Page images
PDF
EPUB

authority in religious matters; which should coexist upon the most friendly terms with the texhorned temporal empire, instigating it to persecute, during the space of 42 prophetic months or 1260 years, all such as should dare to dispute its asurped domination; and which, in short, should solve the symbolical problem of two contemporary beasts, by exhibiting to the world the singular spectacle, of a complete empire within an empire. Where we are to look for this power, since the great Roman beast was divided into ten horns and during the period of his existence under his last secular head, the Carlovingian line of feudal Emperors, let the im. partial voice of history determine; and that voice without hesitation will declare, that the catholic church of Rome, the spiritual empire of which the Pope is the alloroed head, can alone answer to the prophetic description of such a power * At its first rise, the Papacy appears in the book of Daniel only as a little horn springing out of the first

* The Papists, by a wonderful fatality, have constant?: styled themselves Catholics, and their particular church the catholic Churck; thus holding themselves forth as members of the body of the second beust; of catholic ecclesiastical empire. In this sense of the word, we readily concede to them the title of Catholics; in its genuine sense, as importing members of the spiritual body of Christ, we claim the title no less than themsolves. These pretended Catholics the Church of England uniformly denominates Papists; and, as I have no inclination to ancatholicise niyself, I have throughout the present work adopeed herphraseology is preference to the more fashionable one of the day.

of secular beast : but that little horn is represented as soon becoming exceeding powerful, and as influencing the actions of the whole beast. When the saints were given into its hand in the year 606, the papal kingdom became an universal spiritual empire; and, as such, it is represented by St. Joha under the symbol of a distinct beast having a proper head and horns of his own. That the lillle horn of the Roman beast typifies the same power as the second apocalyptic beast, is manifest indeed from this circumstance: Daniel, who fully delineates the character of the little horn, is entirely silent respecting the two-horned beast ; and St. John, who as fully delineates the character of the two-horned beast, is entirely silent respecting the little horn. Accordingly we find, that the little horn and the two-horned beast, act precisely in the same capacity; each exercising all the power of the first beast before him, each being a false seer or prophet, and each perishing in one common destruction with the first or secular beast*.

1. The second beast sprung up out of the earth, and is described as being another beast perfectly distinct from the firstIn the language of the Apocalypse, the earth denotes the Roman empiret :

the

* Compare Dan. vii. 8, 11, 21, 25, 26. with Rev. xiii. 5. 7, 12, 15, 16, 17. and xix. 20.

+ Mr. Mede and Bp. Newton suppose, that the beast rising ozu of the earth means, that the power typified by the beast should grow up like a plant silently and without noise, intimating further

that upon

the spiritual power therefore, symbolized by the beast, must be sought for within the limits of that empire. There accordingly we find the ecclesia astical empire of the Pope. The sixth head of the temporal beast long claimed and exercised supreniacy over the Church : but, in the year 606, the tyrant Phocas constituted Pope Boniface supreme head in spirituals, and bestowed upon him the title of Universal Bishop. In this year then the second

beast,

that ".

the greatest prelates have often been raised froin monks and men of the lowest birth and parentage." Mr. Whitaker and Dr. Zouch, confining without any just warrant the chaTacter of the beast to the monastic orders, think that the phrase implies his rise in the East; and Mr. Whitaker adds, that it may partly allude to the rise of those orders in times of peace und prosperity. Both these interpretations seem to me to be needless, not to say unauthorised, refinements. Since the earth throughout the whole Apocalypse means the Roman empire, and no where more decidedly so than in the present chapter, what occasion is there to annex to it licre a fresh idea?. The prophet had just before declared, that the whole earth wondered after the great Roniun beust, and that all that dwell

the earth should worship him (Rev. xiii. 3, 8.) ; and he now proceeds to inform us, that he beheld another beast coming up out of the earth (Rev. xii. 11.), teaching us afterwards that this other beast should deceive those that dwelt on the earth (Rev. xiii. 14.). Now it is only reasonable to suppose, that what the word earth means in one part of a chapter, it should mean in 2110ther. Since then the earth which wondered after the Roman beast can only mean those who dwelt upon that earth, and since those who drvelt upon the earth can only mean the inhabitants of the Roman empire; we must surely conclude, that, when beast is said to coine up out of this very earth, the Roman empire is here likeyrise intended,

beast, or the universal empire of the Pope, arose out of the earth : and it has ever been the policy of its ruler to separate it from the temporal empire, to keep it perfectly distinct as an imperium in imperio, and never to suffer it to lose its prophetic character of another beast." To cite history for the purpose of proving so well known a fact seems almost superfluous, nevertheless I cannot refrain from noticing a single incident which amply explains the nature of this policy of the Popes. When Edward the first of England wished to impose a tax upon the Clergy, Boniface the eighth, “ who had succeeded Celestine in the papal throne,

was determined to resume the authority which “ had been for, some time relaxed by his prede

cessors, and to become the protector of the spi" ritual order, against all invaders. For this pur

pose he issued very early in his pontificate a general bull, prohibiting all princes from levy“ing without his consent any taxes upon the

clergy, and all clergymen from submitting to “ such impositions; and he threatened both of “ them with the penalties of excommunication “ s in case of disobedience. No sooner therefore

had the king made his demand on the clergy “ of the fifth of their moveables, than they in"s trenched themselves under the bull of Pope

Boniface, and pleaded conscience in refusing to comply with the requisition. Edward avoided proceeding immediately to extremities on this account; but, having given orders to lock up

[ocr errors]

56

[ocr errors]

taken

* all their granaries and barns, and prohibited “ all rent to be paid to them, he appointed a new

synod to confer with him upon his demand. * The primate, not intimidated by Edward's « resolution, plainly told him, that the clergy “ owed obedience to two sovereigns, their spiri. « tual and their temporal; but their duty bound * them to a much stricter attachment to the former “ than to the latter: they could not therefore com“ ply with his commands, which were directly “ contrary to the positive prohibition of the a sovereign pontiff*.” The subsequent steps by Edward to inforce obedience it is needless here to detail: enough has been said to shew in what manner the second beast, which sprung out of the earth, was “ another beast."

2. He had trvo horns like a lamb-As the secular beast is represented with seven heads and ten horns, so the ecclesiastical beast appears with only one head and trvo horns. Now, since we have already seen, that the secular beast under his last head is the divided Roman empire under the line of Carlovingian emperors; the ecclesiastical beast under his . single heud, who has co-existed and co-operated with the secular beast, must necessarily be the corrupt church of Rome under the line of those pretended universal bishops, the Popes. And here we cannot but observe the wonderful exactness with which the two principal apocalyptic symbols, the

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »