« НазадПродовжити »
seen sitting on a white horse, to whom a crown is given, and who goes forth conquering and to conquer the King must be the Lord Jesus, not only because the object of the prophecy is to bear witness to Him, but because He is introduced in another part of it riding on a white horseland as His kingdom is double, the latter prediction foretelling the destruction of His obstinate enemies, the seal has its accomplishment in the propagation of the Gospel :—this interpretation is confirmed by the prophecies of the Old Testament, in which the symbols of a horseman, a crown, and a bow are found:—for in prophecies clearly Evangelical the Lord is represented as receiving a crown, riding forth as an Archer, King, and Conqueror, to propagate the Gospel, and as sending forth His missionaries, by bending Judah to Him and filling the bow with Ephraim :-corresponding to these symbolical representations, combined in the seal, we find that the propagation of the Gospel is ascribed to Him in the Sacred History—that the apostles and other missionaries were only instruments in His hands—and that the Christian religion, preached by a few fishermen, and opposed by all the powers of the world, spread everywhere with irresistible rapidity.
I See ante, page 6.
2 See ante, page 5.
THE REVELATION, CHAPTER XIX. 11, ETC.
The Earth-the Kings of the Earth—the Beast—his proper Kingdom—his Twofold
State-the Time of the Symbolical War, and when it begins.
The successful propagation of the Christian religion has been shown to be the subject of the first seal-great numbers, on the Gospel being preached, repenting of their sins, renouncing their superstitions, believing on the Lord Jesus, and becoming heirs of salvation. But, though many believed, a large majority of the inhabitants of the countries, which are the principal theatre of the Apocalyptic prophecies, either rejected or corrupted Christianity, and often persecuted, with savage ferocity, all who embraced and maintained the Gospel, as it had been preached and delivered by the apostles.
The cause of this hatred (besides man's natural enmity to the truth) of a religion so reasonable, pure, and holy, offering peace and salvation to every one who will receive it, and sustained and enforced by the clearest and most irrefragable evidence, is to be traced to the state of society which has prevailed amongst these nations since the publication of Christianity. For their opinions, their private, social, and public relations, their forms of religion, their laws and government, having sprung from and being thoroughly interwoven with, paganism, or a paganized Christianity, all classes in the community, the populace, the priest, the philosopher, the noble, and the magistrate, united instinctively against a religion which condemned their whole manner of life, and before which, wherever it prevails in its uncorrupted model, every false principle must fall; and, consequently, every system based on superstition and tyranny.
The destruction of these systems of heathen and christened paganism, is foretold in many prophecies, and is the subject of
the vision, chapter xix. 11, &c. But that this
be the more clearly seen it will be necessary to show-I. what the earth is; II. the kings of the earth; III. the beast;' IV. the time the symbolical war began, and its period.
I. The earth is the Roman empire; for the Roman empire is called in the Scriptures “ the earth” and “ the world;" and its provinces, bounded by the Rhine, the Danube, the Ocean, and the Euphrates (the boundaries fixed by Augustus Cæsarą) are called by the ancients " the world,” “ the habitable earth,” “ the earth,” the countries beyond these limits being with them " another world," or "habitable earth."
Plutarch3 calls the Roman empire, the empire of “ the world.” -" The triumvirs," says he,“ divided amongst them the empire of the world as if it had been their private property.”
Josephus* calls the provinces of the empire, bounded by the Rhine, the Danube, the Ocean, the Libyan desert, and the Euphrates, “ the habitable earth," and the outlying countries (as Britain, &c.) “ another habitable world.”
Virgil and Tacitus likewise consider the empire within these limits the world, and the countries beyond them“ another world,” which is totally separated from their earth. Virgils says, “ the Britains are wholly separated from the whole world;" and Tacitus6 calls the inhabitants of the empire, “the human race;" the emperor," the lord of the human race;" the empire, " the world;" and the countries beyond its boundaries (as Parthia)," another world."?
Lactantius calls the provinces of the empire, “the earth.”— “The whole earth,” says he, "from the east to the west, except the Gauls, was harrassed by these wild beasts."8 Now if additional evidence were necessary
the earth to be the dominions of Rome, the Revelation itself may be appealed to, wherein it is clearly declared to be the nations subject to Rome. St. John sees a woman sitting on a beast with seven heads and ten horns; this woman the angel tells
1 The explanation of the false prophet and image must be delayed to chapter xiii. 2 Tacit. An. b. i. c. 9.
3 Plut. in Ant.
Wars, b. ii. c. xvi. 4. 5 Eclogue, i. 67. Et penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos. 6 Hist. b. i. c. 30 ; iii. 68 ; iv. c. 3.
7 An. b. ii. c. 2, alio ex orbe. 8 " Universa terra,” xvi.
him “is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.")
The “great city” has three marks, which incontestibly establish her identity with Rome. 1. She sits or is built on seven hills. 2. She was under her sixth form of government in the days of the apostle. 3. She reigns over the kings of the earth.
1. She sits on a beast with seven heads and ten horns. A beast in prophecy is the symbol of a great kingdom or tyran
Thus, in Daniel, the “four great beasts," which up
from the sea, diverse one from another, are four kings," or " kingdoms."
The beast on which the woman sits, has seven heads: which, the prophet tells us, are a double symbol; every head representing two things, a hill and a form of government:—“They (the seven heads) are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth; and (they) are seven kings.3" Rome was built on seven hills; the Capitoline, the Palatine, the Quirinal, the Aventine, the Cælian, the Viminal, and the Æsquiline. Hence, “ septicollis,” or " the seven hilled," is the well-known designation of Rome.4
2. The seven heads are, or represent, “ seven kings,” or seven
1 Revelation, xvii. 3, 9, 10, 18; compare iii. 10. Acts, xix. 27. Godefroy Cod. Theo. (vol. v. tit. i, lib. ii. sec. ii.) says, “in the Gospel the whole world is rightly used for the Roman empire ;" for Marcus Antoninus, when sole emperor, called himself the “lord of the world." " The empire of Rome filled the world.”—Decline and Fall, vol. i. p. 100; 8 vols. 8vo. 2 Daniel, vii. 3, 17, 23.
3 Revelation, xvii. 2. 4 The Latin poets often make the “ seven hills" the characteristic of Rome, and even substitute the “ seven hills" for Rome :
“Diis, quibus septem placuere colles." —Horace.
The gods whom the seven hills have pleased. And
“Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma
Septemque una sibi muro circumdedit arces.”— Virgil. Modern writers also make the seven hills a characteristic of Rome. Satan in the “Paradise Regained,” book iv., tempts the Lord by showing him
“An imperial city. On seven small hills.
great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth.” And so Lord Byron“O, ye seven hills, awaken!"
forms of government, as well as seven hills. Tacitus: enumerates six of the seven-kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes with consular power, and emperors or princes. As the five first had fallen in the time of the Latin historian, the "great city"
“ was under her sixth head, or the imperial government. Now it would be impossible to name another great city which had experienced six successive changes in her constitution When St. John saw the Apocalypse, “that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" was under her sixth “ head," “ king," or form of government. For the “ seven heads” are, or represent, " seven kings” or forms of government; “five" (kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes with consular power) “ are fallen ;"2
one is, &c.,” which one is, therefore, the sixth or imperial form, the government subsisting in the time of Livy and Tacitus.
Thus we have in Rome the second Apocalyptic mark of “ that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth ;" viz., that, in the Apostle's time, the “great city" was under her sixth form of government.
3. “She reigns over the kings of the earth.” Many kings and nations were subject to Rome ;3 and Rome is the only city in the world that reigned in St. John's time, or has since reigned over the kings of the earth: and this, as all writers, ancient and modern, testify, is one of her distinctive characteristics. Horace calls her great and royal, or, regal Rome. Procopius, the lofty city, on the seven hills, that rules over the whole world. Ovid, Domina rerum, the mistress of the world; and Gibbon adopts, alternately, their language and that of the Revelation.
66 Thus far," says he, “the successful Germans had advanced along the
"Tacit. An. b. i. c. 1; compare Livy, b. vi. c. 1. In the prophecy the Roman empire is a beast, and the form of government a head. The Romans called the supreme magistrate, whatever might be the form of government, "caput,” a “head," the commonwealth itself, “corpus,” a “body.”—Livy, iii. 7; Tacit. An. i. 12, 13. Tiberius Cæsar called the supreme power (imperium) “bellua,” a wild beast." Sueton in Tib. Cæsar, xxiv.
2 “ Five are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come.” The seventh king will be explained at chapter xii. 3 Antiochus
inservientium regum ditissimus. Antiochus, the richest of the subject kings. Compare Tac. Hist. ii. c. 76, 81, 89; An. iv. 5.
4 In all ages Rome has been called the “capital of the world.” “Go,” says the reputed ghost of Romulus to the senator Procopius, " tell the Romans, it is the will of