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by Dr. John Thomas
The world's religion was changed; and the foundation laid for that awful despotism in Church and State, which has made all the families of the earth to wail.
Constantine and his successors "ruled the nations with a rod of iron"; and united in adulterous alliance, an apostasy from apostolic Christianity to the kingdom of the world.
Thus, a Satanic system was established, which persecuted all "who kept the commandments of God, and had the testimony of Jesus Christ".
The troubles of the witnesses commenced with the institution of State Christianity, and they will not cease until every State Religion is abolished from the earth.
This Bartholomew massacre of 1572 marks the epoch of the terminating of the testimony of the two witnesses.
From 1572 till 1685 was a period of war, during which unnumbered thousands fell in defence of their civil and religious rights.
The war was waged with various fortune on both sides.
At first, the Huguenots were so far successful, that their valour and devotedness raised their leader, Henry of Navarre, to the throne of France.
Though a Huguenot, he could not withstand the temptation of an earthly crown, for which he changed sides, and professed himself a Papist.
He could not, however, forget his companions in arms, but granted them in 1598 the celebrated Edict of Nantes.
This charter accorded to them the right to celebrate their worship in every place in which they were resident previous to the year 1597.
It permitted them to publish books in certain towns, to convene their synods, to open academies and schools for the education of youth, and to fill public offices.
It also gave to them a number of cities as cautionary towns, or pledges of security, with the privilege of keeping them garrisoned, and levying taxes on their own account.
Thus there was a little State within the State.
The Romanists and Huguenots were like two armies, or two nations, in view of each other.
They had concluded a treaty of peace, in which the king himself was the mediator; and it was necessary that each of the contracting parties should obtain their guarantees for the future.
This singular state of things resulted from the violation of their engagements by the Papists, and from the priests inculcating the treacherous policy of not keeping faith with heretics.
Henry IV was assassinated in 1610, by Ravaillac, a fanatic of the Jesuit order.
Upon this troubles immediately recommenced between the warlike Huguenots and Papists.
The former were conquered; they lost all their strongholds; and in 1628, Rochelle, their last bulwark, fell into the hands of Cardinal Richelieu.
Thus disappeared in this kingdom of the Beast their power to "devour their enemies by fire proceeding out of their (cannon) mouth".
They had no longer "power to shut heaven that it should not rain"; nor could they any more turn the waters of Piedmont, and the departments of France, into blood, and smite the earth with the plague of war "as often as they willed".
Their political power was gone, and their affairs grew worse and worse, until their total wreck in the reign of Louis XIV.