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particularly to the perfon of the pope, the head of the ftate as well as of the church, the king of kings as well as bishop of bishops.
Other offices the false prophet performs to the beaft, in fubjecting all forts of people to his obedience, by impofing certain terms of communion, and excommunicating all who dare in the leaft article to diffent from them. (ver. 16, 17.) He caufeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, of whatsoever rank and condition they be, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And he will not permit any man to buy or fell, or partake of the common intercourfes of life, who hath not the mark, or the name of the beaft, or the number of his name. We must understand, that it was (3) cuftomary among the ancients, for fervants to receive the mark of their mafter, and foldiers of their general, and those who were devoted to any particular deity, of the particular deity to whom they were devoted. These marks were ufually impreffed on their right hand or on their foreheads; and confifted of fome hieroglyphic characters, or of the name expreffed in vulgar letters, or of the name difguifed in numerical letters according to the fancy of the impofer. It is in allufion to this ancient practice and cuftom, that the fymbol and profeffion of faith in the church of Rome, as fubferving to fuperftition, idolatry and tyranny, is called the mark or character of the beaft; which character is faid to be received. in their forehead, when they make open and public declaration of their faith, and in their right hand, when they live and act in conformity to it. If any diffent from the ftated and authorized forms, they are condemned and excommunicated as heretics; and in confequence of that they are no longer fuffered to buy or fell; they are interdicted from traffic and commerce, and all the benefits of civil fociety. So Roger Hoveden (4) relates of William the conqueror, that he was fo dutiful
(3) Vide Grot. in locum. Cleric, in Levit. XIX. 28, et fupra omnes Spencerum de Legibus Hebræorum Ritualibus, Lib. 2. Cap. 20. Sect.
7, 3, 4.
(4) Ut neminem in fua poteftate
aliquid emere aut vendere permiferit, quem apoftolicæ fedi deprehenderit, inobedientem. Ex Ufferio de fucceffit, Ecclef. Cap. 7. Sect. 7. apud Vitring. p. 624. et apud Daubuz. p. 599.
to the pope, that he would not permit any one in his power to buy or fell any thing, whom he found difobedient to the apoftolic fee.' So the canon of the couneil of Lateran under Pope Alexander the third, made against the Waldenfes and Albigenfes, (5) injoins upon pain of anathema, that no man prefume to entertain or cherith them in his houfe or land, or erercife traffic with them.' The fynod of Tours in France under the fame pope (6) orders under the like intermination, that no man fhould prefume to receive or affift them, no not fo much as to hold any communion with them in felling or buying, that being deprived of the comfort of humanity, they may be compelled to repent of the error of their way.' Pope Martin V. in his bull fet out after the council of Conftance (7) commands in like manner, that they permit not the heretics to have houses in their diftricts, or enter into contracts, or carry on commerce, or enjoy the comforts of humanity 'with Chriftians.' In this refpect, as Mede (8) obferves, the falfe prophet pake as the dragon. For the dragon Diocletian published a like edict, that no one fhould fell or adminifter any thing to the Chriftians, unless they had firft burnt incenfe to the gods, as Bede alfo rehearseth in the hymn of Juftin Martyr; "They had not the power of buying or felling any thing, nor were 4 they allowed the liberty of drawing water itfelf, before
they had offered incenfe to deteftable idols.' Popish excommunications are therefore like heathen perfecutions and how large a fhare the corrupted clergy, and especially the monks of former, and the Jefuits of later times, have had in framing and enforcing fuch cruel interdicts, and in reducing all orders and degrees to so fervile a state of fubjection, no man of the least reading can want to be informed.
Mention having been made of the number of the beast, or the number of his name, (for they are both the fame) the prophet proceeds to inform us what that number is,' leaving us from the number to collect the name. (ver. 18.) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beaft. It is not therefore a vain and ridiculous attempt to fearch into this mystery, but on the contrary is recommended to us upon the authority of an apoftle. For it is the number of a man; it is a method of numbering practifed among men; as the measure of a man (XXI. 17.) is fuch a measure as men commonly make ufe of in meafuring. It was a method: practifed among the ancients, to denote names by numbers: as the (9) name of Thouth or the Egyptian Mer cury was fignified by the number 1218; the name of Jupiter, as H Apyn or the beginning of things, by the number 737; and the name of the fun, as nus good, or uns the author of rain, by the number 608. St. Barnabas, the companion of St. Paul, in his (1) epiftle difcovers in like
mauner the name of Jefus crucified in the number 318: and other inftances might be produced, if there was occafion. It hath been the ufual method in all God's difpenfations, for the holy Spirit to accommodate his expreffions to the customs, fashions, and manners of the feveral ages. Since then this art and myftery of numbers was fo much ufed among the ancients, it is lefs wonderful that the beaft alfo fhould have his number, and his number is fix hundred and fixty-fix. Here only the number is specified; and from the number we muft, as well as we can, collect the name. Several names poffibly might be cited, which contain this number: but it is evident, that it must be fome Greek or Hebrew name; and: with the name alfo the other qualities and properties of the beast must all agree. The name alone will not conftitute an agreement; all other particulars must be perfectly applicable, and the name alfo muft comprehend the precife number of 666. No name appears more proper and fuitable than that famous one mentioned by Irenæus, who lived not long after St. John's time, and was the difciple of Polycarp, the difciple of John. He (2) faith, that the name Lateinos contains the number of ⚫ 666; and it is very likely, because the laft kingdom is fo called, for they are Latins who now reign: but in this we will not glory:' that is, as it becomes a modeft and pious man in a point of fuch difficulty, he will not be too confident of his explication. Lateinos with ei is the true orthography, as the Greks wrote the long i of the Latins, and as the Latins themfelves (3) wrote in former times. No objection therefore can be drawn from the fpelling of the name, and the thing agrees to admiration. For after the divifion of the empire, the Greeks and other orientalifts called the people of the western church or church of Rome Latins: and as Dr.
Henry Moore (4) expreffeth it, they latinize in every thing. Mafs, prayers, hymus, litanies, canons, decretals, bulls, are conceived in Latin. The papal councils fpeak in Latin. Women themselves pray in Latin. Nor is the fcripture read in any other language under popery, than Latin. Wherefore the council of Trent commanded the vulgar Latin to be the only authentic verfion. Nor do their doctors doubt to prefer it to the Hebrew and Greek text itfelf, which was written by the prophets and apostles. In short all things are Latin; the pope having commu-. nicated his language to the people under his dominion, as the mark and character of his empire. They them felves indeed chofe rather to be called Romans, and more abfurdly still Roman Catholics: and probably the apostle, as he hath made ufe of fome Hebrew names in this book, as Abaddon (IX. 11.) and Armageddon (XVI. 16.) fo might in this place likewife allude to the name in the Hebrew language. Now Romüth is the (5) Hebrew name for the Roman beaft or Roman kingdom: and this word, as well as the former word Lateinos, contains the juft and exact number of 666. It is really furprifing that there should be fuch a fatal coincidence in both names in both languages, Mr. Pyle (6) afferts, and I