BY APOSTOLOS MAKRAKIS
Delivered in Concord Square the City of Athens, Greece – August 6th, 1866
Evils can be wiped out when their cause is determined. In revealing to us the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the Angel of the Book of Revelation who ministers to the justice of God also revealed the cause of the evils which grieve us and all men. This cause is the cup of the great harlot that sits upon the seven heads of the arrogant dragon. For, by drinking of this cup the inhabitants of earth have become drunk to a devastating degree, and do not know either where they are being led or what they are doing. Today we must take up the subject of the pernicious potion of this cup and the misfortunes of those who drink of it in order that we may understand the Angel’s words as they are explained by the historical facts themselves. In this manner not only shall we escape the harm resulting from ignorance, but also shall we deliver from evil the others who are badly suffering because of ignorance.
It was the practice of the ancient Spartans – in order to teach moderation to their children – to make the Helots drunk and thus show their young the indecency and disgrace of drunkards. Now why should we not seek after a much more significant moderation by watching those who are inebriated from the cup of the harlot? And why should we not, without causing the evil, reap the benefit accruing from the observation of this evil? Let us, therefore, consider the potion of the cup, and then the misfortunes of those who drink of it.
The angel called the potion of the cup of the great harlot that sits as a queen upon the seven heads of the beast the “wine of fornication.” (Revelation 17:2). By this name he means a teaching containing the truth mixed with falsehood which corrupts men’s minds. It is obvious from the following that this is what the angel means. The word “fornication” means the unlawful sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Hence the irrational adulteration of the truth with falsehood is rightfully called “fornication.” And every soul believing falsehood commits fornication after the manner in which a woman who is fond of having intercourse with a strange man. For the lawful spouse of the soul is the truth, and it is the soul’s duty to believe the truth alone. The blend resulting from the admixture of the truth with falsehood is justly called “wine of fornication,” for it effects a madness in the mind much worse than that resulting from an excessive intake of wine.
Since we have learned the right meaning of the name “wine of fornication,” let us now come to the knowledge of the thing named, asking, what is the false teaching of the harlot with which she has intoxicated the inhabitants of the earth? The harlot teaches that Christ, the Son of the living God, came into the world and founded the One Holy Catholic Church for the sanctification and salvation of men willing to enter it. She also teaches that Christ placed in this Church His own impeccable and infallible vicar, the Pope of Rome, and that He obliged all men upon the penalty of eternal punishment to heed his voice and to subject themselves to him as though to God. That is the teaching of the harlot and that is the wine of fornication with which the inhabitants of the earth have become inebriated.
Now we must chemically analyze this admixture, and show what part of it is true, and what part is false. For just as there is a science called chemistry which analyzes physical bodies and explains their nature through the knowledge of their elements, so too there exists a science which analyzes things of the spirit or ideas and explains their nature. This science is called logic and is concerned with principles and inferences drawn from them, while seeking to prove the agreement or disagreement between statements. According to this science the following part of the admixture is found to be true: Christ, the Son of the living God, established upon earth the One Holy Catholic Church for the sanctification and salvation of persons who enter it.
The false part of the teaching is that Christ placed in the Church the Pope-king of Rome as His own and God’s impeccable and infallible vicar; and that Christ commanded all men upon the penalty of eternal punishment to heed the voice of the Popes, but to misunderstand the voice of the Holy Gospels and of the other Holy Scriptures through which the divine truth was preached and confirmed. This falsehood is nowhere supported by Holy Scripture; rather, it contradicts itself and that part of the Papal doctrine which is true, as I demonstrated at length in my book The Memoir on the Nature of the Church of Christ. This falsehood mixed with the truth produced the wine of fornication of which the inhabitants of earth drank.
All the nations of Western Europe believed that Christ is the Son of the living God, and that He established upon earth the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. At the same time, however, they believed that the Pope in the Church is another Christ, and that they all owe him blind faith and obedience. The people of Western Europe believed that the Pope holds the golden keys of Paradise and that these keys easily open the doors to him who offers the most silver to the Church. They believe that the Pope is impeccable and infallible, and that no one is deceived or mistaken in obeying him. This then is the potion of the cup or the “wine of fornication.” But let us now consider also the misfortunes of the people who drink of it.
The misfortunes resulting from spiritual intoxication are similar and analogous to those resulting from bodily drunkardness; and in order that we may understand the former, we must first briefly consider the latter. Imagine many people together drinking the same wine until they become intoxicated. Observe then their words and deeds, and you shall notice that neither do all say the same things, nor do all act in the same manner, but rather, diversely. After they quarrel and insult one another, they end up by wounding and killing one another, if they are not broken up by those who are sober. The history of Western Europe since the so-called Middle Ages to the present is nothing else but a sight of people drunk with the “wine of fornication,” saying and doing things similar and analogous to drunkards in bars. By having drunk the pernicious potion and by having destroyed the healthy mind, some to a greater, others to a lesser degree, they continue doing nothing else but insulting and disgracing one another, striking and murdering each other, and like drunkards not knowing where they are being led and what they are doing.
From the time when this great tragic comedy began to this day, it can be divided into four great acts or scenes. In the first scene, the Popes deem themselves worthy to reign over the kings of the earth, and they achieve this after many toils and struggles. In the second scene, the nations and political leaders supporting Luther stage a revolt and barely succeed in shaking off the Papal yoke through much sweat and bloodshed. In the third scene, the French nation, being led on by the sophists who deny Christ, revolt against the great harlot and her admirers, and raise upon the altar of worship the small harlot, the daughter of the great harlot. Now in the fourth scene which we have before our eyes, the Italians revolt seeking to devour the flesh of their mother, so that thereafter the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth may be consumed in fire and the words of he Angel may be fulfilled. All these scenes are created in succession by one and the same cause, the “wine of fornication.” Although the drama of intoxication has many variations, it has a wonderful unity which we must explain for the sake of prudence. Let us then begin with the first scene.
(l) The Interpretation of the First Scene
We will understand the first scene of the wine-drama by noting first that natural wine does not affect all people in the same way, but according to each man’s nature. One knows from personal observation that while some people who get drunk become haughty, others become insolent and offensive; some unceasingly jest in a ribald manner, while others rejoice singing and dancing; others again love to quarrel and lunge into fights and murders. It is a common characteristic of all drunkards that, while they think and act insensibly, they themselves believe that they are behaving quite properly. The wine of fornication influences every drinking man in the same manner cited above, and it too produces various kinds of foolishness. Let us then first focus upon what influence the potion has upon every man who becomes a Pope.
Once out of many men has been chosen to be the Pope, he must quite necessarily think of himself as the others do. That is, according to the prevailing dogma, he must consider himself as the impeccable and infallible Vicar of God, and the absolute lord over the gates of Paradise. This means that he who becomes Pope drinks the greatest dose of the “wine of fornication”; he becomes drunk; arrogant, and exalts himself above all other men. He says to himself: Who is like unto me? I am God’s Vicar! I am lord over either the perdition or the salvation of human souls! l am at the head of all men! Both nations and political leaders must bow before me! This explains the struggle between the Pope and the princes of Europe, as depicted in the first scene.
A man puffed up by such wine does not tolerate any superior, and condemns as unjust every person who disobeys or contradicts him in any way. The Popes, laying claim to all authority of divine rights, had to conflict with the emperors of Europe and to fight them with spiritual authority. The Popes rather fought the king; with the fire which they caused to descend from heaven before the sight of men and with worldly power such as armies and weapons. Having inflicted and having suffered many evils, they finally came out of the struggle as victors. This happened because most of the common people followed after the Popes and drank of the same wine. Since the kings were many in number and were envious of one another, they deemed it honorable to vindicate the rights of him who was held to be the “Holy Father,” while persecuting one another.
After the victory, however, the potion has a contrary effect upon the soul of the conqueror; and from the height of satanic arrogance it draws him down to the mire of carnal passions. When, in accordance with the law of nature, the lusts of the flesh are aroused, the potion whispers such things in the ears of the arrogant one: By whom shall you, the absolute lord over the gates of Paradise, be prevented from entering therein? Might a beautiful woman or a pure virgin be able to obstruct your entrance? Perish the thought! Such a belief puts an end to absolute right and all the glory you are enjoying! Forward, therefore! As you can see, the wine of spiritual fornication draws one into bodily fornication as well; and the sins of the flesh are results of the sins of the spirit.
But should a woman have a jealous husband who is a great obstacle to the fulfillment of another man’s desire, might the murder of such a husband serve to hinder the slayer’s entrance into Paradise? Not at all. For nothing can prevail against the absolute authority of the Popes; all other moral claims are set at naught before that of the Popes. Forward, then! As men having flesh and inhabiting the world; let us enjoy all food and every delight. And let no one speak to us of judgment, since we are absolute judges who are never judged. As Pope Leo X had said, “God has given us the Papacy. Let us enjoy it.”
There is need for money, however – not a little, but much of it. For without money no needs of the flesh can be met. Let our absolute right, say the Popes, become a source of abundant wealth. Let us forgive the sins of others for monetary grants so that we too may prosper on the basis of paying for our sins. Let us draw up a price list of sins not only already committed, but also, of sins which shall be committed in the future. By issuing an infinite number of indulgences, let us collect countless silver and gold pieces to take care of our innumerable needs. And let us show that we really are living in the earthly paradise so that the world may believe spiritual things by means of the visible realities we enjoy. Such are the things which the wine of the harlot whispers in the ears of the arrogant Pope; and history relates many such Papal deeds. Many Popes led debauched lives, but Alexander VI surpassed them all. It was he who festively celebrated the birth of his children with his concubine.
Let us now ask, what influence does the potion have upon those in the Pope’s court, the Cardinals and the Legates? The case is the same with them as it is with the Pope. The wine first exalts them as ministers of God’s vicar; then it topples them into the mire of wicked lusts and passions. As a simple proverb goes, the servants do as their master does. Since the first leader becomes intoxicated and acts like a drunkard, they who are co-leaders cannot but also become inebriated and behave in accordance with the effects of the potion.
These are the acts which keep the apocalyptic beast moving within the number ”six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:18), and never permit respite to the work of this number. The kings who drink of the pernicious potion are willing or unwillingly suffering from fear of the Pope rather than fear of God. For the potion convinces them that they are accountable and responsible to God’s vicar alone, and not to God. The kings who are ruled over by the Pope must neither fear God, nor be ashamed of people. Suffice it that they honor only their own judge and leader with many gifts and money, and carry out his decisions. For these deeds the kings receive forgiveness of all past and future sins, or rather, the right to sin and transgress moral law shamelessly and fearlessly.
The potion under consideration makes kings the slaves of one man and the tyrants over many men. It causes the same effect upon the princes around the kings and their hirelings. All these people delight in serving one man and in being served by many. They are all enjoying the banquet, becoming inebriated and dancing, some more, others less. The masses of the people have been made numb by the harlot’s wine and are insenate, just as it occurs to many who become drunk with natural wine. These are the drunkards who lie in the street without any sensation of what is going on around them. Surely you have often seen such people, and in the large cities of the West this is a frequent and common sight. Such inebriates are so insenate that they feel no bodily pain, nor do they experience anything if other drunkards dance or step upon them.
Once the masses of the people have become convinced that everything the Pope says is divine and praiseworthy, they put aside the capacity for judging and distinguishing right from wrong. They obey blindly all of the satanic teaching, and because of torpor and ignorance, they tolerate all the evil deeds of the banquet. By examining the various effects of the potion according to the different classes of men, we can understand the first scene of the wine-drama.
In the first scene, the masses of the people are seen lying down and insenate from intoxication. The harlot is seen stepping upon the people; sometimes she quarrels with her admirers; other times she feasts and dances with them, having become reconciled. This is why the Angel in the Book of Revelation shows the harlot sitting upon the many waters, i.e. upon peoples and nations, committing fornication with the kings of the earth, and giving the inhabitants of the earth to drink of the ”wine of fornication.” The Angel’s words are a true picture of the very facts which we reviewed. Now before proceeding to the interpretation of the second scene, let us philosophize a little on the nature of papism.
Papism, established and recognized in society, consists of a clerico-political aristocracy under the aegis of one Pope-king who holds in subjection and slavery the nations of deception and violence. While the Pope perpetrates acts of deception through the clergy, he performs acts of violence through political leaders. It is impossible in such a system for virtue to thrive and the arts and sciences to flourish. While all that is good is dead, only hypocrisy along with every wickedness develops. And he who is the weaker and the more simple one becomes the victim of him who is the more powerful and deceitful.
It is impossible for such an infernal, monstrous, and oppressive system to be put into practice and to last in one nation or one state alone. It is impossible, e.g. that a king and a Pope-king reign in one and the same city, and that the interests of the clerical aristocracy be reconciled with those of the political leaders, while all the clergymen are celibate. Papism cannot exist in society except according to the conditions under which it was conceived and survives to this day. That is, it is necessary that the Pope reign in his own city, that he have his own power, and that he rule both politically and religiously without anyone supervising and censuring him. It is also necessary that the kings and bishops of other nations, each of whom has his see in his own city, recognize the Pope as God’s Vicar and indisputable judge over all social matters.
In this manner the sovereign authority which is wielded by many persons not only does not conflict with the Papal power, but also has need of the latter in order to make judgments concerning differences arising among the various kings and to reconcile them. As the clerical aristocracy has its own power to exercise its own rights, it does not come into immediate conflict with the political aristocracy of the various nations paying homage to the Pope.
In accordance with this state of affairs under which alone is the existence of Papism possible, first, much wealth pours into the Vatican, the capital city of the Papal state, because of the piety of the people and the self-respect of the kings. Secondly, fornication and the disgraceful acts of the banquet are practiced uninhibitedly and unnoticedly, for in a city such as Rome where all are fed and are feasting upon the wealth coming in from without, no one, to say the least, is in opposition to the system and its results. What goes on in Rome is not easily perceived by people living far away. Thus the harlot remains a mystery to this day having control over the kings of the earth. But in this very arrangement of things in which are seen the causes for the preservation of the system, one also sees the reasons for its downfall.
Especially when the indisputable judge of kings reaches a verdict biasedly, having as a criterion his own interest, rather than what is just, it is impossible that he not make enemies those whom he judges. Then even they who are justified, seeing that the verdict was reached on the basis of either favoritism, or money, or their influence, naturally lose their respect for the judge, perceiving that they are being judged not by the infallible ”Vicar of God,” but rather, by a man deceived like the others by egoism and material interest. It follows, therefore, that with the passing of time the harlot shall be despised by her admirers, and shall be as scorned as she was previously honored. It follows that according to the Angel’s prophecy, the harlot shall be denuded and consumed in fire. Then as much as the riches which pour into Rome from without serve to help the harlot fulfill her desires, so much shall this wealth hasten the decay of her body and render her disgusting and abominable to her admirers. Rome has been destined to become so putrefied by debauchery and to throw off such a stench, that they who smell her shall depart tar from her, praying for her annihilation. It was in time that the Papal system found the causes of its inception and prosperity, and again in time shall it find the causes of its decline and annihilation. This law prevails over all wicked systems which disintegrate and are devastated for the very reasons that they were begotten and flourished. Only the system of justice and virtue prevails above the law of prosperity and decline, for it springs from God himself who is eternal.
This exposition of Papism explains why the Papists so intensely oppose the abdication of Rome, and why they say that “Catholicism” is jeopardized if Rome is made the capital city of the Italian state. Truly the abdication of Rome to the king of Italy utterly destroys the Papal system which in the West is badly confused with the Christian religion. Western philosophers have called this system a theocracy, thus giving a good name to a most evil thing. For in this system God neither governs nor rules; it is rather the “wine of fornication,” falsehood, confusion, and disorder that reign supreme there. This is why Holy Scripture calls this system “Babylon,” which means confusion. For they also became intoxicated from the same cup and, as a result, named the Papal system a “theocracy” because of their inebriation. We call this system one in which wine or the dragon reigns, for it is these that prevail in the Papal rule. The Western philosophers badly were unable to be accurate as to the name they gave to Papism. Let us now come to the interpretation of the second scene.
(2) The Interpretation of the Second Scene
The second scene is born of the first one, just as a daughter is born of her mother. We need bear in mind the mother in order that we may see her daughter. In the first scene we saw that, while the nations are lying down intoxicated by the inebriate potion, the harlot woman is dancing upon them with her admirers. Now imagine that one of those being stepped upon sobered up, and feeling the weight upon him, he becomes distressed and shouts out to be freed. Fearing the cry, they who are dancing strike him who cries out that he may be still. But he, being struck, shouts out all the more, and many rise to his cry against the harlot and her banquet. Appalled by the danger, she takes up arms against those shouting to her faithful admirers. Thus a great clamor is created and extensive killings are perpetrated by both sides until both, having become exhausted, stop their armed battle, but continue their verbal conflict without any fruitful outcome. Such in brief is the image of the second scene, begotten naturally by the first, and in every way corresponding to the facts of history.
Now history relates that Martin Luther delved deeply into Holy Scripture and consequently sobered up from the torpor of moral insensibility; he could not remain silent in the face of the sacrilegious deeds of the harlot. He saw in Germany the man who was dispatched by Pope Leo XII to sell the forgiveness of sins (indulgences) and to tell the people that by putting silver into the collection box one’s souls leaps out of Purgatory and enters Paradise. He cried out against such an anti-Christian practice and published a protest against the Papal abuses. His voice roused the people of Germany, and those around the Pope hastened to snuff out the evil at its inception by condemning and seeking to slay Luther.
Luther, however, was enjoying the protection of the Elector of Saxony. The more he was persecuted, the more he cried out. Thus Luther became the cause of the division of Europe into two irreconcilable factions, that of the Papists or Romanists, and that of the Protestants. Blind religious zeal became the cause of the most bloody wars which, instead of leading to reconciliation, rendered the restoration of peace all the more impossible. The verbal battle followed the armed struggle, and it was quite impossible for people speaking only for the purpose of blaming and condemning one another to come to an agreement and attain to peace.
Luther did not protest against all the teachings of the harlot, but rather, against the falsehood alone which she intermingled with the truth. The Protestants proved themselves unversed in the science of logic and thus incapable of precisely distinguishing error from the truth, along with error they also denied a part of the truth. And they created another “wine of fornication” which corrupts the mind no less than the first. The harlot teaches that Christ, the Son of the living God came into the world and established the Church in which He appointed the Pope-king of Rome and His own blameless and infallible Vicar. The Protestants teach that Christ came into the world, but that he did not establish a historical visible Church nor did He appoint His own vicar in it.
In the process of rejecting Papism, the Protestants rejected this essential truth of Christianity. They rejected the one visible Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of history against which the gates of hell shall riot prevail. By mingling the negative mendacity with the first truth, the Protestants treated themselves to a new “wine of fornication” proceeding surely out of the unclean cup of the harlot and having the same injurious effect upon men’s minds. Such then is the explanation of the second scene of the wine-drama. We have yet to interpret the third and the fourth scenes which we shall take up in tomorrow’s speech.