from the grant of Constantine, (see Season and Time,) and for the greater part of the 1260 years they were actually in possession of temporal power, which is sufficient to a symbolical character. It needs not to run upon all fours," as Mr. Bicheno says; even the ten horns were not always ten. What it has notoriously been, that it may be symbolically called.

The succession to this dominancy at Rome, by the popes, effected a compleat re-animation of the languishing beast, and was accompanied by all that wonder and superstitious veneration from the roman world, which St. John describes. Rev. xiii. 3, 4, and xvii. 10, 11.-But any succession there now, under the altered circumstances of Rome, can never more effect a re-animation of the beast of the sea, which was slain, and his body given to the burning flame of revolution ary torture; which St. John calls his perdition—and Daniel vii. 11, 26, assures us that it shall continue even to the time of the end, when a more fearful perdition will overtake the modern apostacy. Rev. xix, 20.

Thirdly, the symbolical life or death of a beast, relates to political revolutions, not to principles, and those of no ordinary significancy in the eye of prophecy, and by which some grand and ultimate catastrophe is produced. The seven heads are all now fallen, but the fall of one of them only was of sufficient consequence to effect the death of the beast, or a total translation of the domination meant from the beast defunct to another then rising to power, and whose character and exploits are of a different description, and belong to other times. The same history, that of the seven vials, or third woe, includes the reign of the beast of the abyss, and the perdition of the beast of the sea, or the particulars to be understood by the action of the burning flame upon his pros

The notes of character by which St. John's bestial system of Rome for the 1260 years is distinguished,



trate body. That principles therefore do not constitute symbolical life of beasts and horns, as we have seen once before in the Roman revolution of A. D. 476—, so we see the same proved again in the French revolution of 1789, which, in its progress, has effected the death of the beast, but his principles remain as much alive as ever, and still betray daily their incurable inveteracy, and a dangerous thirst of power.

Principles are represented by other symbols more expressive of their nature and tendency, their origin and effects. good, a sea of glass mingled with firemand fire itself is-, suing out of the mouths of the two prophets, has been thought by St. John the fittest emblem to represent them. If bad, they are symbolized by smoke issuing out of the bottomless profundity of error and crime, at two particular periods, both chronologically fixed by the context, and circumstances of the case. Or under a change of circumstances, are equally well represented by three, evil spirits like frogs, which issue ont of the mouths of the three bestial characters of chief notoriety and power in their day. But quite contrariwise, symbolical life refers to powers of rule and dominancy, which in the case of the little horn, and the image of the beast, was of a mixt nature, combining the powers of universal episcopacy with those of secular but limited dominancy. Justinian by his state miracles, thus endued the lifeless image with vitality, that it should both ordain persecution by laws, and actively inflict it by its power,

are the same as those of Daniel's little horn,t and St Paul's man of sin. Blasphemous words and actions, false miracles to deceive the world, and establish a universal spiritual empire upon the credulity and superstition of mankind; and where the arts of deception fail, cruelty and persecution are called in to his aid in the impious war. To these indica: tions to be met with in all the prophets, as has been already shewn, St John here adds two additional ones of his own; A NUMBER, so curiously adjusted, that the numerical letters of which it is made up, shall form a name for the beast and his image, or the apostacy and man of sin, which cannot be applied to any other; and A MARK, the badge of his party, and a universal token of his idolatry and apostacy from Christ, the reception of which is, of course, a law of his religion that cannot be dispensed with. “He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive A MARK in

+ Dan, vii. 7, 8, 23, 24, &c. viii. 23, &c. xi. 36, &c. $ 2 Thess. ii. 4; 1 Tim. iy. 3; Isai. xiv, 13,

their right band, or in their forebeads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark,* or the name of the beast, or

* « The MARK 08 THB BEAST in the forehead and right hand,” says Newton, “ is an allusion to a custom amongst the ancients, so to mark their slaves. And they who were parti. cularly devoted to the worship of any one god more than any of the 30,000 others in general request, had some HIEROGLY• Phic of the god impressed upon their bodies,"

But this MarK OF THE BEAST is here evidently, I think, designed by the spirit of prophecy, to denote some striking peculiarity in the idolatry of the papalians, by which these nominal christians should be distinguished from the real worshippers of Christ. And it is doubtless an IDOLATROUS MARK, the reception of it being threatened with the utmost severity of God's judgments. (Rev. xiv. 10.)

The abuse of the sign of the cross in the superstition of po• pery, is exactly such A MARK, for THE CROSS is AN IDOL of principal rank in the kingdom of THE BEAST, and is worshipped with worship of the highest kind, and which is peculiar to God himself. “ Est de fide catholica credere crucem Christi, aliasque, in omni materia adorandas esse cultu Latriæ."-Seve. ritius Chronolog. Lugdunens, pt. 3.-" It is an article of the catholic faith, that the cross of Christ, and other crosses, of whatsoever materials made, are to be adored with the worship Latreia."-And the same is their common doctrine,~"asserimus cum sententia communiori, et in scholis magis trita, crucem colendam esse Latreia, id est culta divino."-Johannes Turrecremata, & Gretzer, lib. i. ch. 46. 66 We do agsert, according to the most received and approved doctrine of the

the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the

schools, that the cross is to be worshipped with Latreia, or divine worship. And he even adds," the same honor is to be paid to the image of the cross, or even to the sign of the cross, as is due to the real cross.

The arguments brought by Bellarmine to justify the practice of crossing themselves, are unworthy the learning and talents of that great prelate. Jacob blessing his sons with hands crossing each other, (Exod. xii. 7,)“ cancellatis manibus," being so directed by the spirit of God, that the younger might receive the right hand blessing : and God's commanding the prophet to set a mark upon the men that had not sinned with the rest, but " wept for the abominations" &c. (Ezek, ix. 4.) What is all this, to a silly papist crossing himself to keep the devil off, -to make him lucky in his business, to preserve him from sing-guard him from danger, &c --which they do a hundred times a day, and that on the forehead and right hand, &c. And to interpret Gal. vi, 14, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Christ,"'--to be meant of a material cross, or the sign or mark of it, which is evidently intended of the death of Christ as effecting our redemption, is a perversion of scripture worthy of popery.-Hist. of Poprry, vol. i. p. 205.

In the Hora beatæ Virginis, according to the use of the church of Sarum, is this devout prayer to the cross,

66 De liver me, N. thy, servant, from all devilish deceits, and the worst thoughts that abide in me." And in the BREVIAR. ROM, in dominica passion : in the service for Passion Sunday is this hymn :

[blocks in formation]
« VorigeDoorgaan »