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by Dr. John Thomas
These two witnessing parties, however, are of one theory, which is death to tyranny, if not to tyrants; and, in some sense or other, rally around the standard of "liberty, equality, and fraternity" -- three principles which are utterly destructive of the dominion of the Little Horn, and its audacious fellows of the Roman Beast.
But there is a third party which, although it has the deep-rooted enmity of truth against every form of Satanism in Church and State, Papal and Protestant; and wishes success to the Two Witnesses in their war with civil and ecclesiastical tyranny, yet it is distinct from them both.
It is that party described by the apostle in the passage above quoted.
It is composed of the saints of God in the highest sense of the word.
It is the One Body of Christ, having the one faith, the one hope, one Lord, one spirit, one baptism, and one God and Father.
It is styled "the holy city" in the Apocalypse; and is trodden under foot of the Gentiles for forty-two months of years till the Ancient of Days appears.
It is by this class that "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" is preserved from being entirely lost.
In the twelfth of Revelation they are termed "the remnant of the Woman's seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ".
They are a people who believe the gospel of the kingdom of God and the things of Christ's name as set forth in "the law and the testimony"; for "the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of the prophecy".
They are also an immersed people; for they keep the commandments of God as well as believe His word.
It is their mission to "contend earnestly for the faith".
Hence they come into collision with all parties; being antagonistic to "every high thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God," whether entertained by the enemy, or by witnesses, who torment him with their insurrections, or with prophesyings in behalf of civil and religious liberty.
Such, then, is the antagonism ordained of God to keep the Beast, or European governments, in check, and to preserve the light of truth and liberty from extinction among the nations.
It is to this agency the world is indebted for the little liberty it rejoices in.
This has been conquered from the Beast at a great cost of human life.
The United States of America is a specimen of its handiwork; and but for the incurable condition of society in the old world by human efforts, as happy a state of things would ere this have been established on the European continent, as in some degree hath been in this island.
The Roundheads, Puritans, and Lollards, or Bible-men, laid the foundation of American institutions on the soil of Britain.
They successfully resisted the encroachments of an Act-of-Parliament-religion on the rights of men; and by contending for the Bible (without very well understanding it themselves) in opposition to human authority in religion, gave an impulse to the minds of men which all the powers emanating from the "bottomless pit" can no longer prevail against or control.
But while the liberty provided by the constitution of the United States, and practically enjoyed in England, is much to be appreciated by the people of these respective countries, there are but few of them who have tasted the sweets of that liberty which dwells in "the Holy City".
"If the truth shall make you free," says Christ, "ye shall be free indeed".
So long as a people practically venerate a professional ministry, whether in the pay of the State, or of the people, to preach what pleases them more than "the law and the testimony"; so long as they are ignorant and faithless of "the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ," and glorify themselves in religious systems, which nowhere on the sacred page meet the eye of the unbiased student of God's word; so long as their pulpits are closed against men who would reason with the people out of the scriptures "concerning righteousness, and temperance, and judgment to come," irrespective of party shibboleths and decrees, -- so long are they strangers to the liberty, equality, and fraternity which belong to the truth of God alone.
The eye of faith sees the fairest spots of earth veiled in thick darkness.
Its hope is not in "the earth"; for man can neither regenerate himself, nor society.