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ged, but that length of life is permitted to them for a season". Upon this change, the empire devolved to the fourth, or Roman, monarchy; which, in process of time, with its triumphant harlot and ten kings, is to give place to the reign of Christ. But the three other monarchies remain for a time. Though they lose their power, they remain, as we see them at this day, beastly, marked with ignorance, superstition, tyranny, cruelty, and injustice, until the stroke of the stone having first broken the legs of Daniel's image, of the Roman or fourth beast, the other parts of the image will also fall; and the stone, or fifth kingdom, the kingdom of the Messiah, shall fill the whole earth.
The beast, therefore, carrying the harlot, seems in most points like the former beast of the xiïith chapter, but not in the extent of his dominion. That of the former beast comprehended the eastern, and now Mahometan, provinces, of the four great monarchies; while the latter is confined to the western kingdoms only. He is indeed the same beast ;--but when carrying the harlot, he is exhibited only in reference to one of the horns of Antichrist, that horn which the harlot will be found to represent. The eastern or Mahometan horn, and consequently the eastern or Mahometan world, does not enter into this description.
There is another peculiarity in the beast carrying the harlot, which was not seen in the beast of the thirteenth chapter ;-he is of a scarlet colour. He seems to have obtained this tinge, by his connection with his scarlet mistress. This was not noted before, and there are some other minute marks of descriprion, attributed only to the beast of the xviitli chap
* Dan. vii. 12.
ter, which belong to him peculiarly when he carries the harlot, as a branch and horn of Antichrist; and which could not so justly be ascribed to him in the xiiith chapter, where the representation would be such as to agree with the extension of the four monarchies; the eastern as well as the western horn, These shall be considered in their place : but, first in order, let us attend to that ænigmatical description of the beast, by which it is said that, “he was, and " is not, mot Syet is present *.”? although he is.”
.;;} The form of speech is highly ænigmatical. He hath existed; doth not exist;
* There are, I believe, but two passages in the text of the Apocalypse, in which I bare not submitted to the authority of Griesbach, and adopted his readings. I do not possess the Biblical koowledge and means of consulting authorities which may give me a right to contend such points. But in the passage now before us, I have been inclined to preserve the commonly received text, xa1Tegesiy, as appearing to contain an appropriate meauing, which I in vain look for in
(x2i ozgesi) the reading preferred by Griesbach. The three readings XLITEE ESIN
( 29. vagişa ) as written in ancient MSS., would have a near resemblance to each other: but if any change has been made by transcribers, it is more likely that the difficul and 'ænigmatical expression has been rejected by them for the more easy and plain one, than that the easy and plain expression should be changed for the difficult and ænigmatical. But whatever might be the practice of transcribers, we must in such difficulties pursue a canon of criticism, laid down by the best critics ; and especially in respect to the readings of the Apocalypse. It is among the rules adopted by Griesbach bimself; “ Preferatur lectio « brevior, obscurior, durior, sensum paradoxum, ant apparenter fal“ sum fundens,” &c. (Pref. ad Nov. Test.) Irenæus, :sho informs us that he possessed, in his times (so near to the publication of the Apocalypse) the σπεδαια και αρχαια αντιγραφα, seems to have followed this reading; or, in describing this beast, he would not have used the expression, which appears in the Latin translation, "quasi qui “non sit." Iren. lib. v. c. 35,
yet doth exist. These two last terms in their literal acceptation are in direct contradiction to each other ; and therefore, literally taken, cannot be true. Yet many passages of Scripture have this character, and yet are found to contain true and important doctrine. Thus, a good Christian is said to be dead, though he liveth *. His life is hid with Christ in God f. This expression, literally interpreted, cannot be true: but if one of the terms be taken in its spiritual sense, the meaning becomes plain, and most important I. The life of the beast is thus figuratively dead; his life is hid, he is not seen and acknowledged by the world as being alive ; although in fact lie lives and rules with the same tyrannical oppression as before. In the description of the beast in the xiiith chapter, there is a similar ænigmatical representation, which, as it seems to allude to the same history, may be usefully compared §.
The fourth beast of Daniel, the Roman tyranny, by the ecclesiastical revolution under Constantine, appeared to be deprived of his savage ferocity; to have no more existence as a wild-beast, as the oppressor of true Religion. He seemed then to have received his deadly wound:-“ He was, and is not;"_but “his deadly wound was healed H." Though“ he was, “and is not, yet he is 9.” Unobserved to be the same beast, the same persecuting, oppressive power, he re-ascends from the great abyss, the same in the Spirit, even as Jolin Baptist was said to be Elijah, and Christ to be David ; because they came in the same “ power,” and fulfilled the offices assigned by prophecy to their respective prototypes. By the scarlet splendour of the barlot, who is seated upon the beast and directs his steps, he is so covered and disguised; by her abominable cup the kings and nations of the earth, who should oppose his reign, are so intoxicated; that he is suffered to come up unknown, unacknowledged; and, directed and abetted by the harlot, to exercise all his former oppression. He is the same, though he does not appear such : " He was, and is “ not, though he is *.” Yet, the admiration and worship with which the beast is honoured in this his disguise, though general, is not universal. The seal. ed Christians, whose names are written in the book of Life, though few in number, are awake to their duty ; discover the deceit; reject the cup of the har
* Rom. vi. 10.
+ Col. ii. 3. 1 Thus also in Saint John's writings, it hwn, ada ox iš mawr. 1 John ä. 19.
See them exbibited in comparison, in note, ch. xiii. 3. 1 Ch. xii. 3.
Ch. xvii, 8.
* These words of the angel, describing the beast, “ He was, and “is not,” &c. appear to me in no wise applicable to the tyrandy seated at Rome at the time of the vision, when the angel spake them. This was the time of the Emperor Domitian, when a cruel persecution raged against the Church, when Saint John himself was actually suffering banishment in Patmos, “ for the word of God and the lesti“mony of Jesus.” Such a time can in no wise agree with the representation, that the beast " was, and is not.” It is therefore probable that the time in which the beast is said to have been, and not to be, &c.; is the time when he ariseth again after his wound, to exercise dominion under the direction of the harlot. This time was not are rived when Saint John saw the vision in Patmos: but though future in this sense, it was present in another, as belonging to the vision then under exhibition : for, the beast was then present in exhibition before Saint John, and in the act of re-ascending to power. This will appear more probable to those who read forward from this passage to the end of the 8th verse, where the admiration of the inbabitants of the earth is spoken of as future ; and yet this admiration is fixed upon the same object--the beast which was, and is not, &c.
lot, and the mark of the beast; abjure the idolatrous worship required; and many of them sacrifice their lives in the cause of Truth. · Ver. 9. Herein is the mind having wisdom.] By comparing this expression with similar passages *, it will appear to contain a call to the observant Christian, engaging him to attend diligently to the marks (seegayuance) of the beast and harlot, which are now announced by the angel, in order to assist the detection of them when they shall appear. In the first place, we are informed, that the seven heads of the beasts are so many mountains, on which the woman, who directs the power of the beast, is seated. But mountains have been found to signify eminent seats, high stations, of power t. But, in ver. 1. of this chapter, the woman is said also to be seated “on many waters :" And these were ascertained, by the explanation of the angel, to signify “people, and multitudes, and “nations, and languages .” Thus presiding over these nations, she is afterwards said, in plainer language, “ to “ have dominion over the kings of the earth.” From a comparison of these passages, it will therefore appear, that the seven mountains express that widely extended power and dominion, which this re-ascending beast was to exercise under the direction of the harlot.
But these seven mountains, by the interpretation of the angel, appear to have an additional signification;-" they are also seven king's ; five of them have " fallen; and one of them is; the other is not yet “come; and when he is come, he must remain a little: " and the wild-beast which was, and is not, even he " is the eighth, and is of the seven.” I quote this . . Ch. xiii. 10, 18. xiv. 12. • † See potes, ch. i. 4. viii. 8.
I Ver. 15.