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christ, was from the first 300 years, until 600 years, and so forward. But now im. mediately upon this great increase of error and darkness, cometh the description of a special star fallen from heaven at this time, which was about 600 years after Chrift, and therefore it must needs be understood of the Pope. And this is my second reason. :::* My third and last reason is drawn from
the description of the Pope and his clergy, in the first eleven verses of this chapter; he is so lively described and pointed out in particulars, that all men that know him, or ever heard of hin, must needs say it is
he. For this description here fet down by · the Holy Ghost, can fitly agree to none
other. ' ; ; ;'site' a *** cho 1. The Papists themselves do confess, that this star here mentioned, must needs: be understood of fome arch-heretic, and full wisely, forsooth, they apply it to Luther aird Calvin. But we affirm, that it is to be understood of the Pope; for was there ever any such arch-heretic as he which
opposeth himself against all that is called God,' and against all imperial powers, as the apostle faith? But now let us proceed to the description of him.:!,. .. · First, He is said to have the key of the bottomless pit, which agreeth well to the Pope; for he hath power given him to open
hell's gates, to let in thousands thither; but
no power, to open heaven's gates, to let in - aluther; for he furthereth many to hell, none to heaven. He doth indeed falsely challenge to himself the keys of the king
dom of heaven, to let in and shut out at r his pleasure. But here, we see the Holy
Ghost doth attribute no such power unto :him, but only telleth us, that his power
and jurisdiction is in hell, and as for heaven, he hath nothing to do with it. It were needless to shew how this metaphor of keys is taken for power and jurisdiction in the fcriptures, as hath been proved before, Rev. i. 18. and as needless to prove that by the bottomless pit, is here meant hell, as appeareth from Rev. xi. 7.---XX. I. . . And he opened the bottoinless pit, and
there arose the smoke of the pis, as the * sinoke of a great furnace, and the sun
and the air were darkened by the finoke 6 of the pit,' Rev. ix. 2. • Here we see how the Pope openeth hell's gates with his key, and a most horrible, gross and stinking smoke ascendeth up into the air presently upon it, insomuch that both the fun and the air were darkened with it. Which all is to be understood of that spiritual darkness, ignorance, superftition and idolatry, wherewith the whole church was over-fpread, after the great
Antichrist came to the possession of his cursed chair, and was in his pride and ' height, ruling and reigning over the kings of the earth. For then indeed the sun was darkened and eclipsed, that is che light of .. the gospel was almoft clean put out. For that which is spoken here of the darkening of the air and the fun, is to be understood of a greater and more general darkness, than that which was mentioned in the former chapter, wherein but a third part of the world was darkened. But now the Antichrist invadeth the church, all is overspread with grofs and palpable darkness, all is as dark as pitch: no man can see where he is, or which way he goeth. For the whole air is filled with this thick smoke, which came out of hell's pit. ;. ... And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth, and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power,' Rev. ix. 3.
By these locufts is meant the Pope's clergy, as -abbots, monks, friers, priests, ihavelings, and such like vermine; which are therefore compared to locuits, because they waste and destroy the church, even as locusts destroy ihe fruits of the earth. For both historians and travellers do affirm, that whole fields of green corn new come up, liave been wasted and caten up in one nighs
as bare as the earth, by swarms of locusts in the East-countries. For in those parts of the world, multitudes of thefe little vermine are to be found: even so the Popish clergy consumeth and devoureth all green things in the church..
Moreover, it is to be noted, that these locusts came out of the smoke of the pit; that is, they were bred out of it: for monks, friars, priests, and such like caterpillers, were bred of ignorance, error, herely, superstition, and the very smoke of hell: for from hell they came, and to hell they will go. They are descended of the black horse of hell, and thither they will return.
Moreover, it is said, that power was given them to fting like scorpions. For whom have they not ftung with their most venomous stings? I mean their danınable errorę, and devil sh devices. Whom they have not wounded with their corrupt doctrine and devilish authority? They are the forest soul. stingers that ever the world had, who have left their venomous stings in the souls of thousand thousands, wherewith they have been poisoned and stung to death.
And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, ' neither any green thing, neither any tree,
but only those which have not the seal on « God in their fore-heads,' Rev. ix. 4...
It may be demanded, what became of the church, when as the whole earth was full of these crawling and stinging locusts? This queftion is not here answered, to wit, that thefe locusts are charged and cominanded, that they should not hurt any of the elect: for this wo and this plague extendeth no farther than to the inhabitants of the earth, as we have heard before. Their power is limited only to the reprobate, they have nothing to do with God's chosen people. And here again we see what great care God hath for his people in the midst of the greatest dangers, as hath been twice noted before, Rev. vii. and viji. For now Antichrist reigning in his full, pride, yet his elect are preserved in the midst of thefe scorpion-locufts, flying about their ears like swarms of hornets, not one of them is ftung to death. Christ's little flock is always defended and set in safety.
. And to them was command given that o they fhould not hurt them, but that they + should be vexed five months, and that
their pain should be as the pain that com. eth of a fcorpion, when he hath ftung a man,' Rev. ix. 5... .. . .
Some write, that such as are ftung with a scorpion do not die forth with, but have ca lingering pain, where with they are ini. ferably vexed three or four days before they