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pearls, having a golden cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication."
A man read this chapter who had been an infidel. He had read it and heard it read, (like thousands of others,) often, without attaching any meaning to the words. He did not observe, until he took up a volume of Scott's Family Bible, that this was a part of scripture which explains itself, and is of course as plain as others or perhaps more so; for when the Lord interprets emblematic language, he makes it as plain as any words known to us will permit. He had read history enough to have noticed the truth of the following remarks without assistance, but he did not observe the declaration of the last verse, until it was pointed out to him. The last verse is, " And the woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth." This reader was well enough acquainted with history to know what city reigned over the kings of the earth, when Domitian was on the imperial throne, when John was in Patmos; for long before, and for many centuries after. There is no difference between unbelievers or Christians, as it regards the city that stood on the Tiber, clothed in purple, and has been there ever since. We may here say to the reader, who may have been in the habit of glancing over pages of 'the Bible, and noticing nothing: "Friend, if you do not know distinctly and certainly what city did reign over the kings of the earth in St. John's time, you had better not only inquire fully, but keep it before your recollection, together with several other particulars, for they may concern you more nearly in the present day than you suppose." 99 The man of whom we have been writing, who was startled on reading part of a com
mentary on this chapter, had read enough to remember something of the red cloth, and purple, and gold, and scarlet, and gaudy trappings and sumptuous externals, of both pagan and modern Rome; but while reading the following words from Scott's notes, he began to notice and remember historic pictures more distinctly: "The angel carried John in the spirit, (that is, under the influence of the prophetic spirit he seemed to be conveyed into the wilderness,) and he there saw a woman seated on a scarlet-coloured beast. This woman was the emblem of the church of Rome; and the beast, of the temporal power by which it has been supported; and the latter was full of names of blasphemy, which we have had repeated occasion to mention." Almost any blasphemous title which we could fancy, has been assumed there, His Holiness,-Infallibility,-King of kings,-Christ's Vice-gerent,-Vice-God,-Yea even, God on the earth, &c. "The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, for these have always been the distinguishing colour of popes and cardinals, as well as of the Roman emperors and senators; nay, by a kind of infatuation, the mules and horses on which they rode, have been covered with scarlet cloth; as if they were determined to answer this description, and even literally to ride on a scarlet-coloured beast. The woman was also most superbly decorated with gold and jewels; and who can sufficiently describe the pride, grandeur, and magnificence of the church of Rome in her vestments and ornaments of every kind. Even papists have gloried in the superiority of their church in this magnificence, to ancient Rome when at the height of her prosperity. This appears in all things relating to their public worship, and in the papal court, even beyond
what can be conceived; and external pomp attaches men, attaches carnal men to a religion which interests and gratifies them, whilst they despise the simplicity of spiritual worship." Then follows a quotation from Addison, "This as much surpassed my expectation, as other sights have fallen short of it. Silver can scarce find an admittance, and gold itself looks but poorly among such an incredible number of precious stones." These are the facts which the infidel had known, but had never applied. After reading thus far, he felt some curiosity to look at several additional verses. He read the following words, verse 6. "And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration." The infidel on reading this, was ready enough to ask, and to ask aloud, "Wherefore should John wonder? What could he wonder at? After he had actually lived through the persecution under which Paul was beheaded at Romethe gardens of Nero illuminated by the Christians, who were covered with inflammable substances, and set on fire where they stood with a stake under each chin to keep them erect as a torch, until, in the language of one of the many Latin poets (Juvenal,) who then lived, "they made a long stream of blood and sulphur on the ground."
When John had known, when he had lived to see that Rome would become drunken with Christian blood, as readily as a serpent would bite those within its reach, how could he marvel; why should he wonder, when the angel was showing him for days to come, only that which he had actually seen in the months that were past? He not only told us of his surprise, (as though it
had been something new,) but he says, When I saw her, I wondered with great admiration! After reading some farther, he discovered that it was not pagan Rome but Christian Rome, (so called,) which the angel was showing to the apostle. The bloody scenes of pagan Rome which had passed in St. John's life-time, were gone; but when he looked forward into days then to come, and saw that which claimed to be the church and the metropolis of the Christian world; and the followers of the Man of Calvary, torturing the followers of the Saviour more cruelly, (if possible,) and shedding blood more profusely than heathen Rome ever did; it is not strange that he wondered with great admiration! By this time the unbeliever felt awakened to farther reading. 7. "And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns." 8. "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition; and they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder, (whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world,) when they behold the beast that was, and is not and yet is."
When the spirit of inspiration is about to place before us the picture of a bloody and cruel power, any candid mind sees at once, that a ferocious wild beast is the most brief and impressive representation. Whoever has closely searched, has discovered, that on the page of prophecy, a wild beast is the emblem of a bloody, cruel, and tyrannical nation. The unbeliever remembered the fact that Rome had been very bloody in her persecutions. He remembered that she did actually cease to be so, when converted to Christianity, and that she did again
become thus bloody and cruel when she degenerated into popery. He knew the plain history that the scarlet beast was, and then was not, and then was again; but he had not remembered, and noted, and applied these things until he had read the following remarks: “A beast is the emblem of an idolatrous and oppressive empire; the Roman empire was the beast under the pagan emperors-it ceased to be so when it became Christian, with reference to which the angel says, by way of anticipation, 'it is not." Yet it would afterwards 'ascend out of the abyss,' that is, when the anti-Christian empire became idolatrous and persecuting, and the dragon gave his power to the beast, it seemed to arise out of the sea, the tempestuous state of the nations; but it was, in fact, from hell, being Satan's grand scheme for opposing the gospel, and therefore after a time it would go into perdition, and be destroyed, finally and forever." (Quotation from Newton.) "The empire was idolatrous under the heathen emperors, and then ceased to be so under the Christian emperors, and then became idolatrous again under the Roman pontiffs, and hath so continued ever since. But in this last form it shall go into perdition; it shall not, as it did before, cease for a time, and then revive again, but shall be destroyed forever."
After reading these words our inquirer remembered, with startling interest, that this outline of history was to be accurate, or the angel would fail in his representations. He remembered that when the apostle lived, the following statement was true; and it was true when early writers were disputing concerning the book of Revelation, that the following statement (if any was made) must have been made-viz. “ If Rome does not cease to be a cruel, persecuting city, dropping the char.