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mentators, in general, have agreed that the Papacy was that last head of the wild beast which, at the time when the prophecy was delivered, was future. But they have differed much in respect to the shortlived and seventh form; and likewise in reference to the explanation given of the beast, that he “ was, " and is not, and yet is, or shall be.” It appears, likewise, that some of them have been dissatisfied with the various expositions that have been offered on the subject. Dr. Guyse remarks, that the conjectures respecting the beast that “ was, and is not, “ and yet is,” are so many and dubious, that it is hard to say which of them may be depended on. He has, however, given two, wbich appear to him as probable as any; and leaves the reader to choose which pleases him best. But surely no satisfaction can be obtained from the choice of a variety of conjectures. Dr. Doddridge, when speaking of the seven forms of government, observes, that these have been reckoned kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, military tribunes, emperors, and POPES. But this learned theologian adds, that he much questions whether this be a right solution: and well, indeed, might a question arise, whether the Papacy could be made the last head of the secular empire. In fact, this interpretation must be radically faulty in its principle. The secular and ecclesiastical empires of Rome are two different subjects, which, though closely connected in some particulars, are never confused as one and the same. In the chapter under consideration, the secular empire is the beast; and the Papacy, the great whore sitting on the beast. In fact, the beast with the seven heads and ten horns always symbolizes the secular empire. The first six heads of the emblematic animal represent six secular forms of government; and, therefore, the last must likewise necessarily be a secular mode; otherwise, the analogy of the prophecy is destroyed, and the homogeneity of the symbol is violated. It is clear, therefore, that the seventh head must be secular as well as the preceding six; and that the eighth form must be a revival of the sixth or seventh, probably of the latter, as will appear hereafter; and, consequently, that this must be secular likewise. Hence, without hesitation, I adopt the sentiments of Mr. Faber respecting the sixth and seventh heads of the beast, in the third volume of his Dissertation on the twelve hundred and sixty years; and on these points shall give a brief outline of what this able commentator has diffusely stated, and supported, in my judgment, by unanswerable arguments.
It is undoubtedly certain that the wild beast with seven heads and ten horns represents the secular Roman empire; and it is equally certain that its first six heads signify six secular forms of government. Reason and analogy require that the seventh head should likewise bear the same general character as the preceding six: and as the eighth head was to be a revival of the sixth or seventh, by the healing of its deadly wound, it follows that all the eight heads inust represent so many forms of secular government; seven essentially distinct, and the eighth a restoration of one of the two last. This simple principle being admitted, it is plain that the Papacy cannot be either of the heads of this hieroglyphic beast; because, whatever sway it might bear in spirituals, it never was the secular head of the Roman empire in the same inanner in which kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs, consular tribunes, and emperors, were denominated heads. The Papacy, therefore, does not bear the character of any of the heads generally. But let it be tried more particularly. Popery could not be one of the five first heads of the beast; for these had fallen when the Apostle had the vision and wrote the book that describes them ; whereas Popery was then future, and was predicted as such. It could not be the sixth head; for that existed when St. John wrote, and was doubtless the imperial. It could not be the seventh; for it is expressly asserted
of this head, that it should continue a short space; whereas, the Papacy has existed about twelve centuries, or, on the latest computation, nearly eleven. Finally, it cannot be the eighth; for that is a revival of one of the preceding seven, and, as will presently be shewn, is yet future.
It appears very evident, therefore, that the Papacy is not one of the heads of this beast, but that they all represent so many secular forms of government. Respecting these seven heads, the Apostle declared, that five had fallen before he saw the vision; that the sixth was then in existence; and that the seventh was not yet come; and that, when it was come, it should continue but for a short space. It appears, moreover, that an eighth head was to arise, or rather, that there was to be a restoration of one of the two last, whose deadly wound was to be healed, under which final form the beast was to go into perdition. The prophetic history, therefore, of all the heads of the beast, subsequent to the five first which had fallen before the Apostle saw the vision, must be explained by events which were then future, but which have since taken place. History must necessarily be the expositor of prophecy; and, by consulting history, it will appear that the sixth head existing in the Apostle's days is fallen; and that the seventh has arisen, continued its predicted short space, and is fallen likewise. It will be necessary, therefore, to examine how history and fact will elucidate the prophecy, as to the nature and continuance of the sixth and seventh heads.,
The sixth head of the Roman beast, existing at the period of the vision, was the IMPERIAL. This commenced in the year of Rome 725, twenty-eight years before the Christian era, and terminated in the year 1806. It therefore continued for the space of eighteen hundred and thirty-four years, during the whole of which time a day never existed in which there was not a prince, either in the West or the