The Revelation of Jesus Christ by Anne Wentworth, an electronic edition. Edited with an introduction by Vickie Taft
- Section: Revelation VII. March 29.
collection: Early Modern through the 18th Century
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Revelation VII. March 29.
To my loving Friends.
Keep waking and watching, upon your Guard now stand,
Girt about with Truth, and Sword of the Spirit44 in your hand.
Make ready to hear the shriks and doleful cries
Of those, that act in their cruelty and lies.
Expect to hear a great and mighty shout,
For with Enemies you are beset about.
Awake, and now arise, and sleep no more,
Lest ye all die with the painted Strumpet and great Whore.
All now prepare, and stand upon your Watch,
Lest grim Death and Hell do you now catch.
Look to see a most terrible black dismal day,
That will sweep the lives of thousands away:
And when your Bodies are dead, and all gone,
For to help you then, there will be none.
And this dreadful time is come so very near,
That will make the dead to rise, and deaf to hear45 .
You warning had, but no warning would ye take,
But hate the Messenger, for the Message sake.
Ye would not hear the words of God, but hate me,
And how justly God will return, you will see.
For the words of God you did slight and scorn,
So he aloud will sound his Trumpet and his Horn46 .
Because you did disdain his Word and slight him,
He now with great Thunderbolts47 will come:
For when the Lord of Life sends in love to warn you,
Ye slight his Word, because his Voice ye never knew.
So rise up in Arms, and you will fight with him,
And he now comes to fight with you all again48 .
For his Message was in faithfulness, and most true,
That all, that did refuse to hear, they now will rue
That ever they were so barbarous, and so hardly did use
His Messenger, like Turks and Heathens did ye me abuse.
No mercy from your Formal Professors49 could I find,
But all your Acts were only cruel and unkind:
I will as soon, put trust in Heathens, or in the Turk,
As in Formal Professors to own me in the Lords work;
As much mercy from them may I expect then,
As from the Formal-professing Englishmen.
But their little Christianity from Age to Age will be heard,
And the God of Heaven will not them regard:
He will say unto them, All you I do not know50 ,
That no mercy unto my little one would show:
But into the Judgment-seat51 , ye all would climb;
But I the Lord will pull you down betime,
And lay you low as the Earth, and as small as the dust;
Men shall not rule o're my Children, but I must,
Who am their Captain, their Lord, and King,
My Name is Jesus, and I will do this thing.
And I will send Vapour and Smoak, Sword, Fire and Blood52 ,
But Love and Peace I hold forth to all that are good.
All humble Christians, that love God above all,
Lie at the Throne of Grace53 , and upon him for mercy call
For the Hypocrites in Zion, they all will mourn,
Being proud, high, lofty, and full of scorn.
A midnight cry54 you all will come to hear,
That will you fright, and put you in great fear.
But be still and look up into God above,
For his Name is written All Mercy and Love
Unto his chosen Elect, and most precious Seed55 ,
For to help them in their greatest time of need.
What means these people? will they never be content?
Unless I turn my back on God, and to them repent?
Who are as dead as Stocks56 , and harder than Stones57 ;
But it is thou, O my God, that hearest all my groans,
And seest, no flesh and blood such a thing could bear,
That would rent a Stone, if it could but hear.
Quickly arise, O Lord! and speak aloud for me,
Behold all my Adversaries that are before thee.
44. Ephesians 6:10, 17,18,19: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil...And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." It is not surprising that Wentworth alludes to a passage in which the prophet Paul reminds the Ephesians to heed the Word of God and asks them to pray for Paul's ability to deliver that Word to them. Wentworth thus implies that she, like Paul, is a conduit for the true word of God and that people should pray for her prophetic capabilities and heed her prophecies as well.
45. Matthew 11:4-5: "Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor shall have the gospel preached to them." See also Luke 7:22: "Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached." Wentworth reappropriates the phraseology of Christ's miracles to emphasize His dreadful power rather than to emphasize His mercy.
46. God gives the seven angels in Revelations seven trumpets to blow before releasing the woes upon Babylon (Revelation 8, 9). When the sixth angel blows the trumpet in Revelation 8:13, a "voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God" orders that angel to release the four angels who will slay one-third of mankind.
47. Throughout Revelation, thunder accompanies the apocalyptic actions of God. According to the editors of the Dictionary of the Bible, thunder "is the expression of His resistless power...and of His inexorable vengeance" throughout the Bible. See Hastings, ed., The Dictionary of the Bible, 999.
48. In Revelation 9:14-19, God sends four angels to slay one-third of mankind.
49. According to Nigel Smith, when certain seventeenth-century sectarians denigrated formalists, they not only criticized "anyone who stressed external ritual and sacraments," but also "anyone who ignores the indwelling 'divine majesty' for the sake of biblical literalism." See Nigel Smith, Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) 326. In A true Account, Wentworth says that, before God "healed" her and converted her to a true faith in him, she was once a "formal professor": "...for I can speak by sad experience, for 20 years being a dark, blind, formal professor, what a dry, barren soul had" (14, B4 verso). Thus, Wentworth seems to define Formalists according to the second half of the dual definition Smith explains, that is, as those who behave according to the letter, not the spirit, of God's word. In other words, Wentworth's "formal professors" are those who say they have faith in God and who seemingly adhere to Christian doctrine and ritual, but who lack a feeling of divine grace within.
50. This may be a reference to Matthew 7:23, "And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity," to Matthew 25:41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," or to Luke 13:27, "But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity." Wentworth again emphasizes the fact that many people only practice the outward forms of religion without follow ing the laws of God, and that these people will be damned.
51. The "judgment seat" is a common Biblical metaphor for both Christ's and secular leaders' power to judge. See, e.g., Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 respectively.
52. In Acts 2:17-19, Peter reminds the men of Judea of Joel's prophecy: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy...and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: and I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke." Wentworth's allusion to the last part of this passage indicates that she probably has the first part in mind as well; this implies that she considers her own prophesying, as one of God's "daughters" or "handmaidens," to be an apocalyptic sign just like the blood, fire, vapor, and smoke will be.
53. Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
54. The ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 hear a "midnight cry" announcing the arrival of the bridegroom. The cry does not instil fear in them, though. Wentworth implies that the next time this cry is heard, it will announce the Apocalypse and will, indeed, terrify the faithless.
55. Psalms 126:5-6: "They that sow in tears / shall reap in joy. They that goeth forth and weepeth, / bearing precious seed, / shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, / bringing his sheaves with him." Wentworth, then, uses the phrase "precious seed" as an epithet for the "Elect" whereas in Psalm 126 the phrase refers to the metaphorical seeds that the Elect sow. Nevertheless, Wentworth's allusion to this Psalm emphasizes the theme that she is God's chosen one who sows the "precious seed" of His Word among the people and, though she suffers for her activities now, He will shortly save her from her current persecution.
56. According to the OED, "stocks" had the same definition as "stalks" in the seventeenth-century. Wentworth refers here to the lifeless portion, or stalks, of plants.
57. In Zechariah 7:11-12, the Lord says that the people of Jerusalem hardened their hearts and refused to listen to the words He sent them through the prophets, which aroused His great anger: "Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts." It seems probable that Wentworth alludes to this Biblical passage in this sentence, and thus suggests that the people of England have hardened their hearts not only to her prophetic words but to her persecution, and will, subsequently, suffer God's wrath.