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when this revelation was communicated to St. John, its dominion was extended over all the known world f.
Furnished with these plain directions by the Apostle, we proceed to trace the gradual rise and progress, decline and fall of the Man of Sin, as presented to our view by history and the course of present events.
No opportunity could be more favourable for the display of his ambition, his deceit, and his fuperftition, than the unhappy state of the Christian world in the fifth century. The members of the eastern and the western churches were divided into parties, by religious disputes the most unimportant; in consequence of which, they persecuted each other with the greatest animosity and rancour. They were erroneous in faith, and degenerate in practice; and their credulity and ignorance fully prepared them for the reception of him, whose coming was after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying 'wonders 8.
f « It seems intended by the angel's interpretation that we should consider the city of Rome as marked out in this Prophecy for the seat of government to prevent mistakes, that we should not understand this Prophecy of an empire or government in any other place than the city of Rome, though it should take the name and style of the Roman Empire, as the Greek Emperors and the Emperors of Germany have severally done. This may give us a good reason why the city of Rome in this Prophecy is described by its natural fituation, as well as by its government, and why seven heads are interpreted to mean seven mountains, as well as seven kings." Lowman, p. 177.
· B 3
His temporal dominion, arose out of the ruins of the Roman Empire. The change of the seat of government to Constantinople, and the dethronement of Momyllus Auguftulus, were events that led immediately to the establishment of a new Power. Augustulus was deposed by Odoacer, King of the Heruli, in the year 476, who thus gave the deadly wound to the western Empire”. “ This last Emperor of the West would be less entitled,” says Gibbon, " than his more immediate predecessors to the notice of posterity, if his reign, which was marked by the extinction of the Ró, man Empire in the West, did not leave a memorable era in the history of mankind.”_ Such was indeed the case, for thus the beast was wounded be that letteth was taken out of the way; and few obstacles remained to retard the full developement of the Man of Sin. Theodoric, the successor, of Au. gustulus, by removing the seat of Empire to Ravenna, took from Rome all its dignity-her fenate and consuls were abolished, and she was reduced to the level of the other cities of Italy.
% 2 Theff. ii. 9. * Mofheim, vol. i. p. 228.
i Gibbon, vol. iii. p. 494. 4to. Edit. After the example of Mr. Whitaker in his excellent View of the Prophecies, I shall introduce into this and the following Chapter, several striking paffages from The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, which show the completion, of Prophecy. Gibbon has already rendered great fervice to this subject, as may be seen by referring to
vol. i. c. 2. and he might contribute much more to it, did not the limits of my work confine me to particular quotations. Although as a disciple of Voltaire he de- , lighted to asperse the characters of Christians, and re. presented every circumstance to their disadvantage'; yet he was compelled as an Historian to listen to the voice of truth, and not to fuppress important facts and events. His statements, even partial as they sometimes arë, render him a powerful witness against Infidelity, by which he is manifestly actuated; and in favour of Christianity, which is so frequently the subject of his profane sarcasms. Not aware of the obvious use that may be made of his representations, like the idle servant in the parable of the talents, “ he is condemned out of his own mouth.”
..^ During a period of 200 years, Italy was unequally divided between the kingdom of the Lombards, and the exarchate of Ravenna. The offices and professions, which the jealousy of Constantine had separated, were united by the indulgence of Justinian; and eighteen successive Exarchs were invested, in the decline of the Empire, with the full remains of civil, of military, and even of ecclesiastical power. Their immediate jurisdiction, which was afterwards consecrated as the patrimony of St. Peter, extended over the modern Rou magna, the marshes or valleys of Ferrara and Commachio, five maritime cities, from Rimini to Ancona; and a second, inland Pentapolis, between the Adriatic coaft and the hills of the Apenninc. Three subordinate provinces of Rome, of Venice, and of Naples, which were divided by hostile lands from the palace of Ravenna, acknowledged, both in peace and war, the supremacy of the Exarch. The dutchy of Rome appears to have included the Tufcan, Sabine, and Latian conquests, of the first 400 years of the city; and the limits may be distinctly traced along the coast, from Civita Vecchia, to Terracina, and with the course of the Tyber from Ameria and Narni to the port of Oftiak.”
“Rome was oppressed by the iron sceptre of the Exarchs; and a Greek, perhaps an eunuch, insulted with impunity the ruins of the Capitol.”-“ On the map of Italy, the measure of the exarchate occupies a very inadequate space; but it included an ample proportion of wealth, industry, and population. The most faithful and valuable subjects escaped from the Barbarian yoke ; and the banners of Pavia and Verona, of Milan and Padua, were displayed in their respective quarters, by the new inhabitants of Ravenna. The remainder of Italy was possessed by the Lombards!.”
“ The Bishops of Italy and the adjacent islands acknowledged the Roman pontiff (Gregory the Great) as their special metropolitan. Even the existence, the union, or the translation of episcopal seats, was decided by his absolute discretion ; and his successful inroads into the provinces of Greece, of Spain, and of Gaul, might,
* Gibbon, vol. iv. p. 443.
Gibbon, vol. iv. p. 444, 445.