sent clause tends directly to establish the propriety of that interpretation of the name and of the number of the beast, which the tenor and context of the prophecy itself has led me to adopt.

Among the more zealous Pagans, it was customary to impress upon some part of their bodies, after the manner of a brand or stigma, the name of the god to whose worship they had peculiarly addicted themselves: and, occasionally, for the sake of the greater mysteriousness, they were wont, not only to impress the ordinary title of the divinity in alphabetic characters, but likewise the arithmetical sum total of the letters which constituted his more recondite appellation '.


Quandoque nomen idoli, cui se vovissent idololatræ, vice stigmatis, imprimebatur. Nam mos erat, inquit Grotius, inscribendi ipsa deorum nomina; Græcè, ut Jupiter, Mars, Bacchus; aut Syriacè, Bel, Beltis, Azizus, Marnas. Quo vero miseræ gentes zelum erga deos et eorum idola clarius indicarent, curârunt, ut literæ, idoli nomen exprimentes, altiusculè corporibus suis insculperentur: hoc enim stigmate notati, rò xápayμa Tou óvóμaroç idoli accipere dicebantur. His aliquid fidei conciliat, quod refert Abulensis, e traditione Judæorum; quod idololatræ accipiebant laminam auream, inscriptam idoli nomine,' et inflammatam apponebant carni suæ, et manebat ibi profunde impressum idoli nomen. Idololatræ nonnunquam idolo alicui, nominis sui numero corporibus eorum inscripto, se mancipârunt, Gentes numinibus suis, non tantum nomina communia, sed et nomina mystica, non nisi mystis cognita, tribuerunt. Priora literis vulgaribus exprimere soliti sunt, posteriora numeris, summam literarum e quibus nomina vera et vulgaria constabant continentibus. Nomen Solis mysticum ad numerum octo et sexcentorum perveniebat, uti nos docet Martianus Capella. Id:

[ocr errors]

To this practice the clause evidently alludes: and the very existence of the practice itself demonstrates, that I have adopted the true principle of determining the name and of calculating the number of the secular wild-beast. The name APOSTATÈS is a mystical or recondite appellation, not the ordinary title or gentile proper name of the beast to which it appertains: and the mode, in which the number has been computed, is the precise mode employed by the Pagans, when they wished to conceal the name of a favourite god under the enigma of an arithmetical cypher.

II. In order that the close connection of the two Empires, secular and ecclesiastical, may the more evidently appear, St. John, when he returns to the larger sealed book, gives us a compound united symbol of them both, as they stand leagued together throughout the whole period of the latter three times and a half.

There came unto me one of the seven angels who had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying: Come hither; and I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great harlot, who sitteth upon the many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of her whoredom the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunken. And he carried

autem hoc modo notabatur, XH. Spencer. de Leg. Heb. Rit. lib. ii. c. 14. sect. 3. vol. i. p. 333, 334.

As the numerical stigma of the Sun was xn, so, in the Apocalypse, the numerical stigma of the beast is xs.

me away in the spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman seated upon a scarlet-coloured wild-beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written: MYSTERY, BABYLON


TIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw: the woman drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus: and, having seen her, I wondered a great wonder. The woman is that great city, which has the sovereignty over the kings of the earth ...


Here we again behold the secular Roman wildbeast seven-headed and ten-horned, closely leagued with a mystic harlot as he was before connected with a two-horned wild-beast. The symbol is varied but the purport is still the same. Both the harlot and the two-horned beast equally typify the spiritual Empire of the Papacy: for a harlot is only another hieroglyphic of an apostate and persecuting Church. In the case of the former symbol, the Latin Church with the sovereign Pontiff at its head was described, as the coadjutor and instigator of the secular beast: in the case of the present symbol, the same Church under the same lawless


[ocr errors]

1 Rev. xvii. 1—6, 18.


head is represented in the plenitude of its usurped power, riding triumphantly upon the neck of kings, and claiming to exalt its authority far above that of its secular colleague.

A most important verbal interpretation, however, is added to the symbol of the harlot, which had been omitted in describing the symbol of the two-horned beast. She is unequivocally declared to be that great city, which, from the time of St. John downward, had the sovereignty over the kings of the earth and, since she rides the acknowledged symbol of the secular Roman Empire, she can only be the great city which is the metropolis of that Empire.

This notation is so plain and unambiguous, that all commentators, whether ancient or modern, whether popish or protestant, are unanimous in pronouncing, that the apocalyptic harlot can only be Rome viewed as presiding over the Roman Empire: for, in truth, St. John only does not tell us, in so many express words, that she is the symbol of Rome. There is the same universal agreement, likewise, on the subject of the title, with which she is stigmatised: for, in the judgment both of Papists and of Protestants, the woman, who is fully allowed to symbolise Rome, is denominated a harlot, in the usual vein of scriptural metaphor, on account of her idolatrous apostasy from the exclusive worship of the one true God'. Hence, in the applica

'Allix on the Anc. Church of Piedm. chap. xx. p. 209. Bp. Newton's Dissert. on the Proph. vol. iii. p. 162. Bellar

tion of this important symbol, there is a rare and striking unanimity among persons even of the most opposite sentiments in other respects.

Yet, while Papists and Protestants thus far agree most fully, at this very point they begin no less. widely to differ. That Rome in some sense is intended, they each allow to be indisputable: but then papal expositors maintain, that the harlot represents idolatrously-pagan Rome secularly presiding over the ancient Roman Empire; while, on the contrary, protestant expositors contend, as the Vallenses and the Albigenses did before them, that she represents idolatrously-christian Rome ecclesi astically presiding over the modern or divided Roman Empire. Such being the case, from the mutual agreement and disagreement of the contending parties, we may deduce the following sufficiently obvious syllogism.

The apocalyptic harlot is confessedly and indisputably Rome. But, if the apocalyptic harlot be Rome, she must inevitably be, either Rome Pagan, or Rome Papal. Therefore, if it can be demon

min. de Rom. Pontif. lib. iii. c. 13. Walmesley's or Pastorini's Gen. Hist. of the Church, p. 112-117. Rutter's Key, p. 358. Whiston's Essay on the Rev. part ii. p. 111, 112. Mr. Whiston has very usefully collected together, and given at large, the several explicit attestations of the following writers of the Latin Church Baronius, Bellarmine, Ribera, Malvenda, Lessius, Cornelius a Lapide, Alcasar, and Viega. All these are unanimous in asserting, that the apocalyptic Babylon can only be Rome.

« VorigeDoorgaan »