THE BEASTS AND THEIR IMAGE.

DEAR BROTHER MEREDITH: - Having seen yours addressed to me through the ADVOCATE, on the subject of prophecy, I proceed briefly to notice it, at this time; though I have not your communication by me, my April number not having come to hand.

In reviewing my former letters on the “Beasts and their Image,” the first point, on which you suggest a different view, is in reference to the second Beast, the two horned beast. Your idea appears to be, that the established church of England is that beast, and hence that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of York are the two horns. My opinion was and still is, that this Beast represents the whole body of the Reformed, or Protestant churches, in all their subdivisions, including the church of England, all retaining the rudiments of the first beast, in retaining infant baptism, and in having been in themselves, or in those churches from which they came out, in one way or other, established by law. As the Lutheran church in some of the states of Germany, on its first formation; the Presbyterian church in Geneva and since in Scotland, and the branches of the Scottish church being but branches of that establishment; the Episcopal church in England, and the Methodists being but a branch from that, and so on of others. Hence as Luther and Calvin were the two distinguished leaders of the Reformation, I have considered them as intended by the two horns. Luther as being the horn or leading power of all those churches, which are but reformed branches of the church of Rome, retaining many of the ceremonies and forms as originally established in that church, such as the Lutheran and Episcopalian churches. And Calvin as being the horn or leading power of all those churches, which are built upon the principle, that there is no specific and binding form for the order and government of churches in the New Testament, but that these things were left to be changed and molded according to circumstances and the judgments of men; he having first taught this notion of church government, and carried it out in contriving and adopting the Presbyterian form of church government in his church at Geneva. Both of them also aimed to make their churches national establishments.

If I were to conclude, that any particular church was designed by the two horned Beast, I should as soon think the Episcopal church, and its branches to be intended, and Henry the VIIIth the one horn, and John Wesley the other; for if Wesley’s church as a distinct horn of this beast has never been established by law, it is evidently aspiring after it in this country, and is manifesting a great deal of worldly wisdom in managing to get a control in civil affairs, wherever opportunity offers. At any rate, this church gives strong evidence of being the legitimate offspring of her mother, the church of England, and of her grandmother the church of Rome.

Your suggestion concerning the idea I had advanced, relative to the life to be given to the image of the beast, that it might refer to an establishment by law in this country, has certainly much weight in it. Such a combination of Church and State would in truth be a beast. And from year to year there are fresh developments, showing that this Image can have life in our country without any special Law, establishing a union between it and the civil government. We see it in the manner in which the actions of religious bodies are trumpeted forth in the political and miscellaneous papers. The awfully delusive ceremony also of taking the veil among the Catholics, is sounded forth with great seeming applause. And the proceedings of Conventions, missionary Meetings, associations, and even the discourses and prayers of individual preachers on special occasions, are taken down and reported for the newspapers; the same as the proceedings of legislative bodies and political meetings, as though they were all of a class. Some occurrences took place recently in the House of Representatives, showing how these things stand in the American Congress.

In the discussions on the Army Appropriation Bill, Sat., March 29th, Mr. Pettit, from Indiana, moved to strike out the Section providing for the pay of chaplains of the Army, on the ground that the Constitution forbids all interference in religion, and that whilst such was the provision of the Constitution, the government was paying annually for religious purposes $35,341.99, according to a statement from the Secretary of the Treasury; also that it was taking money from one class of persons to pay for the teaching of the religious sentiments of another, &c. But this brought down against him such a storm of denunciations, without one to back him, that he withdrew his amendment. It was denounced as Fanny Wrightism, as the Atheism of France &c. One thanked his god, that there was no chance in an assembly of gentlemen in this enlightened age for the adoption of such a resolution. Again in the discussion of the same Bill, Thurs., April 4th, Mr. Holmes of S. Carolina, the very man who thanked his god in the above case, offered an amendment to the effect, That no officer or private soldier in the Army of the U. S., shall be compelled to attend any public worship when the doctrines of the church to which he may be attached are opposed to such worship. He offered this, he said, on the ground that Catholics had frequently been compelled to attend on the worship of Protestant chaplains, and in some instances had been punished for refusing to attend. Mr. Hale of New Hampshire proposed to amend the amendment by striking out the latter part, so as to forbid absolutely their being compelled to attend religious worship. He assigned for the reason of his amendment the following; that, The Constitution of the U. S. provided that Congress should pass no law respecting the establishment of religion, and believing that Congress had no power to compel anybody to attend any form of religious worship, he was opposed to the latter part of Mr. Holmes amendment and therefore had proposed to strike it out. That religion {he said} was true and acceptable, which came from the heart; and hence he was opposed to religion being a part of the soldier’s drill. The christian religion did not depend on the aid of the sword or of legislation, and he was in consequence, opposed to its being made a part of military discipline. Mr. Hale here, I think, expresses the most correct views of true religion, that I have ever seen as advanced in Congress; it give me therefore peculiar pleasure to notice it, as coming from the state of my nativity. Mr. Hunt of New York, regretted that a proposition had been offered to the House which could serve as a pretext for the exhibition of blasphemy and the ridicule of the christian religion, to which they had been compelled to listen to from the gentleman of Indiana {Mr. Pettit,} whose remarks are not reported any further than that he spoke in opposition to a soldier being compelled to go to church at all. Mr. Hale’s amendment was negatived and the proposition of Mr. Holmes rejected; so that the soldiers may still be compelled to attend public worship just where the commanding officer pleases, and that by the sanction of Congress; and religion is made a part of the soldier’s drill, in order to make good soldier’s according to the usage of the ancients, as expressed by some of the speakers.

Whilst Congress can legislate in this way and sanction such enforcement of religious worship, there is no need of a special law incorporating religion with the government. The same principle may carry them any length to enforcing a particular form of worship. It might have been added, that Mr. Carroll also of New York, took high ground in favor of enforcing religion upon the soldiers.

In reference to brother Meredith’s request for my further views on certain prophecies, I would inform him that my present feelings on the subject of prophecy, brought about, probably in some measure, by being disappointed in the calculations made concerning the Turks, are that the fulfillment of every prediction, is in safe, unerring hands; that our speculations on them, or seeking to understand them before hand, any further than God may for wise and gracious purposes be pleased to give his people to understand them, cannot alter the accomplishment, nor profit any one. So far as prophecies which yet are not fully accomplished, in all their predictions, are fulfilled in some parts, or are being fulfilled, we may with propriety compare the events with the predictions, and thus trace the accomplishment as it progresses. Thus we may see the Ten-horned & Two-horned beasts and their Image, standing before us, and things apparently nearly ready for the accomplishment of the prediction that “no man may be allowed to buy or sell, save he that hath the mark or the name, or the number of the name” of the beast. The causing, “all, both small and great, rich and poor, to receive a mark in their right hands or in their foreheads,” is evidently now progressing rapidly before us. Of these things we may with propriety speak; and so of other events as they transpire, we may watch their progress, and examine and speak of them as we discover their conformity to prediction and their place and period in prophecy. But in reference to events and periods which are manifestly yet future, I repeat, that it is safest, and most conformable with that wisdom which is from above, to leave them with God, who will accomplish everything in its place and season.

Yours with christian love,
S.TROTT.
Centreville, Va., May 1, 1844.