The Twentieth Chapter
The last enterprise of Satan, the common adversary of man, doth this chapter following declare, fetching an original from the beginning of Christ’s spiritual kingdom, to conclude with the whole for our necessary instruction as a brief rehearsal of all that is in a manner spoken afore was this unto John (lest he should of obliviousness forget, as man’s nature is forgetful, these wonderful mysteries and singular premonishments of that Lord most expedient to be known of his church) that she might by them see aforehand the wily crafts of the Devil and his members, and to beware of them; besides that to take courage, patiently to suffer their cruel persecutions—for a thing oft rehearsed departeth not so soon the memory as that is but once told, which caused this evangelist not only here in this place, but also in his gospel and first epistle, oft to repeat the sayings, lest he should seem faintly to pass them over, and because the reader should the more earnestly mark them.
KeywordsRomish Pope High Priest Holy Ghost Eternal Damnation Tender Infant
 And I saw an angel  come down from heaven,  having the key of the bottomless pit  and a great chain in his hand,  and took the dragon, the old serpent (which is the Devil and Satan).  And he bound him a thousand years  and cast him into the bottomless pit.  And he bound him  and set a seal on him  that he should deceive the people no more  till the thousand years were fulfilled.  And after that must he be loosed  for a little season.2
In the end of these revelations afore-rehearsed (saith Saint John) saw I in a secret vision an angel of most singular beauty, betokening Jesus Christ, the angel of God’s eternal covenant.
From the high heaven above came this angel down unto the earth, sent of the everlasting Father—for neither spared that loving father to send his most dear and only son at the time appointed, nor yet the obedient son to submit himself to the shape of a servant and so become man. Victoriously did he overcome both death and the Devil, as appeareth by his great miracles, resurrection, and ascension. And like as he came down first of all with a possible meekness, so came he down after that with an impassible3 and invisible majesty. Sudden was this latter coming-down and most marvelous to the world such time as he by his heavenly spirit replenished his apostles with all necessary knowledge. And the voice thereof was heard the world over such time as they did preach it abroad. Sensibly was this coming-down expressed in Saul, and also the mighty power thereof, when he threw him to the ground and said: ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’4
This angel had the key of the bottomless pit, or power over hell, and a great chain in his hand, or full liberty to restrain the spiritual adversary, for unto him was given all power in heaven and in earth.
Authority had he to destroy him that had rule over death, which was then the Devil. Though I was dead (saith Christ), yet am I now alive forever and ever, having the keys both of death and hell.
And according to his authority (saith Saint John) he5 took the fierce dragon in hand that was wont so maliciously to noy, that old wily serpent that of so long time hath with infinite crafts deceived, which is the very Devil himself, or malicious accuser of man, and is called Satan, or the cruel adversary, as he is most worthy—for both is he a spiteful adversary to God, evermore withstanding his will, and also unto man in plucking him back from following the same.
Like a most valiant captain fell he upon that strong-armed house-watcher and overcame him, depriving him both of weapon and spoil. He laid a snare for the outrageous behemoth and caught him. He ringed the nose of the great leviathan and so brought him under—yea, he bound that malicious Satan and made him sure for a thousand years’ space, to make of the vessels of wrath the vessels of mercy. This did he by his strong word of covenant, whom he made for a thousand generations. And a full performance it is of God’s first promise for man’s behoof, that Christ should tread down the head of the serpent. For a thousand years was this restraint. Mark besides the mystery the time from the ascension of Christ unto the days of Sylvester the Second, bishop of Rome of that name, and ye shall find that it was from Christ’s nativity a complete thousand, after all the historiographers.6 By such necromancy as he learned of a Saracen in Spain obtained he the papacy; and as witnesseth John Wycliffe in his book De Solutione Satanae, in Christ’s vicarship he loosened that Devil whom Christ had afore shut up and set him again at large to deceive afresh. Consider for the time that he was thus bound the constant faith of the Christians and the invincible hearts of their martyrs and ye shall find them far different from them which hath been since. He was then so weak, so infatuate and babyish, that not only wise men, learned men, and strong men did set him light,7 but also young maidens, children, and tender infants in a manner did laugh him to scorn and set all his subtle sleights at naught. Evident will this be to all them that shall read the lives of the holy martyrs and saints of the primitive church. Like a bird was that crooked leviathan in those days so tamed that no man set by him at all—
For not only was he then bound, but also thrown down with violence into the bottomless pit. For that time might they go safe upon the adder and scorpion, they might tread under their feet both the lion and the dragon. Both the Devil and his angels might they then set at naught.
Yea, he was shut up, and so was double-bound. So was his power taken from him that upon neither side could he harm: neither was he able to pluck them from Christ’s faith by flattering prosperity, nor yet by urgent adversity. Neither could tyrannies nor heresies for that time prevail against the gospel.
Finally he set a sure seal upon him, which was his word, will, and commandment, that he should no more of his own presumption deceive the people with errors and idol-worshippings that believed in him, or that were predestinate to be saved, till such time as the aforesaid thousand years were fully accomplished, or as he should permit him thereunto for their unbelief’s sake.
By this doth the Holy Ghost here ascertain us that Christ hath so suspended the subtleties and suppressed the venomous crafts of Satan for his elects that he cannot hurt them in one hair of their head, for only is all this spoken for the chosen number; no part hath therein the reprobate vessels. Never was the Devil from them yet speared, but hath been in all ages with them familiar. Only are the consciences of the righteous by this freedom quieted, all other still left in captivity. This revelation respecteth in this point the inward kingdom of Christ, or the hidden congregation of the faithful whom the world beholdeth with froward eyes, and not the blazing synagogue of antichrist whom it laugheth upon so freshly.
None otherwise were they for all those thousand years vexed of Satan and his cursed members but as was patient Job in their outward substance and bodies. No power had he upon their souls all that long season.
And whereas it is here said that after these thousand years Satan must be let loose again for a certain time, consider it to be the promise of God which must in effect be fulfilled—not that he shall again loose him which hath once bound him forever, but that he shall permit other to do it according to his threatening promise, the unthankfulness and malice of wicked-doers requiring none other. In the end of these thousand years reigned in the papacy at Rome the afore-named necromancer Sylvester, which was both a black monk8 and also a Frenchman born. This beastly antichrist, boasting himself not only to be Christ’s vicar in earth, but also to be equal with him in majesty and power, set first the Devil at large by his necromancy, which took from the hearts of men the living word of the Lord lest they should be saved. From thenceforth were not the holy scriptures regarded, but old wives’ tales and Jewish fables most highly reputed. Then came in canons, decrees, sentences, synodals, decretals, Clementines,9 extravagants,10 with other popish laws, the gospel clean set apart. About this time also (as master John Carion writeth in his chronicle11) flourished the lordly order of cardinals and grew into a wonderful estimation in the world. The universities were then furnished with learned men mightily to prove the pope Christ’s vicar in earth and the only husband and overseer of his church. General councils were oft gathered to dispute with all Christendom that none might dispense in matters of conscience but he and they whom he should appoint, and that he could in no wise err—no, though when the candle were out he went to bed with another man’s wife; besides that I will not speak at this time. By this means got he an imperial seat and might make both emperors and kings at his12 pleasure, and likewise depose them when he lusted. He might distribute the kingdoms and give the great possessions of this world to whom he lusted—yea, to his own bastards and chamberlains, as he did many times—for of the Devil he hath received them, whereas Christ did utterly forsake them. And forsomuch as he was the high priest after the order of Satan, he might keep a general mart all his lifetime and sell all the bishoprics, benefices, degrees, and offices of his church. He might subject the gospel to his own interpretation, make new constitutions, release sin for money, make everyday new gods, and do many other things else. No end was then of their gaudish ceremonies, brawlings in the temple—singings, bells, organs, images, ornaments, lamps, candles, holy days, shavings, surplices,13 pater nosters, commanded fasts, and such like, that a man would have thought them angels when they were very devils indeed. For the time that Satan was thus set at large by Christ’s only vicar was there not one martyr allowed unless he were for deposing of princes and defending the liberties of holy church against them, lest their murderers and thieves, being within sacred orders, should be hanged with the seculars. Mark the condition of the time: afore that14 Satan was thus at liberty, he remained secret in the hearts of evil15 men; now is he abroad in their outward ceremonies and rites, ready to be seen of all the world, if pride, pomp, haughtiness, and vainglory may show him, or if hypocrisy, error, superstition, and all other devilishness can tell where he is. When Christ shut him up he took idolatry from the people; the pope hath restored it unto them again in thus setting him at large. In this is he not denied to have been afore this time abroad among the wicked—for little less than four hundred years afore the end of this thousand began the two monarchs of antichrist’s kingdom—the pope in the west under Phocas the emperor, and great Muhammad in the east under Heraclius.16 Mark it in the chronicles whoso list, for afore that time was not the pope taken for the universal head of the church, nor yet for Christ’s vicar. And this could not have been unless he had after some sort been at liberty. Evermore hath he reigned without restraint among the ungodly, but never so manifestly as then, his abominations accounted for holiness in the church. At this loosing of Satan (or very defection as Paul calleth it) openly appeared the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the adversary which exalteth himself above all that beareth the name of God. Faith waxed so faint and charity so cold that scarce appeared one spark of the truth. The church became a perverse generation, and her children were very unfaithful. Afore reigned he evermore in the world, but never in Christ’s congregation till that time. Never was the universal church of Christ defiled with so many abominable kinds of idolatry before.
But so it continued not long, for the text saith he was loosed but for a little season. Immediately after perceived Berengarius the archdeacon of Angers17 in France that all was not well, and with Bruno the bishop impugned their reality, indemnity, and naturality in the sacrament to bring in again to Christ’s clear institution.18 After him followed Waleranus the bishop of Medburg,19 and did the same in Germany, with many other prelates and doctors. Consequently ensued the Waldensians and Albigensians, pretending20 the apostles’ life and doctrine (men doubtless of a godly zeal and spirit), and of them the antichrists slew more than a hundred thousand, besides an hundred and fourscore whom they burnt because they would never abjure.21 What Guido Bonatus, John Semeca, William of Saint-Amour, Marsilius of Padua, Arnoldus of Villanova, Francesco Petrarch and other learned men did22 against them after that it were very long to write. John Wycliffe in England and Jan Hus in Bohemia, men of excellent life and learning, with diverse other more, replied earnestly against their transubstantiations and other sorceries. Lorenzo Valla denied the Donation of Constantine.23 John Wessel of Groningen in Friesland, called the light of the world, condemned utterly their purgatory and pardons.24 Now last of all cometh Martin Luther, Johannes Oecolampadius, Ulrich Zwingli, Pomeranus,25 Brentius, Melanchthon, Bucer, Bullinger, with other sincere and godly divines, and they turn over their universal kingdom. So merciful is the Lord to his people in this latter end of the world that by these and such other the antichrist is clearly uttered, and all his hypocrisy disclosed. I doubt not but within few days the mighty breath of his mouth (which is his living gospel) shall utterly destroy him with his whole generation of shavelings by their faithful administration in the word.
 And I saw seats,  and they sat upon them,  and the judgement was given unto them.  And I saw the souls of them  that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus  and for the word of God,  which had not worshipped the beast,  neither his image,  neither had taken his mark upon their foreheads  or on their hands.  And they lived  and reigned with Christ  a thousand years.  But the other of the dead men lived not again  till the thousand years were finished.
Whilst the dragon was thus tied up and thrown into the bottomless pit for a thousand years’ space, a certain continuance of being the elect number26 had, whose peaceable estate and condition for that time the text here following declareth by manner of recapitulation. After the afore-rehearsed vision of the serpent I beheld (saith Saint John) seats prepared without number. I saw the hearts of faithful believers (which are the seats of wisdom, after Solomon) beautifully garnished with virtues by the preaching of the apostles and of other godly teachers. Very peaceable and quietous were these seats, for though they had in the world on every side tribulation, yet had they their consciences quieted in Christ. They considered themselves partakers of the heavenly calling and rejoiced in hope of the glory of God’s children.
Upon these seats sat they which are afore called that people whom Satan should no more deceive. They settled themselves in the wisdom that God loveth. They grounded their dwelling with discretion in his understanding and knowledge. Fast did they cleave to his loving word, and for none adversity would they move their foot from the hard rock which is Christ. Thus sat his people in the beautiful seats of peace (after Isaiah) in the tabernacles of trust, and in a most plenteous rest, the deceivers and mockers put apart.
And as they were thus quieted, the judgement or true understanding of the lord’s verity was given unto them. Their senses were opened and great knowledge had they in the scriptures. The figures and prophecies that were hid to other were manifest and open unto them. The dark veil was removed from Moses’ face, and the light of the laws appeared. They could then discern good from evil,27 light from darkness, and sweet from sour. The yoke was then taken from them and no longer were they subject to strangers. Dead men perceived the secrets of the book. The eyes of blind might see without mist of darkness. They which aforetime were of an erroneous spirit had then the right understanding and were learned in the law. In their inward parts was the knowledge thereof planted of the Lord and the truth written in their hearts, he becoming their God and they his people. Because we should not separate the dead from the quick, or the departed from the living, and so judge them diverse, considering they both are of one God and live by one spirit, being of one hope and calling, the Holy Ghost doth here couple them together as sheep of one pasture, feeding all of one spiritual meat and drinking of one spiritual rock, accompanying them, and as members of one mystical body of Christ in this present revelation.
I also (saith Saint John) beheld in this secret mystery of the spirit the innocent souls of godly men and women that were beheaded of cruel tyrants for the faithful testimony of Jesus and the constant assertion of the true word of the28 Lord God. I perceived by the scriptures that his true-hearted witnesses remained not in death with the wicked, but passed through with the righteous from death unto life and had the life everlasting. They are not forgotten with the ungodly, but they now follow the lamb and dwell where as he dwelleth—else would Paul never so earnestly have desired to be dissolved from this flesh and so to be with Christ.
Not only is this here spoken of them that were beheaded and of none other else (though29 it seemeth so in the letter), but of all them that hath died for the verity—for then should Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Micah, Zechariah, Stephen, and James the less, with all those that hath be burned, strangled, quartered, drowned, stoned, crucified, spitted, racked, flayed, boiled, sticked,30 shot through with arrows, and that hath suffered all other terrible torments be reckoned to be none of that number. Beheading is here taken for deprivation of life, like as the head is in scripture taken sometime for the soul, sometime for the whole man.
For standing by Christ’s verity, confessing him God and man, did they lose their lives, which was in the end no loss unto them, but a profitable winning, for unto such remaineth the crown of life, the delights of paradise, and a seat with God.
These worshipped not the beastly antichrist, the very body of Satan. They bowed not down, nor yet gave themselves to such wicked traditions as that carnal generation made for their beastly bellies’ sake.
Neither reverenced they his31 prodigious image, or such ungodly princes and magistrates as (their true office set apart) did counterfeit him in cruelty and devilishness, but they rightly considered, with the faithful Maccabees and apostles, that in such case it was much better to obey God than men.
Neither had they in their lifetime taken the print of his filthy seal upon their foreheads, professing in their inward consciences those diabolical rules;
Nor yet on their hands, agreeing to use them in the outward conversation of their bodies. No yoke would they draw with the infidels, thinking that Christ could have no agreement with Belial—for through faith they perceived (as he that is of the spirit discerneth all things) that though they seemed glorious in the face of the world, yet were they before God abominable sacrilege. Diligently they searched the scriptures and believed not all spirits, but first proved them whether they were of God or nay. By that knew they that the homage of soul ought to be given to none other than to one living God alone, and that none other precepts of living were to be followed of them than Christ their saviour had taught. All other traditions of men took they for strange doctrine and for crafty colours of devilish deceitfulness.
Therefore when they were thought of the wicked to be dead they lived in all sweetness of the spirit in desire of his latter coming, which shall be to their double glory.
And they reigned with Christ, the pastor and high bishop of their souls, not only here where as they suffered with him for a thousand years’ space, but also above where as he sitteth on the right hand of God’s majesty-seat a thousand without end.32 Then reigneth the godly number most of all when they seem to the wicked least of all to reign, as when they suffer persecution and death for Christ—for after none other sort reigneth his church here than he reigned afore them whose triumph was greatest upon the cross.
The thousand years of the reign of the godly stretcheth here no farther than the thousand years of the fall of the ungodly, Christ’s years also deducted, which is the head of his congregation—for as the one kingdom decreased, the other always increased, very few Christian martyrs or constant witnesses perceived from thenceforth. For as it appeareth by the history, many were abjured and recanted (which was not seen in the former age), and all in a manner (a small number of the poor except) utterly renounced the verity for the cruel behaviour of the antichrists. In these two sorts afore-rehearsed—of them that sat upon the seats and of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus—is it to be marked that all were not martyrs whom God allowed for his in the primitive church, but that there were of both sorts. So well was he accepted that mortified the desires of the flesh and offered himself a living sacrifice unto God as he that gave his life for the verity.
But the residue (saith Saint John), or the other sort, called the dead men for that they were not numbered with the righteous (neither among them that sat upon the seats, nor yet among them that were slain for the witness of Jesus) lived not again after they were once dead till the thousand years of their death was thoroughly fulfilled. The time was when they which were dead through sin did hear the voice of the son of God. They faithfully believed the word thereof and so revived in him unto the life everlasting, which was both the life and light of men—whereas the froward contemners of that living word, having their consciences sealed with the beast’s mark, remained still in their infidelity (which is the very death of the soul) and so were by the right judgement of God lost forever, for the sin against the Holy Ghost (which is a resistance against the manifest truth) shall neither be forgiven in this world nor yet in the world to come.
A time without end doth this word ‘till’ cause this thousand here to be,33 after the common usage of the scripture. Noah34 sent forth a raven out of the ark which returned not again till 35 the waters were dried up—that is to say, he never returned again. Joseph knew not Mary till she had brought forth her first-born son—that is to say, he never bodily know her. Thou shalt not out of prison till thou hast paid the uttermost mite36—i.e., thou shalt never out (with an hundred of such places in the Bible).37
 This is that first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection,  for on such shall the second death have no power,  but they shall be the priests of God and of Christ  and shall reign with him a thousand years.
This is the first resurrection unto life: to rise from sin to repentance, from ignorance to godly knowledge, and from darkness to faith. Through the offence of one man entered sin into the world, and through sin death. Necessary it is therefore to die unto sin and to live unto righteousness, and so to rise together with Christ, seeking the things which are above, and not upon earth—for never shall they come to the second resurrection, which is unto the life everlasting, that will not rise by repentance unto a new life in him, which is both resurrection and life.
Blessed is that man of the Lord—yea, holy, just, and perfect may he be reported also of all men—which hath portion convenient in that first resurrection with David, Magdalene, Zacchaeus, and Peter. Happy are they which, hearing the word of God, retaineth it in their living, for they, being renewed with the glad tiding of life, are depured by the spirit of Christ, sanctified, and so made the habitacles of the Holy Ghost.
Upon such godly disposed persons hath the second death of the soul (which is eternal damnation) no manner of power nor effectual jurisdiction, for no damnation can be unto them which are in Christ Jesus, not walking after the flesh. Though they have been great sinners, yet shall not their sins be to them imputed, but in the resurrection of the righteous shall they rise to immortality and be as the very angels in heaven. He that hath taken from them the power of death shall make them sure of the eternal inheritance with God.
They shall surely be the chosen priests of God the everlasting Father, and of his eternal son Jesus Christ, which are of the first resurrection. Though they be here in the flesh, yet fight they not after the flesh, but they shall follow the governance of the spirit and give over their bodies for a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.
And thus shall they reign with Christ, their merciful saviour and redeemer, for the space of the thousand years afore-named. None other took they all that long season for their spiritual messiahs, their eternal king, their high bishop for all, their master, their lord, their guide, their light, and the shepherd of their souls. None other would they acknowledge but him for their mediator and atonement-maker—neither Moses, nor Samuel, Noah, Daniel, nor Job, John Baptist, Mary, nor Peter. He only was unto them all wisdom, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. In none other name could they find health and salvation, but alone in his. Nothing pertaineth this unto the pope’s mass-sayers, for they call upon many names with ora pro nobis, 38 and are of a far other priesthood, as we have declared afore. In Christ’s kingdom is none outward priesthood nor sacrifice to be made for sin, for he hath with one oblation for all fully satisfied for the sins of his elect number forever. The office of a Christian man now is only to offer up39 himself, by the denial of himself and by the mortification of his flesh. In the holy supper of the Lord (which is a mutual participation of his body and blood) is no new sacrifice to be made, but only a faithful remembrance to be taught of that full and perfect sacrifice that he made once for all, unless we will betray him and crucify him again. The duty of a minister in Christ’s congregation is with all study and diligence to labour in the holy word of God, be he bishop, priest, chaplain, pastor, or preacher. His ministration is great labour and no dignity, pain and not pride or arrogancy. And having his food and raiment, he ought to require no more.40
 And when the thousand years are expired,  Satan shall be loosed out of prison  and shall go out  to deceive the people  which are in the four quarters of the earth,  Gog and Magog,  to gather them together to battle  whose number is as the sand of the sea.  And they went upon the plain of the earth  and compassed the tents of the saints about,  and the beloved city.  And fire came down from God out of heaven  and devoured them.  And the Devil that deceived them  was cast into a lake of fire and brimstone  41where the beast and the false prophet were  and shall be tormented day and night forevermore.
After the plenteous description of the true church of Christ, which is unknown to the world (for the glorious daughter of the eternal king is from within, saith David), now followeth in course the pernicious kingdom of antichrist, when it was in the highest pride. So soon as the afore-rehearsed thousand years (saith Saint John) are fully accomplished or brought to an end,
Satan, the common adversary of man, shall be loosed out of his dark prison, and so shall be set at large by the sufferance of God, man’s wickedness deserving none other. A full liberty shall he have to do all mischief upon earth and strongly to delude the unbelievers for their unbelief’s sake.
He shall go forth with all deceitful power whereof he is full, transforming himself into a resemblance of the angel of light to deceive the universal people of the world.
Through the operation of error he shall cause them to42 give credence unto lies and false miracles that they might be damned for refusing the truth and consenting to such wickedness. Very craftily43 shall he compass them with gins of hypocrisy to blind their unfaithful minds, lest the light of the gospel should be open unto them. The abomination of desolation shall he set up in the holy place, to the utter destruction of their faith.
Yea, he shall seek out this people from the44 four quarters of the universal earth, to corrupt their consciences with all manner of superstitions—
Which people of him thus perverted is called here in mystery Gog and Magog, which is as much to say as ‘covered’ and ‘of covered’, for both the grand captains and multitudes of them depending doth these two words comprehend—the one covering the Devil with many false religions, and the other in his sort following the same wicked consent. Saint45 Augustine in his twentieth book De Civitate Dei willeth by Gog to be signified the glorious hypocrites of the world and by Magog the open enemies of righteousness pretending the contrary.46 As testifieth Berossus the Chaldean47 in the first book of his histories and fifth chapter, Gog was a mighty governor in the lands of Sabea48 and Arabia the rich under Nimrod the great king of Babylon, and there ruled with Sabus his father in the eighteenth year of his reign. In the thirty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecy is he called the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, whom some expositors taketh for Cappadocia and Spain. But after the opinion of Saint Jerome and Isidore (which was a Spaniard), the Hebrews doth take this Tubal for Italy, which is much more agreeable to this purpose. Magog was the second son of Japheth, which was the third son unto Noah. This Magog (as witnesseth Josephus in the first book of his Antiquities, the eleven chapter49) was the first beginner of the Magogites, whom the Greeks called the Scythians, and we now the Tartarians. And all the chief writers specifieth the Turks of them to have taken their first original. Now mark this wonderful mystery and consider therein both the time and story: so shall ye well perceive the Holy Ghost to mean none other here by this Gog and Magog but the Romish pope and Muhammad, with their blasphemous and wicked generations. Search the chronicles and ye shall find that their beginnings were base and their estate simple before the thousand years were finished; but after that they grew up so high by their feigned simplicity and simulate holiness that they became the two chief monarchs of the earth, and so in process ruled the universal world. These are the two horns or beastly kingdoms of the great antichrist, or whole body of the Devil rising up by the earthly studies and devilish devices of wicked men. By the doctrine of Aristotle, Plato, Porphyry,50 Avicenna, Averroes, Avenzoar,51 and such other became the Romish pope Christ’s vicar and head of the universal church. Peter Lombard created him a new divinity; so did Gratianus Monachus a new canon law of decrees to establish the same, besides that was done then by Peter Comestor, the third brother—for all they three were the children of one adulterous mother, as witnesseth Antoninus, Hermanus Schedel, Johannes Textor,52 and diverse other chronographers.53 By the crafty conveyance of Sergius, a false monk of Constantinople, and of one Matthew the Archdeacon of Antioch was Muhammad taken for the apostle of both testaments,54 for the great prophet of God, and for Messiahs among the Tartarians and Arabians, with other peoples of the East. To establish this by a pretensed religion and to bring it to a mighty monarchy by the advisement of Phineas, Abdias, Cabalchabar, Balteira, Merban, and Elgug,55 with other Jews, Jacobites,56 Nestorians, and Arians they made the blasphemous law of their Koran, as testifieth John Cuspinian in his book De Turcarum Origine, and other authors else.57 Thus for the wickedness and sins of the people suffered the Lord abominable hypocrites to have the dominion over them. The two horns are like the lamb’s horns at a blush, for both they pretend holiness in fastings, in prayers, in alms-deeds, in washings, and in other holy rites and ceremonies—that a man seeing them (not having knowledge of that truth of God, which trieth all) would think nothing to be more pure, honest, godly, innocent, clean, holy, and angelic than are their traditions. Both they confess one God. Both they commend Christ. Both they allow the scriptures of both laws. Muhammad calleth Christ the word of God, the spirit of God, and the soul of God, the most excellent prophet and the worthiest among creatures, but in no case will he have him taken for the son of God, no more than the pope will have him taken for a full saviour without his masses and suffrages. And like as the pope hath risen up by the wily practises of philosophers, sophisters, sententioners, and canonists, so hath Muhammad comen up by the Sabellians, Manichees, Eunomians, Macedonians, Nestorians, and Arians, with other heretics, out of whose opinions was contrived his Koran as a mean law betwixt Moses and Christ because the one (say they) was too full of hardness, the other too full of liberty. And to call unto him both Jews and Christians, he admitteth after a sort both circumcision and baptism, granting them liberty to have many wives, with other voluptuous pleasures.
Thus under simulate religion, or pretence of God’s law and service, these two tyrants, Gog and Magog, the Romish pope and Muhammad, with their whole generations of like spirit with them, have gathered themselves together into one wicked consent against God and his Christ—for under Gog and Magog are all they comprehended whom Satan deceived after that he was set at large. Though these two have not accorded in other things, yet have they both agreed in this one point by the Devil’s enticement: to battle against the lamb. To withstand the verity and impugn the truth of the gospel they have been ready everywhere—in every land, in every city, and in every town. Of one cruel purpose and study to do mischief have these two enemies been in all places of the world to persecute Christ’s poor congregation. This thing doth the daily practises of them both so manifestly declare that all the world see it well enough. These doth Isaiah call that strong multitude whose spoil Christ shall divide, the smith that bloweth the coals in the hot fire, and the waster that destroyeth. Ezekiel doth compare them to a raging tempest, Daniel to the king of the north, and Zechariah to the princes of the earth,
Whose exceeding number (saith Saint John) is as the dry sand that hath been cast58 up with the sea which can in no wise be numbered. In this full well may it be considered what a small thing Christ’s flock was in comparison of these soldiers of Gog and Magog after Satan’s going forth, and for the time of their battle. Innumerable were the sects of the pope with those that they brought to that false faith and obedience, and so were the prophets of Muhammad with that perverted multitude. Their power was great for the time and their malice vengeable, yet were they as sand, dry and unfruitful.
They rose up in pride, riches, and royalty, and always went over where as they see the earth made plain and smooth, and they59 in every land compass. Their general journey was all the world over towards them that were poor in spirit, or whose lusts were mortified from the world. Consider them for an example whom they have cruelly burned and slain; where as they perceived their crooked customs thrown down and the straight rule of God’s word faithfully received, there persecuted they most fiercely,60 there waxed they furious and mad, sparing neither sword, fire, gibbet, nor other torment.
61Yea, they compassed everywhere about with tyranny and malice possible the holds,62 the dwelling-houses, and the places of resort pertaining to the faithful brethren. They vexed their bodies on every side with rebukes, scorns, blasphemies, lies, scourgings, imprisonments, open shames of the world, and all manner of kinds of death. Seldom escaped any from the terrible hands of the prelates and priests in that wretched time that sincerely favoured the truth. Everywhere had they their spies, their Judases, their false accusers, their summoners, their bailiffs, and their pickthanks63 with other officers to bring them in. In all places were they diligently watched, fiercely examined when they were taken, and cruelly enforced to accuse so many as they knew of that belief. Everywhere had they bishops’ prisons and spiritual dungeons with plenty of ropes, stocks, and irons, and as little charity else as the Devil hath in hell. Everywhere had they faggots, fire, and stakes in abundance to consume such heretics as would not believe as holy church commanded. This hath been their order for the time of Satan’s liberty, and this have they taken for an high point of Christian religion, for this is that hour that Christ prophesied of, wherein men should think to do unto God great service when they put one of his unto death.
Thus have they with all prodigious tyranny compassed the dearly beloved city of God, or the holy congregation for whom Christ died, utterly to overthrow it. By all manner of crafts and devilish circumventions have they gone about at that time (as they would do yet still) to destroy that small remnant, or church of the Lord builded without material stone and mortar, that sweet spouse of his without spot or wrinkle. Not only sought they in that enterprise to bring to naught the particular congregations, but forasmuch as lay in them, the universal church of God then living. Blessed be our Lord God; though it hath been since the loosing of Satan but a poor wretched neglected thing and of no reputation before the world, yet hath it been always before him a beloved city and hath defended it so mightily that nothing hath64 perished of it—no, not one hair65 of their heads. What the Turk with Muhammad’s host hath done for his part in Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Jerusalem, Bulgaria, in the borders of Italy and Spain, at the Rhodes, in the kingdom of Hungary, Ludovicus the king there ruefully slain, and now last of all against the city of Vienna, I think it is known unto all men.66 We may see by that is here written of these two enemies, Gog and Magog, the daily experiments confirming the same, that they are far above us in number and power, being as the sands in the sea. Most vainly are we occupied if we ascertain ourselves to have the victory over them by any other way than the Lord hath appointed. Let us pray therefore unto the Lord for grace and then amend our lives, and the plague shall cease. Only hath he promised to destroy them all with the breath of his mouth and with no bodily armour nor strength of men, as hereafter followeth. Let us in the meantime give ourselves unto fervent prayer, to compassion of our brethren, to deeds of charity and pity, to abstinence from sin, and to the forsaking of our own desires—for sure we are that he shall shorten their days of mischief for his elect’s sake.
In the process following must we take for the time past the time to come, for the clear declaration of the mystery, considering evermore the usage of the scriptures for ‘times’. When these enemies, Gog and Magog, shall be at the highest in their vengeable enterprises against the elect city, or peaceable congregation of Christ, a consuming fire (saith Saint John), which is the eternal word of the Lord, shall come down fiercely out of heaven from the mouth of the great omnipotent God.
As a fearful lightening shall it fall upon them, and as a terrible fire shall it devour them, like as the material fire did eat up Sodom and Gomorrah, the rebellious67 in the desert and the enemies that sought Elijah. The fire that is kindled in the wrath of God shall burn unto the bottom of hell and consume up those terrible termagants.
That word of the Lord’s indignation shall with great violence throw the Devil, that wily serpent which deceived Gog and Magog, with their innumerable soldiers into a foul stinking lake, or boiling pit of wildfire and brimstone.
Upon the wicked (saith David) shall the Lord rain snares.68 Wildfire, brimstone, with terrible storm and tempest, shall they have to reward for their eternal punishment. Herein are to be marked and considered both the intolerable grievousness of the pains and also the everlasting continuance of them.
In the same place of intolerable torment were the beastly generations of antichrist and all their schoolmasters of hypocrites’ doctrine—or eternally of God were they thereunto appointed as the ungodly commonalty with their captain, and as the body and members with their wicked head (for already is it done by his word, but then shall it follow in effect), whereas they shall be (as the Lord hath appointed) most sharply afflicted with unspeakable torments both day and night without pause or ceasing, forever and ever without end.
Never shall their fire be quenched (saith Isaiah), nor yet their gnawing worm be taken from them.69 For all manner of griefs wherewith God vexed the wicked may this fire here be taken, after the scriptures—for as witnesseth Saint Augustine in his twentieth book and twelfth chapter De Civitate Dei, not only is this punishment to be referred to the latter judgement, but also to the extermination of antichrist’s host by the word of God the world over.70 Be the gospel once purely taught among men, it will condemn all that they have done upon their own presumption without the ground of God’s verity, be it ceremony or71 sacrament, priesthood or sacrifice, reserving the deceivers to his most fearful judgement.
 And I saw a great white seat  and him that sat on it,  from whose face fled away both the earth and heaven,  and their place72 was no more found.  And I saw the dead, both great and small,  stand before God.  And the books were opened.  And another book was opened,  which is the book of life.  And the dead were judged of those things  which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up her dead  which were in her.  And death  and hell delivered up the dead  which were in them,  and they were judged, every man according to his deeds.  And death  and hell were cast  into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life  was cast into the lake of fire.
Anon after this I beheld (saith Saint John) in secret mystery an imperial throne, or seat of estate, fair, splendent, and beautiful. None other is this than the judgement-seat of the Lord.
Great it is, for the majesty and power of him that shall sit thereupon is of inestimable magnificence and greatness, fair and white, both for the celestial clearness that shall at that hour appear with him, and also for the pureness, equity, and right of his universal judgements,
From the aspect of whose fearful countenance shall both the earth beneath and the other elements above flee away. All the creatures of his creation shall with reverence tremble and quake at his mighty appearance. The sun shall then be darkened, the moon shall not give her light. The stars shall fall down from above, the powers of heaven shall be moved. The elements shall melt with heat, and the whole earth shall tear in pieces like a rag.
A terrible fire shall go before the judge to burn up his enemies on every side. The places of them that lived here superstitiously and voluptuously shall no more after that be found. Never shall they resort again hither to their old wanton pleasures. Of their beautiful cities shall not one stone be left upon another. Their proud painted synagogues as dust in the wind shall be scattered away from the earth. Neither shall the sky nor yet the ground beneath be as it was, but both they shall be renewed and changed.73 They shall be delivered from corruption and so appear both a new heaven and a new earth, according to the expectation of the creatures.
Immediately after that (saith Saint John), the judge thus sitting upon the seat of his eternal majesty, I saw still in mystery after the blast of the trumpet that all they which were dead arose out of the earth—and that both high and low, great and small, good and bad, king and beggar, prelate and ploughman, tyrant and persecuted innocent—yea, the sucking babe that died in the cradle, so well as the aged man.
All they seemed unto me to stand before their general judge Jesus Christ, to whom the everlasting Father had given74 over his whole judgements, which there appeared as he was indeed: a very omnipotent God. All we shall appear (saith Paul) before the judgement-seat of Christ that every one of us may receive according to that he hath done, be it good or ill.75
And the books of reckonings (which are the several consciences of men) were open before the judge. That76 afore was hid will then be manifest, and that was secret will then come to light and be disclosed. Evident it will be unto him who hath fulfilled the commanded works of mercy and who hath left them undone, their own consciences bearing witness to the same—for what can be hid from him which seeth both the inward reins and the secret thoughts of the77 heart? In this general reckoning yet shall praise with the eternal reward redound78 unto them from that merciful Lord whose walking here hath been according unto faith. There shall they be reported to have been pitiful79 to the poor, hungry, thirsty, needy, naked, sick, and in prison.
After this was another book opened of a far diverse nature from the other books, for it was the sweet book of life wherein be80 registered all that were predestinate to be saved from the world’s beginning. And this book is the eternal predestination of God.
Before the world’s foundation (saith Saint Paul) the Lord predestinate us into the adoption of his children through Jesus Christ.81 Of this book made Moses mention when he said: Either pardon this people, or else rase82 me out of thy book which thou hast written. And Christ also to his seventy disciples: Be glad (saith he) that your names are written in heaven. Moreover Joshua called this the book of the righteous, and John here the book with seven clasps.83 This showeth the Holy Ghost here unto us, much after the custom daily used among us, for of the most notable men and women our manner is both long to remember the names, and also to speak of them as occasion giveth. So equal is this eternal judge that no personage respecteth he in judgement—neither of emperor nor pope, king nor bishop, lord nor priest. But as he is righteous of himself, so judgeth he righteously.
For they that were dead (saith Saint John), or that had led their lives here without faith and the spirit of Christ, were judged of him there according to the things which were registered in the books of their consciences—
That is to say, according to the filthy works whereof their desperate consciences accused them. Only are the wicked to be taken here for the dead, for the righteous shall then have nothing whereof their conscience may accuse them. Neither shall the evil-doers (as witnesseth David) be of counsel with them at that day. They having the life everlasting shall not then be judged, though they then appear, but shall sit with Christ in judgement and rejoice in the condemnation of the ungodly blasphemers. The reward of their unfaithfulness shall then be poured upon them, to their perpetual care. At that day shall none be absent, but all shall be seen, either to honour or else to reproof.
Neither shall the depth of the sea, nor the darkness of death, nor yet hell that is bottomless be able to hide any from the face of this judge—for the sea (saith Saint John) that is mighty and great shall at that day deliver up clean her dead, or those whom the Lord suffered her to swallow in for their outrageous sins.
Like as were the giants in the flood of Noah, the great host of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, and such other more,
So shall greedy death do also, which after many strange sorts hath consumed the enemies of God; as for an example: Cain by a chance unsought, Nadab and Abiu by fire,84 Achan by stoning,85 Holofernes and Saul by the sword, Nabal by excess of wine,86 Jezebel by treading of horses, Daniel’s accusers by the lions, Menelaus by breaking his neck,87 Judas by hanging himself, Herod by worms, the children of Israel by sword, fire, serpents, and sudden death, and such other like.
Hell, which is insatiable, shall in like case render up the innumerable swarm of the dead whom he with open mouth hath swallowed in quick for their abominations:
Of whose number were Chore, Dathan, and Abiron, with their affinity, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the uncircumcised giants, the rich juror and the rich glutton in Luke, Simon Magus, with diverse other. Hell hath gaped marvelously wide (saith Isaiah) and hath ravenously devoured the high-minded, sturdy, and disobedient nation.88 The uncircumcised giants (saith Ezekiel) with their weapons are gone down to hell, whose swords are laid under their heads, their wickedness upon their bones.89 Of the wicked only is all this spoken here, if ye mark well the text, and in no wise of the godly—what though many of them hath been drowned in the sea, burned, beheaded, and hanged upon the land, and buried quick in the earth?
For it followeth also that they were judged of the judge and received, everyone according to their deservings. According to the fleshly fruits of their own inventions shall they be rewarded, their unfaithfulness justly measured unto them. Their bodies shall then take part with their wretched souls in the everlasting curse of damnation, the elect number rewarded with perpetual felicity.
And as concerning death itself, which is the universal enemy of man, it shall be destroyed forever.
Hell also (which is here taken for sin) shall nevermore be seen among the creatures of God,
For both shall be thrown into the great lake of boiling fire and brimstone. The victory of death shall be swallowed up and his sting done clean away, which is sin. That is now corruptible shall put on uncorruption,90 and that is now mortal immortality. Thus shall the Lord at that hour make of all his enemies his footstool, according to his promise by Hosea the prophet: O death, I will be thy death. O hell, I will be thy destruction.91
This terrible appointment of the judge (saith Saint John) is the second death, or perpetual deprivation of the sight of God—yea, the utter fall from his favour, grace, and mercy. This death is the whole vengeance of all innocent blood which hath been shed upon earth from just Abel to the last faithful witness—yea, this sentence is that stone that shall grind the enemies to powder, the very eternal damnation both of body and soul.
Now for a conclusion of the whole matter: whatsoever he be—king or emperor, priest or prelate, lay or religious—that shall not be found written in the book of life, which is the eternal predestination of God, for that he hath worshipped the beast and his image, he shall be cast by the irrevocable sentence of the judge into the stinking lake of fire, perpetually there to burn with the Devil and his angels, so that he which hath had no part in the first resurrection shall be sure to taste of this second death, which is damnation.
He that believeth not the gospel when it is faithfully taught him, repenting his former life, but refuseth the grace thereof freely offered, shall forever be damned. Never shall his sin be remitted, neither in this world nor in the world to come, that resisteth the Holy Ghost, withstanding the open verity. Only remaineth a fearful expectation of judgement unto them that here treadeth Christ under foot, not regarding his blood-shedding, but doing injury to the spirit of grace for their own invention.
repeat] 1570; repente 1548, 1550(W); repent 1550.
The 1570 text repeats the above image (Satan sent to the bottomless pit) here in order to fill up blank space on a page.
impassible] 1570, Christmas; impossible 1548, 1550, 1550(W).
he = the angel.
Sylvester II, pope from 999–1003. Bale takes special note of this papal reign’s intersection with the end of the first millennium. Because of Sylvester’s promotion of Arab science and learning, he was often considered in league with the Devil (Bartolomeo reports that he received the honour of the papacy through the direct assistance of the Devil). Bale derived this idea from Wycliffe, and in this interpretation Bale may be departing from what he said earlier about the 7th age. See Introduction 15–17.
set him light = not take him seriously.
black monk = Dominican.
Clementine = the constitutions collected by Pope Clement V, forming the seventh book of the Decretals (OED n. 1a).
extravagant = the distinctive epithet of certain papal constitutions in Canon Law (OED a. 2).
John Carion (c. 1499–1537), the originator of the chronicle that continued to bear his name and influence Reformers. Carion’s original was enlarged by Melanchthon, Camerarius, and Peucer. Christmas supplies the appropriate quotation from a 1543 edition of this work in a footnote.
his] 1570; this 1548.
surplices] 1570 & 1550 (surplesses); surolesses 1548.
afore that = before.
evil] 1570, 1550; yll 1548.
Phocas and Heraclius were successive Byzantine emperors (602–10 and 610–41 respectively). Bale is focusing on this time period which, as he says, is around 400 years before the millennium. His associations of these two emperors with west and east must derive from Phocas’ strong support of the papacy (he declared that only the Bishop of Rome could carry the title ‘Universal Bishop’; see above, 293) and Heraclius’ frequent dealings with the Muslims (some Arab historians even suggest that Heraclius recognized Muhammad as a true prophet).
Angers] 1548 (Angoyne), 1570 (Angoy).
Eusebius Bruno, Bishop of Angers, was a student of Berengar of Tours (also archdeacon of Angers) and supported him for a time in his argument against transubstantiation.
Waleran, Bishop of Nuremberg; see above, 311.
pretend = to offer, present, or put forward for consideration, acceptance, action, etc. (OED v. 2a), and thus not pejorative here.
For Bale’s support of these sects as forerunners of the Reformation, see the footnote above (113).
did] 1570; neded 1548, 1550, 1550(W).
Valla wrote a work entitled Donation of Constantine, demonstrating that it was an 8th-century forgery.
John Wessel Gansvoort (s.v. ‘Wessel Gansvoort’ in Appendix 3).
number] 1548; om. 1570.
evil] 1550, 1570; yll 1548.
the] 1570; their 1548.
though] 1548; thoughte 1570.
sticked = killed by cutting the throat, esp. of a pig (OED ppl. a. 1 ).
his] 1548; this 1570.
a thousand] 1548; thousand 1570
a thousand without end = i.e., an eternal time.
Bale refers to the corresponding biblical text, ‘till the thousand years were finished’, emphasizing the importance of the word ‘till’.
Noah] 1550; Not 1548.
till] 1550, 1570; om. 1548.
mite = a small or insignificant amount (in proverbial phrases, esp. based on Biblical reference) (OED n. 2 1b). The reference here is to Mt 5.26.
In all of the 16th-century texts there is a mark that looks like ‘.i.’ in between ‘myte’ and ‘thou’; the manuscript probably read ‘i.e.’
ora pro nobis = ‘pray for us’.
up] 1570; vy 1548.
In the 1548 text this woodcut depicts John and the angel looking down on Jerusalem.
16] 1548; 26 1570.
to] 1570; om. 1548.
craftily] 1548; crafty 1570.
the] 1548; each 1570.
Saint] 1548; S. 1570.
This emphasis on the two-pronged nature of evil (visible and invisible) is characteristic of Bale, but this is not an entirely accurate reference to this passage in City of God. Augustine says that Gog and Magog mean ‘the roof’ and ‘from the roof’, and he interprets this etymology as a metaphor for the Devil and those wicked men who proceed from the Devil’s camp. However, this can be loosely associated with the seen and unseen enemies that Bale describes.
Berossus was a Babylonian writer from the 3rd century BCE who wrote in Greek.
Sabea is roughly equivalent to modern-day Yemen.
Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews is a history of the Jewish people written in Greek during the reign of Domitian (c. 93 CE).
Porphyry was a 3rd-century Neoplatonic philosopher who wrote a treatise Against the Christians.
Avenzoar was an older contemporary of Averroes (12th century) and also an Islamic scholar.
John Textor (more commonly known as John Ravisius) was a 15th–16th-century French humanist.
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian from the 12th century; Gratian Monachus (Gratian the monk) was a 12th-century Italian who was the father of the study of canon law, which he established as a new branch of learning distinct from theology; Peter Comestor was a French theologian from the same period who wrote an influential universal history. These three figures thus wrote the decisive texts in theology, law, and history in the 12th century. Bale is drawing upon the (unfounded) legend that said they were all biological brothers as well.
Early Muslim histories record that Sergius the Monk, also known as Bahira, met the young Muhammad and foretold his future based on propecies in the ‘unadulterated’ gospels. Theodore Bibliander includes a Nestorian Archdeaon of Antioch named Matthew as another heretic who taught Muhammad.
None of these six people is a recognizable historical figure.
Jocobites] 1548 (Jacobynes). The Jacobites were followers of Jacob Baradaues, the 6th-century bishop of Edessa. He defended the Monophysite heresy. This must be what Bale is thinking of, considering its presence in a list next to Nestorianism and Arianism.
Johannes Cuspinian (1473–1529) was an Austrian humanist and historian. This work is De Turcarum origine, religione et tyrannide.
cast 1548; bast 1570.
they] this edn; that 1548, 1550, etc. Christmas, recognizing the difficulty with the sentence, adds ‘they’ before ‘compass’, but the simpler solution is changing ‘that’ to ‘they’.
fiercely] 1550; ferchely 1548.
10] 1570; 18 1548.
hold = a place of refuge, shelter (OED n. 1 9).
pickthank = a person who curries favour with another, esp. by informing against someone else (OED n.).
hath] 1570; haue 1548.
hair] 1570; hayres 1548.
Ludovicus = Louis II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, 1516–26. He was killed in the Battle of Mohács while leading his forces against Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire.
rebellious] Christmas; rebelions 1548; rebellions 1570.
See Minton, ‘Civitas’ 241–2.
or] 1570; of 1548.
place] 1548; places 1570.
changed] 1570; caunged 1548.
given] 1570; geue 1548.
2 Cor 5.10.
That = That which.
the] 1570; thy 1548.
redound = to swell or surge up, to overflow (OED v. 1a, obsolete).
pitiful = full of pity for.
be] 1570; were 1548.
rase = erase.
See Ex 32.32, Lk 10.20, and Josh 10.13.
1 Sam 25.
Menelaus, the high priest of Jerusalem (171–61 BCE). He convinced Antiochus IV to Hellenize Jewish worship, which led to the Jewish rebellion. He was put to death by Antiochus V, though the method was to throw him off a tower into ashes (2 Macc 13.4–6).
on uncorruption] 1570; one corruptyon 1548; one corruption 1550; on corruption 1550(W); on incorrption Christmas.