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rack.-Besides these, an innumerable multitude of Lollards and sacramentarians were burnt throughout all Europe, who yet, says Sanders, a Roman Catholic, were not put to death by the Pope and bishops, but by the civil magistrates *. To these may be added a number of pious individuals martyred in England, from the time of Wickliffe to the accession of Queen Elizabeth. By these cruel
persecutions the Roman beast has overcome the saints, and succeeded in maintaining his idolatrous system through the greater part of the kindreds, and tongues, and nations of the Latin world, or the western empire. These, however, are only a few specimens that history has recorded of the persecutions, cruelties, and murders of the ten-horned beast; the number of which will never be known till “ the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."
8. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the worli.
By the power and authority above mentioned, the beast maintained his dominion over the inhabitants of the western world, who were all brought to a state of obedience to his decrees, and worshipped him with the most abject submission ; except those whom God of his sovereign grace had chosen as his peculiar people, and whose names were registered in the Lamb's book of life.-To worship a creature of any kind, means the placing our hearts and affections upon it, rather than upon God. To worship the beast, therefore, implies exercising an implicit faith in his dictates; submitting to his idolatrous injunctions and decrees; embracing the religion which he required, and yielding to him, as to a deity, submission of body, soul, and conscience. In describing this idolatrous submission of the inhabitants of the
* See ('uninghame and Bishop Newton.
empire to the worship of the beast, the Holy Spirit has especially excepted those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life; or rather expressly asserted, that the names of these idolaters are not written in this book: thus characterizing them by the awful mark of reprobation. This language exhibits a tremendous aspect towards all the worshippers of the beast, but affords strong consolation to “ the “elect people of God," who, under trials and persecutions, maintained their allegiance to him and to his Son Jesus Christ.-It is not quite clear, from the text of this verse in the Greek, whether Christ be here said to have been slain from the foundation “ of the world,” in the purpose and promises of God, and in the efficacy of his blood to the salvation of all believers; or, whether the names of the persons implied in the language were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, as the chosen and peculiar people of God. The doctrine in either case is the same, and both interpretations clearly indicate the same thing
9. If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
The solemn and emphatic warnings in the ninth verse, may refer either to the description given of the beast, or perhaps may more particularly relate to the prediction that follows. In this latter view, the words are intended to excite our attention to the certainty of its accomplishment. The vengeance of God will, at length, most assuredly overtake this monster. The beast shall not always tyrannize; but he shall be overtaken by the divine vengeance, when the Almighty shall appear to make inquisition for blood. He will then come to a certain and tremendous end, according to the law of retribution: “ He that leadeth into captivity shall go into cap
tivity: he that killeth with the sword must be « killed with the sword.” Nations, churches, and all other public communities, as such, will receive their judgment in the present world; and the destroyers will be destroyed, in like manner as they have destroyed others. But "here is the patience « and the faith of the saints." It requires faith to believe, and patience to wait for God's righteous retribution; and when it comes, it will be a season of trial to the faithful, in which their faith and patience will, in a particular manner, be called into exercise. They will then need these graces to distinguish them from those who only bear the name of Christians, and to enable them to endure the persecutions and tribulations to which they will be exposed. “Blessed “ is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest “ he walk naked, and they see his shame.”—As the fulfilment of this prediction will be awful and tremendous to the beast and to the false prophets; so, probably, it will be peculiarly trying to the professors of the true Church.
The image and character of the beast described in the former part of this chapter, and represented as blaspheming the name of God and his tabernacle, and as making war with his saints, beyond all controversy is most odious and detestable. But though one particular power is here intended to be characterized by the beast, the description given may, without any impropriety, be accommodated to the enemies of the Church in general, who often carry on their designs under many odious and terrifying forms. They frequently unite the fierceness and cruelty of savage beasts with the subtlety and poison of serpents. But they cannot practise against the Church any farther than God sees good for wise and holy reasons to permit them. Many of the saints of God have seemed to have been overcome by their antichristian tyranny; many have been led into captivity, and many have been slain with the sword; but they were apparently conquered in order to obtain their final victory. They fell, indeed, by the hands of wicked men ; but they entered into the rest that remaineth for the people of God, and received the white robes and crown of the martyrs.—Those who have led into captivity, shall be taken captive; and the slayers shall be slain. All the evils which the enemies of the Church have inflicted upon her, will, in righteous vengeance, be most tremendously retaliated upon them.—May the reader belong to that holy “congregation of faithful men” whose names are written in the book of life, whose faith and patience will be approved by the great Judge, and whose
light and momentary affictions will “shortly be exchanged for an exceeding and eternal “ weight of glory."
SECTION V. The two-horned Beast of the Earth; or, the false
Chap. xiii. 11-18. AND I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth ; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast ; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15. 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.
The former beast, as has been remarked, symbolizes the secular Roman empire. The second beast, coming up out of the earth, is evidently an ecclesiastical character, and is an emblem of the same power which is afterwards called the false prophet. – This beast did not rise out of the sea, or from wars, commotions, and tumults, like the former; but he came up out of the earth, silently and gradually, as plants spring up. He had two horns like a lamb, denoting that he was an emblem of a spiritual dominion, professedly derived from Christ, and exercised in a gentle manner. This beast, therefore, was a symbol of the Roman hierarchy; or, in other words, of Popery. It was diverse from the former, and yet acting in concert with him. The Prophet Daniel, when speaking of the former beast, namely, the Roman empire, mentions a little horn, which should spring up, as it were insensibly, among the ten horns of that empire, and displace three of them. St. John takes no notice of this little horn of Daniel ; and the Prophet is equally silent respecting the twohorned beast of the Apostle: but from the character given of both, and from the manner in which they act, it is evident that they represent one and the same power; namely, that ecclesiastical dominion which was to arise and co-exist with the secular; and which was both to assist and be assisted by it. In fact, the power here denoted is the Pope and his clergy. This opinion is supported by the most general and celebrated authorities. The ancient fathers universally understood this beast to be the Antichrist, or the antichristian apostacy, predicted in the word of God. The same view of the subject has been maintained by most of the writers on the Revelation, from Mr. Mede to the commentators of the present day. The two horns of the beast have gene