"tical person, but he intermixeth himself much in "civil affairs. He is the prime minister, adviser, " and mover of the first beast *. He holdeth


imperium in imperio, an empire within an empire; "claimeth a temporal authority, as well as a spiri"tual; hath not only the principal direction of the "temporal powers, but often engageth them in his "service, and enforceth his canons and decrees "with the sword of the civil magistrate†."

[ocr errors]

5. He causeth the earth and all that dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed-The nature of this worship of the secular beast I have already considered. It will be sufficient therefore at present to observe, that, since it is impossible for Daniel's fourth beast or the Roman empire to be literally worshipped, the adoration here spoken of must mean a devotion to those principles by which the empire was equally made a beast both under its pagan and its papal emperors, both under its sixth head and its last. Those principles consisted in the worship of images, and in the persecution of the saints: and it was the second beast, who by his influence caused the whole Roman earth once more to adopt them under Popery, as it had heretofore adopted them

* Here again the Bishop speaks of the first beast as being the secular empire. Thus does his original opinion force itself, as it were, upon him; notwithstanding all that he had subsequently said respecting the identity of the papal little horn and the first beast.

+ Bp. Newton's Dissert, on Rev, xiii.



under Paganism; it was the second beast, who made an image for the first, and caused all men to fall down and worship it *.


6. He

The interpretation of the worship paid to the first or secular beast, proposed by Bp. Newton, is to my mind very unsatisfactory. "As the first beast concurs to maintain the authority " of the second, so he in return confirms and maintains the "sovereignty and dominion of the first beast over his subjects; "and causeth the earth, and them who dwell therein, to wor-. ship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He "supports tyranny, as he is by tyranny supported. He in"slaves the consciences, as the first beast subjugates the bodies "of men" (Dissert. on Rev. xiii.). Hence it appears, that the Bishop conceives, the worship, which was paid to the secular beast at the instigation of the ecclesiastical beast, to be merely civil worship so far increased as to become passive obedience. Now bad as tyranny in the state may be, the whole criminality of it must be ascribed to the governors; not surely to the governed, to those who patiently submit themselves like the primitive Christians to every ordinance of man however tyrannical for the Lord's sake, lest by resisting they should receive damnation. Were nothing more then meant by wor shipping the beast than an unresisting submission to civil tyranny, or (as Mr. Whiston cited by the Bishop styles it) blind obedience;" the worshippers of the beast would never have been censured by the prophet for yielding such submission, however severely he might have animadverted upon the two beasts for recommending and exacting it. "If any man "worship the beast and his image,-the same shall drink of "the wine of the wrath of God, and he shall be tormented "with fire and brimstone;-and the smoke of their torment " ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day "nor night, who worship the beast and his image" (Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 11.). Can we suppose, that so severe a punishment as eternal damnation will be inflicted upon those who suffer their

X 2

66 a


6. He doeth great wonders, in order that he may make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men-" Miracles, visions, and revela"tions, are the mighty boast of the church of Rome, "the contrivances of an artful cunning clergy to "impose upon an ignorant laity." These wonders the beast did partly in order that he might make fire come down from heaven upon earth; and partly, as we shall hereafter see, with a view so to


bodies to be subjugated by the first beast? It is plain, that the worship of the beast is connected with the worship of his image; and that this worship is something so offensive in the eyes of God as to incur the penalty of hell fire: can it then mean nothing more than submitting to the sovereignty and dominion of the first beast? It may be remarked, that Bp. Newton here again. speaks of the first beast as being, not the Papacy, but the secular Roman empire: and it may further be remarked, that his present interpretation of the worship paid to the beast by no means accords with that which he had previously given, and which I - believe to be the true one. "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? No kingdom or empire was like that of the beast, it had not a parallel upon earth, and it was in vain for any to resist or oppose it, "it prevailed and triumphed over all; and all the world, in "submitting thus to the religion of the beast, did in effect sub"mit again to the religion of the dragon, it being the old ido

[ocr errors]

latry with new names. The worshipping of demons and idols "is in effect the worshipping of devils" (Dissert. on Rev. xiii.). Here we see a plain reason why the worship of the beast is threat. ened with eternal damnation: it consists in embracing those principles, which constituted alike the bestiality of the pagan and papal Roman empires; not in paying civil homage to the beast.

deceive mankind as to induce them to set up an image and worship it. Heaven is a symbol of the church, and the earth of the Roman empire. The darting therefore of fire out of the church upon the secular empire must mean solemn interdicts and excommunications pronounced against those who dared to oppose the authority of the beast. History furnishes many memorable examples of such ecclesiastical censures. The whole kingdom of England was laid under an interdict in the reign of king John: and numerous are the other European sovereigns, against whom the Popes have pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition * The submission of the people to this exorbitant stretch of power was founded upon their implicit belief in the sanctity, authority, and infallibility of the Roman bishop and his hierarchy and this belief was kept up by pretended miracles, which (it was asserted) none but members of the holy catholic church could perform: hence it is said, that the beast did great wonders, in order that he might bring down fire from heaven upon earth; or, in other words, that none might dispute his right and power of excommunication. I know not any better comment upon this part of the prophecy than the

Brightman has the following curious remark on this part of the prophecy. "Hildebrandus, in epistola ad Germanos, "Henricum quartum excommunicatione sua percussum, affia"tum fulmine dixit: nec temerè, Spiritu procul dubio guber"nante linguam, ut olim Caiphæ, quo mundus intelligeret, qui bestia faceret ignem de cœlo descendere," Apoc. Apoc. fol. 215.

[ocr errors]


use which was made of the miracles said to have been wrought at the shrine of Archbishop Becket. During the schism in the church of Rome, that turbulent prelate had espoused the cause of Pope Alexander against his competitor; and after his death he became a wonder-working saint. Such being the case, the litigated point was soon decided. "Whereas many," says John of Salisbury, " doubted whether Alexander was the true Pope "or not, the miracles of Becket decided that

question in his favour, as they could not have "been done by one engaged in a schism*." Thus was Alexander confirmed by miracles in his full right and title to anathematize his rival, and to hurl the thunder-bolts of the church at all his op ponents. Nor has this claim to supernatural gifts been made solely during the thick darkness of the middle ages: an anonymous Popish writer even of the last century, cited by Mr. Whitaker, insists upon the miraculous powers of the church of Rome down to the then present time, and enumerates many miracles which he avers to have been performed since the era of the Reformation. At the conclusion of his catalogue of saints endowed with such powers, he observes, that "all the persons so "conspicuous for these supernatural gifts were zea"lous members of the catholic church†;" meaning doubtless to intimate, that, if the catholic church so the Papists think proper to denominate the Whitaker's Comment. p. 391, 392.

t Ibid. P. 395-399.


« ElőzőTovább »