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in whose person the western empire was extinguished by the Heruli and Turingi. And in this event, we may recognize the infliction of the deadly wound, on one of the heads of the beast, which was seen by the apostle, as it were wounded to death.* It was, therefore, the seventh head that John beheld thus wounded, and I think, that the wound was still unhealed, when the beast rose from
On the seventh head, also grew the ten regal horns, which occupied the place of the Christian imperial power, after it had been overthrown by the Gothic arms. The healing of the deadly wound
* Rev. xiii, 3.-In' the explanation here offered of the deadly wound of one of the heads of the beast, I have the concurrence of Bishop Newton, Pyle, Gill, and others, with this difference, that they suppose the sixth head to have represented the Christian as well as the heathen emperors, and that the deadly wound was therefore inflicted on the sixth head. The seventh form is variously interpreted by them, but is most commonly referred to the Gothic kingdoms in Rome and Italy, which succeeded the Roman empire of the west. But these were among the horns, and could not therefore be the seventh head. The eighth king, or form of government, they suppose to be the papacy; but the papacy never was the temporal head of the Roman empire, and therefore this opinion is untenable. It may bere be asked, why the extinction of the western empire by the Gothic conquests is alone signified by the figure of one of the heads then receiving a deadly wound, whereas all the former changes of form in the supreme government are described simply by the first five heads being fallen. The answer to this is, that when the regal was succeeded by the consular power, it was effected not by external conquest, but by internal revolution. The same remark applies to all the subsequent changes, until we arrive at the time of the Gothic irraptions, when the western empire fell by a foreign sword. This change, which was different in its nature and origin, might therefore filly, be expressed by a different symbol, + The analogy of the four horns on Daniel's he-goat, which,
grew up for, or under, the great horn that was broken, Dan. viii. 8, seems
was effected at the restoration of the western empire, in the person of Charlemagne, and the revived empire of the west, together with the ten regal horns, which were to receive power with the beast, (ch. xvii. 12.) seem to have constituted the eighth king, or form of government, which was “ of the
seven,” or one of the seven, being in fact, the seventh, or Christian imperial head, healed of its deadly wound, and sharing its power with the ten horns, which are inseparable from the head, on which they grow, and form the constituent parts of its rule and authority. The eighth king, therefore, is a sort of complex sovereignty, consisting, not of the ten regal horns alone, nor of the emperors alone, but of the two taken together, forming one federal system, and united by a community of religion and civil polity.-It follows, therefore, that when the apostle saw the beast arise out of the sea, he was under the eighth form of government, though that form was as yet incomplete, the western empire not having been revived, till three centuries later.
The next part of the description of the beast, which demands our attention, is, his being denominated, " the beast that was, and is not, and yet is, which « shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, (or abyss,) " and go into perdition.” The healing of the deadly wound of one of the heads of the beast, denotes as we have seen, the revival of the western empire in the person of Charlemagne; or as it may be described, to point out, that we are to look for the ten Gothic horns of the fourth beast, upon the imperial head that was wounded to death. This to be sure is out of nature, that horns should grow fro a head 80 wounded; but we are to recollect, that the whole circumstances of the beast are a sort of wonder, or miracle.
a pure form. *
the secular restoration of the Roman empire, after it appeared to be destroyed by the irruption of the Gothic nations. In the clause we are now considering, is delineated, the spiritual resurrection of the heathen Roman empire in an externally Christian form, by its lapse into anti-christian idolatry, after it had for a time professed the faith of Christ in
A wild beast, which is the proper signification of Ampsov, is used in prophecy to denote an empire, which is constituted upon principles, opposed to those of the kingdom of God, viz. earthliness, idolatry, and persecution. Any one of these, seems sufficient to give to a kingdom, the character of a beast, but if they are all united, they form a wild beast dreadful and terrible, as the fourth, or Roman monarchy is described when seen by Daniel. + Such, accordingly, was that empire in its heathen state. It was earthly in its principles ; it bitterly and cruelly persecuted the saints: it was universally and grossly idolatrous. But at the conversion of Constantine, the empire put off these characters and became lamb-like, protecting and cherishing the church of God. It thus ceased to be, or was not, To Ampson, the wild beast.
This new character was however too much above nature to continue long. After a time the empire relapsed into idolatry. Under the authority of the emperors, the ten regal horns and the popes, the adoration of the Virgin Mary and the dead saints,
* Por evidence of the essential identity of the idolatry of ancient and modern Rome, see Middleton's celebrated Letter from Rome, shewing an exact conformity between Popery and Paganism: also Dr. A. More's Works, who enters at large into the subject.
+ Dan, vii. 7.
and the worship of their images, were introduced in the room of the old Pagan idolatry.* By an act of the secular head of the empire the Pope was constituted head of the church, and the saints were thereby delivered into his hand. All who opposed the idolatry and tyranny of Rome were branded as heretics, and subjected to the severest penalties. Thus the empire again became an idolatrous and persecuting power; and not only re-assumed all the features of the bestial character, but far exceeded the atrocities of its heathen state, in the long continued and dreadful war which it carried on against the church of God. The wild beast that was, and is not, and yet is, thus became its proper designation, as being at once expressive of its past history and present character.† Dr.
* If the reader would wish to see the idolatry of the Romish and Greek church exhibited in all its naked deformity, he must look at it not as it was refined and polished by the spiritual alchymy of the Council of Trent, but as it appears in the acts of the Second Nicene Council. I might enlarge this note by some quotations, showing the sottish and brutish idolatry inculcated by that Council, but I content myself with the following expressions, which will be found in the Acts of the Council. (Sacro Sanct. Concil. Lutetiæ Parisiorum, 1671, tom. vii. p. 53.) They are taken from the Confession and Recantation of Theodosius, bishop of Ammorium, at the Council.—" Let them “ who adore not the venerable images be anathema.-Let them who “ dare to derogate from and blaspheme the venerable images, or call “ them idols, be anathema.Let them who teach not the whole of “ the people that love Christ to adore the venerable, sacred, and " adorable images of all the saints who pleased God in their genera“ tion, be apathema.—Let the calumniators of Christians, that is, “ the image-breakers, (iconoclasts) be anathéma.”—I should pollute my pages were I to transcribe some of the monstrous legends of miracles wrought by images, the truth of which were testified by the bishops who attended this Council. And yet, according to the Romish dogmas, this Council was infallible !!!
+ In this explanation of the revival of the beast, I follow Mede,
Henry More ingeniously suggests that the above description is to be looked upon as the name of the beast, in the same way as He that is and was and is to come, is one of the names of God. *
From the words of Rev. xvii. 11. I think it may be inferred, that the above name of the beast, viz. that He was and is not and yet is, belongs to him only under his last or eighth, shape, and not under any of the prior forms of political government. That name is in effect the description of his spiritual character in his last state, his political form in the same period being specially marked, as consisting of ten regal horns, with the seventh imperial head healed of its deadly wound.+
Bishop Newton, Mr. Faber, Archdeacon Woodhouse, and other interpreters of note. It differs from my former opinion, which I now abandon as erroneous.
* More's Works, p. 587.-Vitringą also says, 6 Esse hoc nomen " bestiæ mysticum et ænigmaticụm quod ejus demonstrat natura.”.
+ I shall here give my reasons for rejecting Mr. Faber's explanation of the two last forms of the bestial government, which he supposes to be the Patriciate of Rome, held by Pepin and Charlemagne, merging into the Carlovingian imperial dignity in the person of the last monarch.
1st. Mr. Faber supposes that the beast revived under his sixth head, and he thereby makes the sixth, seventh, and eighth kings, or forms of political government, to be all equally the beast that was and is not, and yet is, whereas the prophecy expressly limits that characteristic to the eighth king.
2d. Mr. Faber supposes that the sixth head continued until the fall of the eastern empire in the fifteenth century, thereby making it in its last period cotemporize with the seventh and eighth head. This is contrary to the whole analogy of the preceding part of the prophecy, for it does not appear that any of the two preceding forms of government existed at the same moment of time.
3d. Mr. Faber further imagines the ten regal horns to have grown out of the sixth head ; i.e. they were, on his scheme, more nearly, connected with the sixth king than with any of the others. But this