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to apply Saint Paul's comment to them both. This will be done in the succeeding section, where the second beast becomes the object of more particular attention. It is enough at present to observe, that this resemblance will be shown. But sufficient evidence appears, already, to enable us to conclude, that since the beasts of Daniel, and especially the fourth, bear strong resemblance to the beast of the Apocalypse; their time of continuance being the same, as also their office (“ to make
war upon the Saints, and to overcome them"); their destruction by fire, preceding and making way for the reign of the Messiah and his Saints;-the interpretation of one will lead us nearly to that of the other. Now the four beasts of Daniel appear by Divine interpretation* to be four successive empires, established in worldly power, administered with tyranny and oppression, and hostile to true Religion. And the fourth empire is the most cruel, and the most oppressive to the Saints; principally by producing " the little horn,” a power of an extraordinary nature, divers from the rest; which, from a slender beginning, usurping the power of all the preceding empires, converts it to the establishment of a blasphemous religion, and of persecution for righteousness' sake.
Commentators seem generally agreed, that the fourth beast of the prophet Daniel represents the Roman empiret. This beast continued till the times of the Messiah; and was the basis on which the ten horns, or kingdoms, into which the Roman power was afterwards divided, had their foundation. The same horns appear upon the Apocalyptical beast; denoting that he belongs to the same period, and indeed that he is the
or * Dan. vii. 17, 23.
+ See the arguments which are weighty, and the authorities which are of the first antiquity, clearly stated by Bp. Newton. (Dissert. on Proph. vol. i. p. 451, &c. Svo edit.) Archbishop Secker, who, with his usual accuracy and diligence, had studied this prophecy, as ex.
The difference which may be found in the description of the two beasts, first by Daniel, secondly by St. John, may perhaps be fully accounted for, in the three following circumstances: 1. that the description of Daniel was to be accommodated in such a manner as to take in the type contained in his prophecy, which is supposed to be fulfilled in Antiochus Epiphanes; while that of St. Johu (the type having been fulfilled before his times) had to look only to the latter days, to the later accomplishment. 2. That the beast of the Apocalypse, though most like the fourth beast of Daniel, is of a more general universal character, bearing some resemblance also to the three preceding beasts. 3. That Saint John's prophecy, being the latest, must be expected (according to the general tenour of Scriptural prophecy) to afford a nearer and more exact view of the objects described, by revealing intelligence not yet communicated. It is sufficient at present, before we have examined more particulars, and the additional beast united with him, to observe, that this first beast of the Apocalypse appears to be that worldly tyrannical domination, which, for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, (for then the first beast of Daniel begins to oppress,) had been hostile to the Church; but more especially under the fourth beast of Daniel, the Roman usurpation, which, prior to the accession of Constantine, had afflicted the saints with many bloody persecutions. Now, under this beast of the Apocalypse (including his false prophet or minister), we seem to behold that same oppressive and persecuting power renewed, and continued for ages, with some variety of exhibition; even through the long period of twelve-hundred-and-sixty years, after the Roman empire had become divided into its ten horns, or kingdoms.
pounded by Joseph Mede to signify the Roman empire, exclaimed with his author, “ Tantum non articulus fidei! Wintle on Daniel, notes, p. 35. Mede's Works, p. 7:36.
Ver. 2. And the dragon gave him his power; &c.] The dominion exercised by this beast is unjust, tyrannical, oppressive, diabolical. It is not a power legally administered, for the good of the subject; for, such“ power “is ordained of God;" the magistrate duly exercising such a power, is pronounced to be “a minister of good,
bearing not the sword in vain *.” The Christian Religion gives a heavenly sanction to such lenient and beneficial power: but the authority of the beast is founded on another sanction; on that of the dragon or satan, who converts legal government into arbitrary oppression. When the legislative and executive powers act from the impulse of worldly and diabolical passions, this dire usurpation and tyranny will appear. But it is the work of Christianity, by introducing other motives of government, to repress these enormities, and finally, by the intervention of Heavenly aid, to extirpate them. Yet, during the long period of 1960 years, not yet ended, the power of the beast becomes more ferocious and destructive, by receiving the apparent sanctions of Religion, as the world has experienced under the papal and mahometan superstitions.
Ver. 3. And one of his heads, as having been smitten unto death, and his deadly wound was healed.]
* Rom xii. 1-4, 1 Tim. ii. 23.
The beast, like the dragon, from whom he receives his power, has seven heads; which are explained to be so many mountains, or strong-holds, the seats and supports of his oppressive dominion * The dragon, and they who held the reins of worldly power under him, had many such. Such had been ancient Babylon; such was Rome, spiritually called Babylon f. One of these heads, or chief supports of tyrannical power, had received a mortal wound; and yet, to the surprise of the world, and the exultation of the wicked, the beast survives the blow.
During the three first centuries of the Christian times, the fourth beast of Daniel, the Roman monarchy, had violently persecuted the Church. He was then in full vigour and dominion. And when did he seem to decline in strength? when to appear no longer beastly? when to remit his persecuting ferocity? when to receive an apparent mortal wound? At the accession of Constantine, the first Christian emperor; whose laws, enacted for the establishment, protection, and propagation of the Christian Religion, seemed' at that time to have inflicted a mortal wound on the beast. He was smitten on his Roman, his principal head; and his death appeared certain I. But the Christian leaders seizing, too eagerly, the power and riches of the world, and ensnared in the temptation, contributed most effectually to heal the deadly wound of the beast; they restored him again to life and to power; to a
* See note, ch. viii. 8. + 1 Pet. v. 13.
See the opinions of those times in Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. x; also Vit. Constant. lib. ii. cap. xix. xlii. xlvi, &c.; where, upon the death of the dragon, (for so Maximin and Maxentius and the foes of the Church are called,) a long peace and virtuous enjoyment is promised to Christians.
power tenfold more dangerous than before, when a corrupt administration of civil tyranny began to be supported and abetted by ecclesiastical authority. Under which new form, he became an object of wonder, and of worship to the deluded inhabitants of the world. But this effect will be considered more at large, when we have taken the additional beast, called the false prophet, into view. It will be useful at this time to compare the deadly wound of the beast in this passage (which wound turns out to be not deadly) with his existence, and his non-existence, both predicated of him at the same period, in ch. xvii.
CHAPTER xvii. 3. Και μιαν εκ των κεφαλών 8. Το θηριον, και ειδες, ην, και εκ αυε ως εσφαγμενον εις θανα
-- και θαυμασούναι τον και η πληγη το θανατε οι κατοικείες επι της γης, αυ8 εθεραπευθη και έθαυ- ων και γεγραπlαι τα ονοματα μασεν ολη. η γη οπισω τα επι το βιβλιον της ζωης απο θηριό.
καταβολής κοσμε,βλεπουλων 8. Και ωροσκυνήσεσιν αυτονοσαν- θηριον, ότι ην, και εκ
τες οι κατοικείες επι της γης, (καιπερ εςιν, ών και γεγραπlαι το ονομα εν
εσι, και παρεσαι, τω βιβλιο της ζωης τα αρνιά
και αρέσιν τε εσφαγμενε απο καλαβο
There is manifest resemblance in the two passages, The persons, who admire and worship the beast, are the same ; “they who dwell on earth,” the whole earth, or that part whose names are not written in the book of life:--and the object of admiration is the same, namely the beast, who in the notes, ch. xvii, is shewn to be
And the cause of admiration is at least nearly the same. In the one, the beast receives a deadly
* There are these three readings, see note to ch. xvii. 3.