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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 stain 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 tyranny 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 équivalent to the literal prediction respect
* Rey. xiii. 3, 14.
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. Vede's excellent definition of figurative deurh. " 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 beust 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 Papucy. In fact, the Romun 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 W opinion, the majesty of a sole monarch is sufficient to pero “ 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 espressing the same thing), when Phucas 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 slain: 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 ils life, or the principle whereby it was the head of a tyrannical idolatrous empire, was to be taken away.
Yet, Yet, notwithstanding its being thus slain, it was after a certain period to revive: its deadly wound was to be healed : the vital principle of bestiality, which was for a time extinct, was again to be in fused into it: it was once more to become the living head of a beast, or an empire in direct opposition to the Gospel : and all the world was to go a wondering after the new idolatry of the revived beast, as they had formerly wondered after his old pagan idolatry. Accordingly we learn from history, that the Roman beast was both slain, or ceased to be, under his sixth head ; that the empire continued as a Christian state under the same sixth head ; and that under the same sixth head likewise it revived, and once more came into eristence as a beast. In the year 313 then, when Constantine published his famous edict for the advancement of Christianity, the beast was wounded to death in his sirth head; and, in the year 606, when he delivered the saints into the hand of an idolatrous spiritual tyrant, his deadly wound was healed, he became a living anti-evangelical power, and he completely resumed all the bestial functions of his former pagan character. The space therefore between the year 313 and the yeur 606 is the space of time, during which the beast was dead, or, as St. John otherwise expresses it, was not*.
* I have been informed by a friend who has paid much attention to the subject of prophecy (the Rev. T. Whitę), that this very interpretation of the death and revival of the beast was Vol. II.
This interpretation of the death and revival of the Roman beast under his sixth head will be found to be the only one that accords with the general tenor of symbolical language. In Daniel's vision of the four beasts we read, that the Roman beast is to be slain* at the end of the 1260 years, but that the lives of the other beasts are to be prolonged for a season and a time, though their dominion be taken away. Now, since the triumphant reign of the saints upon earth is to succeed to the death of the Roman beast, I know not what warrant
given many years ago by Dr. Heury More. He says, that the beast was slain under his sixth head by ceasing to be idolatrous, and that he revived by relapsing a second time into idolatry. I have never had an opportunity of reading the Mystery of Iniquity, but I feel myself considerably strengthened in my opinion by the sanction of so able a writer.
• St. John predicts his destruction in somewhat different terms. Instead of saying that he should be slain, he
represents him as being cast alive into hell. The discrepancy however is more apparent than real. Daniel briefly describes the subversion of his power, and intimates that his body should be given to the burning flame: St. John describes at large the manner in which the apostate faction will be overthrown, and the future punishment of those that were members of the beast by receiving his mark and worshipping his image. Though the beast shall begin to be slain when the 1260 days shall have expired, and though a new and happy order of things will succeed to his destruction, that destruction will not be accomplished without a dreadful slaughter of his adherents ; " there “ shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was
a nation even to that'same time.” Compare Dan. vii, 11, 26. xii. 1. with Rev. xix. 11-21.