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answer that, in a great degree, it results from the continuity of the symbolic form; and if I am farther questioned for the ultimate reason, I reply that this difference was obviously proper. The ancient Hebrew prophecies, being proposed to a people undistinguished by their literary acquirements, and no long time before their accomplishment, were little likely to have their meaning prematurely penetrated ; but the predi&tions of the apocalypse, had they not been of a darker texture and of a more intricate method, would have been decyphered at a period much too early; since they were to be transmitted to the examination of many successive centuries, and not a few of them were to remain unful. filled, till long after the invention of printing, and the introduction of genuine criticism, should have greatly facilitated their interpretation.

That the papal power is threatened with destruction in the apocalypse is, however, stated with such clearness, as to admit of no ambiguity. This is a point upon which the Protestant commentators are sufficiently explicit and sufficiently copious. But on the various unaccomplished predi&tions of St. John against many of the kings of the earth, they are brief, cautious, and referved. Conscious that in various places of his comprehensive prophecy great political events

are foretold 34, long have they been accustomed to touch all these parts with a very tender hand 35; and the consequences, which necessarily flow from their true import, some among them have been ready in a great degree to disclaim, either from a desire of displaying their ingenuity in the spiritualizing of texts, or from a fear of incurring the formidable charge of political heresy. Dr. Henry More, a learned divine of the church of England, aware that the prophetical books of Daniel and of John are in a considerable degree of a political and revolutionary nature 36, in discufsing this point, has fhrunk from the fair investigation of the question, and was afraid to treat it on its only proper grounds. Willing to evade it, he attached to it ideas which no man can seriously be supposed to hold: he supposes it to be maintained, that the sole tendency of these facred books is to excite the overthrow of the established governments; and, having framed this perverse statement of the argument, he denies, without any hazard of contradi&tion, that the study of the Jewish,' and of the Christian, prophet, primarily tends to the production of such consequences. Some,' fays he (in the preface to his Synophis Prophetica) · have a conceit, that the

34 Dr. Tho. Goodwin (p. 22) conceiving that the apocalypse consists of two great divisions, says, “it is certain, that the subject of both pro'phecies are the fates and destinies of the kingdoms of the world.' In ch. X. the angel of the vision says to St. John, thou must prophesy before many nations and kings, 'that is,' says Dr. Goodwin,' about kings.'

35 Such has been the conduct of commentators in general. That fome of them have spoken with tolerable plaioness, my quotations will shew.


searching into prophecies, especially those of the * apocalypse and of Daniel, tends to nothing else but • faction and confusion, to the trouble and diffettlement

of the affairs of Christendom, and to the hazard of the • subversion of states and kingdoms.' • But,' adds the doctor, it is very rafhly and unskilfully spoken,' to assert that the search into these prophecies of Daniel ' and the apocalypse tends to nothing but tumult and • sedition.' To him, on the contrary, the prophetic visions of St. John appear · friendly to the prerogative


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36 Grotius, appearing to be fully apprized of this, in his enumeration of the unjust causes of national hostility, has written one section purposely to prove, that the fulfilling of scriptural prophecies is no sufficient reason for entering into a war. Book II, ch, 22. sect. 15. of his learned work on the Rights of War and Peace.


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of secular princes 37;' and he repeatedly exults in having fo explained them, that they shall no longer seem to yield encouragement to ' persons to tumultuate against their lawful sovereigns.'

But if the apocalypse does contain predictions hostile to tyrants; if it does afford encouragement to those, who now combat, or shall hereafter combat, under the banner of freedom; I am furnished with no sufficient reason, why these predictions should remain unexplained, or why this encouragement should be cautiously withheld.

In the preface to his Paralipomena Prophetica, Dr. More renews his complaint; and observes, that some interpreters of Daniel and the apocalypse had joined

with the ruin of Antichrist, the abolishing of monar'chy,' supposing, I apprehend, that they would sustain a contemporary destruction. To the comments made on chapters II. and VII. of Daniel he probably in particular alludes. Now since most, if not all the commentators, infer from these chapters, that the European monarchies will at length be destroyed, probably some of the writers, pointed at by Dr. More, might, because it is evident from the prophetic scriptures that the world will continue to exist long after this time, and because mankind must still continue to live under some form of government, therefore with confidence conclude, that the voice of prophecy plainly intimates, that, in the place of monarchies, republics shall every where be established. If the opponents of this learned expositor maintained such a conclusion, we shall cease to wonder at the

37 Notwithstanding all that the doctor has professed in his preface, I apprehend, that he has been forced, in the course of his own commentaries, to embrace some interpretations, altogether hoftile to secular princes.




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warmth which he sometimes discovers, when touching on this subject.

: To comment on the apocalypse, so as to please the, ruling powers, has long been a task of no small difficulty. In the time of Dr. More, to represent even the Roman pontiff as Antichrift was an unpopular doctrine. Mr. Mede had exerted,' says bishop Newton, * more learning and fagacity in explaining the prophe'cies, and in fixing the true idea of Antichrift, than perhaps any writer in any age. But perhaps for this

very reason he was looked upon with an evil eye, ' and (to the disgrace of the times) obtained no pre• ferment.' Indeed it was esteemed a mark of a puritan, and was a certain obstacle to preferment, for * any man to preach that the pope was Antichrift?'.'

That the despotism of princes, as well as of priests, is represented by Daniel and by John, in various parts of their respective prophecies, will, I believe, be satisfactorily evinced in the following chapters. But though the exercise of civil tyranny is foretold, and with clearness, it was not necessary for the prophet to be so minute as in his predictions of ecclesiastical cruelty and usurpation. The former had been practised in almost every region of the world ; and there needed no fupernatural foresight to point out, that it would in future prevail. But the universal prevalence of ecclefiaftical tyranny was an event altogether unprecedented and improbable. Such a predi&tion, if verified, must be confessed to bear on it the marks of having been divinely communicated. In the first century, when the world was heathen, and the religion of Jesus produced its proper effects, what penetration, merely human, could have discovered, that the time would come, when the kings of the earth would

38 Vol. II. p. 400.

give their power and strength 3' to a proud and profligate priesthood, professing Christianity; and that under the pretext of serving a religion, thus mild and pacific, mankind would be slaughtered, and enslaved, and plunged in crimes ?

39 Rev. xvii. 13.



O often are the two-horned and the ten-horned Beasts

mentioned in the apocalypse, and so much depends on the forming of correct ideas respecting them; that, before I proceed to the examination of


part of that facred book, it will be proper to give some account of these emblematic personages. The description of them is principally contained in the xüith chapter. That Horns denote not single kings but 'kingdoms is now agreed by all the commentators; and it is universally admitted by them, however unwillingly it may often be admitted, that the Ten Kingdoms, mentioned by Daniel and by John, are the modern dynasties of the European world which now fubfift.

By Daniel Four Beasts, or oppressive empires, are described. The last of them, having Ten Horns, belongs to the Roman empire, as governed first by the emperors, and afterwards by the Ten Kings, among whom the western empire was partitioned: and it is this emblematic Beast, in its lat state, as existing in the time of these monarchies, which St. John represents in his visions.

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