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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 existence 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. White), 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 so 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.
there is for imagining that all government within the precincts of the Roman empire is utterly to be
at an end. It seems more reasonable to suppose, elist that a happy evangelical order of things will suc
ceed to the present distracted Popish state of the Roman world. Such being the case, the death of the beast must evidently mean, not the annihilation of all lawful Christian government, not a Jacobini
cal subversion of the powers that be upon the lawless bet principles of the frantic fifth-monarchy men in
the sixteenth century; but the utter destruction of those detestable maxims and doctrines which constitute his bestiality, which are his very life, which are interwoven even with his existence as a beast, without the profession of which he would not be a beast. This is yet further manifest from the predicted fate of the other beasts. Their lives, or bestial principles, are to be prolonged during the period of the Millennium ; though their dominion, or power of injuring the Church is to be taken away: while the Roman beast is to be slain; his principles are to be utterly destroyed, never more to revive; and with the destruction of those principles the dominion of his little horn is to be finally taken away; for all, both governors and governed, will form one congregation of faithful worshippers, one great empire of the saints of the Most High*. Accordingly we find, that the beasts whose lives were prolonged, in other words, the
6 and so hath continued ever since. It is the “ same idolatrous power revived again, but only “ in another form; and all the corrupt part of “ mankind, whose names are not inrolled as good 6 citizens in the registers of heaven, are pleased « at the revival of it: but in this last form it shall
go into perdition; it shall not, as it did before, “ cease for a time, and revive again, but shall be 6 destroyed for ever*.
I have made this citation with great pleasure from the writings of Bp. Newton, as containing what I believe to be the true explanation of the existence, the non-existence, and the re-existence of the Roman beast. All that his Lordship has said upon this subject, is excellent, and immediately to the purpose: my wonder therefore is, that, after having adopted so judicious and consistent a mode of exposition, he should so completely have departed from it in what he says 'relative to the death and revival of the beast under his sirth head. In explaining this part of the prophecy, instead of strictly maintaining the analogy of symbolical language and adhering to the plan of exposition which he himself lays down,' he suddenly adopts an entirely new. system, and supposes the death of the beast under his sirth head to mean the subversion of the Western empire, and his revival to mean the rise of the Carlovingian empire.
« The sirth head,” says he, “ was as it were wounded to
Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. xvii.