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The Wild Beast of the Sea, and the Wild Beast with two Horns, like a Lamb.-Rev. xiii.
Rev. xiii. 1 to 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 upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy: 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; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 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. 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? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies: and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 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. And all that dwell 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. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go 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 ocean may well represent the troubled state of the nations, upon the dissolution of the western empire, in the time of Momyllus Augustulus, A. D. 476. And from the midst of that confusion, a new Roman power emerged. Like the dragon of the preceding chapter, the wild beast has seven heads, and ten horns; and it exhibits the western, or Latin empire, under a new character. The seven heads are not crowned, for the power of government no longer rests with them but it is placed upon the ten horns, which are crowned; and thus the power of the state has remained with the several kings of the ten kingdoms: for the imperial head, when restored, though it became to a certain extent paramount over the ten kingdoms, yet it never exercised the powers of civil government, except withịn its own particular state. The heads of the wild beast may, for the present, be considered the same as those of the dragon, and it was perhaps intended, thus to mark the connection between them. The wild beast, as of himself, has not seven heads, neither has the dragon, as of himself, the ten horns; but under this part of the symbol, what belongs to the one, is exhibited as belonging to the other also, to signify that they are the same power under different modifications.
The imperial head is described as being wounded
unto death; and it was thus wounded by the sword of the barbarians, who over-ran the western empire. In process of time that deadly wound was healed, and Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the West. Then did the imperial head resume its station amongst the nations; and it became, a second time, the supporter of the corrupt Roman Church. The heads have been already described; and upon them was the name of blasphemy, for they all belonged to a Pagan power.
And the imperial head, when its wound was healed, took upon itself, for the second time, the name of blasphemy, assuming the title of the HOLY Roman Empire; a title which belongs only to God. The ten horns have been already explained in pp. 68 and 69; and as it is not necessary to recapitulate, we may pass forward to the particulars which remain.
The wild beast was like unto a leopard, and his feet as those of a bear; alluding, perhaps, to the rapidity of his conquests under Charlemagne, and to his characteristic treachery and cruelty in all his dealings towards the saints. The mouth, as of a lion, speaking great things and blasphemies, has been seen in all his public acts, assuming himself to be the chief of the nations, and the peculiar favourite of heaven.
His power, his seat of empire, and his great autho rity among the nations, were derived originally from the dragon, or Pagan Rome, as declared in the prophecy and the high state to which he has been exalted, is described, by "all the world wondering after the beast, and worshipping him." This has been fulfilled, partly, in reference to his temporal sway; but it has had also a further fulfilment. For the Catholic nations not only placed themselves in a sort of voluntary subordination to the empire, as a great leading power of the earth; but they looked with peculiar reverence towards it, as a holy power ordained of God, and as the chief supporter, and the first-born Son of the Holy Catholic Church; nor, for a long season, was its authority, in this respect, denied by any but those who, under the teaching of the Spirit, turned away from earthly rudiments, having their names written in the book of life. The wild beast opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, and against his name, and against his tabernacle, and against them that dwelt in heaven. And so, this. Roman power has continually used its authority, to put down the revealed truths of the gospel, declaring them to be falsehoods and blasphemies: he has, further, blasphemed THE NAME, by placing Jesus below the virgin, and upon a level with saints and martyrs. And he has again blasphemed his tabernacle, by pro
hibiting and denouncing as heretical, all assemblies and congregations of those, who are true followers of the Lamb. And he has, further, blasphemed those who dwell in heaven, or those, who have entered into a clearer knowledge and enjoyment of spiritual things, by proclaiming them for heretics, children of the evil one, and men unfit to live.
The power of this ten-kingdomed empire was to continue for forty-two prophetical months, or 1260 years for this time only, was it given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. He pursued this warfare successfully, from the times of Justinian to the year 1789; since which period, we do not hear of the burning of heretics, or of the delivering up of nations to the sword, because they reject Popish superstitions. Like the litttle horn, and the blasphemous king of Daniel, which to a certain extent indeed, are identified with the beast, this power shall meet its end, which, according to verse 10, shall be by the sword, and by captivity, according to the evils which he hath himself brought upon others.
Verses 11-18. " And I beheld another wild beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that