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by Dr. John Thomas
If persecuted they must fly; if smitten, they must not smite again; if reviled, they must bless; but withal "fight the good fight of faith" with the word of God, without favour, affection, or compromise, with any thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
But this may be thought to be a contradiction of what has been said of the witnesses inflicting the plagues of war as often as they pleased.
How can they do this unless they contend in battle against the Beast?
The answer is, that the Anti-Papal instrumentality of God in the earth consists of three classes of persons; two of these classes are political, but the third is that class spoken of by the apostle as his brethren.
The prophecy of the two witnesses is concerning two great parties in the ten-horned beast's dominion, which antagonize it in its civil and ecclesiastical policy.
One party is purely secular, and styled "the earth," or democracy; the other party is "religious," and termed "the woman".
The mission of these is to make war upon tyranny, and to take vengeance upon it, and finally to be the means, or occasion, of breaking it up in its ten-horned and Papal constitution.
"The earth," or secular witness, is the helper of "the woman," or religious witness.
They have co-operated since the reign of Constantine more or less intimately until the present time; their co-operation consisting in a determined hostility to State-Churchism, and to its monarchical allies.
They are both more or less Republican in their principles.
"The earth" especially is animated by a hatred of oppressors.
Its spirit in all ages has shown itself in a terrible form.
It is ferocious as the tiger, but it is a ferocity which is required by the nature of the work assigned it.
The civil and ecclesiastical tyranny it has to combat, which is itself horribly terrific and blasphemous against God and His truth, must be encountered by a spirit as fierce.
In history, we see it exhibited in the Circumcellions of the first century of its operations, in the men of Münster of the sixteenth, the Camisards of the seventeenth, the Terrorists of the eighteenth, and the Red Republicans, Socialists, etc., of the nineteenth.
Like God's "sanctified ones, the Medes," the heart of "the earth" is steel, and its eye unpitying.
It is ready to dash out the brains of sucklings, to spoil the property of the rich, and to reduce the social fabric of the Beast to its elemental chaos.
Its political representative in Europe was "the mountain" in the French legislature -- a body of men who were the abomination and terror of the Jesuit-priest-party throughout the world.
"The woman" is constituted of heterogeneous sects.
"Dissent" and "Non-conformity" are terms which define the religious witness in this country.
In France she is styled "Calvinist".
Her tendencies are Republican, as illustrated in the Cromwellian commonwealth, and in the constitution of the United States of America, which was the conjoint work of "the earth" and "the woman".
This great religious witness is made up of an infinite variety of factions, whose contempt of popes, emperors, kings, priests, and aristocrats is profound; yet, with all their hatred, they conscientiously repudiate the excesses of "the earth," or secular witness.