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even independent of the objections that I have already made to the Papacy being considered the last head of the secular beast. It is not enough merely to reduce the eight heads to seven according to an arbitrary system of our own invention: we must attend to the express words of the prophecy, otherwise we in fact do nothing. Now the prophecy declares, that the eighth head should be one of the preceding seven: but Mr. Mede, on the contrary, makes the supposed seventh head to be one of the preceding sir ; and the supposed eighth head, which the prophet had declared should be one of the preceding seren, he makes to be quite distinct from every one of those seven. According to the prophecy, we are first to pitch upon seven distinct heads, and then discover an eighth head which shall be the same as one of those seven: according to Mr. Mede, we are to amalgamate the sixth and the seventh heads, and then discover an eighth which shall not be the same as any of those seven. On these grounds, I think the plan of that eminent expositor untenable.
2. Mr. Sharpe supposes the seventh head to be the three Gothic kingdoms that succeeded the imperial sixth head in the supreme government of Rome, and the eighth head to be the Papacy*.
This scheme is objectionable in every point of view. Three successive kingdoms cannot reasonably be esteemed one head. And, even if this were no
* Appendix to three tracts, p. 28.--Inquiry into the Description of Babylon, p. 8, 9.
3. Bp. Newton thinks, that the E.rarchate of Ravennu is the seventh head, and that the Papacy is the eighth head*.
This supposition is in some respects even more objectionable than the two preceding ones.-In the first place, it does not consist with his Lordship’s own sentiments respecting the Roman beast. In a former dissertation he had maintained (erroneously indeed I am persuaded), that the Exarchate was one of the ten horns of the beast: now he represents it, as his seventh head. But the self-same power cannot, in the self-same capacity, be esteemed at once both a horn and a head of the same beast-In the second place, no modification of language will warrant us in admitting, that, while the independent Roman Emperor of Constantinople is the sixth head, his mere dependant lieutenant, the Exarch of Ravenna, is the seventh head: for this would be to place, upon the very same footing, a sovereign and his viceroy, the fountain of authority and the commissioned governor of a provincet-In the third place, the seventh head, whatever it be, must be the same as the eighth head; the two forming jointly one double septimo-octave head: for, unless this be the case, the beast will really have eight heads, instead of only seven ; the very contrary of which is ex,
“ venna : and, according as you determine this
point, the beast, that was, and is not (was, “ while idolatrous; and was not, while not idola« trous), will appear to be the seventh or eighth. “ If you reckon this a new form of government, “ the beast that now is is the eighth ; if you do « not reckon this a new form of government, the « beast is of the seven : but, whether he be the • seventh or eighth, he is the last form of govern“ ment, and goeth into perdition.” To this statement the answer is sufficiently easy. St. John first enumerates seven distinct heads, and then introduces an eighth, teaching us that the beast has nevertheless no more than seven heads, for the eighth is of the seven. If then the beast has seven distinct heads at the rise of the eighth, and yet notwithstanding the rise of the eighth has no more than seven, that eighth must in some sense be the same as one of the seven. But, upon Bp. Newton's plan it is not the same as any one of the seven : and, in order to get quit of the supposed seventh head the Exarchate, so that the beast by the addition of the Papacy may still have no more than seven, he sometimes considers the Exarchate as a head, and sometimes as not a head*.
4. Some commentators, probably aware of the difficulties here enumerated, difficulties which unavoidably arise from the separation of the seventh