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converted in former times in countries under Pagan authority.
Which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. This is their excellent character, to which the Lord himself bears testimony. They keep the precepts of the Gospel, and preach Jesus Christ to the unenlightened nations of the world; and this they have preserved pure, and uncorrupted to the present day, amidst all their troubles. The moral law is their rule of life, to which they endeavour to attain a conformity of heart and conversation ; aiming to be holy, as God is holy. I Pet. 1, 16.
The third wo has a double commencement ; first, on the earth, and secondly, on the sea. In the preceding chapter St. John gave us a prophetic history of the third wo on the earth, which the Old serpent caused in the Eastern part of the Church, where it begins fifty years prior to its commencement on the sea. In this chapter he is now transferred in his vision to Europe, where two beasts are exhibited on the theatre of action, as the ostensible agents of Satan, in executing the third wo in the Western part of the general Church of Christ. Of these beasts the Church is here furnished with descriptions, delineating their most prominent features, by which they may be known and distinguished; and with a detailed account of a portentous series of actions, which are the immediate source of the third wo in the West. The three woes are particularly distinguished, and pointed out in this system of propheceies, by extraordinary numbers accompanying them, which extend and enlarge the ordinary and methodical periods of the trumpets, and mark the commencements of the woes with peculiar precision. This also is the case in the third wo, now under consideration. Its commencement and duration on the earth, are pointed out by the Dragon's term of 777 years, chap. xii, 12. and its time on the sea, by the 666 years of the beast; which two periods synchronizė, except that the first is 111 years longer than the second ; but the calamities of the last period, also far exched the sufferings of the Church in the East during the
first term of time. For, of all powers on earth which have proved inimical to the designs of Heaven, or to the approach of the Kingdom of Christ, these beasts are the most malignant and obstinate ; being expressly brought forth to frustrate the purposes of the Lord, and serve as fortresses to the great enemy of the human race. In short, the establishments here indicated, surely are a masterpiece of Satan's ingenuity.
THE BEAST OF THE SEA.
Verse 1. And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise
up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his hornsten crowns, and upon his heads the name of
blasphemy. i 2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, aud his
feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion ; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
St. John, in his prophecy concerning this beast, distinguishes four different periods in his existence and duration, which must be noticed, and clearly understood, in order to form a competent judgment of its completion.
1. His emerging out of the sea.
After a review of the whole prophecy concerning this beast, as contained in chap. XIII, and xvii, it would appear, that its government is subject to different vicissitudes of fortune, some of which are very remarkable, and of considerable duration. St.John distinguishes first, between
the beast itself and its seven heads and ten horns; and secondly, between its different states of existence, as refering more particularly to the body of the beast. In my humble conception of this system, the following appears to have been the disposition of this subject in St. Johns mind at the time, and the genuine order of adjustment.
1. His rise from the sea. II. His state of existence, which comprises 666 years. During this
time, the beast 1. Receives and exercises power and authority. 2. One of his heads is wounded, and healed. 3, He receives the worship of many nations. 4. He makes war with the saints. 5. The second beast from the earth exercises his power before
him, in the same place and in his presence. While he does that, he is termed the second beast ; but after this power ceases,
he is called the false prophet. 6. During this time the beast has had five heads, and with his
sixth head the power of the beast itself gradually ceases and ul. His state of non-existence begins. During this period of 50 years, 1. The beast himself loses his power by degrees, and descends
to the bottomless pit. 2. He is mounted by the searlet-whore. 3. The two-horned beast assumes the character of prophet. 4. The same beast prepares his way, though out of view, to arise
again, and enters nu. His state of renovated existence from the bottomless pit; when
he will assume his whole satanic visage, and make all Europe shudder at his approach.
Here reader pause ! This infernal fire is even now kindling in the bowels of this pit, and we are so careless about this beast. It will burst forth, like burning vesuvius upon Church and state with innumerable calamities ; and with us, it has hitherto been no more, than a mere matter of speculation. Oh I feel constrained to say:I fear we shall awaken when it is too late. May the Lord convince us of our danger, the nearer we approach this time of great peril;for it is but a few years more, and the enemy will be atour door.
Surely, all who value the salvation of their souls, should now ask with one accord: who is the power represented by this symbol ? Where is this great danger now fermențing, and this prophecy receiving its completion ? If it were my intention bere, to quote the opinions of eminent expositors, and endeavour to refute their contravening arguments on this subject, I might write a volume in answer to this enquiry. But this is not my object. I have perused them with candour, impartiality, and love of truth, in order to receive conviction ; and after pondering the whole weight of argument on all sides, am compeled to confess with the learned Bengelius, that this beast of the sea is no other power on earth, than the Papal Hierarchy, as established in its terrible form by Gregory vil, and only by it, this prophecy is accomplished to this day. However, every serious and prudent reader must be conscious, that in so important a case as this, where an errour may involve our eternal interest, no man should receive, or reject an opinion for the sake of party, system, country, or on account of an illustrious name. Every one should endeavour to obtain full information on such a momentous point, and after mature consideration, follow his own conviction without regard to man. It must be evident, that this beast cannot be the symbol of a merely temporal power, such as the secular Roman empire ; but, of a mixed power ; clothed with temporal and spiritual authority. For it has a name of blasphemy, is worshipped itself, and even his image is worshipped, and the second beast acquires the name of false prophet on that very ac. count, because he deludes the people to worship the first beast and liis image. Moreover this book surely contains a prophetic account of Antichrist somewhere, and where will you meet with him in all this prophecy, except in this bcast? He cannot be represented by the second beast from the earth, for that is only the chaplain and handmaid of the first, from which he derives all his importance and