The Image Of The Beast Illustrated

LETTER VII

Cooch’s Bridge, New Castle County, Delaware, Aug. 11th 1831.

Brother Beebe: - On reviewing what I have written relative to the formation of the Image of the Beast, I conclude you are ready to enquire whether the Image is composed of the popular institutions as they exist generally among all denominations; or only as they exist among the Baptists. If we take the first Beast as a pattern in this case, we find that he grew out of heathenish ceremonies and sentiments as they were adopted by the professed church of Christ; not as they were practiced by the Dragon. Of course, we must conclude that the Image is primarily composed of these modern worldly schemes as they are pursued by those who professedly belong to the visible church of Christ. It is true that as in the former case the Dragon or the Beast from the “bottomless pit,” became so completely blended with the seven horned beast, as that it was said of it, “The beast that was and is not, and yet is;” so there probably will be a general blending of the two horned beast with the Image. The direction which I have already noticed as given by the two horned beast, corresponds with the idea above advanced; for it is not said that this Beast, which I have supposed represented the Reformed churches, made the Image, but that he said to “them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image,” &c. Rev. 13:14. You will recollect, as I formerly stated, that they who were directed to make the Image, were they who were deceived by the miracles of the two horned beast; namely, “they that dwell on the earth,” by which I understand, principally, worldly minded or carnal professors and preachers of the Baptist churches. The reformed churches hold forth this language chiefly by example, although they are not wanting in other exertions to induce the Baptists to rear up the Image. We will notice the influence of this example.

In the first place; These dwellers on the earth, see the multitude adhering to the Reformed Churches, in consequence of having been sprinkled in infancy, and thus brought within the pales of their churches, and under the pastoral watch of their ministers; and they are anxious to gain a similar influence over the multitude. They have therefore resorted to Sunday Schools as a substitute for infant membership, hoping by these to attach the rising generation to their congregations and even bring them into their churches. In this the Reformed churches continue to animate their zeal by pursuing the same course. Secondly; These earthly minded professors seeing the learned, the polite and wealthy part of society joining the Reformed churches, feel solicitous to have their churches filled with such respectable professors, instead of those of the lower circles in society from whom the Lord has mostly sifted his people. And as they ascribe this success of the Paedobaptists to their learned and polite ministry and to their philosophized gospel, they are using every exertion to supply the Baptist churches with such preachers and such a gospel. Thirdly; The ministers of the Reformed Churches, appearing not satisfied with that authority which their ecclesiastical courts give them over their churches and congregations, are seeking a more absolute authority in the organization of those several religious Societies which they are forming under various pretences. And what a perfect obsequiousness do the popular Baptists manifest, in following the example set! No person can examine the arrangement of the modern mission societies, without discovering the Methodist Episcopacy {the most absolute of any short of Popery} copied out, with this exception, that in the mission episcopacy, aristocracy is substituted for simple monarchy. Fourthly; The Clergy of the Reformed Churches appear artfully engaged in accomplishing that which they cannot directly obtain under our government; namely, independency of the people for their support. And the Baptists where they are not blended with the others in the same scheme, are evidently treading directly upon their heels. Could we come at the correct amount of funds in this country, under the influence, if not under the direct control, of the Clergy, the interest only of which is annually expended; such as the funds belonging to the Mission and Bible and the like societies, and those connected with Theological Schools, Colleges, and Academies; also the additions yearly made by collections, subscriptions, &c., together with the profits arising from the printing establishments of the Bible, Sunday School and Tract Societies; and add to this amount the sums collected upon the spur of some new project, such as supplying every family with a Bible, and the recent fifty or eighty thousand dollar scheme of establishing Sunday Schools in the valley of the Mississippi; I say if the amount of all this was known by us, we should be convinced that the period is not far distant, when these funds will be sufficient to give the body of the clergy an independent, moneyed control over the institutions of learning, over the pulpits, and over the printing establishments, if not over the congressional and legislative halls of our country.

Fifthly; We see the Baptists not only following the example of the Paedobaptists in forming religious societies, other than gospel churches; but also forming them upon the principle of worldly societies; uniting all in the same profession and privileges of membership who will pay the stipulated yearly sum, whether they make any pretensions to being subjects of grace or not. If these mission and other like societies, be religious societies, then to become a member of them, is to be religious according to that standard. A cheap way of making ourselves or others religious, by paying the yearly dollar for us or them. It is no wonder that Dr. Ely should purchase a life membership for his deceased children in the Sunday School Union. This is certainly equal to anything found in the first Beast.

I would offer one remark more upon this point; namely, That it is not only manifest from appearances that the Baptists are in these things copying after the Paedobaptists, but we also hear them repeatedly and in every place, appealing to the practice of their Paedobaptist brethren, as good and sufficient reason, why the Baptists generally should engage in these schemes.

But still, from the fact, that it is the combination of these institutions as existing among all denominations, which is giving them such a complete control over the public mind, some will more readily conclude that the Image is to be found in this combination, than admit that it is confined to that branch of them which exists among the Baptists. To such I would say, First; The reformed churches, are in their original constitution, formed upon the plan of a national establishment, and based upon a union of the church and the world; it is therefore but the acting of that beastly nature which they brought from their mother the church of Rome, to adopt worldly plans, and act upon worldly principles, in extending the bounds and number of their churches. These new projects are perfectly congenial to their constitution. Not so with the Baptists, their church was constituted as a kingdom not of this world, as a body chosen out and separated from the world by the influence and power of Divine Grace. When therefore we find worldly projects, worldly influence, and worldly wisdom, introduced among the Baptists under the pretence of extending and supporting that church, we see at once that they are heterogeneous from its constitution, and that they can be nothing less than an Image of the beastly nature of the worldly churches.

Secondly; Although I have admitted that it is the corroboration of these institutions as existing among all denominations which gives them their general influence, yet I very much doubt whether this combination, if the Baptists were clear of these schemes, could with all its power ever produce the slaying of the witnesses in this country. And I think it will ultimately be found that it is the power given to these worldly institutions as existing among the Baptists alone which will accomplish the slaying of the witnesses and the scattering of the Holy People.

In a former letter you request some explanation respecting the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, which I mentioned as the sixth head of the Beast. I would say that during the fifth and sixth centuries the Roman Empire, especially the Western Empire, or that of which Rome was the capital, was repeatedly overrun by hordes of hardy barbarians, who uniting under some bold and enterprising leader would come down like a mighty torrent upon Italy and the other ferthe parts of Europe. These barbarians came from the northern parts of Europe and Asia, and are distinguished by different names, as Huns, Vandals, Goths, Ostrogoths, &c. It was Odoacer, a chief of the Ostrogoths who overturned the Western Empire and established himself as king of Italy, in the year A.D. 493. This kingdom lasted till 552 when it was again overturned by the arms of the Eastern Emperor, the seat of whose Empire was Constantinople. Although the Lombards, another barbarous nation, soon again overrun Italy and established a kingdom there, yet they did not get possession of Rome, nor of the adjoining province of Ravenna. These remained subject to the Emperors of the East, and were governed by a provincial officer called an Exarch. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths I consider the sixth distinct form of government established over Rome; consequently the sixth head of the Beast. And the provincial government of Exarch, under the emperors of the East, I consider the seventh form of government, and the seventh head. The preceding five forms of government, or heads over Rome as I reckon them; were 1st, Kings; 2nd, Consul; 3rd, Decemvirs; 4th, Dictators; 5th, Emperors. Tribunes which some reckon a distinct form of government, were only distinct officers connected with the Consular form. Neither was the Triumvirate, which has also been counted as a distinct form of government, ever established. And the reason why these were ever counted was that expositors have thought they must make up the seven up to the period that John wrote.

I now leave this subject with you. So far as I have given a correct view of it, may it prove profitable to you. So far as my views may be wrong, may the Lord enable you to discern the error and reject it.

I remain yours in gospel bonds, S. TROTT.

FINIS.