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Rev. xiii. 18. "Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six."
This text has caused as much speculation as any text in the whole bible; rivers of ink have been shed to explain its meaning; brains have been addled in trying to find some great mystery which the wisdom of this world, as was supposed, could only discover; and in trying to be wise above what was written, men have lost their balance and fell into absurdities too ridiculous to mention. Some have searched through all the vocabulary of Greek names, to find one whose numerical letters would make the number 666, and they have been wonderfully blest for they found a number; but here again there remained a difficulty to surmount which required as much ingenuity as the former, but to remedy the evil every Greek scholar chose the one his fancy dictated, wrote his book on the number 666, and then died and his wonderful name died with him, for every wise Greek had his own favorite name. Also, the Latin book-worms not wishing to be outdone by their Greek brethren rumaged all the old goatskin parchments and musty books in the cloisters of all the monks in christendom, and, behold, a much greater harvest was the fruit of their labor, for now every Latinus had three or more names to his share ; and in all this wisdom all other nations were left without any wisdom except what they borrowed from their neighbors, the learned Greeks and Latins. But I hope, my dear hearer, that you have learned that if there is any mystery of God not explained by the bible, it is not for us to understand. Therefore, in the treating upon this subject, I shall endeavor to present the scripture on the point, and then leave you to judge whether we have light or not,
I. Show what wisdom this is spoken of in the text. 11. Speak of the beast numbered and show what beast. III. The number and what we may understand by it. I. The wisdom spoken of in the text. 1st. Is it the wisdom of men or of this world ? I answer,
For Paul says, 1 Cor. ii. 4, 13, “And my speech, and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power : that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” Now if Paul would not preach the wisdom of men or the world, surely the Angel would not instruct John to use the wisdom of man or of this world, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."' 1 Cor. iii. 19. And if Paul said, our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, neither would John have given any thing that depended on the wisdom of men for å foundation of our faith. But Paul has taught us what true wisdom is by saying“ Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" « But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit, for the spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." And Paul tells us how we may exercise this wisdom, 1 Cor. ii. 13,“ Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual." Here then, my dear hearer, is the great secret of wisdom, to compare spiritual things with spiritual, and then we have the mind and will of the spirit, and shall not be very liable to err.
Let us then follow this rule while we try to explain.
II. The beast numbered in the text. And, wird?
1st. Let us inquire what beast it is? answer, it is the first beast. See our context, 12th verse, “ And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him," that is, the beast which John saw come up out of the sea, (the Roman government) having seven heads and ten horns,
his horns ten crowns, and upon his head the name of blasphemy, and the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his
power, and his seat and great authority." By this beast 1 understand the same as Daniel's fourth kingdom, the Roman government; by “names of blasphemy, I understand a mode of worship which would be idolatrous or blasphemous; by the dragon, we must understand the civil power of the same government giving its power to the ecclesias, tical beast whether Pagan or Papal. 3d verse, "And I saw one of his heads, (of blasphemy, Pagan) as it were, wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed : (by the substitution of the Papal blasphemous head,) and all the world wondered after the beast."
John then goes on to describe the civil power of this Roman government under this last head, and shows the length of time they would exercise this last power," forty-two months,” which is the same as Daniel's time, times and an half, or John's 1260 days, mentioned Rev. xi. 3: xii. 6. His power to make war and overcome the saints is foretold. In the tenth verse he shows us how this civil power should be destroyed, by captivity and the sword, and this was fulfilled in 1798, when the pope was carried a captive into France, and the states of Italy were conquered by the sword of the French army. In the 11th verse he gives us a discovery of the same beast in his ecclesiastical power ; Pagan Rome in the first beast and Papacy in the image beast, and it will be evident to any one who will examine the chapter carefully, that John was not commanded to number the image beast, for the civil power of that beast was before numbered in the 5th verse, but the beast which existed before him, which the Papal ecclesiastical beast is an image of, or Daniel's daily sacrifice abomination, Daniel xii. 11, the one which Paul said, “He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
In this passage it is evident the Apostle alludes to the same power although he carls it the working of satan.” John also gives a similar description in Rev. xii. 9," And the dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil, and satan, which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” But I have another evidence that the beast numbered was Pagan Rome, and I think it must be conclusive testimony, in Rev. xvii. 3. In this chapter one of the seven angels that had the seven vials came to instruct John, and to show him “The judgment of the great whore with whom the kings of the earth had committed fornication, and the in
habitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." "So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness, and I saw a woman set upon a scarlet coloured beast full of names of blasphemy, liaving seven heads and ten horns."
Here the same idolatrous beast, haring seven heads and ten horns, is described the woman sitting upon this beast is the same as Daniel's little horn which came up the ten horns, and shows plainly that it was that part of Roman power which was prior to the woman, and was of course called the first beast. When John saw this woman on the scarlet coloured beast, he wondered with great admiration, and says, Rev. xvii. 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. 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 on 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.” “That was,” Pagan Rome before John saw his vision, “and is not, yet in its last stage of Papal Rome," and yet is,” in the same spirit, for Papal Rome is but an image of Paganism, as says the Apostle, II. Thess. ii. 6, 7, " And now ye know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time, for the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” And I. John ji. 18, Little children it is the last time and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know it is the last time.” And again, Rev. xvii. 9,"" And here is the mind which hath wisdom;" evidently referring John right back to our text, “Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding, the same as mind in the above quotation. “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the wo man sitteth, and there are seven kings; five are fallen, ane is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space, and the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” These texts explain the whole matter, for it is evident that the beast' here alluded to, was the seven headed monster who was then in existence when John wrote, for five of its axecutive forms of government, (of which kings and mountains are figures,) had fallen. Re
publican Rome bad five different offices under that particular form of government, her senatorial, tribunate, consular, diumvir and triumvirate. These were fallen. One is, that was when John wrote his prophecy, Imperial, and the other bad not yet come, Kingly, which is the same as the ten horns. For when the western empire fell, Rome was divided into ten kingdoms, “ And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind (that is, were all converted to the Catholic faith,) and shall give their power and strength unto the beast, Papal Rome. “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for be is Lord of lords and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” . And although this beast, whatever form it may assume, whether Pagan or Papal, may for a season tyrannize over and trample on the followers of Christ, through the agency of the evil power of empires, kingdoms, states or republics, yet He who rules over all, will, in the end, destroy all these powers, and himself reign King of kings and Lord over all." And the ten borns which thou sawest upon
the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and cut her flesh, and burn her with fire."
This text has been literally accomplished within a few years and those kingdoms which were of the ten, kingdoms which first gave power to the beast, have of late
persecuted, and destroyed her, who is the abomination of the whole earth. Witness the transactions of Great_Britian, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Naples and Tuscany, the Seven Kingdoms which were not plucked up by the little horn, each of these nations have in their turn resisted the power and pretensions of the Pope of Rome, until his civil authority, is reduced to a cypher in all these kingdoms. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Then inust the Papal beast, the image of Paganism, be numbered and finished, and like a weighty mill-stone sunk in the deep, he must with the Pagan beast sink forever and ever.
Thus we see the two beasts although supported by the same power, “the great red Dragon or Roman kingdom,” exercising the same authority over the bodies and souls of men, partaking of the same spirit of satan, made like each