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of the Beast'.' One of the passages to which he refers is the 1st verse of the xviiith chapter. Immediately previous to his prediction of the fall of Babylon, St. John says, and after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened (or rather enlightened) with his glory. The explication that follows is from Brenius. He says, that the inhabit-“ ants of the earth should be illuminated by the brightness of the knowledge}, which that angel shall diffuse in the world. Now angels are constantly represented in the apocaliptic visions as performing that, which is accomplished by the operation of natural causes alone. Since “other angels, says Daubuz, often appear in these visions without mention of any such adjunct of light and glory enlightening the earth, we may easily conclude, it is the design of the Holy Ghost, that this light should be a necessary symbol in this place, importing what is symbolically represented by light.' Now, as I conceive, that it is here the symbol of knowlege, and as the angel here spoken of plainly relates the execution of events, which are to happen under the seventh trumpet, the meaning of the latter clause appears to be, that, in the period of the seventh trumpet, the earth shall be enlightened by knowlege ; and the connexion intimates, that upon this depends the overthrow of the symbolic Babylon. Daniel, speaking of the time of the end“, has these memo. rable words, Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increaseds. They shall run to and fro, 'that is,' says Dr.
1 His Eight Last Serm. printed in 1656, p. 62, 80.
2 This is the rendering of Mr. Wakefield and of Dr. Symonds (Obs. on the Epist. of the N. T. p. 80).
3 Aoža, says Brenius, is put pro splendore notitie.
4 He is speaking of the end of the alw, the period of the world that is now present, which reaches from the æra when Christianity was published to the Millennium. That time is considered, in the eye of prophecy, as divided into several large and eminent periods, will be shewn in ch. xxvii.
5 XII, 4.
More“, “ be inquisitive, and hunt aster truth.' . It is only,
' says a distinguished writer (with a reference to this verse), .by running to and fro, that is, bydiligent inquiry, by free discussion, and the collision of different sentiments, that knowlege can be increased, truth struck out, and the dignity of our species promoted?.'
By the progress of knowlege, and especially by the spread of political knowlege, the greatest effects may certainly be expected to be produced. To this the mighty Revolutions of America and France are to be attributed. The
experience of ages has taught us, that, without it, nations may be oppressed century after century, and that all their struggles will subserve no other purpose, than to create a change of tyrants. But the diffusion of light and liberty throughout the European continent must necessarily be gradual and a work of time. Thus Jurieu, after observing that the authority of the Roman pontiffs was renounced by a part of Germany in the year 1520, by Denmark and Sweden in 1525, and by England in 1534, says, in the same manner, without doubt, will the Reformation that we expect be carried on. All those countries, that remain under the papal empire, will not fall off all at the same time: this shall be done in the space of several years®.?
I now transcribe the words of a great philosopher.Considering the amazing improvements in natural knowlege which have been made within the last century, and the many ages, abounding with men who had no other object besides study, in which, however, nothing of this kind was done, there appears to me to be a very particular providence
6 Com. on Dan. in loc.
7 Dr. Price's Ser. delivered before the supporters of the New Acad. Instit. p. 28. The clause, many shall run to and fro, some have explained in a different manner. * This prophecy,' says Dr. Worthington, . hath been remarkably fulfilled in these latter ages ; commerce and navigation having opened a free intercourse between the different parts and nations of the world, whereby there hath been a mutual communication of all arseful knowlege.' Vol. I. p. 239.
8 Vol. II. p. 230.
in the concurrence of those circumstance which have produced so great a change ; and I cannot help flattering myself, that this will be instrumental in bringing about other changes in the state of the world, of much more consequence to the improvement and happiness of it. This rapid process of knowlege, which, like the progress of a wave of the sea, of sound, or of light from the sun, extends itself not this way or that way only, but in all directions, will, I doubt not, be the means, under God, of extirpating all error and prejudice, and of putting an end to all undue and usurped authority in the business of religion, as well as of science ; and all the efforts of the interested friends of corrupt establishments of all kinds will be ineffectual for their support in this enlightened age; though, by retarding their downfal, they may make the final ruin of them more complete and glorious. It was ill policy in Leo X. to patronise polite literature. He was cherishing an enemy in disguise'.'
That the spread of knowlege will prepare and facilitate the way for the general establishment of fair and equal government, most will be disposed to believe. But the way will only be prepared. In accomplishing these great changes force will intervene. To be persuaded of this, we have only to look abroad into the world, and the sacred pages of the Jewish and of the Christian prophets we need not to consult. After France shall have ceased to constitute a part of the antichristian empire, says Jurieu, the Beast and the false Prophet, the pope and his agents, shall rally all their forces: but God shall muster all his together, and give the last blow to popery: then the Beast and the False Prophet shall be thrown into the lake, and plunged into the bottomless pito: Babylon shall wholly fall, and it shall be said, she is fallen, she is fallen "' The antichristian empire, consisting of the Roman pontiff and the Ten Kings, Jurieu elsewhere asserts, shall fall with noise, wars, trou
9 Priestly on Air, 1790, pref. p. 22.
10 That this clause should be understood literally, was certainly not the design of Jurieu. See vol. II. p. 273. 11 Vol. II. p. 276.
bles, effusion of blood";' and, in a subsequent chapter of his work, he declares it to be the unanimous opinion of interpreters, that, in the ruin of the antichristian kingdom there shall be great effusion of blood"}.?
Whilst the despots of the European continent have been stretching every nerve to crush liberty, they have perhaps, in fact, been digging the grave of despotism. Is it not probable, that the violence of their efforts and their extraordinary military preparations will exhaust the strength, which still remains in the monarchies of the continent, now that they are debilitated by age, and betray the marks of their past excesses? Is there not a point, beyond which the oppression of the people cannot be carried ? May it not be expected, that, in other countries besides France, the income of the nation, in spite of every expedient, will at length sink below the expenditure of the crown? • Princes and states,' says a famous prelate, “may have nothing less in view than to fulfil the prophecies of sacred scripture : yet, when the appointed time is come, they will cer. tainly fulfil them'? • Canst thou,' says a celebrated divine of the last century, hinder the rain from descending upon the earth, when it is falling; Canst thou stop the Sun from rising at its appointed hour? Will the conception for thee dwell quietly in the womb beyond its month? Surely thou mayest with far more ease turn and stop the current and course of nature, than obstruct the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ in righteousness and peace"."
12 Vol. II. p. 59. 13 Vol. 11. p. 234.
14 Hurd on Proph. vol. II. p. 59. • Ask the princes of this world," says the same writer, 'what prompts them to disturb the peace of other states, and to involve their subjects in all the horrors of war; and their answer, if any design to give one, and if it be ingenuous, must, commonly, be, their lust of conquest and dominion,' Sermons preached at Lincoln's Inn by Rich. Hurd, D. D. vol. I. p. 127.
15 From a Serm. of Dr. Owen, originally printed in 1649, See a Complete Collection of his Sermons, fol. 1721, p. 338. The passage above, considering the period at which it was written, has more than common elegance.
In the ordinary wars which nations have waged,' say's a recent writer, they have, perhaps, lost one hundred thousand lives, and slaughtered as many of their enemies ; countries have been laid waste, and taxes incurred to the oppression of the industrious; but in other respects they may have sat down much as they were; but, if the present contest be what there is reason to suspect it; not merely a war of man against man ; but of God against antichristian usurpations and oppressions, the issue to those who oppose his designs must be different".
I now pass to a very remarkable prediction, already al. luded to which distinctly announces a military combination of divers European kings against the happiness of mankind. As the exact time is not marked out, it remains to be illustrated by the Event. It is plain, however, from its situation in ch. xvi. that it is to be accomplished during the period of the seven vials: it is plain, that the confederacy is to be planned and completed, and that the war is to be commenced, prosecuted, and concluded, whilst they are pouring out.
But, previously to citing it, I shall allege one or two preliminary observations. The first, which is from Daubuz, there has before been occasion to cite. Wherever the Beast and False Prophet are named, by the Beast must be understood the former with seven heads and ten horns; and by the False Prophet,' the · Beast with two horns'' Now
16 The Signs of the Times, p. 42. Mr. Bicheno is speaking of the present war against France. When it is recollected, that the EMPEROR OF GERMANY, THE KINGS OF ENGLAND, PRUSSIA, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, SARDINIA, and The Two SICILIES, together with THE REPUBLIC OF HOLLAND, and the numerous PRINCES OF GERMANY, are. All at war with France ; it must be acknowleged, that the present confederacy of so many European potentates against a single nation struggling for the esta. blishment of its liberties and independence, is an event, altogether unpre. . cedented in the annals of mankind. ,
17 On ch. xiii. 11. That the two-horned Beast, says Mr. Whiston, . is the same that is also styled the False Prophet, is evident by their descrip tion compared together; and by consent of interpreters of the Apocalypse, even as early as the times of Irenæus,' p. 65. That they are the same, in, says Vitringa, ' a matter placed beyond all doubt.' In Apoc. xvi, 13. VOL. I.