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The destruction of the vast confederacy, at the battle of the great day, is represented as being partly, if not chiefly effected by the swords of each other. The great city, probably meaning the empire of the Antichristian Beast, is then said to be divided into three parts. (Rev. xvi, 19.) The part of the coalition which is more attached to Popery, or the false prophet, may be one of these three parts, rising in mutiny against the Beast their master, and falling first by the swords of his vassal kings: And thus the execution of the mother of harlots be completely fulfilled. An incipient fulfilment it receives, in events, which were to precede the battle of that great day; as appears in the next section.
I shall close this section with some remarks concerning the ancient horns of the Roman Beast. Expositors have, I believe, generally agreed, that the ancient ten horns of the Roman Beast symbolized ten kingdoms, into which the Roman empire was divided, when the western branch of it was overrun by the northern barbarians, in the fifth and sixth centuries. Sir Isaac Newton, Bp. Newton, Machiavel, and others, have undertaken to find these ten horns. But their catalogues have differed. And they have found it no easy task to present one, which has even plausibility on its side. For those petty barbarian kingdoms were fluctuating and changing like the waves of the sea. It has never been pretended that the number ten, could be found but for a short time among them; and indeed several successive kingdoms on the same ground have sometimes been reckoned to make out the ten.
Is it not possible, that the venerable expositors have been under a mistake upon this point? And that the ten ancient horns of the Roman Beast were designed to represent the different kingdoms or countries existing under the old Roman empire, in its most flourishing state? That empire in the zenith of its power, had indeed its many, if not precisely ten horns, or governments, united under its imperial dynasty. We may probably count the number ten of the vassal kingdoms, under the sixth head of ancient Rome. Italy, Greece,
Macedon, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Charthage, Spain, Gaul, and Britain, were at once under the dominion of Cesar. Should it be said that Greece and Macedon may be reckoned as one kingdom; we may reckon Pontus, bordering on mount Caucasus, early subjugated by the Roman arms, a distinct kingdom from Syria. Or if this reckoning be deemed incorrect, I do not doubt, but that by further reflection and examination into Roman history, we may be able to find precisely ten in the nations, which were under, and which constituted the strength of, the ancient Roman empire. I ask then, why were not these vassal powers to be reckoned the ten horns of the ancient sixth and imperial head of the Roman Beast? That they were to be thus accounted, I apprehend is a truth for the following
1. A horn is an emblem of power. The seven horns of the Lamb, are emblems of his omnipotence. And the ten horns of the Roman Beast appear to be most proper emblems of ten collateral kingdoms, which constituted his power. His power did indeed consist in such a number of kingdoms at once under his command. But,
2. To say that the ten horns of the Roman Beast were the ten parts, into which the empire was divided, in the fifth and sixth centuries, after it was subverted by terrible Divine judgments, and by legions of victorious barbarian invaders, seems to give a most lively representation of the weakness instead of the power of the Roman Beast. To represent the scattered fragments of a once powerful empire, by so many horns of that empire, one would be apt to construe as ironical! The notable horn, between the eyes of the Macedonian hegoat was an emblem of his then present power in Alexander. And though four horns, which arise after this is broken, symbolize the division of Alexander's empire to his four generals, yet full notice is given that they were to be subsequent, and inferior to the first notable horn. But we could hardly construe the one notable horn, even had we not been informed it was the first king, as being some king to arise a number of cen
turies after the period of the greatest strength of the he-goat, and even after he was destroyed. When the prophet informs us of the Most High having horns coming out of his hands, and there was the hiding of his power, we naturally construe this as a symbol of the present Divine omnipotence, as well as of some certain act of judgment against his enemies. And when we read, Dan. vii, 7, of the fourth Beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, having great iron teeth, devouring and breaking in pieces, stamping the residue with his feet, and having ten horns; we should not naturally believe, that these ten horns were designed to symbolize the broken fragments of the empire of this Beast, after the period of his power was long past, and his dominions had fallen under the ravages of succeeding barbarous nations.
3. The Roman Beast was dead of his wound given by Constantine, long before the division of his empire took place. The sixth, the imperial, the most mischievous head of this Beast, was wounded to death, in the revolution from Paganism to Christianity. The Roman empire then ceased to be a Beast. This Beast had been; but now was not; Rev. xvii, 11. Nothing more was to be seen of him, except in his image in the power of the Papal Beast, Rev. xiii, 14, till he should revive in his own avowed, as well as real Pagan nature, under his seventh head, and should have his deadly wound completely healed under his eighth head, which is of the seven, being specifically the sixth revived; ascending, in the last days, from the bottomless pit; and going into perdition. How then can we conceive that some kingdoms, which should rise out of the broken mass of the empire, some centuries after it became Christian, and the old Beast was dead, should be represented as his horns? The Papal horn might be represented as a horn of this Beast, though he rose after the Beast was dead. For notice is given that his rising was to be afterward: And another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first; Dan. vii, 24. But can we infer from this representation, that all the ten horns were to rise into existence long after the death of the
Beast? Let us examine the propriety of such a 'representation. We find the Antichristian Beast of the last days has his ten horns; Rev. xvii, 12. Now, could it be proper to view the ten horns of the Antichristian. Beast as symbolizing some future kingdoms, to arise on the ground, and out of the broken mass of the Antichristian empire, some centuries after Antichrist is no more? Are they not designed to symbolize the vassal kingdoms under the very dominion, and which constitute the strength of Antichrist? The latter no doubt is the fact. And why did not the same thing hold true of the ten horns of his precursor, the ancient sixth head of the Roman Beast, which is mystically revived in Antichrist? Why is it more proper to view the ancient ten horns as coming into existence long after the power, and even the actual existence of the Roman Beast became extinct, than to view the ten horns of Antichrist as coming into existence long after Antichrist himself shall have gone into perdition? If the vassal kingdoms, actually under the power of Antichrist, be his ten horns; why were not the vassal kingdoms actually under the power of the ancient Imperial head of the Roman Beast, the ten horns of that Beast?
Another argument in favor of this opinion is found in Dan. ii, 44; And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and it shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms; and it shall stand for ever. In the days of what kings? Those represented by the preceding ten toes of the great image; which must have been the same with the ancient ten horns of the Roman Beast. In their days the God of heaven was to set up his kingdom. This must, at least primarily, refer to the coming of Christ in the flesh, to set up his Gospel kingdom. But if this was to be in the days of those kings, which constituted the ten toes of the image, and these were the ten horns of the Roman Beast, then the vassal kings under Imperial Rome, at the commencement of the Gospel dispensation, were indeed those ten horns. Consequently they could not have been the kingdoms, into which the Ro.
man empire was divided in after ages. It was so far from being in the days of the latter, that the God of heaven set up his kingdom, in any peculiar sense; that it may rather be said to have been in their days, that Satan was suffered to erect the Papal and Mohammedan pillars of his kindgom; and the Church of Christ fled into the wilderness for 1260 years.
This passage in Dan. ii, 44, is one of those predic. tions, which are constructed with a view to receive a twofold accomplishment. Its first accomplishment has been just noted. But its ultimate one is still future, and will be fulfilled in the destruction of Antichrist, with his ten horns; and the introduction of the Millennium. The latter event is clearly connected with the passage. The Stone cut out of the mountain without hands, is to smite the image upon the feet; (the parts of it then in power) upon which the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, are dashed in pieces, and like chaff are blown away; and the Stone becomes a great mountain, and fills the world. This will be fulfilled in the battle of that great day of God Almighty, and the subsequent Millennium. But though this be the ultimate fulfilment of the passage, it had a primary fulfilment in the apostolic age; in which we learn that the primitive ten horns of the Roman Beast were then in existence.
There is one passage, which at first view may seem to militate against this interpretation; viz. Dan. vii, 24, And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings, which shall rise; and another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. This may seem to indicate, that these ten kingdoms were to be at some period subsequent to the Roman empire; or were to rise from its ruins. But the text does not necessarily convey such an idea. If the arguments in favor of the forementioned scheme, be conclusive, and this text be fairly capable of receiving a construction, which accords with it, such a construction must obtain. The ten horns, according to the scheme above given, did indeed rise out of the Roman empire. The Roman government was first.