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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Fourth Seal.

|And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living being saying, Come! And I looked, and behold, a pale horse: and his name, who sat on him, was Death, and the pit followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with famine, and with pestilence, and with the wild beasts of the earth.| -- Rev.6:7, 8.

The Christian church alone being analogous to the civil power, it is within its pale that the fulfilment of this symbol is to be looked for. During this period, violence is substituted for famine; and men are compelled to apostatize, which results in spiritual death. The Papacy having the power to enforce her decrees, Christians had to embrace her faith, or be handed over to the secular power for punishment. They produced death by compelling men to apostatize, by withholding from them the word of life, by infusing into their minds pestiferous doctrines, and by the fear of the civil power, -- symbolized by the sword, famine, pestilence, and beasts of the earth.

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