תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

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 fire t. 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.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

. Ch. xvi. 4.

+ This destruction is particularly displayed in the following chapter. See also, Jer. xiii. 22—27. Ezek. xvi. 39; xxiii. 29. Hos. ii. 3. Mich. i. 6–12. Nah. iii. 4–5. Lam. i. 8 ; iv. 21 : which 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.



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

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 tlıę 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 difticulty 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 nearly the same expression, την βασιλευσαν σολιν, την πολιν βασιλιδα *. It has been observed, that on an ancient coin, Rume is symbolically represented as a woman seated on a lion t. And 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 liarlot I. Modern interpreters could do no otherwise than follow them. All are generally agreed, that this prophecy is of Rome. But a question arises ; whether this city, so designated, be the pagan and imperial, or the modern and ecclesiastical Rome. The writers of the church of Rome have contended that she is the former : and they have received considerable assistance from certain Protestant divines; from Grotius and Hammond. But the attentive rea- , der, perusing the comments of those learned writers, will find great deficiency of correspondence between the symbols, and the objects in history which they have supposed them to represent. Pagan Rome became Christian, before the beast, as exhibited in this vision, was completed in his seven forms of government, and had divided his power among the ten kings. Pagan Rome did not beguile and corrupt, but compel and destroy. She permitted, as Bishop Newton observes, the conquered nations to continue the religion of their ancestors. Instead of corrupting others, she was herself corrupted by foreign superstitions. The Babylon of the Apocalypse is a church, or religious society: for she stands opposed to the New Jerusalem. She is a corrupt church, opposed to the pure one; and this cannot be said of Pagan Rome. So, the harlot on the beast stands also contrasted to the woman in the wilderness. They are both of them Churches; but one of them is an apostate church; not the modest, pure, suffering Church, which was seen in the wilderness; but that proud, gaudy, drunken, bloody, corrupted, and corrupting society, whose antitype can be found nowhere in history but in the papal hierarchy. Pagan Rome therefore, though seated on the beast, can, by no just interpretation, be deemed the harlot. Besides, P PO

* See Euseb. Hist. 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. ij. c. 15. with the note of Valesius


the passage.

+ Vitringa, p. 757. Babylon, apud Joannem nostrum, Romanæ urbis figura est, proindè et inaguæ, et regno superba, et sanctorum debellatricis. Terlull. adv. Jud. p. 217. 5



the beast, on which Pagan Rome was seated, is not the identical beast on which we have seen the harlot. It is indeed the Roman empire; but not in that period, which has been clearly discriminated in the beast carrying the barlot. This is the Roman empire in its last stage; when it appears divided into ten toes *; into ten kingdoms. No such division is seen in history while Rome continued pagan. It is that period of the beast, when having received an apparently mortal wound, by Christianity having become the religion of the empire, he is again restored to life; and adding the sanctions of religious, to civil power, domineers over the pure Christian Church.

This interpretation is not new : it is that, in which almost all the Protestant commentators have concurred. If I have added any thing to the evidence by which it is established, it is by pointing out the difference of the beasts, represented in the xiiith and xviith chapters; the one extending his dominion over the whole Roman empire, eastern as well as western ; the other confined to the western dominion, and its ten kingdoms; the former producing the lamb-like beast, the false prophet, or antichrist entire, that is, having two horns, one springing forth in the Mahometan or eastern, the other in the papal or western, apostacy; the latter, being a part of the former, bear's only one horn of Antichrist, yet that the most eminent. For, the western horn of Antichrist, appearing in the very centre of that part of the world, which bore the Christian name ; which styled itself the Catholic Church; which denied the title of Christian to any who should dare to dissent from its decrees; required a more particular description. That

Danii. 42.

description Chap xvii.] description has been now examined ; and the characters presented to view, can apparently accord with no other than papal Rome. The false prophet, as represented with his two horns, may appear to bear as strong a resemblance to the Mahometan, as to the papal apostacy *: but this horn or branch now represented under the symbol of the harlot, belongs exclusively to the papal usurpation.

The arguments which are used by the Romanists to evade this application of the prophecy, are of little weight. Those produced by some eminent Protestants, by Grotius and Hammond, have been frequently and most satisfactorily refuted: nor do there remain at this time any which may seem to require notice, excepting that, which has been triumphantly advanced by Bossuet, the eloquent Bishop of Meaux. The woman (says he) must of necessity represent pagan, and not Christian Rome; for, to accord with the former, she is properly named as a harlot; but to agree with the latter, she should have been called a faithless spouse, an adulteress f.—To this objection Bishop Hurd, with equal acuteness has answered, that the term adulteress could not be applied to Babylon, which had never entered into marriage contract with the Deity. And yet Babylon, he observes, on account of her enormous idolatry, was the fittest of all types to represent the corrupt Roman church. But the answer does not yet appear to take away the force of the objection. It scems necessary to shew, that the term HARLO'r is here applied to PAPAL RONE

* Indeed it very strongly expresses both : see notes on ch, xiii. p. 298.

+ L'Apocalypse, &c. par Messire J. B. Bossuet, Evêque de Meaux,

« הקודםהמשך »