Page images

the Roman liate.' I shall not, therefore, detain the reader with arguments to prove what is not in difpute, but proceed to remark, that all kingdoms and ftates have two heads; one in which is vefted their civil dominion ; and in the other, the supreme superintendance of their religious rites. Rome, befides her civil power, had her pontifex maximus, or chief high priest. In this light both Daniel and St. John consider the Roman beast.

With regard to the first head, history proves, that for a period of more than 2500 years, the civil dominion of Rome, the capital city and seat of the government of the fourth beast, though revolutionary, has never finally and utterly been destroyed, but has continued, as it were, from her rise down to the present times, under kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes, emperors, and popes ; and preserved, under all of them, her patricians, fenate, and ancient magistracy.

Upon the removal of the residence of the emperor to Constantinople, no change was made in the government, every department being still subject to the supremacy of the emperor. When Odoacer, king of the Heruli, and after him Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, conquered Rome, no alteration was even then made in the laws and government. With regard to the right of fove. reignty in the emperor, during the short period of these conquests, to use a law phrase, it was only in abeyance. His right remained, and it was lawful to recover it by force, which was soon after done. When the emperor regained his full power in Rome, it is true, he fupprefled her senate, &c. and governed her through his Lieutenant Longinus, exarch of Ravenna, during a short time, with abfolute power ; but here again, that part of her ancient


с с

[ocr errors]

government can be considered as only in abeyance, and neither forfeited nor loft. And therefore, upon the destruction of the eastern empire, and her loss of his protection, The resumed her ancient dominion and government under its wonted distinctions, subject to the western emperors, till Lewis the Pious granted the dominion and fovereignty of Rome to the Pope (then universal bishop), and his fucceffors

for ever.

From these historical facts it appears, that the dominion, or civil power of Rome, although her territory has been broken to pieces, and divided among many kings and states, has never been ab. solutely taken away and destroyed. A miraculous longevity of nearly 2600 years (foretold by the prophet, as will bereafter appear), has been her portion, which no city or nation since the deluge, the Chinese excepted, can boast of.

2. If the civil head or dominion of Rome has had its revolutions; its religious head has not been without them. At first, and during the course of one hundred and seventy years, the observed the rites and ceremonies of Numa, which were free from all manner of idolatry,

It was Tarquinius Priscus, who at the expiration of that time introduced the worship of idols. From that period the religion of Rome was , Grecian idolatry, and so continued down, even after the birth of Christ, to the reign of Constantine the Great. Being converted to the truths of Chriftianity, he suppressed the office of Pontifex Maximus, extirpated the heathen augurs and priests, gemolished the heathen temples, removed the heathen magistrates, and on their. ruins established the Gospel of Christ, not only in Rome, but throughout the empire: and thus, in strict confor::f 2


mity to an express prediction *, one of her heads, her idolatrous head, was wounded to death."

[ocr errors]

From the date of this bleffed event, which took place about the year 331, down to the year 6017, Rome remained Christian, when the Pope having, the year before, obtained a commission of univerfal bishop, fet up the worship of the saints; and of dead men; or, as the same prophet has it of

demons, and idols of gold and silver, of braís " and stone, and wood, which neither can see, nor

hear, nor walk.” This idolatrous worship was embraced under the influence of the Pope, by all the kings, and princes, and people inhabiting the western territory of Rome, long before, and at the time of the reformation. Thus the old idolatry of Rome was revived, and the deadly “wound,"

' which she had received from Conftantine the Great, in “ one of her heads was healed *” by the new idolatry, established by the Pope in the beginning of the seventh century. But,

3. Agreeably to numerous prophecies besides this of Daniel, the dominions of the other three kingdoms have long since been utterly destroyed. Their capital cities, the seats of their dominion, are no more, and scarcely a trace of their situations remain to show where they once stood; and yet it is a remarkable fact, foretold by the prophet (as we shall see hereafter), that their religious heads, their idolatrous rites, figuratively called " their lives,” remain to this day, and will remain for " a time and a season," and till papal idolatry Thall be no more.

* Rev, xiii. 3.

# Ibid. ix, 20

C.C 2

Ibid. xiii. 3.



Having stated these general facts, I Thall proceed to a more particular consideration of the subject. The prophet, after having described the three first beafts, and their mischievous and wicked exploits in the first fix verses, and given the general character of the fourth, or Roman beast, in the seventh, he adds, in the latter claufc of the verfe, “ And it was diverfe from all the beasts before iton and it had ten horns."

Ver. 8- And I considered the horns, and “ behold there came up among them another « Little Horn, before whom there were three of " the first horns pluckt up by the roots; and “ behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of “ man, and a mouth fpeaking great things.

To ftrip these two verses of their figurative dress, and give to every descriptive word its literal fense, will require particular consideration. A beast then is a figure to denote a wicked, cruel, and despotic empire, kingdom, or state. The fourth, or Roman beast, we are here told, was to be « diverse" from all the beasts before him : diverfe in the conftitution of its government from the Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian; and this was certainly the fact. The government of Rome was republican, and has undergone feven different revo. lutions. It has had kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, tribunes, emperors, and popes; but the governments of the other three were despotic and absolute, and being more fixed and permanent, were not so subject to revolutions; therefore the Roman beast was. “ diverse" from all the beasts before it.

And it (the Roman beast) had ten horns." A horn is a member of a beast rising out of its head, by which it protects itself from injury. It is therefore a proper figure for a king, or any other supreme magistrate arising out of a nation, and vested with the power of maintaining and protecting its independence. In this manner the word is explained by the angel," and the ten horns out of this king• dom are ten kings which are to arife *" These Horns, or independent ftates, v'ere to be “ in his “ head,” its natural place, and of courte lubject to the direction and command of its will,

a proper

The literal sense of the text then is this, that Rome should have ten kings or independent states, fubject to the direction and under the command of one of its heads. But Rome hạs existed nearly 2600 years, during which time she has had in her civil dominion, or head, the seven revolutions already mentioned, and three in her ecclefiaftical head. She has changed her religion from the rites of Numa to paganism, from paganism to Christianity, and thence to papal idolatry and apoftaly; and befides, there has been, within the period of her longevity, a multitude of kings or horns upon the earth. These circumstances, it must be confeffed, render it difficult to ascertain the ten kingdoms designated by the ten horns, especially as the prophet himself is filent upon this important point, leaving it to the events to unfold the mystery. To them therefore let us apply.

If indeed we search for them in the pagan or Chriftian ftate of Rome, we mult despair of finding them, because her unvaried policy has been, during those periods, to destroy the civil dominion and independence of every kingdom as the con quered it, and to subjugate the people of it to her civil dominion; and thus being incorporated with it, could not be her horns.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »