« PreviousContinue »
constituted under the government of its emperors, the sixth heud of the beast , * consequently it cannot be at once, and in the self-same capacity, both a head and a horn of the self-same beast. In this particular there is a striking difference between the political character of the ancient Roman emperors, and that of the modern empe. rors of the West whose dignity commenced with Charlemagne. The title of the ancient emperors was attached to their territorial possessions ; whereas that of the modern emperors is entirely distinct : so that Charlemagne was emperor in one capacity, and king of France in another ; in the same manner as the present head of the house of Austria would be king of Hungary and Bohemia, whatever family might be elected to the imperial dignity. On these grounds the Emperor of Constantinople cannot be esteemed one of the ten horns, without a manifest violation of the harmony of the prophetic vision ; although, inasmuch as he was the sixth head, his dominions must be reckoned as part of the Roman empire, the whole of which is represented in the Apocalypse under the symbol of the earth : and, on the same grounds, all the ten horns of the beast must be sought for in the West ; where accordingly Machiavel and Bp. Lloyd have found precisely that number of original Gothic kingdoms.t
I am aware, that both Sir Isaac Newton, and Bp. Newton, are of opinion, that the eastern half of the empire is not to be accounted a part of the body of the fourth beast : but I much doubt, whether this opinion rests upon any solid foundation : for it neither agrees with the Revelation of St. John, which predicts the fortunes of the entire Roman empire as well eastern as western, and which describes it as one great whole by the symbol of the earth ; nor does it even quadrate with the scheme
upon which it is founded. Sir Isaac argues, that “the nutions of Chaldea and Assyria are still the first beast ; those of Media and Persia are still the second beast ; those of Macedon, Greece, Thrace, Asia Minor,
* Rev. xvii. 10. † « Ubinam hi decem reges quærendi sunt ? Non in Oriente : neque enim Impcrium Græcum seu Orientale unum e decem cornibus erat, ut apparet, quia hæc dimidia pars fuit capitis sexti sive Cæsareani a Constantino bipartiti," Excid. Antic. apud Pol. Synop. in loc.
Syria, and Egypt, are still the third ; and those of Europe, on this side Greece, are still the fourth Seeing therefore the body of the third beast is confined to the nations on this side the river Euphrates, and the body of the fourth beast is confined to the nations on this side Greece : we are to look for all the four heads of the third beast, among the nations on this side the river Euphrates ; and for all the eleven horns of the fourth beast, among the nations on this side of Greece. And therefore, at the breaking of the Greek empire into four kingdoms of the Greeks, we include no part of the Chaldeans, Medes, and Persians, in those kingdoms, because they belonged to the bodies of the two first beasts. Nor do we reckon the Greek empire, seated at Constantinople, among the horns of the fourth beast, because it belonged to the body of the third.”*
I fully agree with Sir Isaac Newton, though for a different reason which I have already stated, t that the eleven horns of the fourth beast must all be sought for among the nations on this side Greece, and that the Constantinopolitan empire cannot be esteemed one of those horns ; but his scheme of excluding that empire from the body of the fourth beast is manifestly inconsistent with itself. Sir Isaac maintains, that the four heads of the third beast are to be looked for in the countries on this side the Euphrates ; namely in those of Macedon, Greece, Thrace, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt : for he affirms, that these regions form the proper body of the third beast
, in the same manner as those westward of Greece form the proper body of the fourth beast, and constitute his ten horns. The four heads of the third beast are undoubtedly to be sought for in the regions which he specifies, but certainly not for the reasons which he assigns : for the countries of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, cannot be considered as forming an exclusive part of the body of the third beast, because they were originally provinces belonging to the second beast. This will necessarily follow from Sir Isaac's own scheme.
If, as he supposes, Greece and its de.
• Observ. on Daniel, p. 31, 32. + Namely, because the Roman emperor of Constantinople was the sixth bead of the beast, and consequently cannot be esteemed one of bis beras likewise. VOL. 1.
pendent provinces must not be esteemed a part of the body of the Roman beast, because they originally belonged to the Macedonian beast : then, in order that the scheme may be consistent with itself, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, must not be esteemed a part of the body of the Macedonian beast, because they previously belonged to the Medo-Persian beast. Or, to state the same argument in a somewhat different form : if the body of the Medo-Persian beast is to be confined within the strict limits of Media and Persia properly so called, as Sir Isaac supposes : then, in a similar manner, the body of the Macedonian beast must be confined within the limits of Macedon and Greece ; and the body of the Roman beast, within those of Italy : in which case it will be a vain labour to look either for the
four heads* of the third beast, or for the ten horns of the fourth beast. The truth is, no less than two out of the four heads of the third beast, namely the Syrian kingdom of Seleucus and the Egyptian kingdom of Ptolemy, sprung up within the limits of the Persian cmpire, after it had been subdued by Alexander : consequently, if a part of the Persian empire is to be included in the body of the third beast, forming his two most powerful heads; there cannot be assigned any reason, why a part of the third beust, namely Greece and the eastern provinces which afterwards constituted the Romano-Constantinopolitan empire, should not be included in the body of the fourth beast. Hence I am reluctantly constrained to assert, that the scheme of separating the eastern empire from the body of the fourth beast, laid down by Sir Isaac Newton and adopted by Bp. Newton, must necessarily be erroneous : because, if allowed to be just, it will force us, in order to preserve the consistency of prophecy, to separate from the body of the Macedonian beast bis two eastern heads of Syria and Egypt; inasmuch as both those countries were provinces of the Medo-Persian empire, before they became heads of the Macedonian empire.
In preference then to Sir Isaac's scheme, I am rather
* It is almost superfluous to remind the reader, that the four beads of the third beast in the vision of the four great beasts are the same as the four borns of the be-goat in the vision of tbe ram and the be-goat.
inclined to think, that the four beasts are the four great empires, considered as respectively extending to their several utmost limits : so that the Medo-Persian empire comprehends not only Media and Persia, but likewise Chaldea, Assyria, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt; the Macedonian empire, not only Greece, but likewise the former empire of Persia : and the Roman empire, by a parity of reasoning, not only Italy and the West, but likewise Greece, Egypt, and Asia as far as the Euphrates.*
As for specifying what powers are now the ten horns, I cannot but consider it as absurd to attempt it. History has decidedly shewn, that the kingdoms, into which the Roman empire was divided, never continued long in the same state : nor is it at all necessary for the completion of the prophecy, that they should have done so. Two of the horns of the Macedonian he-goat were soon swallowed up by the most powerful of the other two horns : and the great Latin city, exclusive I apprehend of those protestant powers which have come out of it, willeventually be divided into no more than three parts.t Still however the Roman beast is symbolically represented as having ten horns, I because such was the original number into which his empire was divided ; as four was the original number into which the empire of the he-goat was divided. “ Though the kingdom of Alexander," says Bp. Newton, “ was divided into four principal parts, yet only two of them have a place allotted in Daniel's Jast prophecy of the things noted in the Scripture of truth, Egypt and Syria. These two were by far the greatest and most considerable : and these two at one time were in a manner the only remaining kingdoms of the four : the kingdom of Macedon having been conquered by Lysimachus and annexed to Thrace ; and Lysimachus again having been conquered by Seleucus,
• This will shew us the reason why tbe Roman beast is represented as being compounded of a lion, a bear, and a leopard. (Rev. xii. 2.) His empire comprehended the greatest part of the dominions of the Babylonian lion, the Medo-Persian bear, and the Macedonian leopard; in addition to which he had ten borns or kingdoms in his peculiar sovereignty in the West. † Sec Rev. xvi. 19. Concerning this earthquake more will be said hereafter.
See Rev. XYŽ 16.
and the kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace annexed to Suria.»* Such being the fate of two out of the four horns of the he-goat, I know not why some expositors should apparently think themselves bound to labour to discover ten horns for the Roman beast at any other period except that when his empire was originally divided.t Machiavel, as we have seen, merely as a political historian, and without the least intention of supporting a favourite system, informs us, that the empire was broken by the northern nations into precisely ten primary kingdoms. This circumstance alone therefore is sufficient for the completion of the prophecy, that the ten horns of the fourth beast are ten kings that shall arise out of his kingdom ;£ just as the division of Alexander's empire into four kingdoms was alone sufficient for the completion of the prophecy, that four kingdoms should stand up out of his nation. The special badge of the he-goat is his four horns, and the special badge of the Roman beast is his ten horns ; although both these numbers afterwards varied. Hence we may just as reasonably expect, that the Macedonian beast should always have four horns during the whole period of his existence after their rise, because four horns are said to have sprung up out of him when his great horn was broken ; as that the Roman beast should always have ten horns during the whole period of his existence after their rise, because when his empire was divided exactly ten kings were to arise out of it. The two symbols are, in fact, each formed from a view of the primury division of the Macedonian and Roman empires ; nor was it designed, nor indeed was it possible, that they should be exhibited as perpetually varying with the ever varying revolutions of nations. On these grounds I think it of very little consequence to the completion of the prophecy to have discovered, that there were ten kingdoms in the year 1240 at the time of the diet of Ratisbon ; ten likewise at the Refor
• Dissert. Ivi. + Sir Isaac Newton very justly remarks, that, “whatever was their number afterwards, they are still called the ten kings from their first number.” Observ. On Daniel, C. vi. p. 73. Dan. vij. 24.
Dan, vü. 22