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long as the kingdom of the Lombards subsisted: but the Patriciate of Charlemagne was an independent monarchy; which owned no superior, which exercised real authority, and which differed from the Emperorship that succeeded it in name only, not in essence.
The memorable year 800 beheld the Carlovingian Patriciate for ever swallowed up and lost in the Gothic imperial dignity.
"On the festival of Christmas, the last year of "the eighth century, Charlemagne appeared in "the church of St. Peter; and to gratify the vanity "of Rome, he had exchanged the simple dress of "his country for the habit of a patrician. After the "celebration of the holy mysteries, Leo suddenly
placed a precious crown on his head; and the dome resounded with the acclamations of the people, Long life and victory to Charles, the most pious Augustus, crowned by God the great "and pacific Emperor of the Romans! The head "and body of Charlemagne were consecrated by "the royal unction; after the example of the "Cesars he was saluted or adored by the Pontiff; "his coronation oath represents a promise to "maintain the faith and privileges of the church; "and the first-fruits were paid in his rich offerings
to the shrine of the Apostle. In his familiar "conversation, the Emperor protested his ignorance of the intentions of Leo, which he would "have disappointed by his absence on that memo"rable day. But the preparations of the cere
<< mony must have disclosed the secret; and the journey of Charlemagne reveals his knowledge "and expectation: he had acknowledged that the imperial title was the object of his ambition; "and a Roman senate had pronounced, that it was the only adequate reward of his merit and "services*.
5. Let us now examine how far these historical facts will enable us to interpret the prophecy.
The head, or form of government, of which we are in quest, is represented by the prophet as possessing a peculiarity of character, which essentially distinguishes it from all its predecessors; it was, in some manner or another, to be a double head: it was at once to be both the seventh and the eighth head of the beast. That these two heads, or forms of government, are in fact but one, may be plainly collected from the words of St. John. When the seventh king "cometh, he must continue a short
* Hist. of Decline and Fall, vol. ix. p. 173, 174. Let the reader seriously consider the whole of this and the preceding citation, and then decide whether the Pope appears very much like the last independent head of the Roman beast in the presence of his master Charlemagne.
The coronation oath of Charlemagne was couched, according to Baronius, in the following terms. "In nomine Christi "spondeo atque polliceor, ego Carolus Imperator, coram Deo 66 et beato Petro Apostolo, me protectorem ac defensorem fore "hujus sanctæ Romanæ ecclesiæ in omnibus utilitatibus, qua"tenus divino fultus fuero adjutorio, prout sciero poteroque." Annal. Eccles. A. D. 800.
space: and the beast that was, and is not, even "he is the eighth king, and is of the seven." In other words, although the beast may in some sort be said to have eight heads, or eight forms of government, yet strictly speaking he has but seven: for his eighth head is in reality the same as one of his seven heads. The question then is, with which of the seven heads must the eighth head be identified? This eighth head certainly cannot be the same as any one of the first five heads; for they were all fallen in the time of St. John. Neither can it be the same as the sixth head; for that was already existing in the days of the prophet, and was now and for many ages after existing at Constantinople. It only remains, therefore, for it to be the same as the seventh head; which, when it came, was to continue but a short space of time. To suppose otherwise indeed is introducing a sort of Hysteronproteron into the symbolical character of the Roman beast: for, if the eighth head be the same as any one of the six first, the beast, instead of being finally slain under his last head, will go into perdition under a head which is prior in point of origin to the seventh that continues only a short space. Hence it appears, that, since the seventh head and the eighth head are in reality one and the same, we cannot attach any meaning to the short continuance of the seventh head, except this that some power should be a head of the empire, for a short time only, in one capacity; and that afterwards it should still remain a head
of the empire, even till the final destruction of its bestial principles, in another capacity: thus constituting at once both the seventh and eighth heads of the beast, or, if I may use the expression, his septimo-octave head.
At the time when the beast revived, his sixth head was seated in the East: consequently, we must look for the rise of his last head in the West. Now we learn from the preceding historical statement, that, during the non-existence of the beast, and subsequent to his revival in the year 606, the following powers only have had any sway in Rome and Italy: the line of the Western emperors, after the division of the empire, commencing with Honorius and terminating with Augustulus; the three kingdoms of the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Lombards; the Exarchate of Ravenna subject to the Eastern emperors; the Popedom; and the Carlovingian empire. No change has taken place in Italy subsequent to the rise of the last of these powers, either of a sufficient magnitude, or of a sufficiently peculiar nature *, to warrant our seeking for the last head of the beast posterior to the year
* Since this was written, Buonapartè has made himself master of all Italy: but we cannot reasonably suppose, that the last head of the beast has arisen in him; both because, however great his conquests have been, they have not been greater than those of Charlemagne; and because, if we suppose, the last head to have arisen in him, we shall make the beast headless during the whole period that has elapsed between the fall of the sixth head by the subversion of the Constantinopolitan empire, and the present
800, when Charlemagne was crowned Emperor of the Romans: nor do I think, that we have any just grounds to look for it prior to the revival of the beast under his sixth head; nevertheless, since many have fixed the rise of the short-lived seventh head previous to the year 606 when the deadly wound of the beast was healed, I felt myself bound to notice the powers which existed in Italy before that year. Among the powers then here enumerated we must look for the seventh and eighth heads of the beast.
(1.) Mr. Mede conceives the seventh head to be the line of Western emperors, and the eighth head to be the Papacy. By this plan he makes the beast, agreeably to the prophecy, to have apparently eight heads, and really only seven; the line of the Western emperors, which continued about 80 years, being in fact a branch of the sixth or imperial head. It appears therefore, that in order to reduce the eight heads to seven, he supposes the sixth and the seventh to constitute jointly one imperial head*.
However plausible such a scheme may be, it will by no means bear the test of examination, even independent of the objections that I have already made to the Papacy being considered the last head of the secular beast. It is not enough
present era. Whatever therefore may be his present prophetic character, of which more will be said hereafter, no new head of the beast can have arisen in him. May 1. 1806. Mede's Works. B. v. C. 12. p. 922.