« FöregåendeFortsätt »
the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. Not to specify particularly what others have said about this number, there are two ways of calculating it which agree with Lewis XIV. as the person in whom the French monarchy became a perfect beast. And perhaps the text suggests that there should be two, the number of the beast, and the number of his name, The numeral letters in the name of Lewis, as written in Latin, give 666. Thus,
L ...... 50
· But it may be asked, Why is the Latin language referred to ra. ther than either the Hebrew, the Greek, or French ? For these reafons. At the time this prediction was given, the Latin was the most general language in the Roman empire; and after the empire was divided, it became the universal language in the western part, where the scene of John's vision chiefly lay.-It is also the language used in all the services of that church which this beast was to support; and thus the names of the French kings have been written in their communications with the Pope, in public inscripsions, and on coins.
Although so much stress is not, perhaps, to be laid upon the fol. lowing way of calculating this number of the second beast, yet it is worth taking notice of; and possibly the Holy Spirit might point out that, by a remarkable providence, a twofold way of counting this number should be afforded, that thus the identity of the person and tyranny might be more clearly ascertained. The first way of calculating ascertains the name of the man who should bring the tyranny to perfection; the following, the length of time it should be in perfecting, since the ancestors of that man began it. And on examination we find, that from the time when Hugh Capet seized the throne of France, to the time when the French, under Lewis XIV, began that career of blood, which, for many years, proved fo calamitous to Europe, and especially to the Protestants, was exactly 666 years. Hugh Capet seized the throne in 987, Lewis XIV, came to the throne, on the death of his father, Lewis XIII. in 1643 ; came to his majority in 1652, and in the following year war was made upon Spain. Now he emerges from that bog in which his tyranny had been gendering for 666 years.
Thus, though other tyrannies may have some of the features of this beast, yet that of the Capets only possessed them all; and, if I am not deceived, there is every proof which can be expected, proof which amounts much nearer to a demonstration than is usual on such subjects, that the French monarchy was the second beast which came up out of the earth. And though I would guard against rash confidence, I feel a persuasion which I cannot overcome, that this is the truth. And if it be, the consequences which are united with it are to the last degree interesting, both to the church and to mankind at large; and could my feeble voice be heard amidst the din of war, and the noise of party contentions, I would say, " Take heed-be wise--refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this counsel, or this work, be of men, it will come to nought; but, if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, left haply ye be found to fight against God,"'* in struggling to support that which he has decreed to fall. Should it prove so, however enraged your malice, or however mighty your power, " He will make your wrath to praise him, and dash you to pieces as a potter's vessel.”+ Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty : juft and true are thy ways !--All nations shall come feed worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest!
* AAs v. 38. . Pf. ii. lxxvi. 10.
HAVING endeavoured to prove that Lewis XIV. or the tye sanny of the Capets, as perfećted by that unequalled despot, was. represented to John in his vision of the second beast; the second Inquiry respects the two witneffes in Rev. xi. ,
This inquiry involves in it four questions. 1. Who are the witnesses? 2. Who is to say them, and where are their dead bodies to lie unburied ? 3. What length of time is intended by the three days and a half, during which their dead bodies are to lie in the street of the great city? 4. What will be the consequences attending their resurrection ?
1. Who are these two witnefses? Rev. xi. 3. I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shabb prophefy a thousand two hundred and threescore days clothed in fackcloth. The most prevailing opinion is, that the faithful ministers of the gospel, and all those who bear testimony against the errors and usurpations of antichrist, are intended, and that the number two is mentioned in allusion to the law of Moses, which required two witnesses, at least, to make a testimony valid. Bishop Lloyd supposes them to be the ’aldenses and Albigenfes, the early witnesses in France and its vicinity, against the corruptions of popery. Dr. More explains it of unpolluted priests and faithful magistrates. But I have long thought that, by these witnesses, the spirit of prophecy intended the witnesses for gospel truth against the spiritual dominations and corrupt errors of the papal apostacy; and all those who bear witness for civil liberty against the tyrannies and oppressions of those princes and governors, whose passions have enslaved mankind, and defolated the earth, The number of these witnesses has in general been but small; yet, though they have prophesied in sackcloth, God, in his good providence, has always preserved to mankind a succession of both descriptions. Even wise and good men have not, perhaps, sufficiently considered the worth and importance of the witnesses of the latter description, in fulfilling the great designs of God's goodness towards men; and hence they have almost always interpreted this prophecy as relating to the state of religion only; as if the ci
vil and political state of men, were held in little consideration by the Lord of the whole earth. But can any man shew a good rea son why the Hampdens, Sydneys, Lockes, and Hoadleys, may not be considered as God's witnesses in their exertions in the cause of civil liberty, though it may be esteemed an inferior capacity, as well as those who have been employed in the defence of pure religion only? Both have wrought in the cause of God, and both have prophesied in fackcloth.
If we candidly consider the matter, the fourth verfe seems to confirm the foregoing ideas. And although what is said in the fifth and fixth verses is more obscure, yet, as far as I can understand them, they are not inapplicable to either of these characters.
Ver. 4. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks, standing - before the God of the whole earth. We have long been used to affix
to these two beautiful tropes, olive trees and candlesticks, the idea of saints; but this is by no means essential, for they necessarily imply no more than excellence in that character which is sustained, whether religious or civil. Allusion is here made to the emblems under which Foshua and Zerubbabel were represented to the prophet Zechariah (chap. iv. 11–14.); one of whom was employed is reestablishing, (after the captivity, and in a time of religious and cii vil persecution) the religious, and the other the civil polity of the Jews. And what have the champions, in all ages, and in all countries, who have combated tyrants in the cause of liberty and justice, as well as the advocates for the uncorrupted truth of Jesus been, but golden candlesticks, whose lights have illuminated this dark world, and which have at once made conspicuous, the rights of men and the enormities of oppreffors--the truth of Jesus and the impieties of antichrist? And but for the zeal of both these, in their different characters, being kept burning, by that pil of benevolence towards man, and love to the truth of God's word, which the olive trees represent, the earth had been involved in univerlal darkness, and the triumphs of opprellion and error had been complete.
What follows is still more highly figurative: Ver. 5,6. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedleth out of their mouth, and des voureth their enemies. And if any man will hurt thens, he must ini this manner be killed. These have power to shut heave it, that it rain not in the days of their prephery: and have power over ijilters, to turn
t'hem to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they quill. What is here affirmed, has never been literally fulfilled, nor is it likely that it ever will. There is some similarity between these plagues and those to be inflicted under the first four vials. Rev. xvi. There, on the pouring out of the first vial, there fell a grievous fore upon the men who had the mark of the beast, and upon them who worshipped his image ; here the witnesses fmite the earth with all plagues.-There, on the pouring out of the second and third vials, the sea and the rivers became blood; here, the witnesses turn the waters into blood, and restrain the rain of heaven. There, on pouring out the fourth vial upon the sun, men were scorched with great heat; here, fire proceeds out of the mouths of the witnesses to devour their enenies. May not this highly figurative description be made more intelligible thus? The witnesses for religious truth and civil liberty, although they shall defend their cause under great oppressions, yet such, under Providence, shall be the effect of their zeal, eloquence, and exertions, in the cause of God and man, that they shall occasion great vexations to their enemies, and kindle a fire, which, in the end, shall consume their oppressors, and their systems together. And such advantages shall they have, from the spirit of their attacks, and the succeeding providence of God, that from the mode of war which will then prevail, fire will seem to issue from their mouths, and destroy their opposers.* Such shall be the effects of their arguments and exertions on the minds of men, that the political heavens shall refuse to yield that rain which used to swell those rivers that fed the great sea of oppression. And all the rivers shall be dry. Such shall be the effects of their unexampled efforts in the cause of truth and
juso * In this vifion which John had, we must suppose, that the parties in their confli&ts pafiod in revi.w before him. As fire-arms were then unknown, it was not possible for Jolin, when he saw a vision of one of our modern battles, to understand the principles of what he faw, unless he was favored with particular instruction from the angel; and which, as it was not necessary, is not probable. Suppose, then, thai on the rising ground before him, he saw the armies of the wirnesses and of their oppoférs, drawn up in battle array; the wirneffes, of course, occupying rhe highest ground in the scene, and possessing most of his at. tention. The ccnâici commences. He sees the fire run from column to coluinn along the rankis, and tears the thunder. He hehoids the enemy fall, and he witner es finally triumphant. In luch a vision, the fire would leem to come out of their mouils and devour their epemies.