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saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by the sword, and did live. And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, and free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 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 six hundred threescore and six.

It seems to be universally admitted, that the first beast in this vision represents Rome ;-but whether pagan or papal has been disputed by Roman Catholic and Protestant commentators : we adhere to the opinion of the former. The beast, like the four beasts in the vision of Daniel, rose up out of the sea. It had seven heads, or seven kings, seven forms of government which successively ruled over it, Rev. xvii. 10. Like the fourth beast also, he had ten horns, and

his horns ten crowns, even as these are similarly interpreted by Daniel as ten kings or kingdoms. A leopard in the vision of the prophet, represented the Grecian empire, a bear the Persian, and a lion the Babylonian—and these were all to be subdued by the Roman, the fourth empire, which is described as a beast great and dreadful and strong exceedingly ; and which devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it. And the beast which I saw in the vision, says John, was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.


Upon his heads were names of blasphemy.-And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.Romulus, the son of a vestal, the reputed suckling of a wolf, the murderer of his brother, and the chief of a band of robbers and ravishers, gave to Rome its existence and its name. Narrow and irregular lines of huts resting on the ground, and, when completed, not exceeding a thousand in number, and a thatch-covered dwelling formed of rushes, were the city and palace of Romulus.* From such beginnings, how mighty was the power, how celebrated the seat, and how great the authority of the empire, or the beast. Babylon, Persia, and Greece, yielded to Rome; and the fragments and residue of these kingdoms were but a portion of its greatness. From the sides of the Grampians to the banks of the Euphrates, the Roman legions held the world in awe; and its great authority is told in the majesty of the Roman name.' But it was not founded in righteousness. An all-holy God was not worshipped there. It upheld idolatry throughout the world. The names of blasphemy were upon the heads of the beast, and Satan gave him his power, and seat, and great authority,

The vision further represents the power, the idolatry, the period of the continuance of the Roman empire, the wounding of one of the heads, and the healing of the wound, and the grievous persecutions which it exercised against Christians. All the world wondered after the beast. Never was an imperial authority greater or more wonderful than that of Rome. And long was the period during which the question might have been asked, but could not be answered throughout the world, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him ? Power

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was given unto him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast.

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in hea

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. In the wilderness, where Christ was tempted of the devil, the arch-deceiver, shewing him all the kingdoms of the world, and all the glory of them, said, “ All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. - Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, the answer of the Son of God. But while the Romans tolerated every form of idolatry, they persecuted unto the death the worshippers of the only living and true God. Under their authority Christ was crucified, and by imperial edicts saints were martyred. An odium was attached to the Christian name. They worshipped the dragon, and bowed down to idols, and, doing the work of the adversary of God and the enemy of the souls of men, they were led captive by Satan at his will. Idolatry alone was the religion of the empire. He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God. The holy One of Israel was the only God they disowned and dishonoured. The whole system of idolatry was a repudiation of his worship, and blasphemy against the only living and true God. They blasphemed his name, and his tabernacle, and those that dwell in heaven. The first testimony on record concerning the Christian faith in Rome, is that it was everywhere spoken against, as blasphemy literally implies. The edicts

the emperors designate it in the most opprobrious terms. Even the refined and elegant Tacitus describes it as a pernicious or pestilent (exitiabilis)* superstition-applying to it the same term in which he otherwise describes a pestilent disease ; and he ranks the Christian faith among the atrocious and shameful things (atrocia aut pudenda) which flowed from every quarter into Rome. The humane Pliny, as compared with other Roman governors he may be called, terms Christianity a wicked and extravagant superstition (pravam et immodicam superstitionem); he too, as well as more modern inquisitors, could interrogate by torture, though he could discover nothing but a piety, a purity, an innocence, brotherlykindness, and charity, that mocked all the pomp of paganism, and might well have put the best of heathens to the deepest blush. And to prove the difference of their faith, as well as of their virtue, he brought forth before Christians the image of the emperor, and the images of the gods; and those who would not worship them, and offer oblations of frankincense and wine, and blaspheme Christ, (maledicerent Christo) were punished for their inflexible obstinacy.t As the governor of Bithynia, he expressed, in an epistle to the emperor Trajan, his doubts whether in punishing Christians, no distinction should be made between the old and the young, the feeble or the strong, the penitent or the impenitent, or whether, the name alone was worthy of punishment. But he cherished not a thought of religious toleration in the truest sense, nor a doubt of his duty as a Roman governor of punishing all who would not bow down and offer oblations before the image of a mortal, and worship those that are not gods. The lenity of the emperor reached not farther than to pardon those who abjured their faith. Idolatry was the very

* Tacit. Ann. lib. xv. 44.

+ Pliny, lib. x. Ep. 97.


come them.

Those only could escape who supplicated the gods and worshipped an idol. Such was the answer of Trajan ; such the boasted toleration of

paganism ; such the union between idolatry and persecution, between the worship of the dragon and war with the saints ; and such the mildest specimen of Roman and imperial legislation against the church of Christ. The blood of many martyrs, many imperial and bloody edicts, and ten successive persecutions, are a portion of the reckoning on behalf of the church, against the ancient empire of Rome. There was given unto the beast, a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to over

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life. They, whose names were written there, would not worship him. And

power was given unto him, to continue forty and two months. The presumed coincidence of this period, with the twelve hundred and sixty years, or the time, times, and a half, has induced protestant commentators in general, to identify the beast having seven heads and ten horns, &c. with papal Rome. Yet the analogy is not only wanting in other respects, (except in their joint power, and persecution of the saints), but it is also obvious, that a different mode of computation, or measure of time, is here adopted, and that a different period may therefore be designated. One kingdom might even possibly have subsisted 1260 years as well as another; and different empires, or forms of government, might have been marked, though the same space had been specified as their duration, and though it had been defined even in the same manner. But both, there is reason to presume, are here different--the period itself,

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