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« And behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”
Here we have a representation of the Roman Empire, after the three Kings were subdued, (as foretold by Daniel,) this was in the reign of Justinian. By the word “ dragon” is meant the abomination which would ensue on the rise of the Beast out of the earth, as expressed by “ and his tail drew the third part of the stars of Heaven.” That is one-third of the Roman empire. The fame might be said of the extent of France, A. D.
" And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place where she is nourished for a time, times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."
The word « woman" we conceive alludes to the Gospel of Christ.
* Two wings of a great eagle.” is an evident allusion to the Greek church, which was the established religion of Constantinople : and not to the Roman church: because the word “great” cannot properly apply to Rome, which at that time was only the second city in the Empire.
« Wilderness” beyond the Danube, is an expression used by Gibbon, and, probably, he may have met with it in some old latin author.
We read that the barbarians with Attila, were, in general, converted to the Christian Religion, or, at least, many of them, and that his palace * was seated between the Danube, the Teyss, and the Carpathian hills, in the plains of Upper Hungary, it might therefore be supposed that even in his reign, some missionaries would have resorted to that country from Constantinople; but if not ac this period, they did soon after, as the communication with that city became more frequent.
* Gib. Vol. 6, p. 136. The palace of Attila, with the old country of Dacia, from the Carpathian hills to the Eux. ine, became the seat of a new power; which was erected by Ardaric, king of the Gepidæ.
In one of the notes to chap. 6. it is stated, that the kingdom of Kiow was peopled by a colony of Huns, that the capital city was no great distance from the mountains, and that the Sovereigns of that part of Russia were first converted. For Photius, congratulates the Greek church on the conversion of the Russians, A. D. 864 t. And Gibbon further remarks, that a Greek bishop, with the name of Metropolitan, might administer the facraments in the church of Kiow, to a congregation of Naves and natives). But the seed of the Gospel was fown on a barren soil: (here is a Metropolitan in a wilderness.) The word “nourished,” we read, as applying strongly to " time, times, and half time,' and pointing out the place of the fight of the Gospel, and where it will be found.
In this chapter we find a full description of the Beast, which was only mentioned before in chap. xi, v. 7. The words “ leopard, bear, and lion", are used in a figurative sense to describe the Roman empire, and the expressions, “ten horns, with ten crowns”, mark the period in which the beast mentioned in Gib. Vol. 10, p. 238. I 239.
this chapter is to arise. « And I saw one of his heads wounded to death.” This we cona ceive applies to the first æra of the Roman empire*, to A. R. 666, when Marius made himself master of the city, and declared himself and Cinna, consuls, without even the form of affembling the Comitia. And in A. R. 671, Sylla is constitutedperpetual dictator. “ And his deadly wound was healed.” The election of the Justinian Emperors by the Comitia. " And the dragon gave him his power.” The revival of faction, party, rebellion, &c. in church and state; and all the other evils which were co-eval with the foundation of Rome.
5 “ And there was given unto him a mouth speaking blafphemies.” “ And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." This implies that the power of the beast and dragon would continue forty and two months.
Verse 9. “If any man have an ear let him hear.”
This is a strong exhortation to the reader. And the following verses are descriptive of the different circumstances which are to happen to mark the empire ; and this empire we conceive to be France.
• Elective monarchy, and republican government.
Verse 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.
Verse 11. “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.
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.
Verse 13. «And he doth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth, in the sight of men.
« 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.
“ 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