Verse 24. "In her was found the blood of prophets, &c." - She was the persecutor and murderer of prophets and of righteous men.
"And of all that were slain upon the earth." - This refers to her counsels and influence, exciting other nations and people to persecute and destroy the real followers of God. There is no city to which all these things are yet applicable, therefore we may presume that the prophecy remains yet to be fulfilled.
Bishop Bale, who applies this, as before, to the Romish Church, has, on ver. 22, given some information to the curious antiquary.
"But be certaine," says he, "and sure, thou myserable Church, that thou shalt no longer enjoy the commodious pleasures of a free cittye. - The merry noyes of them that play upon harpes, lutes, and fidels; the sweet voice of musicians that sing with virginals, vials, and chimes; the armony of them that pipe in recorders, flutes, and drums; and the shirle showt of trumpets, waits, and shawmes, shall no more be heard in thee to the delight of men. Neyther shall the sweet organs containing the melodious noyse of all maner of instruments and byrdes be plaied upon, nor the great belles be rong after that, nor yet the fresh discant, prick-song, counter-point, and faburden be called for in thee, which art the very sinagog of Sathan. Thy lascivious armonye, and delectable musique, much provoking the weake hartes of men to meddle in thy abhominable whordom, by the wantonnes of idolatry in that kinde, shall perish with thee for ever. No cunning artificer, carver, paynter, nor gilder, embroderer, goldsmith, nor silk- worker; with such other like of what occupacion soever they be, or have bene to thy commodity, shall never more be found so agayne.
"Copes, cruettes, candelstickes, miters, crosses, sensers, crismatoris, corporasses, and chalices, which for thy whorishe holines might not somtime be touched, will than for thy sake be abhorred of all men. Never more shall be builded for marchants of thi livery and mark, palaces, temples, abbeys, collages, covents, chauntries, fair houses, and horcherds of plesure. The clapping noise of neyther wyndmil, horsemil, nor watermil, shal any more be heard to the gluttenous feeding of thy puffed up porklings, for the maintenaunce of thine idle observacions and ceremonies. For thy mitred marchaunts were sumtimes princes of the earth, whan they reigned in their roialty. Thy shorn shavelinges were lordes over the multitude whan they held their priestly authority over the soules and bodies of men. Yea, and with thy privy legerdemain, with thy juggling castes, with thy craftes and inchauntmentes of thy subtile charmes, were all nacions of the world deceyved." This is very plain language, and thus on all hands a monstrous system of superstition and idolatry was attacked by our Reformers; and with these unfurbished weapons, directed by the Spirit of the living God, popery was driven from the throne, from the bench, from the universities, and from the churches of this favoured kingdom. And by a proper application of Scripture, and by the universal diffusion of the word of God, it may be soon driven from the face of the universe. And when the inventions of men are separated from that Church, and it becomes truly regenerated, (and of this it is highly capable, as, among its monstrous errors and absurdities, it contains all the essential truths of God,) it will become a praise and a glory in the earth. Protestants wish not its destruction, but its reformation.
Some there may be, who, in their zeal for truth, would pull the whole edifice to pieces; but this is not God's method: he destroys what is evil, and saves what is good. It is reformation, not annihilation, that this Church needs.