Images de page
PDF
ePub

two horns like a lamb: He gored Christ's witnesses with his two horns; or his vile, superstitious management of ecclesiastical and civil tyranny: But he spake as a dragon. Or, his denomination was Christian; but his spirit and views the same, that governed Pagan Rome. The same infernal agent, that managed the one, managed the other. And this Beast grew, till he came to exercise all the power of the first Beast before him, now dead, or of Pagan Rome. The lucrative establishments of Constantine in the Church, (it is said by some,) proved a source of corruption to the bishops of Rome. The city of Rome, under their Gothic kingdom, was suffered to maintain the shadow of her own govern

The citizens fell into contentions and factions; and often found it convenient to apply to the bishop of Rome for a decision of their quarrels. This gave him great importance; which he ambitiously improved; till Boniface III. was by the emperor Phocas constituted Universal Bishop:

This haughty, aspiring prelacy, either then, or in after days, obtained the characteristic of the little horn in Daniel, into whose hands the saints were to be delivered

This Pontifical establishment was ut. terly hostile to the Church of Christ. She now flees into the wilderness. The Romish bishopric now becomes a new Beast, which was to continue to annoy the followers of Christ, during the death of the Roman Beast. But this system of annoyance and hostility was to be veiled under the most sanctimonious Christian profession. So different was it to be from an open avowal of Paganism; while yet in essence it was no better than the preceding Roman Paganism. tem is therefore represented as an image of the first Beast, caused by the Papal Beast to be made, and wholly under his management. A solution of the representation may be given by a simple history of facts. The Romish hierarch, in time, procured the establishment of a system of idolatry and superstition, essentially of the same nature with that antecedently practised in Pugan Rome. One essential feature of the idolatry of Pagan Rome was, paying adoration to deceased heroes and great mcii;

for 1260 years.

This sys

[ocr errors]

constituting them their mediators with the superior gods; and venerating their statues and images. And the essence of this idolatry the Papal Beast caused to be revived. "In the eighth century the worshipping of saints was established by law.”* The names of

" deceased favorites were not selected, as before, from the names of the princes and heroes of Pagan Rome; but from those of the Apostles, and of other eminent Christians. But the nature of the idolatry was es. sentially the same; viz. constituting those deceased Christians, mediators in heaven; and venerating their statues and images; together with establishing many arbitrary rites and doctrines of human invention. This newfangled system of idolatry, under the Christian name, and supported under pretence of obedience to Christ, and of his authority, is strikingly representcd by an image made to the first Beast, or Pagan Rome, and directed by the Papal Beast. The latter gave life to this image, and procured obedience to it, by false miracles, decrees, bulls and canon-laws. The Papal Beast is represented as having power to make this image speak; and to cause, that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed. This he verified by excommunicating, and delivering over to the civil sword all, who would not comply with every order of his superstition. The civil powers throughout his dominions, the German empire especially, the Papal Beast came, in a course of time to manage, chiefly by his sanctimonious influence, as a puppet in his own hands, to enforce his laws and dogmas.”+ And thus

reigned over the kings of the earth; and caused the Roman carth to worship the first Beast, or Pagan Rome, by worshipping his image in the hands of the Papal hierarchy. I

* Scott. The worship of images was established by the second council of Nice in A. D. 787. See Faber, roi. ii, p. 163, 164, 165.

† Rob. Hist. Charles V. vol.iii, p. 185. As to the number of this Beast, and of his name, see in sec. sien i, chapicr ii, of this disscrtation. The Papal Beast caused all his subjects to receive a mark, in their right hands, or in their

[ocr errors]

Several passages occur in the description of this second Beast, which relate to the first Beast, and need

name.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

foreheads: And that none might buy, or sell, if destitute of this mark, and of the name of the Beast, and of the number of his

Repeatedly, in this mystical book, reference is had to this characteristic; chap. xiii, 9. “If any man worship the Beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand; the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Verse 11, “And they have no rest, day nor night, who worship the Beast, and bis image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” In chap. xv, 2— the triumphant saints are described as they, “that had gotten the victory over the Beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” And in chap. xx, 4, the victorious followers of Christ are again described as those, “who had not worshipped the Beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, nor in their hands." Though these descriptions are deeply enigmatical; yet being repeatedly used to distinguish the two great classes from cach other, (the righteous and the wicked,) and at a period, which is still furure; it is of im. portance to form some correct views of their import.

This receiving of a mark, is supposed to be expressed in allusion to an ancient custom, of masters marking their servants, in their forcheads, or in their hands with some characters, according to their pleasure; either with the initials of the nasiers' name; or of their god; or what they pleased. Thus the subjects of the Roman Beast are represented, as designated by a mark Certain things were, in fact, demanded of Roman Cathlics, as essential to their exemption from persecution, and to their peaceable enjoyment of the rigbts of citizens. They must receive and use the sign of the cross. They must cautiously submit to all the superstitious rites of men's invention, attachied to that system; a constant round of real idolatry! The members were strictly watched. And if any absented themselves from mass, or any of their idolatrous rites, they were exposed; and if they persevered in the neglect, they were outlawed, and persecuted. Particularly, they had to perform all their devotions in Latin. This was a distinctive badge of their order. In the catholic church, every thing was done in Latin; mass, prayers, hymns, litanies, canons, decretals, Papal bulls, results of counsels, canon laws, reading the scriptures, preaching, and all the concerns of the church, were transacied in Lalin,

It was peculiarly the Lalin church. The ancient Romans were called the Latins. Latinos was their real, or fictitious founder. This name, in numerals, (as will be shown in another sec!ion,) fornis in Greek, (the language in which the New Testament was first written the number 666. And the word Rumiii, the name of the Roman empire, in Hebrew, (in which the Old Testament

[ocr errors]

explanation. Verses 12 and 14; whose deadly wound was healed;---and which had the wound by the sword

was originally written,) in numerals makes 666. So that the name of the Beast denotes the Roman, and the Latin church. Submit. ting then, to the catholic superstition of perforniing all their devotions in Latin (a language different from their mother tongues,) may be viewed as one mark of the Beast, or of having the number of his name. It was a point with the true witnesses, that they would not conform, in those catholic superstitions, to the Romish church. And hence they were grievously persecuted.

The descriptions, in the above texts, are given with an express view to the people of the old Roman earth. But people beyond those local bounds will be found interested in them. As those, who worshipped the image of the Beast, were as criminal, as those who worshipped the Beast himself; and as all, who shall partake of Babylon's sins, shall, as well as Babylon herself, receive of her plagues; so the people of whatever nation, under gospel light, who shall be found subjects of fatal superstition, of will worship, of hypocrisy, or false religion, will probably be viewed and treated as having virtually the mark of the Beasi. They have the very spirit, and essential character, for which the literal subjects of the Papal Beast were condemned.

They all essentially belong to one class; and will sink together.

The denunciations in the word of God against certain defined characters, will prove equally true and dreadful against all, who shall be found possessed of charcters essentially the same; whatever circumstantial differences (of time, place, or manner,) may attend. They all have the mark of the same class. There are certain characteristic marks which are not affecied by minor circumstantial differences.

In this sense multitudes, beyond the bounds of the old Roman earth; multitudes among us, will be found subjects of the essential mark of the old Papal Beast;—fatally deceived; real idolaters under Gospel light; hypocrites, no better than Roman Catholics, Here let me further note, that the subjects of the Papal Beast were, in fact, in the last days, to assume a new mark, of characteristic infidelity. The nummery of their false religion was to be exposed: And they were to exchange it for atheism. Their system was to be exhibited as a system of blasphemy; as a hab. itation of devils; a hold of every foul spirit; and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. The rod of iron, for the dashing to pieces of the wicked nations, was to be forged in the infernal furnace of the Papacy; the Beast from the bottomless pit, was 10 arise; the tremendous and blasphemous Power of the last days, who was to deny the Father and the Son; and to collect a vast coalition against Zion,-against Heaven! Here was to appear a mark of the Beast, abundantly predicied, and most notorious.

and did live. These passages cannot mean, that the Roman Beast then, in the time of the Papal Beast, was actually alive; that his deadly wound was then actually healed. They are simple references to the description given of the first Beast, in the former part of the chapter. There we have a description of the Beast, symbolizing the civil Roman empire, from its origin, to

)

The Pahal Beast was to bring forth the Antichristian, as her own executioner; and was fatally to fall under his iron grasp.

He was to be distinguished by the mark of blasphemy, and atheism; and also by a mummery of Papal superstition, as a cloak of wickedness. He was to be distinguished by the mark of a most efficacious system of falsehood, imposition and delų. sion; which was to spread over the face of the earth; and to collect the wicked world to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Here was to be a mark of the Beast, to be set upon the foreheads, or hands, of millions who would be seduced with delusive influences and hopes; and ingulfed in ruin. This was to be a mark discerned and distinguished by the Godly; but probably denied by the notoriously wicked. “None of the wicked shall understand: but the wise shall understand.”

The Beast is the great predominant power upon the ground. Mystical Babylon is the same. While Popery was predominant, this was the Beast, and Babylon. But when this was succeed. ed by a greater and predominant power, the latter became the Beast, and Babylon. 'Thesc two powers have their characteristic marks; which, either in the forehead, or in the hand (more evidently, or more covertly) designate their subjects. Those passages which speak of the mark of the Beast, in relation to the time of the Papal supremacy, relate to the Papal mark; which has been noted. And those which speak of the mark of the Beast, in relation to the time of the Antichristian reign, must be viewed as relating to the Antichristian mark. And some passages may have reference to both the marks, or characteris. tics of these fatal systems. The passage Rev. xiv, 9,- seems evidently to relate to the Antichristian mark. The missionary Angel had begun his fight. A sccond Angel announced the fall of Papal Babylon, as accomplished And a third Angel announces the terrors of God against all, who worship the Beast, and receive his mark. The Beast and his mark now, (after the Papal Babylon is fallen,) must relate to the succeeding Power, the Antichristian. His characteristic is atheism, including per. fidy, disorganization, military disposition, and bitterness against Zion. And each distinguishing manifestation of this his char. acteristic, under whatever name, must be viewed as going 10 constiiute his mark; over which the Church milist obtain the vitory, or of which she must be kept clear.

« PrécédentContinuer »