« AnteriorContinuar »
(Rev. vi, from the 12th verse to the end,) in the revołution under Constantine; when the sixth head received its deadly wound. And the same head, at the close of his last reign, will sink into perdition, under that awful appearing of the day of the Lord, to which that former event may be viewed but as a prelude. These reigns of the sixth head of the Roman Beast are mumerically two. In this sense the last is the eighth head. But they are specifically one; and mystically represented as one. In this sense the last head is of the seven; being the sixth, healed of its deadly wound.*
* The idea of the late author, that the last head of the Roman Beast arose in Charlemagne, or was in a measure fulfilled in the subsequent German emperors, appears to me incorrect, for the following reasons,
1. The Carlovingian dynasty was destitute of the first essential characteristic of the last head of the Roman Beast, Atheism. I think there is conclusive evidence that the last head of the Roman Beast and Antichrist are the same. At least, it is evident that the last head of the Roman Beast is an Atheist. But was Charlemagne an Atheist? So far was he from this, that he was even a zealot for the cause of the Catholic religion. In 772 he turned his arms against the powerful nation of the Saxons, in the confines of Germany, in order to abolish their idoltry, and lead them to embrace the Christian Religion. Perhaps his motives were not evangelical. But this piece of history shows that he had not the character of an Atheist. In 775, 776, and 780, he pursued his wars upon the same ferocious people; in hopes of bringing them into the pale of the Christian Church.t
This mighty emperor, called by Guthrie, (p. 427) “the glory of those dark ages,” having Spain, France, Germany, and part of Italy, under his dominion, confirmed to the Popes the grant made by his father Pepin, king of France, of the Exarchate of Ravenna; and he enlarged the donation. And he was, in 800, crowned by the Pope, king of the Romans. Mr. Lowman obscrvest “Charles the Great, like another Constantime, seemed to have laid the foundation of-a state of great outward prosperity for thc Church.” Dr. Mosheim says, “The reign of Charlemagne had been singularly auspicious to the Christian cause. The life of that great Prince was principally employed in the most zealous efforts to propagate and establish the religion of Jesus among the Hans, Saxons, Friesland.crs, and other unenlightened nations.” Vol. II. p. 162.,
* See Mosheim, vol. ii, p. 47, 48. f on Bev. xvi, 2.
The old Roman Beast had ten horns. And this revived new head of the same Beast has ten horns. The Angel informs, verse 12, And the ten horns which
Surely these things do not appear like the Atheistical characteristic of Antichrist, or the last head of the Roman Beast. And the succeeding emperors of Germany were far from having the character of Atheists. Indeed the same objection lies against the Carlovingian dynasty’s constituting the Beast from the bottomless pit, or Antichrist, that lies against the Papal hierarchy’s constituting Antichrist. For both alike were firm supporters of the Catholic Religion. And I can conceive of no more propriety in representing Charlemagne as instituting the system, which the French Emperor has perfected, than in supposing that Peter the Great did the same; or than in saying, the image of the Beast (Rev. xiii, 14,) is the Beast himself. The powers are wholly distinct Indeed the family of Charlemagne was expelled from the government of Germany in the year 880. 2. The last head of the Roman, Beast has ten horns; ten vassal kingdoms; as we shall see in the chapter under consideration. But the Carlovingian dynasty did not possess vassal kingdoms, which were sufficient to accord with this representation. 3. It has already been noted, that two Beasts cannot exist on the same ground, at the same period. It is as great a solecism, as to say, there are two captain generals in an army; or that each one of two things is the greatest. A Beast symbolizes a great ruling power of opposition to the cause of Christ. And surely there can be but one such power on the same ground, at the same time. Every subordinate branch is but a horn of the dominant Beast. The Papal Beast had two horns. He managed two systems of influence, ecclesiastical and civil. These by their Christian profession were rendered horns of the lamb. But neither of them could form a separate Beast. The Beast to which they belonged, was but one, the Papal Beast, the Hierarchy. But the Papal Beast was in existence many centuries after the reign of Charlemagne; yea, till the revolution in France. Then his throne was overturned; his whole kingdom was for the first time, filled with darkness, and he ceased to be a Beast. After this the Papal hierarchy is called, the false frofuhet; because another power, hostile to the Church, becomes predominant. But all this clearly implies, that the last head of the Roman Beast was not in existence in the days of Charlemagne: Nor can his origin be carried back to this early date, as will be noted. The two Beasts could not exist collaterally. This is the force of the argumcht used by Paul, 2 Thes, ii, 6, 7, 8; and now ye
thou sawest, 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
know what withholdeth that he (the man of sin, or the Papal Beast) might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he, who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the shirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. The spirit of this apostacy had a long previous existence. But it could not prevail to constitute the man of sin, or the Papal Beast, so long as the Roman empire, which let or hindered, was in existence. The Roman emperors would not suffer ecclesiastical power to grow to such an height, while they held their authority: Or, the two powers could not each predominate at the same time. And in like manner the last head of the Roman Beast could not exist, during the predominance of the Romish hierarchy, the Papal Beast. The latter in his turn must cease to exist as a Beast, or a dominant power, when the former rises into existence. But the Papal Beast did exist, till his throne was subverted, and his kingdom filled with darkness, upon the rise of Antichrist in France. Consequently the last head of the Roman Beast did not rise till then. 4. It is a characteristic of the last head of the Roman Beast, that he is bearing the Papal harlot to her judgment, or execution, as has been shown." Popcry is borne, or managed, by the Antichristian Beast, as a mere tool of an ambitious policy; and is going to be plunged by his agency into total destruction, as we learn, Rev. xvii, 16. But this thing cannot have been said of the Carlovingian government. For this was a firm supporter of Popery. Notwithstanding the ruptures sometimes existing between the Popes and the Emperors, yet the latter were firm supporters of the Papal religion. And the German cmpire was not the executioner of the Papal harlot. The Carlowingian dynasty was destitute then, of this essential feature of the last head of the Roman Beast, that he is bearing the harlot (presented for execution) to the scaffold; and that his horns are to hate her, and burn her with fire. But the present French Empire has this, as well as every other feature of the last head of the Roman Beast. And this is not the German empire continued; but is of a new, and characteristic origin. 5. The last head of the Roman Beast was not to exist for so long a term, as to admit that Charlemagne was the origin of it. The predictions concerning this terrible infidel Power all go to evince, that his cristence was to be but short. He was to arise, not in the latter days with Popcry:t but in the last days. This
give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King
know also, that in the last days, fierilous times shall come." He was not to continue a long course of centuries. But his existeace was to be short; his ruin, at his origin, was to be even at the doors. Peter, predicting the agents of this power, says, Denying the Lord who bought them; and bringing usion themselves swift destruction. Their judgment, he informs, lingereth not; and their damnation slumbereth not. This is the Beast, that ascendeth out of the bottomless flit, and goeth into herdition. —He is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into fierdition. This latter clause is thus repeatedly added, as though his destruction were united with his very origin. This is a prominent idea in the predictions of this Power. Soon after this development he meets his fatal overthrow. But was this veriffed in the Carlovingian dynasty? Or, are these predictions consistent with the prosperous existence of this last head, for more than a thousand years; i. e. for 1050 years at least? Impossible! The origin of this Power must have been of recent date. Or, if it have not appeared in France, it must be still future. We find nothing of the Roman Beast, after his deadly wound inflicted by Constantine, till the revolution in France; excepting his image in the management of the Papal Beast. The latter held the ground, till his kingdom was filled with darkness, at the rise of Antichrist. But this Papal was not the great Roman Beast. Should it appear to any difficult to admit, that the Roman Beast should lie dead for so long a time; let them remember, that such an event does accord with the tenor of the prophetic writings. Elias lay dead many centuries, before he lived again in John the Baptist. Many of those, Rev. xx, 4, who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, had lain dead for a longer term, than did the Roman Beast, before they rose, in their successors, to live and reign with Christ, at the commencement of the Millennium. And the rest of the dead, (the wicked; Gog and Magog, slain at the battle of the great day) remain extinct through the Millennium. Then they rise again, in their successors at the close of the Millennium; Gog and Magog usion the four quarters of the earth, Rev. xx, 5–8. Here we find the same Power mystically, rising again, or living a third time. Antichrist goes into perdition, at the battle of the great day, under the denomination of Gog, the land of Magog lozek. xxxviii, and xxxix. And after lying dead through the Millennium, he mytically rises again under the same denomination; Gog and Magog. The rest of the dead (Rev. xx, 5) now live again for a
of kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chosen, and faithful. And the ten horns, which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. These ten horns have been supposed to be the same with the ten horns of the ancient Roman Beast. But this must be a mistake. Expositors have met with insuperable difficulties, in their attempts to find, in the ancient horns of
short space, to prepare the way for Christ's final coming.” The idea is the same, with that of type and antitype. And these are often at a greater distance from each other, than were the days of Constantine from the French revolution. There were upwards of 1800 years intervening between the events in Dan. xi, 35, and those in the verse succeeding. The former verse relates to Antiochus; and the latter to the antitype of Antiochus. Yet the reading seems to indicate an uninterrupted series of events. In Psalm lxxii, two systems of events are predicted as one, in an uninterrupted series; which events were yet 3000 years apart; the reign of Solomon; and the reign of Christ, in the Millennium. Numerous are the Scripture instar.ces of this kind. Antichrist is Babylon raised up again, Rev. xvi, 19. But we find a longer time between the fall of ancient Babylon, and the rise of Antichrist, than between the revolution under Constantine, and the French revolution. It therefore fully accords with the usual imagery of prophetic writings, to represent the ancient Pagan Roman empire, and the present French empire, by one Beast with as many heads, as the Roman empire has had forms of government; with one of these heads wounded to death; but now healed; and the world wondering after him; even though the last head had lain wounded to death for many centuries. We have special notice of this long death. The Beast was, and is not, and yet is. This clause, and is not, shews that for a long time he had not actual existence; and yet is; he had a mystical existence; or he was again to rise: As it is again expressed, The Beast, that thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend 911t of the bottomless fit, and go into fierdition. Here he was to be in a state of non-existence, till he should, in the last days, ascend out of the bottomless pit, to go into perdition. His rise under diabolical agency was to be but a short time before his fatal overthrow.
"See sect, iii, chap. iii, of this dissertation,