shall deny that in the most holy Sacrament there are truly and really contained the body and blood of Christ, together with his soul and divinity .... let him be accursed." (See Appendix C.)

Traditions.—The Scriptures, the Romish Church teaches, are insufficient without tradition; that traditions have come down to us, either received by the Apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or transmitted by the same Apostles; that those traditions have come down to us, and relate both to faith and morals, and that they are of equal authority with the word of God; and that they have been preserved in the Romish Church by continued succession, and are to be received with equal piety and veneration as the inspired Word.

We unhesitatingly declare that assertion to be an error of the most dangerous kind, and regard it as nothing less than blasphemy.


Infallibility.—The Pope claims to be the sole head of the Romish Church, the Vicar of Christ, and as such, being invested (by Christ) with absolute power, in the exercise of which he is Infallible.

To claim this prerogative for any finite being is nothing short of blasphemy.

These, and the many superstitious and blasphemous doctrines, teachings, and practices too numerous to describe, the Church of Rome offers in "a golden cup" (Rev. xvii. 4), all in great pomp and outward show, with intent to draw "lovers." The only infallibility the Church of Rome is entitled to claim for her Pope, her Bishops and Priests, and her doctrines and teachings, we submit to be the inscription with God's finger upon her signboard—upon her forehead—"Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth" (v. 5).

The infidel and freethinker may try their skill to explain away the vision shown to the prophet Daniel (chap. vii. 7, 8, 11,) and the angel's explanation of it (verses 23, 24,) concerning the Roman Empire some 3,000 years ago; but as all the previous revelations to Daniel with regard to the rise and the might of the Roman Empire, and also its division into ten kingdoms, have been fulfilled; and here, page 26 in the vision to the Apostle John with reference to the Roman Church, so dearly pointed out, having also been fulfilled, it follows that the as yet unfulfilled portion of the prophecy will in due time also be accomplished. The restoration of the Roman Empire, and all the subsequent events so terribly described in Daniel vii. 25—57, and in the book of Revelation, chapter xiii. and elsewhere, shall taie place in due time, and nothing of it shall fall to the ground, in spite of their infidelity and unbelief.