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respecting the rise and character of the first beast, so nearly connected with this.
The ancient interpreters, Andreas Cæsariensis, Arethas and Primasius, who had been able to collect some probable observations on the prophecy of the wild beast from the sea, because it had received some share of fulfilment in the heathen persecutions before their times,-have made but few and imperfect attempts to throw light upon the rise and character of the second beast from the land, and for this reason, that the antitype had then not appeared, or rather, had not made such progress as to warn them of its perfect agreement with the type. Their notion is consequently very general; they look only to the coming of an antichrist in some future time, and the renewal of the Roman persecutions under him.
These interpreters, although they lived so much nearer to the times of the persecuting emperors than our later commentators, seem never to have observed, that in those times, the philosophers of the Platonic or Pythagorean schools, by magical arts, and by holding commerce with the daipovec, dæmons, had performed such apparent miracles as might entitle them to the character of this second wild beast. This discovery, such as it is, was reserved for the active genius and extraordinary learning of Grotius, followed by our Hammond.' The acute Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, gladly seized the hints thus afforded, that by such an interpretation of the prediction by Protestant writers, he might avert its obvious application to the Church of Rome. Grotius had applied it to Apollonius Tyanæus, in the reign of the emperor Domitian. The Roman Catholic prelate transferred it more fitly to that of Dioclesian; both of them with so little congruence to, and illustration of, this prophecy, that little or no notice has been taken of them by more recent commentators. By these it is generally and justly supposed, that we are to look to those times when the two wild beasts began to act in concert together, and after the
i Grotius died, 1645. Dr. Hammond, 1660. Bp. Bossuet, 1704.
deadly wound of the first had been healed,” (this date is given, and twice repeated, ch. xiii. 3, 12, 14.); which is confessedly subsequent to the period of the persecuting emperors.
The holy men, who, feelingly aware of the debasement of Christianity by its rulers and false teachers, continued to profess and practise the pure doctrines and simple rites of the primitive Church, were the first to discover, as they were the first to feel and experience, the fulfilment of this prophecy in the corrupt hierarchy of the then Christian Church. For some centuries, such persons had suffered from this source many forms of " persecution for righteousness' sake :" but the period at length arrived, when they were denounced by the Roman pontif, as obstinate heretics and outcasts from the Church, and armies of crusaders were levied for their utter destruction. In such a situation, they could not fail to perceive, in their pious attention to the prophecies, comparing them with the “evident signs of the times,” that the two wild beasts, the supreme powers civil and ecclesiastical, were united to destroy them, and that the mystical whore of Babylon, (ch. xvii.) was about to be “ drunken with their blood.” This they saw, and felt, and loudly proclaimed throughout the western world.' And the truth of this application they proved in their own personal perseverance and sufferings; thousands of pious martyrs submitting to the swords and fires of their combined persecutors. “ The beast overcame them,” as it was foretold; and not submitting to lose their spiritual life, they sacrificed their temporal existence, and “ were slain.” (Ver. 15.)
1 Some writers of the Roman Catholic church have endeavoured to show, that the prophecies of antichrist and the false prophet have had their fulfilment in Luther and the Protestants: and the attempt bas been repeated of late by one of their bishops, under the title of a “ History of the Church,” with the fictitious name of “ Pastorini.” But the more prudent and discreet writers of this communion tell us, that antichrist is not yet come, nor to be expected till toward the end of the world. The Protestants affirm that he is come, and is now in continued operation; and the proofs of this have been long before the public, and, we may say, in force irresistible.
The elevation of the papal power to its supreme height, grandeur, and iniquity, was the work of time, indeed, of many centuries. What has been said above, is to be referred to the thirteenth century, and to those times immediately preceding and following it, when this usurping hierarchy is generally supposed to have nearly reached the zenith of its strength; when a crusading army, levied originally against the Mahometan infidels, was, by the influence of Pope Innocent III. and under the direction of inquisitors by him appointed, employed against the Albigenses, Waldenses, and other Christians professing and practising their holy religion in
1 In Bishop Newton's Dissertation on the eleventh chapter, containing the prophecy of the witnesses, the learned prelate has exhibited an useful view of the attempt of the pure primitive Church to preserve its faith, doctrine, and worship through the centuries preceding their almost entire destructiou and extirpation, by the conjoined powers civil and ecclesiastical, in the 13th century; and he has supported his statement by numerous appeals to the historians and other writers in those times. The interest which the pubJic have lately taken in the history of the Valdenses or Vaudois, has been the means of producing much additional evidence; and the reader may see it to advantage in the “Compendium of the History of the Vaudois," lately published by H. D. Acland, Esq. as an introduction to his narration of " the glorious Recovery by the Vaudois of their Valleys."
its purer forms, throughout the southern parts of France.
The horrors of this bloody persecution—in which a million of Christians are said to have been massacred in the most barbarous manner; their surviving brethren, who escaped the fire and the sword, dispersed miserable beggars through the nations ; those who could not flee, forced to bend under the idolatrous yoke, or to be deprived of all the comforts, and even necessaries of life, under the privilege of buying and selling ;-all these are amply recorded in history, and so recorded, verify most accurately the prophecy contained in verses 15–18 in this chapter.
This is only a small portion of the resemblance exhibited in history between the papal power and the second wild-beast: but it is a prominent portion. The fulfilment may be seen in the history of the thirteenth century, as detailed by Mosheim, and confirmed by the authorities which he has collected. And if the reader should require more information, respecting this and other parts of the prophecy, it may be seen profusely in the works of the most esteemed commentators, in Vitringa, Bengelius, in Mede, Durham, Sir Isaac and Bishop Newton, Daubuz, Lowman, Fraser, and many more modern writers on this subject. With the general result of their labours, the present exposition accords; for I am firmly convinced, that the papal power is a distinguished object of this prophecy. Yet there are some important points of difference between us, declared in my former work, which, on a mature reconsideration, I find no reason to retract.
I. In verse 1, ek tñs yñs may be translated either out of the earth, or out of the land. I have preferred I Sismundi's History of the Crusades against the Albigenses, &c.
See page 349, &c. of that publication.
the latter, as opposed to the sea ; whereas the earth in these prophecies is commonly opposed to the heaven. In a former passage, I have defended this application of the terms by reference to scripture, and have shown that 'H In, thus opposed to the
sea, frequently signifies the holy land, the people of God, while the Gentiles are spoken of under the term sea.' Thus this second beast appears to arise from among the professed Christians, who, after the divine rejection of the Jews, have been adopted into their place, and obtained their privileges, (Rom. xi. 18, 19.) and, during the twelve hundred and sixty years, they tread the courts of the Lord's temple, (Gal. iv. 25, 26; and see the note, xi. 1, 2.) This accords with what St. John had before predicted in his epistles, where he describes the growth of antichrist out of the Christians so named, et juwv &nlθον αλλ, ουκ ησαν εξ ημών. He is a Christian in name, not in verity, and he goes out from among the faithful, and joins the warfare of the persecuting beast against them, and by force or seduction, causes many to apostatise from the pure faith. Thus the spirit of antichrist had appeared in its infantine form even in St. John's days, but in a later period was to be manifested in full growth, as is plainly testified in these apocalyptic prophecies, and amply confirmed by historical events. But the difference is not very great between this exposition, confining the rise of antichrist to the land of the Christians, or the more general one, which extends it to the whole earth, as opposed to the heaven, and adopted by Mede, Vitringa, Bishop Newton, and others. The next article of dissent is of greater importance.
II. The two horns of the second wild beast, or false prophet.
See the notes, ch. viii. v. 7. ? 1 John ii. 18, 19, 24-26; iv. 2, 3; 2 John 6,