Pentonville, May 10, 1813.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
I Now send you a short account of my views upon the times. Some few years ago, on going to bed, I was much concerned about the present war. It being a judgment of such magnitude, I wondered whereabouts in scripture the account stood, knowing that all things were to be finished, as he hath declared by his servants the prophets: and I was much grieved that there were none in our day who were intrusted with the secret. When I awoke in the morning these words were spoken to me, "This is the hour of temptation." I then knew where the words stood, as they are three times recorded in scripture. I consider the seven churches, -and the seven epistles written to them, to be prophetic of the sevenfold state of the church, which will bring us to the world's end. The Sardian church represents our present state, under which we now are. The first account of the hour of temptation stands in Rev. iii. 3. The next church, the. Philadelphian, is to be kept from this hour: Rev. iii. and 10. The world means all the Roman empire, or that part called christian. It appears to me that the hour of temptation began when Tom Paine published his rebellion, by which thousands were tempted and seduced to resist the powers ordained of God; and this inadvertently has ensnared them in another temptation; namely, that of favouring the Catholic cause. The Pope has three sorts of adherents: the first receive a mark in their foreheads, by an open profession of popery; the second receive a mark in their right hand, swearing to exert their power in defence of popery; the third receive the number of his name, and therefore are reckoned among his friends. And God declares, that all who dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," Rev. xiii. 5.
And this hour of temptation, in which trap thousands are caught, will lead on to this popish worship, whereby their destruction will be- made sure. You have an account of what passed during this hour of temptation in the eleventh chapter of the Revelation, where you have an account of the Sardinian church and her, ministers, called two witnesses, two olive branches, and two golden candlesticks, standing before the God of the earth. A little before this hour comes on orders are given to measure the temple, and the altar, and the worshippers; and to leave the outer court out of the measurement, that her ministers, that is empty professors, may be given to the Gentiles, which are the papists, as these, not being elected, are to worship the beast. When the papists have gained these, which are going fast over, then they will deprive us of the toleration act, which is called scattering the power of the holy people, Daniel xii. 7. Then there will be an opening for them to come at the witnesses, which are in the inner temple; many of whom, no doubt, will be slain; but some will be silenced, and not murdered; slain as witnesses, but not as men; and therefore they are said to lie in the street, but not to be put into graves. This slaughter and silence are to last three years and a half, prophetically called three days and a half. Nor is the present war to cease till this war with the saints begins, for during the same hour (alluded to before) there was a great earthquake, Rev. xi. 13. This earthquake is the present war, in which the tenth part of the Romish jurisdiction fell. France fell from its old royal family into slavery, in which seven thousand renowned men of name (meaning chief commanders) fell. And, if so many field marshals fell, we have had accounts enough of the slaughter of common soldiers. After three clays and a half the Holy Ghost will be poured out upon these silenced witnesses, and they will ascend to heaven in a cloud; that is, into a heavenly state when compared with this present one; and they will appear again as a cloud of witnesses for God.
It was the sixth trumpet that brought the Turks into the eastern part of the Roman empire; under which trumpet we now are, and shall be until the destruction of the Turks comes on. But, as soon as the witnesses are - raised, and popery is discovered by the brightness of Christ's rising, then popish darkness will begin to be destroyed by the breath of his lips; and this powerful preaching of the gospel will convert the ten kings of Europe, who have all in turn been papists; but God will now turn their hearts to hate the whore: and, as soon as these begin their war with the pope and Turk, the seventh and last trumpet will be sounded; for under this trumpet the mystery of God is to be finished, as he has declared by his servants the prophets - the mystery of espousing the Jews, and the fulness of the Gentiles being brought in all on a sudden; hence this angel proclaims, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen." Under this trumpet the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ. The work now in hand is the papists' struggling to get into power, that they may gain over the established church, and all dead and dry dissenters with them. By this fan the Lord will thoroughly purge his floor, and make manifest who are his and who are not; and it is plain that most of these are already favourable to the catholics - the Arminians; the ministers of the letter, and graceless professors in general even many, who hold the truth in their heads, are already caught by this hour of temptation.
These hints, with what you yourself understand by the scriptures, are sufficient for you.
- Ever yours,
W. H. S. S.