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beast both was, is not, and began again to be, under one and the same sixth head: consequently, in point of chronology, when the beast revived, his last head had not arisen. In the symbol however it was necessary that he should be represented complete in all his members, though some of those members, as I have just observed, unavoidably relate to past events, some to present events, and some to future events. Accordingly the beast, when he emerged from the sea, appeared to St. John complete with -all his seven heads, notwithstanding five of those heads were already fallen, and notwithstanding the last head was not as yet in existence. In order to assist us in our inquiries after this last head, the prophet observes, that, whenever it did come, it should be a double head, consisting of the seventh head melting, as it were, into the eighth head; and that it should likewise be the beast tkut was, and is not : it should, in some sense or another, be the beast that was and is not, although the beast revived under his sixth head; and it should moreover be so powerful at its first rise, that it should in a manner be identified with the whole beast himself, notwithstanding his ten horns, and his additional little horn mentioned by Daniel.
I know not any better method of ascertaining what power is intended by the last head of the beast, or the last form of Roman government, than simply to follow the current of history from the days of St. John, The sixth or imperial head was
flourishing in the height of its glory when the Apostle wrote; and we know, that the last head had not then arisen, both from the testimony of history, and from the unequivocal declaration that it was “ not yet come.” Now the first remarkable event, that St. John notices in the history of the sixth head, is, that it was wounded to death or slain by the stroke of a sword* Before any attempt can be made to explain this part of the prophecy, we must endeavour to acquire a clear idea in the abstract, of what is meant in the language of symbols by a beast's being slain; for, till this idea be acquired, it will be a vain labour to seek for what we may perhaps fancy to be a corresponding event.
A beast is a tyrannical idolatrous empire. The life of a beast therefore, or the vital principle whereby he is a beast, must necessarily mean his tyrunny and idolatry. Consequently the death of a beast must be the very reverse of his life: that is to say, a beast is slain, not when a temporal empire is subverted, but when he ceases to be a beast by abjuring his idolatry and tyranny. So again: as the death of a beast is his abjuration of tyranny and idolatry, the revival of a beast is his relapsing a second time into tyranny and idolatry. In short, the symbolical imagery of a beast being sluin, of his continuing dead for a certain space, and of his afterwards coming to life again, is precisely equivalent to the literal prediction respecte
ing the Roman beast, that, as he had been, so he should cease to be, and afterwards should again be*.
* Vide supra Chap. 2. I shall here once once more cite Mr. Nede's excellent definition of figurative deuth. “Mori ea no" tione dicitur qui in quocunque statu constitutus, sive politico “ sive ecclesiastico, seu quovis alio, desinit esse quod fuit ; " unde et occidit qui tali morte quemquam afficit.” When the beust then was wounded to death, he ceased to be what he had been before: but a beast is a tyrannical idolatrous empire ; therefore the Roman beast, when slain by the sword, did not experience political subversion (as Bp. Newtou supposes), but simply ceased to be what he had been before, namely a tyrannical idolatrous empire. Mr. Lowman very justly thinks, that the life, the death, and the revisal of the beast mean the very same as his being, his ceasing to be, and his being again: but he seems to me greatly to mistake the import of the two sets of phrases, in supposing that they denote the orerthrow of the Roman empire by the Goths, and the revival of it by the rise of the Papacy. In fact, the Roman empire under its sixth head was not overthrown by the Goths; but still continued to subsist under that same head at Constantinople, whither the seat of government had been transferred long before the loss of the western provinces. It is a curious circumstance, that, after the loss of those provinces, one of the last acts of the expiring senate of ancient Rome should be a formal transfer of the seat of empire from Rome to Constantinople. In the year 476, when the Western empire was finally extinguished by Odoacer, an epistle was addressed by the unanimous decree to the Eastern emperor Zeno. In it " they solemnly “ disclaim the necessity, or even the wish, of continuing any " longer the imperial succession in Italy; since, in their
opinion, the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pers “ vade and protect, at the same time, both the East and the " West. In their own name, and in the name of the people,
they consent that the seat of universal empire shall be " transferred from Rome to Constantinople.” Hist. of Decline and Fall, vol. vi. p. 227.
This being the case, the ten-horned beast received his deadly wound, and ceased to be (for these two phrases are only different modes of expressing the same thing), at the period when Constantine embraced Christianity, and became the protector of the Church: and his deadly wound was healed, and he began again to be (for these two phrases in a similar manner are only different modes of expressing the same thing), when Phocas set up a spiritual tyrant to wear out the saints, and when the empire relapsed into idolatry. It is specially said, that the sixth head was slain, and that the selfsame sixth head revived :' in other words, the beast both received his deadly wound, and had that deadly wound healed so that he “ did live," under one and the same sixth head. The five preceding heads simply fell: they died, as it were, natural deaths, and continued pagan from their first rise to their final fall. But the sixth head was to be stain: it was, like its five predecessors, to be pagan at it's first rise, but it was not to continue so: it was to cease to exist as the head of a beast, and was to die a violent death in the height of its strength, its life or bestial principle being taken away from it by the powerful preaching of the word, that sword of the Spirit which is twice in the Apocalypse represented as issuing from the mouth of the Messiah. Not that all temporal authority was to be annihilated throughout its dominions; but simply its life, or the principle whereby it was the head of a tyrannical idolatrous empire, was to be taken away.