Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

empire was idolatrous, under the Heathen emperors, and then ceafed to be so for some time under the Christian emperors, and then became idolatrous again under the Roman pontiffs, and so hath continued ever since. It is the fame idolatrous power revived again, but only in another form; and all the corrupt part of mankind, whose names are not inrolled as good citizens in the registers of heaven, are pleased at the revival of it: but in this last form it shall go into perdition ; it shall not, as it did before, cease for a time, and revive again, but shall be destroyed for ever.

After this general account of the beast, there follows an explanation of the particular emblems, with a short preface intimating that they are deserving of the deepest attention, and are a proper exercise and trial of the understanding Here is the mind which hath wisdom ; (ver. 9.) as it was said upon a former occasion, (XIII. 18.). Here is wisdom ; let him that hath understanding count 3c. The seven heads have a double signification. They are primarily seven mountains on which the woman hitteth, on which the capital city is seated; which all who have the least tincture of letters know to be the fituation of Rome. Historians, geographers, and

speak

poets, all

[ocr errors]

speak of the city with seven bills ; and passages might be quoted to this purpose without number and without end. It is observed too, that new Rome or Constantinople is situated on seven mountains: but these are very rarely mentioned, and mentioned only by obscure authors, in comparison of the others ; and besides, the seven mountains, other particulars also must coincide, which cannot be found in Constantinople. It is evident therefore, that the city seated on seven mountains must be Rome;; and a plainer description could not be given of it, without expressing the name, which there might be several wise reasons for concealing.

As the seven beads fignify seven mountains, so they also signify seven kings, reigning over the seven mountains. (ver. 10, 11.) Kan Becasus 's777a.

And they are seven kings or kingdoms, or forms of government, as the word imports, and hath been Town to import in former instances. Five are fallen, five of these forms of

government are already past; and one is, the sixth is now sublisting. The five falien are kings, and consuls, and dictators, and decemvirs, and military tribunes with confular authority; as they are enumerated and distinguished by those who should best know, the two greatest Roman 4

historians,

ELOIN,

historians, (7) Livy and Tacitus. The fixth is the power of the Cæsars or emperors, which was fubfisting at the time of the vision. An end was put to the imperial name (8) in the year 476 by Odoacer king of the Heruli, who having taken 'Rome deposed Momyllus Augustulus, the last emperor of the west. He and his successors the 'Ostrogoths' assumed the title of Kings of Itály: but tho' the name was changed, the power still continued much the same. This therefore cannot well be called a new form of government'; it may rather be considered as a continuation of the imperial power, or as a renovation of the kingly authority. Consuls are reckoned but one form of government, tho' their office was frequently suspended, and after a time restored again : and in the same manner kings may be counted but one form of government, tho' the name was resumed after an interval of so many years. A new form of government was not erected, till Rome fell under the obedience of the eastern emperor, and the 'enrpe=' ror's lieutenant, the exarch of Ravenna, dissolved

[ocr errors]

(7) Quæ ab condita urbe Ro habuere. Libertatem & confulama ad captam eandem urbem tum L.Brutus inftituit. Dictature : Romani fub regibus primum, ad tempus sumebantur: neque confulibus deinde ac dictatoribus, Decemviralis poteftas ultra bien, decemvirisque ac tribunis confulari- nium, neque tribunorum militum bus gefsere. Livii Lib.6. Cap. 1. confulare jus diu valuit. NonCinUrbem Romam a principio reges næ, non Šuliæ longadominatio:

et

!

year 568

all the former magistracies, and constituted a Duke of Rome, to govern the people, and to : pay

tribute to the exarchate of Ravenna. Rome had never experienced this form of government before: and this I conceive to be the other, which in the apostle's days was not yet come, and when he cometh, be' must continue a short Space. For Rome was reduced to a dukedom tributary to the exarch of Ravenna by Longinus, who was sent exarch (9) in the year 566 according to some accounts, or in the according to others; and (1) the city revolted from the eastern emperor to the pope in the year 727 : which is short space in comparison of the imperial power, which preceded, and lasted above 500 years; and in comparison of the papal power, which followed, and hath now continued about a thousand years. But still possibly you may hesitate, whether this is properly a new form of government, Rome being still subject to the imperial power, by being subject to the Greek emperor's deputy, the exarch of Ravenna : and according as you determin this

point, et Pompeii Craffique potentia, (3) Sigonius de Occcidentali cito in Cæsarem ; Lepidi atque Imperio.Lib.14.&c.PetaviiRat. Antonii arma, in Auguftum cel Temp. Partis 1. Lib. 6. Cap.18. sere: qui cuncta difcordiis civi (9) Sigonius de Regno Ital. libus feffa, nomine principis fub Lib. 1. Petav. Rat. Temp. Par. imperium accepit. 'Tacit. Annal. 1. Lib. 7. Cap. 10. Lib. I. in initio.

(1) Sigon. ibid. Lib. 3.

(2) Mr.

[ocr errors]

point, the beast that was and is not; was while idolatrous, and was not, while not idolatrous, will appear to be the seventh or eighth. If you reckon this a new form of government, (2) the beast that now is is the eighth; if you do not reckon this a new form of government, the beast is of the Seven ; but whether he be the Seventh or eighth, he is the last form of government, and goeth into perdition. It appears evidently, that the fixth form of government, which was subsisting in St. John's time, is the imperial; and what form of government hath fucceeded to that in Rome, and hath continued for a long space of time, but the papal ? The beast therefore, upon which the woman rideth, is the Roman government in its last form: and this, all must; acknowlege, is the pápal, and not the imperial.

Having explained the mystery of the seven keads, the angel proceeds to the explanation

of

(2) Mr. Mann explains the terdum etiam anathemate perSeventh & eighth otherwise. Quis culit, ut non minus dicendus igitur rex feptimus erit? Nimi- fit regnaffe in fpiritualibus, Tum ipse papa. Nam ex quo quamvis fe fubditum semper A:-D 534 eum ecclefiarum fervumque fervorum diceret, : omnium caput declaravit Jufti- quam in temporalibus imperanianus,aliiomnium judicem,ip- tores. Tunc igitur papa e

: fum a nullo judicandum, tanta feptem illis, id eft ex genere at-reverentia et obsequio ab Impp. que ordine illorum principum ipfis cultus eft, tanta authorita- qui præcefferant, effe dicendus te ipíos fubinde reprchendit, in- erat, donec A. D. 727 Leonis

« AnteriorContinuar »