« AnteriorContinuar »
of the Beaft should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive. a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, fave he that had the mark, or the name of the Beast, or the number of his name“.
The distinction between the Beasts, the one as Civil, the other as ECCLESIASTICAL, is so obvious as to have been early pointed out. Joseph Mede?, whose death took place in the year 1638, and Cradock, whose commentary was published near the close of the last century, both embrace this distinction without hefitation; and Mr. Durham, whose Exposition appeared in 1660, no. tices it, as adopted by different learned interpreters.
The former Beast,' says Dr. Wall,' represents the Secu• lar Power of the Roman empire (as it was now in the 'Ten Horns), and this the Pontifical?.' The Second • Beast,' says Dr. Cressener, is a succession of eccle* fiaftical persons having the supreme power in ecclefi
astical affairs.' The two-horned Beast may represent, says Waple, the antichristian power of the clergy.' • This Beast,' says Daubuz, “represents a succession of • heads, having under them the whole body of the cor* rupted clergy.' Like Waple and Daubuz, Dr. More warns his readers, that it is not exclusively to be understood of the church and clergy of Rome. . This emblematic personage, says Mr. Evanfon, is afterwards called • the false prophets, that is, a Teacher of a false religion ; • it plainly denotes therefore the ecclesiastical ministry of
· X111. 11-19
• P. 619. It was in the ged year of his age, and at Chrik's College, Cambridge, where he had spent the greatest part of his life, that this excellent man died.
3 Critical Notes on the New Test, in loc,
the antichristian superstition. All,' say's Vitringa,
discern, that by this Beast is signified a certain body of 'false teachers; since this is abundantly clear from the • attributes of this Beast, which attributes we shall pre* fently consider, as well as from a following part of the
prophecy, wherein this Beast is denominated the false teacher.'
To interpret the two-horned Beast exclusively of the church of Rome is, I apprehend, altogether an error. Those, however, who attribute to it the greatest extent of import, will generally be perfectly ready to admit, that Rome has been the head-quarters of facerdotal usurpation; and that its practices and policy have been imitated by other churches, though upon a contracted scale.
Widely did the two Beasts differ in their mode ot rising. Whilst the Beast, having Ten Horns, was seen rising up out of the sea, i. e. to use the words of Mr. Pyle,' out of the people and nations of the world, that * were in great agitation like a stormy ocean ;' the twohorned Beast appeared to the apostle coming up out of the earth, i. e. from among the antichristian part of mankind, from among men, devoid of the love of truth, ready to follow the multitude in every folly, and princin pally intent on gratifying the passions of ainbition or of interest. If we appeal to fact, we shall assuredly find, that it is to men of this character, that clerical usurpation owes its early growth, its maturer strength, and the fond. ness with which it is still cherished in its declining years. Was it not by them, that false doctrines were first arbitrarily imposed upon the mind, that superstitious practices were introduced into the church, and the engines of persecution fet in motion ? That this is an established symbolic sense of the word earth will be shewn in a
future page. But it is not the only sense. Sometimes it is the symbol of the great body of the people. Poffibly it may be so here, and in its import may be opposed to the word sea. The former is an emblem of tranquil character; the latter denotes commotion and turbulence. The ecclefiaftical Beast may then, as Mede? and Peganius explain the words, be said to
' out of the earth, not by a violent conflux of a * multitude of people, as the Temporal governments arise--but filently, by degrees, and unheeded.'
This emblematic personage is said to have two horns like a lamb, i. e. fays Daubuz, .a pretended power like • that of the Lamb.' When we refle&t, says bp. Hurd, ' that horns, in the prophetic style, are the emblems of
power, and that a lamb is the peculiar, the appropriated symbol of Christ,-and is constantly so employed
throughout this whole prophecy of the Revelations, . we must, of necessity, conclude, that a beast with the • horns of a lamb can only be a state, or person, pre
tending to such powers as Christ exercised, and his re• ligion authoriseth ; that is, powers, not of this world, .but purely fpiritual". The antichristian priesthood, whom the two-horned Beast represents, affe&t to teach the doctrines of Christ, to be animated with his fpirit, and possessed of his authority. They accordingly assume the high prerogatives of being judges over the confcience, and the decisive interpreters of the will of heaven. As if pofleffed of infallibility, they despotically appoint, what articles of faith are to be believed, and what modes of worship are to be practised. The horns, says Mr. Pyle, have been interpreted • of the several powers this Beast pretended to have a right to exercife.
-But perhaps, after all, the horns might be here men
7 P. 629.
8 Vol. II.
tioned by St. John only as part of the description of
the lamb; the appearance whereof this Beast now af• fected to take
hin.' . When it is said, that the ' Beast spake as a dragon, the meaning is,' says bp. Hurd, ' that Antichrist should assume the highest tone of ' civil authority in promoting his tyrannous purposes, though he cloked his fierce pretensions under the meek resemblance of a spiritual character?'
It is indeed said of him (v. 12), that he exerciseth all the power of the first Beaf10; and closely does this correspond with fact. Princes and nobles, during almost the whole period of modern history, have either lodged an ample share of the power and property of the state in the hands of pontiffs and.of priests; or guaranteeing their possession of it, have supported them in their daring usurpation over the rights of conscience.
But in purfuing this line of conduct, wicked as it may be, their interest" they undeniably consult. Accordingly it immediately follows, that the two-horned Beast"? causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the firf Beast"3. This is the alliance between church and
• Vol. II. p. 161.
10 The two-horacd Beast is also said to exercise the power of the first Beaf BLFORE HIM; i. e. says Mr. Sam. Clarke, by the permission of 'the several princes, and in their dominions, and with their authority.' In agreement with this, this respectable annotator observes (on Rev. xvi. 13), that the Beast signifies the 'Antichristian Civil Powers, and the Falfo Prophet, the Antichristian Ecclesiastical Powers.'
" The line of interest and of policy they did, however, unwarily overstep, when, in a period of the dark ages, they raised the facerdotal body to such a pitch of aggrandisement, as to render it formidable to themselves.
13 The ecclesiastical Beast, says Whifton (p. 244), "by joining with them, procures' them a blind obedience from their subjects.”
"3 Daubuz, upon this verse, pertinently cites the following passage from cardinal Palavicini. • The monarchies would not be durable for
fate, the benefits of which have been so loudly founded. Of priests in all countries, too many have been ready to propagate the detestable doctrine of passiye obedience and non-resistance, and to aid the crown in the depresfion of civil liberty 14. To this reciprocity of assistance is to be ascribed the continuance of many of the grievances of mankind.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men; that is, the antichristian priesthood are possessed of such power, as to cause persecution's to come down from those invested with the civil government upon their subjects; and this is done, not privately and by ftealth, but in the hight of men, i. e. publicly. To prove that heaven is a symbol signifying the civil government or governors, repeated authorities will hereafter be cited. That this prediction has been amply verified, the annals of Europe too clearly testify, when they give an imperfect narrative of the millions, whose flaughter has been instigated by the priesthood.
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, ly the means of those miracles 16 which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast. Since it is plain, that the Deity would not permit the antichristian priesthood to work real miracles; the import of the words may be, that they would raise themselves into the favour of princes and of
the insolencies of innovators without the interposition of the spiritual • authority; and by that means the number of plots and rebellions is • much less.'
14 · All disloyalty and disrespect 'shewn to princes, says the learned Bingham (in his Antiquities of the Christian Church), was always severely "chaftised by the laws of the church.' B. xvi. c. 9.
15 Not only is fire the symbol of destruction in general, but, as Daubuz obferves on this verse, of persecution in particular.
16 The word translated miracles need not have been so translated. In the preceding verse it is rendered wonders.