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James Dodson

REV. xiii. 1, 2, 11. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.—And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

THE prophet Zechariah, who accompanied in the work of restoration and reform, the two anointed witnesses of the Lord, Joshua and Zerubbabel, was instructed, by the angel that communed with him, to cry, saying, The Lord shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. In order to illustrate the promise, he was favoured with a prophetic vision. “Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, four horns—these are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. And the Lord showed me four carpenters—these are come to fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah.”[1]

Long have the agents employed by the Lord, with the instruments of his indignation, been at work in fraying the horns which have scattered Judah, although the work is not yet accomplished. He who promised, is nevertheless able to perform: and he will perform it, when “the time to favour Zion, the set time, is come.”

In the mean time, let us learn to live by faith, and derive instruction from the inspired history given of the enemy.

This chapter is the most explicit and comprehensive history which we have of the great apostacy of 1260 years, both as it respects the secular beast, and the ecclesiastical beast, as well as the living image of the imperial beast, which the ecclesiastical power has set up in the office of the papacy.

It is my design in this discourse, according to promise,[2] to give you the interpretation of the FIRST BEAST, the ten-horned beast of the sea—of the SECOND BEAST, the two-horned beast of the earth—together with the IMAGE of the beast, his MARK, his NAME, and the NUMBER of his name.

I. The seven-headed ten-horned beast.

When the apostle John had this seventh prophetic vision, he was standing upon the sand of the sea.

The scenery corresponds with the representation; and probably too, the scite [setting] is intended to designate the condition of the empire at the time to which this prophecy refers. “The sand of the sea, situated between the sea and the dry land, signifies a state of civil society, when the convulsions of the preceding fluctuating state are just ending, and the calmness and firmness of established government are just commencing.”[3]

“The first character introduced to view in the vision, is one with which we have been previously made acquainted. He is here, however, more fully and minutely described. The prophet, after having conducted us, as it were, behind the scenes, and shown us that every string, both of the great apostacy, and of the tyranny of antichrist, is in reality worked by the infernal serpent, next proceeds to bring us acquainted with the characters of the ostensible agents, by whose instrumentality, and through whose instigation, the church was to be persecuted through the long period of 1260 years. In the preceding chapter, the dragon is represented as persecuting the woman with his seven heads and ten horns: here we have the symbol of a beast, which has likewise seven heads find ten horns. Now since the dragon is declared to be the devil, the heads and the horns, which he is described as using against the woman, must be the heads and the horns of some power subservient to his views. This POWER is now brought upon the stage.”[4]

This first beast is the SECULAR POWER of the Roman empire in its divided state.

“Thus far,”' said bishop Newton, “both ancients and moderns, papists and protestants, are agreed.” The evidence is so clear, that no one can doubt the design of pointing out the Roman power by this vision: and the following considerations will show that the description applies to the secular power of the antichristian empire.

1. We cannot consent, as a compliment to the papists, so far to violate the express decisions of the text itself, as to apply it to the pagan empire, not only because, then there were not ten horns, or distinct kingdoms, within its bounds; but especially because this beast is to remain 1260 years, verse 5: and the pagan empire from the Augustan age to the accession of Constantine the Great, endured only about 350 years: even from the days of Romulus its founder, until it ceased to be pagan, the city of Rome had not stood 1100 years, and it had nothing to do with the history of the church for the greater part of that period. It cannot, therefore, be pagan Rome that received power to act against the saints, πολεμον ποιησαι, Forty and two prophetic months.

We have already observed, that these chapters, from the xith [11th] to the xvth [15th], are especially designed to prepare the way for the account given of the effusion of the vials; and that they of course refer to the antichristian period.

Still, however, the question arises concerning this first beast; is it the symbol of the secular empire in general, or of the papacy?

The principles of exposition, upon which I have hitherto proceeded, took for granted what now plainly appears, that three distinct antichristian powers are described in this chapter, the FIRST BEAST with ten horns, or the secular Roman empire; the SECOND BEAST with two horns like a lamb, or the ecclesiastical empire; the IMAGE of the first beast made by the second, or the papal power.

Thus, with perfect accuracy, does the Apocalypse itself distinguish the several great powers of the apostacy, assigning to each its proper work and character; and effectually correct the too common mistake of rendering the temporal power of the pope, which arose in 756, the same with the beast which is to continue 42 months, or 1260 years.

It was never the design of the sacred prediction to identify, contrary to matter of fact, the petty principality of the pope as a temporal power, with the great empire: in that character he neither united or governed the several nations of Europe: he had no power to influence the condition of the church over the Latin earth: and he occupied but a very inferior rank in the great family of nations: and what abundantly testifies the absurdity of making the temporal power of the papacy the same as the beast, is that that power is now entirely at an end, while the beast still reigns, and must reign, until the time of the end.

2. That this first beast is the secular Roman empire, is manifest from the prophecy of Daniel.

Dan. vii. 2, 3, 7, 17, 23, 24. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea—fourth beast dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it had ten horns—These great beasts, which are four, are four kings—The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom, upon the earth—And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.

This prophecy runs parallel to that of the second chapter, and runs down from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the millennium. In chap. ii. the four monarchies are represented by the four parts of one great image—One great continuous system of idolatry: 1. The head of gold; 2. The breast and arms of silver; 3. The belly and thighs of brass; 4. The legs of iron, and the toes of the feet, part of iron and part of clay, to designate, as the prophet says, that this kingdom shall he partly strong and partly broken—they shall not cleave one to another.[5] In verse 38, Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar, “Thou art this head of gold,” and in verse 44, he assures us, that the reign of these broken kingdoms, symbolized by the ten toes of mixed iron and clay, should terminate only with the commencement of the reign of Christ in the millennium.

The vision of the seventh chapter terminates at the same time, verse 27. When the kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High.

The fourth kingdom, in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, therefore, coincides with the fourth in the vision of Daniel; and the ten toes of the image answer to the ten horns of the fourth beast.

The formal design of these prophecies is, to give a comprehensive view of the great and idolatrous prostitution of civil power during the specified time; and to give warning of the opposition to true religion which should uniformly, for that period, characterize the several systems of government among the nations. We are not then to suppose that the apostle John, or rather the God who inspired him, would deviate in the Apocalypse from this plan of the prophetical history. Since the beast of Daniel is the Roman empire in its secular character, the beast of John must be the same.[6]

Daniel’s fourth beast is the Roman empire throughout. The fourth beast with ten horns is that empire in its divided state.

The little horn, diverse from all the rest, indeed symbolizes, as we shall hereafter show, ecclesiastical power, and answers to the second beast of this chapter; but the beast with ten horns is the same in both cases, and designates not the ecclesiastical, but the civil empire, with its several kingdoms.

3. This interpretation is supported by the other parts of the Revelation which speak of the beast.

In chapter xvii. 3. the ecclesiastical state, under the symbol of a great harlot, is distinguished from the scarlet-coloured beast which supports her: it is the secular power, not the papacy, that bears up this prostitute system of religion: and it is the same beast with that now under consideration, for it has seven heads and ten horns.[7]

This chapter throughout is a commentary upon the xiiith [13th], and maintains the distinction between the three great parties already mentioned—the state, the church, and the papacy—or the beast, the harlot woman, and the image of the beast.

In chap. xix. 20. these three parties are again mentioned as distinguished from one another, at their downfall. The ecclesiastical system is, in this case, as well as in others hereafter to be explained, denominated the false prophet, and distinguished both from the beast and from his image.

4. A commentary on the text will furnish the strongest reasons for applying to the secular power this prophecy.

I saw a beast rise up out of the sea. Θηριον is a wild beast, and the symbol of tyrannical and impious power.[8] The sea denotes multitudes of men in a state of tumult or disorder. All the four great monarchies arose, according to Dan. vii. 2. from the disorders of the community of nations, agitated by malignant passions; and the system of apostacy from Christianity is peculiarly owing to the same cause.

This impious and tyrannical power had seven heads and ten horns. These seven heads have a two-fold signification. Chap. xvii. 9, 10. The seven heads art seven mountains, upon which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings. This phrase denotes some power, the capital of which was located on seven well-known hills; and of course points out the empire of the city of seven hills, (urbs septicollis.)

Rome was built upon so many distinct mountains, called by her own historians, Palatinus, Cɶlius, Capitolinus, Aventinus, Quirinalis, Viminalis, Esquilinus. The administration of supreme power in this commonwealth passed under various forms; and these different forms are called kings, because each was, in its turn, supreme. These are also designated by the seven heads. There are seven kings: Five, said the interpreter, explaining the mystery of the beast, are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come. Five different forms of government existed over the people of Rome before the time of the vision; the sixth one was then in being; and the seventh was still future. The “five fallen” are, kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, and military tribunes, with consular authority. The one which then existed, was the sixth head,—the emperors. The other was to succeed the emperors, and as yet to come, when the explanation was given by the angel (chap. xvii. 7.) to John the Divine.

We have an account of many controversies about the occupancy of thrones, and the rights of kings, upon the records of history; and in some instances it is not easy to determine among the claimants, the person in whom is invested either the title or the actual possession. We are not, therefore, to be surprised at the fact, that there is a difference of opinion as to the seventh head of the Roman empire. In such cases prejudices and wishes always have some influence in forming our decisions; and it is, perhaps, as difficult now to examine the subject impartially, as if the question were to be in fact agitated throughout the Christian world, who shall at this day be elevated to the imperial throne, and be universally recognized among the nations as the successor of the Cæsars.

I approach, brethren, this subject with confidence, because I have cautiously examined the claims of the several candidates; and I am not sensible of any respect for any one of them more than for another. The decision will not affect their power or their rank among their competitors. It only determines to which of them the word of God assigns the preeminence in bestiality.

We are endeavouring to ascertain the seventh head of the beast of the sea; and as it was in possession of ten horns which were crowned, we must look out for the head of the empire at some time subsequent to its dismemberment by the northern barbarians. By this consideration we effectually exclude all the heads of the empire previous to the fall of Augustulus under the power of Odoacer in the year four hundred and seventy-five.

We have already set aside the claims of the papacy, although supported by the general voice of the protestant commentators.

The power of the pope as a temporal prince, was never of any importance among the kingdoms of the empire.[9] As a spiritual power, he was indeed very great; and it was in this capacity alone that he claimed the supremacy over church and state: but it is the secular head of the empire that we are now endeavouring to ascertain. The spiritual empire being the little horn springing up among the secular ten, cannot be identified with the beast, or the seventh head: and, described in this chapter as another beast, we exclude him entirely from the headship of the first beast.

We must look for the seventh head of the western empire among the great powers of Europe. Let us avail ourselves of the light of revelation in our examination of Roman history.

Of the seventh head the angel said to John the Divine, at the time referred to in this vision, when the sixth, or imperial head, was still in existence. Chap. xvii. 10. the other is not yet come; and when he cometh he must continue a short space. The seventh form of government is, according to this text, to be of comparatively short duration.

It must be recollected, that however inadmissible it be to represent a horn, as such, the same with the beast itself, because it is only a partial power in a certain district of the empire, yet each head is necessarily identified with the beast, because it is the form of government over the whole empire. When the beast is mentioned, it includes head and horns; when head is mentioned, if includes also the horns: hut not so when a horn only is mentioned.

Concerning the beast under the seventh form or head, it is intimated in verse 11, that doubts should be entertained whether he was or is not. His existence is not so obvious under this form as it formerly had been. It nevertheless is in reality. His real existence, though not so evident as to preclude all doubts about the fact, and all difficulty in identifying him, is a part of his character which is often repeated.

Chap. xvii. 8, 11. The beast that thou sawest WAS, AND IS NOT, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder when they behold the beast that WAS, AND IS NOT, AND YET IS, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

He was, and is not, and yet is, appears to be a contradiction. Such a mode of speech, is, however, not uncommon in scripture. The Christian speaks of himself, as the text speaks of antichristian power. I am crucified—nevertheless I live, yet not I. The apostle Paul speaks not in this case of natural life; for if he did, it would be a contradiction: natural life and death, could not be predicated of him at one and the same time. He speaks of a life to sin, which is crucified, and of a life to godliness, which he leads not of himself, but by the power of God. This idea resolves the problem.

The Apocalyptical beast is the arbitrary and impious power of the Roman empire. The existence of power is obvious to all. Its unity of character is not so evident. Let us paraphrase the words, and the obscurity is dispelled. The beast was, and is not, and yet is. Impious power did extend over all the empire, there is not now any one supreme power actually ruling the whole empire, and yet there are impious powers over all the nations of the empire, connected in such a manner as to make them still one great family. This is the plain matter of fact. It perfectly corresponds with the text, and with the history; and we take it therefore to be the true interpretation of the prophecy. He unto whom the college of civilized nations have given the precedency among the several powers, is the head; and the governments of the several distinct nations are the horns of the beast. The whole civil power of the empire is the beast with ten horns.

The wounding, spoken of chap. xiii. 3. has been improperly confounded with this apparent non-existence of the seventh and last head—the septimo-octave.

The beast was wounded; but not killed. The wound, though deadly, if no relief had been administered, did in fact admit of a cure. It was healed. It is the first beast whose deadly wound was healed; and the wound had been received in the sixth head.

Mr. Faber alleges that this was given, not to the power, but to the character of the head of the empire. That it was inflicted by Constantine the Great by the establishment of Christianity over Paganism; and that the Roman empire under Christian administration ceased to be a beast.

This interpretation of the wound is every way erroneous. 1. It contradicts Daniel’s prophecy, which represents the fourth beast as continuing, without intermission, from his rise to the millennium. The prophet would have given notice, had there been an intermission of three or four hundred years : But under all its changes, the Roman empire is beastly.

2. It violates the symbolical language: for the text does not say that the beast was tamed, or destroyed: and a wound affects not the nature of beast or man, although it may diminish strength, or put an end to exertion—as it were wounded to death.

3. It contradicts history. Constantine the Great, and his successors, were tyrants, although avowedly Christian. In patronizing the hierarchy, in new-modelling, at their own pleasure, the order of the church, they usurped a spiritual supremacy over the conscience; and if they delivered the church from pagan persecution, their own policy was still of a persecuting character in relation to the friends of primitive order in the Christian commonwealth. The beast, in fact, continued.

4. It is inconsistent with Mr. Faber himself He does not hesitate to denominate Charlemagne a beastly power; but we are utterly at a loss to know upon what principle of religion or of morals, Constantine is so far to have the preference over Charles, as to justify any Christian expositor in representing him as slaying the beast which the other had revived. The latter we know had a connexion with the papacy, which the former could not have; but we are not now considering the papal supremacy. The secular empire is the first beast; and the Roman power was as tyrannical and immoral in the hands of the first Christian emperors, as it afterwards proved in the hands of its great restorer in the ninth century.

We therefore consider the interpretation of bishop Newton as thus far correct. “The sixth head was wounded as it were to death, when the Roman empire was overturned by the northern nations, and an end was put to the very name of emperor in Augustulus.”

Upon the throne of Constantinople still sat the representative of the empire, although it appeared as if the imperial head of the fourth beast was utterly cut off by the sword of Odoacer—wounded by the sword. For a few years the kings of the Goths ruled over the mistress of the nations; but the ancient frame of Roman government still remained,[10] and “the Roman lawyers and statesmen asserted the indefeasible dominion of the emperors of the east, who still aspired to deliver their reputed subjects from the usurpation of barbarians and heretics.”[11] Justinian the emperor, by the skill and prowess of Belisarius, and of Narses, succeeded in healing the wound of the sixth or imperial head, by the conquest of Italy, although Rome was reduced into a provincial rank as a tributary dukedom subject to the exarch of Ravenna.[12]

The great fourth beast, after his sixth head was wounded, as the people of Europe thought, even unto death, recovered from his wound; and although the western empire was dismembered, and several independent governments were established in its bounds, the throne of Constantinople was still recognized as the superior among the nations of the world.

The troubles of Europe rendered the population of the Latin empire as a stormy sea; and thence in the year 606 does the seven-headed ten-horned beast, appear to John the Divine, rising up under this sixth head, in the person of the brutal Phocas.

At this time,[13] the seventh head was not yet come, and when come, it must continue a short space. This consideration excludes the exarchate of Ravenna from being the head of the beast. History precludes the idea, that such delegated power should be called the head of the empire. The exarchate was no more than a lieutenancy. Such is the declaration of the historian. “After a reign of sixty years, the throne of the Gothic kings was filled by the exarchs of Ravenna, THE REPRESENTATIVES IN PEACE AND WAR OF THE EMPEROR OF THE ROMANS.”[14]

This state of things continued until the western empire, divided as it was under ten crowned horns or independent sovereignties, was effectually united by the bonds of an apostate faith; and felt itself in condition to resist the power of Constantinople. An occasion of trying its strength was afforded during the reign of Leo III. surnamed the Iconoclast, who, from the mountains of Isauria ascended the throne of the east.

“Inspired with a hatred of images, this emperor,” said Mr. Gibbon, “proscribed the existence as well as the use of religious pictures; the churches of Constantinople, and the provinces, were cleansed from idolatry; the images of Christ, the virgin, and the saints, were demolished, or a smooth surface of plaster was spread over the walls of the edifice. With the habit and profession of monks, the public and private worship of images was rigorously prohibited; and it should seem, that a solemn abjuration of idolatry was exacted from the subjects, or at least from the clergy of the eastern empire.” The proscriptive edict was extended to the west; “and a strong alternative was proposed to the Roman pontiff. The royal favour, as the price of his compliance, degradation, and exile, as the penalty of disobedience.” Animated by the zeal of pope Gregory II. in defence of images, the Italians determined on resistance. The emperor, and all the enemies of idols, were excommunicated by the head of the Latin church; and the exarch of Ravenna lost his life in a popular sedition.

The western empire, uniting in the bonds of idolatry, put an end to the sixth head; and afterwards arose the seventh, which, according to the prediction, continued but a short time, and then merged in the last head of the beast, styled in prophecy the eighth, which is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Who, we again, after these historical inductions, ask the question, who is this seventh head?

“Ravenna was subdued; and this final conquest extinguished the series of the exarchs who had reigned with a subordinate power since the time of Justinian and the ruin of the Gothic kingdom.”

Although the pope was not himself a secular power, his influence among the nations of the western empire was immense. He sought out, and he found, a new head to its dismembered kingdoms.

Gregory had implored the aid of the hero of the age, Charles Martel, who governed the French monarchy; and who by his victory over the Saracens, had saved Europe from the Mahometan yoke. Charles took the Latin church under his protection, espoused the cause of idolatry, and, dignified with the title of patrician, he and his successors, Pepin and Charlemagne, bear up the mother of harlots, and reveal the beast of the sea, under his seventh head.

The PATRICIATE is the seventh head of the beast. The words of Mr. Gibbon are explicit. Speaking of these powerful leaders, he says, “They would have disdained a subordinate office: but the reign of the Greek emperors was suspended; and in the VACANCY of the empire, the Roman ambassadors presented these PATRICIANS with the keys of the shrine of St. Peter, as a pledge and a symbol of sovereignty. Except an original and self-inherent claim of sovereignty, there was not any prerogative remaining, which the title of emperor could add to the patrician of Rome.”

Of this head it was said, Rev. xvii. 10. When he cometh, he must continue a short space. Agreeably to the prediction, the event fell out. The PATRICIATE very soon merged in a RENOVATION of the western empire. If we date the rise of this head from the days of Charles Martel, it will have continued only 50 years. Charlemagne possessed the dignity during 26 years, and at the termination of that time, in the year 800, he was crowned emperor of the Romans, and the patriciate was no more.[15]

It is to the Carlovingian dynasty the Apocalypse refers in chap. xvii. 11. as the eighth who is of the seven. This is justly denominated the septimo-octave head. And it is the character of the beast, and by no means, an allusion to the wound of the sixth head, which never did prove mortal, or destroy the existence of the beast, although without a cure it was in its nature mortal, that these words declare—the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Before the division of the Latin empire, the beast was one great sovereignty, or consolidated empire, under one despot, since that period, and during the whole of the antichristian 1260 years, he is not in this respect, but yet the whole western empire with all its divisions is beastly, and so united as notwithstanding its distinct sovereignties, to be considered one family, recognizing some particular power as entitled to the precedency. The beast of the sea of course includes all the nations of the symbolical earth. The ten horns are ten kingdoms, which receive power cotemporaneously with the beast. Chap. xvii. 18. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast!

The historian Machiavel, reckons the ten primary kingdoms into which the Roman empire was divided as follows: 1. The Ostrogoths in Mesia; 2. The Visigoths in Pannonia; 3. The Sueves and Alans in Gascoigne and Spain; 4. The Vandals in Africa; 5. The Franks in France; 6. The Burgundians in Burgundy; 7. The Heruli in Italy; 8. The Saxons and Angles in Britain; 9. The Huns in Hungary; and, 10, The Lombards on the Danube.

It is objected to this arrangement, that some of these kingdoms had become extinct before the prevalence of the apostacy of the church of Rome, and that the ten horns ought to be looked for among those countries which had then given their support to the papacy. These objections have some force.

However great the authority of Machiavel, and the several expositors who have adopted his arrangement, I had rather leave out the African Vandals, and embrace the German Allemani. I express this opinion both upon geographical and other principles. In the body of the Latin empire we ought to look for the horns: they should be found too at the time of the apostacy: they should not be in the government of a territory which has not generally been connected with the antichristian earth during the 1260 years: but it is not necessary that every one of these governments, which are considered as horns, should actually profess at all times the popish faith.

The empire itself was never very accurately defined within certain geographical boundaries; and no nation of modern times remains unalterably the same as to territory: but yet, the national identity is not considered as destroyed, whensoever a government either cedes or acquires a city or a province.

It is not said that they are the horns of the second beast; but of the first. They belong to the secular empire: they give their power to the first beast: and while they afford support to the great antichristian policy of Europe; while they are themselves tyrannical and immoral, those powers which exist in the symbolical earth, whatever may be their speculative opinions, and their professions in regard to the creed of the Roman Catholics, are entitled to be considered as horns of the secular beast.

They were originally, it appears, ten in number; and they have almost uniformly kept up the same number. Perfect precision is not necessary in so long a period of time for so very general a history. The changes of nearly 1500 years since the dismemberment of the Roman empire, will have shown sufficiently that the number of the distinct powers have generally been nearer ten than to any other.

I now exhibit at one view,


The seven heads, hills, or forms of government.

The 7 hills.

1. The Palatine,

2. Capitoline,

3. Quirinal,

4. Cɶlian,

5. Æsquiline,

6. Viminal,

7. Aventine,

The 7 forms of gov’t.

1. Kings,

2. Consuls,

3. Dictators,

4. Decemvirs,

5. Military Tribunes,

6. Emperors,

7. Patricians, becoming as the 7, or

8. Emperors.

The Western, or Latin Roman empire.

Extends from the Mediterranean to the Vistula, and from the Atlantic Ocean and German Sea, to the boundaries of the Greek empire.

The original ten horns or kingdoms.

1. The Heruli (Italy),

2. The Ostrogoths (Italy),

3. Lombards (Italy),

4. Visigoths, Pannonia.

5. Sueves and Alans, Spain.

6. Franks, France.

7. Burgundians, Burgundy.

8. Saxons and Angles. Britain.

9. Huns, Hungary.

10. Allemani, Germany.

The tyrannical persecuting power of the Roman empire, had under every form, incurred the guilt of blasphemy. Verse 1. And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

The lion, the bear, and the leopard, were the wild beasts most formidable to the ancients;[16] and in the vision of Daniel, they represented the three universal monarchies which preceded the Roman, viz. the Lion, the Chaldean; the Bear, the Medo-Persian; the Leopard, the Grecian, under Alexander the Great and his successors.[17] In that vision, the representative of Roman greatness was a non-descript. In this vision, he is a monster, in general form resembling the leopard, having the mouth of the lion, and the paw of the bear—swift in its conquests like the Leopard, son of Philip; treading down the nations like the Persian bear; and like the royal lion of Assyria and Chaldea, roaring aloud, and devouring its prey.

To this description is added an account of the source of that power which the beast wielded over the empire by his head and horns—Verse 2. the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

We have already shown,[18] that the dragon is the devil, and the civil power of Rome, the agent by which he works. It was foreseen by the author of prophecy, that the tyrannies of the nations would have, even among Christians, their apologists. Ecclesiastical history shows that this is the fact. There never was a man in power so vile, as not to find a flatterer: no constitution of civil government, however antichristian, has been without its defenders: every head, every horn of the beast, since the time of Constantine, until the establishment of Napoleon the emperor and king of France and Italy, have found out among the churches, men who prostitute the word of truth to prove that the beast himself, and every such head and horn, is the vicegerent of God.[19]

One plain text puts down all such claims of divine right, for any of the heads or horns of the beast. The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

The dragon is the devil: the first beast is the secular Roman empire in its divided state: upon each distinct kingdom, and upon them all collectively, the devil conferred the whole power they possess. Δυναμιν, the force; θρονον, the actual investiture; εξουσιαν, the authority, or national right to reign, are all in this verse said to be from the devil, and not from God. The beast is from God only in the same sense that the dragon is from him.[20]

Thus armed with diabolical power, the imperial beast whose head, had been wounded in Augustulus, by the ravages of the barbarians, appears recovered from his wound in the person of Justinian, by the victories of the great Belisarius, and the Eunuch Narses—Verse 3. And all the world wondered after the beast.

Ὁλη ἡ γη is not, however, all the world of mankind, but the symbolical earth—the western empire. Although now erected into several independent kingdoms, they all acknowledged the superiority of the emperor of the east; and, when Phocas proclaimed Boniface the universal bishop, the population of the Latin earth admired the deed, and wondered after the beast: and they worshipped the dragon and the beast, verse 4. saying, who is like unto him, or able to make war on him? The deluded subject, in doing homage to the civil power, did homage to Satan from whom it emanated; and while held in the chains of a despotic superstition, admired the glory of the oppressor. Slavery degrades poor deluded man.

Verse 5. There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemies ; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.

Of the blasphemies of emperors and kings, we shall afterwards speak. It is necessary here, however, to remark, that it is not the duration of the secular powers of Europe that is limited in this place, to the well-known period of 42 months, or 1260 days, of prophetic calculation. The word ποιησαι which our translators render in this instance to continue, signifies to perform, or to practise, and, repeatedly employed in this connexion, is to make war.[21]

The secular power as permitted in the providence of God, is influenced by the hierarchy, and empowered by Satan to wage war against religion and the saints for 1260 years. This period settles the chronology of this vision.

The succeeding verses, from the sixth to the eleventh, amplifies this idea of the beast. They show the greatness of his blasphemy against God, his ordinances, and his people; his success in persecuting the saints, and the extent of his despotic power; the homage and allegiance which he receives from the people of Christendom, with the exception of those faithful men whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life; and announce finally the terrible retribution, which after the faith and patience of the saints has for 1260 years been tried, will cut off by the sword those nations which have employed the sword in an unrighteous cause.[22]

Another agent, the second beast, is also introduced in the vision. To him let us now turn your attention.

II. The two-horned beast of the earth.

The description given of this second tyrannical and impious power in the latter part of the chapter, is quite minute and appropriate. Before we proceed to an examination of it, we shall put you in mind of this fact, that the second beast is perfectly distinct from the first, cotemporaneous with him, and his distinguished coadjutor in opposing righteousness on the earth. This fact appears upon reading the testimony before us, verse 11—18: and it immediately suggests the propriety of referring to those parallel passages of the Apocalypse, which speak of the great accomplice of the ten-horned beast. From such a review we derive the idea of the two-horned beast of the Apocalypse, which together with the proof of its correctness, we now lay before you.

The second beast is the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

1. In chap. xi. “The little book” describes a heathenized church in league with the beast of the abyss, in persecuting the witnesses: that persecution is cotemporaneous with the war upon the saints, described in this chapter; for it is carried on in the same 1260 years of the apostacy. It follows, that as the beast is the same in both cases, the great accomplice is also the same. The two-horned beast is accordingly the church heathenized, under her hierarchy. Should it be objected to this argument, that a beast, or horn, is the symbol of secular, not ecclesiastical power, the reply is at hand. When ecclesiastical power becomes tyrannical, it is modelled upon the plan of heathen power, and may justly be represented by the same symbol. Our Lord, in order to destroy in its commencement, all exercise of ecclesiastical ambition, says to his disciples, Matt. xx. 25. The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them: but it shall not be so among you. Whensoever, in despite of this prohibition, an ecclesiastical body assumes heathen power, it becomes BEASTLY, and although it appear like a lamb, its decisions are as the voice of the dragon.

2. In the xviith chapter, the scarlet beast with the seven heads and ten horns is represented bearing up the mother of harlots, drunken with the blood of the martyrs. By this chapter it is perfectly obvious, that the Roman Catholic church, that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth, is the coadjutor of the secular beast, and corresponds of course, with the second beast of the xiiith chapter. The Roman hierarchy is therefore the beast having two horns like a lamb, and which spake as a dragon.

3. In the xviiith chapter, the ten-horned beast, with the kings of the symbolical earth and their armies, verse 19, makes war upon the KING OF KINGS, and his army. And when the victory was decided, and the beast taken captive, there appears in his company that distinguished accomplice in crime, who now shares in his punishment. Verse 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. Compare these words with chap. xiii. 13, 14. and you will immediately perceive that the work of the false prophet is the same with that of the two-horned beast. The false prophet represents an apostate and treacherous clergy, the antichristian priesthood, and so of course must the second beast.

4. In the viith chapter of Daniel, the fourth beast, the symbol of the Roman empire, appears with his ten horns. But a distinct power also rises up among the ten horns; and, before this new power, three of the horns were destroyed. It is called, verse 8, another little horn, distinguishing it from the secular kingdoms of the Latin empire. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth, speaking great thing’s: verse 20. Whose, look was more stout than his fellows. 21. The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. 23. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand, until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.

The expression of the prophet, time, times, and the dividing of time, three years and a half, being the same period with the 42 months, or 1260 symbolical days, determines the chronology of this singular power, distinct from the secular or ten-horned beast. The words, The saints of the Most High shall be given into his hand, point out the decree of the emperor Phocas, subjecting the Christian church to the domination of Roman ambition, in the year 606, and so determine the commencement of the 1260 years. The rising up of this horn, among the several kingdoms of the dismembered Roman empire, distinct from them all, determines the application of the symbol to that ecclesiastical usurpation which was established in the ancient seat of empire, after the erection of these several kingdoms. The overthrow of three horns or kingdoms in the presence of this new power, in order to prepare the way for its further exaltation, as it is a part of the prediction, has become a matter of history. The spirit of ambition, natural to depraved man, and peculiarly restless in ecclesiastical men, who are not sanctified by divine grace, had found in the city of Rome the means of nourishment and growth.

The pretentions of diocesan episcopacy, always extravagant, were cherished by the first Christian emperors, who in fact established an ecclesiastical empire upon the model of the secular, reserving to themselves the right of supremacy. The bishop of Rome soon claimed the pre-eminence among the clergy, but found a formidable rival in the bishop of Constantinople. Over the western churches he had exercised a species of supremacy, however, long before the above-mentioned decree was passed, which put the saints under his power, and from which of course must be dated the 1260 years of his reign over them. The saints indeed never acknowledged him: force alone put them under his hand. It is not his own claims, nor the admission of others, but the edict of the emperor, that gave him power over the faithful followers of the Redeemer. And yet, though this edict, from which we date the time, was passed in the year 606, it was not until the tenth century that the papal power had reached its highest point of elevation. Until that period, this little horn was always rising up among the horns of the nations.

In the first stages of its progress, and before it could obtain the ample revenue and the political influence which the possession of the ecclesiastical states of Italy carried along with it, the three kingdoms, which had been previously established in that territory, were overthrown. 1. The kingdom of the Heruli; 2. The kingdom of the Ostrogoths; 3. The kingdom of the Lombards; these three horns were plucked up by the roots, and upon their disappearance, the little horn, or the power of the head of the Latin churches, became conspicuous.

This little horn, distinct from the ten-horned beast, but acting as his coadjutor in opposing the interests of true religion, occupies precisely the place in the prophecies of Daniel, which is assigned to the two-horned beast, and to the false prophet, and to the heathen and harlot church, in the Apocalyptical predictions.

From its sameness with the little horn, we argue that the second beast is the symbol of the ecclesiastical empire, with the Roman pontiff at its head. The description given in our text, perfectly according with this application, will furnish additional proof of its correctness.

Verse 11. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

The earth is the western empire: and a BEAST is the symbol of a universal, tyrannical, and immoral power. This beast is, of course, an ecclesiastical empire, distinct from the civil, and within the same bounds. The papists themselves, in claiming the title, Roman Catholic, proclaim their church to be this very beast—a universal empire, distinct from the secular, and occupying the same ground.

Horns are distinct powers. The two horns of this beast are like those of a lamb, professing to be Christian, having a show of spirituality, and claiming authority under Messiah, as his ordinance. The beast, indeed, professes to be a lamb; but is in reality a wild beast, θηριον, that instead of preaching the gospel, and speaking comfortably to Jerusalem, speaks great swelling words of blasphemy and cruelty, like the dragon. The doctrine of the church of Rome is diabolical.

The power of the hierarchy is twofold. There were two horns like a lamb—two distinct and regularly organized ecclesiastical powers. These are the two distinct bodies of ecclesiastics, called the regular and secular clergy. 1. The regular, comprehending all the monastic orders. 2. The secular, comprehending all the parochial clergy.

These two bodies were perfectly distinct from each other, having each its own officers and regulations.

Verse 12. He exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him. “With his prelates and his monks, he directs the administration of civil power. The names of Wolsey, Ximenes, Richlieu, and Mazarine, are handed down to posterity as the most intriguing and ambitious of statesmen.”[23] “He holdeth imperium in imperio, an empire within an empire; hath not only the principal direction of the temporal powers, but often engageth them in his service, and enforceth his canons and decrees with the sword of the civil magistrate.”[24]

He causeth the earth, and all that dwell therein, to worship the first beast. The western world, and its inhabitants, are reduced by the machinations of a temporizing priesthood, to yield blind submission to the civil power, however impious and tyrannical. The Spirit of liberty and independence, which characterized the invaders of ancient Rome, is broken down by the efforts of the antichristian church, and the doctrine of passive obedience, is inculcated from the several pulpits of oppressed Europe.[25]

The imperial power re-established over Rome, in consequence of the victories of Narses, is supported by the church, but it is when this once wounded head appears in the person of Phocas, that Gregory the Roman pontiff, sets the example of worshipping the beast, which his successors in the papal church followed themselves in the exaltation of Charlemagne, and still more forcibly urged afterwards upon others throughout the whole empire.

Verse 13. represents the ecclesiastical beast employed in what has passed among the Roman Catholics, as a note of the true church, performing miracles—“lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” The 14th verse continues the same idea, and introduces into the description of the ecclesiastical beast, other objects to which we promised a distinct attention.

III. The image of the beast, together with his mark, his name, and the number of his name.

Of these objects, we shall speak in order.

1. The IMAGE of the beast. Verses 14, 15.—Saying to them that dwell on the earth, That they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

This image is the papacy. The pope of Rome is the most striking representation of the old Roman emperors, that can be conceived of by the imagination of man. “He is the common centre and cement, which unites all the distinct kingdoms of the empire; and by joining with them, procures them a blind obedience from their subjects.”[26] “He is the principle of unity to the ten kingdoms of the beast, and causeth, as far as he is able, all who will not acknowledge his supremacy, to be put to death. In short, he is the most perfect likeness and resemblance of the ancient Roman emperors; is as great a tyrant in the Christian world as they were in the heathen world; presides in the same city, usurps the same powers; affects the same titles; and requires the same universal homage and adoration. So that this prophecy descends more and more into particulars, from the Roman state, or ten kingdoms in general, to the Roman church or clergy, in particular, and still more particularly to the person of the pope.”[27]

Mr. Faber differs from his celebrated predecessor upon this subject; but without a cause. He considers this image literally, as the images worshipped by the Roman Catholics. His principal argument is, that an image to the beast, is not an image of him. But in this case, the image is both unto and of the beast. It is called the image of the beast, and his image or representation, nine different times.[28]

According to this mode of exposition, there is no confusion in the predictions. The empire, the church, and the papacy, although all united in one terrible and impious apostacy, are perfectly distinguishable from one another. Every part of the text, and indeed every passage in which the image of the beast appears, corresponds perfectly with this application of the symbol. The pope, is the creature of the church, or second beast, as well as the resemblance of the emperor, or first beast. The second beast caused him to be made and worshipped. In the medals of Martin V. “two cardinals are represented crowning the pope, and two kneeling before him, with this inscription, quem creant adorant, whom they create, they adore.”[29]

In support of this interpretation, and in refutation of Mr. Faber’s opinion, I offer the following arguments.

1. In the vision of John the Divine, we are not to consider one part of the representation as literal, while the other part of the hieroglyphic is understood metaphorically: and as the beast is not to be understood literally, the image is neither a picture nor a statue.

2. The images which the Roman Catholics worship, are pictures or representations of several objects; God, angels, Christ, the virgin Mary, and innumerable saints, &c. &c. but this image is that of the beast, or the Roman emperor.

3. The idols of the popish churches are dead inanimate objects; but this image is quite a different personage—having life, speech, and action.

4. Literal images never persecute those who neglect either themselves or others: but this image causes to be put to death, by delivering over to the sword of the magistrate, as many as would not worship him.

We shall now inquire,

2. What is the mark of the beast?

Verses 16, 17. And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.

Of this mark, the following things are affirmed in the text, and the parallel passages of the Apocalypse. 1. It is the mark of the first or ten-horned beast, the civil Latin empire, chap. xix. 20. the mark of the beast, το χαραγμα του θηριου: and in this verse, the first beast is distinguished from the hierarchy which is called the false prophet; it is also the mark of his name, xiv. 11. 2. The χαραγμα, or mark of the secular power, is imposed by the false prophet, or second beast; it is he who had the two horns like a lamb, and spake as a dragon, that both gives life to the image, and imposes the mark—caused to be received. 3. It is imposed upon all description of people throughout the Roman empire, except the saints and martyrs. Chap. xx. 4. That were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark. 4. It is differently imposed,—on the foreheads of some, and on the hand of others, the right hand. 5. It is the effect of “strong delusion” to receive this mark. Chap. xix. 20. The false prophet deceived them that had the mark of the beast. 6. It nevertheless secures their worldly interests throughout the empire: no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark. 7. This badge or καραγμα, while it secures secular advantages, subjects the possessor to the plagues of the vials, chap. xv. 2. And 8thly, This mark devotes to destruction. Chap. xiv. 11. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Grotius and Spencer,[30] with their wonted industry and erudition, have furnished the means of explaining this symbol by the customs of antiquity. The slave received the mark of his master; the soldier of his general; and the devotee of his idol: these marks, impressed on the hand or the forehead, consisted of the name at length, or the initials of the name; of some cipher which had a definite conventional signification; or of certain hieroglyphics generally understood. Thus, he who imposed the mark, declared his property; and they who received it, avowed their submission and their determination to serve.

The mark in the forehead, is avowed subjection to the complex and impious power of the nations, in all cases civil and ecclesiastical, to the full extent of their tyrannical claims; and that in the hand denotes activity, in supporting these thrones of iniquity, whether with or without the profession of the Roman Catholic creed, or any other heresy whatsoever.

This blind subjection to the corrupt systems of civil order, which in despite of the light of revelation, has so long cursed Christendom, unites all the characters connected with the mark of the beast in the sacred text, in a much higher degree, than the sprinkling of holy water, the application of the sign of the cross, or any other of the superstitious and contemptible fooleries of the church of Rome.

Support to the secular power, urged by the ecclesiastical, upon all descriptions of men, avowed and acted upon, under the influence of delusion, and for the sake of temporal gain, while it involves an admission of those antichristian principles which oppose the rights of God and man, and which tend to perpetuate the unholy despotism of the European nations, cannot but be criminal in the sight of the moral Governor of the world, and must expose to punishment all upon whose heads its guilt doth rest. This, and not any sensible sign, such as the cross in baptism, is the mark of the beast.[31]

It remains for us now to ascertain,

3. The name of the beast.

At the reformation, the papal power was naturally the object of dislike and reprobation; and nothing could be more effectual in justifying the conduct of the protestants, than to establish a belief that popery was the spiritual monster from which Christians were enjoined to separate themselves. It was upon this principle, that in their zeal to purify the church, our reformers fell into the habit of applying promiscuously the predictions of the great apostacy to the pope, as the acknowledged head of the Catholic church. The names, beast and antichrist, were accordingly applied to him. The friends of the prevailing superstition, endeavoured to parry the blow, and to discover others to whom some parts of the scriptural predictions might be applied. This produced many curious and absurd expositions of the name, and the number of the name, pointed out in the following passage.

Verse 18. Here is wisdom. Let him. that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a wan; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.

Since the power of the church of Rome has ceased to fill the world with terror; and Satan carries on his hostility to the cause of religion by other weapons, such as the flood of heresy and infidelity with which he hoped to carry away the mystic woman, men have amused themselves, and have gratified their personal animosities, and their political prejudices, by applications of this text to the various characters which were to them peculiarly obnoxious.

The apologists of Rome, the irreligious class of protestant writers, the Commentators of a mere political creed, and the undiscerning among the orthodox and pious, have so multiplied interpretations, as to confound where they ought to enlighten.

The number 666, has been discovered in the names, Ulpius, Trajanus, Dioclesian, Julian the apostate, Luther, Evanthas, Latinus, Titan, Lampelis, Niketis, Kakos, Hodegos, Arnoumai, Romiit, our holy father the pope; and even in the sacred names of the Most High God.[32] Mahomet, Louis XIV. Cromwell, king George III. Napoleon, &c. &c. have all thus been numbered.

To avoid, as they supposed, such confusion and uncertainty, several excellent expositors have endeavoured to apply the scriptural number 666, not to distinguish a name; but to ascertain dates; and by adding this sum to the time of the apostle John’s banishment in Patmos, fancied that they had accurately discovered the commencement of the great period of 1260 years.

Others again, instead of rendering the χξς of this text numerically, have taken the liberty of considering them as the initials of certain words. Χριστος ξυλον σταυρος, Christ, wood, cross; using further license with these Greek letters, they have been made to represent the number 1066; and thus by a double entendre, by referring to the wood of the cross of Christ, to the pontificate of Urban II. the text has been applied to the age of the Crusades.

The words, however, of this passage are, when duly considered, too pointed to give any sanction whatever to such sporting with the mystic number 666.

If was a method practised among the ancients, to denote names by numbers; and the author of Revelation accommodates his expressions to the well-known customs of the age.[33] In this case the following considerations restrict the application of the number to its proper object, and serve to ascertain the name of the beast.

1st. It is the proper name of the first beast or secular empire. Chap. xiv. 11. The mark and the name respect the same beast. 2. It is the common name of all those who belong to the empire. Chap. xiii. 17. 3. It is the proper name of a certain man. 4. It contains the number 666. All these four marks meet in one word, and in one word only: that word must be the name of the beast. LATINUS is the proper name of the western Roman empire. In distinguishing it from the Greek it is called the Latin empire: The same name applies to the whole population, “the Latins:” It is the name of an individual man; Latinus, the ancient king of Latium and the founder of the empire: And this name contains the number specified. In order to calculate the number, we must evidently employ the language of the New Testament—The name in Greek is LATEINOS.





















 I know it has been alleged, that this calculation finds it necessary to supply a letter in the name Latinus, more than obtains in the common orthography; and I readily admit, that in our Greek books, when the word occurs, it is without an epsilon, ΛΑΤΙΝΟΣ. This objection could be made only by a Greek scholar; but a good Greek scholar will never attach any importance to it: for the ancient orthography, both Latin and Greek, is Lateinos. The celebrated Irenæus, who studied the sacred oracles under the direction of Polycarp, one of the disciples of the apostle John, and who had conversed with many who had seen face to face the writer of this prophecy, gives this interpretation, confirming the reading of the word with an epsilon, by the authority of the ancient manuscripts. In the matter of fact, he could not be mistaken; and whatever we think of his commentary, his evidence as to the orthography of Lateinos is conclusive.

It is not a strange thing in any language, to meet with alterations in the spelling of a word; and it is but reasonable to expect, that in any case of importance, that orthography which is in actual use at the time, or which, if going into disuse, is most agreeable to analogy, should be the one adopted by a judicious author. We infer of course, that the author of the Apocalypse, if he at all referred to Lateinos, would consider it as having the letter ε; because this is both agreeable to the analogy of Latin proper names having the long i, when rendered into the Greek; and it is the matter of fact that the ancients used the diphthong ει, in writing it. The testimony of Irenæus is evidence of the fact; and the name Longinus proves the analogy. By the old Greek writers it was Λονγεινος; by the more recent, the ε is dropped.[34]

This name being ascertained, it settles beyond all controversy, what is the object of the several predictions relative to the beast of the Apocalypse. It demonstrates that object to be the state of society, as it respects the Christian religion, in the west of Europe, until the era of the millennium.


It was foreseen that this portion of the civilized world, should be for ages the most interesting and the most important to man in general, and unto Christians particularly; therefore are its concerns put upon the records of prophetic history with more copiousness and precision, than are those of any other part of the human family.

The Latin earth is the scene of prediction: the Latin empire, with its several kingdoms, constitute the seven-headed ten-horned beast: the Latin church is the grand apostacy which corrupts religion; and the Latin system of social order, civil and ecclesiastic, is peculiarly diabolical, and is to be punished, and ultimately destroyed, by the vials of the wrath of God.

It is not then as a matter of curiosity, that we endeavour to ascertain the name, and the number of the name of the first beast. It is of importance in understanding the predictions, to define the countries which are to be affected by the judgments. Certain as we are from the inspired oracles, that the kingdoms of the Latin world, whatever changes they undergo, do not become, until the 1260 years are expired, the kingdoms of our Lord, we still include under the character of horns of the beast, the several nations of western Europe, not excepting those which are called protestant.

If modern Europe could be supposed to furnish an exception, it would be in reference to the British empire, where is to be found the most pure and active part of the church of God: but the text admits of no exception within the bounds of the Latin earth; and we shall afterwards furnish a full demonstration of the fact, that the British government is, notwithstanding its secession from the communion of the church of Rome, still a part of the secular empire, and a horn of the first beast, deriving like the other powers of the nations, its authority from the dragon.

It would not be surprising, indeed, were the Roman Catholic System of religion to be hereafter introduced to power among the various nations that espoused the protestant cause at the reformation. “An insidious liberality of sentiment, which confounds the eternal distinctions of truth and falsehood, has affected protestants. They no longer view with abhorrence, the blasphemy and idolatry of the papal hierarchy; but consider them trifling errors—mere venial mistakes. Their profession is a mere name, and their external adherence to it, the effect of habit and education. Their indifference to the discriminating tenets of their religion, predisposes them to yield readily to the arts and designs of the Catholics.

“Unhappily, they (the Catholics) have been hitherto but too successful: for they have evidently gained ground in the last and present century, notwithstanding the abridgment of the pope’s temporal authority. Many princes, of families which were once eminent in their attachment to the reformation, have apostatized: and states by right of succession have fallen into the hands of Catholics. In Germany and in Holland, the faith of many protestants has been unhinged by artifice and sophistry, so that they have fallen into the embraces of the Roman church. In Great Britain, the Catholics are striving to become eligible by law, to the high offices of state, and to places of importance in the army and navy.—Their emancipation, as it is improperly called, will, I apprehend, be the death-blow to the protestant interest in Britain.—The fall of Britain, as a protestant state, will, perhaps, afford the true explanation to the slaying of the witnesses.

“The success of the Catholics in Germany, and other places, is chiefly owing to the Jesuits. They are countenanced in Austria, and have the direction of the schools there. In the Palatinate, especially the Dutchy of Juliers and Bergs, they are favourably received. In Bavaria, they have amazing influence. In Sweden and Denmark, they have many adherents. In West Russia, they have a religious establishment of their own.” [35]

We turn away from the further contemplation of this painful picture of the religious state of modern Europe. In the succeeding Lecture I shall call your attention to a more agreeable object, and give a rapid sketch of the history of the true church during the well-known period, time, times, and the dividing of time. To that company let our affections be directed, that with them we may sing the song of Moses, and the song of the Lamb. AMEN.


[1] Zech. i. 17—21.

[2] Page 249, to which the reader is referred. [HERE]

[3] Johnston.

[4] Faber in loco.

[5] Daniel ii. 32, 33, 42, 43.

[6] This idea has already been discussed in these Lectures. See pages 44 [HERE], and 79—85. [Begin HERE] and 118—123. [Begin HERE]

[7] See page 334. [HERE]

[8] See page 44. [HERE]

[9] The fact of his governing in the capital city, does not make him head of the empire. Compared with other powers he was no more than the mayor of a city, or the lieutenant of a province.

[10] See pages 136 [HERE], 138. [HERE]

[11] Mavor.

[12] It ought not to be objected to this account of healing the wound of the sixth head, that the emperor had his seat at Constantinople, for this would have cut off the claims of Constantine himself to be considered by historians as the head of the Roman empire. It is accurately remarked by Archdeacon Woodhouse, that the beast of the xiiith chapter is described as a leopard, a bear, and a lion, in order to show that he had, at the time of his rise from the sea, possession of the three first universal monarchies, and so far was assimilated to the former three beasts of Daniel. In the xviith chapter when the beast is described as bearing the harlot, or apostate church of Rome, these characters are omitted. The geography, as well as the history, of nations, is alluded to in the prophecy.

The wounded head, in recovering the possession of the ancient capital, on the overthrow of Totila the Goth, appears healed up to its characteristic despotism and idolatry. I give the proof of my assertion in the words of the historian of the Decline and Fall.[Vol. V. page 272-285.]

“The eunuch Narses, was chosen to achieve the conquest which had been left imperfect by the first of the Roman generals. Justinian granted to the favourite what he might have denied to the hero: and the preparations were not unworthy of the ancient majesty of the empire. Absolute in the exercise of his authority, more absolute in the affection of his troops, Narses led a numerous and gallant army to Salona, from whence he coasted the Adriatic as far as the confines of Italy.

As soon as Narses had paid his devotions to the author of victory, and the blessed virgin, his peculiar patroness, he dismissed the Lombards—The inspiration of the virgin revealed to him the day and the word of battle—Justinian, in the year 552, once more received the keys of Rome, which, under his reign had been five times taken and recovered. The civil state of Italy after the agitation of a long tempest was fixed by a pragmatic sanction which the emperor promulgated at the request of the pope.”

It was under this sixth wounded, hut now healed, head, in the reign of Phocas, that John saw the beast arise.

[13] It is astonishing, that Commentators should so generally have represented the angel, chap. xvii. 10. the other is not yet come, as speaking of the time of Domitian, seeing he adds, verse 11; The beast—is not. Surely this was not the time of Domitian.

[14] Hist. Dec. Vol. V. page 284.

[15] Of this fact we have given the history, page 212—215. [HERE]

[16] Hos. xiii. 7, 8.

[17] Dan. vii. 3—6.

[18] Page 356. [HERE]

[19] Plain Christians are deceived by a trite sophism; and they are the more easily deceived, because the deception is generally convenient to their worldly circumstances. The sophism is this. “There is no power but of God, therefore this power is from heaven; and to it you must submit as unto the ordinance of God.” This argument will suit every case; and it has been universally resorted to by the friends of passive obedience. It has always been the refuge of those who plead the divine right of kings, and popes, and emperors, over their unhappy subjects. It applies alike to all power good or bad. It avails Beelzebub the prince, as well as any of his servants or instruments. “Satan is powerful; there is no power but of God; therefore it is wrong to resist the adversary.”

This sophism is of easy solution. There are distinct kinds of power: one is authorized of God, and is moral; the other is permitted of God, and is immoral. There are distinct kinds of obedience. One is the result of allegiance, and is voluntary: the other the consequence of force, and is compulsory: the captive marches to the place of confinement at the command of the conqueror; but still holds his allegiance to his own country. A man must shut his eyes not to see the distinction.

[20] “The dominion exercised by tills beast (the Roman empire) is unjust, tyrannical, oppressive, diabolical. It is not a power legally administered for the good of the subject; for such “power is ordained of God:” but the authority of the beast is founded on another sanction; on that of the dragon, or Satan. When the legislative and executive powers act from the impulse of worldly and diabolical passions, this dire usurpation and tyranny will appear. But it is the work of Christianity, by introducing other motives of government, to repress these enormities, and finally, by the intervention of heavenly aid, to extirpate them.” Woodhouse in loco.

“What throne and seat can this be else, that the devil giveth to the Romans, but that which he promiseth to give Christ, Matt. iv. 9. to wit, The empire of the world, as being the prince of this world.” LORD NAPIER.

“Then the dragon had transferred his dominion to the beast, or the devil had appointed another vicegerent: and all the world knows that this accords to the history of the Roman empire.” SCOTT.

[21] Rev. xi. 7. and xii. 17. and xiii. 7. πολεμον ποιησαι μετα των αγιων.

[22] A million of the Waldenses perished in France: nine hundred thousand of the orthodox suffered in thirty years after the institution of the Jesuits: the duke of Alva boasted of having put thirty-six thousand to death in the Netherlands by the hands of the common executioner. In thirty years the inquisition destroyed one hundred and fifty thousand.

In France, in fifty years, from 1530 to 1580, a million of protestants lost their lives; Charles the IXth, glorying in his letters to the Pope that he had massacred seventy thousand in a few days. At the revocation of the edict of Nantz, by Lewis XIVth, it is computed that one hundred thousand were murdered, and one million banished from their country.

Before the states of Holland established their independence, there were murdered in the reign of Charles V. about fifty thousand, in the succeeding fifteen years about one hundred thousand, and more than half a million fled their country. How many more must have fallen in the war for religion and liberty which they waged, with some intermissions, almost for eighty years.

Besides those who were put to death in the early persecutions of Scotland, Charles II. and James II. involved the protestant throne of England in the blood of the martyrs, and attempted to restore the nation to the communion of the Roman Catholics.

About two thousand of the most eminent ministers in England, and three hundred of the most faithful in Scotland, were driven from their charges, and tortured or murdered. Two hundred thousand families were reduced to poverty; and above sixty thousand in England, and eighteen thousand in Scotland, suffered either banishment or death. Brown’s Church History.

A calculation of the sufferings inflicted by the secular beast upon the saints over all the nations of Christendom, would astonish the world. Probably not less than fifteen millions of men have lost their lives for their attachment to the truth, and their opposition to heresy, since the rise of Antichrist. Were all the saints in Christendom to be slain on the present day, it would not equal the number of the martyrs against the man of sin, who have already sealed their testimony with their blood.

[23] Faber.

[24] Bishop Newton.

[25] “He confirms and maintains the sovereignty and dominion of the first beast over his subjects. He supports tyranny, as he is by tyranny supported.” These words indicate the sentiments of the bishop of Norwich, for which Mr. Faber, as the apologist of passive obedience, calls him to task. We, however, who, like Newton, and Mr. Whiston, esteem the doctrine of subjection to tyranny, as neither honourable nor innocent in rational creatures, and especially in those who have the light of divine revelation, consider it criminal, notwithstanding the criticism of Mr. Faber, to worship with that civil homage which is due to the ordinance of God, the beast who received from the dragon, the devil, all the authority with which he is invested. When compulsion is applied, it alters the case. Involuntary obedience is quite a different thing. A patient submission to irremediable evil, or a peaceable conformity to the common and legitimate order of society, is a duty which Christians can practise without worshipping either the beast or his image: but, in reality, we know not what idea to attach to the term worship, as applied to the civil government, unless it be what bishop Newton and Mr. Whiston allege, a slavish submission to diabolical authority. We regret, that even in England, such a writer as Mr. Faber should be found in the present day, to come forth as the apologist of the degrading doctrine of passive obedience.

[26] Whiston.

[27] Bishop Newton.

[28] See Rev. xiii. 15. xiv. 9, 11. xv. 2. xvi. 2. xix. 20. and xx. 4.

[29] Bishop Newton.

[30] Spen. de leg. Heb. lib. ii. Cap. 20. Sect. 1—4.

[31] “We are not to imagine that any external mark was to be impressed on any part of the bodies of the votaries of Rome: but only that they should be known to be the votaries of Rome, by certain traits in their character.” JOHNSTON.

“This mark of the Latin empire, the Roman beast is nothing else, but that professed servitude, obedience, confederacy, or concurrence, which the subjects thereof have avouched.” LORD NAPIER.

This author, in a very ingenious Dissertation, endeavours to prove that the sign of the cross became afterwards the mark of the first beast, or Roman empire, and that it was derived, not from the cross of Christ, but from the name of the beast Lateinos. Mr. Faber too adopts this opinion, and with an awkward apology for the use of the sign of the cross by the church of England, he declares it to be the mark of the beast.

I admit it to be a mark of superstition. I admit it to be a badge of antichristian delusion; but certainly a cross is not the representative of Latinus, confessedly the name of the beast: and yet the Apocalyptical mark is the mark both of the secular empire and of the name, chap. xiv. 11.

[32] Calmet.

[33] The river Nile, Νειλος, was counted holy, as containing 365; Theuth, or Mercury, was designated by 1218; Jupiter by 737; the Sun by 608. See Daubuz, Selden, Napier, Lowman, Newton.

[34] One of the first scholars of the age, who adds to a very extensive acquaintance with the sciences, physical and moral, a rich fund of Oriental literature, and particular familiarity with the Greek language, the REV. MR. WYLIE, of Philadelphia; wrote to me, at the time this subject was under consideration, as follows:

“I have not, in the course of my reading, discovered any instance of the Latin word Latinus being spelled diphthongally in Greek. It is a matter of fact, that Polybius frequently spells it simply with Iota. The Latin writers themselves, however, used the long i, and the diphthong ei, often indiscriminately. Omnis or omneis, belli or bellei, virtuti or virtutei, libertati or libertatei, &c. &c.

“The analogy of numberless words will support the version of the Roman i into the Greek ει. Irenæus himself has for his initial the diphthong ει. The Latin words Idea, Alcides, Clitus, et eodem genere sexcenta alia, might be mentioned: but what is still more in point, Sabinus, Antoninus, Longinus, are spelled in Greek with the diphthong. Montsauc. Pal. Par. Ed. p. 162, 163, Longinus moreover is now, as well as Latinus, written in Greek with iota alone. Let any one who feels scrupulous upon this point, consult some of the Greek writings of the eighth or ninth centuries, and he will find numberless instances of a similar description. Vide Monts. lib. iii. p. 236 and 237. where, after speaking of the frequent interchange of vowels and diphthongs, we have the following words; quid mirum si Latinus scriba dicat γεινωσκει pro γινωσκει.”

[35] Dr. Romeyn’s Fast Sermons. Albany, 1808.