The Revelation of Jesus Christ by Anne Wentworth, an electronic edition. Edited with an introduction by Vickie Taft
- Section: Anno 1677. Revelation I. Sept. 6. A Cry to the City of London
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century
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Revelation I. Sept. 6.
A Cry to the City of London
Revelation I. Sept. 6.A Cry to the City of London
Prepare, to see that, which never was, nor never will be again; prepare, to meet the Lord. Have a care of despising, censuring and false speaking, for no Lyar shall enter into the Kingdom of God5 . Some are guilty of so much, that they cannot enter, except God give them repentance. Make Haste6 ! fly to the Ark7 ! outside-profession Fig-leaves will not serve8 . Look well to your selves; take no thought, nor be concerned for me, but let me alone. England had never such cause to weep! England is under a great woe! O England, the anger of the Lord is turned against thee! England is guilty of that, which hath wrought its doom! A most doleful stroke is a coming, and no way to escape it. Perillous times are at hand. Satan is upon his last legs. Proud Pharisees and Hypocrites cannot stand9 . Foolish Virgins will appear and be known; and the door will be shut against them10 . Hearken to this all you, that are in forms of Religion; for it is not form, but power, that will secure you from the wrath of God in the evil day.
5. In Revelation 21:8, liars are included among those who will be punished in Hell.
6. This is a common Biblical phrase. See, for example, Psalm 40:13 and Luke 19:5.
7. This is a reference to Noah's Ark. See Genesis 6, 7, and 8.
8. Wentworth alludes to Genesis 3:07 in which Adam and Eve try to hide their genitals and, thus, their sin with fig-leaves. Wentworth may be equating "outside-profession," that is, externally declaring one's faith in God without having an inner faith in Him, with trying to hide one's sin with fig-leaves; as God will still recognize Adam and Eve's transgression regardless of the presence of the fig-leaves, He will also recognize one's lack of true faith regardless of one's external profession of faith.
9. Throughout Matthew 23, Jesus says,"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" As the editors of the Dictionary of the Bible indicate, both the Pharisees and the Hypocrites were denounced as being outward followers of religious forms who lacked inner religious faith: "The Pharisees also drew the antagonism of Jesus and His disciples...they were branded as bigoted formalists, hair-splitting legalists, and crafty hypocrites, devoid of charity and spirituality" (761); "Thus all who play the part of religion, whether consciously or unconsciously, without being religious, are hypocrites" (409). Wentworth, then, uses the terms "Pharisees" and "hypocrites" as metaphors for Englishmen and Englishwomen who lack faith even as they practice religion. Thus, this metaphor introduces the theme of the final statement of "Revelation I" that "it is not form, but power, that will secure you from the wrath of God in the evil day." See James Hastings, ed., Dictionary of the Bible (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963) 409 & 761.
10. The story of the wise and foolish virgins appears in Matthew 25. The wise virgins take oil with which to fill their lamps when they wait to "wed" Christ and the foolish virgins do not. When Christ calls out to the virgins at midnight to come to Him, the foolish virgins have to go buy oil for their lamps whereas the wise virgins may proceed directly to the marriage feast. To the foolish virgins who arrive late, Christ says, "I do not know you" and He shuts the doors of the feast against them (Matthew 25:12). Wentworth, then, uses the story of wise and foolish virgins to underscore the importance of preparing for the Apocalypse. A similar allusion to the story of the wise and foolish virgins occurs in Wentworth's A true Account: "[do not] deceive your own selves by thinking either moral honesty, or formality, or any thing of our own righteousness, or going as far as the five foolish Virgins, just to Heavens Gate, and yet could not enter into eternal bliss" (14, B4 verso). The prophet Lady Eleanor Douglas also employs an allusion to this Biblical story to emphasize the importance of preparing for God's coming when she tells the people of England to keep "oyl in their lamps, or watchful." See Lady Eleanor Douglas, Apocalyps, Chapter 11 (n.p., 164?) 8, A4.verso.