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was gradually corrupted; and the MONARCHY of heaven, already clothed with metaphysical subtleties, was degraded by the introduction of a popular mythology, which tended to restore the REIGN OF POLYTHEISM. The same uniform original spirit of superstition might suggest, in the most distant ages and countries, the same methods of DECEIVING the credulity, and of affecting the senses of mankind; but it must ingenuously be confessed, that the ministers of the Catholic church imitated the profane model, which they were impatient to destroy. The most respectable bishops had persuaded themselves, that the ignorant rustics would more cheerfully renounce the superstition of paganism, if they found some resemblance, some compensation in the bosom of Christianity. The religion of Constantine achieved, in less than a century, the final conquest of the Roman empire; but the victors themselves were insensibly subdued by the arts of their vanquished rivals.”* “ The pagan rites of genuflexion, luminaries, and incense, again stole into the Catholic church.”+
The connexion between the establishment of images, the coronation of Charlemagne, and the restoration of the western empire is, in a similar manner, as manifest, even in these very words, from the index, or contents, of another chapter of the same history, when thus set down at length.
Introduction, worship, and persecution of images.-Revolt of Italy and Rome.- Temporal dominion of the popes.Conquest of Italy by the Franks.-Establishment of images. - Character and coronation of Charlemagne. - Restoration and decay of the Roman empire in the West.- Independence of Italy.- Constitution of the Germanic body. I-" In the eighth century of the Christian era, a religious quarrel, the worship of images, provoked the Romans to assert their independence: their bishop became the temporal as well as the spiritual father of a free people ; and of the western empire, which was restored by Charlemagne, the title and image still decorate (decorated) the singular constitution of modern Germany."
Such is the rise and character of the second beast, the revival of the first, and their joint connexion.
+ Ibid, vol. ix. p. 115. § ibid. vol. xii. p. 257.
The power of popery lay in deceiving the nations. His coming was after the working of Satan, with all powers and signs, and lying wonders, and all deceivableness of unrighteousness. The pretended miracles were innumerable, and need not to be recorded. The causing of fire to come down from heaven is still a superstitious act, and is yet deceitfully practised, even where Jesus preached. 66 The same methods of DECEIVING the credulity of mankind," which pagans had originated, were adopted anew by “ the ministers of the Catholic church, who imitated the profane model ;" and deceived them that dwelt upon the earth. The deadly wound of the first beast was healed. The emperorship of Rome was restored by the pontiff; and the existence of the authority and title was made dependant on coronation by his hands. It was he who elevated the emperor to the character of temporal chief, and set him over kings. The idolatry of paganism was renewed, and with it the persecution of the worshippers of God. They who refused to worship an image, became, as before, the martyrs of Jesus. The temporal power was subservient to the spiritual, and they who had not the badge of popery were victims of the most relentless persecution.
And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand and 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.Wherever the papal authority was disowned, or the creed of the church of Rome rejected, or its infallibility brought into question, nations were laid under an interdict, kings excommunicated, and the secluded heretic was searched out. Wherever the fearful ana
thema of the church fell, all interchange of kindly or common offices of duty, friendship, or charity were prohibited ; the great had no longer authority over the small, nor did the small pay any deference to the great ; the rich had no longer any pity on the poor, nor would the
take a bribe from the hands of the rich ; the free could no longer command the personal duties of the bond ; and the bondsman heard unheeded the mandate or entreaty of his master. The brand of the church was as the spot of a leper ; and the father of a family was as a stranger, or an enemy,
in his household ; and a king was as an alien in his kingdom. Whenever the inquisitor's coach was at the door, and so soon as the name of the denounced was uttered, the menials turned their master from house, or the husband led forth the wife of his bosom, or the parent gave up the hope of his family or the child of his love, to be carried to the dungeon where no eye could see them, or unto the stake where none could save.
With those on whom the sentence of excommupication was passed, all communication was interdicted, and, as even a sentence against a king of England shews, all were ordered to avoid them, on pain of excommunication. The very term implies the cessation of all friendly intercourse ; all ties were broken, and all distinctions lost in the overwhelming sensation, under the dominion of dark superstition, of a sentence pronounced by an infallible judge, and involving eternal reprobation. No doctrine was more rife throughout Europe than this, that out of the church there is no salvation. The words were those of the man of sin, who himself goeth into perdition ; the earthly power that dealt out damnation, must itself be destroyed : but such for ages was the supreina. су
of its dominion, 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.
The connexion and union between imperial and papal Rome form the subject of the vision, and they are not divided at its close. Letters being equivalent to figures, Romiith, the Roman, (agreeing with either beast, or kingdom,) Lateinos, the Latin, (the number of a man,) and Apostates, apostate,—the Roman kingdom, the Latin apostate-contain each the precise number six hundred sixty and six,*-the name, the number, and the mark of the beast.
Such, in past history, is the Roman empire and papal power-giving, we apprehend, no vague or ambiguous commentary to the words of the prophet. The significancy, at least, of the first and second beast, may not be held doubtful. But the whole of their history may not yet be told, nor the whole of the prophecy be developed. The great red dragon, the symbol of the Roman empire as the enemy of the church, reappears at the close of the preceding vision. The witnesses have also to be killed. And in the judgment against the papacy, (chap. xvii.) its character and power, as well as fate, together with those of the empire, are yet more fully defined ; the tenhorned beast, rising at last out of the bottomless pit and going into perdition, is again upon the scene. And things noted in scripture, and, perhaps, not to be expounded yet, may possibly be reserved as the signs of other times. And therefore it may remain for that time to disclose an infinitely clearer illustration of the last form of government of imperial Rome, (though now, it is not,) than all human ingenuity can devise.
Having thus glanced respectively, in brief review, at those separate visions which John saw, when,
See Evidence of Prophecy, Appen. iii.
after having delineated the political history of the world down to the close of the seven thunders, it was told him by the angel that he must prophesy again, and when, in the renewed prophesying, he was commanded to measure the temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein, we may here, before entering on the consideration of a new series of predictions, give heed to the time which, in these visions, is measured and thrice repeated by the prophet, in precise accordance with the same prophetic period, which is also twice announced by Daniel.
There are other periods, not yet expired, connected with that of the twelve hundred and sixty years,
during which the various kingdoms into which the Roman empire was subdivided, was given into the hands of the papacy. And it is not, perhaps, yet possible to determine, with absolute precision, the commencement or termination of that period. But in respect to the time when religious persecution (if so sacrilegious a term may be used) was sanctioned and established in the church by civil authority, when he that letted had been taken out of the way, and the pope's authority was submissively deferred to, by the Roman emperor then reigning at Constantinople, as that of the Head of the Church, no era in history seems to be more marked, than that of the age of Justinian, whether we look into the pages of the ecclesiastical or civil historian.
says Dupin, may be justly ranked among ecclesiastical writers, for NEVER prince did meddle so much with what concerns the affairs of the church, nor make so many constitutions and laws upon this subject. He was persuaded that it was the duty of an emperor, and for the good of the state, to have a particular care of the church, to defend its faith, to regulate external discipline, and to employ the civil laws and the temporal power to preserve in it order and peace. Upon this account he did not only make a collection of the laws made by the princes, his
6. The emperor