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In the subsequent centuries, the Mahometan power proceeded rapidly in its victorious career,
ever calleth himself universal bishop, or desireth to be so called, in the pride of his heart doth forerun Antichrist.” (See the authorities, which are undoubted, in Bishop Newton's 22d dissertation, on the Man of Sin.)
Gregory was born about eleven years after the event, 544. He was one of the Pope's deacons, and thus intimately connected with the politics of the papal see. His ability in this line occasioned him to be sent as ambassador, or nuncio, to the emperor Tiberius II. at Constantinople, where he would see to advantage the objects of the imperial patriarchs, and the ground upon which they might advance their respective claims to the supremacy. His conduct in regard to these claims, after he became Pope, cannot easily be reconciled with his persuasion, that the emperor Justinian, by a solemn transaction, had acknowledged the Pope to be “the head of all the Churches, and all the holy priests of God." Whether this transaction is truly recorded in history I leave to those who are better qualified, by their pursuits and situation, to examine. It is sufficient for my purpose to have shown, that, whether true or false, it was not used in those times by Roman policy as the means of accomplishing their desired pre-eminence, and consequently is no basis upon which we can found the establishment of Roman power. It produced no solid and lasting effects. Gregory had to contend for it, as his epistles evidently show during his popedom, and by the use of other arguments.
They who have formed the opinion that the commencement of the 1260 years is to be dated from 533, calculate its conclusion to have already taken place in 1792, when the French nation was furiously endeavouring to destroy, throughout the world, all sense of religion and morality. Can we see in these transactions, or in those which have occurred since, in a period of thirty-six years, any likeness to those halcyon days which are promised by sacred prophecy at the close of that eventful period :—when, at the sound of the seventh trumpet, “ the mystery of God shall be finished, (ch. x. 7,) and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever?" (Ch. xi. 15.)
But although we may not be able to fix upon any precise point of time, as the commencement of this important period, yet we must plainly perceive, that some seasons of the hierarchy, gradually aspir. ing, are more likely than others to have contained its beginning. For instance: the seventh century, in preference to those preceding. The grant of Phocas is not disproved, though somewhat dimisubjugating, to its secular and ecclesiastical dominion, an immense range of nations chiefly inhabited by Christians. It signifies little by whose arms, by what tribes of adventurers, these lamentable devastations were accomplished, whether by the Saracens, the Tartars, or the Turks, since all of these adopted the pernicious doctrines of the great impostor. It is not the political warfare and dominion, but their effects upon the religion and kingdom of Christ, which are the object of Christian prophecy.
In this light we are authorised to contemplate this dreadful apostasy, which uniting the exertions of religious and secular power, severed from the Christian profession more than half its members, whose descendants are still subject to the same yoke of oppression, ignorance, and superstition. And can we suppose, that when the Holy Spirit was imparting to St. John a prophetic view of the papal apostasy, which has measured the same period of time, and produced corresponding effects in the western regions,-no such prediction should apply, or no part of the prophecy should extend to this apparent counterpart of it, this immense apostasy in the east?
nished as an evidence, by the doubts respecting it. And proceeding farther in this century, we read, that in a synod of French and German bishops, held at Franckfort in 642 by Boniface, as legate to Pope Zachary, it was enacted, that as a token of their willing subjection to the see of Rome, all metropolitans should request the pallium at the hands of the pope, and obey his lawful commands. This was the beginning of that entire devotion of the western clergy to the pontiffs which was more firmly secured by the imposition of an oath of fealty accompanying it, in the ninth and succeeding centuries 1 This dominion over the clergy in such important countries, increased and extended to more distant regions, became a most effectual instrument in the hands of the Popes, for arrogating and obtaining their domineering power over the laity and their lawful kings. Such was the progress of ecclesiastical antichristian principles in the western division of Christendom; but in the east, their rise and progress are notorious and indubitable in this century, and the date of them may be properly stated in the year 622, that of the hegira.
1 Hallam on the Ecclesiastical Power in the Middle Ages; and see his authorities, ch. vii.
This question did not fail to occur to me when I attempted, without the aid of commentators, the interpretation of this thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse; and since the symbol of the two horns seemed to imply two supreme powers, which distinctly, each in his own province, should fulfil the corrupt and tyrannical character of the second beast or false prophet, I did not hesitate to apply one of these horns to the Mahometan, and the other to the papal usurpation. Both have attained the object of their pursuit by the acquisition and abuse of secular and ecclesiastical power united, by blasphemy, hypocrisy, and oppression, by lying wonders and seductive arts. Early in the seventh century, both seem to have attained that measure of antichristian character necessary for them to proceed in their iniquitous and destructive course. That course has been pursued by both with the same success through the same centuries; their power began to decline at the same time, and will end, according to this interpretation, at the same period predicted. The horns will sink together with the beast which bears them, as foretold in chap. xix. 20, of this Revelation. We may add, that each of these horns appears equally to illustrate the more ancient prophecies of Scripture which are analogous to this delivered by St. John. The little horn of Daniel came up from the former beast, rising out of the old established civil power, but he “is diverse from the other horns,” not merely secular ; “ he has eyes, as the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things,” which foretell his seizure of ecclesiastical power, and his claim to divine dignity. Under which symbol we may now recognize the appearance of the second ecclesiastical beast of St. John, as representative of that same power, though not yet divided into the two horns or branches, each of which retain in the apocalyptic prophecy, his likeness so exactly.
We are not to be surprised that this prophecy of Daniel (ch. vii.) should be found to prefigure the same object as the second wild beast of St. John, yet without proceeding to describe his division into two branches. Similar instances are to be seen in the visions of this prophet, where the first prediction is general, and another succeeds to it, containing additional and specific information concerning the same object. The vision of the four beasts is the same with that of the image preceding it, but enlarged by additions under varied symbols. And it is generally remarked by Sir Isaac Newton, that “the visions of Daniel all relate to one another, every following prophecy adding somewhat new to the former."
Hence it will not seem extraordinary that at the distance of time between the predictions of that prophet and those of St. John, he was not empowered
to descend to that minuteness of description which characterizes the last and closing prophecies given to the apostle under the New Testament.
This vision of St. John may likewise be compared with the description of the expected antichrist by St. Paul,” which appears to be in some respects the commentary of an inspired apostle on the prophecy of Daniel, and yet is equally applicable to both the horns of the second beast of St. John. He describes
an apostasy, in which that man of sin, the son of 1 Sir Isaac Newton on Daniel, part i. ch. 3.
2 2 Thess. ii. 3,4,9, where observe, that in the Greek the word is Ocov, without the article, and ecoc, and not 'O Ocoç,-a God, not God, or, the God.
perdition, shall be revealed, he who opposeth, and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as a God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is a God; even he whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.” This description applies equally to the papal or Mahometan horns; if there be any preponderance, it is in favour of the latter. If the reader should be willing to see a draft of these three prophecies compared together in the words of the Greek, it may be found in the first publication by this author.'
These observations may tend to obviate one objection which has been adduced to invalidate the interpretation of the two horns of the lamblike beast, as here offered to the student in prophecy.
Secondly, it has been objected by Dr. Benson and others, against the admission of the Mahometan power as the prophetic antichrist; that Mahomet, the founder of this power, was not originally a Christian; but the objection has been withdrawn or silenced, by the admission, that although not a Christian, he was a leader of a great Christian apostasy, and founded his religion upon a selection from the doctrines of the Old and New Testaments, accommodating them to the taste of numerous heretical tribes of professed Christians and of Jews, whom he allured by peculiar favours and exemptions. In my former work, all this is proved by historical deduction; and it is also shown, by the testimony of many the most respectable inquirers, that the Mahometan religion, having been so founded, and its practice regulated upon such data, ought to be esteemed a Christian apostasy, or may be considered a Christian heresy. These deductions, at length, would enlarge this part of the present work beyond its proper
Part iv. sect. 4, p. 354.