(Note: The following are excerpted from the 1825 book, “The Two Babylons”, by Reverand Alexander Hislop.)
It has been known all along that Popery was baptized Paganism; but God is now making it manifest, that the Paganism which Rome has baptized is, in all its essential elements, the very Paganism which prevailed in the ancient literal Babylon; that the essential character of her system, the grand objects of her worship, her festivals, her doctrine and discipline, her rites and ceremonies, her priesthood and their orders, have all been derived from ancient Babylon; and, finally, that the Pope himself is truly and properly the lineal representative of Belshazzar.
The language applied to the New Testament Babylon (i.e., Roman Catholic Church), as the reader cannot fail to see, naturally leads us back to the Babylon of the ancient world. As the Apocalyptic woman has in her hand A CUP, wherewith she intoxicates the nations, so was it with the Babylon of old.
“Babylon hath been a GOLDEN CUP in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad,n (Jer. li 7.)”
Now, if it be inquired what was the object and design of these ancient ” Mysteries,” it will be found that there was a wonderful analogy between them and that “Mystery of iniquity” which is embodied in the Church of Rome. Their primary object was to introduce privately, by little and little, under the seal of secrecy and the sanction of an oath, what it wonld not have been safe all at once and openly to propound.
The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis, who lived only a few centuries after the flood, the wife/consort of Nimus (Nimrod), and who is known to have impressed upon them the image of her own depraved and polluted mind.* That beautiful but abandoned queen of Babylon was not only herself a paragon of unbridled lust and licentiousness, but in the Mysteries which she had a chief hand in forming, she was worshipped as Rhea, the great “MOTHER” of the gods, with such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the MOTHER of all impurity, and raised the very city where she had reigned to a bad eminence among the nations, as the grand seat at once of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. Thus was this Chaldean queen a fit and remarkable prototype of the “Woman” in the Apocalypse, with the golden cup in her hand, and the name on her forehead, ” Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.”
In 1825, on the occasion of the Jubilee, Pope Leo Xll struck a medal, bearing on the one side his own image, and on the other, that of the Church of Rome symbolized as a “Woman,” holding in her left hand a cross, and in her right a CUP, with the legend around her, “Sedet lUper universum,” “The whole world is her seat.”
Now the period when Semiramis lived, (a period when the patriarchal faith was still fresh in the minds of men, when Shem was still alive), to rouse the minds of the faithful to rally around the banner for the truth and cause of God, made it hazardous, all at once and publicly, to set up such a system as was inaugurated by the Babylonian queen. It was a matter, therefore, of necessity, if idolatry were to be brought in, and especially such foul idolatry as the Babylonian system contained in its bosom, that it should be done stealthily and in secret.
The objective was to bind all mankind in blind and absolute submission to a hierarchy entirely dependent on the sovereigns of Babylon.
In the carrying out of this scheme, all knowledge, sacred and profane, came to be monopolized by the priesthood, who dealt it out to those who were initiated in the “Mysteries” exactly as they saw fit, according as the interests of the grand system of spiritual despotism they had to administer might seem to require.
Thus the people, wherever the Babylonian system spread, were bound neck and heel to the priests. The priests were the only depositaries of religious knowledge; they only had the true tradition, by which the rites and symbols of the public religion could be interpreted; and without blind and implicit submission to them, what was necessary for salvation could not be known.
Now, compare this to the time of the origins of the Catholic Church. It began in the very age of the apostles, when the primitive Church was in its flower, when the glorious fruits of Pentecost were everywhere to be seen, when martyrs were sealing their testimony for the truth with their blood. Even then, when the gospel shone so brightly, the Spirit of God bore this clear and distinct testimony by Paul: “THE MYSTERY OF’ INIQUITY DOTH ALREADY WORK,” (2 Thess ii 7.)
It came in secretly and by stealth, with “all DECEIVABLENESS of unrighteousness.” It wrought ” mysteriously ” under fair but false pretences, leading men away from the simplicity of the truth as it is in Jesus. And it did so secretly, for the very same reason that idolatry was secretly introduced in the ancient Mysteries of Babylon; it was not safe, it was not prudent to do otherwise.
Little by little, one corruption being introduced after another, as apostacy proceeded, and the backsliding Church became prepared to tolerate it, till it has reached the gigantic height we now see, when in almost every particular the system of the Papacy is the very opposite of the system of the primitive Church.
Further evidence of it’s “Mystery” rites are it’s priests: When it had once succeeded in dimming the light of the gospel, obscuring the fulness and freeness of the grace of God, and drawing away the souls of men from direct and immediate dealings with the One Grand Prophet and High Priest of our profession, a mysterious power was attributed to the clergy, which gave them ” dominion over the faith ” of the people-a dominion directly disclaimed by apostolic men:
(2 Cor. i 24- “Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand”)
But which, in connection with the confessional, has become at least as absolute and complete as was ever possessed by Babylonian priest over those initiated in the ancient Mysteries.
The confession required of the votaries of Rome (Catholic church) is entirely different from the confession prescribed in the Word of God. The dictate of Scripture in regard to confession is, “Confess your faults one to another,” (James v. 16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”.), which implies that the priest should confess to the people, as well as the people to the priest, if either should sin against the other.
But, like the Babylonian system, secret confession to the priest, according to a prescribed form, was required of all who were admitted to the ” Mysteries;” and till such confession had been made, no complete initiation could take place.
Who can fail to see that this was nothing more than a pretence; that the grand object in requiring the candidates for initiation to make confesson to the priest of all their secret faults and shortcomings and sins, was just to put them entirely in the power of those to whom the inmost feelings of their souls and their most important secrets were confided.
Without such confession, in the Church of Rome, there can be no admission to the Sacraments, any more than in the days of Paganism there could be admission without confession to the benefit of the Mysteries.
Now, this confession is made by every individual, in SECRESY AND IN SOLITUDE, to the priest sitting in the name and clothed with the authority of God (according to the Catholic Church), invested with the power to examine the conscience, to judge the life, to absolve or condemn according to his mere arbitrary will and pleasure.
This is the grand pivot on which the whole ” Mystery of iniquity,” as embodied in the Papacy, is made to turn; and wherever it is submitted to, admirably does it serve the design of binding men in abject subjection to the priesthood.
As the Chaldean priests were believed alone to possess the key to the understanding of the Mythology of Babylon, a key handed down to them from primeval antiquity (i.e., thru Nimrod back to the time of the Flood when man had completely rebelled against God), so the priests of Rome set up to be the sole interpreters of Scripture; they only had the true tradition, transmitted from age to age, without which it was impossible to arrive at its true meaning.
They, therefore, required implicit faith in their dogmas; all men were bound to believe as the Church believed, while the Church in this way could shape its faith as it pleased.
In every respect, then, we see how justly Rome bears on its forehead the name, “Mystery, Babylon the great.”