« НазадПродовжити »
before the battle of the great day, healed; the sense of which healing we shall learn by and by, in chapter xvii; where this newly healed head is distinctly symbolized by a new beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit, and goeth into perdition. After this imperial head is healed, so great and terrible is the event, that we read, chap. xüi, 3, And all the world wondered
came emperor of his part of the western branch of the Roman empire. Galerius, who had succeeded Diocletian, was emperor of the other part of the western branch; who carried on perseculion against the Christians. Galerius was smitten with a Joathsome, tormenting, and incurable disease. After he had raged under its torments for a considerable time, he became conscious, that it was the hand of God upon him, for his cruelty 10 the Christians. He therefore put an end to his persecutions, by a public edict; and desired the Christians to pray for his res. toration to health. But his disease soon terminated his life. Maxentius had got himself declared emperor at Rome; and a large faction followed him. Constantine became friendly to the Christians; and determined to favor their cause. He marched against Maxentius; who met him with an army of 170,000 foot, and 18,000 horse. After a bloody battle, Maxentius was defeated; and Constantine became sole emperor of the west. In the eastern wing of the empire, Maximin, and Licinius were emperors. The former made war upon the latter; but was defeated with great slaughter of his numerous army. Upon this, Maximin put to death many of his Pagan priests and soothsayers, as impostors, for their false falteries. Soon after, as he was meditating another battle with Licinius, he was smitten with a violent disease of intolerable torments, became blind, and died raging in despair; confessing the just judgment of God upon him, for his spite and violence against Christ and his religion. Licinius was now the only emperor in the east, as was Constantine in the west. The former yet violentiy persecuted the Christians. A war broke out between Constantine and Licinius. Licinius was worsted, and forced to flee. But recovering, he gave Constantine another most furious battle. Licinius was again defeated; 100,000 men are reported to have been slain. Licinius was taken prisoner. And not long after, for an attempt against the life of Constantine, he was put to death.
Thus Constantine became emperor of the whole eastern and western empire. He soon after removed the seat of his empire from Rome to Byzantium; which he named Constantinople He new modelled the government of the empire; put the administration into the hands of four prætorian præfecis; abolished all the power of Paganism; und established the Christian Religion throughout the empire. And all the power of the persecutor's was totally destroyed.
after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon, which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? By worship here is not meant religious homage; but admiration, and perhaps subjection. The days of superstition are then chiefly over; and the days of Infidelity will be found to liave commenced. And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. This latter
This latter passage perplexed, and I believe misled, expositors. It has induced them to think, that a power is here intended, different from that, symbolized by the Beast in Dan. vii, 7; which has been noted, as representing the Roman empire. In short, it has induced them to believe this first Beast, in Rev. xiii, 1, to be the Papal hierarchy; because its chronology is supposed to agree with that of the latter; but not with Daniel's Roman Beast.
Bishop Newton upon the event says, "The great lighıs of the heathen world, the powers civil and ecclesiastical, were all eclipsed and obscured. The heathen emperors and Cesars were slain; the heathen priests and augurs were extirpated. The heathen officers and magistrates were removed. The heathen temples were demolished; and their revenues were appropriated 10 better uses."
Here we have the wounding to death of the sixth head of the old Pagan Roman Beast. He now ceased to be a Beast, in the language of prophecy; the empire became friendly to Christianity. Now was fulfilled the judgment of the sixth seal; Rev. vi, 12, to the end. And I beheid when he had opened the sixth seal; and lo, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fiy-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven deparied as a scroll, when it is rolled together; and every mountain ard island wire moved out of their places, And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich mer, and the chief capiains, and the mighiy men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens, and in the rocka of the mountains, and surd to the mountuins and rucks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him th it silleth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. for the great day of his wwuth is come; and who shall be able 10 $!and.
But their opinion on this subject I believe to be a mistake; and that this is the very Roman Beast, presented in Daniel, symbolizing the idolatrous empire, froin the time it captivated the Church of God, sometime before Christ, till its final destruction at the battle of the great day. The passage relative to his continuance forty and two months, forms no serious objection to this idea. It does not say, the whole term of his existence is forty and two months; as in the objection is taken for granted. But it relates only to the time of his end. When this terrible Beast is presented, as an event most interesting to the Church, the question naturally occurs, How long is this terrible adversary to continue? The correct reply is, The forty and two months; or to the end of that well known term of the residence of the Church in the wilderness. The
passage must be viewed as elliptical; not designed to inform relative to the origin of the Beast; nor the whole term of his continuance; but when the Church shall be released from his tyranny. This was the interesting point. And it should be at the end of the forty and two months.
A similar passage we find Rev. xii, 14; which to me confirms the sense of the passage here given. In the former part of this with chapter, after the man-child is caught up to the throne of God, and at the commencement of the war between Michael and the dragon, in the mystical heaven of the Roman Church, the true Church flies into the wilderness, there to remain 1260 years; the exact period given in Dan. vii, 25, for the giving of the saints into the hands of the little horn. After the war in heaven closes, and the dragon, upon the reformation under Luther, was cast out into the carth, he again persecutes the woman. Upon this she again flies into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished
for a time, and times, and an half time, (or 1260 years) from the face of the serpent. Now, can this mean that she was to continue in the wilderness from this time of her second fright, 1260 years? This cannot be. It would confourid all chronological calculations upon the subject. The 1260 years were the whole term of her continuance in the wilderness.
This term commenced many centuries before; at the commencement of Popery; at the time of her first flight; and it was now nearly expired. Yet she is represented as again flying into the wilderness for 1260 years. The sense must be, she flies back into the wilderness, to remain there the residue of her 1260 years; or to the end of that well known term.
So in the passage under consideration. The Ro. man Beast, with his head, which had once been wounded to death, now healed, was to continue forty and two months; i. e. to the end of that well known period. He drives the Church, in her second fight, into the wilderness, for 1260 years; i. e. for the short residue of this noted term; and his own continuance is represented as being for the same term; forty and two months; i. e. for the short residue of this noted term. Then the Church is to obtain relief; and he, with his false proph. et, the wretched remains of the Papal hierarchy, and his vassal kings, is to go into perdition.
To me it appears a very evident point, that this first Beast in Rev. xii, and the Beast in Dan, vii, 7, sym. bolizing the Roman empire, as distinct from the Papal horn, are one and the same. They have the same ori. gin. Both rise out of the sea; or the convulsed state of the world, before the time of the coming of Christ in the flesh; and both terminate at the same period. As the Beast in Daniel exhibits the Roman empire, from its rise, to its going into perdition; so we should surely expect to find something in the Revelation answer. ing to this symbol. Shall the Papal hierarchy be represented in the Revelation by a number of different Beasts; and the Roman empire, which in Daniel is symbolized by the Beast, that arose out of the sea, be represented exclusively by none? Such an idea cannot be admitted. As the empire and the hierarchy are, in Daniel, kept distinct, even to their end; so when we find in both the passages in Revelation, where the Beasts are noted, (chapters xiii and xvii) two distinct powers, why should we blend them? Why shall we not naturally conclude, that the one answers to the Beast in Daniel; and the other to his litile horn? We must so conclude. Every objection against it is capable of a fair solution. And the arguments in favor of it are invincible. *
The consideration of the remaining part of the account given of this first Beast, Revelation xiii, will be deferred, tiil I come to remark upon the Beast in-chapter xvii; which is the same with the healed head of the Beast just considered; or which is the Roman empire revived under its last head. For the characteristics in both are essentially the same.
A second Beast appears, in Rev. xiii, from the 11th verse to the end; symbolizing the Romish hierarchy; and answering to the little horn of the Roman Beast, Dan. vii, 8. Upon the wounding to death of the sixth, the imperial head of the Roman Beast by Constantine, and while this Beast lay dead, an intermediate Beast, after some couturies, rose out of the earth; or out of the earthly views of the Romish Christians. He had
Some may decm it an objection to the idea of this first Beast in Rev. xiii, being precisely the same with that of Daniel; that the rise of the civil Roman Beast was an event long past, when Jolin had his vision; whereas the vision of John purport. ed to be of things future. This objection has no weight. It fully accords with the usual imagery of prophetic writings, for the revealing Angels to present to John as a preparatory scene, the origin of the Beast then in existence; when his object was, to unfold the most interesting character and deeds of the same Beast, at a period then far future. Such a preparatory scene was necessary, in order to ascertain who this Beast was, whose future deeds were to be predicted; or to identify him with the Roman Beast in Daniel.
The Antichristian Beast, in Rev. xvii, rising out of the bottomless pit, in the last days, is presented with his seven heads, symbolizing so many forms of government in the Roman empire. Not because he is personally possessed of them, or that ibose different forms of government are then future. So far is the fact from this, that, five of them bad fallen, when John harl his vision, seventcen centuries before the Antichristian Beast rises into existence. Yet the whole seven are represented as possessed by this Beast, when he rises out of the bottomless pit in the last days; in order to ascertain, that this is not a fifth monarchy upon earth; but is mystically the old Roman Beast revived. In like manner, John beholds the rine of the Beast from the sea, whose far future deeds he was about to predicte though that rise was actually past, when he had the vision.