in the dominion of Napoleon Buonaparte. This, according to the prophecy, was to "last but a little while,” — it has already fallen; and "the eighth, which is of the seven," is immediately to be looked for.

But I understand the prophecy to call that "the eighth" government, which is identified all along, or nearly so, with the revived Roman empire, from the time of its arising out of the abyss, or sea, till the day it goes into perdition. In the thirteenth chapter, the symbol of this same power arises out of the sea, "having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns." Here are eight forms of government plainly depicted - seven symbolized by heads-the eighth by ten crowned horns. How "the eighth is of the seven" seems explained by Daniel, vii. 20: "The ten horns that were in his head." The seventh head was to last for a little while, its sovereignty was to be divided, and transferred to ten horns that grow out of it. This division had taken place, or was very soon to be the distinguishing symbol, when the vision shows to St. John "the beast rising out of the sea,"-" the crowns are on the horns."*

[ocr errors]

Now, it was in this state-not as symbolized by the heads and horns of the red dragon, but as symbolized by the leopard-like beast of the sea, with its crowned horns that the apostate has power to continue forty and two months.+ And that this is the same power which is symbolized by "the scarlet-coloured beast," in the part of the vision now before us, which is said to "arise out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition," is evident from this, that both beasts carry and support the papacy. For the papacy was, as we clearly discovered, symbolized by a little horn growing

[blocks in formation]

up among the ten, on the fourth beast of Daniel, and it is here symbolized by an adulteress sitting on the same beast.

These considerations appear to me to be conclusive against Mr. Faber's new explanation. Agreeably with what I have observed before, * I would decipher the symbols as follows: The sixth head is the imperial government of Rome, which began with Augustus Cæsar, B. C. 31; and-though wounded, as it were, to death by the sword of the Goths, when Momyllus Augustulus was deposed, A. D. 476-did not actually become extinct till the revolt of the pope and Italians, A. D. 728, or, perhaps, not till the coronation of Charlemagne, A. D. 800.


The feudal sovereignty of the northern invaders of the Roman empire, consolidated at length under Charlemagne -often called by historians the restorer of the western empire was the seventh head, which, in St. John's time, who lived under the Roman Cæsars, was not yet come." "And when he cometh, he must continue a short space." The empire of Charlemagne, though it combined together almost all the northern barbarian nations which had parcelled out the western empire between them, and extended nearly to the limits of Roman civilization in Europe, as an united empire, hardly lasted beyond his own life. Under his descendants, the "kingdom was divided,” and the present independent sovereignties of modern Europe arose. These kingdoms form the beast in his last state; and, counting Charlemagne's imperial rule-not excluding, perhaps, the virtual sovereignty of his predecessors -as the seventh form of government exercised over Rome and its provinces, they are an eighth form of government: but their government is of the seven. The sovereignty

* On chapter xiii.

established by the northern barbarians over Rome and the empire, though for a short time consolidated under Charlemagne, becomes divided among the various barbarian princes that succeed to the different parts of his dominion, who acknowledge only a nominal power in his successors. Thus are they, though an eighth form of government, yet not a new head, but of the seven-symbolized by crowned horns growing out of the seventh head:

12. "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour," or, " the same hour"—" with the beast."

[ocr errors]

This state of the Roman empire, whatever it be that mysteriously conceals the precise date of its beginning, was clearly predicted, both in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and in Daniel's vision of the four beasts. Ten kings, possessing independent authority, were to arise out of the Roman empire in its last state, without, however, the empire's being absolutely destroyed. And such has proved to be the situation of the different potentates of Roman Catholic Europe. They are called ten, because, as we have seen, such was their original number, at the beginning of the era of their joint reign with the beast:

13. "These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast."

Though possessed of independent sovereign authority within their respective kingdoms, yet they shall agree to

"What we translate one hour' should rather have been


at the same hour or

point of time,' as several learned interpreters have observed."LOWMAN.

See on chap. xiii., where the question as to the commencement of the barbarian headship of the Roman beast is more particularly considered.

support that persecuting tyranny which constitutes the character of the fourth empire, as seen in opposition to Christ and his people; and, accordingly, persecution has raged, more or less, in all the independent sovereignties of Europe, to support the Roman Catholic polity and religion.

These same potentates, as is shown in the sixth vial, are gathered together, by the arts of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, to the great day of the battle of Almighty God. So the angel tells us here respecting them :

14. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

As was explained to Daniel, " In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom." "The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom." These are the called, and chosen, and faithful, that are with the Lamb: but of these we shall see more hereafter. The angel proceeds with his explanation:

15." And he said unto me, The waters which thou sawest where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put it in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth."

The fate, therefore, of the Roman see, as distinct from the empire, appears to be clearly revealed.


becomes at length, but not till the era of the very last dreadful troubles, an object of hatred to the kings, her former votaries. They spoil her of all her possessions; they devour her very substance, and burn her with fire. How the mystical whore, as an emblem of an apostate church, can be burnt with fire, we seem to gather from the last verse, in which the angel identifies the woman with the city of Rome. The burning of the city of Rome and destroying of the papal see will therefore be one of the events of the last dreadful vial.

But we are to bear in mind, the beast still survives, and the false prophet with him; they fall together-not by the sword of man-in the field of Armageddon. This seems to confirm the interpretation of these symbols as given above, that the first beast is the revived empire generally; the second beast-the same as the false prophet - the ecclesiastical state universally: and that the image which the second beast made of the first beast, was the dominion of the papacy the little horn of the fourth beast. The image, it appears, is destroyed, in the last dreadful tumults, by them who once adored it. The apostate priesthood are still as a false prophet with the beast, and are promoters of the last confederacy against the Lamb. The destruction of the great whore, however, does not seem to take place till the very last; perhaps we may say not till all causes are actually in operation, which deceive the nations to their destruction.

Chap. xviii. 1. "And after these things, I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

« VorigeDoorgaan »