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purity of the metal ;-governments having learned only of later years, and in the more civilized countries of Christendom, the important lesson in this particular, that for them as well as for their subjects honesty is the best policy.
The Mahometans, like the Jews, scrupulously avoid the exhibition upon their coin of any image or picture of natural objects. The coined money of the Turks to this day, instead of bearing the image of the Grand Seignor, is stamped with a fac simile of his sign manual, or with certain letters or characters equivalent to a designation of his name or title, and the date of the issue. As the coin of the Romans was legalized by the image and superscription of the ruler, that of eastern countries is so by the letters of the name or title of the sovereign. Amongst the Persians, it is said, (Chambers's Dict.,) no gold coin is stamped except in the first year of the monarch's reign ; and if we were disposed to keep the idea of time in view, this number of the beast, six hundred and sixty-six, might be supposed to designate the date of the commencement of his reign ; from which era the twelve hundred and sixty years might be calculated. But we think the reasons are too strong for rejecting any literal idea of time in this matter; and we are rather inclined to think, if the figure contemplated be that of coin, that the number six hundred and sixty-six on the coin is susceptible of being converted into a name of some principle which, when ascertained, will serve as a seal to a correct interpretation of the whole of this portion of revelation. We may suppose a certain prince to cause a part of his coin to bear the impress of his image, another part the impress of his name, and another part to be stamped with certain characters equal to a given number, which at the same time is equivalent to the sum of the letters of his name, or of one of his names; these letters, as amongst the Greeks and eastern nations in the time of the apostles, answering the double purpose of arithmetical and alphabetical characters. The law of the realm in the dominions of the prince supposed, in conformity with this arrangement of the mint, may thus be imagined to prohibit the use of any coin in the acquisition of riches, or even in the payment of a ransom, unless it bear one or the other of these three impressions, all or either of which may be denominated the mark of the prince.
Analogous with this, the first beast being taken for the controlling principle of a blasphemous and mercenary system, (his kingdom ;) the false prophet, or second beast, for a false interpretation ; and riches being a figure of the means of eternal life; we may suppose the whole of this account to represent the effect of an erroneous literal or carnal interpretation of revealed truth, tending to establish a doctrinal system, every principle of which must necessarily be impressed with the characteristic of self or selfishness,
as a sine qua non, without which it is deemed of no avail in this supposed system of salvation. In this construction the change of figure, from the subjects of the prince bearing his mark in their foreheads or in their right hands, to the circulating medium of his dominions, is no more sudden or extraordinary than the change in the case of the Euphratean angels, and in that of the war in heaven, already noticed; changes of figure so entirely wanting in premonition being consistent with the composition of a vision, and perhaps with that of a vision only.
Whether the name or number of the beast, however, be expressed on a piece of coin or otherwise, or whatever the allusion may be in this figure, the difficulty in understanding what the number (six hundred and sixty-six) imports, still remains. Here we must keep our opinions in suspense till the proper moment of development arrives. As it is said, 1 Cor. iv. 5, “ Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts ;"—the moving principles of action. While we keep our judgments in suspense, however, we are to search the Scriptures to investigate and to examine; comparing spiritual things with spiritual : remembering that the things of the Spirit of God, which are foolishness to those who understand them literally, are to be spiritually discerned; and, consequently, their proper spiritual sense is to be sought for: and as this sense is to be gathered from the literal expression or allusion, it is important for us to ascertain correctly what this literal expression or allusion is ; and this, perhaps, in the case before us, is all that we can do at present.
The words rendered in our common version, “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty-six,” might equally be rendered, as already intimated, “ Let him that hath understanding count, or cast, the number of the beast, for it is a number of man, and the number of him (that is, of the beast) is six hundred and sixty-six ;" the number of the beast being explained in the previous chapter as the number of the name of the beast; that is, if we get at the right meaning of the number it will give us the name of the beast ; and this name will correspond with a number of man, or with the number of a name of man. The several letters of this name of man having each, according to the ancient mode of representing numbers already alluded to, a certain numerical value, the sum of the letters will give the number, showing who or what the real beast is ; thus confirming or setting aside the suppositions originating from other indications. If, for example, we should find a generic name of man, the letters of which amounted to the sum of six hundred and sixty-six, such a name would correspond very nearly with our suggestion, that self (man's self or something like it) is the blasphemous beast, setting up a kingdom in the human heart, or establishing a system of faith in opposition to JEHOVAH, and sustained in this rebellious action by what we may term a literal or carnal construction of the written word of revelation. For if we suppose every man's self to be his own saviour, we do in effect elevate man to the position supposed to be assumed by the beast, or to be given to him by the false prophet.
We have not, however, yet found the name of man here supposed. Our remarks, therefore, must be taken as they are intended, merely as suggestions, and our judgment of the designation to be given to the ten-horned beast must be still suspended; except, indeed, that he may be safely identified, we think, with the man of sin of Paul, and the Antichrist or spirit of error of John.
The apostle John in his first epistle (1 John ii. 18–22) speaks of many Antichrists, and gives us (ch. iv. 1-6) marks or tokens by which they may be discerned. From all theses it appears that by the term Antichrist he means the spirit of an anti-evangelical doctrine ; and he alludes especially to the spirit of error, as something intimately connected with that of Antichrist which should come, and perhaps as identic with it. The spirit of error, zò avɛīua rñs ahorns, or spirit of delusion or deception, must nearly resemble in its action the false prophet or two-horned beast of Revelation; the term which as a substantive is rendered by error in the epistle, being the same as that which as a verb is applied to the deception of the false prophet in the Apocalypse. This suggests to us the probability that the same mystery of iniquity which is spoken of in the epistles of both a postles as the action of one spirit of delusion, may be represented in the Apocalypse by the action of three several figures : the first beast, the false prophet, and the harlot. So the first beast with seven heads, taking seven for a sign of totality, ($ 9,) may represent all Antichrists, or false Christs ; the blasphemous element of self-exaltation, self-justification, or self-redemption exhibiting itself in a variety of forms.
The action of the second beast or false prophet in bis misinterpretation of Scripture, it will be perceived, corresponds very nearly with that ascribed to the tail of the dragon, ($ 273,) in dragging the stars of heaven down to earth, and so far coinciding with the scriptural definition of a false interpreter: The prophet that speaketh lies, he is the tail. In other words, the two-horned beast from the earth and the tail of the dragon are identic ; the last probably, like the tails of the Euphratean horse and those of the scorpion-locusts, carrying with it the sting of the serpent; the false interpretation tending to bring the disciple back to his position under the law, and exposing him to the sting of death.
We have thus gone through with the description of the first and second beast in the full exercise of their powers; and here the narrative leaves them for the present. We are to suppose this exercise of power to continue for the period designated in the fifth verse of the chapter, forty-two months, whatever is to be understood by that period as an apocalyptic term of time. Our attention will hereafter be called to the termination of their power, and the character of their end.
$317. In the preceding remarks we have supposed the first beast spoken of in this chapter to represent the element or principle of SELF; but this, as we wish it to be understood, is only by way of approximation, to give a facility to the illustration of our views; as, in a mathematical demonstration by algebraic process, a letter, vefor example, is assumed as the sum or answer sought for. The appellation does not exactly meet our wishes, and, as already intimated, we are not yet sufficiently advanced in the history of these two extraordinary animals to give a decided opinion respecting them; and perhaps the time has not yet arrived when a perfect development of their characters is to be expected. The discovery of the name of the ten-horned beast would, perhaps, involve an entire exposition of the spirit of error, of which we suppose this beast to be the moving principle—such an exposition of error, involving an equally entire exposition of truth; which last is to be expected, we apprehend, only at the epoch spoken of as the day of the Lord : of course, till that time the name of the beast must remain amongst the hidden things, then only to be brought to light, (1 Cor. iv. 5.)
At present, in respect to the first beast, we content ourselves with reverting to some of the particulars before commented upon, by way of fixing in our minds the stage of development at which we have arrived, prior to the change of scene taking place at the commencement of the next chapter.
of the second beast, there are some peculiarities mentioned in this chapter which are not again adverted to, and which it appears necessary to enlarge upon more fully here, that our meaning may be better understood.
The first beast emanates from the element of wrath or of legal apprehension, (the sea.) We do not mean to say that self originates from that element; but we think that this principle obtains its exaltation, or is made to appear the author of its own salvation, by that apprehension of the wrath of divine justice which originates from the supposition that the sinner is to work out his own salvation, as under the law, by his own merits,—to justify and redeem himself by works of righteousness, which he has done; the terrors of the law misapplied leading the disciple into the delusive effort of going about to justify or to redeem himself, and thereby virtually causing a blasphemous exaltation of self. Accordingly, the seven heads of the beast represent seven pretensions, or, as a figure of totality, all the pretensions of self; being opposites, perhaps, of the seven spirits before the throne, and the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb. So the beast employs the ten horns, or powers of the law, the decalogue being put for the whole law, the power wielded in asserting the prerogative of self. Not that there is any thing in the law, in its own nature, to countenance this exaltation of self: on the contrary, the law lawfully used convinces of sin ; but it is the illegal use of the law,-the pretension that it is to be fulfilled by man, which causes it to appear to be a weapon or power of self. So these horns of the beast are crowned with diadems, and not the heads, because the attribute of sovereignty claimed by self, is supposed to be derived from the operation of the law; the real power being in the law represented by the horns, and not in the pretensions represented by the heads. It is accordingly these last which bear the name of blasphemy, as they in effect assume for self an equality with God.
The first beast had a leopard skin, appearing in a spotted raiment, an opposite of the white linen or righteousness of the saints, without spot ;self being arrayed in a garment of salvation not entirely of its own merits, but of a mixed character, (hypocritically ;) as the deluded disciple, professing to depend upon Christ alone, claims, notwithstanding, to be arrayed partly in his own merit, and partly in that of his Saviour. For we suppose the blasphemous principle represented by the beast to be something exhibiting itself in the Christian church, nominally such—something resting its claims upon a perversion of gospel revelation ; not a thing entirely irrespective of it. Not that self is in its own nature an amalgam; for if it appeared in its true character the colour of its array would be entirely the opposite of white; but apocalyptically, when revealed, its pretensions have this spotted or mixed appearance; this mixture at the same time being of a blasphemous character, because any pretension even of the partial efficiency of man's righteousness in the process of salvation, is virtually a division of the glory of that salvation with Him, who has declared that He will not divide this glory with another.
Armed as this monster self is with the powers of the law, he utters the denunciations of justice with the voice or mouth of the lion, possessing at the same time the power, and occupying the position, and discharging the functions, of the legal accuser.
Taking all these features into consideration, we suppose the beast to represent an opposite of Christ, the Lamb without spot; something sub