For instance, the simple notion of most people is, that Christianity was very pure in its beginning, was very corrupt in the middle age, and is very pure in England now, though still corrupt everywhere else: that in the middle age, a tyrannical institution, called the Church, arose and swallowed up Christianity; and that that Church is alive still, and has not yet disgorged its prey, except, as aforesaid, in our own favoured country; but in the middle age, there was no Christianity anywhere at all, but all was dark and horrible, as bad as paganism, or rather much worse. No one knew anything about God, or whether there was a God or no, nor about Christ or His atonement; for the Blessed Virgin, and Saints, and the Pope, and images, were worshipped instead; and thus, so far from religion benefiting the generations of mankind who lived in that dreary time, it did them indefinitely more harm than good. Thus, the Homilies of the Church of England say, that "in the pit of damnable idolatry all the world, as it were, drowned, continued until our age" (that is, the Reformation), "by the space of above 800 years . . . so that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children, of whole Christendom (an horrible and most dreadful thing to think), have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man." Accordingly, it is usual to identify this period with that time of apostasy which is predicted in Scripture, the Pope being the man of sin, and the Church being the mother of abominations, mentioned in the Apocalypse. Thus Bishop Newton says, "In the same proportion as the power of the [Roman] empire decreased, the authority of the Church increased, the latter at the expense and ruin of the former; till at length the Pope grew up above all, and 'the wicked one' was fully manifested and 'revealed,' or the 'lawless one,' as he may be called; for the Pope is declared again and again not to be bound by any law of God or man." "The tyrannical power, thus described by Daniel and St. Paul, and afterwards by St. John, is, both by ancients and moderns, generally denominated Antichrist, and the name is proper and expressive enough, as it may signify both the enemy of Christ, and the vicar of Christ." "The mind of Europe was prostrated at the feet of a priest," says a dissenting writer. "The stoutest hearts quailed at his frown. Seated on the throne of blasphemy, he 'spake great words against the Most High,' and 'thought to change times and laws.' Many hated him, but all stood in awe of his power. Like Simon Magus he 'bewitched the people.' Like Nebuchadnezzar, 'whom he would he slew.'" I need not give you the trouble of listening to more of such language, which you may buy by the yard at the first publisher's shop you fall in with. Thus it is the Man paints the Lion. Go into the first Protestant church or chapel or public meeting which comes in your way, you will hear it from the pulpit or the platform. The Church (who can doubt it?) is a sorceress, intoxicating the nations with a goblet of blood.