« НазадПродовжити »
princes and heroes of Pagan Rome, but from those of the Apostles and of other eminent Christians. But the nature of the idolatry was essentially the same; as it was employed in constituting those deceased Chris. tians mediators in heaven; and venerating their statues and images; together with establishing many arbitrary rites and doctrines of human invention. This new. fangled system of idolatry, under the Christian name, and supported under pretence of obedience to Christ, and of his authority, is represented as an image made to the first beast, or Pagan Rome, and directed by the Papal beast. The latter gave life to this image, and procured obedience to it, by false miracles, decrees, bulls, and canon-laws. The Papal beast is represent. ed as having power to make this image speak; and to cause, that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed. This he verified. by excommunicating, and delivering over to the civil sword all, who would not comply with every order of his superstition. The civil powers throughout his dominions, the German empire especially, the Papal beast came, in a course of time, to manage, chiefly by his sanctimonious influence, as a puppet in his own hands, to enforce bis laws and dogmas.* And thus he reigned over the kings of the earth; and caused the Roman earth to worship the first beast, or Pagan Rome, by worshipping his image in the hands of the Papal hierarchy.t
Several passages occur in the description of this second beast, which relate to the first beast, and need explanation. Verses 12 and 14; whose deadly wound was healed, -and which had the wound by the sword, and did live. These passages cannot mean, that the Roman beast then, in-the time of the Papal beast, was actually alive; that his deadly wound was then actually healed. They are simple references to the description given of the first beast, in the former part of the chap
* Rob. IIist. Charles V. vol. iii, p. 185. + As to the number of this beast, and of his name, see in see. tion i, chapter ii, of this Dissertation,
There we have a description of the beast
, symbolizing the civil Roman empire, from its origin, to the battle of the great day. And, among other de
. scriptions, this beast is represented as having a deadly wounded head healed; or as having a wound by a sword, yet afterwards living. And this trait of his character is referred to, in the above verses, in the course of the description of the second beast. But this reference was not designed to indicate, that this healing of the wounded head was then already effected; nor to indicate any thing relative to the time, when the Roman beast was to recover life. The fact, I believe, will appear to be, that this recovery of life was then far future; and that the Roman beast lived, through all the ages of the prosperity of the Papal beast, only by his image in the management of that officious Pontificate. But that he himself, all that time, lay dead. The idea of two beasts, prevailing at the same time, and on the same ground, for 1260 years, or existing at all collaterally, is a solecism, an absurdity never to be admitted. Each one of two things cannot be the greatest., A beast may have a number of collateral-horns. But he cannot admit another beast on the same ground, and both continue. There cannot be in any body at the same time, more than one supreme power. Symbolical language cannot admit of two beasts in Christendom at the same period. When the last head of the Roman beast arises, and takes Popery into its possession, the latter then ceases to be, or to be called a beast. It is thenceforward called the false prophet;* the mother of harlots;t and the horn of the beast. But it is never after this called a beast.
* Rev. xix, 20, and xvi, 13. + Rev. xvii, 5.
I Dan. vii, 11. & I am aware it may here be objected to my proposition, that we read in Dan, vii, 12; As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were pro. longed for a season and time: as though they all existed, as beasts, at one and the same time. But this can not be the mean. ing of the prophet. When the real sense of the passage
is certained, I think it will afford no objection to my proposition,
The only remaining passage, which seems to militate against the explanations given, is in verse 14th, on the subject of the Papal beast; And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of those miracles, which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. Here it seems to be suggested, that the Papal beast wrought miracles in the sight of the Pagan beast; as though the latter were already revived. But if he were already
that two beasts cannot exist on the same ground, at the same time. The passage, it seems, was designed to note the contrast between the manner in which the Antichristian beast shall be destroyed, and the manner in which ihe preceding ancient beasts were over. thrown. The former loses not only his dominion, as a beast, but his existence on earth, at the time of his overthrow; being not subjugated by a human conqueror, as were the others; but utterly destroyed by the Lord from heaven, in the battle of that great day of God Almighty; when not only the beast is slain, but his body is destroyed, and given to the burning flame; as in the preceding verse. But so it was not, with the former, and ancient beasts, when they lost their dominant power. How many soever of their soldiers were in fact slain in battle, nothing took place, which was like the bodies of those beasts (the mul. titudes, who had constituted then) being destroyed, and given to the burning flame; as is to be the case with Antichrist. The powers symbolized by those beasts, instead of being utterly de. stroyed, were only subjected, each in his turn, to the dominion of the succeeding power; and there received tolerable treatment as subjects. And to express this difference of treatment, in the immediate view of the body of the Antichristian beast, being destroyed, and given to the burning flame, at the same time, in which the beast is slain, as in the preceding verse; it is said, of the rest of the beasts, that they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. This el. liptical mode of expression was most naturally adopted, instead of expressing the whole evident sense, as follows: Concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet the multitude who had constituted their body, instead of being destroyed and given to the burning flame, as shall be the case with Antichrist, were chiefly spared, and received tulerable treatment under their new masters. But the prophet could not mean to teach us, that all these beasts had existed, as beasts, at ope and the same time! Nothing could be more unnatural, or untrue. When the Macedonian he-goat, for instance, stamped apon, and slew the Persian ram, this ram is never represented to be in ex. istence, as a beast, afterwards; although the people of Persia still existed for a season and time; and to the present day.
revived, what need of an image being made to him? And it has been mentioned, that two beasts cannot exist on the same ground, at the same time. It cannot mean then, that the Pugan beast was already revived. The clause, in the sight of the beast, must therefore mean, either in the sight of the image of the beast, putting, by a metonymy, the prototype for the copy; or, in admiration, or imitation of the Pagan beast; i. e. that the Papal hierarch wrought his deceptive miracles with a view to confirm a system no better than the old Pagan system. This he actually did, in what was called the image of the beast, before described. And what follows the above clause, as an explanation of it, appears to confirin this as being the true sense; Saying to them, who dwell on the earth, that they should make an imäge to the beast. Mistaking the sense of these several passages, and the one before explained, relative to the continuance of the first beast forty and two months, I conceive, has been the occasion of perplexing commentators, and of leading them erroneously to blend and confound the Roman and Papal beasts. I have shown that the two powers in Daniel are given as distinct; also in Revelation xii, just noted. And they are thus presented, in Revelation xvii; to which I shall now attend. In this passage, the terrible Power of the last days is strikingly exhibited.
One of the Angels, who in the 16th chapter had poured out the vials of the wrath of God, proposes to show to the evangelist the judgment, or destruction, of the Papal harlot. John is carried into the wilderness. The harlot in her turn is in trouble. She is bewildered. John beholds a woman in lewd attire, with the superscription of her abominable character upon her forehead; indicating; that she; as the worst of criminals, is presented for speedy execution. Bishop Pearson and Doctor Lardner, upon the superscription over the head of our Savior, have shown, that it was a custom among the ancient Romans to place on, or over, the foreheads of the worst of criminals, the superscription of their guilt, at the time of their execution. The superscription upon the cross of our Savior was upon the same principle. The great harlot is presented with this her superscription upon her forehead, inscribed in capitals; MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And she has also upon her the symbols of her past magnifi. cence, and of her allurements, and crimes; in order to shew her to be the Papal hierarchy. She is mounted on a beast, that may be said to be bearing her to her judgment, or execution.* This beast is of a scarlet color, to denote his cruel and bloody character. He is full of the names of blasphemy, to denote his Infidelity and wickedness. And he has seven heads, as well as ten horns, to identify in him the old heathen Roman empire now revived.
The Angel, in explaining the mystery of the beast, informs, that he was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and they, who dwell on the earth, shall wonder (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world) when they behold the beast, that was, and is not, and yet is. The seven heads, the Angel informs, in addition to their being seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth, or on which Rome was built,) are seven kings, or forms of government, in the different periods of the Roman empire. Five are fallen; those of Kings, Consuls, Tribunes, Decemvirs, and Dictators, were past, when John had his vision. One is; the then present form was Imperial, and was the sixth head, or form of government. And the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. Concerning this seventh head, or form of gov. ernment then future, which when it should come, should continue a short space, expositors have been divided and perplexed.
Every scheme which they have adopted, appears attended with unanswerable objections. The reason, I think, is obvious. Nothing had taken place, to which
* This is not a woman directing and governing an empire: but just the reverse.