« ÎnapoiContinuați »
dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth, by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to thew 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. 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, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man. And his number was six hundred
threescore and six."
The second wild beast mentioned in the preceding verses, is intimately connected with the first and it exhibits the ecclesiastical power arising from out of the earth, or from out of a carnal and worldly profession of christianity, connecting itself with the civil power of the ten kingdoms, gaining the ascendancy over it; and converting the civil power of the state into an instrument of oppression and persecution, against all those who would not submit themselves to its creed. This wild beast has horns like a lamb : he professes to be a minister of the gospel of peace: he speaks like a dragon; for he proclaims idolatry
like a Pagan power, setting up the worship of images
and of strange gods; (see p. 104.) and he blas
phemes, and curses, and destroys the true followers of the Lamb. Availing himself of the temporal authorities, he causes all who yield to his dominion, to pay homage to the holy Roman empire. He gains credit by pretended miracles, which are done before the face of the first beast, or under sanction of the civil power; and in these miracles, he pretends that the hand and the power of God is manifested, as was the fire that came down from heaven, according to the prayer of the prophet. He sets up an image, or likeness to the first beast, which image he calls The Holy Roman-Catholic Church. He declares that church to be infallible, and assumes the like infallibility to himself, also, as the sovereign Pontiff of the church; and declares both himself and the church to be proper objects for religious veneration and worship; denouncing as heretics all who do not implicitly submit to the decrees, and the guidance of that church; and delivering them over to the civil power, that they may be put to death as the common disturbers of mankind. The mark which he causes all men to receive, is considered by some commentators to be the cross; it being one peculiarity of his worship, that his followers continually cross themselves. They who refuse his mark, are excommunicated; and with such
no man may buy or sell, nor is any one allowed to minister unto them in the common offices of humanity. The prohibition to buy and sell, refers probably to spiritual things; for none but those whom he ordains, are allowed to minister in the offices of religious worship. The name of the beast, and the number of his name, which is the number of a man, are also mentioned as circumstances by which he shall be known; and it is declared to be the privilege of true wisdom, rightly to understand these things. The name, according to Mr. Clarke, is H Aaran Bactheid, The Latin Kingdom, which contains numerical letters, amounting to 666; and is, moreover, the peculiar name of the western empire. According to others the name is Atuvos, which contains numericals of equal amount,-Latinus, being the first king of the Latins. The reader may decide for himself between these and many other conflicting opinions. It seems, however, an objection to these two interpretations, that the names do not so properly designate the ecclesiastical, as the civil power; whereas, the number 666 belongs to the two horned or ecclesiastical beast. A title, assumed by the Pope, Vicarius Filii Dei, which contains 666, has been suggested, and it is free from the preceding objection, but, perhaps, it is hardly satisfactory, and it may be, that the true name remains yet to be discovered.
By an expression in v. 17, it appears, that having the mark of the beast, having the name of the beast, and having the number of the beast, are three distinct things. It may be thought, that to have his mark, may signify the use of the cross, according to the manner of the Roman Catholics. To have his name, may signify the outward profession of the Roman Catholic religion; and to have the number of his name, may mean the use of the Latin tongue in worship. The intelligent reader will consider of these things for himself; and as many volumes have been written, in explanation of this portion of the Apocalypse, (Chap. xii. and xiii.) it seems enough to leave the subject, upon the general outline which has been given.
The Three Angels, and the Harvest and Vintage which succeed.-Rev. xiv.
The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the Apocalypse, shew the persecution of the Church by the mystic Babylon. Chapter xiv. proceeds to describe her deliverance. The five first verses represent the Church as it was at the Reformation, having just emerged from the superstitions of Popery. The reformers at that day sang, indeed, the song of Moses and of the Lamb. Great was the deliverance, and great was their rejoicing; and the song of joy from their lips, seemed as a new song to all the dwellers upon the earth. None but Christ's redeemed ones could understand it; for it was foolishness to those who abided in a mere carnal and worldly profession. The description here given of the reformed Church, marks two most important particulars. Its members were undefiled, for they partook not of the idolatrous ceremonies and superstitions of the Roman harlot, or her daughters and following the Lord their Master, in faith, fear, and love, they were seen standing in the true and only righteousness, and without spot before God. The description is thus given :—