صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

only while he was fixing his attention on the ten first, that he perceived an eleventh growing up. Than this, nothing certainly can better describe the rise of the papal power. As a power, compared to other governments, it must be acknowledged to have been always small, though it has achieved great things. But its rise, by imperceptible degrees, to consideration among the other kingdoms, is what principally marks the fulfilment of the prophecy. The Pope, at first, as most of my readers know, was no more than bishop of Rome, with no more power or authority than other Christian bishops, except what the greatness and consequence of the city over which he presided as pastor, would naturally give him. By degrees, however, he grew to be of great importance in the world; till, at length, we behold him in the character of a spiritual monarch, claiming jurisdiction over all the churches of Christ, and reigning with great authority over the consciences of the apostate and superstitious Christians of the Roman earth; so that even, on some occasions, the most powerful monarchs and states have trembled at

his power.

Here then is evidently the little horn of the fourth beast, and the event has shown in what respects this horn was diverse from the first horns. Theirs was a temporal authority, won, defended, and exercised by the sword; but the authority of the little horn was spiritual, an authority acquired and maintained over the erroneous consciences of men, by craft and imposture, and the abuse of religious institutions. The Pope came indeed, at length, to be a temporal prince; but, as such, his weight and influence in the Roman world would have been inconsiderable without his spiritual powers.

sion, that "before this little horn there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots." He was to "subdue three kings."- "Accordingly we find," says Mr. Faber, whose interpretation I follow in this place, "that the kingdom of the Heruli, the kingdom of the Os trogoths, and the kingdom of the Lombards, were successively eradicated before the little papal horn, which at length became a temporal as well as spiritual power, at the expense of these three depressed primary states.

1. "In the year 476, Odoacer, king of the Heruli, put an end to the western empire, and caused himself to be proclaimed king of Italy. By this conquest he stood

6

before, or in the way of, the papal horn; whence it was necessary that his regal horn should be plucked up, in order to make room for the future aggrandizement of the spiritual kingdom of the Pope. This was effected in the year 493, by Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths." He conquered Italy, and "was accepted as the deliverer of Rome by the senate and the people."

2. This second of the three horns, however, standing equally in the way of papal aggrandizement, was destined, like its immediate predecessor, to fall before the little horn." This was effected by the general of the Greek emperor and the Lombards.

3. But these same Lombards, the third of the three horns, in consèquence, became a powerful kingdom, standing equally in the way of the increase of the Popedom, and was therefore to be plucked up by the roots before it. This the Pope contrived to accomplish by calling to his assistance Pepin and Charlemagne, kings of France. Charlemagne "entering Italy with a large army, completely eradicat ed the horn of Lombardy; and beAgain; it was shown in the vi- stowed great part of its dominions

upon the successors of St. Peter:" for such the Popes feign themselves to be.

Thus was this part of the prophecy fulfilled; and if the reader has ever seen a picture of the Pope, or of his crown, he has there beheld a remarkable proof of his being the little horn who had subdued three kings, for he wears upon his head a triple crown: that is to say, three crowns formed into one. How visible is the hand of Providence here! every time the Pope appears in his regalia, or royal ornaments, he shows himself to be this little horn of Daniel's fourth beast.

[ocr errors]

and anathemas, excommunicating
princes, and absolving subjects
from their allegiance? His look
was more stout than his fellows
(ver. 20): and the Pope assumes
a superiority not only over his fel-
low bishops, but even over crown-
ed heads, and requires his foot to
be kissed, and greater honours to
be paid to him, than to kings and
emperors themselves."-" Setting
up himself above all laws human
and divine, arrogating to himself
godlike attributes and titles of ho-
liness and infallibility, exacting
obedience to his ordinances and
decrees in preference to, and in
open violation of reason and Scrip-
ture, insulting men and blasphem-
ing God." He was even wont to
receive the title of God upon earth,
and
to accept adoration sitting
upon the altar or communion-table;
and in ten thousand instances have
the Popes "made the word of
God of no effect, that they might
keep their traditions, which they
have received to hold." These spi-
ritual tyrants have indeed entirely
changed the constitution of the

To proceed with the further description of this little horn: Daniel, in his account of his vision, says, “And, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." This last particular the angel explains, ver. 25, "He shall speak great' words against the Most High." The eyes of a man may be naturally supposed to foreshow the character which the Pope should assume, which is that of Universal, Bishop, in plainer Eng-church, its rites and ceremonies, lish, the Overseer of the whole World. The eyes may also denote the nature of the papal government. What other governments have effected by force of arms, the court of Rome has effected by a cunning and vigilant policy, always on the watch to seize and profit by the occasion. If the reader has time and opportunity to read the history of modern Europe, he will see this illustrated almost in every page.

"And he shall speak words against," or in opposition to, "the Most High." This is but too well made out in history, from what it records of the arrogant and blasphemous pretensions of the Popes. "Who," says Bishop Newton, "hath been more noisy and blustering than the Pope, especially in former ages, boasting of his supremacy, thundering out his bulls

its sacraments, and some of its essential doctrines; so that the face of the church is entirely altered from what it was under the Apostles and primitive fathers:He shall think to change times and laws.

But we have yet another part of the character of this papal horn pointed out; namely, his becoming a persecutor of the people of God; those Christians that should continue faithful to their Saviour, and keep the faith once delivered to the saints. Ver. 21. "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them." The angel says (ver. 25), "And he' shall wear out the saints of the Most High;" i. e. shall grievously afflict and persecute them. And every one of my readers knows what cruel and bloody persecutions the Popes have

carried on against Christians of all descriptions, who refused to submit to their usurped authority, their blasphemous pretensions, and idolatrous superstitions. Millions of the saints of God have, in short, been persecuted to death, under the Popes' authority; yea, far greater numbers than ever perished in the primitive ages, under the heathen emperors.

Lastly, it is said, that " they (i. e. the saints of the Most High) shall be given into his hand, for a time, and times, and a dividing of time;" that is, in other terms, for a year, two years, and a half-year, or three years and a half. But, then, the reader is to understand, not a natural day, but a prophetical day, that is, a year of 360 days. The period, therefore, here mentioned is 1260 years a period which we shall find often mentioned in subsequent prophecies, in considering which, if we are permitted to continue these communications, it must often pass in review before us. In this place I will only remark, that we gather, assuredly, that the persecution of the saints by the Pope was to continue for 1260 years, at the end of which period the judgment of the Ancient of days is to sit. Now, could we be satisfied in what year we ought to date the beginning of this period of 1260 years, the end of this season of persecution, and the commencement of the judgment, would of course be easily ascertained. This is a subject, which, at the present time, engages much the attention of many learned and pious persons. The latest date mentioned, worthy of consideration, is the year 727; the period will then end in 1989, leaving 173 years to run. But the date which most expositors seem of late to have fixed upon, is the year 606, making the period to end in 1866, leaving 52 years to run from this present time. But a still later writer has advanced considerable

1

reasons to show, that the period of the reign of the persecuting horn over the saints should be dated more early; namely, from the year 532; so that, on this scheme, the period has ended in 1792. \ In this year the French revolution took place: an event which, in its consequences, has so broken the power of the Papacy, that it is not probable it can any further persecute the saints of God. Which is the most accurate date, events perhaps will soon disclose to a certainty; and there cannot be an object more worthy to fix the attention of the world, at this present period. But, alas! we are forewarned the world will not have taken warning, to prepare for the coming of Christ: "None of the wicked shall understand." Such, however, are the signs of the times, that all in Jerusalem, who are waiting for the consolation of Israel, have reason to look with the most eager expectation at those scenes which are upon the eve of being disclosed in the world. "They are not in the dark, that that day should overtake them as a thief,"

In proceeding to the remaining part of the prophecy, the sitting of the Ancient of days, and the coming of the Son of man with the clouds of heaven, we must recall to mind St. Peter's rule, “Remembering this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation;" that is, as we saw in our introductory paper, "cannot be its own interpreter." He that gives the mysterious oracle can alone explain it, and he generally intends that it should be deciphered only by the event. It is true, the angel adds a few hints, by way of explanation to Daniel; but this affords us but a very faint general outline of these wonderful events.

He says, ver. 26, after speaking of the period of the tyranny of the little horn, "But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion even unto the end." This

language seems to imply, that, as to the papal power, the judgment shall not be suddenly inflicted, but carried on in a gradual process. The striking of the stone, however, against the image, in Nebuchadnezzar's dream, which evidently refers to the same event as the sitting of the judgment here, does certainly give us an idea of a very sudden destruction. But let the reader carefully compare both visions together, and he will not fail to see their perfect agreement. The angel speaks only as to the little horn of the fourth beast; but we read that the fourth beast itself is to be destroyed. It is possible then, that the judgment, which begins gradually with the papal horn, even that judgment which we ourselves have lived to see commence, may end with some sudden manifestation of the divine vengeance on the whole Roman world. Daniel's description of the vision was (ver. 11), I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame." The words of the angel in his interpretation, I conceive, therefore, are intended to remove in some degree the obscurity that hangs on the judgment of the little horn as distinct from the beast; and that he says nothing about the judgment of the beast itself, as being sufficiently clear in the figures of the vision. From the symbol of the fourth beast, in deed, as well as from the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, we gather the destruction of the fourth, or Roman empire; and that, while it exists in the present divided state, will be sudden and entire. The

destruction of the other empires was the loss of their dominion; they still existed as conquered provinces and members of the triumphant kingdom: this the prophet is careful to inform us in the 12th verse-"As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away; yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." But as we have seen this fourth beast is to be slain, not merely lose his dominion, and his body is to be "destroyed and given to the burning flame," I shall not now attempt to enter upon the prediction of this awful event, the destruction of the present Roman empire, and of the kingdom of the God of heaven, which is then to be set up; but shall wait till subsequent prophecies come to be considered, which will afford us more light and information on this important subject.

But let the reader reflect how near we are drawing to the day of Christ's appearing and kingdom! Even in our times, in all proba bility, the judgment of the Ancient of days has begun to sit upon the papal horn, which is to continue to lose its dominion to the time of the end-and then "the Lord Je sus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe *."

* 2 Thess. i. 7, &c,

[blocks in formation]

THE YOUTH'S REMEMBRANCEÍ.

[blocks in formation]

Having in a former letter answered some parts of the epistle with which you lately favoured me, I now embrace an hour's solitude to notice what I consider its most important points-I mean those which have a reference to religion. You must be well aware, that all who profess attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ, to his doctrines, and to his people, have been regarded as objects of derision by worldly men ever since the commencement of the Christian era. Indeed, whenever a young person sets out on the road to Zion, he must expect to meet with many difficulties, and to endure much reproach on account of his religion. We know that Christ and Belial can never agree; and if the world hated our Lord himself, there is no reason to think it will act other wise towards them that love him, and acknowledge themselves to be his followers. But there is something in genuine Christianity which powerfully operates in subduing sur depraved passions and natural

propensities to evil; and, in gene ral, those who live under its influence, exhibit a meekness of temper and amiableness of disposition, which enters into all their conduct, and elevates them so much in the scale of society, that even the very persons who, despise Christian principles and ridicule Christian profession, are often constrained, at least silently, to admire and approve their becoming deportment. The fact is, that true religion exalts a man so far above those who are strangers to its influence, that he becomes an object of envy: and were those people who pour continual contempt on religion and On all its professors, to speak the language of calm and sincere reflec÷ tion, they would acknowledge that they frequently hate serious people, and ridicule serious things, from a consciousness of their own inferiority. This subject would afford ample scope for a long epistle, but my present object is not to enlarge particularly on it. I have made these few remarks merely to warn you against the danger of yielding to the snares of irreligious people, and to prepare for some comments on your letter.

on

It will perhaps astonish you, when I say, that the account you give me of your grievances excited in my breast sensations of pleasure. These, indeed, are not unmingled with pain; but I do confess that I was much pleased to learn that your persevering atten tion to the truths of the Scriptures was so marked and decided as to call forth the observations and remarks of which you complain. It was a convincing proof to my mind, that, as you had put on the Lord Jesus, so you continued to walk in him-keeping his commandments, and delighting in his

« السابقةمتابعة »