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6. He doeth great wonders, in order that he may make fire come down from heaven on the earth in
sion, however severely he might have animadverted upon the two beusts for recommending and eructing it. If
any man worship the beast and his image,--the same shall drink of " the wine of the wrath of God, and he shall be tormented 16 with fire and brimstone ;--and the smoke of their torményt $6 ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day
nor night, who worship the beast and his image” (Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 11.). Can we suppose, that so severe a punishment as eternal damnation will be inflicted upon those who suffer their bodies to be subjugated by the first beast? It is plain, that the worship of the beast is connected with the worship of his image ; and that this worsbip is something so offensive in the eyes of Gud as to incur the penalty of hell fire : can it then mean nothing more thah submitting to the sovereignty and dominion of the first beast? It may be reinarked, that Bp. Newtou here again speaks of the first beast as being, not the Papacy, but the secular Roman empire: and it may further be remarked, that his present interpretation of the worship paid to the beast by no means accords with that which he had previously given, and which I believe to be the true one. “ All the world wondered after the “ beast, and they worshipped the dragon which gate power unto the
beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying; Who is like unte * the beast? Who is able to make war with him? No kingdom
or empire was like that of the beast, it had not a parallel
upon earth, and it was in vain for any to resist or oppose it, " it prevailed and triumphed over all; and all the world, in “ submitting thus to the religion of the beast, did in effect sub“ mit again to the religion of the dragon, it being the old ido" latry with new names. The worshipping of demons and idols " is in effect the worshipping of devils" (Dissert, on Rev, xiii.). Here we see a plain reason why the worship of the beast is threatened with eternal damnation: it consists in embracing those principles, which constituted alike the bestiality of the pagan and pupal Roman empires ; not in paying civil homage to the beast.
the sight of men-" Miracles, visions, and revela :
tions, are the mighty boast of the church of “ Rome, the contrivances of an artful cunning
clergy to impose upon an ignorant laity.” These wonders the beast did partly in order that he might make fire come down from heaven upon earth; and partly, as we shall hereafter see, with a view so to deceive mankind as to induce them to set up an image and worship it. Heaven is a symbol of the Church; the earth, of the Roman empire; and fire, of divine wrath. The darting therefore of fire out of the Church upon the secular empire seems to relate to those solemn denunciations of the divine wrath, which, under the name of interdicts and excommunications, were hurled against those who dared to oppose the authority of the beast. History furnishes many memorable examples of such ecclesiastical censures. The whole kingdom of England was laid under an interdict in the reign of king John : and numerous are the other European sovereigns, against whom the Popes have pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition *. The submission of the people to this exorbitant stretch of power was
Brightman has the following curious remark on this part of the prophecy." Hildebrandus, in epistola ad Germanos, “ Henricum quartum excommunicatione sua percussum, afla“ tum fulmine dixit: nec temerè; Spiritu procul dubio guber“bante linguam, ut olim Caiuphæ, quo mundus intelligeret,
quî bestia faceret ignem de cælo descendere." Apoc. Apoc. fol. 215.
founded upon their implicit belief in the sanctity, authority, and infallibility, of the Roman bishop and his hierarchy: and this belief was kept up by pretended miracles, which it was asserted) none but members of the holy catholic church could perform : hence it is said, thať the beast did great wonders, in order that he might bring down fire from heaven upon earth; or, in other words, that none might dispute his right and power of excommunication. I know not any better comment upon this part of the prophecy than the use which was made of the miracles said to have been wrought at the shrine of Archbishop Becket. During the schism in the church of Rome, that turbulent prelåte had espoused the cause of Pope Alexander against his competitor; and, after his death, he became a wonder-working saint. Such being the case, the litigated point was soon decided " Whereas many,” says John of Salisbury, doubted
; “ whether Alexander was the true Pope or not, " the miracles of Becket decided that question in « his favour, as they could not have been done by
one engaged in a'schism *.” Thus was Alexander confirmed by iniracles in his full right and title to anathematize his rival, and to hurl the thunderbolts of the church at all his opponents. Nor has this claim to supernatural gifts been made solely during the thick darkness of the middle ages; an anonymous Popish writer even of the last centpry,
Whitaker's Commcnt. p. 391, 392.
cited by Mr. Whitaker, insists upon the miraculous powers of the church of Rome down to the then present time, and enumerates many miracles which he avers to have been performed since the era of the Reformation. At the conclusion of his catalogue of saints endowed with such powers, he? observes, that."all the persons 50 conspicuous for " these supernatural gifts were zealous members of " the catholic church*;” meaning doubtless to in timate, that, if the catholic church (so the Papists think proper to denominate the church of Ronne) were not the only true church, its members would not have possessed those gifts. Here then we have another instance of the manner in which the church of Rome proved itself to be the only true churck by lying wonders. When that point was once established; when the strong faith of a determined Papist once admitted the reality of those miracles; and when once he drew from them the desired conclusion, that, since none but members of the true church could perform them, the church of Rome whose members did perform them must doubtless be the only true church: the rest would follow of course: no salvation can be had out of the true church; therefore the church of Rome possesses an undoubted power to anathematize and excommunicate all heretics.
7. He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles which he had power to do
* Whitaker's Commenti p. 395--399.
in the sight of the beast ; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image for the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did lire. And he had power to give life unto the beast's image, in order that the beast's image should even speak, and in order that he might cause that as many as would not worship the beast's image should be killed-Before the import of this passage can be determined, its literal meaning must be ascertained.
(1.) The expression the image of the beast, and the expression the beast and his image which elsewhere occurs, are both ambiguous; inasmuch as they may signify either the image, in the sense of the effigies of the beast, or the image which belongs to the beast. Thus the image of Cesar Roman coin means doubtless the effigies of Cesar * ; whereas the image of Micah certainly means the image which belonged to Micah, the image which he had made for himself to be his god t. Had no other expressions then occurred in the Apocalypse except the image of the beast and the beast and his image, we should have been unable positively to determine what precise idea we ought to annex to this image ; but all ambiguity seems to be re- : moved by the manner in which the Apostle introduces his account of it. It is said, the second beast so deceived the inhabitants of the earth by his false miracles, that he induced them to make an
* Matt. xxii. 19, 20, 21.
† Judges xvïi. 31.