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but the lives of those Christians who were situated within his territories. The friends of Christ in Popish countries have since the Reformation been persecuted with increased violence. In the ordinary measures of legal process, persecution has indeed diminished; it has in a manner been shamed out of countenance by the prevalence of tolerant principles :. but the more it has been restrained in this way, the more violent have been its ebullitions in a way of occasional outrage. Of this the massacre of Paris in 1572, the cruelties in the valleys of Piedmont in 1655, and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, are horrible examples.
From the times of the Reformation, the church of Christ had in a manner come out of the wilderness. Having obtained a degree of legal protection in several nations, its members were not obliged as heretofore to retire into woods and mountains and caves, nor to have recourse to midnight assemblies for the purpose of hearing the gospel : but after these renewed persecutions the woman is obliged to fly a second time into the wilderness, as to her wonted place of refuge. Such has been the state of the Protestants in all popish countries ; such has been their state in France from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, to the Revolution in 1789, though of late they were treated with less severity than formerly, being allowed to meet in the day-time, only under military inspection. Nor was it in popish countries only that the wrath of the dragon vented itself. A portion of the poison, of a persecuting spirit was found among Protestants, even in our own country, from the Reformation to the Revolution of 1688. If one place was more distinguished than another as affording a shelter for the woman at the time of this her second flight, I suspect it was North America, where the church of Christ has been nourished, and may continue to be nourished during the remainder of the 1260 years. And as to those parts of the church which still exist in a state of insecurity, the serpent has not been suffered to make a full end of them; they are nourished by the word of God, and shall doubtless survive the reign of antichristian corruption and persecution.
The flood of waters cast after the woman by the dragon, and the war made on the remnant of her seed, referring, as it appears, to the latter end of the 1260 years, may be something yet to come. It is not impossible that persecution may yet be revived. The antichristian cause can hardly be supposed to expire without some deadly struggles. Indeed it is in the very act of making war on him that sitteth upon the horse, and his army," that the beast and the false prophet will be taken;" and which seems to be the same war which is here made with the “remnant of the woman's seed.”
Should a flood of persecution yet be in reserve for the church of Christ, it may be the last effort of an expiring foe; and from that the earth will preserve her by swallowing it up; it may be in some such way as the invasion of Philistines preserved David, or as political struggles have often been favourable to Christians, by furnishing those who wished to persecute them with other em. ployment. The dragon, provoked by his want of success against the woman, may vent his malice on the remnant of her seed that are within his reach ; but his time is short. His agents “ the beast and the false prophet,” will soon be taken ; and the Angel, with a great chain in his hand, shall next lay hold of him, and cast him into the bottomless pit.
THE THIRD GENERAL DESCRIPTION: OR, THE BEAST WITH SEVEN
HEADS AND TEN HORNS.
Chap. xiii. 1-10.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns ; and
his horns ten crowns ; and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: aud the dragon gave him his power and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded to death ; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast : and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forly and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in hea. ven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations, 8 And all that droell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are' not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. y If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity,
shall into captivity: He that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
The apostle, in vision, standing as upon the sea-shore, sees beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon bis heads the name of blasphemy.” A beast rising out of the sea is an empire opposed to God and his Christ, rising out of the perturbed state of things in the world.
The description given of this beast leaves no doubt of its being the same as the fourth beast in the seventh chapter of Daniel, namely, the Roman Empire; with only a few circumstantial differ
Daniel viewed it in its whole duration, whereas John describes it with special reference to its last or papal form; Daniel says nothing of its beads, which John does; and lastly, Daniel speaks merely of the ten horns pertaining to the beast, but John describes them as having " crowns," which shows that the times referred to are those in which the western empire would be overthrown, and out of it arise ten independent kingdoms.
This seven-headed and ten-horned beast does not appear to be the Pope, or Popedom, nor the Church of Rome; but that secular power which has supported the Church of Rome through the whole of her corrupt and bloody progress. The beast is not the harlot, but that on which the harlot rides. That which has been denominated The Holy Roman Empire, of which sometimes a French and sometimes a German monarch has been the head, seems to be the government principally intended, as being the great supporter of that church. It is not this government, however, exclusive of that of the other European nations, but merely as a principal amongst them. The ten horns were not distinct from the beast, but constituent parts of it. Europe, prior to the Reformation, was a family of nations, united in respect of religion by one ecclesiastical head. As nations they were independent, and ofter engaged in war with one another; but in supporting the church they were united. The beast is indeed distinguished from its horns,
other beast may be, while yet the horns are constituent parts of it. The ten horns are said to "agree and to give their kingdom to the beast (Chap. xvii. 17.): that is, they united with the emperor in supporting the church. Things were so managed indeed by the church that the rulers of every nation in Christen
dom were in a manner compelled to unite in her support. “ All the civil powers were obliged by the Council of Latteran, to take an oath, on pain of ecclesiastical censures, that they would endeavour to exterminate all who were declared heretics by the church out of their dominions ; and if any prince or ruler refused to do so, after admonition, it was to be certified to the Pope, who should declare all his subjects absolved from their allegiance, and any Catholic was free to sieze his dominions.” Such was this monstrous beast, and such the means used by his rider to guide and govern bim.
Of the heads and horns of the beast we shall have occasion to speak hereafter more particularly. At present we may observe, he is described as possessing the properties of the first three of Daniel's four beasts, a leopard, a bear, and a lion, each ferocious and destructive : and whereas the dragon is said to have given him his authority, the government, though professedly Christian, was under the influence of the wicked one. After the empire became Christian, the dragon for a while seemed to take the work of seducing and persecuting men into his own band (Chap. xii. 16.) ; but he is nøw contented to transfer it to the beast as a kind of deputy under him. Ver. 2.
" I saw one of his heads (continues the apostle) as it were wounded to death, and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast." To understand this, we must know what is meant by the heads of the beast, and this we must learn from Chap. xvii. 7-11. They are there said to be “ mountains on which the woman sitteth, and seven kings, five of which are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come.” not one of the seven mounlains that was “ as it were wounded to death,” but one of the seven kings, or governments, or forms of government, under which Rome existed. These, according to Tacitus, the Roman Historian, were Kings, Consuls, Dictators, Decemvirs, Military Tribunes, and Emperors; five of which forms of government had passed away at the time of the prophecy; the sixth, namely that of Emperors, then was, and the other was not yet come. The wound which the beast is said to have received in one of bis heads was so serious, that he was for a time consid VOL. VI.