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He emerges out of the sea, that is, the mingled people”* of nations, and peoples, and kindreds, and tongues," of which the prodigious extent of the roman empire was made up.t And his seven heads and ten horns, &c. shew that the body of this beast is essentially the very same as that of the
dragon, though somewhat changed in his exterior, and become divers from his predecessors by this disguise. I But he is so well in the interests of the subtil dragon which anciently * presided there, that he yields up to him “his power, and his seat, and great authority." The pope was seated on the throne of the roman emperors, and exercised a universal authority over the same countries, in spirituals pretendedly, but it is well known that the papal influence and power, at which the em perors themselves trembled, and “which sbook
* Jer. xxv. 20; 1. 37; Ezek, xx*. 5
+ Rev. xiii, 7, “and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Rev. xvii. 15, “ The wa. ters where the whore sittetli, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,"
I Dan. vü, 23, 24.
kingdoms,” would brook no controul. “The crowns, formerly on the seven heads of the beast, and which were the symbols of so many forms of government of genuine roman origin, or otherwise “ of the seven,” (a distinction by which this first apocalyptic beast is secured against the claims of all false pretenders, by a mark which cannot be counterfeited,) are here (Rev. xii. 3,—and xiii. 1,) removed from the heads and placed upon the horns. This indicates the great political changes which had taken place when the scene of this vision began. The sovereign power had departed from Rome, symbolized by the heads, and was distributed amongst ten independent kingdoms which had arisen out of its weakness, and were formed of the body of the beast. These crowned horns, formerly provinces under the undivided imperial power, are connected in a new spiritual confederation with the western empire under its last head, the dominancy of the popes, the eighth in order of succession, but only the seventh genuine head. These have no symbolical reference to the eastern branch of empire, for that had now become (by a prior partition in Constantine's family,) a distinct second beast, symbolized in Daniel by the two
legs of the image, (Dan. ii. 33.) as the ten toes express the further division which ensued. But though the crowns were departed, “ the NAME OF BLASPHEMY” still remained upon the heads, which intimates that the conversion from paganism to christianity, had been only that of a beast, having conferred little spiritual improvement upon Rome, for she continued still immersed in deep ignorance of God, and the most blasphemous idolatry.*
* Daniel describes it as "a little help,” (xi. 34,) which bare upon the face of it the marks of its insignificancy, and soon admitted of the recurrence of persecution again.
Mr. Faber sustains a different argument upon the conversion of the empire under Constantine. He seems to think “the name of blasphemy,” (a token by which St. John himself has previously determined this question) had flown away, together with the crowns, and left Rome as clean washed of her bestial qualities, as she was despoiled of her regal power.
In short, he contends that the beast then died, or—was not." The change of principles, he conceives, was the wound by a sword," which the beast received in hiş sixth head; the sword being that of Christ, and it effected the death of the beast himself, which is a circumstance St. John had not told use But when, after a short interval, blasphemy--(which as Mr. F. admits, is only constructive, and means idolatry,)--began to revive, the dead beast then lived again, -or sowas." But I consider this argument as wholly untenable for several reasons,
First, it contradicts St. John twice over, for he says, that ""the name of blasphemy remained ;-or that the heads (iden,
dified with the beast himself, here manifestly), were still idol.
Secondly, this opinion contradicts St. John again, in supposing the death of the beast to have ensued, when it was only his sixth head that fell. But the beast had “seven," of genuine roman growth, and one more supposititious, which served as a connecting link between the imperial head and the papal, both of the seven." The beast therefore did not die, but suffered a great revolution of his heads, being what St. Paul meant by the removal of the ro X&texov, before whose fall, the man of sin could not be set up. The change meant by St. John was therefore a political one, affecting the gov, ernment of Rome, and had nothing to do with principles op religion. The change in that respect is the subject of another separate vision, in which the sword of Michael, the symbol of Christ, achieves a victory (a partial one indeed at that time,) over the pagan dragon, by which he was expelled, ostensibly, from the throne and the altars, but perpetuated his war neve ertheless der a different name and better auspices, The sword was that of ODOACER, and the gothic rule, of short continuance, (ending with Justinian's re-conquest of Rome, and the capture of Vitiges,) was the seventh kingdom, (Rev, xvii. 10.) but was not “ of the seven," any more than BUONAPARTE's kingdom of Rome has been since. Both of these were tyrannies foreign to Rome, and to her wishes and
interests. They held her in a state of vassalage, obtained by the sword of conquest, and maintained by force, destructive to Rome, and not cherishing, like a true head of the beast's own neck. The ancient stile was dropt in both cases, and a new one adopted, the native government put down and expelled from Rome, and the seat of government set up in another place; at Ravenna, by the Goth; at Paris, by the Gaul. During this short interval, Rome (like her beast,) was in a languishing condition of political obscurity and neglect, yet not symbolically dead, because one head more, and a true one, remained. Still an eighth power was to rule at Rome, in greater vigour than before, being of the seven," and possessing all the necessary characteristics of "óseven heads and ten horns," which after the fall of the popedom, in 1808, no power on earth can any more exhibit. In this very manner,
pope was set up by Justinian, as "head over the church, the judge of all, himself amenable to no human judgement ;-in fact an antichrist, or usurper of Christ's divine rights and titles. (Dan. viii. 25,-2 Thess. ii. 4.)
R. Fleming, Mr. Mann, and most others, admit this period to be the foundation of the papal power. It is certainly now proved to have been the true date of the 1260 years, and it is probable, from the very anthorities of Gibbon and Machiavel, which Mr. Faber (Dissert. vol. i. p. 2264) quotes, that the pope now exercised a considerable share of temporal jurisdiction, as a budding little horn of Rome. But this is not very material, as the prophecies do not always refer to actual realities, but often to imaginable subsistences, the claims and pretensions of Antichrist, being most of them ideal, false and wicked, yet not the less the objects of prophecy for that. The popes claimed the possession of temporal sovereignty over Rome,