« PreviousContinue »
ON THE FATE OF THE TEN HORNS OF THE
FROM ch. xvi. of the apocalypse a prophecy has been
cited, which foretells the overthrow of a number of confederated princes. But there are prophecies yet more express. There are prophecies, which clearly announce that every antichristian government in Europe shall be destroyed. To the philanthropist such conclusions, if satisfactorily deduced from the prophetic scriptures, must be capable of imparting the purest pleasure.
If I am asked, why I take so much pains to explain the prophecies, which foretell the arbitrary conduct and the subsequent destruction of the antichristian princes of Europe, I reply, that I have the highest authority for doing it, the particular recommendation of the prophet, himself. At the close of the description of the ten-horned Beast, which represents these kings, St. John adds, (xiii. 9, 10.), If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the
sword must be killed with the sword'. Now the first of these sentences unquestionably signifies, that the reader of the apocalypse should, to this part of it, pay a marked attention, and study it with the greatest care. Thus, as bp. Newton observes?, it was customary with
'The two great evils produced by the ten-horned Beast, says an annolator on this verse,' will be slavery and death. And God will, in his due time, arise and avenge.' Cradock.
put to death.
* our Saviour, when he would have his auditors
particular attention to what he had been saying, to add, • He who hath ears to hear let him hear.' The subsequent sentence of the prophet Mr. Pyle thus paraphrases : • he will assuredly vindicate the cause of his true religion, * and pull down the antichristian powers that oppress it, by a most extmplary destruction; and cause his true • and faithful servants to reap the blessings of Chris
tianity in safety, glory, and peace.'. Perhaps this verse does not merely denounce the destruction of the antichristian monarchies themselves, but may denote more particularly, with respect to individual princes, that the time will come, when he who enslaveth his people shall himself be imprisoned; when he who maketh havock with the sword shall himself be
I shall next quote from ch. xvii. an important passage, which foretells the overthrow of the antichristian mo. narchies, briefly indeed, but clearly. And the angel said unto me—the Ten Horns which thou Jawest are Ten Kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb fhall overcome them. That this is not spoken of the conduct of the Ten Kings at any particular time, but of their conduct in general, is clear and indisputable. Can any man then, pretending to the flightest skill in the di&tion of prophecy, attentively inspect these verses (v. 12, 13, 14), and at the same time entertain a doubt (however ignorant he may be of what has actually paslęd' in the world), whether the mass of European princes have not been eminently hostile to human happiness and to genuine Christianity 3 ?
3. The splendor, luxury, self-interest, martial glory, &c. which pass for essentials in Christian governments, are totally opposite to the meek,
As the Roman Western empire was not broken into separate portions, and governed by a number of distinct and independent princes, till several centuries after the delivery of his prophecy, our inspired apostle accord. ingly apprizes us, that, in his time, the epoch of their dominion was not arrived. They had, as he expresses himself, received no kingdom as yet. After observing that we do not read in the book of Revelation of any other personage denominated a Beaft, excepting the two. horned and the 'ten-horned Beasts; I shall cite the next clause of v. 12, which asserts, that the Ten Kings receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. The Beast pointed to in this passage the prophet speaks of as distinct from the Ten Kings; and he thereby has admonished us, that he has not here in view the greater of the two Beasts, but the smaller, who has two horns and is the representative of the antichristian priesthood. • What we translate one hour, mocy span, ought,' says Lowman,
to have been translated the same hour or point of * time, as several learned interpreters have justly ob
served".- The Beast then, and the Ten Kings or King* doms, are to be contemporary powers, or to reign at * the same time. These have one mind, i. e. fays Lowman, they have the same design and intentions.' Will it not be suspected by some, that the full exposition of this prophetical clause is this, that, whilst their joint reign subsifts, I mean that of the antichristian kings and their allies in the priesthood, too many among them will have the same common design of pillaging the property,
' humble, self-denying spirit of Christianity; and whichsoever of these • finally prevails over the other, the present form of the government must 'be dissolved.' Hartley on Man, 1749, 8vo. vol. II. p. 366.
* As for instance Vitringa and bp. Newton.
Pref. p. 17.
and of usurping the rights, of mankind ? Besides, in another view, how true an idea do these verses suggest of the despots of Europe! They speak a similar language to some before quoted from ch. xiii. Consult the pages of modern history; and examine, if they have not uniformly given their power and strength unto the Beast, that has two horns like a lamb ? Have they not, to the authors of spiritual despotism, constantly imparted aid ? Are not these the persons who have most successfully made war with the lamb ? Has not an unlawful power been assumed by them over the religion of Jesus ? When they have not dared themselves to model and to alter it, have they not authorised the claim in a foreign priest or a domestic fynod? Are not the annals of every country, and of almost every period, stained by the blood of the disciples of the Lamb, which they have shed; and have they not levelled their bittereft opposition against those, who have been most diftinguished for purity of faith, of practice, and of external worship?
The sentence pronounced against the several antichristian monarchies of Europe in v. 8 and 11 of this chapter, I must not altogether omit. In the former place, it is affirmed, that the Beast having Ten Horns, which at the time of the prophecy had no being, shall arise, and afterwards shall go into perdition, or, as it might have been translated, shall go into destruction. In the latter, it is again said of him, that he goeth into perdition.
* These Ten Horns,' says an early commentator, ' are • Ten European Kings, and whoever reckons them up, • I find, brings in the Kings of Britain, for one of the • horns of this terrible and fearful monster 6' But this is a subject, on which I shall, for certain reasons which
* Haughton on Antichrift, p. 88.