CHAP. I. Of the time of Antichrist's Coming ac∣cording to the Doctrine of the Primi∣tive Church. The same confirmed from the Angel's Interpretation of the Vision, Rev. xvii.
IT is well known to those that have bin conversant in the Writings of the Fathers, and confest by Bellarmine himself (De Rom. Pont. lib. 3. cap. 5.) that the Primitive Church was taught to look for Antichrist upon the dissolu∣tion of the Roman Empire. In which Page 18point Tertullian (an early Writer) is very clear, in his Apology for Christi∣ans, Chap. xxxii. where, that he might vindicate the Christians from the Crime objected to them, viz. of being enemies to the State; he alledges first, that this was contrary to the known Precepts of the Christian Religion, which com∣mands them to pray for their Enemies and Persecutors. Next, that Christians were expresly bound to pray for Kings, and Princes, and Powers, that all things might be quiet and peaceable. For (saies he) if the Empire be shaken, we that are members of it must needs per∣take of the common calamities. Lastly, He alledges, that Christians * have a greater necessity ye• of praying for Em∣perors, yea and fo• the whole state of the Empire, and the Re∣man Affairs, because (says he) we know that the greatest Per∣secution Page 19hanging over the whole World, nay, the very end of the World it self, threatning horrid Calamities, is retarded by the inter∣position of the Roman Empire. Wherefore we would not willingly feel this misery, and while we pray that it may be deferr'd, we are Friends to the perpetuity of the Roman State.
I will not go about to prove that the Father speaks here of the Persecu∣tion under Antichrist, for I never heard of any that denied it. Only we may observe, that Tertullian speaking in the name of the Whole Church of Christ, delivers it as the sense of all Christians in general, and that not doubtfully, but peremtorily, that this greatest of Persecutions was to come upon the dis∣solution of the Roman Empire, Scimus (saith he) vim maximam vniverso orbi imminentem, ipsamque clausulam saeculi acerbibates horrendas comminantem, Ro∣mani Imperii commeatu retardari; that is, We know these miseries are retarded by the interposition of the Roman Empire. It was therefore, it seems, a thing not questi∣oned Page 20in those primitive times, but that Antichrist should raise himself upon the ruins of the Roman Empire.
And this was look't upon to have bin the tradition of St. Paul. For wri∣ting to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 2.) and speaking there concerning the Re∣velation of Antichrist, and what it was that obstructed his coming at that pre∣sent time, he has these words, at vers. 5. and 6. Remember ye not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what with-holdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. From whence it appears, that the Apostle had told these Thessalonians by word of mouth, what it was that impeded the coming of Antichrist, and upon the removal whereof Antichrist was pre∣sently to be revealed. (For that the Apostle speaks here of Antichrist, de novissimo illo Antichristo, of that last Antichrist, the forerunner of the day of Judgment; nulli dubium est, (as * St. Austin tells us) i. e. no Page 21man doubts.) But the thing which hin∣dred, being the present Power of the Roman Empire, the Apostle does not openly declare in Writing what it was, * lest he might seem a per∣son disaffected to the Govern∣ment; for it was hoped by the Romans that their Empire should endure for ever. Hence that complaint of St. Au∣stine in the place aforequoted, who de∣scanting upon those words of the A∣postle, And now ye know what with∣holdeth, that he might be revealed in his time; does thus lament the obscurity of this Mystery: and therefore we (saies he) who know not what they knew, desire to attain with labour the Apostles meaning, yet we are not able. So that this point so well known to the Thessalonians in the Apostles time, and for about two hun∣dred years after, namely to those Chri∣stians of the age Tertullian liv'd in, was come, it seems, (such is the nature of unwritten Tradition) to be accounted difficult if not unexplicable, by St. Au∣stin's days.Page 22
And indeed this was no more than what might well have bin expected, that seeing Antichrist was to come, and to prevail so mightily even in the Tem∣ple of the living God, the nearer we approach his time, the more obscure should be the marks and tokens of his coming; lest being known, he should have mist of that reception which he was to meet with. Yet notwithstanding, this Notion of his coming we are speak∣ing of, had so much credit in St. Austin's time, that he himself esteem'd it no ab∣surdity, to interpret, that which hindred, of the Roman Empire. His words are these *Illud tamen quod ait Apostolus, Tantum qui modò te∣net, teneat, &c. i. e. But that which the Apostle saith, Only he which now with∣holdeth, let him withhold, until he be taken out of the way, is not absurdly believ'd to have bin spoken of the Roman Empire it self, as if it were said, Only he that now reigneth, let him reign, until he be taken out of the way, i. e. until he be destroyed: And then shall that Wicked be revealed, Page 23by whom that Antichrist is intended, no Man doubts.
Since therefore this Tradition, though at first not doubted, has not with equal certainty bin delivered in succeeding Ages: We shall further shew, that this Tradition is not meerly oral, but has a most unquestionable foundation in the Holy Scriptures. For what St. Paul did not think fit to speak of openly in his Epistle, was afterwards declared to St. John in Vision, and is by him deli∣ver'd to the Church in writing, in the xvii Chapter of his Revelation.
Now, Reader, that thou mayest be able clearly to discern, and certainly comprehend the proof that we shall bring from hence, (for I desire thee to take notice that the main hinge of our Dispute concerning Antichrist does chiefly turn upon this very Chapter) I shall therefore set it down verbatim as it lies, dividing it (as it divides it self) into two general parts, the Vision, and the Interpretation of it.Page 24
Rev. xvii. The Vision.
Ver. 1. And there came one of the se∣ven Angels, which had the seven Vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither, I will shew unto thee the Judg∣ment of the great Whore, that sitteth upon many Waters.
2. With whom the Kings of the Earth have commited Fornication, and the In∣habiters of the Earth have bin made drunk with the Wine of her Fornication.
3. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the Wilderness: and I saw a Woman sit upon a Scarlet-coloured Beast, full of names of Blasphemy, having seven heads, and ten horns.
4. And the Woman was araied in Pur∣ple, and Scarlet-colour, and decked with Gold, and Precious-Stone & Pearls, having a Golden Cup in her hand full of Abomi∣nations, and filthiness of her Fornication.
5. And upon her forehead was a Name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HAR∣LOTS, AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Page 256. And I saw the Woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondred with great admiration.
Thus far the Vision, the Interpreta∣tion follows in these words.
7. And the Angel said unto me, Where∣fore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman, and of the Beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven Heads and ten Horns.
8. The Beast that thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless Pit, and go into Perdition: and they that dwell on the Earth shall wonder, (whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the World) when they behold the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9. And here is the mind which hath Wisdom. The seven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman sitteth.
11. And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and goeth into Perdition.
12. And the ten Horns which thou saw∣est, are ten Kings, which have received no Kingdom as yet; but receive power as Kings one hour with the Beast.
13. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the Beast.
14. These shall make War with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings; and they that are with him, are called, and chosen, and faithful.
15. And he saith unto me, The Waters which thou sawest, where the Whore sitteth, are Peoples, and Multitudes, and Nations, and Tongues.
16. And the ten Horns which thou sawest upon the Beast, these shall hate the Whore, and shall make her desolate, and naked, and shall eat her slesh, and burn her with fire.
17. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his Will, and to agree, and give their Kingdom unto the Beast, untilPage 27the Words of God shall be fulfilled.
18. And the Woman which thou saw∣est, is that great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth.
And thus we have the meaning or Interpretation of the Vision. Which that we may the more distinctly compre∣hend, let us observe, 1. That the seven Heads which St. John saw upon the Beast, are not to be conceiv'd as com∣ing up upon the Beast all at the same time, but as succeeding one another. This is clear, from ver. 10. where the Angel interpreting the seven Heads to be seven Kings, tells us that five of them were fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come, &c. The plain meaning where∣of is this, That the seven Heads are seven Kings successively coming up upon the Beast, five whereof were come and gone at the time when the Angel interpreted this Vision to St. John, one was then in being at that very time, and the other was not then come, &c. So that for dis∣tinction's sake, when we shall have oc∣casion to speak of any thing done by Page 28the Beast in the time of his first Head, we shall call him the Beast under the first Head; if of any thing done by him in the time of his second Head, we shall call him the Beast under the second Head; if of any thing done by him in the time of his third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or se∣venth Head, we call him respectively the Beast under the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh Head.
2. We must observe that St. John in the Vision saw but seven Heads, which the Angel expounds to be seven Kings. But when he comes to reckon up these seven Kings, he enumerates eight. Five (says he) are fallen; one is, and the other is not yet come, &c. And the Beast that was, and is not, he is the eighth King, and is of the seven. So that there must be one of these eight Kings that is not typisied by any Head. For there are but seven Heads, and those seven Heads the Angel tells us are seven Kings. If they had bin eight Kings, the Angel would have told us so. But when he tells us, the seven Heads are seven Kings, he means, they Page 29are but seven, and no more. Notwith∣standing he reckons up eight Kings, to let us know that there is one of them; that is not of the same nature with the rest; and therefore is not typified by any Head of the Beast. For otherwise how easie had it bin, either for the An∣gel to have said, The seven Heads are eight Kings; or rather for the Spirit to have represented the Beast with the eight Heads, if there had bin eight Kings to be typified by the Heads?
Neither will it suffice to say, That the seventh of these eight Kings was to con∣tinue but a short space, and therefore may be included in one of the seven Heads together with another King. For there are no eight Kings whom we can with any reason imagin to be here meant, but the seventh of them will appear to be of as long continuance as some one or other that is typified by a Head. Wherefore it must needs be granted, that one of these eight Kings is not typified by any Head.
And which is he? Not any of the six first Kings; for there is no doubt con∣cerning Page 30cerning any one of them, but that they are all of the number of the seven Kings, that are typified by the seven Heads. But concerning the seventh and eighth Kings, the Angel seems to answer a doubt that might arise, viz. Which of them is of the number of the seven Kings, that are typified by the seven Heads? And he tells us plainly, That the Beast that was, and is not, he is the eighth King, and is of the seven. Which is, as if he had said, The seventh King is none of the seven Kings which are ty∣pified by the seven Heads, but the eighth King is one of that number. So that be∣tween the sixth Head and the seventh there was a King to come, that should be of a quite different nature from the other Kings: during whose Reign, the Beast, which is described at vers. 3. as being full of names of Blasphemy, should want an Head, but afterwards he should revive, and get another Head, who should be the eighth King, and of the number of the seven, which are typified by the Heads of the blasphemous Beast
Page 313. We must observe that although the Woman was seen sitting upon the Beast with seven Heads, yet in the In∣terpretation she is considered only as sitting upon the Beast under his seventh or last Head. This is evident from ver. 11. in these words, And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven; that is, he is the eighth King in respect of the King that is ty∣pified by no Head, and he is one of the seven Kings that are typified by the se∣ven Heads. For that this Beast which was, and is not, is the Beast which was represented to St. John in Vision, appears from ver. 8. where the Angel beginning to interpret the Vision to St. John, tells him, That the Beast which he saw, was, and is not, &c. This Beast therefore, which was, and is not, being the Beast upon which St. John saw the Woman sitting: since this Beast is interpreted to be, not the Beast in general under all his Heads, nor under the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth, but only under his seventh or last Head; it is Page 32manifest that the Woman is considerable in this Prophecy, only as sitting upon the Beast, under his seventh or last Head, and also that the Beast himself is here considered under no other Head but that.
And this appears yet further from the particular enumeration of the several Heads, as the Angel mentions them in the Interpretation of the Vision. For is the Beast consider'd under his first five Heads? No; these are fallen, says the An∣gel; and so, past and gone; and there∣fore not of this consideration. Is then the Beast consider'd here under this sixth Head? No neither; for there is no more said of this Head or King, but only that he is. It remains therefore that the Beast should be consider'd here only under his last Head of all. And indeed of this only it is said at ver. 8. The Beast which thou sawest, was, and is not, &c. For at ver. 11. The Beast which was, and is not, is interpreted only of the seventh or last Head of all. Nor is there any thing foretold in all this 17th Chapter, of any Page 33other Head but this. So that, whereas the Woman is represented sitting upon a Scarlet-coloured Beast, full of names of Blasphemy, arrayed in Scarlet, with a Golden Cup in her hand, and on her fore∣head this Inscription, MYSTERY, BA∣BYLON THE GREAT, &c. And drunken with the Blood of the Saints, and with the Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus. It is as evident as any thing can be, that by the Beast, is to be understood the Beast under his last Head only; and that the Woman sitting upon the Beast in the time of his last Head, should be thus accoutred and arrayed, inscrib'd and drunken.
Hence then we may understand the meaning of the Angel, when at ver. 8. he tells St. John, that the Beast which he saw, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless Pit. And again, at the end of the same verse; that the Beast was, and is not, and yet is. For hereby is signified that the Beast which St. John saw, was the same Beast which had bin under the first five Heads, that were then Page 34fallen; yea, and the same that was then in being under the sixth Head, but that he was not as then come under his se∣venth or last Head, in which only he was considerable in the Vision. Which Exposition as it is easie and obvious in it self, considering how the Angel has interpreted the seven Heads or Kings: So the Angel himself may seem on pur∣pose to direct us to it, in that so soon as he had spoken so mysteriously of the Beast, telling us, that he was, and is not, and yet is, he presently subjoins, Here is the Mind that hath Wisdom. Which is as if he had said, You shall easily per∣ceive what is meant by this mysterious description of the Beast, by comparing it with the following Interpretation For the Beast was in respect of his fi•e Heads that were fallen; he is not, both in respect of those, and of that which i• to come; and yet he is, in respect o• that which now reigneth.
Having thus cleared what might seet difficult in the Angel's Interpretation o• the Vision, let us proceed to the appli∣cation Page 35of it. And let us enquire, who this Woman is that St. John saw sitting upon the Beast under his seventh or last Head?
This Woman is certainly to be known by two sorts of marks, (though the first sort alone I take to be abundantly sufficient to distinguish her from all o∣ther Women in the World, and shall partly ground my self upon that Suppo∣sition in the discovering of the other.) Of the first sort are such Marks as be∣long to her self. Of the other sort are such as belong to the Beast she sitteth on. The Marks belonging to the Wo∣man her self, are described by the An∣gel at ver. 9, 18.
At ver. 18. she is described in these words; The Woman which thou sawest, is that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth. Here the Woman sitting upon the Beast, is interpreted to be that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth. So that the Woman plainly signifies that Great Imperial Ci∣ty; her sitting on the Beast denoting her Imperial Soveraignty.Page 36
Now though it be said, The Woman is that great City, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i.e. which now reigneth over the Kings of the Earth (it being spoken in the Present tense:) Yet some may cavil, and object, That it is not needful to understand it of any City then in being, but of some other that should afterwards arise. Be∣cause in Prophesies it is a common thing to use the present for the future Tense, and speak of things as being, which are yet to come.
But this will appear to be a mere Ca∣vil, when we shall have considered,
1. That one of the Kings of this great City, was then reigning, being the sixth of those Kings she had enjoied. So that this great City, of whom it is said that she reigneth over the Kings of the Earth, must needs have bin a City then in being, and then reigning also under that King who had the Sovereignty at that time over her.
2. That these words are not to be look'd upon as a Prophecy, but as an In∣terpretation of a Prophecy. It were there∣fore Page 37very absurd to apply those rules of speaking to Interpretations, which are observed to be used in Prophecies. For therefore the Interpretations should be plain, because the Prophecies are ob∣scure.
3. That although (as we said) the Beast be here considered as to his last Head only; yet St. John saw the same Woman sitting upon him under all his seven Heads. So that she which sate upon him under his seventh or last Head, was seen to sit upon him under the sixth, and all the rest of them.
4. If we consider how precisely the Angel all along in this Interpretation ob∣serves the punctual differences of the Times past, present, and to come; we cannot think without the greatest folly and absurdity, that he confounds them only in this 18th verse. For at ver. 8. he tells St. John concerning the Beast, that he was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless Pit, expresly noting the differences of the times. And so again at the end of the same verse, he Page 38calls him the Beast which was, and is not, and yet is. The like we find a little af∣ter concerning the seven Kings. Five (saies he) are fallen, one is, and the other is not yet come, &c. Likewise it is spoken of the ten Horns, that they are ten Kings which have received no King∣dom as yet, but receive power as Kings one hour with the Beast. And thus we shall find that the Angel is exceeding punctual all along, that no Man might with any shew of Reason misinterpret or misunderstand him. Wherefore we cannot doubt, but that he useth the same plainness at ver. 18. where he tells St. John, The Woman which thou sawest is that great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth; and that he meant it of that great Imperial City which then reigned at that present time.
If it be further urged, That even in this Interpretation we are speaking of the Angel has no less than four times used the present tense for the future.
I answer, True; But then we must observe withal, that he has never used Page 39one of these Tenses for the other, but when he has as good as told us in the Context, that he does so: So that he leaves no doubt or scruple in what Tense he means it. As for example; when at vers. 11. it is said, The Beast which was, and is not, he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into Perdition. Here the word goeth, is used for shall go; but without any Ambiguity at all; for he had plainly told us just before, that the Beast he speaks of was to come. Since therefore it is manifest to every Man, that the Beast could not go into perditi∣on before he came, we cannot under∣stand his going into perdition, but in the future Tense. So that although the Angel saies he goeth, yet 'tis as certain that he meaneth shall go, as if he had exprest it in that very form.
The same Answer, mutatis mutandis, will serve for the other three places in this Interpretation, where the Angel uses the present for the future Tense. As at ver. 12. Where receive is put for shall receive; at ver. 13. where These have Page 40one Mind, is put for These shall have one mind. And lastly, at ver. 17. where it is said, That God hath put into their hearts, instead of God shall put into their hearts. In all which places, although the present or the preter tense be used for the future; yet is the sence as perfect and unquesti∣onable, as if the future were exprest. So that indeed in such a case, where it is not possible to mistake the Tense, the present and future are not to be look'd on as two different Tenses, but the very same.
But now at ver. 18. where it is said, The Woman which thou sawest, it is that great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth: There is not only no such certainty from the Context, that reigneth cannot be understood, as it is spoken, in the present tense; but rather, as has bin already shewed, there is all reason from the Context, to evince the contrary. I conclude therefore, that when the An∣gel tells St. John, The Woman which thou sawest, is that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth; he means it Page 41of that great Imperial City, which then reigned, when this Vision was interpreted.
And now, What City could this be but Rome? For, what City was there then in all the World, so comparable with that of Rome, (much less so far ex∣ceeding her in Greatness and extent of Empire) as to be called by way of emi∣nency, The Lady of the World,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, That great City, that reigneth over the Kings of the Earth?
But this will further yet appear from certain other Descriptions of this Great Imperial City, which the Angel gives us at ver. 9, 10. where we have the mean∣ing or interpretation of the seven Heads, which St. John saw upon the Beast. These seven Heads have a twofold sig∣nification: they signify seven Mountains and seven Kings. At ver. 9. they are interpreted to be seven Mountains; The seven Heads (saith the Angel there) are seven Mountains upon which the Woman sitteth; that is, upon which the great Imperial City is situated. Here again we have the Verb sitteth in the Present Page 42Tense, and the meaning must be this; That the Woman did then sit upon these seven Heads or Mountains, when she was represented in this Vision to St. John. And to contend for any other City, (as design'd by this Vision) which should afterwards arise, cannot proceed from any thing but ignorance or prejudice; nor produce any better effects in the explication of this Prophecy than non∣sense, and confusion, and absurdity. Especially since there was then a City, the most famous in the World, that was known as well by the name of Ʋrbs Septicollis, that great Imperial City, situate on seven Hills or Mountains, as by any other name. And to this the Poet al∣ludes in this Distick.
Ovid. Trist. Lib. 1. Eleg. 4
Rome therefore is undoubtedly the City, which is thus described by the An∣gel, to be That great City, which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth, and is situate on seven Hills or Mountains.
But we have further evidence of this matter yet, from that other interpretati∣on which is given us of the seven Heads, to wit, that they are seven Kings. But before I proceed to the Application of this part of the Angels interpretation, it may be needful to enquire, in what place these seven Heads or Kings are to be sought for. This place the Angel in∣timates to us at ver. 18. The Woman which thou sawest, is that great City which reigneth over the Kings of the Earth. For, for what other reason can this City here be call'd the Reigning, Soveraign, or Im∣perial City, but because she was Imperii locus (as Ovid stiles her) the proper Seat or Residence of her Kings?Page 44
And this the Angel yet more plainly explicates. ver. 9, where he tells us, that the seven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman sitteth, or, on which that great City is seated. For hence it is evident, that these seven Heads are to be sought for not in any other place or places of the Empire, but only in this great seven-hill'd City. For St. John saw but seven Heads in all, and these seven Heads the Angel tells us were within the City. Whatever therefore is the meaning or interpretation of them, it must there be sought for.
As therefore these seven Heads signi∣fie seven Mountains within the City, so they must signify seven Kings within the same. For where the Heads were pla∣ced, there also must be sought whatever is designed by them. Since therefore these seven Heads as they are put to sig∣nifie the Mountains, are placed by the Angel in the City, there also we must place them as they signifie the Kings. And thus we have another Character of this Woman in the Vision, which we may Page 45thus express together with the rest: That she was that great City which in St. John's time reigned over the Kings of the Earth, was situate upon seven Moun∣tains, and was to be the Royal Seat, or Residence of seven Kings succeeding one another in her.
But possibly some may here imagin, That in this Notion concerning the placing of the seven Heads, I am very far departed from the exactness of the Vision, which I have all along pretend∣ed to observe. For whereas St. John saw a Woman sitting on a Beast, having seven Heads, (whereby is signified that the seven Heads belonged to the Beast) I contrariwise have placed them in the Woman. But the Answer is obvious; For,
1. It is not I that place them in the Woman, but the Angel in effect that does it. For so he tells us at ver. 9. The se∣ven Heads are seven Mountains, on which the Woman sitteth. Since therefore the seven Mountains are placed by the An∣gel in the City, it follows of necessity, Page 46that the seven Heads which signifie the seven Mountains must belong also to the Woman in the Vision. And on the other∣side again, because the seven Heads be∣long unto the Woman in the Vision, it follows by the like necessity of Reason that the seven Kings also, which are sig∣nified by the seven Heads, should be as∣signed to the City in the Interpreta∣tion.
This I speak upon supposition, that the Angel has not interpreted the seven Heads to belong unto the City, as they signifie seven Mountains; and not to belong unto the City, or to belong but partly unto the City, and partly to some other place, as they signifie seven Kings. For since the Angel has placed the seven Heads (as they signifie seven Moun∣tains) within the City; and has not displaced them, nor any of them as they signifie seven Kings: we are obliged to follow the Authority of the Angel, and it were a most intolerable presumption in a worse Interpreter to displace them. But,
Page 472. In making the seven Heads to be∣long intirely to the Woman, we do not in the least dispoil the Beast of them. For since the Woman is interpreted the Imperial City, as the Imperial City, is a part or portion of the Kingdom, so is the Woman of the Beast. Whatever there∣fore appertaineth to the Woman, must of necessity appertain as well unto the Beast. And,
Lastly, If we consider that the Impe∣rial City is the most considerable part of any Kingdom for the bigness of it; where can we better place the Heads belonging to the Beast or Kingdom than in the noblest and most conspicu∣ous part about him?
And now it is time that we proceed to shew who are meant by these seven Heads or Kings successively coming up upon the Beast within this great City. In order whereunto we must observe; That this word King is otherwise taken in the Interpretations of Prophetick Visions, than it is wont to be in other Writings. For whereas in other Wri∣tings Page 48it usually signifies but one single King: it is used in the Interpretations of Prophetick Visions, for a Kingdom with the whole Order or Succession of its Kings.
Neither is this any critical or casual Observation, but the constant course and method of the Scriptures in our present case, as we may see in Dan. 2.32. Where King Nabuchadnezzar is said to have represented unto him in a Dream a great Image, whose Head was of pure Gold; his Breast and his Arms, of Silver; his Belly and his Thighs of Brass; his Legs of Iron; his Feet, part of Iron and part Clay. For the Prophet Daniel interpret∣ing this Vision to King Nabuchadnezzar, thus addresses himself to him, at ver. 37. Thou, O King, art a King of Kings, &c. thou art this head of Gold. Now although the Prophet Daniel seems thus particu∣larly to interpret this Golden Head of King Nebuchadnezzar's Person, saying, Thou art this Head of Gold: Yet indeed he does not mean it of his Person only, but also of his Kingdom, and his Suc∣cessors. Page 49And this appears to be the Pro∣phet's meaning from what he adds at ver. 39. After thee shall arise another Kingdom inferiour to thee, and another third Kingdom of Brass, &c. where by comparing of King Nebuchadnezzar with other Kingdoms, it is plain that he speaks not of the King's person only, but of his Kingdom too. And because the Prophet tells him, That after him should arise another Kingdom inferiour to him, it is likewise evident that he in∣cludes his Successors also. For that o∣ther Kingdom did not arise after King Nebuchadnezzar, but by the interventi∣on of his Son Evil-merodach, and his Grandson Balthassar.
Thus again, Dan. ii. 44. the Prophet useth the names of Kings and Kingdoms promiscuously. His words be these, And in the days of those Kings, (viz. of the Kingdoms afore spoken of) shall the God of Heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, and the Kingdom shall not be left to other People, but it shall break in peices, and consume all these King∣doms,Page 50(which at the begining of this verse are called Kings) and it shall stand for ever.
The like we may observe Dan. 7.17. These great Beasts which are four, are four Kings, &c. Now although in this ver. 17. these four Beasts are said to be four Kings; yet at ver. 23. the fourth of them is said to be the fourth Kingdom. And as it is said in the description of this Vision at vers. 7. that the fourth Beast should be divers from all the Beasts that were before it. So here, at ver. 23. it is said by way of Interpretation, that the fourth Kingdom shall be diverse from all Kingdoms; that is, from all the King∣doms that were before it. As therefore at ver. 17. the four Beasts are interpre∣ted four Kings: So we see that at ver. 23. they are expounded Kingdoms. And seeing that these four Kings were to reign from Daniel's time until the Judg∣ment should sit, and the Kingdom should be given to the Saints of the Most High; that is, as all Interpreters confess, almost until the first coming of Christ; and, as Page 51the most and best of them expound it, (amongst whom even Bellarmin him∣self is one) until the second coming of Christ to Judgment; it is manifest that by these four Kings or Kingdoms can∣not be meant any four single Kings reigning in their several Kingdoms, but four several Kingdoms with the whole or∣der or succession of their Kings.
These things may be sufficient for the satisfaction of such as are not well ac∣quainted with this Argument: and for such as are, they know so well the truth of what I here assert, that they will think I have inlarg'd too much al∣ready.
Notwithstanding, because there is one place even in the interpretation of a prophetick Vision wherein this word King is used to signifie a single King a∣part from others of the same Kingdom: though I have said so much already, yet I must crave the Reader's patience to consider it a little further, that I may make the Argument as clear, and leave as little prejudice as I can against it. Page 52It is truth therefore that in Dan. 8.21. a King is set to signifie a single King. The words are these, The rough Goat is the King of Graecia; and the great Horn be∣tween his Eyes is the first King. Observe here that by the King of Graecia, in the first clause of this verse, is meant the whole Kingdom of Graecia under all its Kings. Now this Kingdom of Graecia being reckon'd but as one Kingdom, and typified by no more Beasts but one, to wit, the great rough Goat; when in the latter clause of the same verse, it is said, that the great Horn between hi• Eyes is the first King, it is evident ever from the Text it self, that by the first King cannot be meant the first King∣dom, but the first single King apar• from others that succeeded him; be∣cause the kingdom was but one. S• that there lies no ambiguity in the word although it be not taken in the usu• sense.
Thus again at ver. 23. by that Ki• of fierce Countenance, is meant but on single King, to wit, Antiochus Epiphan•.Page 53But here the Context leads us to the meaning of it. For he is typified by a little Horn, as you may see it, at ver. 9. which little Horn, is there said to come out of one of those four notable Horns which arose up in the stead of the first great Horn. Since therefore (as hath bin shewed) by the first great Horn is meant but one single King: how can we think that by that King, who in the same Vision is typified but by a little Horn, should be meant any more Kings than one? And therefore it is observa∣ble in this one Vision, that, lest we should mistake the other four notable Horns for four single Kings also, they are interpreted at ver. 22. not four Kings (as is usual in other Visions) but four Kingdoms.
And there is one thing more to be observ'd in this case that we are speak∣ing of, concerning the use of that type of an Horn, to signifie a single King. For when a Beast is represented with two, four, ten, or more Horns, they alwaies signifie that Beast or Kingnom to be di∣vided Page 54into a like number of Kingdoms, viz. as many Kingdoms as the Beast had Horns. But now when a Beast, or King∣dom, is seen to have but one Horn (as in the case of the great and little Horns we were speaking of but now) this one Horn cannot signify the division of a Kingdom into one Kingdom, (for that were nonsence;) and therefore when this single Horn coming out of a Beast, or out of another Horn (or Kingdom) is interpreted a King; since it cannot signify a Kingdom into which that Beast, or other Horn, should be divided, it must needs signifie one single King apart from others of his dignity in that Beast or Kingdom. So that although in this Chapter the word King be twice used to signifie but one single King: Yet this will not hinder but that in all other places it should signifie a whole Order or Suc∣cession of Kings, where there is not the like special Reason from the Context, or from the singularity of the Horn, to expound it otherwise.
But now in Rev. xvii, in the Angel's Page 55Interpretation of that Vision there, there is not only no such Reason as in Dan. 8. to expound the seven Kings there spo∣ken of, to be seven single Kings apart from others of the same Order, but there is great reason from the Con∣text, and from the plurality of Kings, to evince the contrary. For we see there are seven Kings spoken of, and not one single King; and whereas there is mention made but of seven Kings in one verse, and of ten in ano∣ther: it is confessed generally, and even by Bellarmin himself, that by the ten Kings are meant not ten single Kings, but ten several Kingdoms, with the whole Order or Succession of their Kings.
And this is also clear even from the very Circumstances of the Text it self. For of these ten Kings it is said, Rev. xvii. 12. That they are ten Kings which have received no Kingdom as yet, but re∣ceive power as Kings one hour with the Beast. Seeing therefore that these ten Kings receive their Kingdoms not suc∣cessively, Page 56but altogether with the Beast; we cannot understand them of ten single Kings. We cannot think therefore but that when the Angel, (that most excel∣lent Interpreter of the Vision) speaks of seven other Kings in the same breath (as it were) without any intimation of a difference in the acceptation of the word, he means the same thing by Kings in one, as in the other place; and that he would not have us understand seven single Kings, but seven several series of seven several Kings, including all that had and should succeed them in their several Times and Orders.
And thus we have one Argument from the use of this word King in the Interpretations of Prophetick Visions, that by these seven Kings cannot be meant seven single Kings, but seven se∣veral Orders, Series, Catalogues, or Suc∣cessions of them.
But yet we have another Argument, which is likewise taken from the Text it self, and may well serve both to con∣firm the former, and explain it. And Page 57this is drawn from the use of the word [Beast] in Prophetick Visions: which being always interpreted a King, or Kingdom, is never set to signifie a sin∣gle King apart from others of the same Order in his Kingdom. Not but that a Beast may be used to typifie a King∣dom with one single King, if it has ne∣ver had more Kings than one; which is a very rare unusual case: but that when any single King is meant to be designed from amongst his fellow-Kings, he ne∣ver has bin typified by a Beast, but on∣ly by a single Horn coming out of a Beast, or out of another Horn. And there∣fore when there was occasion in Dan. 8. to typifie two single Kings (as hath bin said) they are not represented by two Beasts, but by two single Horns.
But I shall make it manifest, that in the interpretation of this Vision of the Beast having seven Heads, we are to consider every Head together with the Body of the Beast, and to interpret them as if they had bin seen seven seve∣ral Beasts or Kingdoms.Page 58
And for this Method of interpreting we have the most unquestionable Au∣thority of the Angel himself. For as for the last of the seven Heads he plainly calls it the Beast, and interprets it as such at vers. 11. The Beast (saies he) which was, and is not, even he is the eighth King, and is of the seven, &c. that is, he is the last of the seven Kings. Nothing therefore can be more evident, than that the last of the seven Kings is to be understood as that word King is al∣ways taken in the interpretations of Prophetick Visions, when it is typified by a Beast; and that is not for any single King, but for a whole series, or succession of them.
But yet I must not pass over in silence, That Bellarmin (Lib. iii. de Pont. Ro. cap. 2.) says, (and he does but say it) that in Dan. viii. by the Ram is meant Darius, the last Persian King; and by the Goat the first King of the Graecian Monarchy; viz. Alexander the Great. But as for the Goat, the Angel, which interpreted the Vision, gives him the untruth. For Page 59the Angel tells us, That the Goat is the King of Graecia, and the great Horn be∣tween his Eyes is the first King. vers. 21. that is, The Goat is the Kingdom of Graecia, and the great Horn is the first King of that Kingdom, viz. Aleander the Great. Wherefore Alexander she Great is not particularly typified by the Goat, but by the great Horn between his Eyes. And it is manifest that the Goat continued longer than the great Horn; for when that was broken off, there came up for it four other notable Horns upon the same Beast; that is, after A∣lexander's death, his Kingdom was di∣vided into four Kingdoms, as the Angel explains it, ver. 22.
And as for the Ram, that by it, is not particulariz'd the last King of the Per∣sian Monarchy, but that the whole Mo∣narchy in general is typified by it, we shall prove by these five Arguments, ta∣ken from the Characters of the Vision it self, and the Angel's Interpretation. First, The Angel interprets the Ram, at ver. 20. thus: The Ram which thou saw∣est, Page 60having two Horns, are the Kings of Media and Persia. Now if by the Ram be meant Darius only, then Darius, ha∣ving two Horns, are the Kings of Media and Persia. Which (besides that is un∣intelligible) will instead of making the Ram a single King (which Bellarmin would fain do) make Darius two Kings, to wit, one of Media, and the other of Persia. But the plain meaning is, That by the Ram is signified that whole King∣dom, which consisted of the two King∣doms of Media and Persia, which are represented by the Horns.
2. If by the Ram were particularly designed the last King of the Persian Monarchy, there is no reason why the Angel should not have interpreted it so, as well as he tells us of the Goats great Horn, that it is the first King of the Graecian Monarchy. But this the Angel does not, neither does Bellarmine assign any reason of it. And therefore by the Ram cannot be meant Darius only, but the Persian Monarchy under all or any of its Kings indefinitely.
Page 613. Daniel saw this Ram with one Horn first, vers. 3. and then the other (which proved to be the highest) came up after it. But of Darius the last Per∣sian Monarch this is not true. For he was possest of both Horns together, and if of either first, it was of the King∣dom of Persia, which was the highest Horn, though Media were the first Kingdom. But they being both united into one Kingdom long before this Da∣rius his time; I say, they came to Dari∣us both together. But of the whole Monarchy, that the Ram had the Horn of Media first, which was the first King∣dom; and then afterwards Persia, the highest and the noblest Horn, was added to it.
4. Daniel saies at ver. 4. that he saw the Ram pushing Westward, and North∣ward, and Southward, so that no Beasts (or Kingdoms) might stand before him, &c. But of the Person of Darius this is not true; For what Kingdoms were subdued to the Persian Monarchy in his time? He Reigned but six years, or Page 62thereabouts; and in that time he fought three Battels with Alexander the Great, and was overcome in every one of them. This then is true, if by the Ram be meant the Persian Monarchy indefi∣nitely, but not so of the Person of Da∣rius, the last King of it.
5. Although it be said of the Goat with his great Horn (to wit Alexander the Great) that he came unto the Ram, and overcame him, vers. 6, 7. which hap∣pened indeed in the time of Darius, the last King of the Persian Monarchy: yet that was but casual, as to this Pro∣phesie. For it had bin as well fulfill'd, if Alexander the great had come in the Reign of any other of the Persian Mo∣narchs, and if there had three, or four, or more Persian Monarchs succeeded one another in the time that Alexander was subduing that Kingdom. For these things are spoken only of the Ram, which in the sense of these prophetick Visions, might have signified any other of the Persian Monarchs as well as Da∣rius; as hath bin before abundantly Page 63proved, and as Bellarmin himself tacit∣ly acknowledgeth, while he can find no other Beast but this, to signifie a single King. And therefore all these Reasons against his only Ipse dixit, may certain∣ly suffice to prove what we intended.
Having thus cleared the matter as to the last of these seven Kings, let us look back upon the rest. Observe therefore that which is said of this Beast, vers. 8. The Beast that thou sawest, was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bot∣tomless Pit, and go into Perdition: and again at the end of the same verse, it is called the Beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Now in regard that it is said of this Beast, that after the time when this Vision was interpreted, he should ascend out of the bottomless Pit, and that he was not then in being; it follows, that the Beast which then was, is here consider∣ed as another Beast. And since the Beast was then in being only under his sixth Head; it follows, that this sixth Head also is to be considered as another Beast; and so to be interpreted, not Page 64of any single King, but of that whole Order or Succession of the Kings then reigning.
The like might easily be proved of the sive Kings then fallen, for the same reason, and in the same manner. But I need not trouble the understanding Reader any further with it. For the Head is so considerable a part of any Beast, that the falling off of the old, and coming up of any new one, may well make him to be look'd on as another Beast. Wherefore as this seven-headed Beast, in regard of his one body, is but one: so in respect of his seven several Heads, he is to be considered and in∣terpreted as seven several Beasts or Kingdoms.
Thus then, as I conceive, we have made good another mark or token of the Woman we were speaking of. She is that great Imperial City which in St. John's time reigned over the Kings of the Earth; was situate upon seven Moun∣tains; and had, and was to have with∣in her seven several Heads or Orders Page 65and successions of Kings, which should make the Beast she sat on, look like se∣ven several Beasts or Kingdoms; five whereof were faln in St. John's time; one was then reigning, and then another King was to succeed, who should be a King of like dignity with the former, but of a different temper, and therefore is not typified by any Head, so that du∣ring his short Reign the blasphemous Beast should want an Head. But after∣wards it should revive again, and get another blasphemous Head, who was to be the eighth King, and one of the seven Kings that are typified by the seven Heads.
Now I believe that there is no City in the World, nor ever was but Rome, to whom all these Marks and Tokens may well and truly be accommodated. But to Rome they may. And this I have shewed already of the foregoing Marks. I come now to shew the same of the seven Heads or Kings. Let us here ob∣serve therefore, that of the five first of them there is no more notice taken by Page 66the Angel, but only this, that they were faln. As for the manner of their suc∣ceeding one another, what Interregnums there have bin, and such like matters, the Angel mentions not a word. So that to make our application of these five Kings exactly answerable to the Angel's Interpretation, we have no more to do but to shew, that before St. John's time the Roman Empire had bin go∣verned by five such several Heads, and that those five were faln.
The first Head then that had Supreme Authority in Rome, were called Kings; the second, Consuls; the third, Decem∣virs; the fourth, Tribunes; the fifth, Dictators. Each of these several Head; had had a share successively in the Su∣preme Government of the Roman King∣dom; and were all fallen before the time in which this Vision was inter∣preted. One other, namely that of Hea∣then Emperors, was then in being. And these were the sixth Head.
Now to this sixth Head the Roman Heathen Emperors, was to succeed that Page 67other King, who is not typified by any Head: who was to be a King, and of like Royal Dignity with the six Kings that were before him. But being of a different nature from the rest, he is not represented as a Head of that Beast, who is said at ver. 3. to have bin full of Names of Blasphemy; but has a Type peculiar to himself, as we shall find here∣after in the xiith and xiiith Chapters of the Revelation; where the History of the Head that reigned in St. John's time, of this other King, not typified by any Head; and of the Beast that was, and is not; who is the eighth King, and one of the seven Kings, that are typified by the seven Heads, is more at large descri∣bed and foretold of.
This other King then that was to in∣terpose between the sixth and seventh Heads of the Blasphemous Beast, are the Christian Roman Emperors. Who be∣cause they were not guilty of the like Blasphemy or Idolatry with the rest (for by Blasphemy is meant Idolatry, as shall be shewn hereafter) are not typified by Page 68any Head. The reason is, because the Beast, whose Heads they were, is said to have bin full of Names of Blasphemy, at ver. 3. and these Names of Blasphemy were written on his Heads. Which is evident from Rev. 13.1. where the same Seven-headed and ten-horned Beast is again described, and a Name of Blas∣phemy is said to have bin seen upon his Heads.
Wherefore the Christian Roman Em∣perours, though they were Kings of e∣qual dignity with the rest, yet are they not designed by any Head, because they were not Blasphemous or Idolatrous as the others were. So that the Blasphe∣mous Beast did seem to have received a mortal Wound, and utterly to have bi• destroyed, while these Christian Empe∣rours reigned, as being destitute of a• Head, which is a most Essential part o• any Beast.
But lest we should think that by thi• other King, who is not typified by an• of the Blasphemous Heads, are mea• not only the Christian Roman Empe∣rours, Page 69but all the other Potentates that Rome has since enjoyed (for they have all bin called by the name of Christi∣ans:) the Angel gives us two manifest Characters, whereby to know the diffe∣rence between this seventh King, who is not typified by any Head, and the Beast that was, and is not, who is the eighth King, and is one of the seven Idolatrous Heads. For,
First, This seventh King, who is not typified by any Head, is expresly noted for his short continuance. Now, 'tis manifest that Rome has bin govern'd by such as have professed Christianity, for above these thirteen hundred years. And if we call this a short time, how long must he reign, who is to be the eighth King of Rome, and is called the Beast that was, and is not, and typified by the seventh Blasphemous or Idolatrous Head? But now the Christian Roman Emperours, which were truly such be∣fore the Roman Empire was destroyed, continued but a little while, not half so long as did the Heathen Emperours, Page 70nor hardly half a quarter of the time that the succeeding Head has governed. And therefore we must reckon that he reigned but a short time; because there is no difference of short and long, but only in comparing them with one ano∣her. But,
2. The Angel gives us a most mani∣fest designation of the time when the Reign of this seventh King (not typisied by any Head) is to be reckoned to de∣termine. For he tells us, that at the time when the Beast or eighth King should arise, the ten Kings that are ty∣pified by ten Horns, should arise toge∣ther with him, vers. 11, 12. that is, that the Roman Empire should be divided into ten Kingdoms, (as Bellarmine him∣self confesseth, speaking to that purpose Lib. 3. Rom. Pont. Cap. 5. and indeed there is no place for any other Interpretati∣on.) Now if the Roman Empire h• not yet bin divided into ten Kingdom• when will it ever be? It seems therefor• a most unquestionable thing, that th• eight King is come by this time, becau••Page 71not only the seventh King was to reign so short a time, but also the ten Horns of the Roman Empire (with whom the eighth King was to begin his Reign) for neer twelve hundred Years have bin so branched and conspicuous.
But although the Reason why the Christian Roman Emperours, are not typified by any Head, is, because they were not Patrons of that Blasphemy which was common to the Heads: yet there is another Reason to be given, why the Christian Roman Emperours should be reckoned as another King, and be distinguisht from the Heathen Emperours that preceded them. For the first Christian Emperour Constan∣tine the Great new modelled the Go∣vernment of the Empire, dividing it in∣to two parts, and appointing two Im∣perial Seats, the one at Rome, the other at Constantinople: the Roman Emperor having his ordinary Residence at Rome, and the Emperor of the Eastern Divi∣sion at Constantinople; So that the Go∣vernment of the Roman Empire having Page 72receiv'd this so notable an Alteration by the Christian Emperors, these Christian Emperours may well be look't on as a∣nother King. But if there had bin no other difference between the Heathen and the Christian Emperours but only that of their Religion, (the one persecu∣ting the Woman, and the other support∣ing and abetting her) it might very well have given occasion to the Holy Spirit to make a different account of them, and to represent them by two several Types, which is sufficient to our purpose.
But since the Roman Empire has bin long since ruined, and has for many years bin nothing but an empty title; and since his other King (not typified by any Head) was to continue but a little while, it is time for us now, to look out for a successor for him, who was to be the eighth King, and one of the seven Heads of the Blasphemous Beast. For the sixth Head was reigning in St. John's time, and I would feign know whether that Head be still in being or not. If it be still in be∣ing, Page 73then is the Blasphemous Beast in being still; and consequently that Head of Rome that now is reigning (for all the Heads were to have their residence in Rome, as hath bin prov'd before) is the Head of that Blasphemous Beast. But if that Blasphemous Head, which reigned in St. John's time, be perished; I would as willingly know the time when it expired. For was it continued in the Christian Emperours, or not? We can∣not think that they were any part be∣longing to that Beast, which is described full of names of Blasphemy. Wherefore that Head which in St. John's time reign∣ed, must needs have ended in the Chri∣stian Emperours. These therefore are that other King not typified by any Head. And since this King was to continue but a little while, his Succes∣sor, the Antichristian Beast, must needs be come 'ere this, and therefore we shall make a further search after him.
And here to take as much Light with us as the Text affords us, for the certain finding and discovering of him: Let us Page 70〈1 page duplicate〉Page 71〈1 page duplicate〉Page 72〈1 page duplicate〉Page 73〈1 page duplicate〉Page 74observe, 1. That at the same time when this last Head was to appear, there were ten Horns or lesser Kingdoms to arise together with it. Whereby is signified (as hath bin already proved) that the Roman Empire should then first come to be divided into ten parts or lesser Kingdoms.
Now that these ten Kings or King∣doms should arise together at the same time with the last Head, is evident by comparing the 11th and 12th verses. At vers. 11. it is said, The Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seventh, and goeth into Perdition; that is, (as hath bin abundantly decla∣red already) the Beast which St. John saw the Woman sitting on, and which is the principal concern of this Vision, is the seventh or last Head of the Roman Beast or Kingdom. Now, as at this ver. 11. the Beast is interpreted the seventh or last Head, so at vers. 12. it is said o• the ten Horns, That they are ten Kings, which have receiv'd no Kingdoms as yet. but receive Power as Kings,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. e. Page 75one hour with the Beast, viz. with the Beast just before spoken of, namely the seventh or last Head.
But it being said, That these ten Horns, or lesser Kings, receive Power as Kings, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one hour with the Beast. I hope that no Body will imagin, that because 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one hour is expres∣sed in the Accusative Case, it does not signifie the time when these ten Kings were to receive their Kingdom, but on∣ly the time how long they were to reign. But if any will contend, let him consi∣der that (besides the strangeness of the thing, that ten Kings or Kingdoms should be said to last so short a while) the time when is usually expressed in the Accu∣sative Case. We have so apposite an instance of this in John iv. 52, that it may serve in stead of many others. The words are these; Then enquired he of them the hour, when he began to amend: and they said unto him, Yesterday〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, at the seventh hour the Fever left him.
And further; That it cannot well be Page 76taken in any other sense in the Case we have in hand (Rev. xvii. 12.) appears from the opposition that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one hour in the latter clause of this verse, has to 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉not as yet in the former. For when the Angel had said, that these ten Horns (or Kings) have received no King∣dom as yet; would not any one be rea∣dy to ask, When then shall they receive it? To this therefore the Angel an∣swers, when he adds immediately after, but they shall receive power as Kings one hour with the Beast. Hence therefore I conclude that the Roman Empire was to be divided into ten Horns, or smaller Kingdoms, much about the same point of time when it should appear under its last Head.
2. Let us observe the difference that is between the seven Heads & ten Horns. For each of the seven Heads was to have dominion over the whole Roman Beast, or Kingdom: but the ten Horns are ten several Kings, that were to keep within their own respective bounds and limits of their several Kingdoms; and none Page 77of them to be the Head or Supreme Go∣vernor of the Roman Beast or King∣dom. For else we should confound the Vision, and make no difference between the Heads and Horns, if we should make any of the ten Horns the Head: whereas it is said, that the ten Horns are ten Kings, none of which should be the Beast or last Head, but which should receive their power as Kings together with him. So that the Beast, or last Head, was still to have the Sovereignty of the whole, even then when the whole Beast or Kingdom was to stand divided into ten parts, or lesser Kingdoms; and by consequence to have Authority over those ten Kings themselves. Which was not to be any forcible Authority, and such as Kings do ordinarily compel their Subjects to submit to: but a voluntary subjection of the ten Kings to him, ac∣cording as it is foretold of them at ver. 13. that with one mind, or one consent, they should give their power and strength unto the beast.
Now then as to the accomplishment Page 78of this Prophecy, we find that about the Year 456, the Roman Empire came to be divided into * Ten Kingdoms: For at this time we find in Britain two new Kingdoms se∣ver'd from the Ro∣man Empire, the one of the Britans, the other of the Saxons. In Gallia two more, one of the Franks, the other of the Burgundians. In the South of Gallia, and part of Spain, we find the Kingdom of the Wisogoths: In Gallicia and Portugal, the Kingdom of the Suevians and Alans: In Africk, of the Vandals; In Rhaetia, of the Almans; In Pannonia, of the Ostrogoths; And in the residue of the Empire, there conti∣nued still the Kingdom of the Greeks. Whence we may conclude that we are to reckon the eighth King, (i.e. the An∣tichristian Beast) to have begun his reign about the Year 456, when these ten Horns or Kings were risen in the Roman Empire.Page 79
But notwithstanding I have thus as∣sign'd ten Horns or Kingdoms in the Roman Empire, according to the strict∣est acceptation of the number ten: yet (to avoid all cavils and unnecessary liti∣gations touching the preciseness of the number) I would nor here be under∣stood to bind the exposition of this Pro∣phesie to an unite, but have pitch'd upon the Year 456, or thereabouts, as the most likely time (all circumstances consider'd) from which to calculate both the ruin of the Roman Empire, and the beginning of the eighth King's Reign. For in a computation of this nature some latitude of Years in any Reason ought to be allow'd. Especially since the Kingdom of this eighth King (the Antichristian Beast,) together with the ten Horns or smaller Kingdoms and divisions of the Roman Empire, was to continue for above twelve hundred Years, as will appear hereafter from the thirteenth Chapter. Now therefore in so long a time as this ten-horned Beast Page 80was to continue; the allowance of the space of forty years, or half a hundred, for the fixing of his Epocha, is not much considerable.
And whereas the Angel tells us, that the eighth King, and the ten Horns that were to give their Power and Strength and Kingdom to him, should receive their Power as Kings together: the fre∣quent Scripture-usage of the number ten will easily admit that latitude of interpretation, and assigning of the Epo∣cha we contend for. For that the num∣ber ten in Scripture phrase, is us'd for an indefinite and uncertain number, be it more or less than ten, is evident from the places cited in the * Margin. So that, if there had been eleven o• twelve, or if but Page 81nine or eight divisions of the Roman Empire at the time that we assign, they would suffice to verifie this Prophesie, and to warrant us in our Application of it.
But since (as hath bin said) these ten Divisions of the Roman Empire, more or less, were to continue for above twelve hundred Years; yet cannot be expected that they should last through all that period, without the usual fate of Neighbouring Kingdoms, who are wont to lose and get of one another, ac∣cording to the various Fortunes and Successes that attend them. Sometimes therefore we may look to find them ten; sometimes eight; sometimes six; sometimes twelve; sometimes fifteen or sixteen. And all this no ways incon∣sistent with the Prophesie, where the Beast is still represented with ten Horns; this being the fittest number to express them by, as being the most capable of an indefinite acceptation, of any num∣ber thereabouts.
So likewise when the Angel tells us Page 82of the agreement of these ten Horns, or Kingdoms and divisions of the Roman Empire to give their strength and power to the Beast: We cannot think the An∣gel means, that they should all conspire throughout the aforesaid period to pro∣mote the interest of the Beast. But it suffices, that they all came to it by de∣grees; that from the very first this plot was laid, and by the Policy of the Ro∣man Bishops took effect within a rea∣sonable space of time, proportionable to the term their headship was to last; and that all the Kingdoms and divisions of the Roman Empire have from time to time so far submitted, and advanc'd the Interest and the Grandure of these Bishops, that it is rather to the astonish∣ment of the World that they have bin so much, then any prejudice to the ve∣rification of this Prophesie, that they have bin no more obsequious to them. And thus much I thought good to ob∣serve here by way of explication of the ten Horns, and of what the Angel has foretold concerning them. But we Page 83may have occasion to say more hereaf∣ter in the explication of the xiii Chapter.
In the mean time, that it may ap∣pear that this division of the Roman Empire into these ten Kingdoms, was no casual or ordinary mutation, but that the hand of God was eminently conspi∣cuous in the effecting of it, to the end the Scriptures might be fulfilled: I shall here subjoyn that observation of the learned Dr. Heylin upon these pas∣sages, which we find in his description of Italy: and the rather because he was a person, (who as far as may be gather∣ed from his Writings) did not think of any Accomplishment of this or any other Prophecy in these great Muta∣tations. His words are these:
And thus much I thought good to advertise the Reader of concerning the wonderful Providence of God, in the ordering and disposing of these events. For it is very apt to persuade any con∣sidering person, that God had a more than ordinary concern in this so strange a work; and what can that more pro∣bably be thought to have bin, than the accomplishment of his Word? For it is certain that this Prophesie we are treat∣ing of, had a great and signal verifica∣tion and accomplishment in it.
Having thus noted the precise time (as neer as a matter of this nature is ca∣pable of) when the Roman Empire began to be divided into ten Horns or Kingdoms, and when the full number of them came to be consummate; which appeareth to have bin done within the space of Forty six Years (a very short time for the effecting of so great an al∣teration in that potent Monarchy) let us now return to that great City we were speaking of, to see if we can find therein another Head, to be a Successor Page 86to the former King in the supream Au∣thority of this once intire, but now di∣vided and ten-horn'd Kingdom.
And here it is to be observed, that when the Roman Empire came to be divided into ten Horns, or Kingdoms, he that is master but of one of these Kingdoms, though it were the most considerable of them all, yet can he not be accounted any more than a Horn, and therefore not the Head that we are seeking for. For this Head we now speak of, is not the Head of any one Kingdom only, but of the whole Beast or Kingdom, as it stands divided into ten Horns, or lesser Kingdoms. For be∣side the ten Horns, there was to be a seventh or last Head to whom the Horns should give their power and strength, ver. 13. So that as all the other six forego∣ing Heads, had been the Heads of the whole Roman Empire then entire, so might this last Head also be a kind of ge∣neral or universal Head, by the consent or favour of the ten partial or particu∣lar Princes.Page 87
And to make this yet more clear, let us have recourse to another instance much like this in Dan. viii. where Alex∣ander the Great, King of Macedon, and first founder of the Grecian Empire, is typified by a great Horn: and though after him Cassander succeeded in the Kingdom of Macedon, yet because the Empire of Alexander was then divided into four Horns or smaller Kingdoms, whereof Cassander's was but one, he is not reckoned in the same account with Alexander for succeeding him, in his Seat Imperial, and Title of King of Macedon; but because he was possest of but a part of Alexander's Empire, the Scripture makes no reckoning of his Kingdom, more than of any other of the four Horns or smaller Kingdoms. When therefore, in our present case, the Roman Empire once entirely go∣verned by its Emperours and preced∣ing Kings, was come to be divided into ten Horns or Kingdoms, as was fore∣told it should: no Man succeeding them whether in the Imperial Seat or Title, Page 88so long as he possesses but one of the ten Horns or Kingdoms, can be rec∣kon'd with the former Emperours as the Head, but only as a Horn or smaller Kingdom.
And now by this time we have made our way so plain to this our last disco∣very, that I suppose that I shall meet with very few Readers, though never so inexpert almost in these affairs, but can resolve me this Question, viz. Who it was, that having his Imperial Seat, or ordinary residence in the City of Rome was Successour to the Christian Roman Emperours, (at what time that once mighty Empire came to be divided in∣to ten Horns or lesser Kingdoms,) in the Headship or Supremacy not of any Horn or smaller Kingdom, but in Ge∣neral of the Roman Empire; and to whom those Horns or partial Kings by voluntary Contribution (as it were) did give their Power and Strength. If thou art a Protestant, I know partly what thou wilt say; and if thou art a Romanist, I know partly what thine Page 89own Conscience will suggest to thee, That it was the Pope or Bishop of Rome.
And surely thou art not much mista∣ken in thy Judgment of him. For he it was who for some years before this time, but especially under the gentler Government of the Christian Empe∣rours, had been contending earnestly for this Supremacy, and laying the foun∣dation of his Greatness, by encroaching on the Christian Churches. But while the Empire flourished, and the Em∣perours had their residence in the City of Rome, they so obscur'd the Glories of their Bishop that he was never but an Underling in comparison of them.
But now about the Year four hun∣dred and ten, when Rome was sack't and set on Fire; at what time six of the ten Horns began to come upon the Stage: that the seventh or last Head might shew it self in Rome together with them, (see by how wonderful a Providence these things have happen∣ed) Honorius the then Emperour be∣took Page 90himself to Ravenna; (his Succes∣sours following his example) and (as it were in token of their future Great∣ness) he left the ancient Seat of Empire to the Roman Bishops. From which time forward the Roman Empire still declined, till about the Year four hun∣dred fifty six it was utterly ruined, and those few Emperours that succeeded were of no account. But for the Ro∣man Bishop he was still rising as the Empire was declining. Insomuch that Leo who presided in the Roman See even in that very year 456, wherein (as we have said) the ten Horns were risen and the Roman Empire ruined, is found to have boasted in his Sermon de Apo∣stolis, That the Temporal Government of the Roman Emperours was chang'd into the power of Roman See. It hath not bin my happiness yet to get a sight of Pope Leo's Sermons: but this passage I find quoted in Bishop Morton's Cathe∣lick Appeal for Protestants, Lib. 2. Cap. 5 Sect. 10. in these very words; In cuj• (viz. Romanae) sedis potestatem fuit Tem•Page 91porale illud Imperium (speaking of the whole Imperial Authority) commutatum, ut author est Leo Papa, Sermone de Apo∣stolis. Which Testimony of Pope I eo himself, about this change of Govern∣ment that was made about his time in Rome, and in the Roman Empire, I look upon to be of no small moment in the business we are treating of.
But further yet; The Roman Bishop much about that very time was first acknowledg'd by a General Council, holden at Chalcedon (where were pre∣sent Martianus the Greek Emperor him∣self in Person; and of Bishops and Re∣verend Fathers, from all parts of the World, six hundred and thirty) CA∣PUT ECCLESIARUM, or the Head of the Churches.
This we may learn from *Bel∣armin himself, who tells us, That the Greek Emperor Phocas, was not the first that called the Pope the Head of the Churches; but that Justinian had done the same long be∣fore; Page 92and before him also the Council of Calcedon in an Epistle to Leo the then Bishop of Rome. Thus far the Cardi∣nal derives that title, and no further. From whence we gather that he could not fetch it further: for if he could, it had bin much more pertinent to his pur∣pose to have done it.
And though he did not at the firs• enjoy this new acquired Headship with∣out much opposition and contention especially from the Churches of Constan∣tinople and Ravenna; yet did he neve∣cease from grasping after it, till he be∣came not the Head only, but the Terr• of the Churches; nor of these only, b•• of Princes too, and Emperors, and wh• ever else would venture to oppose hi•.
An early Instance we have of this 〈◊〉 the strife that hapned between the Gr••• Emperor Philippicus, and Pope Const••∣tine, 1. about the matter of Images• the Emperor (about the Year 710) com∣manding them to be pulled down, be• cause they were abused to Idolatry, an• the Pope utterly refusing to obey; an•Page 93not only so, but (that he might make a clear experiment of his Headship and Supremacy even over Emperours and Kings themselves) he set up more Images in opposition to him, in the Portico of St. Peter, and forbad the use of the Em∣perour's Name and Title in any Publick Writings or Coins.
The same Command was not long after renewed by Leo 3. upon which saith Onuphrius, Gregory the second, then Pope, took away the small remainder of the Roman Empire from him in Italy. And Si∣gonius more expresly, that he not only ex∣communicated the Emperour, but absolved all the People of Italy from their Allegiance, and forbad the pay∣ment of any * Tri∣bute to him: where∣upon the Inhabitants of Rome, Campa∣nia, Ravenna, and Pentapolis, i. e. the Region about Anco∣na, immediately re∣belled, and rose up in Page 94opposition to their Magistrates, whom they destroyed. At Ravenna, Paulus, the Em∣peror's Lieutenant or Exarch was kil∣led; At Rome, Peter the Governour had his Eyes put out; In Campania Ex∣hileratus, and his Son Hadrian, were both murdered by the People of Rome; and not content with this, he writ a Letter to the Emperour full of the greatest Re∣proaches imaginable.
And that the Pope was he that drew the People off from their obedience to the Emperour, is not only affirmed by the Greek Historians, Theophanes, and Zonaras; but by those also of the Church of Rome. Sigibert saith, that Gregory the 2d finding the Emperour incorri∣gible, he made Rome, Italy, and all the West to revolt from him, and forbad his Tributes. The same is affirmed by Ott• Trisingeneis, Conradus Ʋspergensis, Hi•∣ronymus Rubeus, and others who cannce be suspected of any enmity to the Ro∣man Church.
And (to shew his Story to be every way pertinent to our present purpose) Page 95it is well observed by Hadrianus Valesi∣us, That the Pope durst not thus have affronted the Emperour in confidence of his own Strength, but by a precari∣ous Power, and under the Protection of a Private Correspondency which he held at that time with Charles Martel, whose Honour and Arms were the grea∣test in these Western parts. Having therefore strengthened his Interest a∣gainst both, the Emperour his known enemy, and the Lombards that were at best but unfaithful friends, he makes what advantage he can of the Places that owed Subjection to the Emperour, to make up the Patrimony of the Church (as Valerius observes) particularly of Su∣trium; but Sigonius faith, The People not only east off the Emperour, but did swear to be faithful to the Pope.
Not long after the Pope takes upon him to authorise Pepin Son of the said Charles Martel to depose his lawful King Childeric, and usurp his Kingdom; and when this was done, he was after∣ward absolved by the Pope from his Page 96Oath of Fidelity, with all the Nobles and People. And thus poor King Chil∣deric had his Poll shaven, and was thrust into a Monastery, Pepin succeeding by the Pope's Authority.
And further; That the Pope might make the clearest demonstration of his Headship in the World; having thus exalted himself above the Emperours of Greece, depos'd the King of France, and set up Pepin in his room, with some such notable exploits: that he might shew himself the very source and foun∣tain of all Power and Greatness in the Roman Empire, he undertakes upon his own Authority to create a Roman Emperour, as Bellarmine asserts upon the testimony of no less then three and thirty Authours, some of them Histori∣ans, some Popes, some Emperours them∣selves. And since the Roman Emperor (as they call him, though indeed he be but magninominis umbra, a shadow of that great name) is now become the Popes creature, we cannot expect that the Emperour should have very much Page 97observance from him. And it fell out accordingly; for the Emperour owning his Imperial Crown and Dignity to the Pope, he never could be quiet till he not only has absolv'd the Popes from their Allegiance to him: but was at length constrained himself to swear, *quamcunque fideli∣tatem, all kind of fealty to the Pope, •ere he could be received into Rome.
Nor is this all; but further yet the Pope constrains him truly and openly to declare that he has no right in Rome, and that he will stay no longer there then only during the Popes pleasure; and in all humility, to request his Crown at his Holiness's hand. Inso∣much that the Popes have maintained and affirmed both by the Authority of their Decrees, and by open force of Arms, that they were Superiors to the Emperors, who were their Vassals, and held their Empire by Fealty and Leige Homage from them; that they were Page 98Monarchs of the whole Universe, and direct Lords of all the World. By which Right, so soon as any Countries of the new-found World were disco∣vered, they blushed not to give them in Feoffe, and divide them among Kings, as the Patrimony of St. Peter; as wit∣ness also these words, which they are wont to use in the Investiture of Popes, *I invest thee with the Popedom, ut presis Ʋrbi & Orbi, to command over the City and the whole World. Lastly, that of right, it belonged unto them to in∣vest and Degrade, to Ordain and De∣pose Emperours and Kings at their plea∣sure.
Nor do we hear of any higher Office the Roman Emperor (as they please to stile him) has had in Rome these many years, than to hold the Popes Stirrup when he mounteth or alighteth from his Horse; or to sit at the Popes Feet, * or to give him Water to wash his Hands; or to hold up his Train at Page 99Mass; or in collation to present him with a Napkin. For this is with the Pope a general Maxim, Nemini ominino mortalium reverentiam fa∣cit, * He doth Reverence to no Man, neither by rising manifestly, nor by bowing of the Head, nor by uncovering it: only to the Emperour of the Romans, the Pope being set, after he hath kissed his Feet and his Hand, he riseth a little and receiveth him to kiss with the mutual embracement of Charity.
And when the Pope ri∣deth in solemn manner a∣bout the City, * mounted on a white Horse sumptuously Capa∣rason'd, his Horse is led by the hand of an Emperour, or a King, or the great∣est Person there present; and he him∣self Gorgeously Apparelled in Scarlet, weareth a Fiara or Diadem on his Head, adorned with a Triple Crown, which they commonly call, Regnum, Kingdom, in token say they, of his Su∣pream Dignity, both Sacerdotal and Im∣perial.Page 100And this I look upon a suffici∣ent demonstration of the Popes Head∣ship or Supremacy in the Roman Em∣pire. For if any Emperor or King be Head, I would feign know who is the Pope's Groom, or Page, or Foot∣man.
But we need the less to labour in this Argument, because the Romanists themselves have done it so abundantly to our hands. For it would grieve ones Heart to see how Bellarmin and Baro∣nius have sweat in large Voluminous Works, to magnifie the greatness of their Bishop, and unawares to prove him Antichrist.
But let any Man shew, if he be able, where-ever any Pope, before the Em∣rour Honorius his time, or indeed for some years after, (for the Popes did not presently arrive at the height of their affected Grandure) deposed any Empe∣ror, whether Heathen, Arrian, or Eutichi∣an Persecutor, or absolved their Sub∣jects from their Allegiance to them, or took away any part of their Demesnes Page 101from them, or violently oppos'd their Edicts, or put them upon any serrvile Offices, like those wherewith they ho∣nour the now Roman Emperors. But if this cannot be done, we must conclude, That before Honorius his time, (who left the Seat Imperial to the Pope) the Pope was never Head in Rome, or in the Roman Empire: but since that time he is, and hath declared it abundantly to all the World; and we have seen it evidently fulfilled in him, how all the Princes of the Roman Empire, since it came to be divided, have truckled un∣der him, and submitted in a shameful measure their Royal Diadems and Scep∣ters to him. Wherefore the Bishop of Rome is that very seventh or last Head of the Roman Beast or Kingdom, who was to appear upon the Stage, together with the ten Horns or smaller King∣doms, in which the Roman Empire was to be divided, and to whom those ten Kings were to give their Power and Strength.
And thus much of the seven Heads Page 102and eighth King, who successively have headed the Roman Empire, and have had their Seat Imperial in the City of Rome, viz. Kings, Consuls, Decemvirs, Tribunes, Dictators, Hea∣then and Christian Emperours, and Popes. These were the eight several Forms of Supream Governments, which the Ro∣man Empire hath enjoyed, and besides it no other Kingdom that hath bin be∣fore it. Which though they were not so clearly revealed to the Prophet Da∣niel, when this Kingdom was represent∣ed to him in Vision (for it is typified by the four Beasts, Dan. vii.) yet it may •e very well supposed that he saw so much of these mutations, (though at a greater distance than St. John, and there∣fore not so dictinctly) as thereupon he pronounceth the fourth Beast, to have bin diverse from all other Beasts. For certainly it were enough to difference the Roman Kingdom, from all other Kingdoms in the World, that continu∣ing still to be the same Kingdom, and to have the Supream Government in the Page 103same People within the same City, it hath bin subject to so many several sorts of Kings or Supream Governors.
But possibly it may be objected, that some of these were not Kings, and that especially Consuls, Decemvirs, and Tri∣bunes are very improperly called by that name.
To this I answer, That they may ve∣ry well be called Kings, for these Rea∣sons.
1. Because the Supream Government, which began in Kings, was devolved upon every one of these successively, so that they all enjoyed the same power as Kings.
2. Because the denomination of se∣veral sorts of things included under the same general Head, (as these are all un∣der the general notion of Supreme Go∣vernors) may very well be taken A pri∣ori, usitatiori, vel digniori; from the for∣mer, the more usual, or more worthy of them. And upon this score it is, that when we address our selves to a whole Congre∣gation, we call them altogether Bre∣thren,Page 104taking no notice of the inferior Sex.
3. Because the names of Kings and Kingdoms are used in such a lattitude, as to comprehend all sorts of State sand Supream Governours, as when the Tempter is said Mat. IV. to have shewed our Saviour all the Kingdoms of the World, by Kingdoms are meant all sorts of Supream Governments, whether Mo∣narchieal, Aristocratical, or Democrati∣cal. So the Roman Empire is called in Dan. vii. the fourth Kingdom, and is there typified by the fourth Beast, which with the other three, are inter∣preted four Kings, although the Ro∣man Kingdom hath not bin governed by Monarchs only, but by Consuls, De∣cemvirs, and Tribunes; the general name of King and Kingdom including all the other sorts of Supream Governours. Thus also, where it is said, Psal. 72.10, 11. The Kings of Tarshish and of the Isles shall bring Presents: the Kings of Sheba, and Seba shall offer Gifts; Yea all Kings shall fall down before him, all Page 105Nations shall serve him. Where it would be very strange to understand Kings in the strictest sense, for Monarchs only; especially since by all Kings are meant all Nations, without any difference or distinction of their forms of Govern∣ment. Many other places of Scripture might be produced to this purpose, as Psal. 89.27. Psal. 102.15. but I will not give my self a needless trouble in a thing so common, and so obvious to every eye.
But it may be, it will further be ob∣jected, That Rome had enjoyed more sorts of Supream Governments than five, and all of them fall'n before St. John's time. For there had bin also a Trium∣virate managed by the joint Forces and Counsels of Augustus, Lepidus, and An∣tonius. But this lasting but a very little while, and being but the passage to the greatness of Augustus, and, which is more observable, being only an oppres∣sion of the Commonwealth, and not a Government established by the consent of the Senate, and the People of Rome,Page 106as all the other five had bin, it ought not in any reason to be numbred with them. And this I look upon as a suffi∣cient Account of those five Kings that were fall'n: because the Angel does not descend to any particularities concern∣ing them, but only says in general words, that five were faln. And so much for them.
But because the main stress of our Ar∣gument depends upon the right inter∣preting of these seven Kings, and parti∣cularly of the sixth of them, (which was then reigning when this Vision was pre∣sented to St. John) whether he were a single King, or the whole Order and Suc∣cession of the same kind of Kings: We shall therefore in particular demonstrate further concerning this sixth King, to∣gether with the seventh King, who is not typified by any Head, that it cannot be meant of any two particular Kings, but of as many Orders and Successions of them.
For it is certain that this Vision was shew'd to St. John when Rome was go∣verned Page 107by Heathen Emperors, and par∣ticularly in Domitian's Reign, no Au∣thor affirming it to have bin later, that I know of. If therefore Domitian were the sixth King then reigning; Nerva must be the other, who was not then come, and when he came, was to continue but a little while; and the Beast which was, and is not, and is interpreted the eighth or last King, will happen on't to be the Emperor Trajanus, who reigned about the beginning of the second Cen∣tury. But the Angel tells us, that to∣gether with the Beast, the Roman Em∣pire was to be divided into ten Horns, or smaller Kingdoms, which were to give their Power and Strength unto the Beast. But these ten Horns did not arise till above three hundred years after Trajan's time; and therefore cannot the sixth and seventh Kings be understood of any two single Kings apart from other of the same Order; but of the whole Or∣der and Succession of the Roman Em∣perors, Heathen first, and then Christian; according as we have before declared. Page 108And consequently the five that were fallen, must be such too, to wit, not five single Kings, but five Orders or Successions of five several sorts of Kings. And there∣fore they must needs be those that I have named; or if any Man can assign five other such, he shall have my free consent.