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our Saviour, when he would have his auditors pay a ' particular attention to what he had been saying, to add, • He who hath ears to hear let him hear.' The subse. quent sentence of the prophet Mr. Pyle thus paraphrases • he will assuredly vindicate the cause of his true religion, * and pull down the antichristian powers that oppress it, by a moft exemplary destruction; and cause his true - and faithful servants to reap the blessings of Chris. ' tianity in safety, glory, and peace.' Perhaps this verse does not merely denounce the destruction of the antichristian monarchies themselves, but may denote more particularly, with respect to individual princes, that the time will come, when he who enslaveth his people shall himself be imprisoned; when he who maketh havock with the sword shall himself be put to death.
I shall next quote from ch. xvii. an important passage, which foretells the overthrow of the antichriftian mo. narchies, briefly indeed, but clearly. And the angel faid unto me--the Ten Horns which thou Jawest are Ten Kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them. That this is not spoken of the conduct of the Ten Kings at any particular time, but of their conduct in general, is clear and indisputable. Can any man then, pretending to the slightest skill in the diction of prophecy, attentively inspect these verses (v. 12, 13, 14), and at the same time entertain a doubt (however ignorant he may be of what has actually passed in the world), whether the mass of European princes have not been eminently hostile to human happiness and to genuine Christianity ?
3' The splendor, luxury, self-interest, martial glory, &c. which pass • for essentials in Christian governments, are totally opposite to the mcek,
As the Roman Western empire was not broken into separate portions, and governed by a number of distinct and independent princes, till several centuries after the delivery of his prophecy, our inspired apostle accordingly apprizes us, that, in his time, the epoch of their dominion was not arrived. They had, as he expresses himself, received no kingdom AS YET. After observing that we do not read in the book of Revelation of any other personage denominated a Beast, excepting the twohorned and the ten-horned Beasts; I shall cite the next clause of v. 12, which asserts, that the Ten Kings receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. The Beast pointed to in this passage the prophet speaks of as distinct from the Ten Kings; and he thereby has admonished us, that he has not here in view the greater of the two Beasts, but the smaller, who has two horns and is the representative of the antichriftian priekhood. • What we translate one hour, poxy sipov, ought,' says Lowman,' to have been translated the same hour or point of
time, as several learned interpreters have juftly ob• served - The Beast then, and the Ten Kings or King• doms, are to be contemporary powers, or to reign at
the same time. These have one mind, i. e. fays Lowman,' they have the same design and intentions. Will it not be suspected by some, that the full exposition of this prophetical clause is this, that, whilst their joint reign fubfifts, I mean that of the antichristian kings and their allies in the priesthood, too many among them will have the same common design of pillaging the property,
humble, self-denying spirit of Christianity; and which focver of these
finally prevails over the other, the present form of the government must • be dissolved.' Hartley on Man, 1749, 8vo. vol. 115 p. 366.
• As for instance Vitringa and bp. Newton.
s Pref. p. 17.
and of ufurping the rights, of mankind ? Besides, in another view, how true an idea do these verses suggest of the despots of Europe! They speak a similar language to some before quoted from ch. xiii. Consult the pages of modern history; and examine, if they have not uni. formly given their power and strength unto the Beast, that has two horns like a lamb ? Have they not, to the authors of spiritual despotism, constantly imparted aid ? Are not these the persons who have most successfully made war with the lamb ? Has not an unlawful power been assumed by them over the religion of Jesus ? When they have not dared themselves to model and to alter it, have they not authorised the claim in a foreign priest or a domestic fynod? Are not the annals of every country, and of almost every period, stained by the blood of the disciples of the Lamb, which they have shed; and have they not levelled their bitterest opposition against those, who have been most distinguished for purity of faith, of practice, and of external worship?
The sentence pronounced against the several antichristian monarchies of Europe in v. 8 and 11 of this chapter, I must not altogether omit. In the former place, it is affirmed, that the Beast having Ten Horns, which at the time of the prophecy had no being, shall arise, and afterwards shall go into perdition, or, as it might have been translated, shall go into destruction. In the latter, it is again said of him, that he goeth into pera dition.
• These Ten Horns,' says an early commentator, ' are • Ten European Kings, and whoever reckons them up, • I find, brings in the Kings of Britain, for one of the • horns of this terrible and fearful monster 6. But this is a subject, on which I shall, for certain reasons which
Haughton on Antichrift, p. 88.
it is not difficult to comprehend, decline entering: and I shall only observe, that though every other European monarchy should stand justly chargeable with notorious · antichristianism, it does not of necessity follow, that that of Great Britain carries upon it the same fatal marks; por, though every other writer on the subject should maintain, that the English monarchy is unquestionably and of course one of the Ten Horns, is it an inevitable inference, that the evidence should strike me with equal force, or that I should entertain the opinion at all? It is, however, apprehended, that on this point the mind of the intelligent and unprejudiced reader will not long besitate to decide.
As the events, foretold by St. John in ch. xvii. are of great importance, and terminate in a manner favourable to the beft interests of mankind, he resumes the subject in ch. xix. And I saw the Beast, and the Kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, (i. e. against Christ) and against his army. And the Beast" was taken, and with him the False Prophet", that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast, and them that had worshipped his image: these were both cast alive into a lake of fire. This passage alike respects the oppressive governments and oppressive hierarchies of the European world. The final overthrow of the antichristian church, says a learned commentator on prophecy, ' will be accomplished in the • subversion of those civil powers, which have been its only and its long support'.' It is nothing,' says a .
o' The Beast and the False Prophet,' i. e, says bp. Newton (in loc.), · Antichristian Powers, Civil and Ecclesiastical." • Mr. Wakefield translates it, the False Teacher.
Commentariss and Ejays ; printed for Johnson, Signature Synergus, p. 48.5.
celebrated writer, ' but the alliance of the kingdom of • Christ with the kingdoms of this world (an alliance' ' which our Lord himself expressly disclaimed), that
supports the grossest corruptions of Christianity; and ' perhaps we must wait for the fall of the civil
powers before this moft unnatural alliance be broken. Calami' tous, no doubt, will that time be. But what convul. * fion in the political world ought to be a subject of la'mentation, if it be attended with so desirable an event ? . May the kingdom of God, and of Christ (that which I
conceive to be intended in the Lord's prayer) truly and ' fully come, though all the kingdoms of the world be re* moved in order to make way for it "0."
Fire is a symbol of destruction; and accordingly the casting of the Beast and the False Prophet into a lake of fire, denotes, to use the words of an early apocalyptical writer upon this passage,' the perpetual ruin of all anti· christian tyranny, and an utter end of all wicked do. · minion". In the 14th v. of the xxth chapter, immediately after the description of the general resurrection and the day of judgment, the fame " language is em. ployed. It is said of Death, that he was cast into a lake of fire. Here also the expression has a figurative accepcation : here also it denotes, not torment, but destruction": here also it is applied, not to a real, but an ideal personage. The ten-horned Beast and the False Prophet
Priestley's Hift. of the Corruptions of Christianity, vol. II. p. 489. u The Irenicon Abridged, by W. Sherwin, 1674, p. 37.
" In the original the two passages vary not at all. In both it is the Agueme te trupos, which our translation arbitrarily renders, in one place, a lake of fire, in the other, the lake of fire.
13 • This lake of fire is but a symbolical notion, or representation of the perpetual continuation and unchangeableness of that state, into which • those matters are reduced, which are said to be thrown therein; implysing, that they shall no more affect mankind, as being to them utterly • destroyed." Darbuz.