Page images
PDF
EPUB

Having given the above account of the image, the Apostle John further informs us, that the second beast caused all men to receive a mark on their right hand or their forehead, and that no man might buy or sell (i. e. exercise the common offices of civil life), unless he had the mark or name of the beast, or the number of his name. The number of the beast is also declared to be six hundred and sixty-six, and it is said to be the number of a man. * The language of this clause is equally figurative with that of the preceding parts of the chapter ; and when stript of its figures, it seems to imply,

the protestant cause. Now to apply this reasoning to the Western Church in general : history informs us that the Popes were opposed by many of the churches in their wicked attempts to introduce the 'worship of images. In the eighth century the council of Frankfort which was attended by three hundred bishops of various nations, condemned equally the second council of Nice, and the worship of images. The British churches followed the same line of conduct. Had this resistance not been overcome by the Popes, the visible church within the western empire never would have been transformed into an image of the beast : but at length the popes overpowered the efforts of the friends of truth. Idolatry was universally introduced, and thenceforth the church, as a whole, was marked by all the features of the character of the first beast, secularity, blasphemy, idolatry, and persecution, and became therefore an image of the beast. The Reviewer's idea, that the image was a symbol of the temporal power of the popes, appears to me untenable for the following among other reasons. The temporal power of the papacy was often and most strenuously resisted even by Catholic princes, and the popes had no authority to kill those who thus resisted them. The authority of the image on the contrary was universal, so that whosoever would not worship the image was killed. This seems to me to have been fulfilled in the power of the corrupt church and nothing else, for whatever differences and quarrels arose among Catholic princes on other points, they all agreed in bowing with implicit sub. mission to the authority of the church in spiritual matters.

that so great was the spiritual tyranny exercised by the ecclesiastical beast, that he would permit no person who did not give the most unlimited and unreserved obedience to the beast, to exercise the common offices of society.

" That which does best open the mystery of these expressions,” says Dr. “ Cressener, " is the observation of Grotius upon “ this place, that it was a common fashion in St. 6 John's time, for every heathen god to have a parti“cular society or fraternity belonging to him ; ånd " the way of admitting any into these fraternities “ was, Ist, by giving him some hieroglyphic mark “ in their hands or foreheads, which was accounted “sacred to that particular god; as that of an ivy “ leaf, to own themselves of the fraternity of Bac“chus : 2d, by sealing them with the letters of the

name of that god : and, 3d, With that number " which the Greek letters of their name did make

up; for the numeral ciphers of the Greeks were “ the letters of the alphabet.”* In confirmation of the above remarks, it may

be observed, that in this mystical book, to be sealed with the seal of the living God, to have his name written on the forehead, is the distinctive badge of his servants. Therefore, to have the name of the beast, or his mark, or the number of his name, inscribed on the forehead or right hand, is the badge of the votaries of the beast.

With regard to the number of the beast, I adopt without hesitation the explanation first given of it

# Quoted in the Nlustrations of Prophecy, p. 73.
+ Rev. iij. 12; vii. 2; xiv. 1.

л

A

[ocr errors]

by Irenæus, the disciple of Polycarp, that it is contained in the name Latinus, as expressed in Greek characters.

30

1 300

5 10 50 70 200

T

E

I

N

[ocr errors]

666 The observations of Mr. Faber on this point seem to me peculiarly valuable. The ten-horned beast is, as Mr. Faber observes, the secular Roman empire, and of this empire the first real or fictitious founder was Latinus. Hence the Romans were called Genus Latinum. Their language is the Latin. The revived western empire and the western church, to distinguish them from the Greek empire and church, have always been called the Latin empire and church; the service of the Romish church is also in Latin ; the scriptures themselves are read in the Latin ; all the official papers of the church are in Latin : On these grounds then we “ have abundant reason to conclude, that Latinus, and nothing but Latinus, is the name of the beast; “ for in no other word descriptive of the revived

temporal beast, or the papal Roman empire, can 66 such a fatal concurrence of circumstances be « discovered."* Having thus ascertained the number of the beast,

* Faber's Dissert. vol. ii. p. 347 ; 4th edition.

it only remains to observe, that we learn from the history of Christian Eŭrope in what manner this part of the prophecy was accomplished. During those ages when the papal power was at its height, all who refused to hold communion with the corrupt Latin church, and thus to inscribe themselves with the mark, and name, and number of the beast, were exposed to excommunication as heretics, to exclusion from the common charities and offices of life, and the loss of life itself. I shall conclude what I have to offer on this head, hy quoting a passage from Bishop Newton, shewing the literal fulfilment of this part of the prophecy :. “If any dissent from the “ stated and authorized forms of the Latin church,

they are, condemned and excommunicated as - heretics; and in consequence of that, they are no

longer suffered to buy or sell; they are interdicted “ from traffic and commerce, and all the benefits “ of civil society. So Roger Hoveden relates of 6 William the Conqueror, that he was so dutiful to 6 the pope, that he would not permit any one in his

power to buy or sell any thing, whom he found “ disobedient to the apostolic see. So the canon of “ the Council of Lateran, under. Pope Alexander " the Third, made against the Waldenses, and “ Albigenses, enjoins, upon pain of anathema, that

no man presume to entertain or cherish them in “his house, or land, or exercise traffic with them. The synod of Tours, in France, under the same

pope, orders, under the like intermination, that no “ man should presume to receive or assist them, no “not so much as to hold any communion with them “ in buying or selling; that being deprived of the

“ comfort of humanity, they may be compelled to

repent of the error of their ways. Pope Martin “the Fifth, in his bull, set out after the Council of “ Constance, commands in like manner, that they

permit not the heretics to have houses in their dis"tricts, or enter into contracts, or carry on commerce,

or enjoy the comforts of humanity with Christians.

"*

USE

OF

* The charge of idolatry which is made by protestants against the church of Rome, may be easily substantiated, not only from the practice of that church in the dark ages, but from its authorized and avowed standards in the present day. I refer to the liturgy of that church, edited by the Rev. Peter Gandolphy, and printed by Keating, Brown, and Keating, in 1812, and wbich is presumptuously entitled, “ LITURGY, OR A Book of Ço'mmon PRAYERS, AND ADMINISTRATION

OF SACRAMENTS, WITH OTHER RITES AND CEREMONIES OF THE “ CHURCH, FOR THE

ALL CHRISTIANS IN TUE UNITED “ KINGDOM;" by which it is plainly insinuated, that all the protestants of the United Kingdom who reject this Liturgy, are not Christians. In this Liturgy the old idolatry of the church of Rome, in adoring the consecrated wafer and cup in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is still retained, as appears by the following words, taken from the Directory of the Mass : “ Afler pronouncing the words of consecralion, the priest kneeling adores and elevates the sacred host,(or consecrated bread) and the lell at the altar is rung lo give nolice lo the congregation." In like manner it is said, after the consecration of

Here also kneeling he adores and elevates the chaliceor cup. The following words are taken from the Litany in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary, commonly called the Litany of Loretto. We should scarcely believe it possible, that such matter should be published in this enlightened country, in the nineteenth century, as a form of Christian worship! But as it has been printed, it is fit to make it generally known, in order that all men may see that the Romish Church obstinately cleaves to its abominations.

“We fly to thy patronage, O Holy Mother of God! despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever

glorious and blessed Virgin ! Holy Mary,

Mother of divine grace, Holy mother of God,

Mother most pure, Holy Virgin of Virgins,

Mother most chaste, Mother of Christ,

Mother undefiled,

the cup,

Pray for us,

« PreviousContinue »