Obrazy na stronie

many waters, upon which the great whore sitteth, are explained v. 15, to be peoples, multitudes, and nations. She is above the kings of the earth, ruling over them, causing them to obey her commands, and turning them to idolatry and superstition. Such briefly is the Papal power, standing in the maturity of its corruptions, and the particulars are so fully traced by Protestant commentators, that it is unnecessary to go further into detail.

The next point to be considered is the character of the wild beast, who at this period carries the mystic Babylon. It is the beast of the bottomless pit, mentioned once before, as the slayer of God's faithful witnesses, in Rev. xi. 7. and it typifies the Roman power in its last and infidel condition, subsisting in the ten Latin kingdoms, as already explained. Viewing the wild beast as he is exhibited in this place, there are no crowns upon his horns; and the names of blasphemy are transferred from the heads to the body of the beast himself. He is described as arising from the bottomless pit of infidelity, and it is he that goeth into perdition: under this form he perishes.

In the earthquake of the French Revolution, the imperial head of the Latin empire was brought low.

Its power and its name were taken away together, by Napoleon Buonaparte, in the year 1806. But still there has remained an imperial head amongst the Latin kingdoms; for when the German empire fell, France was raised up into an empire, and the chief ruler of Austria retained the title of emperor, It cannot, therefore, be said, that the imperial head has passed away. The Latin power, however, assumed a new shape. And there is no longer a Roman or a German emperor, who, as the chief of the other Latin kingdoms, has authority to marshal them to war: and who, as the first-born son of the Church of Rome, upholds the Papal Church, and her authority, being ready at all times to draw the sword in her defence: but the Papal Church is now in these latter days, upheld entirely by the individual power of each separate kingdom or government, as the established religion of the land. There has been also another great change the revolutionary and infidel spirit has gone forth pretty generally in the Latin countries; and the Church has lost that hold which it once had, upon the feelings and the affections of the people. In many places, now, the bondage of priestcraft is scarcely tolerated; and a large portion of the people, in more than one Papal country, especially in France, seem to view that Church, not merely with an indifferent, but with a jealous eye; and appear to look for

ward to the time, when her superstitions and her mum

meries shall be brought to nought. And according to present appearances, it is by no means impossible, that a day may not be very distant, when a burst of revolutionary fury, such as was seen thirty years ago, may bring the Papal fabric to the ground suddenly, in more than one country of Europe. An event of this description, extending itself through the Latin empire, would be a very literal fulfilment of verse 16. jectures, however, upon future events, do not belong to this inquiry. That which is written shall come to pass, but the mode and the circumstances of the fulfilment, are not objects of legitimate investigation.


It is worthy of remark also, how much the situation, and the aspect of things are changed by the lapse of years. The Church of Rome formerly was paramount, and exercised the full power of the state, in wrath against her enemies; destroying them with fire, and with sword, and with divers kinds of death. This state of things was exhibited under the symbol of the two wild beasts in Rev. xiii.; the last of which, having two horns like a lamb, exercised the power of the first before his face. But in these latter times, the Church no longer uses the sword of the state in manner as heretofore; she is satiated-she has taken. her fill and is become drunken with the blood of the

M m

martyrs. She is no longer seen persecuting, and using against the saints, a power which is not her own; but she is taking her ease-sitting as a queen-reposing and resting herself upon the beast who carries her. The temporal and the ecclesiastical power remain as before; but the circumstances of both the one and the other, have undergone a very sensible change; even as the light and shade vary, in the morning and the evening view.

[ocr errors]

The particular consideration of the heads of the beast, which arises from out of the sea, (Rev. xiii.) was passed over at p. 225, that it might be noticed in this place; for the beast of the sea, and the beast of the bottomless pit, are the same power that is, the Latin kingdom, in different stages of its latter-day career. This Latin kingdom (see v. 8.) was not in existence when the apostle saw the vision, for it had become incorporated with the Roman power; but still, as the Romans used the Latin tongue, and p sessed the old Latin kingdom as part of their empire, it had a sort of quasi existence still, even in the days of the apostle; and it was destined to rise up again, in its ancient character of a Latin empire, and under that character to perish.

[ocr errors]


The seven heads are in the first place (verse 9,)

declared by the angel to be seven mountains, upon which the idolatrous Church sitteth. Upon these heads (Rev. xiii. 1.) are the name of blasphemy, and this, probably, refers to the seven electorates of the empire, for they were indeed the high places, eminences, or mountains of the empire. All these were united in the service of the Papal Church: by their election the emperor was seated on his throne; and as they assume the name of holy, which belongs only to God, the name of blasphemy is upon them, as upon the empire itself. But it is explained further, that the seven heads refer also to seven kings, or forms of government; and these remain to be developed. As these heads belong to the Latin kingdom, they must not be confounded with the heads of the dragon, or Pagan Rome; and they must be sought for in the forms of government, which existed either in the Old Latin kingdom, or in the Roman empire, after the Latin kingdom became part of it; or in the Latin kingdom, when it afterwards revived. Before the Romans subdued the Latin power, its government had been exercised under three forms:-1. The Regal; 2. The Dictatorial; 3. The Prætorial. The forms of government used at Rome, after the Latin kingdom became part of it, were, the Consular, the Triumviral, and the Imperial.-It has been shewn

« PoprzedniaDalej »