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A combination of Prophecy with History will shew. with what perfect exactness this Papal Power of Antichrist is marked out by the Prophets Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John.
To: guide our enquiries to the right points of observation, St. John has designated, by certain appropriate allusions and descriptions, the peculiar nature of this power, the time when it began to manifest itself to the world, and the seat of its authority and government.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven beads and ten borns, and upon his borns: ten
crowns, and upon his beads the name of blaf· phemya. This b wonderful beast with a crown
on each horn, and a blafphemous inscription on each of his seven heads, denoted the new form of government that was to be erected in the city of Rome, by the great commotions of the world, after the Imperial Power had been destroyed, and the Empire was divided into ten distinct and independent fovereignties.
In the mystical description which the Apostle afterwards gives of this beast, it will
a Rev. xiii. 1.
Lowman on the Revelations, p. 173.
greatly assist our enquiries to discover by a given number, when this Antichristian power shall arise ; and from thence ascertain with more precision what Power is meant by this prophetical representation. 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 fix hundred threescore and fixd. If we compute this number 666. from the time when St. John saw this Proa phetic vision, we shall find that this new Power was established at the termination of this mystic number of years. St. John was banished to the. ifle of Patmos in the latter part of the reign of Domitian, and returned from thence immediately on his death. Doa mitian reigned from 81 to 96. Now St. John saw the vision in the isle of Patmos; and it is generally acknowledged, that the Papacy received the temporal power, and became the beast, in 756.
o Rev. xiii. i8. • It is very remarkable that this mystic number should fo accurately apply both to the time when the Papal Antichrist established his reign, and the titles he assumed. See note to the Introductory Chapter, vol. i. p. 393. Pyle's Paraphrase, p. 105. Newton, vol. iii. p. 390. Lowman, p. 194. B
The feat of this Power is fixed at Rome. THAT GREAT City, which in the times of Pagan idolatry had been the mistress of the antient world by the force of her arms, became in more modern ages, by the establishment of her fpiritual laws, so much exalted in power, as to reign over the kings of the earth. The woman, upon whose forehead was infcribed Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots, and abominations of the earth, is, according to the explanation of the angel, the city of Rome ; for the seven heads: of the beast that carried her are seven mountains' on which the woman sitteth, and the woman which thou fawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. Rome is well known to be built upon seven hills; and at the time when this revelation was communicated to St. John, its dominion was extended over all the known world.
f« It seems intended by the angel's interpretation that we should consider the city of Rome as marked out in this Prophecy for the seat of government to prevent mistakes, that we should not understand this Prophecy of an empire or government in any other place than the city of Rome, though it should take the name and style of the Roman Empire, as the Greek Emperors and the Emperors of Germany have severally done. This may give us a good:
Furnished with these plain directions by the Apostle, we proceed to trace the gradual rise and progress, decline and fall of the Man of Sin, as presented to our view by history and the course of present events.
No opportunity could be more favourable for the display of his ambition, his deceit, and his superstition, than the unhappy state of the Christian world in the fifth century. The members of the eastern and the western churches were divided into parties, by religious disputes the most unimportant; in confequence of which, they persecuted each other with the greatest animosity and rancour. They were erroneous in faith, and degenerate in practice; and their credulity and ignorance fully prepared them for the reception of him, whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders &.
His temporal dominion arose out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. The change of the feat of government to Constantinople, and
reason why the city of Rome in thiş Prophecy is described by its natural situation, as well as by its government, and why seven heads are interpreted to mean seven mountains, As well as feven kings.” Lowman, p. 177.
• 2 Thess, ii. 9. . B 3
the dethronement of Momyllus Auguftulus, were events that led immediately to the establishment of a new Power. Auguftulus was deposed by Odoacer, King of the Heruli, in the year 476, who thus gave the deadly wound to the western Empire h. :" This last Em“ peror of the West would be less entitled,” fays Gibboni, " than his more immediate predecessors to the notice of pofterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of
#Mosheim, vol. i. p. 228. . 1 Gibbon, vol. iii, p. 494. 4to. Edit. After the example of Mr. Whitaker in his excellent View of the Prophecies, I shall introduce into this and the following Chapter, several striking passages from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which show the completion of Prophecy. Gibbon has already rendered great service to this subject, · as may be seen. by referring to vol. i. c. 2. and he might
contribute much more to it, did not the limits of my work 'confine me to particular quotations. Although as a disciple of Voltaire he delighted to asperse the characters of Christians, and represented every circumstance to their disadvantagę; yet he was compelled as an Historian ta listen to the voice of truth, and not to suppress important facts and events. His statements, even partial as they fometimes are, render him a powerful witness against Infidelity, by which he is manifestly actuated; and in favor of Christianity, which is so frequently the subject of his profane sarcasms. Not aware of the obvious use that may be made if his representations, like the idle servant in the parable of the talents," he is condemned out of his own F mouth.".