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passage, io shew what we are to expect under the name of kings. For the beast bimself, upon his revival, is to be one of the kings : therefore, from what he is known to be, some conjecture may be formed of the nature of the rest, who are here styled kings. Now, it has been clearly seen that the seven-headed beast is a tyrannical and oppressive power; and in particular, that power which formed the Roman domination, which is still the same beast, under whatever form of government it may be exercised. But this power, though it may be administered by a king, cannot itself be literally a king, that is, a man exercising supreme authority. So in the interpretation of the word king, as used in this passage, we must look for some other meaning; for such as may not exclude the beast from bearing it. In this research, we obtain assistance from the eighth chapter of the prophecy of Daniel; where, by comparing verse 17, with verse 23, it appears, that the word kings is used to signify kingdoms, or forms of government. The beast before us has seven heads; seven mountains; seven seats of eminent power ; seven kingdoms, or forms of government; yet not all existing at the same time, but suceeding to each other. For, five of them are represented to have fallen; one, the sixth, to be then existing; another, the seventh, to be not yet come; and after a short continuance to be succeeded by an eighth and last; even by the whole beast himself, representing - such a kingdom, or form of government. In attempting to point out these seven kingdoms, or forms of government, it will be useful to begin with the sixth; with that which was existing at the time when the angel described them. This was the power imperial; for at that time one man,
Domitian, under the title of Emperor, exercised the supreme authority, uttering oppressive edicts against the Christian Church. But can we trace back the forms of government, which succeeded each other under the Roman domination, so that they may fairly appear five, preceding the imperial form ? Kingly, Consular, Decemviral, are confessedly three distinct forms of government, established by three separate revolutions. And the balance of power, continually changing, and verging at one time in favour of the patrician or aristocratic, at another of the plebeian or democratic scale, have probably produced two other distinct forms of government. Such indeed we find recorded in the Roman history, as exercised under Dictators, and Military Tribunes * These appear to be the five heads, which were fallen, at the time when the angel spake. The sixth or imperial head, was then existing ; and continued to exist till the year 475; when it terminated with Augustulus, the last emperor. To this imperial form succeeded the government set up by the Gothic conquerors, when, after a short time, a magistrate, with the title of Exarch, presided in Rome. But in the dark ages, which were now commencing, the beast begins again to appear. He had disappeared under the auspices of Constantine; now he revives; and the civil power of the empire passes into hands in which it becomes idolatrous, blasphemous, tyrannical, and oppressive to true Religion. This was the time when the false
* These, as Bp. Newton observes, are the five forms of government antecedent to the imperial form, enumerated and distinguished as such “ by those who should best know, the two greatest Roman “ Historians, Livy and Tacitus.” Livii lib. vi. 1. Tacit. Annal. lib. i. sub iniiin.
prophet of the xïith chapter began to exalt the power of the beast : when the harlot directed the reins and exhibited him as an object of terror and admiration. Thus he became the eighth form of government: and in this form, he exceeded all his predecessors in cruel and exterminating warfare against the saints. The popes, and their agents in the corrupt church, made use of the civil power of the kings to persecute and destroy those who dared to profess a creed or worship, other than they had authorized. Having, uttered their decrees against such persons, they delivered them to the secular arm, which at their instigation was ready to apply the fire and fagyot. From the time that the reigning powers of Europe were willing to enforce the decrees of persecution at the call of a corrupt, domineering religion, is to be dated the reign of the beast, as an eighth head. It is not, strictly speaking, a head of the beast; for the heads were seven; and were all fallen; but it is the revival of a tyrannical, persecuting power in their place. It is a form still more beastly, subsisting after the seven heads were gone. It is the whole beast, or the perfect image of him, revived, by the false prophet, by the harlot.
Ver. 12. And the ten horns which thou didst sce, are ten kings; &c.] This beast, like that in the viitla chapter of Daniel, has ten horns; which are also explained to represent ten kings or kingdoms. They are not described as having existence in the early days of the beast's power; but as succeeding to a share of dominion with him afterwards, “one and “ the same hour;" that is, during a space of time, the commencement and duration of which seem not to be determined, but the warfare in which they are
to unite their forces to that of the beast, against the Lamb and his followers, takes place toward the end of the beast's reign, when they are mustered to the battle of the great day, by the agency of the evil spirits *. That these times are the same, we may collect from the similarity of the relation. In ch. xvi. 4. xvii. 14. and xix. 16. 9, the same words are repeated ;" The Lamb shall overcome them;-King “ of kings, Lord of lords." But the ten kingdoms, or their successive rulers, although for a time intoxicated by the harlot, and made subservient to her exaltation, shall in the end oppose her usurped dominion; " shall hate her, and shall make her desolate " and naked ; and shall eat her flesh, and burn her “utterly with fire.” Her gaudy ornaments shall be stripped from her by the agency of those, who shall enrich themselves with her spoils, and finally reduce her to that complete destruction, which is expressed by the operation of firet. Yet this hostility between the kings and the harlot, does not seem to proceed from any virtue in them, but from worldly avarice and ambition. They covet her power and her riches; and this change in their conduct seems to take place from the time when they awake from their intoxication. They who had been the means of exalting the harlot, become the instruments of her fall.
Ch. xvi. 4. + This destruction is particularly displayed in the following chapter. See also, Jer. xiii. 22—27. Ezek. xvi. 39; xxiii. 29. Has. ii. 3. Mich. i. 6–12. Nah, iji. 4–5. Lam. i. 8; iv. 21 : wbich passages will afford light to the imagery here used, which is not unfrequent in the history of other ancient nations. See Tacitus de Mor, Germ. c. xix. where the woman convicted of adultery, is described as turned out of doors, stripped naked.
Having taken this view of "the great harlot," who, like the little horn of Daniel, is seen seated among the ten kings or kingdoms, into which the latter end of the Roman beast, the western part of the Roman empire, was divided; who sitteth supreme over many nations, directing the civil power, corrupting by idolatry and impure religion, and rioting in the blood of Saints and Martyrs; whose mystical name is Babylon, the mother of harlots, and of the abominations of the earth ; who, though she corrupt and intoxicate the rulers of the western nations, is at length deserted and destroyed by them; who is, lastly, that great city which had dominion, at the time of the vision, over the kings of the earth ;-we shall find little difficulty in applying it to history.
Rome, seated on seven mountains, and ruling over the kings of the earth, is clearly the scene on which the harlot acts her part. This is the city called by the fathers of the Church, in pearly the same ex: pression, tyv BagineUE5woliv, Thy wohiv Broileda *. It has been observed, that on an ancient coin, Rume is synıbolically represented as a woman seated on a lion t. Avd this picture of her was so well known, and found to be so consonant to this prophecy, that the fathers, from Tertullian to Augustine, generally. understood Rome to be designated under the emblem of this harlot I. Modern interpreters could do no
* See Euseb. Ilist. Eccl. lib.ii. c. 13.-She is Babylon; Saint · Peter, as it were, by the direction of the same Holy Spiril, fixes this
title upon her. See 1 Pet. v. 13. with the notes of Whitby; also Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. ii. c. 15, with the note of Valesius upon the passage.
† Vitringa, p. 757. Babylon, apud Joannem nostrum, Romanæ urbis figura est, proindè et maguæ, et regno superbæ, et sanctorum debellatricis. Tertull. adv. Jud. p. 217.