Page images
PDF
EPUB

indeed it would be wanted; for the patience and the faith of the faints would be tried to the utmoft during the reign of the beaft. Here is the patience and the faith of the faints. Of all the trials and perfecutions of the church this would be the most severe, and exceed those of the primitive times both in degree and in duration.

11 And I beheld another beaft coming up out of. ! the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he fpake as a dragon.

12 And he exercifeth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein, to worship the firft beast, whofe deadly wound was healed!

13 And he doeth great wonders, fo that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the fight of men.

14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the fight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they fhould make an image to the beast which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beaft, that the image of the beast should both speak, and caufe that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.

16 And he caufeth all, both finall and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or fell, fave he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the 'number of his name.

18 Here is wifdom. Let him that hath underftanding count the number of the beaft: for it is the number of a man; and his number is fix hundred threefcore and fix.

From the defcription of the ten horned beaft or Roman ftate in general, the prophet paffeth to that of the twohorned beaft or Roman church in particular. The beaft U 2 with

with ten crowned horns is the Roman empire as divided into ten kingdoms; the beaft with two horns like a lamb is the Roman hierarchy, or body of the clergy regular and fecular. This beaft is otherwife called the falfe prophet, as we shall fee in feveral inftances; than which there cannot be a ftronger or plainer argument to prove, that falfe doctors or teachers were particularly defigned. For the falfe prophet no more than the beaft is a fingle man, but a body or fucceffion of men propagating falfe doctrins, and teaching lies for facred truths. As the firft beaft rofe up out of the fea, that is out of the wars and tumults of the world; fo this beaft (ver. 11.) groweth up out of the earth like plants filently and without noife; and the greatest prelates have often been raifed from monks and men of the lowest birth and parentage. He had two horns like a lamb; he had, both regular and secular, the appearance of a lamb; he derived his powers from the lamb, and pretended to be like the lamb all meekness and mildness. But he spake as a dragon, he had a voice of terror like the dragon or Roman emperors in ufurping divine titles and honors, in commmanding idolatry, and in perfecuting and flaying the true worshippers of God and faithful fervants of Jefus Chrift. He is an ecclefiaftical perfon, but intermixeth himfelf much in civil affairs. He is the prime minister, adviser and mover of the first beat, or the beaft before mentioned, (ver. 12.) He exercifeth all the power of the firft beaft before him. He holdeth imperium in imperio, an empire within an empire; claimeth a temporal authority as well as a fpiritual; hath not only the principal direction of the temporal powers, but often engageth them in his fervice, and enforceth his canons and decrees with the fword of the civil magiftrate. As the first beaft concurs to maintain his authority, fo he in return confirms and maintains the fovranty and dominion of the firft beaft over his fubjects; and caufeth the earth, and them who dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He fupports tyranny, as he is by tyranny fupported. He inflaves the confciences, as the firft beat fubjugates the bodies of men. As Mr.

Mr. Whifton well (7) obferves, "He is the common "center and cement which unites all the distinct king"doms of the Roman empire; and by joining with them procures them a blind obedience from their fubjects : and fo he is the occafion of the prefervation of the old "Roman empire in fome kind of unity, and name, and "ftrength; which otherwife had been quite diffolved by "the inundations and wars fucceeding the fettlement of "the barbarous nations in that empire.'

""

[ocr errors]

Such is the power and authority of the beaft, and now we shall fee what courfes he purfues to confirm and eftablish it. He pretends, like other falfe prophets, (ver., 13.) to fhow great figns and wonders and even to call for fire from heaven, as Elias did. His impoftures too are fo fuccefsful, that (ver. 14.) he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by the means of thofe miracles which he hath power to do. In this refpect he perfectly refembles St. Paul's man of fin, (2 Theff. II. 9.) whofe coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and figns, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteouf nefs or rather they are one and the fame character reprefented in different lights, and under different names. It is farther obfervable, that he is faid to perform his miracles in the fight of men in order to deceive them, and in the fight of the beaft in order to ferve him: but not in the fight of God to ferve his caufe, or promote his religion. Now miracles, vifions, and revelations, are the mighty boaft of the church of Rome; the contrivances of an artful cunning clergy to impofe upon an ignorant credulous laity. Even fire is pretended to come down from heaven, as in the cafe of St. Anthony's fire, and other inftances cited by (8) Brightman and other writers on the Revelation; and in folemn excommunications, which are called the thunders of the church, and are performed with the ceremony of cafting down burning torches from on high, as fymbols and emblems of fire from heaven. Miracles are thought fo neceffary and effential, that they are reckoned among the notes of the

(7) Whifton's Ellay on the Rev. Part 3. Vifion 5.

(8) Vide Brightman. et Poli Sy. nopf. in locum.

catholic

U 3

catholic church; and they are alleged principally in fupport of purgatory, prayers for the dead, the worship of faints, images, and relics, and the like (as they are called) catholic doctrines. But if thefe miracles were all real, we learn from hence what opinion we ought to frame of them; and what then fhall fhe fay, if they are all fictions and counterfeits? They are indeed fo far from being any proofs of the true church, that they are rather a proof of a falfe one; they are, as we fee, the diftinguifhing mark of Antichrift.

The influence of the two-horned beaft or corrupted clergy is farther feen in perfuading and inducing mankind (ver. 14.) to make an image to the beaft, which had the wound by a fword and did live; that is an image and reprefentative of the Roman empire, which was wounded. by the fword of the barbarous nations, and revived in, the revival of a new emperor of the weft. He had alfo power (ver. 15.) to give life and activity unto the image of the beast. It should not be a dumb and lifelefs idol, but should speak and deliver oracles, as the ftatues of the heathen gods were feigned to do, and fhould cause to be killed as many as would not worship and obey it. Some by this image of the beaft (9) understand "the rife of the "new empire of Charlemain, which was an image of "the old Roman empire, and is now become the em"pire of Germany:" but this is the beast himself, who had the wound by a fword and did live, and not the image of the beaft; the rife of this new empire was the healing of his deadly wound, by which he lived again. Others more probably (1) conceive, that this image of the beuft is "the office of inquifition, which was intro"duced among the blind vulgar, as a popular fcheme, "and warmly recommended by the Dominican and "Francifcan monks, at first without any voice of com"mand, or power of execution; till courts were erected independent of bifhops; and judges, officers, familiars, prifons, and tormentors were appointed, who

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(9) Limborch. Theol. Chrift. Lib. 7. Cap. 11. Sect. 16. Lord Napier in locum. Whilton's Effay on the Rev. Part 3, Vision 6.

(1) Vitring, in locum. Mann's Critical notes on fome Paffages of Scripture, p. 121.

"fhould

"fhould put to exquifite punishments, and deliver over, .6 to a cruel death all that would not fubmit with an implicit obedience:" but the office of inquifition is, eftablished only in fome particular popifh countries, and this belongs and extends to all in general. As many as would not worship the image of the beaft, the image of the beaft fhould caufe to be killed: but there are many papifts who do not receive and own the authority of the inqui fition, and yet the inquifition doth not attempt to de ftroy and extirpate all fuch papifts. What appears most probable is, that this image and reprefentative of the beaft is the pope. He is properly the idol of the church.> He reprefents in himfelf the whole power of the beast, and is the head of all authority temporal as well as fpiritual. He is nothing more than a private perfon without power and without authority, till the two-horned beaft or the corrupted clergy by choofing him pope give life unto him, and enable him to speak and utter his de crees, and to perfecute even to death as many as refufe to fubmit to him and to worship him. As foon as he is chofen pope, he is cloathed with the pontifical robes, and crowned and placed upon the altar, and the cardinals come and kifs his feet, which ceremony is called adoration. They firft elect, and then they worship him, as in the (2) medals of Martin V, where two are reprefented crowning the pope, and two kneeling before him, with this infeription, Quem creant adorant, Whom they create they adore. He is the principle of unity to the ten kingdoms of the beaft, and caufeth, as far as he is able, all who will not acknowledge his fupremacy, to be put to death. In fhort, he is the moft perfect likeness and refemblance of the ancient Roman emperors, is as great a tyrant in the Chriftian world as they were in the Heathen world, prefides in the fame city, ufurps the fame powers, affects the fame titles, and requires the fame univerfal homage and adoration. So that the pro phecy defcends more and more into particulars, from the Roman ftate or ten kingdoms in general, to the Roman church or clergy in particular, and still more

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

(2) Bonanni Numifmat. Pontific. Romanor. Daubuz. p. 582,

U 4

parti

« PreviousContinue »