Page images

mencement of THE INDIGNATION, will (by this last act of persecution and oppression) take upon herself the responsibility of being still his enemy, and his captor or detainer in the end of it, and will suffer the vengeance due to her on both accounts.

In these days of change, many things have come to pass more unlikely than that the capricious humour of one man may alter, and that the same hands which have been appointed by the just judgments of heaven, to pull down and destroy the pride and power of Rome, may do it the more effectually by a change of the present policy, and by ostensibly setting up again “ the throne of iniquity," as in the days of our fathers, may be undesignedly thus preparing her fall for ever.


This fervid and scorching sun has now within a little risen to the zenith of the political heavens. The same which was once only as a stone, has swelled to the immense magnitude and weight of a MOUNTAIN, and will ere long fill all the earth. He is already

in the throne of glory,"* a second CHARLEMAGNE, and soon to be in the state of the original dragon, or pagan roman emperor, both of the east and west. -Unless the eagerness of conjecture has run faster than events can follow; and they may (in just resentment) take another course, and leave the

projector in possession of a goodly castle, with the single exception only, that its foundations have been laid in the clouds ; a circumstance which has happened to many an honest man in adventurous speculations.

After the drying up of the great river Eupbrates, or the fall of the TURKISH EMPIRE before the invincible arms of THE BREAKER, (as I have supposed that mystical phrase to signify,) a scene very mysterious and wholly new ensues, and seems to be a project for the attainment of undivided and universal empire, by a conjunction with the mighty engine of popish or religious fanaticism, restored to its original powers of (at least) universal spiritual supremacy.

* I Sam, ii. S.

" And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs, come out of the mouth of the DRAGON, and out of the mouth of the FALSE PROPHET. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which


forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God almighty."* At this period (of the prophecy) there occurs a remarkable change in the names of the dramatis personæ, which implies that great changes have taken place in the state of the powers here figuratively represented. The mention of the first and second beast, and the image of the beast, is here dropt, and occurs no more ; but the original dragon (or one standing up in the fulness of his power,) is the sole MONARCH of the scene; and the false prophet, or THE POPE (now reduced to a private condition, and no more the image of the royal beast, and as such himself a crowned head, but equally as before “ a teacher of lies, and a false prophetstill,) is the religious puppet, by whose


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

instrumentality the secret game is to be play

ed. *

This change in the nomenclature of the prophecy, seems to be a strong argument that the temporal power, of which he is now de- spoiled, will not be restored any more to the pope ; but that unhappy chieftain of the

apostacy will bigottedly continue to sustain the responsibility attached to the POPEDOM, as the man of sin and the false prophet still; and will be fed with hope, or compelled by fear, to act what he needs must, and as the oracle of the DRAGON, to speak whatever is put into his mouth.' Promises may be given, for these

, are cheap, but performance will be (by divine Providence) anticipated and prevented, if it be ever really intended that they should be made. good.

* The dragon I have understood (see Sect. xix. p. 13,) to mean the roman imperial sovereignty, which persecuted christianity, in its pagan form, and also the devil which presided over the heathen religion, and fomented its malice against the church.-The FIRST BEAST was the same, become antichristian, and persecuting again. The sECOND BEAST was the papa. hierarchy, and the image of the Beast was the pope.- The change in these characters is already visible, and far advanced. The holy roman empire is now overturned, and the pope is a.ready sunk into a mere false prophet,

The crusade, however, is preached to the vassal kings, and to the subject powers and nations of the whole roman catbolic empire and interest,* with the accustomed holy vehemence, and (as it is here intimated,) with a proportionable success, by the FALSE PROPher and the DRAGON, in strict confederacy against the enemies of the holy roman empire and church.-Their wicked and insidious emissaries employed on this occasion, are

* This I conceive to be the meaning of the words tās gas xai tñs oixoupévns öans, in this place, as the same words are u:ed in Luke ii. 1, and there signify not the whole habitable globe in reality, but all the countries subject to the power of the romans, which they vainly boasted to be THE WHOLE WORLD. The scene here represented being yet future, must remain wrapt up very much in obscurity. But the meaning of it seems to be, to elucidate the death of the witnesses, the temporary triumph of the antichristian powers, and the terrible but unexpected ruin that overtakes these persecutors, in the very act of extirpating true christianity from the earth, which in the resurrection of the witnesses.

« PreviousContinue »