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have just observed if not all Protestant commentators, some of the most learned, have applied every descriptive sign of both, to the church of Rome. I will not waste the reader's time in refuting an application so evidently erroneous; but confidently rest in the prophet's affirmation, that the "beast" which he saw "coming up out of the earth," is not the same beast with that which he saw "rise up out of the sea;" and proceed to consider it as a type of another Power.
Ver. 11." And I saw another beast come up out of the earth,” &c.
The prophets generally begin the histories of their beasts, or wicked civil societies, with some comprehensive figure, expressive of the manner of their rising in the world. Daniel, in predicting the rise of the four great and wicked empires, the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman, informs us*, that while "the four winds of hea"ven strove upon the great sea, he saw four great "beasts come up from the sea;" to intimate that those empires should, at a future time, rise in the world, when the nations should be at strife and war with one another, and that they should
Now is it possible that the prophet could mean to designate the same political Power, by the symbols of actions and qualities so different from, and contrary to each other? But to shew this error in its true light, the prophet asserts, that the second beast shall "exercise all the power of the first beast before him, and in his sight;" which is to make him say that the same power, suppose that of a man, shall act before himself, and in his own sight.
Chap. vii. 1, 2.
acquire their great power and grandeur, by conquest. St. John saw the first beast, mentioned. in this chapter, simply, "come up out of the sea," evidently meaning when it was calm, silent, and in its natural state; for he does not say that it was disturbed by the wind. Besides, he tells us, he saw the beast, while standing on the sand of the sea, which he could not have done, had it been in a state of perturbation. And thus he describes a power which should rise in the. world, and acquire its strength and grandeur, in a secret and silent manner, and more by craft and fraud than by war and conquest, which was. truly the case of the Romish church.
We have seen, that, in prophetic dialect, the word "sea" is made use of, to denote the manner of the rise of wicked civil societies. A meaning not less comprehensive and important, we may conclude is here affixed to the word "earth." Now a little knowledge of the nature of that body will show, that the word is here made use of, to point out two great features of the Power typified by this other beast, viz. that it should arise out of one great kingdom or nation, and be a revolutionary Power; and that it should surpass in depravity of morals, in impiety and mischief, all other civil societies, which had ever existed before it in the world..
To justify this interpretation of the two meanings of the word earth, it is necessary to remind the reader, that he is upon hieroglyphic ground, and that the Apocalypse is written in a dialect, the types and figurative expressions of which are
taken from the forms, faculties, and qualities of things in the natural world. Here then the prophet tells us, that he saw this "beast come up out of the earth," a great body in the natural world, possessing divers faculties and qualities. Now that which comes up out of or springs from a thing, either in the vegetable or animal world, partakes of the faculties and qualities and of course bears the resemblance of the thing itself, out of which it came up, or from which it arose: as a tree, for instance, partakes of the nature and qualities of the seed of the tree from which it came up; or an elephant, or a man, of the elephant or man from which he sprang. To justify, therefore, the interpretation here, we must prove that the Power intended to be foretold by the word earth, must resemble, in its abilities and qualities, those of that particular body.
Now the earth is one great, distinct, independent body in the natural world, and so is a proper symbol for one great distinct, independent nation in the moral and political world. The earth is a revolutionary body, performing revolutions not only upon its own axis, but round the sun. It must therefore be allowed, that the earth is a proper type for a revolutionary power or nation, which has undergone sundry political revolutions. The earth again is a revolutionary body, which performs its revolutions, without the aid of any other natural body; and therefore it is an apposite figure, to denote a revolutionary nation, which performs its revolutions, without the assistance of any other political body. The earth is also the
great body, out of which all the additional means of sin and misery are acquired; such as arsenic, and all other deadly poisons; sulphur and saltpetre; principal ingredients of that destroying composition, gunpowder; together with iron, steel and flint, which complete the system of modern destruction. Moreover, gold and silver, those common means of human corruption, excess, and intemperance, are thence extracted.
Effodiuntur opes, irritamenta malorum*" "Riches, which lead to all manner of evil, are
dug out of the earth." By the use of these metals, mankind are drawn into all manner of sin, intemperence, and disease, by which a great number of the species is cut off before their time, in the career of sensuality and sin, than by all other means whatever. Hence, it is, that "a beast coming up out of the earth" is an accurate figure for a revolutionary Power, the most wantonly destructive and consummately sinful.
Nor will this exposition appear more subtle than true, when it shall be proved, that the word earth is often made use of, in the language of prophecy, as a significant and comprehensive hieroglyphic, to denote all that I have here said of it. Jeremiah makes use of it in predicting the captivity of the Jews, because they formed one great revolutionary, and very sinful nation, and had undergone several great changes in their government, namely, from a theocracy, to judges,
kings, and high priests, without the foreign aid of the pagan nations, He says*, " For I will "call for a sword upon the inhabitants of the "earth ;" and, "The Lord shall give a shout against all the inhabitants of the eartht." And if any greater authority can be required, Christ himself makes use of the same figure, in foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem: "Then "shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they "shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds, "with power and great glory." It is here evident, that neither the prophet nor Christ referred to all the inhabitants of the earth, in the literal sense of the word; but figuratively to the revolutionary nation of the Jews only; for upon whom does it appear from the context, that "the sword was to be called for," but for the Jews? Against whom was "the Lord to give a shout," but the Jews? And who were the tribes of the earth, that were to mourn for the destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the altar, but the Jewish nation? Not the Romans, therefore, could be meant, who were never divided into tribes, and were appointed to destroy and triumph over the city, the temple, and altar; but the Jews, who alone suffered by that dreadful judgment.||
Chap. xxv. 29,
+ Ver. 30.
Matth. xxiv. 30.
The word earth is figuratively used, ou many occasions in the prophecies. It being an opake body, which neither receives nor reflects the light of the sun, it is used as a figure for the wicked and wickedness in general, which neither receives nor promotes the word of God, the true light, Psalm x. 18. lxxvi, 8. lxxxii. 8. Isa. xi. 4.; for heathen kingdoms or nations, Psal x. 18. xlvi, 6. Rev. vi, 15.; for the Jewish nation in its revolutionary and degenerate state, Jer. xxv. 29, 30. Matth.