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The wild Beast out of the Sea.
kingdoms which arose out of the ruins of the Pagan Empire, and found again a principle of strength and unity in the little horn of the Papal power.
We must now examine further this later vision of New Testament prophecy. “I stood,” says St. John,
. “ upon the sand of the sea, and saw a wild beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns,”—thus far resembling the image and bearing the marks of the dragon whose instrument and agent it was, and from whom it derived its power,—“and upon its horns ten crowns,”—a point in the description, we may observe, peculiar to this vision," and upon his heads the name of blasphemy 8.” This character is yet more deeply stamped upon that other symbol closely resembling this, the scarlet-coloured beast of which we read in the seventeenth chapter, “full of names of blasphemy;" having also “seven heads and ten horns,” and ridden by the woman, the representative of the great city which, in the days when the vision was revealed to St. John, reigned over the kings of the earth, Rome the mistress of the world. The form which St. John beheld, united in it the attributes of all the four in Daniel's vision; —“the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast'. “ The beast, like the dragon from whom he receives his power, has seven heads; which are explained to be so many mountains, or strongholds, the seats and supports of his
Chap. xiii. 1.
Vv. 2, 3.
many such !.”
The wounded Head healed. [LECT. oppressive dominion. The dragon, and they who held the reins of worldly power under him, had
such !.” For though, in the case of Rome, the seven mountains which appear in the imagery of the seventeenth chapter seem to require a literal interpretation in reference to the seven-hilled city’, yet in the description before us, (so far as it is unfolded at present,) uniting as it does the characteristic symbols of all the four forms of earthly dominion represented in Daniel's vision, the seven heads, it would seem, must be interpreted in the same wide extent of meaning. And it is worthy of remark that seven is the number of heads of the four beasts in Daniel's vision , regarded as a whole, as a symbol denoting universal power and tyranny. And the head which was wounded to death, but was healed of its deadly wound, and lived again, to the wonder of an admiring world, seems, in the vision of the seventeenth chapter, to be clearly identified with the Roman. It is there said of the wild beast which was ridden by the imperial city, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the abyss, and go into perdition; and they that 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 4."
For the elucidation of the mystery here shadowed out, we need but listen to the language which we find the Romanist employing to set forth the strange
I Woodhouse, Annot. p. 264. He refers to his note on chap. viii. 9. Cf. sup. p. 272.
2 See Rev. xvii. 9.
leopard which had four heads, and the fourth beast, with its ten horns. See Dan, vii. 447.
Chap. xvii, 8.
Rome under the Goths.
vitality, so marvellous and glorious in his eyes, of the city and empire which had seemed once to have fallen for ever by the hands of the Goths. “True," says a writer of that communion, speaking of the capture of Rome by Alaric at the beginning of the fifth century, “it never recovered this stroke, nor was there left any room to hope that it ever could.
The mystery that had invested this city, in causing it to be regarded by the nations as something divine, as something invincible,-as a goddess in fact, and an eternal city 5; even the magic influence produced on the world by the enormous wealth of its inhabitants, by its trophies, its architectural wonders, and the awful shadow of its renown,—these were either entirely at an end, or impaired and shaken beyond remedy. But,” he continues, “ although the wound inflicted by the Gothic king was mortal,” — the language is used, be it observed, with no thought of the vision before us,—“So mighty was Rome, even in her last agonies, that it required the force, the brutal fury, of the most ruthless barbarians, to be exerted, in havoc, in conflagration, and every species of violence, assisted for upwards of a century by famine, pestilence, inundations, hurricanes, and earthquakes, before she was left prostrate, like an enormous skeleton without life, to be infested and preyed upon by wild beasts.”
“But as if the power,” he continues, “ founded by Romulus and the Cæsars had been designed by
5 [" She also (like Babylon) Jupiter of Virgil speaks the called herself the Golden national language when he says, City,' the “ Eternal City.' She (Æn. i. 278,) ‘His ego vaunted that she would reign metas rerum nec tempora pono; for ever.” “ The words ROMÆ IMPERIUM SINE FINE DEDI. ÆTERNÆ are found on the im- Wordsworth, p. 343.] perial coins of Rome. ... The
Revival of Roman power.
Providence to serve as a chrysalis or husk to the papacy, the latter begins to appear and advance in development, in proportion as the former crumbles away, or is shattered to pieces by the invaders.” “ It was behind the chair of Peter,” the writer goes on to say, “ that the remnant of the senate and the people sought protection in the extremities of their distress.” “ The misfortunes of Rome involved the apostolic pastor in the business of peace and war ;' he sends governors to the towns and cities; issues orders to the generals; relieves the public distress; treats of peace, and of the ransom of captives with
What wonder if, in discharging these offices, in conjunction with those of his supreme vicariate over the church, the dignities of prince and pontiff should seem to be united in his person'?”
To those, however, who recollect the language in which Gregory himself denounced the pride of him who should claim such an office as a “ vicariate over the Church,”—declaring such an one to be a forerunner of Antichrist, a follower of Lucifer in his presumptuous ambition ",—there will appear, in such exaltation of the Roman see, and in the universal dominion which it has arrogated, something like a germinant fulfilment at least of the vision before us, “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" It was
[See Gibbon, chap. 45, for century.] the state of Rome in the time 7“ Rome as it was under of Gregory the Great. It will Paganism, and as it became be observed, that the history is under the Popes." Vol. ii. pp. thus resumed precisely where 274-282. (Lond. 1843.) it was broken off before, viz. 8 Cf. sup. p. 79, note 8. with the latter part of the sixth
9 Ver. 4.
XI.] The Vision further unfolding. 347 indeed irresistible power to which the second Gregory laid claim, when, in language such as this, he defied the Emperor of the East, against whom, in the cause of image worship, he was prepared to stir up the West to rebellion. “The eyes of the nations,” he said, “are fixed on our humility, and they revere as a God upon earth the apostle St. Peter, whose image you threaten to destroy. The remote and interior kingdoms of the West present their homage to Christ and his vicegerent. ... Abandon your rash and fatal enterprize ;-reflect, tremble, and repent!.”
But we come now to that part of the description which corresponds most closely with that of the little horn of the fourth beast in Daniel's vision, and also with the description given in the preceding vision of St. John, of the beast which was to ascend from the abyss, and to make war upon the two witnesses. “ And there was given unto him,” we read in the passage before us, “a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue,"—or, more literally, “practise ?,-forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations 3.” This description corresponds closely with that of the little horn in Daniel's vision; each exhibiting apparently the same gradual development, first of arrogance and pride, and then of persecution. And this it is important to observe. In the little Gibbon, chap. 49, vol. v. ποιήσαι.
3 Vv. 5–7.