Images de page

The Apostle had often conversed with the Thessalonians about the Pope and the Roman Emperor, who, whilst he continued would hinder the Pope from attaining the object of his ambition. "Remember ye not that when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" The Thessalonians were well acquainted with this subject, for the Apostle adds, "Ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.," They were therefore to suffer no one to" deceive them by any means," for "that day," viz. the day of the coming of the Lord Jesus, should "not come except there come a falling away (an apostacy, or rather THE APOSTACY, "H ATоçαola) first" and then should the Man of Αποςασια) Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition (this very Beast who "goeth into perdition," Rev. xvii. 11.) who opposseth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, (literally august or imperial power oßaσμa) so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. iii. 4-6.)




-Verse 1.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

IN a following chapter, (chap. xi.) we shall show that the Papacy is "the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is." (Rev. xvii. 8.) And this must be carefully -borne in mind; otherwise we shall never be able to explain in what manner the seven heads, when considered as CONSECUTIVE heads, five of which had fallen in St. John's time, (Rev. xvii. 10.) are heads of the Papacy. Our belief is that the Beast" like unto a leopard" is Daniel's fourth Beast in its second state. As the Prophet dwells in his description upon this second state, so the apostle; only with greater minuteness. Considering the Heads as Consecutive Heads, five had fallen in St. John's time, viz. Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes with consular authority. Now, whatever interpretation may

be put upon the Beast, the question will arise, 'How could the Beast be said to have seven heads, when he rose out of the sea, since five of those heads were already fallen? And in what sense are the five fallen heads, Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, with Consular authority, heads of the Beast?

We apprehend that the main difficulty of interpreting the Beast lies here. Bishop Newton believed the Beast to be the Papal Secular Roman Empire: but he has not shown in what manner those Pagan forms of government, Kings, Consuls, &c. were heads of the Papal Roman Empire.

The only answer that can be given in order to solve this enigma, is that given by the angel, who calls the Beast, THE BEAST THAT WAS, AND IS NOT, AND YET IS. The Beast is throughout but one Beast, namely, Daniel's fourth Beast. Paganism and Popery are both ONE. Popery is Christianity heathenized it is heathenism Christianized. The heads of the Pagan are therefore considered as heads of the Papal Roman Empire.

But there is another interpretation given of the heads of the Beast by the Angel. They are considered not only as CONSECUTIVE, but as CONTEMPORANEOUS heads. And this interpretation we will now proceed to consider.

The Spirit of God which gave the vision has furnished us with the explanation.

"Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are SEVEN MOUNTAINS ON WHICH

THE WOMAN SITTETH." (xvii. 9.) Now it appears to us that these heads will have a twofold meaning, according as we consider the woman to be the city or the church of Rome.


If we take the words of the angel literally, "The woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth,” (Rev. xvii. 18,) then that great city is ROME, and the seven heads are the seven hills on which Rome is seated. certainly the city of Rome could not be more clearly described, without mentioning it by name. We love not to multiply quotations. We shall content ourselves with the authority of Propertius, of Mr. Gibbon, and, above all, of GANGANELLI, POPE CLEMENT XIV. That Rome is exalted on seven hills, and presides over the whole world, is concisely expressed in the following line from Propertius.

[ocr errors]

'SEPTEM urbi alla jugis, toti quæ præsidet orbi.' The following quotation is selected from the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, because it occurs in a passage in which Mr. Gibbon is treating of the misery of Rome, the very sea' out of which the Beast rises. "In a season of excessive rains, the Tiber swelled above its banks and rushed with irresistible violence into the valleys of THE SEVEN HILLS." (Vol. viii. p. 159).

But perhaps the most remarkable description of Rome is that given by a Pope! It occurs in a letter of GANGANELLI, POPE CLEMENT XIV. to his friend the abbé FERGHEN. Having mentioned several places, which he wishes the abbé to visit, the Pope


proceeds thus :-'You will then descry Rome, which may be seen a thousand years, and always with pleasure. The city, situated on SEVEN HILLS, which the ancients called the seven mistresses of the world, seems from thence to command the universe, and boldly to say to mankind, that she is the Queen and the Capital.' Let any impartial person compare this description of Rome, given by a Pope, with Rev. xvii. 9, 18; xviii. 7, and then deny, if he can, that Babylon is Rome.

And, with respect to Rome being "the city which reigneth over the kings of the earth," it was expressly stated by the ancient synod of Chalcedon, that the privileges which were granted to the Roman bishop, were granted to him because that city reigned,' 'dia το βασιλεύειν πολιν εκείνην. The empress Placidia said of Rome that she was • δεσποινα πασων των γεων.

[ocr errors]

the mistress of all lands,'

(For these last two quotations, see Dr. Barrow on the Pope's Supremacy.)

[ocr errors]

As Rome boasted to be the unproλs or mother-city, so the church of Rome boasts to be the mother of all churches. In the creed of Pius IV she is called the holy, catholic, apostolic Roman church, the mother and mistress of all churches.' We know that in Scripture a city is emblematical of a church. In this very book of Revelation it is so used. And I John saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." (Chap. xxi. 2.) The church of Christ is here identified (not indeed with the city of Rome)

« PrécédentContinuer »